WATCH OUT! (Who is Looking?) – Risk and Governance

Part 3 of the mini-blog series on Governance and its effect on the organisation…

When we know about something we can do something about it. This rather obvious sentence points the spotlight squarely on the fact that there are certain things that we don’t know we don’t know about!

There are 4 types of information out there;

  1. What we know we know
  2. What we know we don’t know
  3. What we don’t know we know; and
  4. What we don’t know we don’t know

The area of highest risk is that 4th category – what we don’t know we don’t know. This is obviously a risk individually but it is also a risk organisationally. We can do something about the things we know and can get others to help us identify the things we don’t know that we know – but we can do very little about the things that we don’t know that we know.

So how do we overcome the blindness inherent in category 4?

Part of the answer lies in how much an organisation “knows” about itself – the pool of information created and shared by everyone in the organisation. If governance determines culture (they know, you know, we know) and culture shapes behaviour (Just do(ing) it!) then what we do and what we say grows, or prevents from growing, the pool of organisational knowledge. If people in our organisation cannot raise issues that concern them – things they believe are risks – then the organisational knowledge pool cannot increase. It is the governance framework of an organisation – defined as far broader than a set of structures and processes, but as both the “tangible” (formal) structures and the “intangible” (informal) structures – determines the culture and behaviour of the people in the organisation, then it is the governance structure that needs to adapt to allow for a different culture and better behaviour thereby reducing the risks the organisation faces.

We want to address this together with organisations and are presenting a half-day Seminar entitled 2-Steps away from Danger aimed at senior executives and managers addressing the themes of Safe Work Practice and Good Governance.

Also see:

Part 1: They know, you know, we know – Culture and Governance

Part 2: Just do(ing) it – Behaviour and Governance


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