Risk Management or Future Proofing – What’s the difference?

The future is most uncertain yet I need to prepare my organization and myself for that unknown future.
So where do I put my priority?
Risk Management or Future Proofing?

Whilst the two concept are very similar they highlight one of two attitudes:

Risk Management = I want to limit my risks

Future Proofing = I want to prepare for the future

Whilst the first one is usually most prevalent in more traditional companies who, fearful of their vulnerability go for the human instinct of creating some kind of certainty by “locking down the hatches”. Making sure there are no holes or gaps in the vessel that needs to navigate a future we don’t know. Limiting potential threats.
The frequent question asked in these kinds of cultures is “where can the next crisis come from?”.

Future Proofing has a stronger emphasis on the future (rather than on maintaining the past status) and on actively preparing for what (might) come next.
It is more open to explore, more creative yet has the same level of preparedness requirements.
The frequent question asked in these kinds of cultures is a more open “what might happen next and how can I be prepared?”.

So there is a clear emphasis on fear of losing and limiting in the first instance and wanting to prepare to win in the second.

Which of these two cultures are you driving for yourself and for your team? Which of them is most useful to be the most successful possible tomorrow (and the day after) ?

Change is inevitable. Are we going to change by design or by disaster?

I recently heard a statement by Annie Leonard “change is inevitable … the question is not if we are going to change but how … either we are going to change by design or by disaster”. With so much uncertainty around us, when you at last see some certainty and inevitability, we should be great at harnessing what we know and are certain about.

Where are we at our best: when we design change or when we are driven to change by fear?
Whilst fear helps create a sense of urgency in our actions, it is never a good mental state. When we operate in fear we operate with an anxiety that lacks clarity of thought, that aims to take the least worse decision and not the best one.

When we are in fear or “managing risk” (as we commonly now rationalise that fear state in our companies) the solution is generally one that aims to stop the immediate crisis as opposed to creating the best one for our continued success over time.

Moreover when we operate in a state of fear or risk aversion, we are giving up control.
Instead the pleasure of controlling, of designing change, of deciding the best way forward as opposed to fearing the worse case scenario is a powerful driver of positive mindsets and best innovation possible.