Conducting a Risk Assessment in ClearPoint

Webinar 59 in the "I Didn't Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!" Webinar Series

Ever wonder about that hidden, ‘bonus’ element in ClearPoint we refer to as Risks? In this session, we’ll walk you through how to use ClearPoint to identify risks that may impact your organization, tie them back to our strategy, and track progress towards addressing them! Join us on this episode of the “I Didn’t Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!” to learn more!

Happy reporting!

Webinar 59 Transcript


  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Agenda (1:09)
  • What is a Risk Assessment? (1:36)
  • Getting People Involved (5:15)
  • Leadership Risk Alignment (7:13)
  • Risk Scoring & Ownership (9:24)
  • Controls & Action Plans (13:25)
  • Reporting (17:01)
  • Questions (20:09)

Introduction (0:00)

  • Hannah: Hello everyone, and welcome to the “I didn’t know ClearPoint could do that!?!” webinar series
  • This is a very special installment of our webinar series because today, we go where no webinar has gone before – a risk assessment!
  • But before we get started, here are your smiling hosts, I’m Hannah
    • Andy: And I’m Andy!
  • Hannah: As a few housekeeping announcements:
    • We will be recording this session and will make it available within a week
    • The webinar will last about 25 minutes with time for questions at the end
    • So you can submit your questions to the Q&A chat box!! This is located in the toolbar at the bottom of the Zoom window.
    • As always, any that we don’t get to, we’ll follow up with over email!
  • Now, on our last installment, we walked through our awesome new calculation explorer and link diagram features. If you’re curious to learn more about these new features, be sure to check out that recording and transcript on our website or Vimeo channel!

Agenda (1:09)

  • Andy: Today, we’ll answer the following questions:
    • What is a risk assessment?
    • Why are risk assessments important and why should they be linked to your strategy?
    • And How do I complete a risk assessment leveraging ClearPoint? (in 5 simple steps??)
  • Hannah: So again, if you have any questions you’d like us to address during the webinar, be sure to submit them to the Q&A located at the bottom of your Zoom toolbar!

What is a Risk Assessment? (1:36)

  • Andy: To get us started, what exactly is a risk assessment?
    • A risk assessment is a technique used to identify and assess factors that may jeopardize a project or goal, such as our strategic plan
    • Once identified, risks are scored based on probability of occurring, as well as the impact
    • From there, specific controls and actions can then be implemented for any high scoring risks
  • Andy: Out of curiosity, we’d love to hear about your risk assessment experiences, so we’re sending out a poll that asks if any of your organizations complete a risk assessment and what level of involvement you might have in it!
  • Hannah: So I’ve just sent out the poll here and it looks like we’re getting some good responses. We still have a few coming in so I’ll leave it open for a couple more seconds. Alright, it looks like the responses are slowing down a bit. I’ll go ahead and end the poll.
    • Let’s go ahead and share the results. It looks like a majority were “Yes, my organization does conduct a risk assessment, and it looks like a lot of you are involved!
  • Andy: Yeah that’s awesome, so it looks like we’ll be preaching a little bit to the choir here, but for many of you hopefully this will be helpful to learn how this can be incorporated in ClearPoint and linked to your strategy, if it isn’t already! So, let’s go ahead and dive in!
  • So, why are Risk Assessments important? And why linked to strategy!
    • They are a proactive way to identify potential issues
    • Sometimes, they expose the “elephant in the room” by forcing us to talk about big issues coming down the road
    • By linking risks to our strategy, we end up identifying potential risks that may hinder us from achieving our biggest goals
  • Hannah: Wow, risk assessments sound really important! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of one before.
  • Andy: Last year some of our risks caught us by surprise, and we want to get ahead of any risks this year so that we aren’t caught off guard as we attempt to execute on the strategy we are so excited for!
  • Hannah: That’s right! This is a big year for us at Upward Air. Over the past several years, we’ve worked hard to execute on our strategy and conquer the friendly skies. But in 2021, it’s time for a new frontier or the last frontier as some say – space! As we launch our space program, there are certainly a lot of risks we need to consider. This sounds like a great opportunity to show everyone how ClearPoint can assist with a risk assessment!
  • Andy: You’ll see here that there are 5 main steps in completing a risk assessment:
    • First, we must identify our possible risks
    • Next, we should conduct a leadership risk assessment exercise
    • From there, we can score our risks and identify the right ownership teams
    • Then, we can determine our controls and action plans
    • And finally, we’ll commence our regular risk reporting
  • Not all of these steps take place in ClearPoint, but leveraging the Risk element already available in ClearPoint will certainly help us on this journey to space!
  • Let’s get started!

