15 November 2011 - Realise2 Strengths Dynamics #23
The tremors caused by the catastrophes of recent years - whether corporate, financial, economic, political or natural - have led to increasing focus on the question of risk, and what can be done to prevent or manage it. The role of Chief Risk Officer has assumed hitherto unknown prominence in many financial organisations, and for once, "What if..." scenarios have become a topic of mainstream debate.
We might expect Chief Risk Officers to have a leading strength in Prevention, which is concerned with noticing what might go wrong, and then doing something about it. But of course, how this strength combines with the other patterns in their profile will impact on how it ultimately plays out.
Combine Prevention with Strategic Awareness, and you increase the chances that you will see the trends and patterns that will impact on the changing risk profile you are managing. Prevention in the absence of Strategic Awareness, on the other hand, is a bit like trying to drive with one eye covered - you can just about manage to do it, but equally you could do so much better.
It's one thing to spot the risks, another to be able to do something about them. When Prevention combines with Courage, you have what it takes to be prepared to speak up and defend your position. You may well be surprised at how often this is necessary, since so often we try to close down the views of the person with Prevention, preferring to pretend that things will be just fine.
Pair Prevention and Counterpoint, and you find the person who is well-equipped to see things differently to the mainstream, and argue their case for why this should be so. Add Persuasion into the mix, and you have a powerful dynamic that renders them far more likely to be able to make the case for what needs to be done differently, bringing others on side as they do so.
The Action-Incubator dynamic is another interesting pairing when linked to Prevention. For Prevention with Incubator, the risk is that the person may think too long before acting - and so not be preventative at all. For Prevention with Action, the risk is that the person will act too soon, constantly zig-zagging in their responses, rather than being consistent yet prepared over time.
As ever, the balance is found between these two extremes. The "Productive Paranoia" of which Jim Collins writes in his latest excellent book, Great by Choice, exemplifies this balance. Those with Productive Paranoia pay enough attention to be absolutely prepared for what could go wrong, but then ensure they stick to the path they have set out as much as is reasonably possible.
If it happens that Prevention isn't your strong suit, and it's something you need to do better - don't worry, you can! Think back over everything that has gone wrong in the last year. Now think about what key themes you can identify that might inform your thinking about what could go wrong in the next year. Make your list, and then focus on what you can do to be ready for them. That's Prevention - and Productive Paranoia - in practice!
With best wishes,
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