"It is very encouraging to see that companies take risk so seriously that they rank it as their fifth-highest business priority out of the eleven Succeeding in a Changing World themes.
Risk-taking is in the DNA of the most entrepreneurial businesses. They embrace risk, manage it and turn it to their competitive advantage - and this, I believe, singles them out from those companies that grow more modestly.
Our survey respondents appear to appreciate the role that risk transformation can play in driving competitive advantage, efficiency and performance. Fearing risk is not a business enabler.
If I had undertaken this survey myself, “risk in the boardroom” would have been my top sub-priority but it comes in a marginal second for respondents.
These days, board directors are not just concerned about corporate governance but about their own personal performance too. A risk that is neither anticipated nor mitigated has a habit of blowing up - leaving the chairperson or directors to take the heat.
It is puzzling that "technology risk, cyber crime and data" gets respondents' lowest ranking. This is possibly because respondents are focusing on the "turning it to your advantage" part of the statement, most business are not yet focused on extracting advantages from risk.
The priority for most is protection against such risks because they know the loss of data can damage reputations and long term revenue prospects.
The survey results also indicate that business leaders continue to be overwhelmed by the complexity of running a global business, managing multiple service lines and contending with regulation and bureaucracy.
For them, "business simplification" is a big issue. They want to cut through complexity and develop an easy-to-understand go-to-market business structure where risks are easy to monitor and keep in check. This frees them up to get on with the activities that generate profit.
As the economy returns to growth, I believe that those who view risk as an opportunity, rather than as an obstacle, will be the ones to leverage the rewards."
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