The biggest source of risk for companies isn't their operations, reporting or compliance, but their assumptions--about the business environment, the industry structure and its market segments. So say Rick Funston and Steve Wagner, present and past veterans, respectively, of Deloitte & Touche, who have drawn on years of advising corporate boards and top executives to write Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty: Creating the Risk Intelligent Enterprise.
"Risk intelligence is about balancing the perspective of risk between value protection and value creation, acknowledging that capital markets depend on intelligent risk-taking for reward," says Wagner. What tends to kill companies is the obsolescence of their business models, not operations, compliance or reporting risk, the focus of conventional risk management, says Funston. Any one of those areas can inflict damage, as evidenced by Toyota's recent recalls. But consider the encyclopedia publishers whacked by Google and the video rental companies eviscerated by Netflix. Companies need to challenge their assumptions and look for changes in their business models while overcoming their tendency toward denial. Then they can decide whether to be defensive or offensive. But speed of response is the essence of success, the authors say. The book comes out April 6.
Taking a ground-level view, Treasury & Risk's cover story by senior contributing editor Russ Banham examines new risks fueled by the aftermath of the crisis. Executive editor Susan Kelly looks at the emerging risks of social networking. On the regulatory front, senior contributing editor Dick Gamble reveals how finance execs banded together to push back on various OTC derivatives proposals now before Congress, while contributor Anne Field evaluates the potential impact of recent SEC guidelines for disclosing climate-change risks. A big forest, a lot of trees.