Andrew Sheves is a risk, crisis, and security manager with over 25 years experience managing risk in the private and public sectors. He has provided risk, security, and crisis management support to clients worldwide from Fortune 50 oil & gas and pharmaceutical firms to NGOs and schools, allowing him to work at every stage of the risk management cycle from the field to the boardroom.
Andrew distilled these experiences to first principles in the KISS Risk Management framework: a simple and robust approach to risk management that makes high-quality tools, resources, training, and software accessible to everyone.
How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?
I learned how to assess and analyze a situation – and plan accordingly – in the military. I was fortunate to have several opportunities to work in high-tempo environments and several multi-national settings, which helped me learn how to be a better communicator, negotiator, and listener.
When I transitioned to the private sector, I learned about the importance of tying risk and security activities to an organization’s overall objectives. I also learned how important it is to speak about risk in a way that others can understand and respond to.
What sub-topics are you most passionate about?
Risk communication, using software to speed up and simplify the risk assessment process, preparing teams for crises and diversifying the risk management field.
Who influences you within these topics?
Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, Nassem Nichloas Taleb (although not always positively), Shane Parrish (the Farnham Street blog), Kate Brader (former co-worker, now with FTI consulting).
What challenges are brands facing in this space?
1) A lack of diverse viewpoints creates blindspots for organizations as the echo-chamber effect and biases (in the general and cognitive sense) reinforce a narrow perspective. These limitations expose organizations to risks that would likely be more evident if a broader perspective was available to them.
2) Overall, the concept of risk management is understood poorly. The term ‘risk’ is used too loosely, which I worry gives organizations a sense that they are managing risks when they are not. Often, this means over-indexing to the concern of the day, not addressing the real business-threatening risks.
3) We are far too relaxed about risks with long timelines, such as climate change, and focus too much on short-term issues that are not really strategic risks.
4) Risk management is still very siloed in many organizations.
5) Risk management and crisis management are often conflated, which leads to less long-term planning and more firefighting.
What do you think the future holds in this space?
Despite the second challenge I noted above, awareness of risk management is spreading positivity. I think that this will let the sector become more professional and more highly integrated into businesses.
I hope that we can better differentiate between short-term ‘hot’ issues that are not of long-term consequence, and longer-term, very high consequence events that pose an existential threat to organizations and nations.
I think that we will see better types of risk management software come into use in the same way that we now take it for granted that we do our taxes online.
Finally, I think (hope) that risk management becomes something that we just do, in the same way that OSHA / HSSE is just a normal part of business these days.
What brands are leading the way in this space?
If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?
What are your passions outside of work?
What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?
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