The REAL Risk Plans You Probably Don’t Have

Posted on March 6, 2011

Leaders around the world sing the praises of appropriate risk planning. Many even attempt to do risk management, beyond the typical document that is created at the beginning of an initiative but is destined to become lonely sitting in the bottom drawer of one’s desk. We applaud that effort, as it is the first and most significant step in creating a “risk management culture.” We need to go way beyond that however, if we are to see a significant change in the statistics for failed and woefully over budget initiatives. What is the step we need to take? We need to create “shared risk” management plans.

The typical risk management plan we see addresses the risks as perceived by the technical team – and at times, some higher level risks associated with business change. Unfortunately, the mitigation or response plans for those risks are typically limited to things the technical team will do, or address time or financial contingencies. Rarely do we see a risk response plan that proposes actions to be taken by both the customer organisation and the service organisation that provides organizational solutions. This one way street is typically not effective, does not reflect the business partnership that is required for successful initiatives, and is short sighted. It is fixable however, if we utilise relationships, leverage business analysis to the fullest and make a commitment to a premise: there are no technical initiatives! All initiatives are business initiatives; and many have a technical component. Our risk management plans need to reflect this reality, and be driven from the business perspective.

Are your risk plans truly shared risk plans? Does the risk analysis being performed consider business risks and response planning? Can you name (and address!) the top three risks you have on your current initiatives with shared risk response plans?

Intelligent Disobedience Leadership provides workshops, coaching and consulting with a focus on courageous leadership through intelligent disobedience. We can help you and your teams design a community of practice which leverages constructive “intelligent disobedience.” For further information, email us at