Publications

Geoffrey Dohrmann
- September 1, 2023: Vol. 16, Number 8

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Are you skilled at assessing risk? Most of us aren’t as skilled as we think

by Geoffrey Dohrmann

In 2009, Geoff Colvin, an award-winning author and business writer for Fortune magazine, published a book titled The Upside of the Downturn. His chapter on risk was particularly enlightening and probably just as applicable to what’s going on today as it was to what was going on then in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Six months before the events that triggered the beginning of that global financial crisis, a firm called Protiviti published its 2007 annual Risk Barometer. The report surveyed 150 top-level executives from large U.S. companies about their attitudes regarding risk. Among many of those questions, it asked, “How effectively does your company identify and manage all potentially significant risks?”

Colvin points out that the responses from nearly all industries were appropriately humble apart from two. You guessed it: financial services and real estate. In fact, 72 percent of the respondents from the financial

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