The Secret Sauce of A Successful Global Strategy

What’s the secret behind the Risk Management Society’s effective global program? An engaged board of directors.

The Risk Management Society has more than 10,000 professional members from 70-some countries around the world. It also has about 80 chapters, and RIMS does a lot of work to try to keep everyone connected with various knowledge-sharing platforms, tools, and in-person meetings. In addition to all that, RIMS launched the global RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional certification in 2015.

What’s the key to its success worldwide? RIMS COO Annette Homan, CAE, would credit its board of directors. “In order for organizations to be successful with global strategy, they need board and leadership to be engaged,” she said. “This is a crucial part of the overall strategy that we have.”

Knowing how important the board was to its global success, RIMS took a good, hard look at its criteria for choosing its board about five years ago.

“RIMS changed the criteria for its board of directors to adapt to a more global business environment—to enhance the board’s ability to understand issues, make decisions, and execute those decisions faster—as well as to provide more opportunities for passionate risk management professionals to contribute to the society,” she said.

Part of that strategy included reducing the size of the board and giving directors three-year term limits. Currently, RIMS has 14 board members who are practicing professionals and employed by universities and companies like Disney and IKEA. “To reflect the diverse profession, the society’s board includes professionals with different backgrounds, experiences, from different industries, and with varied skillsets,” Homan said.

RIMS is then able to draw on those different backgrounds and experiences as they begin the process of entering different global markets. For instance, Homan said that while China is highly interested in risk management, she knew from talking with colleagues that it’s a tough market to break into.

However, because RIMS has a member living and working in the risk management industry in China, Homan says the path has been smoother. He has provided the organization insight into the specific needs and cultural expectations held by Chinese organizations and practitioners.

If your association is considering a global strategy, Homan said it will take time, resources, experience, and support. Your board must also be realistic about the investment global expansion will require and not overestimate its initial financial return. In RIMS’ case, Homan said it’s lucky to have a board that views global expansion as a worthwhile opportunity, who “at the same time understands that the success of global initiatives do not manifest overnight.”

How has your board helped your association achieve global success? Please leave your comments below.

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Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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