Back to basics in decision making

Jack Kruf

Is it wise to choose to go back to basics and divert from the ever expanding swamps of risk management? Yes, I think it is. The problem is that ‘risk’ is a made-up expression and has no commonly accepted or applied meaning. Risk is still widely associated with failure rather than with success. Most leaders and CEO’s do associate it as a ‘negative’ thing. And even the ISO organisation does not seem to agree on the definition of risk in their high level structure debates worldwide. So why continue along this road?

Leaders and managers need to organise – it is their job after all and this within their organisations and with their partners and clients – the process of creating effective and efficient conversations about whether the decisions they are making are providing sufficient certainty that intended outcomes will be achieved. The beauty of simplicity. Professor Ortwin Renn defines risk as a ‘possible damage to something value’.

This comes close to the essence of good governance. It is a two-step approach in its simplest form. Firstly to gather around the process of achieving agreement on the purpose of a plan, project or organisation. The purpose should reflect both the value and what we seek to achieve. Secondly to seek sufficient certainty in achieving the purpose. It comes close to the profession of archer.

Risk management seems to be a highly artificial, a totally unnecessary aspect of management and moreover its ever-expanding jargon and confections – methods, methodologies, models and the wide palette of registration and maturity systems – are far more frequently an encumbrance than they are an enhancer. So please, can we go back to basics in decision making and back to ‘good governance’ as art?