February 2018
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Eat Your Vegetables

“Risk management is too negative. We’re focused on growing our business.”  – a startup CEO

A certain Captain Smith once entertained the same certainty about large pieces of ice at sea and ignored the potential effect. He was focused on getting to New York, but that focus didn’t help him much when he ran into trouble.

Preparation is [...]

“The Prospect of Hanging Concentrates the Mind…” – Samuel Johnson

Avon Barksdale on Managing Risk, Part Two

Avon Barksdale, the drug kingpin from HBO’s “The Wire“, was a man of many precautions, because his life and his freedom depended on them. Managing his risks effectively kept him free and alive – and enabled him to build an empire that made him fabulously wealthy.

Do not ignore failure

Most of us can limit [...]

“I Don’t Have Time to Be Polite!”

Treat people poorly and they usually under-perform.
I had an ambitious boss once whose goal was to fix everything. Everything we did was going to be perfect. It had to be perfect. There was no other acceptable option. Anything less would be unprofessional. Within moments of meeting him, you just knew how difficult he was going to [...]

The Interconnected-ness of Risk

How do you manage risks across functions and boundaries?

Risk management is a complicated business and many things make it harder. It is one thing, for example, to identify individual risks and another detect their relation to and effect upon other risks. The more variables there are, the harder it gets.

Well-managed risks that have been analysed correctly [...]

Key Staff – Who Are They and What Are They Worth?

Analyzing the risk of losing key staff can yield surprising results. Sometimes the perception that an employee is essential is simply that – a perception. Specialty staff members are frequent examples, often because their tasks and responsibilities have not been clearly defined.

The opposite can also be the case, and far too often, there is no answer [...]

Geoff Colvin on the hidden costs of cutting staff

Geoff Colvin has written an excellent article on the hidden costs of cutting staff.


A lot of experts are advising firms to cut staff in the downturn. Cut early and cut deep, the advice goes, to avoid have to cut more later, especially in repeated rounds of cutbacks. If it applies to your organization, then the advice [...]