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What makes a great risk manager - survey report

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Active Risk (formerly Strategic Thought Group), author of award winning Enterprise Risk Management software Active Risk Manager (ARM) conducted a major survey of risk professionals in mid-2011. Phase one analysis, based on over 250 completed responses from around the globe, has shown some surprising results and provides important advice for organizations implementing enterprise-wide risk programmes.

As demands placed on risk professionals increase and evolve, this new research has given a valuable insight into the types of individuals organisations need in their risk team to produce the best chance of meeting corporate and project risk objectives. The research also provided an understanding to the training and development required to grow and retain risk professionals; strategies to improve the effectiveness of communications between risk managers and other departments such as sales, finance, contracts and projects and the actions necessary to reduce stresses on the risk team.

Risk professionals completed an online psychometric survey based on the well-established DISC profiling methodology and received a confidential personalized profile report in return. The cumulative results were used to identify the main personality types active in the profession. Three groups emerged. The largest percentage (60%) represented technicians with the characteristics for accuracy and logical action traditionally associated with risk managers. More surprisingly over 30% of those who responded to the survey emerged as evangelists who are optimistic and inspiring leaders. This new breed of risk manager could prove instrumental when imbedding a corporate risk culture. Finally, just under 10% of risk professionals who took part in the survey were drivers with determined personalities more usually associated with sales professionals.

Peter Robertshaw, SVP Global Marketing at Active Risk and co-author of the research report said, The fact that risk managers and risk teams are an increasingly diverse group has major implications for organizations at a time when risk is getting board attention. Businesses need to assign the right individuals to perform the different tasks inherent in corporate risk programmes and to provide training to improve their effectiveness in communicating across the business. If this is not understood organizations are less likely to succeed in embedding a risk culture and the information collected for strategic decision making could be compromised.

The phase one research results have been published in a summary report which includes a range of practical advice. Further white papers which focus on improving communications between risk managers, senior management and other job roles will be released in the coming weeks. The survey remains open and risk professionals are encouraged to take part. Phase two will focus on identifying any regional and reporting line differences with results delivered in mid-October and presented at the IRM Risk Leaders Conference in London in November.

To participate in the confidential survey and to download the phase one summary report, go to


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