ERM - Step 3

Ranking and Monitoring Risks for Strategic Decision Making

Ranking and Monitoring Risks for Strategic Decision Making

In our ongoing journey through Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), we've explored the critical steps of Holistic Evaluation and Connecting with People to identify enterprise-level risks effectively. Now, as we advance to Step 3, we delve into the pivotal process of "Ranking and Monitoring" these risks. In this article, we'll uncover the importance of establishing a risk culture that enables both qualitative and quantitative risk assessment, ultimately integrating risk considerations into strategic decision-making.

The Foundation of a Risk Culture

A robust risk culture is not just a set of policies and procedures; it's a mindset that permeates an organization. It fosters an environment where risk awareness, assessment, and mitigation become ingrained in the daily operations and decision-making processes. Establishing such a culture is the foundation for effective risk ranking and monitoring.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Assessment

Qualitative Assessment: Qualitative risk assessment involves evaluating risks based on subjective criteria such as likelihood, impact, and severity. It relies on expert judgment and is often used for risks that are difficult to quantify. This approach is valuable for identifying and assessing risks that may not have readily available data.

Quantitative Assessment: Quantitative risk assessment, on the other hand, relies on hard data and statistical analysis to assign numerical values to risks. This approach is often used for risks that can be measured in terms of financial impact, such as market risks, credit risks, and operational risks. Quantitative assessments provide a more precise understanding of risk exposure.

Ranking Risks

Once risks have been identified and assessed, the next step is ranking them based on their significance. A risk ranking system assigns a priority or score to each risk, helping organizations prioritize their focus and allocate resources accordingly. The ranking should consider factors such as:

  • Likelihood: How probable is it that the risk event will occur?
  • Impact: What is the potential harm or benefit associated with the risk event?
  • Velocity: How quickly could the risk event materialize?
  • Recovery: How resilient is the organization in the face of the risk?

By ranking risks, organizations can focus their attention on the most critical areas, ensuring that resources are directed where they are needed most.

Continuous Monitoring

Risk monitoring is not a one-time task; it's an ongoing process. A comprehensive ERM program includes mechanisms for continuous risk monitoring, which involves:

  • Tracking Key Risk Indicators (KRIs): Establishing KRIs specific to each risk allows organizations to monitor changes in risk exposure over time.
  • Regular Reporting: Providing regular reports on the status of risks to senior management and the board ensures transparency and informed decision-making.
  • Scenario Analysis: Conducting scenario analysis to understand how risks might evolve under different conditions helps organizations prepare for various contingencies.

Integration into Strategic Decision Making

The ultimate goal of ranking and monitoring risks is to integrate them into strategic decision-making processes. Risks should not be viewed as obstacles but as factors that inform and guide strategic choices. When risk considerations become an integral part of strategic discussions, organizations can make more informed and resilient decisions.


In Step 3 of our ERM journey, we've explored the critical process of ranking and monitoring risks. Establishing a risk culture that allows for both qualitative and quantitative risk assessment is key to making informed decisions and building resilience. By continuously monitoring risks and integrating them into strategic decision-making, organizations can navigate uncertainties with confidence and adapt to an ever-changing business landscape. Stay tuned for Step 4, where we'll delve into the crucial topic of Risk Mitigation and how to develop effective strategies to mitigate identified risks.

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