Getting People Involved (5:15)

  • Hannah: Let’s jump into ClearPoint to begin our risk assessment.
    • The first step in any quality risk assessment mission is to get your larger team involved. We pulled together this objective summary report in ClearPoint with the owners and collaborator fields. This report allows us to see who works on each objective and get our all star crew involved!
    • Getting people involved and invested, just like your strategy, is a great way to get buy-in and reinforce why any actions that may come out of this risk assessment are mission critical! Also, by involving different perspectives, you may identify some risks that a single individual may not be able to.
    • For this mission, we had each objective team brainstorm some risks based around their strategic objective already in ClearPoint.
  • Andy: That’s an awesome way to organize a risk brainstorm! But how did this work in ClearPoint? Where did you collect the results?
  • Hannah: Good question! Since this is still the brainstorming phase and we had a lot of ideas, we exported this report to excel and distributed it to each objective team. You’ll see here that we’ve added a column to the right where teammates were able to identify all their potential risks.
  • Andy: That’s a great method for identifying some initial risks. Other possible methods for identifying risks include: department brainstorming sessions, internal surveys, or leadership brainstorming. What I like about our method, is that it directly aligned our risk identification with our important strategic objectives, really emphasizing the importance of linking our risks to our strategy!
  • Hannah: Agreed! After finishing our risk ideation, we sent our files back to the leadership team, which brings us to the next step – the Leadership Risk Alignment!

Leadership Risk Alignment (7:13)

  • Andy: Yes, we had so many risk ideas. After a year like 2020, our list of risks was almost as infinite as the entire universe! Now that we have all our risks identified, our leadership team will need to comb through the results, consolidate, expand, and align to the appropriate objectives.
    • Some risks may apply to multiple objectives and will need to be linked as such in ClearPoint.
  • Hannah: Excel seems like a great way for us to collect the risk brainstorm results and for leadership to parse through the galactic number of responses. But Andy, we all know you can’t easily make links back to your strategic objectives in Excel!
  • Andy: That’s exactly why after leadership reviews and consolidates the results, we need to get our risks back into ClearPoint!
    • ClearPoint summary reports and element linkages will give you incredible flexibility in producing the report that looks best for your organization. It is important to link your risks to your strategic objectives, because these are the major impediments that may get in your way of achieving the objectives you worked so hard to develop in your strategic planning process.
    • Let’s moonwalk on over to our Objective-Risk report!
  • Hannah: Wow, our leadership works at lightspeed! How did they get all our risks in ClearPoint already? They even have them all linked up!
  • Andy: Well, they actually used the Data Loader to upload our risks quickly and create the linkages between the new risks and our strategic objectives. The Data Loader 2.0 can be a great way not only to add new elements, but also to link back to your existing elements. Upgrading from Data Loader 1.0 to 2.0 is like going from Sputnik to SpaceX. The original might have gotten you space, but the new one will get you to Mars!
  • Hannah: Andy, it seems like we are getting a little off topic…
  • Andy: Oh right, sorry, shameless plug! Back to risks! We’ve got a lot of our risks here, but Houston, we have a problem! Motion sickness is missing its status!
    • If we click into the detail page, we’ll see that we can assign ownership, see how it links back to our objectives, and more.
    • If you scroll down, you’ll also see we’ve set up a data table to help with our risk scoring!

Risk Scoring & Ownership (9:24)

