Change Risk Mindset from Reduction to Management, Says CEB

Kachina Shaw

Based on a study of 3,000 execs and 220,000 employees, advisory company CEB says that in too many instances the outdated approach of risk management based mainly on risk reduction is hurting the bottom line.

According to its Executive Guidance report, fully 72 percent of companies are restricting access to information in ways that hurt productivity and collaboration. It’s being done with an eye toward risk reduction, but that narrow viewpoint isn’t going to fly much longer.

While the release on this study does not mention Big Data, I couldn’t help but think about it in relation to this topic. The opportunities to maximize the use of organizational data that are presenting themselves and the need for a shift in attitude toward information and data management across the organization are a major driving force in a shift in attitude toward who has access to data, who controls the risk management stance, and how to balance that mixture in pursuit of growth.

The CEB says that 81 percent of execs in its study say “new uses of information” are key for growth. We already know how many profitable companies approach data-driven decision-making; it involves the type of cross-department collaboration the CEB is promoting.

The mindset change may even extend at some point to less frequent use of the terms “risk management” and “risk managers.” The CEB would like companies to focus on “redefining information risk management as maximizing the business value of information.” It’s telling that the language they use includes this wording:


“Business leaders seeking to manage risk effectively should stop risk managers from focusing on risk reduction, and instead direct them to empower business unit leaders to share in the risk management process.”

The change suggests a new title for this role: Growth Analyst? Opportunity Manager? Chief Empowerment Officer?



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