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Risk Management’s Sweet Spot

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.”

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How do you create situation awareness—Fresh perspectives with Mica Endsley

I had the privilege of sitting down with Mica Endsley —author of Designing for Situation Awareness: An Approach to User-Centered Design. Mica is the president of SA Technologies. Previously she was the Chief Scientist for U.S. Air Force.

Mica shares with us lessons learned from her book—Designing for Situation Awareness. I asked her nine (9) questions to solicit her thoughts on situation awareness, technology, and mental models.

Mica Endsley
Mica Endsley

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What is the best way to tell stories as means to communicate - Cliff Atkinson on Fresh Perspective

 

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How would a physicist approach risk management - Mark Buchanan on Fresh Perspective

 

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How to use Scenario Planning in Risk Management - Thomas Chermack on Fresh Perspective

 

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Can a crisis make you a celebrity?

Picture of man speaking to the press
Ready or not.  Say, “Cheese!”

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.

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Disaster Recovery for America interview on the Federal News Radio

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!

Sean Murphy on Federal News Radio
Sean on Federal News Radio

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Shaking Up the Status Quo: Innovations in Risk Management

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.

 

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Fresh perspectives: biggest challenge in risk management – metrics

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.

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Fresh perspectives: resiliency strategies

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.

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Fresh perspectives: risk matrix

Risk analysis expert Yossi Sheffi explores the capabilities and limits of the traditional risk matrix, and adds another axis called “detectability.” Detectability has to do with time dimensions, or how much time we have to prepare and react to a threat. There are some events, such as a cyberattack or theft of intellectual property, that have no warning; you realize their occurrence only after they hit you. While the standard use of the risk matrix is influenced largely by the past, adding detectability means greater opportunity to tackle impending threats.

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Fresh perspectives: insights

What happens when we’re in a crisis we haven’t seen before, and our experience is insufficient? Such a situation requires us to gain “insight,” or develop new patterns that change the way we understand things and consequently, change the actions we consider. Research psychologist Gary Klein investigated the different ways that people form insights, and the factors that prevent us from having them.

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Fresh perspectives: crisis management team

There are certain challenges that face a crisis management team in the “Golden Hour,” the moment when team members convene to make critical decisions. Research psychologist Gary Klein discusses the need for team members to size up not only the situation, but also each other’s capabilities, roles, and responsibilities at time of event. That’s why it’s key for a crisis management team to regularly practice and train together.

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Fresh perspectives: uncertainty metaphors

How do most organizations handle uncertainty? They gather more information. Research psychologist Gary Klein explains why this isn’t always the best course of action. After all, it’s easy to gather information and sit on it; it’s harder to know how to make sense of events, and make a coherent story based on the data we have.

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Fresh perspectives: recognition-primed decision model

How can leaders make good decisions under the extreme time constraints of a crisis? To find out, research psychologist Gary Klein studied fire fighters to understand their approach to making crucial, complex decisions so quickly. The recognition-primed decision (RPD) process, as he explains, reveals how these professionals assess the situation: they compare familiar patterns and cues to past experiences to know which actions to take.

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Understanding the risk environment: Sean Murphy discusses nonlinear environment with Gary Klein

I had the pleasure to interview Gary Klein the author of “Seeing What Others Don’t,” “Streetlights and Shadows,” “Working Minds,” and “Sources of Power.” His research and experience is invaluable to anyone in the field of risk management. In this interview, Gary talks about the difference between a well-ordered domain (i.e., normal business environment) and complex domain (i.e., crisis environment). Understanding the characteristics and attributes of each environment is critical to understanding what tools, processes, and capabilities needed to be successful in each environment.

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Dr. Yossi Sheffi on crisis management

Dr. Yossi Sheffi, author of “Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage,” discusses two of his favorite crisis management case studies with Sean Murphy.

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Why don’t plans work?

Sean Murphy discusses the limitations of plans with renowned author and research psychologist Gary Klein.

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Business continuity and the Sony data breach

A massive data breach at Sony Pictures Entertainment, which experts believe was targeted by North Korea as retaliation for a film depicting the assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un, has led to an international incident that has gained the attention of business continuity professionals. Even large companies like Sony can sometimes put business continuity planning on the back burner.  BC professionals say that attacks like this can sometimes change their minds.

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Seven insights from superstorm Sandy: a financial sector retrospective

$18 billion dollars. That’s the number estimated in damages caused by Hurricane Sandy just in the state of New York alone. With the unexpected turns that transpired amidst the super storm, all businesses were reminded of the importance of business resiliency.

Given the vast amount of information presented to-date, it is still very important that the financial sector revisit the surprises from Sandy to ensure that critical financial services are better protected. A team of experienced BCM advisors gathered the recommendations in the accompanying table from industry thought leaders in leading global financial services companies to learn from their perspectives.

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Everyone needs a backup plan - just like every company needs a business continuity plan

This video for the Homeland Security Business Continuity Planning Suite communicates core business continuity concepts and highlights the benefits of planning. In just a few minutes, the video manages to cover a variety of disasters including a loss of power, hurricane, fire, and a human threat. It’s perfect to use for kicking off a planning workshop or meeting, or circulating to department leads or plan writers to increase their awareness.

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Carnival Cruise Lines: What they should have done

At first glance, it appears that Carnival Cruise lines was well prepared when one of their ship had an engine fire and subsequently lost power last week. The media, however, tells a different story.  Here are three points that Carnival may have overlooked in their crisis response.

carnival
Carnival cruise

 

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How Oreo style the spotlight during the Super Bowl, and other lessons for scenario planning

The highest rated Super Bowl in history may go down in the books for the 34-minute power outage that upstaged the million dollar ads. With all the chatter about the blackout, advertisers were concerned about the effect on television ratings, while some brands capitalized on the opportunity to own the conversation through social media. Many are claiming the real winner of Sunday’s game to be Oreo, whose clever blackout tweet got retweeted 10,000 times in less than an hour.

oreo

When it comes to planning, the power outage also demonstrated that organizations must consider not just critical processes and recovery time objectives, but should also anticipate the impact of potential scenarios. Business continuity is about bouncing back, as well as taking advantage of the situations that may present themselves during incidents—particularly in this case, high profile events. Have you considered this when doing business continuity scenarios or exercises?

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A funny take on risk perception

When it comes to risk perception, we are notoriously prone to misconceptions. Whether fearing planes over bikes or elevators over stairs, we have a tendency to misjudge just how dangerous certain situations are.

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What a crisis requires, beyond a barebones plan

The fact that Tokyo found the nuclear reactors in a worse state than previously announced underscores the need for honest, factual information for public consumption, and the importance of media in delivering this communication. The age where authorities view the public as a panicky wildcard that needs to be soothed, rather than as an equal partner in mitigating and recovering from a disaster, must come to an end – especially in a world where, thanks to the internet and information networks, information is disseminated to a wider audience at a faster rate than history has ever experienced before.

Was the community immediately surrounding Tepco’s reactor integrated in mitigation efforts prior to the incident? Subsequent actions and the announcement of possibly 30 billion dollars in claims indicate the opposite.

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