The talk at this year’s RIMS conference isn’t happening so much on the trade floor as it is in the groups and forums. An article I wrote for Risk Management magazine asks the question: Is risk management obsolete?

The idea was to present that elephant in the room, the one I’ve heard risk managers over the years murmur about in private conversations. Is risk management going the way of the dinosaur? If so, why? And what can be done about it?

Clearly, there is always going to be risk, therefore there will always be a need for professionals who are capable of mitigating those risks to a more manageable level. However, as I researched this story, I realized that risk isn’t getting its due as often as it should. Risk managers are making decisions, true, but those decisions in many cases hinge on the approval of someone up the food chain. It’s like trying to paint a fence without a brush: without the authority to do so, how can risk managers truly own the risk mitigation process?

What shocked me was the study that revealed how some at the top level of the organization are viewing the risk management function. As the article points out, a goodly portion of management are reconsidering the position. That speaks not to the talents of those performing the job, but to the lack of respect and interaction from decision makers.

The profession cannot ignore that and survive, in my opinion. That’s why dialogues like the one started by the article are so critical, I believe. Every profession has its weak spots. Ignoring them doesn’t make them disappear, but rather ushers in the exacerbation that spreads like a cancer. In a field that is so focused on risk, it would be too ironic to watch this very real risk being given little attention.

What’s your take? What are you seeing?

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