The Chief Risk Officers’ Skill Set
Clients often ask me, “what skills should our CRO have”? The answer is very easy and very difficult at the same time. Ideally, the person is a decathlete and holds the world record in each discipline of a decathlon. I chose decathlon over e.g. triathlon, because the CRO really, really needs a very broad skill set! Naturally, such a superhuman doesn’t exist – so what is the practical answer then?
CRO the decathlete
I came up with this picture to describe the CRO’s skill set; this somewhat simplified description has served me well over the years. I will describe it quadrant by quadrant.
- Let’s start at the bottom left-hand side. The satellite and the atomic structure depict well, how a CRO should be able to see the “big picture” like a satellite and at the same time should have a view for small items that matter.
- The bottom right hand side. Often, good ERM requires a view outside of the box, that’s the reason for the rocket heading up in the drawing. At the same time, the basic tool set of e.g. risk mapping comes in very handy over and over again. The sun and the exclamation mark represent leadership skills and grit, two essential ingredients to get a good ERM framework up and running.
- The upper right hand side. It’s all about communication skills. Internal, external, to peers, to the board of directors, to other C-suite members and any colleague(s) within the organization.
- And last but not least, the decathlete. Domain knowledge in a few areas is necessary and being “conversant” at least in a few others is very helpful!
superhumans don’t exist – here is the practical approach
A single person might have all the skills shown in the picture above. But this is a rare, fortunate occasion. Mostly, aspiring / incumbent CROs might posses a fair number of the skills, but not all of them.
So how to close that gap? IMHO, nothing beats hands-on growth and development. Megrow Consulting has helped many CROs along their journeys, done onboarding of risk officers and worked with board of directors to define the necessary skill sets for “their” CRO.
The hands-on coaching as described above is best combined with solid knowledge of the methods and procedures. For instance, RIMS or COSO provide ample literature, seminars and e-learning to cover the basics and beyond.
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