3 minutes: CRO Skills

risk leaders – the better superheros

CRO skills

.. the Risk Champion of an organization must be a super-hero ..

Not quite, but close enough….

Actually, a strong risk leader has a capability that many superheroes lack: the CRO can deploy different key skills at different levels at different time points! The “standard” comic superheroine and -hero often comfortably dwell within the realms of their existing superpowers.

I have written about the base-line skill of a good risk leader in a number of previous posts. In this blog, I share my thoughts how a successful risk leader deploys different skills at different levels of impact and intensity during different stages of an organization’s ERM-journey. I refer to these skills as the “adjustable skill set”.

risk maturity

Risk maturity frameworks are an excellent tool to illustrate many aspects of ERM. Below is a condensed summary of the risk maturity concept.

risk maturity framework description
a condensed risk maturity scale

I use the simplified framework as the baseline of my considerations. Specifically, the framework describes the x-axis of all the charts that I’m sharing in this post.

In case you are interested in more detail about risk frameworks, type “risk maturity framework” into the search window of your browser. You will end up on the sites of RIMS or AON / Wharton or Hopkins and many others.

adjustable skills

I focus on those CRO skills that are needed at different levels for different stages of an organization’s ERM-journey. They complement the base-line skills such as the understanding of the value chain the organization operates along. I have written about some of the baseline skills in a previous post.

  • influencer: drive change when needed
  • architect: design the right framework
  • executor: get the right things done well
  • innovator: seek the new at the right time
change agent

During early stages of risk maturity risk leaders often need to influence and convince all stakeholders that an improved ERM and resilience approach is beneficial to the organization. Hence, the change agent or “influencer” is a key CRO skill at this stage.

The importance will diminish somewhat once the machine is up and running (level 2 and 3). However, once the organization aspires to progress towards level 4, another “thrust” of change can propel the organization forward accordingly.


A good ERM set-up is appropriate and adequate to the organization’s current and foreseeable circumstances and complexity. Hence, architecting is a crucial skill at the onset of an ERM-journey. Especially during stage 1, significant efforts go into “architecting” the right approach and pathway. This will successfully pave the way for level 2 and 3. The curve does not drop to zero, since the framework will evolve to support changes in strategy, advances in methodology and other circumstances.


ERM-methods are no secrets (ISO sells it for app CHF 100). Peer reviews, google-able tips and tricks are abundant and external service providers can supply certain parts of the framework. However, once the organization wishes to become a true, recognized leader, then innovation skills are a must. The innovative, sometimes disruptive mindset of a risk leader is in high demand the higher up an organization is and desires to be on the risk maturity ladder.


Once an organization’s ERM effort is out of the starting blocks, execution is key to generate an efficient and effective risk management output. The risk leader must quickly initiate and complete transition from “agreed concept” to “flawless implementation”. Good execution remains key throughout the entire journey.


Certain CRO skills, such as understanding ERM methodology, support the entire journey. In addition, strong risk leaders, deploy other traits at different levels of impact depending on the status quo of the organization’s risk maturity. Ultimately, the strong risk leaders know when to deploy which skill at which level!

I hope you find my ponderings useful for your day-to-day work. The specialists within Megrow’s network possess a wide variety of skills to make your ERM-journey efficient and effective. Contact details below.
Enjoy whatever you are doing, stay safe, please connect with Megrow over LinkedIn and/or Twitter.