Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Risk Management in an Unstable World

This week many events are unfolding around the world and our nation which have the potential to dramatically impact your organization on both the operational and strategic levels.

On the international front, the on-going actions of the Syrian government continue to send shock waves throughout the middle east and other parts of the world as everyone tries to figure out how to respond to the reported brutal atrocities. Next, the Iranian government’s pursuit of nuclear technology creates a tsunami of ramifications within multiple areas of governments across the globe as well as complicating the stability of the world’s energy markets. The on-going questions about Greek debt, the rise of the Chinese defense spending, and the never ending evolution of Al Qaeda is causing leaders to pause and think carefully about what are the right choices to make.

Within the United States, today is Super Tuesday and all eyes are on the choices GOP voters are making in this long and interesting national primary. Of particular interest to many observers is the pendulum swinging back and forth in the GOP between economic issues and social issues. Meanwhile, gasoline prices continue to rise and intense spring storms continue to flourish causing horrific damage and destruction. At the same time, Congress appears to not make many, if any, decisions except to try and position the other party as ineffective and their party as the better one to lead.

Within the world of business and technology, American manufacturing continues to insource jobs and growth, mergers and acquisitions continue to rise, and all eyes are on Apple and the possibility of the iPad3 or iPad HD arriving this week. Many are also pondering the implications of Apple confirming that it has sold it’s 25th billion download through their App Store.

Within Iowa, non-profits are still wondering if the proposed mental health redesign will actually end up being a redesign or simply a change in names and nothing more given it appears the money is not present to follow the thinking. Education funding in Iowa continues to be a hot subject especially with the proposed changes for teacher accountability. And finally many people are still reflecting on the Des Moines Register’s poll which came out yesterday stating that 56% of Iowans approve of the job that Governor Terry Branstad is doing.

Given the above, many leaders are deeply concerned about the impact and risk these events may cause to their organization.

Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen in their book, Great By Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, HarperCollins, 2011, note that successful leaders “cannot reliably and consistently predict future events, so they prepare obsessively - ahead of time, all the time - for what they cannot possibly predict. They assume that a series of bad events can wallop them in quick succession, unexpectedly and at any time.” In particular, these leaders pay attention to three categories of risk:

1. Death Line risk (which can kill or severely damage the enterprise)

2. Asymmetric risk (in which the downside dwarfs the upside)

3. Uncontrollable risk (which cannot be controlled or managed)

According to the above research, these leaders “focus on their objectives and sense changes in their environment; they push for perfect execution and adjust to changing conditions. When they sense danger, they immediately zoom out to consider how quickly a threat is approaching and whether it calls for a change in plans. Then they zoom in, refocusing their energies into executing objectives.”

One place to explore risk is the Spring 2012 From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable. Here you will find a group of dedicated people who can zoom out and zoom in on issues that can improve and transform their organizations. You also will discover individuals who want to discuss, explore and reflect on the next waves of change and risk, and then consider how this will impact their work as a leader and their organization.

The next From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable takes place on April 12 - 13, 2012 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Des Moines/Clive, Iowa.

Here is the agenda for your review:

Thursday: April 12, 2012

- 8:30 am - Registration

- 9:00 am - 10:15 am - Navigating Through Prolonged Uncertainty

- 10:15 am - 10:30 am - Break

- 10:30 am - 12:00 pm - Maintaining Operational Excellence During Constant Change

- 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm - Lunch and Networking

- 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm - Building a Learning Organization

- 2:45 pm - 3:00 pm - Break

- 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm - Improving Front Line Supervisors Effectiveness

- 4:30 pm - Adjourn

Friday: April 13, 2012

- 9:00 am - 10:15 am - A Return To Personal & Professional Balance

- 10:15 am - 10:30 am - Break

- 10:30 am - 12:00 pm - Integration and Application

- 12:00 pm - Adjourn

Recommended Reading: Collins, Jim and Morten T. Hansen. Great By Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, HarperCollins, 2011.

Here is the link to the registration form: http://www.chartyourpath.com/pdf/2012-From-Vision-To-Action-Exec-Roundtable-Regist.pdf.

As Collins and Hansen remind us “rapid change does not call for abandoning disciplined thought and disciplined action. Rather it calls for upping the intensity to zoom out for fast yet rigorous decision making and zoom in for fast yet superb execution.”

If you are wanting to cross paths with people who have a history of disciplined thought and disciplined action, now is the time to sign-up.

I look forward to seeing you at the Spring 2012 From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable.

Geery Howe, M.A.Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer inLeadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational ChangeMorning Star Associates319 - 643 - 2257

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