RISK MANAGEMENT

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Hooking Up With Leadership Lessons From Ashley Madison

It is generally assumed that aversion to risk is one of the biggest obstacles to Canadian innovation, but only 10 per cent of Canadian businesses are truly risk averse. The big issue is apparently an inability to align risk-taking with financial capacity -- rational risk-taking obviously involves being able to survive the potential negative consequences of your actions. And that's a key lesson buried in the aftermath of the hacker attack on the controversial Ashley Madison online affair service.
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Canadian Innovation: We Can't Play it Safe Any Longer

In Canada, we like to play it safe and for the most part, it's paid off. Tight regulations and the centralization of banking powers helped us weather the economic storm of 2008. But we're a different Canada now. Canada's potential is remarkable, we need to believe in that potential and invest in its development before looking elsewhere for inspiration. It's all right here.

Does Your Audit Committee Need a Reset?

There is a strong bias for audit committees to oversee many risks, not just financial. No regulation mandates this however. Audit committees should not oversee risks that they are not qualified to oversee. Here are a dozen broader questions to determine whether your Audit Committee needs a reset.

The Recipe for Contaminated Beef? Shoddy Governance

The management of XL Foods Inc., which has been in the news for causing the biggest beef recall in Canadian history, has not figured out the most important issue is how the company governs food safety. Neither XL foods or its parent company appear to have any independent directors, who are essential to ensuring internal management does not cut corners. No one likes to be controlled, least of which entrepreneurial employees. However, ask yourself if defective internal controls are worth the price, in terms of reputation and financial loss. It can indeed be a run on the bank if consumers don't have confidence, and it can get worse unless governance checks are put in place.

In Business, Don't Waste a Crisis

During a poor economy, it can be a challenge for a business to increase profitability as competition for the "cautious consumer" intensifies and there is increasing pressure on margins. But a recession offers the perfect opportunity to question the way things have always been done -- and drive out waste and inefficiency. One of Jim's favourite slogans is: "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste."
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A Business Tip From a Country Boy: Invest in People

Bill Clinton at the DNC said what white- and blue-collar workers have known for 30 years: you need to invest in people to have an innovative and productive economy. My coach, used to say "you get corn, if you plant corn." Neither in government nor in business have we been planting corn. We quit planting it almost 30 years ago when we got rid of middle management in government and the private sector, and as the economy reveals, we are losing.