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‘Risk’ your way to your ambitions

If you want to be a CEO or lead a communications, marketing or branding function in a big company, get comfortable with managing risk – even if nothing obvious about your job involves “formal” risk management beyond reputation risk.

Everyone who works in a business or professional setting is a risk manager since the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing fallout. That task can longer be delegated to financial managers, actuaries and other specialists.

This is particularly true for corporate communications and public relations professionals, who in today’s lean, flat firms are often the only mid- to senior-level people with horizontal views of their firm’s businesses, operations, IT and other functions – and how those groups work together to serve customers and generate profits.

Controlling risk may be out of our hands, but recognizing potential gaps and escalating concerns to the decision-makers who can effect necessary change distinguish leaders of companies and businesses from leaders of communications functions.

In this environment, ambitious corporate communications and public relations professionals must embrace risk as entrepreneurs and other business leaders do if their goal is to truly lead companies, influence boards and executives, and build businesses.

According to Reduce Risk By Seeming Risky by Dileep Rao, “Risk is a four letter word.” Though he explores the subject from the perspective of entrepreneurs, Rao’s article on Forbes.com is relevant to anyone who doesn’t “have the resources in time or capacity or money” to diversify – or delegate – financial and operational risk as banks, insurers, investors and executives can.

That sure sounds like my professional experience, as well as those of my fellow corporate communications and PR colleagues.

What do you think?

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