Basics of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM): How to Get Started

risk management framework

Organizations exist to create value for their stakeholders. By setting objectives, developing strategies, following through and continuously improving processes, value is created.

That’s the ideal situation, at least. In reality, it’s not always as simple as making a plan and sticking to it. There’s always the risk that certain events could affect the success of these plans.

It’s the job of management to make adequate preparations to ensure that systems are in place to continue hitting objectives, even when the beast of unforeseen circumstance rears its head.

Enterprise risk management (ERM) is a direct solution to these kinds of uncertainties, allowing management to oversee the continual creation of value on a complete, integrated, organization-wide level.

By utilizing an effective ERM system, you can rest assured that the organization will see a consistently high success rate in terms of hitting objectives and KPIs.

Stakeholders of all kinds, from customers, suppliers, government and regulatory bodies are all increasingly interested in how businesses are implementing ERM. A well-implemented ERM system could set the foundation for many high-quality, long-term client relationships.

Equally, not having a proper system for enterprise risk management could mean your business is perceived as less competent, and could even result in loss of clients and damage to brand image.

In this post, I’ll discuss:

  • Introduction to and basics of enterprise risk management
  • Benefits of a well-implemented ERM system
  • Core ideas of ERM
  • Examples of different ERM approaches
  • The enterprise risk management process
  • Implementing ERM
  • Automating ERM

To begin with, I’ll start by breaking down the full scope of an ERM system, and some basic definitions.

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Prioritization Matrix 101: What, How & Why? (Free Template)

priority matrix

As humans, we tend to focus more on the things we need to do than the things we’ve already done. This so-called “Zeigarnik effect”, named after Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, means our minds are often swimming with all of the tasks, responsibilities, and mental notes that we think we should be focusing on.

All of these tasks and projects that need doing, this mental to-do list, without a clear hierarchy of importance can make it difficult for us to stay focused and actually get things done.

One way to combat all of this Zeigarnik noise is to note down everything. Make an actual to-do list. Studies have been done, and it has been shown that the very act of noting down tasks can quite simply “make you more effective”.

But, even with a to-do list, before you actually get anything done it’s necessary to have a clear idea of your priorities.

Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, figuring out what to prioritize can be hard. It’s a complicated process that involves weighing up cost against value, effort against time, and for a lot of businesses, will likely involve many different stakeholders.

The solution is to work out a process for determining what to prioritize.

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