  • Hannah: Speaking of risk scoring, it’s time for our third step: scoring risks and assigning ownership! Now that our risks are in ClearPoint, we need to score them so that we know which ones are “high” risks that need immediate action. This part of the exercise is crucial as it prevents dedicating resources to a risk that is highly unlikely to happen or won’t have any sort of real impact on achieving our goals.
  • Andy: Also, the leadership team should assign risk owners who will be responsible for coming up with action plans to address these risks. Even Flat Earthers know how important ownership is when it comes to execution!
  • Hannah: For risk scoring and ownership, this step could be done as part of the alignment exercise we just talked about, or this could be done in a separate meeting. Risk scoring is typically done using a probability – impact matrix. On one hand we have probability, or how likely it is that this risk will happen. On the other hand, we have impact, or if the risk does happen then, what are the consequences.
    • Some organizations use other terminology, like likelihood and severity, but the idea is still the same!
    • At Upward Air, we do the average of 1-year probability and 5-year probability plus the impact score, all on a 1-5 scale.
  • Andy: That matrix sounds like a great method for scoring, but what’s the difference between a 1 and a 5?
  • Hannah: It might be helpful to define that! For example, we might say a 1 impact is a relatively small impact that we could adjust to quite easily.  A 5 on the other hand, would be catastrophic and detrimental to our ability to continue to function as an organization, like an alien invasion! Scoring takes some getting used to and can be helpful to sort out as a leadership team.
    • For the “Motion sickness” risk you’ll see we’ve enabled the data table for our scoring. This is done through turning on project evaluations. If you’re interested in learning more about this, reach out to your account manager!
    • You’ll see on our risk there’s a series to enter 1 year probability, 5 year probability, and impact if the risk were to happen.
  • Andy: For our 1 year outlook, we are very confident our passengers will get sick due to our bumpy ride.  Elon is still working on making sure our rockets run smoothly….We will give a score of 5 here. However, 5 years down the road, we should have much smoother rockets.  So I’ll give a score of 2 here.
    • In the impact column, we’ll give a score of 5. If someone gets sick on any of our flights, that will really start to deter new passengers from signing up!  Our trips to space will be anything but a Fun Experience.
  • Andy: After adding in our scores, ClearPoint automatically averages our 1 and 5 year probability and sums the impact score to get our overall risk score! ClearPoint calculations make scoring your risks as easy as 1-2-3, or should I say 3-2-1 blastoff!
  • Hannah: Plus, ClearPoint automatically evaluates the risk for us based on the risk score!
    • We’ve created thresholds for red, yellow, and green risks and added them to our evaluation criteria in ClearPoint.
    • At Upward Air, we take action on red and yellow risks, and consider action for the green risks but these aren’t as high of a priority!
  • Andy: And while you’re scoring your risks, don’t forget to add ownership! For those risks that are red and yellow, it will be really important to have a defined owner to ensure action is taken!
  • Hannah: Yes, I almost forgot! Let’s make Elon the Owner since he knows this objective so intimately. We’ll assign Baby Yoda and Buzz Lightyear as collaborators as well.

Controls & Action Plans (13:25)

  • Andy: Now that we have identified our red and yellow risks, we need to figure out what to do about them!  We worked so hard on our strategy, let’s use our team’s creativity to figure out what we can do to avoid another disaster, like losing another Death Star to the pesky rebel scum.
  • Hannah: Because we assigned owners and collaborators to our risks, we can get help assigning controls and creating action plans!
  • Andy: Since Elon is out of office for a while, let’s create a control and action plan for him!
  • Hannah: Great, but how do we go about making a plan for a risk?
  • Andy: In traditional risk assessments, there are 5 types of controls. You can avoid, reduce, mitigate, transfer, or accept risks. Any action plans you would make for a risk follow from how you choose to control the risk!
    • By avoiding a risk, you would make a fundamental change that will eliminate the risk.
  • Hannah: Well, we’re taking civilians to space after all, so I think motion sickness is inevitable. I don’t think this control applies here!
  • Andy: That’s a good point.
    • Reducing a risk means lowering the chances that the risk will occur.
  • Hannah: To reduce the likelihood of motion sickness occurring, we could hand out dramamine to all passengers before taking off.
  • Andy:Oh, that’s a good idea. Let’s select reduce.
    • Mitigating a risk lessens the consequences if the risk does occur.
  • Hannah: To lessen the impact of motion sickness, we could hand out motion sickness bags.
  • Andy: Oh that’s a good one too, let’s add mitigating as well!
    • Transferring a risk means you are shifting the risk to another organization capable of handling it (like outsourcing to a third-party).
  • Hannah: It isn’t like there are rest stops in space to pull over and clean up, so this doesn’t seem like an option…
  • Andy: Yeah…I agree
    • Lastly, you can simply accept that the consequences are worth the risk
  • Hannah: Because the impact of motion sick passengers is so high and will really affect our Fun Experience, I don’t think we can just accept this risk.
  • Andy: I agree!
  • Hannah: Cool, so, we’ve decided to reduce through dramamine and mitigate through motion sickness bags!
  • Andy: Let’s add these action plans as initiatives in our account. We’ll double click on the initiatives pod and add these two as initiatives.
    • First we’ll add “Provide pre-flight dramamine” and click save
    • Then we’ll add “Distribute motion sickness bags throughout the cabin”
    • Because these are initiatives that will involve multiple steps in execution, you can always add milestones and sub milestones to track your progress in closer detail.
    • When we save these initiatives, they will be linked to our risk! If we navigate to our risk scoring summary report, we’ll see our new initiatives aligned to the risk, along with our scoring and controls!

