Risk in work unit business planning: Start here

When do you need business plan risk assessment? When you are creating an annual ‘business plan’ for your work unit, which is part of a larger organisation.

The business plan is simply an annual plan for what your unit will deliver over the year, balanced with the resources it will consume over the year. You will need to do a risk assessment for the business plan. These Clear Lines run through how to support your business plan with risk assessment.

The Clear Lines lead to you to a business plan risk assessment gives you confidence in how the year will end, and in the plan you are creating at the beginning.

In the near future, you will discuss your ‘business plan’ with your boss. The boss will have a question, a question you may be wondering about yourself: Why should I believe in this plan? The Clear Lines take you answering that question with confidence. The boss may well ask you directly Is there a business plan risk assessment?

Confidence is the result of understanding and managing risk, through a business plan risk assessment. Understanding and managing risk delivers more than confidence for you as the unit manager. It delivers confidence that your boss can share, along with the rest of your organisation.

What you’re doing is managing, while understanding uncertainty. It’s not an optional extra role called ‘risk management’.

Each of the how-to steps in this guide are toward that confidence. The goal remains in sight at each one of those steps. None of the steps require that you believe in ‘risk management’ as a process.

This guide is designed for big and small work units. It expands for work units big enough to contain many other units. It is also intended for single work units barely big enough to have their own business plan.

The how-to guide for business plan risk assessment has five top-level articles. Three of them show how to do it, and two explain why you do it. In the Clear Lines, the why is always more important.

Risk in work unit business planning: A how-to guide

What is it?
Why might care about risk in work unit business planning

First steps

Next steps

Final steps

Find the unit outcomes that matter

How your unit might not deliver the outcomes

Taking action

Why this way?
How the Clear Lines are different

Each part has drill-down detail that will open in a separate window.

When you follow these Clear Lines on Audit and Risk, you won’t comply with risk management rituals and rules. You achieve confidence. You share the confidence. And it’s you, the manager, who will do it. You get confidence from understanding that you can never guarantee the way things will turn out. You ask how things can be different, and take action based on the answers.

That is what risk management is supposed to be all about. It is exactly what the international standards for risk say it is about. Your experience up to now may have been different.

You don’t need to know anything about ‘risk management’ before building confidence in your business plan, through business plan risk assessment. You need to know your business. And somewhere between you and your boss, you need to know what’s acceptable to the organisation.

Each of the steps in this how-to guide are about moving toward that shared confidence. If you feel any step isn’t taking you there, don’t take it. But also please take a moment to say why, in a comment on the page that didn’t work for you.

If you want to run it past your local risk expert first, this is the best link to send to that expert.

This guide does not cover Enterprise Risk Management, project risk, or thematic risk such as safety and security. Neither is it about quantitative risk work for financial services. The full meaning of ‘risk management’ is explored in another series on this site.

You may have been given some corporate guidelines on risk in your business plan. There will be some differences between this guide and the corporate guide. Either way, you can get the confidence you need from using this guide.


Next article for Managers

Risk in work unit business planning: What is it?

In business planning, ‘risk’ is just the possibility that your unit’s outcomes for the year will be different from those you promise.

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Drill-down articles

An upcoming conversation with the boss

New to this Version 3.1 Beta

Index to the topic Risk in work unit business planning

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