Risk management is like insurance: No one likes to think about it, but everyone wishes they had when disaster strikes. In this short but substantive book, Tom O’Connor — a consultant whose clients include Electronic Data Systems, Coopers & Lybrand, Computer Sciences Corporation, and KPMG ExIS— presents a simple but complete method for developing a risk management plan adaptable to any small to medium size business.
O’Connor’s Protect-Biz methodology is a straightforward process. First, he advises readers to list their business goals, consider potential roadblocks and setbacks, and create risk avoidance strategies and contingency plans. Second, he says to establish “Trip Wire Monitors” that are indications of a potential problem and assign roles to those who have the authority to implement a mitigation strategy. For this, he uses the example of a supplier cost increase as a risk, with a “Trip Wire” of a 3% or greater price increase in a six-month period. He designates the purchasing manager as the person assigned to monitor and mitigate the risk if necessary.
O’Connor does a fine job of walking readers through the considerations involved in each step, even directing them to put down the book and do each step before preceding to the next. The book’s only weakness comes in the first two chapters. O‘Connor starts off strong, with an excellent analogy of business as “a walk through a tough neighborhood.” He also astutely applies the “Capability Maturity Model” (a measure of an organization’s implementation of a process) to risk management. However, he spends too much time in this slim volume describing the benefits of risk management, instead of getting right to the methodology, where the benefits are evident.
With the subtle touch of a seasoned editor, IF…,THEN… has the potential to be a definitive primer on risk management. As is, it is recommended reading for any manager or entrepreneur too busy working toward goals to consider the impendences to reaching them.
Also available as an ebook.