Repairing Leadership through Risk Management and Strategic Planning

Repairing Leadership through Risk Management and Strategic Planning

Sep 12th, 2013

Repairing Leadership through Risk Management and Strategic Planning

Riskope thanks Kelsey Fox for this interesting post.

In Leadership, Trust and Strategic Planning Hand in Hand? Not So Much, Pamela Stambaugh identifies the leadership skills whose absences are most detrimental to successful leadership. The neglected leadership principals include: long-run focus, critical self-reflection, active engagement, globalized thinking, and communication—however identification alone does not provide a tangible solution.

The processes involved with risk management and strategic planning have benefits that extend beyond the financial, into the executive. Each stage of the risk management and strategic planning processes—creative, development, implementation, upkeep—deeply infuses the lacking qualities previously mentioned into the minds of those engaged with the methods, ultimately transcending recognition into tangible progress through repeated practice. Risk management and strategic planning offer training opportunities to remedy the epidemic of dysfunctional leadership that plagues businesses.


The current methods for executive evaluation primarily focus on assessing short-run profits. As Stambaugh points out, the methodology breeds dysfunction that often harms organizations. Short-run focus stifles creativity and narrows the perspective of CEOs, blinding them to opportunities for innovation and growth. The ability to orient thought with a long-run focus takes a well-disciplined, creative, and analytical mind. Greater perspective is required. Risk management and strategic planning rely on the ability to think far ahead in their foundations in exploring “what if” scenarios—a skill that demands proper guidance for effective use.

DocFinity’s report on risk management planning asserts that, “…a risk management plan helps organizations to assess, prepare for, and mitigate risks at every point of the process,” ( The mention of “at every point” exemplifies the inherent use of the long-run thinking essential for risk management. Long-run thinking requires a logical procession of possibilities via critical analysis and an ability to adapt and organize. Mastering the skill of long-run thinking hones these other skills as well.

Strategic planning shifts greater focus towards long-run thinking while incorporating short-run thought as stepping stones to achieve those greater goals. Kimberly Seitz, certified business coach and consultant breaks down the SOAR method to demonstrate how strategic planning can be used to facilitate perspective-shifts of this nature; “The SOAR process of strategic planning begins with asking stakeholders a series of questions designed to help them reflect on their role, relationships, and interdependence on other systems. This helps them see the ‘big picture’ and gain a whole-system perspective,” ( Through strategic planning, perspective is shifted from limited to all encompassing. A “whole-system perspective” implements an inter-relational manner of thinking as well. For example, working to achieve the goal of increasing sales through hiring five more sale representatives can impact existing employee mentalities as well as office resources. On the surface, one would expect a direct result of increased sales following the hiring; however, long-run focus and inter-relational thinking directs attention towards how new hires would impact group morale.



Seitz’s explanation of SOAR techniques also demonstrates the potential for methods like risk management and strategic planning to implement critical reflection. The critical reflection required is practiced on a consistent basis. Every step of the plan must be analyzed in depth. Numerous factors such as the task at hand or the team assigned must be taken into consideration to evaluate the effectiveness of a plan. This is a thought process that CEOs should constantly perform. Without the ability to critically reflect, long-run thinking would become unachievable and mistakes would be routinely repeated without pause.

The most important aspect of this critical reflection is the aspect that directs focus onto the leader’s self and action. A leader that is unable to seriously evaluate her or his performance is ineffective and dangerous. Practicing risk management and strategic planning will build up these necessary skills until they become reflexive and habitual.

Risk management forces participants to consider their ability to manage scenarios realistically by asking questions such as, “Does the team at the site work well together?” and “Are there enough people to complete the project smoothly?” ( Impractical planning absent of reality will always result in failure.

Experience practicing critical self-reflection also increases one’s teaching ability. The analytical thinking that is required by critical reflection grants the ability to break down complex processes into simpler steps that are much easier to digest and perform. Improving the lives of others through leadership does “[require] looking in the mirror, not just every once in a while, but all the time,” (Stambaugh).

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Category: Crisis management, Risk analysis, Risk management

One response to “Repairing Leadership through Risk Management and Strategic Planning”

  1. Nice article. Congrats!

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