Does Zero Risk Exist

One time we were hired by a client to facilitate a risk assessment for them. We brought everybody together from all the different departments and we talked through the risk that they faced. At the end of the engagement, we prepared a very nice risk assessment report that documented the levels of risk. We ranked them from low to moderate to high and we presented the report to the CEO of this company. She came back to us, and she said, “How can we get rid of these risks so that we can produce a report that says that we have no risks? And why I asked her why she wanted a report that says you have no risks, she said, “I can’t give this report to my customers- I can’t show them that we actually have all of these risks.” That’s something that you have to step back and think about. If you are working with a client or a regulator or a vendor, who expects you to have no risks, then they just don’t understand what risk is all about. We all have risks. It is present every day. We face it every day when we get up in the morning. As we go throughout our day. It’s all around us. And the question is, “How do we deal with those things? What risks do we take? What do we accept? And what kinds of things do we put into place in order to minimize the risk that we’re facing. And so, to be honest with our stakeholders about the risks that we face is just to be real about what’s present and to be able to communicate how we are handling those things. I’d rather work with somebody who understood that they’re facing risks and could tell me what they’re doing about it, rather than someone who is just giving me some pie in the sky answer that they don’t have any serious risks. I see a lot of companies take that attitude sometimes in trying to minimize what’s happening, rather than facing the risk and starting to communicate about how you’re dealing with it. So, let’s have a healthy attitude about risk and understand that it is present, and we can document those things and talk openly about it. And if our stakeholders don’t appreciate that, it’s time to educate ourselves on what risk is and how it is that we’re actually dealing with it in our business relationships.  

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