How Risk Management and Creativity Work Together

Most of the time, initiative and innovation are something that companies would avoid, and risk managers are usually the one to blame for that mistake. For most of the managers, risk management means avoiding risky actions completely; while in reality, risk management is all about making clever decision and careful preparation in case mistakes happen. Frederick Crawford, chief executive from AlixPartners, shares his thought on this matter.

While it is true that risk managers are mostly responsible for the risk management system within a company, but often times they have acted exaggeratedly, thinking that they should become the main protector or guardian of the company. Since they are mostly have to report to the chief executive officer, they view themselves having different roles from other employees and department, and in the end completely separate themselves from the others.

Basically, risk managers have the responsibility to assess risks as well as encouraging others (employees and departments) to work together. Instead of limiting creativity and setting up barriers of what not to do (don’t do this or don’t do that), they should be able to encourage other employees and departments to keep their creativity alive. Whatever ideas or activities employees have, risk managers should be able to make different employees from different departments sit and work together, have them assess the possibility of success and also risks, and have them come up with various solutions and way out; in case problems do happen.

Being a risk manager is not easy. They should be able to make everyone in the company realize that risk management is everyone’s responsibility. It is a shared obligation among all employees within all departments. If everyone in the company understands this, they can start developing a sense of ownership, self reliance, and motivation for emergency situation. There is no doubt that they will be able to tackle all problems and issues that are thrown to their direction.

The main role of a risk manager is not to guard the company like a watchdog, but to change the employees’ mindset and attitudes; from being fearful and silent, to having positive teamwork and collaboration. Instead of forbidding them doing things, the risk managers can provide a kind of road map of the things they can do with a set of guidance and guidelines. It would be even better if everything is done in transparent manner, so everyone involved can learn from one another. When a company, along with the risk managers, is able to do this, not only they can create resilient and solid structure, but they can also create smart, creative, and innovative employees.