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John Drzik, President of Marsh Global Risk and Digital, pointedly noted, "Operational risks pose the greatest threat to complex, globally interconnected businesses and can cause massive impacts in financial and reputational losses." In an increasingly complex global business environment, the understanding and management of Operational Risk is more crucial than ever. This necessity is backed by a recent study from McKinsey & Company, identifying a 30% failure rate impacting Fortune 500 companies primarily due to Operational Risk.




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Flevy Management Insights: Operational Risk


John Drzik, President of Marsh Global Risk and Digital, pointedly noted, "Operational risks pose the greatest threat to complex, globally interconnected businesses and can cause massive impacts in financial and reputational losses." In an increasingly complex global business environment, the understanding and management of Operational Risk is more crucial than ever. This necessity is backed by a recent study from McKinsey & Company, identifying a 30% failure rate impacting Fortune 500 companies primarily due to Operational Risk.

Operational Risk, as defined by Goldman Sachs, is the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems, or from external events. This definition includes legal risk but excludes reputational and strategic risks. Operational Risk Management encompasses multiple disciplines including Business Continuity Planning, Compliance, Information Security, and Process Excellence, among others.

Best Practices for Managing Operational Risk

Proactive management of Operational Risk presents an opportunity to gain competitive advantage. Through implementing best practices, senior executives can minimize losses, improve company reputation, and foster a culture of Risk Management:

  1. Establishing a risk culture: It is imperative for organizations to develop and foster a culture supportive of Operational Risk Management. This includes clear communication from executive leadership on the importance of risk mitigation. A recent Forrester research supports this stance, citing a strong risk culture as critical in minimizing Operational Risk.
  2. Regular risk assessment: Regular risk assessment is key to identifying and understanding the potential sources of Operational Risk. Conducting risk assessments at a granular level allows for an in-depth understanding of potential hazards and their impacts.
  3. Continuous monitoring: Continuous monitoring of risk policies and controls is essential for effective Operational Risk Management. According to a report by Deloitte, companies adopting real-time monitoring practices have reported a 20% increase in risk mitigation over those that did not.
  4. Investing in risk management tools: Technology-based risk management tools can significantly improve risk detection, monitoring and mitigation. Increasingly, companies are leveraging AI and Machine Learning technologies to minimize Operational Risk, as validated by a recent PwC report.

The Importance of Operational Risk in Strategic Management

The BCG reports that effective Operational Risk Management significantly contributes to Strategic Planning – serving as a key lever for achieving Operational Excellence. Additionally, incorporating Operational Risk considerations into strategic decisions can result in improved productivity and financial performance. For example, by accounting for potential supply chain disruptions, executives can diversify their supplier pool, significantly reducing potential losses.

Operational Risk in the Digital Age

As organizations take the leap towards Digital Transformation, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to Operational Risks stemmed from cyber threats. In fact, Accenture reports that the average cost of cybercrime for a company has increased to $13 million annually. Therefore, it is necessary for companies to consider cybersecurity as an integral part of their Operational Risk Management strategies.

Operational Risk and Performance Management

Operational Risk Management presents another advantage - a strengthened Performance Management system. A solid risk matrix built into a company's Performance Management process allows for better goal-setting, rewarding risk-aware decisions, and fostering a proactive outlook towards risk mitigation. Bain & Company showcases a case study on a Fortune 500 Multi-National Corporation where the integration of Operational Risk Management into Performance Management structures led to a 15% increase in Earnings Per Share.

With businesses growing more interconnected and digitalized, understanding and managing Operational Risks has become crucial. By harnessing best practices, organizations can turn Operational Risk Management from a compliance task into a value-adding activity. As businesses navigate the currents of constant change and increasing complexity, smart Operational Risk Management can prove to be a metaphorical life raft, both protecting and advancing businesses in unforeseen ways.

For effective implementation, take a look at these Operational Risk best practices:


Explore related management topics: Digital Transformation Operational Excellence Business Continuity Planning Strategic Planning Performance Management Risk Management Competitive Advantage Supply Chain Machine Learning Best Practices Workplace Safety Hazards




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