Strategic Risk Management: Best Practices and Tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 30, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Managing risk strategically is an essential part of business planning. Managing risk strategically is essential to identifying and mitigating potential risks. Learning what strategic risk management is can help your team create better products and systems to improve company productivity. In this article, we define strategic risk, discuss what risk management is and why it's important, highlight 8 ways to identify risk, and discuss the strategies for risk management.

Related: Understanding How to Complete a Risk Analysis

What is strategic risk?

Strategic risk is the probability that an event may disrupt an organization's business model. A strategic risk impairs the value proposition that attracts customers and generates revenue. Different industries may encounter a range of risks. For example, a software development company and a construction firm may share the risk of revenue loss if they do not upgrade their tools for modern processes. They may carry their own industry-specific risks, such as the risk of a workplace injury or intellectual property infringement.

Risk identification enables a business's management team to gain a better understanding of potential risks and develop solutions for the associated challenges. It can also help in establishing a clear picture of an organization's risk factors when applying for bank loans or investor funds.

What is risk management and why is it important?

Risk management is the process through which a corporation, financial manager, or person recognizes, analyzes, and prioritizes potential risks prior to devising a strategy to limit their impact. Businesses make use of a number of resources, including financial ones, to monitor, manage, and limit the possibility that particular risks may occur. Risk management helps organizations and investors to prepare for the unexpected while protecting their revenues, investments, and reputation. A solid management plan helps a corporation to maintain viability, define its objectives, and utilize new possibilities. Investors may be able to generate positive returns after successfully mitigating risk.

Risk management has far-reaching consequences for society. Depending on the nature of your employer's business, the risks they face might have a negative impact on the environment, their staff, the local population, and regular consumers. For instance, if a corporation takes on excessive liabilities and invests the bulk of its capital in the stock market, this has repercussions for the business's long-term sustainability and its employees, even more so if such investments do not provide significant returns.

Related: Essential Project Manager Technical Skills

8 ways to identify risk

Organizations use risk analysis to determine when a negative impact is likely to occur, the risk's impact on a particular business sector, and how the risk may reduce. The following are 8 ways that you can implement to identify risk:

1. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is the process of bringing together team members to discuss and think about an issue and to come up with solutions to any recognized difficulties. This type of meeting enables a team to speculate on ideas, discuss data, and forecast the future of a project. By soliciting input from those who operate within the organization, you may use brainstorming to discover, assess, and solve potential risks. Team members may have a better grasp of how the business runs on the ground level and may provide their own thoughts on the dangers facing the organization.

Brainstorming is an excellent strategy because it encourages participation and allows everyone to exercise their critical thinking abilities. Each month, you may conduct a brainstorming session to establish what your team believes are the system's greatest risks, allowing for open communication between leadership and employees.

2. Interviews with stakeholders

Stakeholders are individuals who have an interest in your project or the business, and interviewing them can help you gain a better understanding of the risks they identify. It's likely that stakeholders have invested a lot of resources in an organization, whether it be time, money, effort, or a combination of the three. They view risk as an investor, not as an employee or manager. This perspective might assist you in determining the worries of investors and how to solve them.

3. Using the NGT approach

The NGT, or nominal group technique, is another type of brainstorming methodology that takes a more in-depth look at an identified issue. Participants submit their own responses to the challenge without consulting other group members directly. After that, a senior member of the team solicits input from each participant, which is recorded on a chart or whiteboard with overlapping items deleted.

The team thoroughly discusses each item to ensure that everyone comprehends it and then you may work on prioritizing them. Then the team may go further into the top three topics, assessing them and developing solutions. The NGT technique is more extensive than brainstorming since it depends on the group's transparency and collaboration.

4. Affinity diagram

Affinity diagrams are used to classify data based on the properties they have in common. Invite each team member to write down what they feel are potential project or company risks and categorize their responses. For instance, you can categorize risks as financial, practical, or safety. This assists in categorizing risks for individual evaluation and organizing the comments you get. The team may then prioritize and address each risk.

5. Requirements review

A requirements review is a thorough examination of the labour, material, and financial needs of a project. It enables the team to examine requirements often and immediately identify potential problems. The team can conduct requirements reviews throughout the duration of the project to ensure that the team understands the risks and needs at each step of production. During manufacturing, needs may change, altering the risk profile. For instance, if a procedure takes double the amount of material initially anticipated, the financial risk associated with the project increases because of the higher expenditures.

6. Project plans

A project plan is a high-level overview of the project and its requirements. This comprises material and labour requirements, the project's timeframe, and any associated risks. A thorough project plan can assist the team in comprehending the nature of the project and the steps necessary to accomplish the project's objectives. It may also enable investors and stakeholders to understand what they're investing in, how the team is progressing, and whether they're receiving a return on their initial investment.

Related: What Is Strategic Management and Why Is It Important?

7. Root cause analysis

A root cause analysis examines past project hazards and their relationships to one another and to the current project. The underlying cause might be anything from budget restrictions to old equipment or substandard supplies. Identifying the root cause enables the team to discover common project or business difficulties and mitigate them for increased project efficiency.

8. Conduct a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis, or an evaluation of a business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, is an excellent technique to comprehend the risks associated with a project or organization, as well as other critical elements. A thorough SWOT analysis may demonstrate to investors why a business or project is worth investing in and can assist the team in determining their effectiveness in achieving goals. The SWOT analysis considers four variables:

  • Strengths: Areas in which the team excels and their relevance to specific tasks.

  • Weaknesses: Areas in which the team can make improvements to help boost production and efficiency.

  • Opportunities: Aspects of the team or business that may they can enhance or expand.

  • Threats: Areas of potential risk for the project or business, and also strategies for mitigating such risks.

Related: 9 Common Analytical Questions in Interviews (With Sample Answers)

Strategies for risk management

Businesses and financial managers can develop customized risk management plans to address their particular circumstances, but the solutions they use may be in one of the following categories:

  • Risk avoidance: The most straightforward strategy for businesses and people to handle risks is to avoid them entirely. While some risks are inevitable, others result from the decisions made by organizations and individuals.

  • Risk reduction: Risk reduction, sometimes referred to as risk mitigation, is the process of identifying solutions to mitigate the impact of hazards, particularly when such risks are inevitable. Organizations and people may mitigate risk by prioritizing and preparing responses to possible hazards.

  • Risk-retention: Risk retention, also referred to as risk acceptance, happens when organizations and people conclude they can tolerate a particular degree of risk. Often, companies can invest in specific initiatives if the anticipated returns outweigh the perceived risk.

  • Risk sharing: In risk-sharing, the company spreads the risk among different entities associated with a certain project or interest. Each participant in a business, such as shareholders, numerous divisions, and third parties, such as vendors, owns a portion of the risk.

  • Risk transfer: Insurance firms also serve as a risk transfer system, in which a business pays a premium in exchange for the insurance companies' payment of damages and obligations. Businesses can safeguard themselves financially in the event of an emergency and insurance providers can pay for any settlements or property repairs.

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