Adapting a Common Risk Language


A common risk language can be created by benchmarking the traditional risk programs to the international definition of uncertainty risk. This allows different disciplines, units, and geographies with distinct risk profiles to address the unique risks faced by including them in the context description. Risks common to all units in an organization are handled in a strategic fashion. Risks unique to individual organizational units drive the unit-specific risk responses. It is important to realize that the International definition of risk is a high-level definition. It does not seek to preclude those definitions of the other units that use traditional risk!


Some people advise against using the term, risk! There are so many other terms that are used: peril, loss, hazard, threat, harm, danger, difficulty, issue, obstacle, problem, luck, fortune, accident, possibility, chance, probability, likelihood, uncertainty, consequence, Impact, outcome, level, event, occurrence, vulnerability, exposure, benefit, advantage, opportunity, windfall, prospect, and so forth. Even more reason to have a common risk language! There are practitioners that sill reject the international risk language! However, they often do not recognize that these other words also have a likelihood of misunderstanding when there is communication about risk.


It is important to avoid typologies of the areas of risk. It is more important to focus on understanding the fundamental processes driving uncertainty – hence risk – in organizations. Systems of management, organizational structure, people management, or