Implementing a Risk Management Framework

Well hello, and welcome to this session where I’m going to talk about implementing a risk management framework. Now, you’re organisation may not have a risk management framework at all, or it might have one that needs significant work. The thing that you need to understand about the implementation of a risk management framework is that it is exactly the same as implementing any other type of change.

What makes implementation of a risk management framework a little bit more, I guess, or gives people a little bit more unease, is the fact that if you have a true risk management framework, you have an accountability structure in there that may not be evident within the organisation. And so, people might become very, very uneasy about the fact that this accountability structure is coming on board. But, if we plan our implementation like we would any other change project, then we can have success. Because obviously there is going to barriers or there’s going to be resistance to change, so what do the things -what are the things we do normally in a change program.

Well, we plan it; we understand who our stakeholder community is; I’ve talked before in another blog about ensuring we understand not only the stakeholders but their expectations and look at prioritising those stakeholders. So our communication program throughout that change, needs to be top of – top of the pops, I guess is the way of putting it. It needs to be paramount in the development of our change program. We need to make sure, therefore, that we have everybody on side.

The next thing we need to do is to give all of our personnel the skills necessary to be able to implement their part of the risk management framework. You’re going to give roles and responsibilities so not only do you need to give them the skills but you also need to give them the authority to be able to undertake those roles and responsibilities. Otherwise – as I’ve said in a previous blog – the risk management framework may fail.

Once we have got our communication in place and we’ve got our skills, then we can start to implement our risk management framework. Now, one thing that you need to understand is that a risk management culture is not built overnight. So do not try and implement the framework in one hit. You might want to start with one small part of the organisation and get them up and running and build the excitement around those, or that particular part of the organisation, so that it rubs off on others. You might want to have a trial implementation, all of those strategies will allow you to potentially move forward and be more effective.

One thing that I’ve seen used quite effectively is to look for the quick wins. What are those things around risks or hazards in the safety world and so forth that are concerning your staff. And if you understand what they are and actually deal with them very, very quickly, it sets a momentum for the risk management program and the risk management framework. And straight away people are, “wow that affected me in a positive way”, and as a result of that it brings them on board. What you want to do with a risk management framework, because of how important it is to your organisation, is you want everyone on side. I’ve talked about the leadership and how important senior management support and mandate and commitment is; that is absolutely paramount as well.

So, I guess to recap, make sure that you have that senior management support, buy in, and mandate and commitment. Plan effectively but understand that it’s not going to happen overnight and you may have to build slowly. Make sure you identify the stakeholders in this particular change program, make sure you understand their expectations and prioritise them. And finally, train, train, train. Make sure that the people with the roles and responsibilities in the organisation have the skillsets necessary to do that prior to the main rollout of the implementation. If you do that, and do it in that particular order, then you will probably see a greater level of success for the framework.

Think about those quick wins, if you can actually prove to the organisation and the people in the organisation it’s going to make their life better, then you will start to see a change in attitudes as well. But be very careful about that resistance to change particularly around the accountability structure. That’s all I’ve got for this session, as always, let’s be careful out there.

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