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.
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Despite ‘risk management’ being a much-heard expression these days:
- There is no agreement to the problem it is (ostensibly} solving
- Even among those who advocate its adoption and practice (often to earn their living} it has no settled meaning, nor even clarity of purpose.
- 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?
Check out other risk management books
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.