Imagining Risks, Benchmarks, and Innovations

By Rufran C Frago posted 12-18-2017 12:54 AM


I can almost imagine risk as a hollow trapezoidal solid floating in space while hundreds in attendance (with varying coordinates in space) observe and try to describe it. Each spectator has a different perspective right from the get-go. Unless each one manages to see the other’s perspective, an agreement becomes impossible.

For risk-based management to work properly in an organization, management has to be willing to listen. Messengers who bring unwanted but factual news must be appreciated, not placed on a chopping block.

The question often thrown on the table is to whom should management listen? How can management be sure they are getting the right information? There is no certain answer to this, but a discerning manager can listen to everyone on duty and identify the real substance. When everyone sings in chorus and one does not, it does not mean he is wrong.

What do you think should be the approach of an open-minded management? Should we be worried that a management receptive to new and different ideas or opinions will prevent a risk framework from being effective? We always hear about streamlining a management process as we begin a new project because we all want to increase efficiency and productivity.

Streamlining and standardizing processes are there to reduce many of the problematic risks that plagued management years ago. They bring repeat-ability, uniformity, and good quality to the table. However, when one well-meaning risk manager gives some serious thought to it, he might see innovation and creativity as inapplicable to such a system.

Innovative ideas are initiatives that tend to run contrary to streamlining and standardizing approaches, processes, and methodologies. Innovation and creativity promote change. Streamlining and standardization underline fixed benchmarks. Each one can undermine the other if the proponents are not careful. The two objectives run in opposite directions.

It is a good reminder to all of us that management does not always have a sharp dividing line between stages and processes, despite a given structure and an implementation framework.

What we see many times are blurred boundaries that can easily become grey areas.

Take as an example the blurring of boundaries between public service and private interest in the health profession (Hudson, 2012), between sectors in a national context (LSE/NCVO/ESRC, 2009), in professional identities (Whitchurch, 2009), and in organizational hierarchies (Marchington, M. et al, 2006).

Blurred boundaries should be one of the most summoned risk-based considerations during the assessment process. Blurred boundaries are risk and contentious spots. It is a region where even an intelligent person falls prey to subjective perception. It is where we tend to make assumptions.


Frago, R. (2015).Risk-based Management in the World of Threats and Opportunities: A Project Controls Perspective.Section 2.5.ISBN 978-0-9947608-0-7.Canada

Rufran C. Frago - Author (121717)

Related sites:

  1. Your World, Our Risk Universe: Wordpress
  2. LinkedIn Professional Website

Other books authored by Rufran Frago

  1. Plan to Schedule, Schedule to Plan.ISBN 978-0-9947608-2-1.Canada
  2. How to Create a Good Quality P50 Risk-based Baseline Schedule.ISBN 978-0-9947608-1-4.Canada