Risk Management vs. Risk Averse

Cathy Connally Blog, Corporate Governance, Financial Compliance

Risk Averse

Risk Management

To see KPMG’s comments on risk management for Internal Auditors, click here.

I commend KPMG for putting their thoughts into this piece. But slavish devotion to risk reduction is not realistic to doing business. And in fact, when risk reduction is emphasized too much, we might as well hang it up and go home.

As a person who has been in business in North America, Europe and Africa, risk is a reality. I totally endorse the idea that fraud risks should be reduced where possible, but the obsession with risk will sink a business faster than taking a risk.

The best things I have ever done in business have been taking risks. Some have worked out and some have not. But my business experience is the richer for both.

I learned early in my career from a very rich client in the USA: he once told me after his accountant had deemed that certain direction on a project was ill-advised, ” If I had listened to my accountant and my lawyer too much in my business, I would be bankrupt today instead of successful.”

Therefore, take the right risks but do not be so afraid to take risks that you are paralyzed and never accomplish your potential. Employees tend not to follow those who are so careful and risk averse. People follow those who are inspired and go where the future may be unpredictable. How else would some of our great companies today every have been established?

What companies or ideas were never pursued because someone was too afraid of risk?