I have always been a big-picture-puzzle kind of thinker. Problems intrigue me and I like to keep digging until I get to the root of the issue.
When I see a process stop at the symptoms (and not the cause) it frustrates me because I know that problem will come up again, usually at the worst possible time! I spent my career moving through governance, accounting and risk moving slowly but steadily up the management ladder.
I studied managerial finance, organizational management and operational risk strategy to gain the foundation I felt was necessary to excel as a leader, balancing opportunity and risk, strategy and execution.
As my knowledge and experience grew, I began to realize that the various approaches to dealing with strategy and risk were often disparate – I felt like I was trying to talk two different languages!
As a result, I found myself building hybrid programs in order to simplify the connection between risk and strategy to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of those processes.
Get the right information to the right people at the right time so they can make the best decision possible – that is always the endgame.
While building hybrid programs company by company was fun (kind-of) it was laborious, time-consuming and difficult to replicate. There had to be an easier way, I just needed to figure it out.
Breaking the Mold
As I moved out of the corporate world and began working with clients, I saw the same issues that we struggled with in my corporate career. I saw over and over again problems caused by blind spots, with too much attention in some areas and not enough in others. Further, blind spots were never the same, they varied based on the type and size of entity, the industry, the leadership team, and so on. Solving this problem was critically important.
If most tools and processes out there worked for some and not others, how could we create an approach that worked for all? That was the first problem. The second was simplification. Stacking traditional strategic planning, risk planning and resilience planning programs side-by-side and then trying to integrate them resulted in a monumentally difficult task because of the complexity of those programs – not every organization needed all the parts of all those programs.
I stepped back to gain a big-picture view of strategy, risk and resilience programs and began to pull what I felt was absolutely essential from each one. I then reviewed management frameworks, methods for strategy and risk planning, leadership models and realized that they were all tools that could (and should) be able to work within any new approach that was created. If I could create something that was simple, straightforward and relevant despite size, industry, for-profit, non-profit, tribal, government, etc., that would resonate and be applicable regardless of what other framework or method that may already be in use.
I kept returning to the same fundamental question: What was it that was important to everyone?
Then it hit me.
The thing that every organization had in common was Purpose, Growth, and Survival.
This answer is the origin of Essential Strategy and the foundation of my practice approach.
Redefining Strategy, Risk, & Resilience in the C-Suite & Boardroom
Erin Sedor is a risk and strategy expert supporting clients in a variety of industries in the for-profit, non-profit, and government sectors. She is the architect of the Essential Strategy approach and is the developer and principle instructor for the Essential Strategy Bootcamp. Erin has long been a thought leader in the area of integrated strategy, risk, and resilience systems, having more than 26 years of experience as a risk professional, C-suite officer, non-profit board chair, and now executive consultant and advisor.
Fueled by the need to create hybrid programs to better identify and mitigate strategic risk and improve goal execution during her corporate career, Erin developed a uniquely effective Essential Strategy approach that lays the foundation for more meaningful strategy design and execution, creating greater risk visibility and improving operational efficiency without reinventing the process.
Erin holds an MBA in Operational Risk, as well as bachelor’s degrees in both Finance and Organizational Development. She is a RIMS Fellow and international instructor for the RIMS organization and regularly writes and presents at conferences on the topics of strategy, risk, and resilience.
What People Say
"It's not that you don't know the business, but you find disconnects between operational and strategic priorities that you didn't even know were there. No one else is teaching strategy this way."
— Jen Jarvis, Jen Jarvis Associates