Working In Uncertainty

The work of Matthew Leitch


Welcome. This website gives you access to most of my published work. It began with a focus on techniques for managing risk as an integral part of core management and other intellectual activities, such as planning, design, and decision-making. However, as my thinking has explored other areas and I have spent more time writing about other topics, it has had to adapt.

My current big effort is to complete two new books:

  • A Handbook of Reasonable Influence

  • Self-management by reason.

The story behind Working In Uncertainty

This website has been consulted by many experts, including practitioners from leading companies, charities, and government departments, researchers, bloggers, and the authors of new standards and guidance. My research has even influenced the wording of key requirements placed on listed companies.

How did this happen?

The story has been of a gradual transition from the rather narrow ideas and services I learned about while employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers – all about risk management and internal controls, with lots of lists – to a much more open, technically more varied and natural perspective that also encompasses ideas and techniques from science and mathematics.

I've always worked hard to learn and to push for improvements, and along the way I've helped a lot of clients (e.g. BT, BP, and the Department for Communities and Local Government) written two books and countless articles, earned two Certificates of Distinguished Service from the British Standards Institution for my work on risk standards, and helped hundreds of university students through my lecturing and supervision.

But what has moved my thinking on more than any of this has been my surveys to find out what most people think on matters to do with risk and management. These have revealed that I'm not a maverick or a revolutionary. In fact, I'm mostly speaking for the overlooked majority.


What should we teach our children about money?

Reason: A straightforward approach

Interview with Jonathan Norman of Gower

Jonathan Norman is the publisher at Gower who encouraged me to write my first book. In these very short videos he is asking me about some key themes in the book. Gower wanted to make very short videos, so our conversation was edited down to these two.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Made in England


Forthcoming book on influence

A new book is underway called ‘A handbook of Reasonable Influence’ with a massive amount of advice on influencing with integrity (currently over 200,000 words). The book is designed as a pure ebook so that all this advice can be carried conveniently on a smartphone.

Forthcoming book on self-management

I have almost finished a new book called ‘Self-management by reason’ with rational advice on managing stress, motivation, and bad habits. These are, of course, topics that have been covered countless times by other people. The approach in my book is unusually focused on rational thinking and more than usually systematic.

The end of Southampton teaching

After more than a decade as visiting lecturer and dissertation supervisor at the Southampton Business School (University of Southampton) I have decide to stop.

Control Frameworks report

Control Frameworks For Cryptocurrencies: An Initial Evaluation” was written by me and Alex Matanovic and published by Long Finance. It's another collaboration with Z/Yen.

New publication with Professor Michael Mainelli

Auditing Mutual Distributed Ledgers (aka Blockchains): A Foray Into Distributed Governance & Forensics” was written by me and Michael Mainelli and published by Long Finance. It followed a symposium organized by the great team at Z/Yen for Long Finance.

New guidance from the Centre for Risk Research

Directing risk management in organizations” is a new guide to overseeing risk management from the Centre for Risk Research at the Southampton Business School, University of Southampton. This is a fresh alternative to documents like COSO's ERM framework and the FRC's guidance on risk management.

Collaboration with Nik Silver

Nik and I have written “How does a risk expert behave?” together and it has been great to work with someone as interesting and intelligent as Nik. There's more from him on his blog:

Centre for Risk Research

The University of Southampton's Centre for Risk Research now has me as a member. The Centre does a wide range of interesting research and projects with clients. I have been a visiting lecturer there for several years and the experience has greatly increased my knowledge and abilities.

Breakthrough publication by IFAC

IFAC have published an important new paper called “From Bolt-on to Built-in: Managing Risk as an Integral Part of Managing an Organization” written by Vincent Tophoff (with some input from me and Grant Purdy). This does not feature the usual ‘risk management process’ and, instead, looks at how to tackle any decision in a better way with risk in mind. Vincent has done a fantastic job of keeping Risk Listing out of this document and the result is impressive. This is an important step in the right direction.

New presentation by Nik Silver

Nik Silver ( is a an interesting guy whose blog is worth visiting. After we had a chat recently he produced this excellent presentation. I particularly like the points later on about seeing the bigger picture and making process changes.

Tutoring service developing

The individual technical tutoring service has moved to a new level now that I have completed the first phase of a very exciting project with a team at a central government department in the UK. I had tutoring sessions with every team member and was able to help them apply ideas covered in an earlier workshop. Individual sessions work much better than group sessions.

Feedback from readers

“It makes perfect sense” wrote one reader from Australia of Working In Uncertainty. Agnes Wilson, Risk & Assurance Manager at the Manukau Institute of Technology in New Zealand, wrote saying “Great to see a website that doesn't just reiterate the same textbook phrases and definitions but takes a real world and practical view of what uncertainty means in business.” Others have written saying they would like to promote this kind of approach or saying they want to write about it. This website is still new and little-known, but this is encouraging early feedback.

Videos on YouTube

Gower, who published my first book, interviewed me recently about the book and related topics. They put together two very short videos, which you can see here and here.

Company: The Ridgeway Expertise Company Ltd, registered in England, no. 04931400.

Registered office: 29 Ridgeway, KT19 8LD, United Kingdom.

Words © 2018 Matthew Leitch