In today’s times of uncertainty in the business environment, one thing is certain – the best mistake is the one not committed. Of course, avoiding missteps is easier said than done. So the question for external communicators becomes, how do you help your organization prevent mistakes from even happening? The CEC has analyzed some of the best practices for monitoring and addressing corporate risk utilized by our broad membership and has uncovered a number of ways to identify potential weak spots in your organization.
Let’s address two of the most common challenges to monitoring and addressing risks: 1) listening out for potential risks and 2) understanding the implications of decisions. Keep in mind while you’re going through the cases and tools that each organization has its own unique style and identity and as such use these tools as a means to make the methods and processes you already incorporate even better.
- Stakeholder-Centric Monitoring System (Monsanto)
As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Given some of the controversial arguments made against genetically altered seeds, which is a major component of Monsanto’s business, they decided to become more entrenched in the discussion to better understand those concerns and face them head-on. Under Monsanto’s stakeholder-centric monitoring system, Monsanto decided to turn media and channel monitoring from a lagging indicator into a leading indicator. This allows for Monsanto to identify what different stakeholders care about, thus allowing them to target their communications strategy to reach their desired and specific audience. You can see the benefits of this strategy immediately – being proactive allows for Monsanto to identify their stakeholders’ concerns and incorporate the proper strategy to prevent at best or at least mitigate the effects of another controversy.
- Issue Prioritization Toolkit (BBVA)
For those of you unfamiliar, BBVA is one of Spain’s largest banks with operations around the globe. BBVA’s issue prioritization toolkit helps business partners gain a clear understanding of how the decisions that they make impact their stakeholder groups. What makes this example so interesting to me is the fact that it is very simple and logical. This makes perfect sense – the further out on the horizon you can see makes it easier for you to identify potential hurdles, which in turn allows for you to cut-them-off before they occur. Just think how much more efficient risk monitoring would be if you could spot a potential conflict between your business partners and stakeholders – and think of the costs savings associated with this proactive approach! This is definitely one reason why stakeholder impact should be considered a serious input into business decision-making with the likes of cost, production, and sales strategy.
Proactively spotting and prioritizing potential risks to the organization pays major dividends. However, being proactive may not be going far enough. Rather, you should do what you do best and communicate and collaborate with business partners on systematically embedding risk and issue management into their business decision-making, because you never know what’s around the corner.
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