Bank on Wipfli - Blog and Podcast


What’s the Risk?

Jul 27, 2016
Financial Institutions

As a kid at heart, I enjoy trying new experiences, often pushing my comfort zone. Whether zip lining in the trees, jumping a snowmobile over frozen snowdrifts, or exploring on ATVs through mountains, I believed there was minimal risk, except perhaps a minor cut or bruise to me and a ding or two to the equipment. And yes, I’ve survived these events with no injuries or damage. I felt in control of my risks, but in retrospect, this was pure luck, since I didn’t truly even understand all my risks.

More recently, I was having fun with remote-controlled objects, my favorite being a shiny, red, 24-inch- long helicopter. Complete with chrome and decals, it looked awesome as it took off, but I quickly realized how fast it circled, how high it flew, and then, how far it went, right out of my line of sight. I tried all the tricks I had learned on smaller versions but to no avail. It never returned. I heard the engine but as it started to fade, I then heard a sickening sound of metal on metal, then something else, and finally an unidentifiable whipping sound.

I had failed to identify the potential risks or assess the situation on a worst-case basis and totally lost control. Working in the spectrum of enterprise risk management, I know the discipline and failed to follow it. I did not assess potential risks, I failed to consider the various risk exposures, and I certainly did not consider my risk appetite or tolerance. 

Enterprise (-wide) risk management (ERM) is not a new term; the implementation and integration of ERM in our organizations takes on heightened importance each day. Wipfli can help your board and management team implement or enhance its ERM approach. Knowing the risks certainly helps! Please contact your Wipfli relationship executive or send an email to to learn more.

What about the missing remote control helicopter? It was located with just a little paint missing from the rotors and a scratch on one side. But I’ve applied a new risk approach. I’ve not flown the helicopter again!

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