Every Risk Moment Matters

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In each of our working and personal lives every moment matters. This applies just as much for risk moments as customer facing moments.

Recently I read Chip Heath’s book, ‘The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments Have Extraordinary Impact’. The best recommendation I can give is that I am contemplating providing this book to my new team.

This book has inspired me to think about how I engage in the most important moments and make important moments alive.

‘Our lives are measured in moments, and defining moments are the ones that endure in our memories.’

Every single one of us has the opportunity to turn what we do for our customers into truly defining moments. Too often we spend time considering what we do in terms of what we achieve, rather than how it makes each moment special for our customers.

For risk managers, this means shifting from a perspective of “judging” to a perspective of “supporting and growing”. We must ensure every risk moment matters. Most challenging is therefore identifying how our actions support all 3 lines of defence (see our ‘3 Lines of Defence‘ blog post on this topic) at the same time. Rather than concerning ourselves solely with “our role as the 2nd line”.

Shifting from judging to supporting & growing

Shitfing our perspective as risk managers means looking at every engagement (framework), enquiry (advisory) and review (assurance) as the opportunity to support and grow our customers.

In doing so, we must take the perspective of the external customer in our engagement. We must focus on achieving community and customer expectations through simplicity, easiness and kindness. Most importantly we must not step back under the veil of the 2nd line, but step forward as the 2nd line.

‘Moments matter. And what an opportunity we miss when we leave them to chance!’

The risk manager must see every engagement, workshop or report as a moment. Then we must ensure each risk moment matters. Each element of our role is the product/service we deliver to support our customers and organisation. Leaving these moments to chance and not reflecting on the value they bring is a recipe for failure.

We each must ensure we deliver these products/services with an focused intention of helping to add value to our stakeholders. Specifically the board and management. Inevitably we will not always get it right as there is a challenging balance as risk managers to ”call things out” whilst at the same time being positive and supportive. In these moments, it is what we do next to help navigate that challenging conversation that will matter.

Most critically, being positive does not mean not being factual or not calling things out. To be positive means to provide the lense of opportunity, rather than the lense of judgement.

Making each Risk Moment Matter

This book provides many memorable themes (moments) to help make each risk moment matter, some of my favourites are:

  • ‘This is what we mean by “thinking in moments”: to recognise where the prose of life needs punctuation. The book explores 3 situations that deserve punctuation: “transitions, milestones, and pits”. Transitions are classic occasions for defining moments. Pits are the opposite of peaks. They are negative defining moments—moments of hardship or pain or anxiety.
  • ‘Beware the soul-sucking force of “reasonableness.” Otherwise you risk deflating your peaks. Speed bumps are reasonable. Mount Everest is not reasonable.’
  • ‘In the service business, a good surprise is one that delights employees as well as customers.’
  • ‘Executives who are leading change should be deliberate about creating peaks that demarcate the shift from the “old way” to the “new way.” The heart of change, after all, is the need to break the script.’
  • ‘Creating more memorable and meaningful experiences is a worthy goal—for your work, for the people you care about, and for you personally—independent of any secondary impacts.’

Specifically, in the financial services sector, Chip details,

‘banks miss countless opportunities to boost customer loyalty by creating moments, and the lack of attention to these moments contradicts banks’ talk about building strong relationships with clients. A relationship in which one party is oblivious to the most profound moments in the life of the other is no relationship at all’.

In Summary

We all realise that our working lives need purpose, and that purpose is to deliver memorable moments for customers in what they experience in their lives.

It is so important 

‘to defy the forgettable flatness of everyday work and life by creating a few precious moments’.

A great message for each of us to follow as every risk moment matters.

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Scott North has extensive experience in enterprise risk management, internal audit, operational risk and compliance, risk strategy, scenario planning, technology risk, technology business analysis, systems design, financial accounting, and management accounting. Scott is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants with a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne in Business and Information Technology. Scott is also a Fellow of the University of Melbourne.