The role of a risk committee in driving strategic decision making

2 min read
Jul 11, 2023 1:47:48 PM

One of the key responsibilities that Boards face is the critical task of identifying, monitoring and navigating existing and emerging risks while at the same time uncovering opportunities for growth. The Board has to ensure that their organisation not only manages risks effectively but also capitalise on them to drive innovation and generate new revenue streams. To accomplish this, it is essential to foster a culture of strategic thinking and exploration throughout the Boardroom.

This is where the Risk Committee can add real value. This committee (or a similar committee such as Finance/Audit/Risk) should be the designated space where these crucial discussions can be initially identified. The purpose of this committee, regardless of its specific form, is to provide the Board with confidence by identifying the top three, four, or five key risks, continuously reviewing them, and executing robust risk management practices. However, its role extends beyond risk mitigation alone. The Risk Committee acts as a catalyst for stimulating the Board's ability to recognise the potential opportunities that emerge from effectively managing these risks.

The foundation of Board conversation lies in this dual perspective – risk management and opportunity exploration. It is imperative to house and nurture this dialogue, and the Risk Committee serves as the perfect platform for its development.

Distinct from risk considerations, strategy occupies its own realm within Board dynamics. By structuring the agenda around strategy and incorporating 'Strategic Implications' as a standard heading in all Board reports, we can actively cultivate an environment conducive to strategic thinking. Similarly, we can adopt a similar approach to risk discussions. The Board merely monitoring that risks are being managed is not enough. Instead, the Board should be delving deeper, exploring the potential occurrence and its impact. The Board can then explore the strategic implications that managing these potentials and impacts holds for the organisation. and leverage these risk management practices to unlock fresh opportunities and potential revenue streams.

By embracing this approach, the Board can unlock the full potential of its Risk Committee and Board discussions. The Risk Committee is not just a compliance-driven function; it serves as a critical enabler of the organisation's strategic vision. When the Board engages in conversations about risk, it must go beyond the surface level and delve into the strategic implications that underlie them, highlighting potential  untapped opportunities, and generating alternative revenue streams.

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