Top 24 Risk and Strategy Resources for 2024

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “tradition” as “an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior.” With this being the 7th annual list, I think that our top resources list that we release at the beginning of each year certainly qualifies! Like eating collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, it’s a tradition I enjoy and one that I hope you find useful as you start thinking about how to better serve your organization in the year ahead.

Although there are a few resources included each year, each list has a different purpose or theme, making each one unique. I strongly recommend reviewing previous years’ lists.

(See 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018)

Now, let’s turn our attention to this year’s top resources list.

As always, I feel I need to provide the caveat that the list of strategy and risk resources is by no means comprehensive but includes a mix of quick-read SDS articles, books exploring certain topics in-depth, thought leaders you should follow, and tools that I have found useful.

With the covered subject areas ranging from ERM basics to strategic planning to soft skills, the final section consists of a “what’s on my reading list” where I include a couple of titles I’m hoping to tackle in the year ahead.

Drumroll, please! Let the list begin…

The Basics of Enterprise Risk Management

If you’re a more experienced practitioner, some of the following may seem rather fundamental. However, not only is it good to refresh our memory once in a while, it’s also good to help others in the organization better understand the basics of ERM and the value it can deliver to the organization.

Below are a few classics I’ve updated at least once over the years, plus one external resource, that provides the best, most practical ways I’ve seen to enable your company for success through effective risk management and informed risk taking.

  • Make Your Words Count: Translate Risk Terminology to Fit the Business – feel like you are constantly explaining risk concepts to others in your company? Well, all the risk management concepts and terms may make sense to us, but they are not familiar to most within the company, which is why speaking in the language of the business is so important.
  • Prepare to Dare by Hans Læssøe – this practical guide helps the reader understand what goes into an ERM program designed for more than risk avoidance. Empower leadership to take more risks and understand why that is important in today’s world. Hans is now fully retired, but his insights will live on in this and his LinkedIn profile.
  • Top Risk Reports from NC State’s ERM Initiative – this report and ones similar to it can be good conversation starters for unearthing top risks and opportunities relevant to your company. But recognize that they have their limitations and should not be relied upon to guide decisions.

Advanced ERM Techniques, Quantitative Assessment, Strategic Planning, and more

With the fundamentals out of the way, you are now ready to go more in-depth on advanced topics that can begin moving the needle in your organization. Even if you are completely new to ERM, you hopefully understand that it is about more than just avoiding failure. In fact, simply focusing on this side of the coin is a recipe for disaster.

  • Identifying Opportunities – organizations need to do more than manage downside risks. Leadership should be considering opportunities to support achieving goals with more certainty or creating a competitive advantage. This 3-part series explored ways a company can identify these opportunities.
  • How are Key Risk Indicators Different from Key Performance Indicators? – key risk indicators are a struggle for many companies, but they can be valuable when done properly. This article, taken from my course material for UCLA’s Extension ERM Certificate Program, explores the basics of KRIs, how they’re different from KPIs, and how they can help a company get ahead of risks and opportunities.
  • What Does an Ideal Strategic Planning Process Look Like? – a company cannot copy/paste what others do and expect it to work for them, especially when it comes to strategic planning. Originally appearing in the journal Carrier Management, this article provides a four-step framework companies can use as a starting point to develop the right strategic goals effectively and painlessly as possible.
  • 9 Filters to Identify the Best Strategic Initiatives – many companies will put a lot of time and effort into developing strategic goals, only to watch them falter during the execution phase, which is just as important. Instead of blindly choosing initiatives, companies need to be asking hard questions to determine which ones will provide the most bang for the buck.
  • Excellence in Execution: How to Implement your Strategy by Robin Speculand – building on the previous article, this book provides a comprehensive how-to for executing a strategy, something that over two-thirds of companies struggle with. Part One of this book focuses on changing current thinking and attitudes, while Part Two explains how to create awareness, build excellence, and follow through to completion.
  • Tim Leech – Tim Leech is a pioneer in the concept of “objective-centric ERM,” which essentially involves linking risks to strategic and business objectives, thus enabling the company to focus on the most impactful risks and opportunities. He regularly provides insights and thoughts on this topic via his LinkedIn profile (linked above).
  • Gareth Byatt – ever wonder how a company can be around for several decades or even a century or more? International risk and resilience consultant Gareth Byatt helps companies improve their long-term staying power in a turbulent marketplace beyond immediate business continuity needs. You can read my conversation on this topic with Gareth here.
  • Graeme Keith – you may have heard about the quality of insights quantitative risk assessment can provide but don’t know how your company can take advantage of the benefits it offers, most notably, better certainty that a particular goal will succeed. In addition to other thought leaders in this space featured on previous lists, Graeme’s practical and down-to-earth insights can be helpful in integrating a more quantitative approach in your company.
  • Strategic Risk Magazine – whether it’s supply chain, cyber, or other risks, this website/ online magazine is an award-winning, global resource for helping companies understand the current outlook and take steps to protect themselves in this tumultuous environment.

