What Are Your Top Ten Organisational Risks?

Organisational risk is in the eye of the beholder. What you see as being the main risks as an innovative small business serving the Melbourne metropolitan area may be very different from the point of view of a multinational corporation with projects all over the world. It’s wise however for both types of organisation to consider different perspectives. They can help reveal risks hitherto ignored or that lurk in the background, ready to increase in importance as conditions change. They also help enterprises to remain flexible in their outlook and more resilient to problems, whether inside or outside the business. Here are a few different takes you might consider.

First of all, let’s go large. The biggest global risks include economic slowdown in China, disintegration in Europe, military conflict in Iran, deflation in the US and the collapse of political regimes in countries like Russia, Pakistan and North Korea. While a direct relationship with the fortunes of a small business with a local market might not be obvious, they can all have knock-on effects on investment, finance and credit in general. At a corporate level, a view of organisational risks might include IT sabotage, damage to reputation, customer indemnity, fraud, pandemics, political intervention, money laundering, emerging markets, natural disasters and failure of internal controls.

Still feel that all this doesn’t really apply to you? Then try a change of perspective. Instead of trying to identify specific events that could put your organisation at risk, look at risks stemming from attitude and behaviour. These include complacency, management-operations gaps, inadequate staff training, silo mentality and internal communication breakdowns, over-reliance on technology and automation, blurred lines of responsibility and undocumented processes and workflows. If you’ve met the ‘circle of influence’ concept defined by Stephen Covey, you may see a similarity: work on what you can change, not on what is out of your control. So even if foreign military conflict is a concern, work on your internal business continuity factors first, before trying your hand at international diplomacy.