REPLAY: Must watch for anyone in risk management – The millstone called ‘risk management’ #riskawarenessweek2019

While, what Grant Purdy did had many titles over the last 44 years, it all seems to come down to assisting decision makers to have effective and efficient conversations about whether the decisions they are making, and have made previously, are providing sufficient certainty that intended outcomes will be achieved. These conversations always start, as they must, by achieving agreement on purpose – the highest expression of the reason an organisation (or person) exists. Whether articulated or not, it should reflect both the values we aspire to and what we seek to achieve. Seeking sufficient certainty is an age-old challenge that has attracted various approaches along the way (including ‘good old common sense’ even though the sense is often neither good nor common!). Through most of my career this has been labelled risk management.

However, despite the best efforts of many of us, this is still widely perceived as being concerned with failure rather than with success. It also harbours a dirty secret: like ‘risk’, it is a made-up expression and has no commonly accepted or applied meaning. For many organisations however, its clear that despite what may be claimed, in practice the ever-shifting, often highly artificial and totally unnecessary notion of risk management and its attendant ever-expanding jargon and confections are far more frequently an encumbrance than they are an enhancer.

This is a must watch session for anyone working in risk management and a great foundation for the whole week. Make sure you sign up!

Despite ‘risk management’ being a much-heard expression these days:

  1. There is no agreement to the problem it is (ostensibly} solving
  2. Even among those who advocate its adoption and practice (often to earn their living} it has no settled meaning, nor even clarity of purpose.
  3. Its clumsy and ever-changing constructs and confected jargon complicates rather than improves decision making and, therefore, organisational performance

Just ask yourself: If risk management is the answer, what was the question?

About Grant

Grant is an accomplished facilitator, trainer and speaker and has had over 100 papers and articles published and has authored and co-authored several books and many handbooks. He speaks regularly at conferences and webinars.Grant has been a member of the Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand Joint Technical Committee on Risk Management for over 14 years and was its chair for seven. He is co-author of the 2004 version of AS/NZS 4360 and has authored many other risk management handbooks, guides and books.

He was also the nominated expert for Australia on the Working Group that wrote ISO 31000 and Guide 73 and later Head of Delegation for Australia on ISO PC 262 that will revise ISO 31000.

Nowadays, Grant mentors, trains, supports and generally helps organisations and the people who lead them make more-soundly based decisions – so their organisation can realise its purpose. As no decision can ever provide total certainty as to either its immediate or ultimate effect, dealing with uncertainty is thus an unavoidable part of deciding. This simply involves being clear about assumptions and desired outcomes, understanding context, always considering options and then, always, putting in place mechanism to detect post decision changes.

RISK-ACADEMY offers online courses


Informed Risk Taking

Learn 15 practical steps on integrating risk management into decision making, business processes, organizational culture and other activities!


ISO31000 Integrating Risk Management

Alex Sidorenko, known for his risk management blog, has created a 25-step program to integrate risk management into decision making, core business processes and the overall culture of the organization.


Advanced Risk Governance

This course gives guidance, motivation, critical information, and practical case studies to move beyond traditional risk governance, helping ensure risk management is not a stand-alone process but a change driver for business.


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