Soft Skills and Tools: Helping you do your job better

Successful risk management and strategy is about more than following a certain process. There are also other important skills needed for ensuring 1) ERM can deliver actionable insights and overall greater value to the enterprise and 2) the company can fully realize its strategy. After all, success is about more than just following certain processes, but requires certain people or “soft” skills that so many other resources fail to mention.

  • 6 Personality Traits You Will Encounter and How to Respond – to play an active role in the company’s decision-making, ERM and strategy professionals need to understand the nuances of dealing with other people. This article outlines six personality traits you will commonly encounter, along with some ways to properly respond.
  • 5 Steps to Avoiding Analysis Paralysis – thoughtfulness and being able to look at a problem from multiple perspectives is a wonderful skill, but it comes with one big drawback. At some point, the contemplation can turn into overthinking and lead to the dreaded analysis paralysis. Learn 5 steps you can take to avoid the discomfort that leads to analysis paralysis.
  • PIP Decks – while not designed for risk management specifically, these “business recipe” cards invented by Chris Burdette can be a valuable reference resource for just about any business need. If you have a big presentation coming up and need tips for making it the best you can, there’s a Pip Deck for that, or if you’re running a workshop, incorporating a particular Pip Deck can be helpful for “focusing your energy and attention where it counts.” They also have decks for productivity tactics and team management tactics.
  • Todd Herman and the 90-Day Year – we all struggle with getting things done and having enough hours in the day. In coaching athletes, Todd discovered how the same concepts used for helping athletes achieve peak performance are applicable to the needs of executives and entrepreneurs as well. I highly recommend his performance quiz to help you better understand how you work.

My Reads for 2024

Honestly, this list could go on and on, as there are countless books and articles I could (and want to) read and thought leaders I could learn from. However, there are a couple of specific books that I’m eager to get into, and once I’ve read them, I hope to integrate into articles here on the blog. These include:

  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Other’s Don’t by Jim Collins – ever wonder what makes a company great? Jim Collins certainly has, and with his team of researchers, identified companies that weren’t necessarily destined for greatness but found it anyway. Through meticulous data research and countless interviews, Collins and his team were able to identify the attributes of what makes a company great, why some can achieve greatness, and why others don’t.
  • Unbreakable: Building and Leading Resilient Teams by Bradley L. Kirkman and Adam C. Stoverink – teamwork makes the dream work as they say, but teams need to be more resilient than ever to address challenges in our increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. This book provides practical, hands-on tips for building teams to address these challenges and highlights four attributes any team must have to be resilient.

Well, that completes our top resources list for 2024. There are so many others I could have included – after all, remember that this list is not exhaustive.

As we begin the year, I want to encourage you to take stock and be grateful for what you’ve been able to accomplish in the last year and move forward with confidence on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

After all, there’s always something we could improve.

With that said, I wish you all the best for 2024!

What other books, thought leaders, or resources do you find useful and recommend your fellow risk professionals take a look at?

We’re always interested in knowing what else is out there, so if there’s something that isn’t on this list that you feel should be, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or join the conversation on LinkedIn.

And while these resources can be helpful, you may be in a situation where you need more direct help with your risk management or strategic planning needs. Therefore, feel free to contact me directly to discuss your specific challenges and potential options for addressing them in the year ahead.

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Meet Carol Williams, SDS Founder & Lead Strategist

To our readers:

This blog was launched to provide strategy and risk practitioners with a go-to resource to better guide their efforts within their companies. Thank you for bringing me and my team along to be part of your journey towards better risk management, strategic planning and execution, and overall decision-making. Happy reading!

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