Reporting (17:01)

  • Hannah: Now that all our risks are linked, the controls are determined, and the action plans created, it is crucial to make sure these make it into our regular reporting process.  We all know how useless strategies are if they simply sit on the shelf collecting space dust.
    • At Upward Air, we do quarterly strategy reporting. We have a quarterly meeting where we review each objective detail page straight from ClearPoint! I’ll go ahead and include the risk field on our objective detail pages, so that we always have that information front and center during our meetings.
    • I’ll navigate to our Fun Experience objective page via the report! and edit the layout.
    • I’ll pull out the risk pod and click on the arrow to the right of save. This way, I can apply this layout to all the objectives in our scorecard! Now, the associated risk will appear on each detail page!
  • Andy: The owner of the risks should provide an update on any ongoing action plans when the objective is reviewed during our quarterly meeting.
  • Hannah: Another helpful way to view risks is through ClearPoint’s Strategy Maps. If we open the Maps dropdown menu and click into our Risk Matrix, you can see we’ve already used this feature to create a probability – impact matrix for our risks. This view is great for helping our team plan resources around those higher priority risks!
  • Andy: These summary views are great! But how do we keep our team up to date on our risks and any actions we are taking to control them?
  • Hannah: Another good question. I’ve actually created this briefing book, called Monthly Risk Update, to inform our team about the latest progress. Let’s go to Documents > then Briefing books and edit our Monthly Risk update template.
    • If we look at the Content preview, you’ll see I’ve included our Risk Scoring report and all our risk detail pages, that include information like our analysis fields which provide progress on each risk. You can also include updates on the action plans, by adding those initiative detail pages.
    • If we click on the schedules tab, you’ll also see I’ve set a schedule for this to go out to our team on the first day of every month.
  • Andy: Wow, I feel really good about this risk assessment for our new space program. Not only have we identified risks, we’ve also scored our risks to prioritize where we spend our resources and created a reporting process to track our progress! It’s one small step for man, but one giant leap for strategy!

Questions (20:09)

  • Hannah: And with that, we’d love to use our remaining time today to open up the floor for any of your questions!

Question 1 – Earlier Maxx said, “What if I don’t have risks!?” 

  • Andy: If you don’t see Risks in the top navigation, it is likely they are just hidden in your account.  This can be changed from Admin Options.  If we click on Menu and Element names, then edit Risks. You may just need to unhide Risks with this checkbox.  Reach out to your account manager for help if you have any questions!

Question 2 – It looks like we’ve got another question from Jamie. Jamie asked us, “Do i have to be an enterprise client to do a risk assessment?”

  • Hannah: Not necessarily! To do the automatic calculations and automatic status evaluations, you’ll need to have access to the data table on the risk element through project evaluations, which is an enterprise feature, not to be confused with Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use other fields to complete a risk assessment. All plan levels have access to the risk element!
    • For example, we could add a new custom field to risk to track our scoring! If we click on custom fields and go to the risk tab, I can add a custom field for risk scores.
  • Andy: While we are here, you can see this is how we added our control(s) custom picklist as well! While using custom fields won’t calculate a score or evaluate a status for you, you can still track and report on that information directly in ClearPoint!

Question 3 – Anonymous attendee asked, “How did you set up your strategy map with risks?”

  • Andy: That’s going to be set up similarly to other strategy maps. What you are going to do is upload an image as the background image. So that matrix I created in PowerPoint, and then I took a screenshot of it and saved it as an image. And then I uploaded it as a new strategy map, and then you can pull out the different status indicators for your risks based on how they were scored and that will give you a nice view of the statuses!

Hannah: Alright, well it looks like we’ve answered everyone’s questions for now! Thanks for taking the time to check our risk assessment! We hope you can now confidently say ‘I DID know ClearPoint could do that!’. See you next time, and Happy Reporting to infinity and beyond!