Understand Risk to Do the Right Things at the Right Time

22nd August 2017 :: Guest Blog

Author: Lloyd Skinner

In your busy day as an Executive, Entrepreneur or Business Owner how do you prioritise what is important allowing you to manage that most precious commodity….time?

I am the Founder & CEO of Greyfly which provides Business Planning and Project Management services and I am convinced more than ever that methods normally deployed to large corporate organisations projects benefit SME’s to the same degree or even more!

Are you wondering how to develop and grow your business? How to go about it? What to do first? When to do it?

Greyfly: Which way do I turn to develop and grow my business?

Well if that sounds familiar, I think I can help with a tried and tested technique to work out your action plan. “Programme management” is about working out what you are trying to achieve and then organising work prior to the little matter of delivering….

In programme management, you prioritise based on benefits i.e. What will increase sales? What will reduce costs? Improve efficiency? Meet legal requirements? As part of programme management another technique used to prioritise and manage work is called Risk Management.

The basic definition of a risk is that it has not yet happened. This gives you time to plan in order to prevent risks happening…. I use the example of “I may be late for work on Friday morning”….so what to do? Miss the social event of the year the night before? Get to bed early? Don’t forget the alarm clock? If you think about it, if I undertake these actions I am hoping to prevent the risk of being late for work occurring – if of course disaster prevails and you are late, it is likely to put you on the back foot for the day and you may find you are in for a difficult workday….

Ok so now consider what happens in the daily operations of your company that could be preventing growth? Sales? Operational efficiency? No resource or poor capability? Here at Greyfly we have identified a set of common risks that prevent a company growing and having validated these risks we have found them to be common…..of course, your company is unique but if we know the common risks preventing growth, in addition to your specific risks, the real trick is to prioritise based on your organisation… Consider this - where do your weaknesses currently lie? What is most likely to improve the situation? Risk management calls this the likelihood of a risk occurring and then the impact if it does occur.

So, if you did that for all your risks it enables you to prioritise them and have an order of things to attack! Oh, I also picked up a long time ago to consider the further lens of time to recognize when a risk may occur. Back to my scenario of “I may be late for work”….if I am worried about the big client meeting a week on Thursday I have time to consider my actions and don’t necessarily need to do too much now, but if it is the day before the meeting then maybe I need to take action instantly…

So, when you have identified and prioritised your risks you then need to work out how to manage them, but how? Defining a set of actions with associated timescales in conjunction with the risk owner and those impacted will help stop each risk occurring. This action plan is like a ‘mini project plan’ and once all actions are completed I am afraid you are in the lap of the gods….hopefully, you will have at least shrunk the severity of any risk if it does actually occur…

The final part of the puzzle is about the people; people who own the risks, people to help scale the risks, people to agree the priorities, people to do the actions, people to contribute to the actions and people to review and communicate progress too. Now, this should intertwine with the organisation structure and management system you have in place but ultimately larger risks should be driven by an Executive or the Board. Of course, you can also apply these techniques to individual projects and here at Greyfly we can also help you hit the ground running there too with a common set of project risks.

Greyfly: Plan / Action / Review

So, in summary, Greyfly proposes a THREE-STEP APPROACH to managing Business Risk (What are they? Which are important? How will they be managed?). We also believe that reviewing common risks will ultimately help a company DO THE RIGHT THINGS AT THE RIGHT TIME.

Would you like to know more?

If you would like to know more and create your company’s risk management plan, Greyfly is delivering a Managing Business Risks seminar in Bristol on the 18th of October. Click here if you’d like to book on the course.

About Lloyd Skinner

Lloyd completed a Masters in Information Systems at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His early career was in Project Planning for Telco and Utility companies before moving onto defining and establishing the Programme Office functions across various corporations including implementing end to end project methodologies and control processes.

Lloyd then progressed into Project and Programme Management and was responsible for full programme life cycle management of Roath Lock Studios (value c. £90m) which was held up by the BBC as its best in breed project when it was delivered on time, under budget and with increased benefits. He was also responsible for creation and facilitation of the Business Case to undertake feasibility of new BBC Wales Broadcasting House.