09 November 2014

Veterans Day 2014: Leading the Enterprise to Victory...

The 1% are soon to be recognized on Tuesday, November 11, Veterans Day.  CxO's across the country who have served in the military know all about "Operational Risk Management" (ORM). They understand that the safety and security of their personnel is paramount, if they are to achieve the mission assigned to them by the Board of Directors and the majority stakeholders.

It makes sense that if only 1% of the country serve in the military, and fewer make it to the rank of CxO in commercial industry, why ORM remains so esoteric.  Only an enlightened few truly understand the value of investing in continuous training, cultural and ethical development and the safety and security of not only employees, but also intellectual capital and information assets.

Indeed, this Veterans Day is a time to focus on our 1%.  Those who have served the United States of America in the Armed Forces.  At the top of each of these branches including the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard are people that have seen, smelled, heard, felt and lived with the logic and the necessity for Operational Risk Management.  Why is the Navy leadership focused on ORM?
ORM is the guiding Navy instruction for implementing the ORM program. The naval vision is to develop an environment in which every individual (officer, enlisted and civilian) is trained and motivated to personally manage risk in everything they do on and off duty, both in peacetime and during conflict, thus enabling successful completion of all operations or activities with the minimum amount of risk. 
The most common idea of what ORM revolves around is a simple five-step process that is most frequently used in planning. These five steps are:
  • Identify hazards
  • Assess the hazards
  • Make risk decisions
  • Implement controls
  • Supervise and watch for change
Another level of ORM is Time Critical Risk Management which involves a quick, committed-to-memory process and a set of skills that allow our people to manage risk when in the execution of a plan or event. The standard for the Navy is being developed, however it might be thought of in simple terms such as:
  • What can go wrong or is changing
  • How can I keep it from effecting the mission without hurting me
  • Act to correct the situation
  • Telling the right people if you are unable to take the right action
If you were retired from the Marine Corps and now the CxO of a Global 500 company, do you think that ORM would be a forgotten system?  Would you neglect to focus on this, if you were running FedEx?  Fred Smith is not a former pilot, but was vital as a "Forward Air Controller":

Frederick Wallace "Fred" Smith (born August 11, 1944), is the founder, chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx, originally known as Federal Express, the first overnight express delivery company in the world, and the largest in the world. The company is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. 
Smith was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for three years (from 1966 to 1969) as a platoon leader and a forward air controller (FAC), flying in the back seat of the OV-10
As a Marine, Smith had the opportunity to observe the military's logistics system first hand. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, flying with pilots on over 200 combat missions. He was honorably discharged in 1969 with the rank of Captain, having received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts. While in the military, Smith carefully observed the procurement and delivery procedures, fine-tuning his dream for an overnight delivery service.[5] 
A primary function of a Forward Air Controller is ensuring the safety of friendly troops. Enemy targets in the Front line ("Forward Edge of the Battle Area" in US terminology) are often close to friendly forces and therefore friendly forces are at risk of friendly fire through proximity during air attack. The danger is twofold: the bombing pilot cannot identify the target clearly, and is not aware of the locations of friendly forces.
Fred Smith not only implemented the mindset of a "Forward Air Controller" running FedEx, he also has been able to build a culture focused on Operational Risk Management (ORM).
FedEx Corporation will produce superior financial returns for its shareowners by providing high value-added logistics, transportation and related business services through focused operating companies. Customer requirements will be met in the highest quality manner appropriate to each market segment served. FedEx will strive to develop mutually rewarding relationships with its employees, partners and suppliers. Safety will be the first consideration in all operations. Corporate activities will be conducted to the highest ethical and professional standards.
Now back to Veterans Day, November 11.  Are you starting to make the connection between the 1%, becoming a global CxO and the reason why ORM has such tremendous applications inside the global enterprise?

The opportunity now is for us to unleash our emerging and proactive "Vetrepreneurs," to take their years of knowledge and understanding of ORM and now apply it within the ranks of their new companies or new positions, just as Fred Smith has done at FedEx.  These veterans have the practical knowledge, skills and valuable use cases on how Operational Risk Management contributes to the overall mission.

If you are a 1% entrepreneur (Vetrepreneur) and have Co-founder or CxO as your title, then your proactive nature should allow you the opportunity to apply ORM within your organization.  Here are three places you can begin your program focus:
Inside:  Develop a culture of trust that begins by teaching employees how to find the truth.  A culture that promotes and teaches people how to apply the rules to the business that you are operating in.  A culture where no one can hide and that understanding our own vulnerabilities makes the overall organization more resilient each day.
Outside:  Architect the enterprise from the ground up to make more informed "Trust Decisions."  The architecture must first assemble and organize the rule-base and contextual framework associated with the environment that you will be operating in both physically and virtually.  The interdependencies of the automated machines developed to operate the enterprise, shall exist in a transparent and highly governed "system-of- systems". 
In-The-Middle:  Create new learning scenarios on a consistent but random basis.  Test the enterprise Inside and Outside with these exercise scenarios.  Determine how the humans and/or machines behave.  Establish what is normal and create your baseline. Continue to test and to measure the gaps of performance and make changes to improve the quality, accuracy or resiliency of the entire enterprise architecture.
On this Veterans Day 2014, scan the horizon for the organizations that stand out and are remarkable. With the 1% at the helm, in the cockpit or now the HQ Board Room, Operational Risk Management (ORM) is leading the enterprise to victory!

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