New York-Based Corporate Risk Management Firm Joins BDO
CHICAGO, January 9, 2019 — BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading accounting and advisory firms, today announced the asset acquisition of Lootok, a crisis management and business continuity consulting and technology firm headquartered in New York. The acquisition of Lootok bolsters BDO’s proactive risk management capabilities, offering clients an end-to-end suite of services across the risk continuum.
Founded in 2006, Lootok integrates military models, cognitive science, design thinking and game theory with industry risk management standards to create new ways of understanding the disciplines of business continuity, crisis management, and enterprise risk management. Lootok helps organizations of all sizes and industries transform their risk programs through risk assessment, program design, self-service technologies, and activity-based learning and engagement.
Consulting at the board and the C-suite levels require more than experience and expertise. Presence matters. Strength of conviction matters. This caliber of consultant is a partner who confronts the thorniest topics head-on and who can speak the language of today’s leaders. Lootok has found such a talent. It is with great enthusiasm and expectation that Lootok announces Brian Collins as Managing Director. Mr. Collins joins Lootok with more than twenty years of risk management experience across industries and sectors. Based in Washington, DC, he will lead the global crisis management practice.
Mr. Collins is a decorated Marine officer with awards for valor in combat and service. He has worked at the highest levels of government with General/Flag Officers, Assistant Cabinet Secretaries, and Ambassadors. He paired his extensive governmental experience with a master’s degree from Georgetown University and graduated from the Senior Executive Fellows program at the Harvard Kennedy School.
New partnership between two industry leaders brings a new level of talent to outsourced risk programs
Lootok, a leading crisis management and business continuity consulting and technology company, and Andersen Steinberg, an executive search and recruitment firm specializing in risk and resilience, announced a new strategic partnership today. The new alliance will give Lootok an even deeper level of expertise and global resources.
Creating a fully outsourced crisis and business continuity program often requires a global team of highly specialized professionals, and Lootok’s hiring process has always adhered to the most rigorous standards. That thoughtful process can sometimes be time-consuming, a necessity that must be balanced with a need for rapid scalability. The new partnership allows Lootok to achieve that scalability while maintaining the highest level of quality.
“To meet the demand for fully outsourced crisis and business continuity programs, Lootok needed a model that allowed us to deploy the right resources in record time,” said Sean Murphy, CEO of Lootok. “Recruiting the best minds in the risk and resiliency industry, supporting local languages and bringing in specialized skillsets is all a part of our business model. With a global network and a reputation for attracting the finest risk talent, our alliance with Andersen Steinberg gives us the ability to achieve that rapid scalability while accessing the finest talent, while bringing world-class service to our clients.”
Both firms have kindred corporate philosophies and a deep understanding of the value that quality talent brings to clients, culture, and profits. “What matters to Lootok, also matters to Andersen Steinberg,” said Murphy. “When companies call on Lootok to manage their crisis and business continuity programs, Lootok becomes their global team, and the right resources are critical to the success of the program.
In managing a program, Lootok brings together management of technology, training, awareness, messaging, reporting, rollout, and support. A diverse group of specialists is essential, and team members may need to be fluent in multiple languages, understand a niche area of supply chain risk, or have deep knowledge of a specific technology. Andersen Steinberg specializes in finding talent that meets those unique criteria.
Together, the partnership gives Andersen Steinberg the opportunity to place the next generation of leaders in global risk, while giving Lootok the ability to scale their innovative services that have transformed the industry over the last ten years.
New technology and devices bring employees together in a global market
Businesses are living in the era of global culture, communication and commerce, greatly increasing the need for multilingual capacity. Little wonder that language learning has become a crucial component of corporate learning programs in the past decade.
Research from Technavio indicates that the corporate language learning market is on the cusp of major expansion. The market research firm released its findings in a press release, showing that corporate online language learning in the U.S. is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16% between 2017 and 2021.
Is the corporate language learning industry headed for big changes in the next couple of years? Experts seem to think so.
Why all this attention on language learning in the corporate world?
For starters, businesses no longer operate with geographic limits anymore. The internet has made every industry a global one. Because of this, nearly every working adult will at some point encounter language and cultural barriers that can make things challenging. Emerging technologies will have an impact as well.
“Artificial intelligence is now pushing up against human learning of languages,” said Jeremy Stynes, President of Lootok said, “and with it being so much more accurate now, it’s easy to see how this could become scalable.”
Ignore these trends at your own risk. Stynes shared the story of a former employer that spent a great deal of time and money on localizing the language of corporate training content, only to discover that there were tools (like Google translator) that provided a far better solution.
Read the full article with commentary from Jeremy Stynes on HR Dive.
The threats impacting businesses today are complex, insidious, and almost always have an up or downstream impact on technology. Cyber attacks are also borderless and can impact core operations as easily as business partner and supply chain operations. Therefore, when companies look to increase their resiliency they must weigh equally their operational and technological vulnerabilities.
One challenge that many organizations face is that there is no single entity governing cybersecurity and crisis management. With different reporting structures, separate budgets, and uncoordinated planning, they struggle to stay in sync. This partnership takes aim at breaking down those silos and helping organizations to get an honest and holistic view of their risk landscape.
