3. Fix the leadership disconnect
Most Irish organisations (88%) are confident they can balance growth ambitions with managing risk effectively, but there are differences when we analyse responses across different job roles and functions.
For example, from our global responses, half of CEO and board respondents are very confident about balancing growth and risk compared to just 34% of operations leaders and 30% of audit leaders. And just over one-fifth of risk executives say their own risk appetite matches that of their CEO and board.
There is also a misalignment in the perception of the strategic value the risk function provides. CEOs are less likely than risk executive survey respondents to agree the risk function demonstrates behaviours such as bringing risk insights to the board for better oversight, guiding the business through complex change, and challenging senior management.
For example, 60% of risk executives say they already provide insights on new and emerging risks to senior management versus 54% of respondents from the wider business—CEOs, the board, operations, tech and finance.
This disconnect is also evident in PwC’s Global Internal Audit Study 2023, with business leaders stating they want more early and proactive strategic engagement with Internal Audit. Despite that expectation, only around one-fifth of executives ranked strategic thinking and the ability to challenge constructively as key strengths of Internal Audit. Almost half (49%) said Internal Audit does not have strong alignment with other lines on key risks and challenges.
This leadership disconnect needs to be resolved if risk management is to amount to more than value protection and a reactive response to threats. Fostering greater collaboration between the risk function, leadership and the wider business and having more strategic conversations earlier in the process are key if organisations are to find opportunities where competitors may still see risk.
4. Build a foundation of strategic resilience
There is a link between resilience investments and achieving risk management outcomes, with better-performing organisations more likely to have invested across more resilience initiatives in the last 12 months.
Although around half of Irish organisations have invested in specific resilience initiatives, these remain in isolated pockets, with just 7% investing across the board in more strategic and proactive enterprise-wide resilience.
The top three resilience initiatives organisations plan to invest in over the next 12 months.