Risk and the C-Suite
At Tuesday’s Risk Leadership Keynote Luncheon, Lauralee Martin, Global Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Jones Lang LaSalle offered a compelling view of risk management’s role in an increasingly complex and high-stakes business world.
“The C-suite today is very focused on the next unanticipated risk that could foil the success of their business,” Martin said. “That is why risk management has to have a much more prominent and dominant role in the C-suite.”
Martin noted that risk management is a knowledge business, and as processes are reviewed and improved, senior executives increasingly need to draw upon the unique knowledge of their risk managers.
“The C-suite does not have time or patience,” Martin said. “It wants answers. If you take your ERM processes and communicate the outputs, your C-suite will pay attention.”
Martin closed by showing how her own firm benchmarks its strategic initiatives versus performance as a way to see what areas need improvement. “Risk sneaks up on you,” she said. “Getting resources in place so the firm’s risk profile does not change while it continues to grow is at the heart of risk management. It is something that needs to be embedded in every single part of every single business.”
Martin urged the audience to make the most of the current risk environment. “If you step up and take the challenge,” she said, “then the future for business is very bright.”
It’s a Jungle Out There
When South African risk manager Gert Cruywagen wanted to talk about something different at professional gatherings, he drew on the exotic wildlife roaming the countryside of his homeland to see what risk management lessons could be learned from the lives of antelopes, lions, rhinos and wild dogs. The project quickly took on a life of its own, and Cruywagen soon found himself writing Jungle Risk Management – Risk Lessons from the African Bush. The book highlights the many techniques African animals use both to hedge risk defensively as well as how to take risks opportunistically. Both, he notes, are essential to survival.
As Cruywagen spoke on “jungle risk management” at the Keynote Breakfast, he shared plenty of interesting anecdotes, slides and reflections on his own experiences with African wildlife, and how sometimes in pursuit of this fascinating story, he had to practice a little personal risk management of his own. This presentation was very much out of the ordinary and proved that, in the world of survival, the only thing separating predator from prey can be a moment’s hesitation. It is a lesson any that risk manager can certainly appreciate.
Blending European circus artistry with Broadway theatrics, the Cirque Dreams event entertained and amazed. The show was customized exclusively for RIMS 2008 and featured 60 minutes of awe-inspiring displays of contortion, juggling, balancing, strength, prop manipulation, comedy and audience participation. There were also live vocals, incredible costuming and a variety of wild set-pieces that transformed the stage into a fantasy dreamworld.
Cirque Productions has been wowing audiences since 1993, when it was launched as the first American company to produce European, theatrical and cirque-style shows for corporate events, theaters and tours. Neil Goldberg, the founder of Cirque Productions, has exclusively contracted performers globally from the Mongolian School of Contortion, the Acrobatic Training Center of Beijing, China, the Sports Acrobatic Association of Poland, the Moscow Circus, the Russian State College for Variety Arts and many more.
Cirque Productions crafts up to 50 unique and ingenious spectacles each year for special events and meetings. It also runs a number of public shows, including Cirque Dreams Coobrila at Six Flags Dallas and Cirque Dreams Pandemonia at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. This June, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy will premiere in New York at the Broadway Theatre.