Posted: December 14th, 2015 11:11am UTC

How do risk managers become influential?

As a risk manager, you know just how important analysing risk can be in the decision-making process.

However, most risk practitioners will also agree that, despite extensive expertise and reams of data, it can be extremely difficult to change the minds of colleagues and superiors.

In fact, we’ve heard plenty of stories about how stark warnings from risk managers went unheeded, resulting in significant problems for the company.

There’s no doubt this can be a frustrating experience, but as a risk manager, part of your job is to make sure your voice is heard. Easier said than done? Definitely, but here are a few tips that might help.

Turn data into digestible information

Facts and figures are great, but they can also be difficult to absorb – especially if they’re being read off quickly. It’s also easy for somebody to ignore a list of numbers, particularly if they don’t like what they demonstrate.

So, try to turn the data that you have into meaningful information that can be understood quickly. This could mean using the data to create charts and graphs, or interpreting the numbers in a way that makes more sense.

Think in both the near-term and long-term

Most businesses need to take calculated risks in order to meet their objectives in the near term, but long-term outcomes also need to be carefully considered.

Build relationships

It turns out that strong interpersonal skills are a major bonus for risk managers who want to get their voices heard. Research has shown that interacting with managerial and executive layers in your business can lead to a risk manager having greater influence over the decision-making process.

Try to position yourself as a strategic business advisor and work to ensure that risk management is constantly visible within the organisation as a proactive tool to be used to assess and communicate uncertainty to decision makers.

Exude confidence

Risk managers serve an advisory role, and are likely to find themselves arguing their case in front of chief executives and other individuals with big egos. In these situations, confidence is key.

Paul Dolan, chief executive of Sadeh Lok housing association says: “Don’t be coy,” and adds that the inability to challenge executive decision making is “a root cause common in many cases of troubled housing associations over the years”.

He believes that a person’s ego can distort rational thinking, so risk management is “fundamental” for business decisions.

Immerse yourself

As a risk manager, you need to know the ins and outs of the entire company – from human resources to billing, office management and production.

As part of this, make sure you are able to speak the ‘common language’ – that is, the jargon of the industry. This will not only help you to better understand and communicate with colleagues, but it will also improve your ability to establish relationships and increase buy-in on an enterprise level.

Use risk management tools

Dedicated risk management software, such as JCAD CORE can help risk managers improve their understanding of potential risks and present that information more effectively to stakeholders.

JCAD’s risk management software not only provides risk managers with an effective tool for establishing and managing risks, it can also assist with analysing data, devising risk strategies and presenting your case to stakeholders. To find out more about the benefits of CORE, please get in touch.

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