Working In Uncertainty
Improve an organization
If you want to improve risk/uncertainty management in an organization there are at least three main approaches to consider:
The material below focuses on the second approach, that of (re)designing the ways people work so that they manage risk/uncertainty better. There is also some material on the first approach, though most of this is on another page of this website that focuses on skills for key situations, especially at work.
There are many ways to improve ways of working but the starting point is to realise that uncertainty is only one factor driving your choices of working method.
Running improvement projects
Sorting out the documentation
Ideas for improvements
Guidelines for managing uncertainty/risk:
Some inspiring case studies:
A huge source of technical ideas:
Getting beyond Risk Listing
Managing risks is not the same thing as making a list of risks and then trying to do something about them. (One of my surveys confirms almost everyone agrees on this point, so probably you do too.) Until the early 1990s the idea of listing risks was virtually unheard of, while a huge amount of work had gone into developing better ways to make decisions, make plans, and do design under uncertainty. The Risk Listing idea has been promoted strongly by some powerful groups and now dominates thinking about risk in some specific areas, notably: corporate regulation, audit, and project management.
This is a pity because you probably would prefer to be doing something else (almost everyone would according to my surveys). Pushing this unpopular bureaucracy has blighted the working lives of countless thousands of auditors, corporate risk managers, and project risk managers, to say nothing of the vast army of other managers pushed to go through this tedious procedure. Yes, it's better than nothing, sometimes. But that's not enough is it. Almost nobody who does Risk Listing chose that method freely and almost all who do it would opt out if they were given a choice.
The problem of Risk Listing:
Most of these surveys explore the preferences people have for risk management and collectively their results destroy the myths that Risk Listing is popular and hard to move on from.
Responses to official consultations:
I have been trying hard for several years to turn back the tide of Risk Listing but it's not easy. What keeps me going is the certain knowledge that most people would prefer to manage risk in other ways and would be more successful doing so.
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Words © 2018 Matthew Leitch