Despite the occasional stuffed-shirt boss looking over my shoulder and saying “This isn’t playtime!” some of the best jobs I’ve ever had incorporate a level of playfulness, and the results have always proven to be effective.
A favorite exhortation among fast-food bosses is, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean!” But a little leaning now and then, and even a little guided playfulness, can go a lot further towards getting employees actively engaged in a corporate goal than will any angry mandate.
Where employers and employees alike go wrong is falling into the trap of believing that work isn’t supposed to be fun. Sean Murphy, CEO and founder of Lootok, a crisis management and business continuity consulting and technology company, went into this business – which is normally as dry as a Prohibition-era liquor cabinet – with the idea of actually transforming it into something people actually want to do.
Read the full article with commentary from Sean Murphy on HUFFPOST.
Corporate training is big business. Last year alone, American organizations spent a whopping $70.65 billion on corporate training and associated administrative costs, based on data from Training magazine’s 2016 Training Industry Report. Most companies are willing to invest in the learning and development of employees because they must compete in ever-changing markets, which requires enhanced skills.
According to a McKinsey Quarterly survey, nearly 90% of organizations indicated that building on the capabilities of employees is a top priority. However, only around a quarter said that they can accurately measure the success of their learning programs in terms of improved performance. There seems to be a disconnect between investing in learning programs and having a direct understanding of the impact on the bottom line.
Read the full article with commentary from Jeremy Stynes on HR Dive.
It’s a well-known fact that a strong corporate learning program is an effective retention tool.
By encouraging employees to actively participate, employees can better understand new concepts practically, rather than just absorbing a slew of information. Participatory learning can increase employee career satisfaction when it’s carried out correctly.
According to the National Institutes for Health, the very process of participating in any change activity can support workforce learning. A 2009 study conducted by E. Rosskam involved teaching employees new health procedures in order to improve safety. By using a shared platform where learners can interact and support one another, employees can perceive learning as something they own.
HR Dive talked with Sean Murphy, CEO of Lootok, a business continuity and crisis management firm with headquarters in New York City, about the concept of participatory learning. When employees buy in to active career development, this participation creates another layer in the experience.
Read the full article with commentary from Sean Murphy on HR Dive.
For more than 10 years Lootok has pushed the boundaries of traditional crisis management and business continuity (BC). “I launched Lootok with the singular vision of doing BC differently,” said Lootok CEO, Sean Murphy. “Global volatility and increased competition have escalated the need for companies to prepare for disruptions. While everybody knows that they should have a BC program, nobody wants to do the work. BC is only important when it’s too late, and when an incident does occur, any data and plans that have been collected typically remain untouched.”
Lootok continually confronts these challenges by offering fresh points of view on industry standards and new ways to transform programs to meet today’s highly networked environment. Sean Murphy explains: “I knew that BC was an essential part of business. The negative returns I so often saw were not the result of BC itself, but rather how it was implemented. At that point, I saw a major opportunity in going beyond the cookie-cutter approach and offering something of lasting value.”
With this goal, Lootok based its services on a deep understanding of industry expertise and interdisciplinary sciences. Why integrate interdisciplinary sciences? It is a simple answer, according to Sean: “We get better results. Through integrating cognitive sciences, gamification, and branding concepts we capture higher-quality data, buy-in at all levels of the organization, and sizable costs savings through self-service and automation.”
2017 marked a reflective period in Lootok’s history, where the company restructured areas of the organization to yield even greater innovation and sharpened its services to Lootok clients. Lootok is excited to announce that there are four changes in its talent pool that set the stage for this evolution.
Last month, I showed up at a client’s manufacturing site to facilitate an annual tabletop exercise. The company had recently kicked off its crisis management and business continuity initiative, so I wasn’t surprised to walk in and hear several people ask what this meeting was about, and how long it was going to last.
It is commonplace within organizations to have initiative atrophy or program of the month syndrome. People are doing more with less. Everyone is highly skilled at prioritizing work and recognizing false positive initiatives. Crisis management and business continuity can quickly get categorized as a ‘not now’ or ‘postpone as long as possible’ project in this environment. Therefore, it is important for risk and security professionals to allow our stakeholders bring themselves into the program. We need them to want the program and value the work we need them to do.
In my experience, there are usually three different types of people sitting in the room.
First, you have your evangelists, or your program advocates—they’re often the ones leading the initiative or they’ve already experienced some kind of catastrophic event. On the other end of the spectrum are those who have already decided risk management is irrelevant, so they’re checked out and sighing loudly.
But almost everyone in between is a good corporate citizen who has showed up with a printed copy of their plan because they were told to. Other than the occasional email, they’re not used to thinking about risk. You can’t blame them for wanting to just get the meeting over with and get on with their lives.
This mindset, unfortunately, is not uncommon. Whether people are unaware of the program or struggle to understand its value, it’s important to recruit them as active participants. So what are we as risk management professionals to do?
