Now is the time, believes Dr David Hillson...

Now is the time, believes Dr David Hillson, director of P M Professional Solutions, for businesses to assess what risks are relevant to them - not only to be aware of the threats, but also to learn what opportunities they might bring. Hillson, who says that 'sources of uncertainty must be understood so that these risks can be effectively managed', suggests ten top tips for the 'need to know's':

  • Know your goals When times are uncertain you need to know where you are heading. This includes strategic vision as well as tactical objectives, both long-term and short-term.
  • Know your market Do not assume you know what your customers might want - find out. Market intelligence is vital in identifying trends and opportunities that you can exploit.
  • Know your business Use the techniques of value management to review your processes, products and people, to identify and focus on the winners, and maximise ROI by increasing efficiency.
  • Know your environment Be sure you understand the world in which you operate, including political, economic, social, technical, regulatory and legal factors that might affect you.
  • Know yourself Assess your organisational culture, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and determine your risk appetite and thresholds. They have a significant influence on your response to uncertainty.
  • Know your friends Create and strengthen your partnerships with stakeholders. They can provide support and stability in uncertain times.
  • Know your enemies Knowing the goals and strategies of competitors keeps you focused on your own business. Seek to set the pace of competition and keep one step ahead.
  • Know your options Uncertainty always creates alternatives. Conduct a strategic opportunity review to identify possible ways ahead, select your preferred route, then develop fallback and contingency plans to keep you on track.
  • Know what you know Perform a knowledge audit to define the intellectual capital in the organisation, ensuring that lessons are identified and learned from previous experience.
  • Know what you don't know. Scope the uncertainty to define areas of maximum risk, then assess and prioritise both threats and opportunities.