Risk Management – Business and Projects

In today’s world RISK can come from many directions.  In controlling risk, management should understand the nature of the structure of its business and the keys to successful execution.  Business and projects are similar and comprise of four primary components: strategy, people, processes, and customers.  Controlling these areas of your business or project can result in significant success.

STRATEGY – Whenever a project or business starts its formation, understanding the strategy and how to achieve the objectives is key.  Preparing the strategy is fundamental.  Components of your strategy include the vision, mission and objectives, evaluating the internal and external factors that affect the operation, understanding the driving issues and variables will lead to success, and then mapping out the goals to which they operation will strive to achieve.

PEOPLE – The people are the engine of your execution.  It is recommended that you prepare an organizational execution plan which defines the roles and responsibilities, processes and approval procedures for execution. It should also include the schedule budget and approved process for continued monitoring of progress. Be sure to communicate your execution plan and secure feedback and commitment.

PROCESSES – Once you have a strategy and team organized it is important next to have processes.  These processes will outline the requirements of the team in both collecting, organizing, completing and presenting the end results to the customer.  It is important to assure that the team has a clear understanding of these processes and how they fit the strategy, objectives, structure, and client wants and needs.

CUSTOMERS – Without customers you do not have business.  We need to understand their wants and needs as well as their processes that they must follow in achieving their objectives.  Assuring that you have alignment with a customer’s needs, your strategy, your organization and your processes will help you advance to a successful conclusion or continuation of your project or business.

These are the four top areas of risk management and are fundamental to achieving success.  Over the next few weeks we will be adding more commentaries related to these subsets of risk management.

Managing Through Goal Setting

Management by Goal Setting

Unless you know what you want to achieve, there’s no way to measure how close you are to achieving that objective. Goals give you a standard against which to measure your progress.

The goals you set for accomplishing the company’s/department’s mission must be in line with the vision and what your company wants you to do. If what you plan to achieve for your job, department, or team isn’t coordinated with the goals of your organization, you’ll waste your time and energy.

Goals are the foundation of motivational programs. By reaching toward your goals, you become motivated, and by knowing the goals of your team members and helping them reach those goals, you help to motivate them. The process of setting goals takes time, energy, and effort.

Goals aren’t something you scribble on a napkin during a coffee break-you must plan what you truly want to accomplish, establish timetables, determine who will do each action step, brainstorm all the possible obstacles, create a solution for the obstacles, review all of the rewards and consequences of achieving or not achieving the goal, and implement the goal.

Criteria for setting goals.

To ensure that goals can be accomplished, follow these guidelines for setting your goals. Your goals must be


S – Specific

M- Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Realistically High

T – Target Date or Time Bound

Example: Your goal is to save money. This is a hazy goal. You could put one dollar in a jar and that hazy goal would have been accomplished. It does not conform to the above criteria.

Instead your goal could be – Save $100 per month for the next 12 months starting (today’s date) to be complete by(target date). This goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistically high, and has a target date.

Happy Goal Setting!

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

Adapted from Executive Leadership, RAC, SA, all rights reserved.

Time Out For Thinking

If you find you’re too busy to do the strategic planning your company needs, you might want to listen to Neal Patterson, chairman and CEO of Kansas City, MO – based Cerner Corp. It was when Cerner was doubling revenues about every 45 weeks that Patterson said, “Whoa, I need to preserve some time to think.” He now schedules a weekly two-hour session to “talk to himself.” He prefers to do it early in the morning – “when my mind is uncluttered” – and away from the office, so he won’t be interrupted. “This isn’t fill. I work between appointments,” Patterson says, “yet that’s how too many executives treat it. That can get a company in trouble.”

Leadership – The Challenge

People everywhere continue to look for the secret to becoming a better leader. Thousands of books and articles have been written on the art of leadership all claiming to have the “answers.” The fact is there is no one answer, no “secret.” However, some guiding principles and skills are fundamental to successful leaders everywhere. These skills, principles, and traits can be developed. Rate yourself in each area below, identify areas of weaknesses, and then create some goals and action steps to help you develop the successful leadership traits.

