3 Easy Steps to Ensure an Optimal Outcome for Enterprise Risk Management

You have been asked to meet a deadline to accomplish a given goal for enterprise risk management in your organization. What is the first thing you do?

You instantly start making a list of all the necessary steps (doesn’t matter whether the list is electronic, hard-copy, or a mental list).

Then you put those steps in order.

Then you open your calendar to plan out the following weeks (and maybe months) when you will be taking those steps. The list goes on and on…

But how do you know that each of those steps will be successful? After all, the next step depends on the prior step having the desired result.

Do you feel comfortable taking that next step if you are unsure of your last step?

Most people would say no, they are not comfortable, but they would force themselves to take the next step anyway because that was the plan.

Is this the best approach? Are you able to provide the most value to your organization?

I was inspired to write about this important topic due to a recent conversation with a client. The organizational culture is very focused on taking action then pausing for reflection. Instead, we risk professionals frequently start out gung-ho with what we need to do and just push through to the end without stopping to reflect.

Taking baby steps is a concept that is frequently mentioned in a variety of ways. Pausing to reflect and reiterate and not racing to the finish line is yet another area where it can be applied.

What if you could have tweaked something in the middle of the list to achieve a much more powerful outcome? It is too late…and you just missed your opportunity.

You can take these 3 easy steps to ensure an optimal and powerful outcome for your risk-related activities.

1.  Act: Complete a planned step

2.  Reflect: Pause to think about success of that step. Ask yourself:

    • What went well?
    • What went wrong?
    • What could have gone better?

3. Reiterate: Adjust your plan to address those items that didn’t go well and what could have gone better.

Sounds simple, I know. And it is always easier to say than do.

You might be thinking – I just don’t have time to reflect and reiterate if I am going to meet this deadline. Well, let me give you a piece of advice. Reflection doesn’t have to take days or even hours. Take 5-10 minutes immediately after you finish a conversation or conclude a workshop. You instinctively know the answers to the reflect questions above.

And if you are with a team, involve them. Different perspectives are always helpful.

The idea of act, reflect and reiterate can be used for small actions or large projects, all based on what you are working on right now. In fact, I suggest that if your organization is seeking a different outcome from its risk conversations but keeps on doing the same thing, reflection and reiteration are the two missing steps for you!

If you are wondering how this concept would be applied to a bigger scale, I previously wrote about how conducting a pilot can be a game-changer for implementing a large-scale change.

Does your organization stick to the plan no matter what happens?

Or are you willing to make adjustments along the way to improve the outcome?

I am interested to hear your thoughts on this important mental pause. Leave a comment below or join the conversation on LinkedIn.

And if your organization is struggling to get out of the cycle of doing the same thing over and over again while wishing for a different result, contact me to discuss your problem.

Featured image courtesy of Redo Alwarno via Pexels.com

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign Up For Our Newsletter


Meet Carol

Helping companies achieve their vision and strategy, and succeeding in today's turbulent world, is something I'm honored to be a part of. Whether you're an occasional blog visitor or a long-term client, thank you for letting us be a part of your journey.

Most Recent Posts

The 12 Days of ERM Christmas

Without a doubt, one of my family’s favorite holidays is Christmas. Part of the fun, especially for our son, is seeing what “Santa” brought, but most importantly, we treasure the spirit of peace and goodwill the season brings. And after what seemed to be a never-ending warm spell, the weather is expected to be good…

Read More

Don’t Let Goals and Initiatives Be Blindsided by External Events

As the end of the year draws near, I think we’d all agree that while it wasn’t without its challenges, this year also wasn’t quite as turbulent as the previous two. While a lot of people are juggling company parties, shopping for friends and family, and special activities for the kids, most companies are putting…

Read More

Going the Distance: Ensuring Successful Execution of Strategic and Annual Initiatives

Strategic planning is a challenge – of all people, I understand… After all the meetings, risk and data analysis, and brainstorming of the preceding months, it’s tempting to think this is the end of the road and you can relax. Contrary to this common perception though, this is exactly not the time to relax, but…

Read More

Avoid Rookie Mistakes and Protect your Internal Reputation

Be honest – have you ever done something that you soon realized was a real rookie mistake? Me raising my hand… Considering the nature of ERM’s role to ask questions and challenge assumptions (often during conversations with executives), it can be argued that, in at least some cases, the expectations bar for risk professionals is…

Read More

ERM at Thanksgiving – An Illustration of Risk Management in Action

On occasion, I like to take some of the concepts we risk professionals think about in our jobs and apply them to different personal situations…take some of the same concepts we use when working with executives to develop corporate strategy and manage risks or uncertainty around that strategy. It’s Thanksgiving week in the U.S. –…

Read More

Why Quantitative Risk Assessment is Not Just the Best But the Only Option – A Conversation

Periodically, I have the pleasure of speaking one-on-one with Hans Læssøe on a variety of topics around ERM, strategic risk, and other issues and trends. As you know from my previous conversations (here, here) and posts featuring his work, Hans was formerly a practitioner at the iconic LEGO Company, but even more notably, is a…

Read More

The Three Lines Model – 3 Reasons Why I Don’t Like It

Everyone likes a clear-cut template that offers an easy way to create or manage something…I mean what’s not to like about a step-by-step process for accomplishing what you want? Sometimes this can work without any issues, such as the case with the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), ISO 9001 standard, or a new cooking…

Read More

5 Avenues for Expanding your ERM Knowledge

One thing I was taught to appreciate from a young age was the value of education and knowledge. It didn’t necessarily matter what the subject was, just that I always maintain a learning or growth mindset regardless of my current status in life. This mindset has served me well over the years, and it’s a…

Read More

Storytelling and Risk Management – Developing Skills that Technology Cannot Replace

It’s amazing how technology has developed and changed our working world over time. Imagine trying to run my risk and strategy consulting firm without tools like Zoom, Box, Slack, and other ERM-specific technology tools. There is no way we would be able to serve our clients the way that we do. Just consider how the…

Read More

3 Phases to Creating and Launching an ERM Program Focused on Organizational Success

If you’ve been handed the task of creating an ERM program for your organization, let me first offer my congratulations quickly followed by my empathy for the task ahead of you. I don’t say that to scare you but to provide a small dose of reality. Building, launching, and refining an ERM program that is…

Read More