I've recently been working on a market intelligence project focused on corporate risk management and it's got me thinking about how we define 'risk' in a general business context.

After all, a number of risks can be similar across different industries. What are they and how can we manage them?

These are the overarching risk factors we've identified so far:


This, of course, is the most basic overarching risk. Politics potentially affect everyone and everything and must be a factor in any mid- to long-term business decision. As it stands, Brexit is an obvious risk for European and British businesses but we also have to bear in mind the current "trade war” between Trump’s US government and the Chinese regime, as it could potentially create volatility for the US Dollar as the world economy’s base currency.


The digitalisation of vast swathes of the business landscape has defined the 21st century so far. With it came risk factors which, in many cases, were virgin territory to the business leaderships and hard lessons were learned through competitive obsolescence and, of course, security breaches. Personally, my view is that the risk factor within digital technology emerges entirely out of data. It lives and feeds on data, for without this it would merely be an empty piece of software or a useless hunk of plastic. The more data we input, the more risk of vulnerability we create - Yahoo, the NHS, and British Airways stand testament to the damage of a breach.


There is another term for people risk: human resources. Within any given organisation, HR is accountable for people risk management. This includes the risk involved with the behaviour of employees on a daily basis, the risk of letting someone go, the risk of bringing someone in. Similar to geopolitics, the people risk is something that is by definition inseparable from a business – as long as businesses are largely made up of human beings.

In terms of managing these three overarching factors, my own approach would be to “control the controllables” – meaning that the focus should lie on technology and people, rather than geopolitics. Unless an organisation is large enough to have access to political lobbying, it will be exceptionally hard to influence “the powers that be”.

However, it is possible to engage in improving cyber and data security, improving IT infrastructure’s resilience against breaches and its protection against attacks. In many cases, cybersecurity still isn’t as prioritised internally as it should be, at least until something goes wrong. It is never a waste of resources to strengthen protection in foresight of a breach, rather than in hindsight of it. To be sure, there is no such thing as 100% security, but the goal should be to minimise the damage a potential breach could cause.

In terms of people, this is an area where the risk factor is the most controllable. At 6 Group, we help manage people risk across a variety of aspects.

Global Executive Search

When a vacancy occurs, we explore the market through our executive search capability to identify the highest-calibre talent and present clients with a shortlist of vigorously assessed candidates for them to fill the required gaps.

Talent Pipelining & Succession Planning

Our talent pipeline capability supports succession planning through identifying and qualifying candidates on behalf of our clients. The talent is ready for our clients to engage with when the need arises thereby minimising recruitment time and costs, and diminishing the risk to operational effectiveness. 

Leadership Assessment & Development

Our leadership assessment & development capability gives our clients an invaluable insight into the skillset and competencies of their existing teams. This helps them to gauge whether their existing leaders are equipped and ready for any planned strategic, hierarchical and/or visionary changes.

In summary, I wonder whether there currently is enough investment in cybersecurity systems. As far as people are concerned, this is a risk that is best managed with as much foresight as possible. Foresight is something that 6 Group can help create and it's proved to be a pivotal asset in today’s risk environments for our clients.

Let us help manage your people risk

Everything we do is centred on people - from identification and engagement to acquisition and development. To learn more about a partnership with 6 Group, email us at enquiries@6-group.com or get in touch via the contact form.

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