Leaders are grounded. They know who they are and where they are going. They set the direction and pace for the organization/department and lead by example. An effective leader helps to create an organization where everyone feels free to be open, innovative, and alive to possibilities.

Leaders provide the vision, values, and strategies to transform their organizations to higher levels of sustained success. Leaders take the company to where it has not been. Leaders are visionaries, coaches, mentors, teachers, students, and more. They are constantly seeking, learning, improving, and stretching their capabilities. They set the example, establish the environment, and implement the processes for everyone in the organization to adhere to the same standards.

Successful leaders have personal and organizational values, which govern their behavior. They lead by values. Balancing the needs of the individuals with the needs of the company by aligning the vision, values, and resources of all concerned. Organizational values are an integral part of your Strategic Plan and the cornerstone for the actions and decisions of everyone in the organization. Those values are driven throughout the organization by your behavior and your example. As a leader, if you engage in behavior which conflicts with your values, you will sacrifice your credibility. The end does not justify the means.

Empowering Employees Empowers Change

The Top 10 Ways To
Empower Your


The word empower is often over-used. Many employers talk about empowering their employees but often employees feel disempowered. Here’s a list of the top 10 things you can do that will really empower your employees, according to employees, not employers!

1.   Allow employees to actively participate in team and company goals. Look for every opportunity to include employees at every level of the organization, in being active participants. Employees often report getting one-way directives instead.

2.   Allow employees to suggest better ways of getting their jobs done. Ask for employee suggestions for other ways of getting the task or project accomplished. Listen and be willing to really hear the employees’ comments. Employees often report that they have no input and are told exactly how to perform their jobs, leaving no creativity.

3.   Provide positive reinforcement. Always listen and acknowledge your employees. Employees often report that their decisions and actions are second-guessed and that most, if not all, feedback given is negative.

4.   Clearly delegate responsibility and give the employees authority along with the responsibility. Do you give inconsistent messages? Do you ask the employee to handle a problem or project and then give them negative feedback or give them an assignment and then say, “never-mind?” Employees often report that they are given tasks and then told they did it wrong.

5.   Be clear in your communication. When you express goals or explain projects, be sure the employees really understand what you are asking for. Employees often report that the goals are unclear and that they are not sure what they are being asked to do.

6.   Show you have trust in your employees. Allow them to make mistakes as a form of learning. Show that it is really OK to make mistakes. Let them know you really support their decisions. Employees often report that someone is always looking over their shoulder to make sure they do things right.

7.   Listen. Listen. Listen. Do you do most of the talking? Employees often report that conversations are one way, comprised mostly of their ideas being criticized. They don’t feel they are heard.

8.   Be interested in the employees’ career development. Meet with employees and discover their goals and their wants. Employees often report that their goals are not viewed as important in the organization.

9.   Let the employees help you achieve success. Are you doing it all yourself? Employees often report that their managers do all the tasks and that they have no way to make contributions outside their job descriptions. Look for opportunities to delegate and enhance the employees’ career development at the same time.

10. Be a coach. The best way to empower employees is not to manage them. Coach them to success. This is a process of developing their skills and providing them specific feedback to meet high standards. Employees often report feeling like children rather than being on the same team with their bosses. Be their coach and lead the team to success!

Submitted by Terri Levine, Professional and Personal Coach, who can be reached at terri@comprehensivecoaching.com, or visited on the web at http://www.comprehensivecoaching.com Copyright 1997, 98, 99, by Coach U, all rights reserved.


Welcome to the SOS Roundtable. Our objective is to provide a forum for business leaders to connect through a Roundtable exchange and thereby improve personal and pofessional performance.  We will be making recommendations for performance enhancements ranging from strategies, to people and leadership improvement to processes and tools that with be of value in your personal and business growth.

Feel free give us your contributions and feedback.  Heres to your SUCCESSES!