“Nothing happens until someone sells something to someone.” Thomas J. Watson(1874–1956), Chairman and CEO, IBM
Would a company sell a product or service that no one wanted? It’s an absurd question with a simple answer: absolutely not. You need demand. People have to want what you’re offering. At Lootok, we apply this same basic principle to risk management, business continuity, and crisis management programs.
Of course, most practitioners—people like you and me—see the value and the importance of their role in such services. But if you go outside this tight circle, demand quickly wanes. Rather than march to a linear project plan or industry standard, let demand drive the pace of progress.
Before you rollout, change, or update a global program, begin by assessing demand. Organizations tend to prefer immediate success and tangible artifacts (e.g., risk assessment or business impact analysis), but if you think of your program as a business, assessing demand would be the first thing you would do.
Out of this concept came Lootok’s Demand Model®, developed and refined over the past decade.
Chris de Wolfe, global director of risk management at Mars Inc., shares his challenges of getting the global risk management program at Mars up and running.
“The CRM group had a lot to offer but was severely underutilized, which led to high insurance premiums, a high risk profile, and a significantly reduced resiliency and recovery capability,” Chris said.
Reflecting on how Mars as a business became a major success, de Wolfe decided that he needed to market and promote his own department in the same way. Partnering with Lootok, a risk management consultancy firm, he developed a strategy to engage with the employees in a fun yet educational way. He devised a 5- to 10-year plan, broken into 12- to 18-month strategies and individual project plans by mapping out all of the products and services that risk management offers. He conducted a perception survey and drew up a program based on the ABCs of risk management.
“The ABCs allowed people to understand that risk management not only provides insurance, but it also ensures that the business continues,” said de Wolfe.
Sean Murphy, CEO and founder of Lootok, said of de Wolfe:
“I’ve known Chris for 10 years and what differentiates him is that he treats his program as a business. He had a good program before but he wasn’t satisfied with it so he completely revamped it and is now reaping the benefits.”
It is becoming increasingly necessary in risk management and business continuity management to be better, faster, and cheaper. We need to better Return on Investment (ROI), better participation, better end-user experience, faster change, greater reach and adoption, and enhanced techniques and concepts. We need people to do more with less and with higher quality and participation. To accomplish any of this we need behavioral science.
While artists, athletes, and performers struggle to make their mark in the public eye with a memorable act or viral moment, a different type of celebrity has been emerging on the scene - the spokesperson for a crisis.
Here’s a quick exercise to highlight the point:
Jeffrey Boyd, Lew Frankfort, and Stephen Hemsley. Do these names sound familiar?
If not, don’t feel bad. They are the CEO’s of Priceline.com, Coach, and UnitedHealth Group, respectively.
Now, how about the names Tim Cook and James Comey?
We can immediately recall them as the CEO of Apple and the FBI Director, respectively, feuding over a locked iPhone involving a federal investigation of the San Bernardino shooting.
The media diligently covered Cook and Comey’s debate for more than three months. During that time, both men emerged as stars in a cast of characters ranging from lawyers, judges, politicians, and even presidential candidates. The media and public tuned in to hear their perspectives on data privacy, security, technology, civil rights, and terrorism.
“How did you go bankrupt?”
“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
- Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
I was working with a head of risk management—the chief risk officer—at a global organization that does not have a GSOC. One night over dinner, I asked him why his organization didn’t have one, and suggested he spearhead the initiative. His response? “I’m not convinced we need one. The organization has always operated without a GSOC, so why start now?” He also said, “The reality is, we’re already doing it here and there. The system works fine. Let people do their thing.” Something that seemed so obvious to me and so unnecessary to him left me on the defensive and him on offense.
The reality is, if you’re a global organization, you need a GSOC—or some version of it. If you don’t have one, you will need to communicate the severity of the situation and get one. Allow me to illustrate the need for such capabilities so you can justify the business case to your leadership and board…
I appeared on Federal News Radio and shared my thoughts on new approaches to risk management and how to develop an effective approach to business. You can stream the recording for free here: Interview with Sean Murphy
Look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments!
Chris de Wolf (Mars) and I got back together in April at the RIMS’16 conference for an overwhelmingly well-received session where we talked about transforming the risk function from a program to a business.
“Shaking up the Status Quo - Innovations in Risk Management” gave us the opportunity to tell the story of how we reinvented risk management - business continuity. Long story short: We were looking for a better way.
What’s the biggest challenge in risk management? If you ask risk analysis expert Yossi Sheffi, it’s the lack of an industry metric. For example, when you choose a supplier, how can you quantify how risky your choice is? When it comes to metrics, Sheffi says, risk still remains an area where gut feelings and opinions play a major role. And the biggest challenge for risk managers? Defuse the responsibility for managing risk throughout the whole company.
Risk analysis expert Yossi Sheffi discusses two fundamental resiliency strategies that organizations can use to recover from an incident: redundancy and flexibility. Using the examples of Intel and Southwest Airlines, Sheffi talks about the role of redundancies, flexibility and interchangeability, and communication and culture to provide risk managers with realistic and practical approaches to consider.