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Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty: Creating The Risk Intelligent Enterprise


Praise for Surviving and tHriving IN Uncertainty

"The financial crisis prompted too many observers to conclude that corporate risk is fundamentally ungovernable. They need to read Funston and Wagner. Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty is an urgent, practical road map that shows boards, executives, and investors that it is not only possible, but necessary, to keep risk under constant watch and control."
—Stephen Davis, Executive Director, Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance, Yale School of Management

"Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty is must reading for executives and organizations hoping to prosper in tough times. Interesting and provocative, this book clearly demonstrates that while effective market transparency and oversight are important, we must also restore responsible risk-taking in order to power our enterprise economy forward."
—Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

"Too many current boards ignored their risk-oversight responsibilities to the detriment of their shareholders and the economy. While it is management's duty to set the enterprise's risk appetite and tolerance, these measures ultimately must be approved by the board. The authors offer boards the voices of experienced directors, along with their wisdom and practical advice, on implementing this most challenging of board responsibilities."
—Ira M. Millstein, Senior Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Get smart about risk management.

"Risk intelligence is dynamic. There is no set of rules to follow, no permanent certification, no way to insulate the organization from the forms that uncertainty and turbulence will take in the future. Rather, there is only a path to creating value and managing risks that enables better decisions."
—From Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty: Creating the Risk Intelligent Enterprise

With practical and demonstrated advice on encouraging better decision making through risk management, Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty: Creating the Risk Intelligent Enterprise challenges you to a new, multifaceted, panoramic way of viewing risk, one that encompasses both asset preservation and value creation.

Presenting factual, informative, provocative, and sometimes challenging views on the subject of risk management, this invaluable guide looks at a number of realities that you must confront if your business is to survive and thrive.

Here, you'll find essential guidance on:

  • What the Risk Intelligent Enterprise looks like

  • Why conventional risk management has failed

  • The ten fatal flaws in conventional risk management . . .

  • . . . And their ten corresponding enterprise risk intelligence skills

  • The rewards of risk intelligence

Drawing from the experiences and perspectives of risk warriors in and out of the business world, the world-class strategies and approaches in Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty: Creating the Risk Intelligent Enterprise helps you get smart about managing risk—before it manages you.  

Frederick Funston is a principal with Deloitte & Touche LLP and has more than thirty years of experience working with leaders of numerous global companies. In 2000, Rick created the concept of risk intelligence for value creation and value protection. He is a frequent speaker and writer on leveraging risk intelligence for competitive advantage in complex, global organizations.

Stephen Wagner is a nationally recognized thought leader on corporate governance. In 2009, Steve retired as the managing partner of Deloitte LLP's Center for Corporate Governance, where he led the firm's integrated strategy for governance services. He is a frequent speaker at governance conferences and directors' colleges and has authored or contributed to numerous articles on governance and risk.





Conventional Risk Management.

A Risk Intelligent Approach.

The Approach of This Book.

The Structure of This Book.


CHAPTER 1 To Survive and Thrive: A Matter of Judgment.

The Revolving Door to the Corner Office.

Barriers to Board Effectiveness.

The Imperatives of the Enterprise.

CHAPTER 2 Conventional Risk Management Has Failed.

What Goes Up Must Come Down.

The Evolution of Finance, Market, and Risk Management Theory.

Taking a (Random) Walk.

CHAPTER 3 An Unconventional Approach to Risk Management.

Calculated Risk Taking Creates Value.

Calculated Risk Taking and Risk Aversion.

Risk Intelligence: An Unconventional Approach.


CHAPTER 4 Check Your Assumptions at the Door.

Fatal Flaw #1: Failing to Challenge Your Assumptions.

Risk Intelligence Skill #1: Check Your Assumptions at the Door.

CHAPTER 5 Maintain Constant Vigilance.

Fatal Flaw #2: Lack of Vigilance.

Risk Intelligence Skill #2: Maintain Constant Vigilance.

CHAPTER 6 Factor in Velocity and Momentum.

Fatal Flaw # 3: Failure to Consider Velocity and Momentum.

Risk Intelligence Skill #3: Factor in Velocity and Momentum.

CHAPTER 7 Manage the Key Connections.

Fatal Flaw #4: Failure to Make Key Connections and Manage Complexity.

Risk Intelligence Skill #4: Manage Your Key Connections.

CHAPTER 8 Anticipate Causes of Failure.

Fatal Flaw #5: Failure to Anticipate Failure.

Risk Intelligence Skill #5: Anticipate Causes of Failure.

CHAPTER 9 Verify Sources and Corroborate Information.

Fatal Flaw #6: Failure to Verify Sources and Corroborate Information.

Risk Intelligence Skill # 6: Verify Sources and Corroborate Information.

CHAPTER 10 Maintain a Margin of Safety.

Fatal Flaw #7: Failing to Maintain a Margin of Safety.

Risk Intelligence Skill #7: Maintain a Margin of Safety.

CHAPTER 11 Set Your Enterprise Time Horizons.

Fatal Flaw #8: Short-Termism.

Risk Intelligence Skill #8: Set Your Enterprise Time Horizons.

CHAPTER 12 Take Enough of the Right Risks.

Fatal Flaw #9: Failure to Take Enough of the Right Risks.

Risk Intelligence Skill #9: Taking Enough of the Right Risks.

CHAPTER 13 Sustain Operational Discipline.

Case Example: The U.S. Submarine Force.

Fatal Flaw #10: Lack of Operational Discipline.

Risk Intelligence Skill #10: Develop and Sustain Operational Discipline.


CHAPTER 14 Risk Intelligence Is Free.

A Closer Look at Costs.

The Rewards of Risk Intelligence.

CHAPTER 15 Risk Intelligent Governance.

The Risk Intelligent Board.

Committees of the Board and Risk Intelligence.

Where Does Risk Oversight End and Risk Management Begin?.

CHAPTER 16 Risk Intelligent Enterprise Management.

ERM and Risk Intelligence.

Developing Risk Intelligent Enterprise Management.

Act as One.

A New Way of Doing Business.

CHAPTER 17 The Way Forward: Creating the Risk Intelligent Enterprise.

The Benefits of Improved Risk Intelligence.

What’s Your Enterprise Risk IQ?

Making the Transformation.



About the Authors.