Thursday 9 June 2011

Rescuing risk from the anally retentive and the lull

A very interesting lunch with Paul Emery from Zurich, the big insurance company who are one of ACEVO's strategic partners. We're doing some joint work giving advice on risk management for CEOs. The reality of much risk handling is that it is done appallingly. We all have those " risk registers" which we pore over at Board meetings. They lull you into a false sense of security. And worse , they often make Boards deeply risk averse.

But as Paul rightly said , the proper handling of risk is not to stop you taking advantage of new opportunities or new ventures , it is about how you handle and manage the risk involved. Too many Boards think that if something involves risk they should not do it. That is the anally retentive approach to risk management. And bluntly that probably means the business atrophies and becomes staid and potentially looses out on new opportunities. In fact the risk is that by refusing to take on innovation you go out of business.

If the third sector is not risk hungry then what is the point? I'm fond of leaps in the dark. If you are smart you manage them so that you land upside !

I've always been proud ACEVO is seen as an " edgy" dynamic body that is not afraid to be out in front in a leadership role whilst others sit it out trying to work out which way the wind is blowing. ACEVO likes to make the wind blow , even if that sometimes means ruffling feathers or blowing away peoples' hats or skirts!

I'm in a sort of lull at the moment. Report finished. Being poured over by people who like proof reading and who will undoubtedly correct my spelling and bad grammar. We are heading for the publication now early next week, and then the Governmnet will respond. I'm happy we have all done a good job that moves this debate on. You will judge for yourselves when you see it.

So tonight I'm relaxing. Entertaining some French visitors at my Club. The head of a major French mutual and a top French umbrella body to talk about how to progress the social finance movement across Europe. The SIB have set up a task force to look at the potential for the future of social finance in the UK. We want to link that with the wider European agenda for supporting loans to the third sector. An exciting project. The EU have agreed on making social innovation a priority and so Euclid ( our European third sector leaders network ) will be pushing this vigorously.

I'm taking them to my Club as there is a very wonderful full length painting of Wellington in the Bar ! My GGG grandfather fought with him ( a fellow Irishman as it happens ) in India. A fine fellow. Wellington that is. Oh , and my GGGG!

I shall toast him in a fine claret amd I can celebrate finishing that report and my imminent return to ACEVO. The bunting is already being prepared I understand!

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