In our latest issue, we take a look at managing and mitigating reputation risk, spy on the looming recession rumours, as well as the latest views from #changingrisk.
It has been two years since I took the reins of the editorship for StrategicRISK in Asia Pacific. As I wrote my first leader in late 2017, perched atop a tea chest filled with books and DVDs, my walls covered from top to bottom with to-do lists and enough paperwork to overwhelm even the most seasoned auditor, the aim was to get my two-legged and four-legged family and a decade’s worth of possessions from London to Sydney, and make the Australia city our forever home.
I had ‘The Big Move’ perfectly planned and under control. What could possibly go wrong?
As I write this leader, I am preparing to do this whole move in reverse. Yes, you read that correctly: just two years later, I am once again preparing to move my entire two-legged and four-legged family (the original three dogs, plus an extra large rescue dog with a dubious penchant for eating socks and rugs, and an additional two cats) now from Sydney back to London. You might be wondering if I have genuinely lost my mind.
In truth, it was those darned plans going astray. Despite holding more than a decade of international commodities trading experience, my husband was unable to find work in his industry in Sydney. You see, we planned every aspect of my job, my son’s schooling, two home rentals (London and Sydney), banking, all those pets, you name it – I planned and executed everything to perfection.
Unfortunately, what I could not plan for, and what was entirely beyond my control, was the lack of commodities trading in Sydney. The irony that Australia is known globally for its mining and commodities but has virtually no local commodities trading is not lost on me.
He is now happily employed with an Australian bank in a London-based risk management role (I know, more irony) and we are once again packing up and moving on.
What has been the most curious part of all of this is the reactions when telling people we are again moving. We have been met with repeated cries: “But that wasn’t the plan!” and “Why did you move all the way there if you are just going to move back?”
Well that, my readers, is something we can all learn from, but is something you likely already understand well. You can make all the plans in the world. You can risk register, heat map, evaluate, mitigate, manage, Bow-Tie analyse, Monte Carlo scenario yourselves until your fingers bleed, but that may not stop fate intervening in the most inconvenient way possible, throwing all your predictions and plans to the wind.
What will define you as a risk manager is how you handle the situation when things don’t go to plan. Moreover, what will mark you as an excellent risk manager is your ability to take repeated changes of plans and still stay calm.
Ralph Ellison wrote in his modern parable novel The Invisible Man: “Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.” When control is lost to fate, fortune hands you an opportunity to make a new plan.
Whether that plan is what you had in mind is uncertain but, for me, embracing life in the UK once more will give me a chance to make new plans. Maybe even ones that stick this time.
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