Travelling through Heathrow’s brand new Terminal 2 reminded me of a client who said that the second time his warehouse burned down, they managed the disaster very well. Except of course that BAA have not had a second disaster with the new terminal. They learned their lessons at T5 and had I not been flying with Avianca or with one or two other airlines with a comparatively small presence in London, I would not have been going through T2. The experience was a positive pleasure, but I suspect the pleasure of crowd-free travel will dissipate as the number of flights departing from the terminal ramps up.
Those in the know will have guessed from the fact that I was travelling with Avianca that I was en route for Colombia. A little daunted by the prospect of being met by a bodyguard (a first for me on all my travels) and then driven by a security company driver to the hotel, I learned some valuable life lessons: don’t leave your laptop on the plane being one (although I was happily reunited with it before midday on the day of arrival). But the real lesson has been a confirmation of a theory that has been bubbling up in my mind since I was in Dubai earlier in the year. I sense a much greater interest in risk management in countries where it may not have had the same exposure through dry and dusty corporate governance codes as in the rather governance-weary and cynical cities of London and New York.
In both Dubai and Colombia I am sensing a real interest in how risk management can help businesses. Management teams have taken the more operational style of risk management in their stride and these programmes are well and truly embedded in operations, production, health & safety. But wherever I went in Dubai, and also now at my client in Colombia, the interest is in how to make their businesses sustainable. Without any sense of irony I heard CSR being held out as a strength and indeed a competitive advantage. I cannot imagine hearing that said in the UK, and the more is the pity. But these organisations are not talking about fluffy pink bunny sustainability: they are talking about a sustainable business as being one that will exist into the future. And of course, risk management is at the heart of this because it is all about future-proofing the organisation.
I find this intensely positive. Risk is being seen as something that needs to be woven throughout the fabric of the organisation, from strategy to operations, from HSE to community relations. Not being prepared to rest on their laurels, these already successful businesses are seeking competitive advantage from something that jaundiced businesses in the UK and the US are yawning at. The jaundiced businesses had better watch out!
Richard Anderson is the principal consultant at AndersonRisk. He can be contacted through their website: www.AndersonRisk.com/contact/ Richard consults on risk management with organisations worldwide, speaks at numerous industry events globally, and has served as the President of the Institute of Risk Management for nearly three years.