Here are the definitions of commonly used words in Strategic Risk and from my speaking & training services.

Strategic Risk Terms

Blind Spot
Cause and Effect
Change Management
Cognitive Bias
Cognitive Dissonance
Communication Intelligence
Critical Risk Event
Data Dictionary
Decision Making
Devil’s Advocate
Feedback Loop
Operational Risk
Risk Analysis
Risk Forecasting
Risk Framework
Risk Index
Risk Intelligence
Risk Investigation
Risk Management
Risk Map
Risk Measurement
Risk Monitoring
Risk Preparedness
Risk Taking
Root Cause
Strategic Bias
Strategic Plan
Strategic Risk
Strategic Risk Analysis
Strategic Risk Intelligence
Strategic Risk Management

Blind Spot: An area of the visual field that cannot be seen, either by obstruction or failure of judgment. In anatomy: a small area at the back of the eye where the optic nerve is insensitive to light.

Cause and Effect: Recognition of connections between one event (the cause), with another (the effect), where each is dependent on one other and the originating event is known to be responsible for the outcome. See “Root Cause

Change Management: An organization’s approach to identifying and re-directing its operational resources, processes, and budget to significantly reshape and improve outcomes.

Cognitive Bias: A systematic pattern of deviation from rational judgment that often leads to a distorted perception, illogical interpretation, and/or inaccurate conclusions.

Cognitive Dissonance: Mental stress that occurs when an individual is confronted with information that is inconsistent with or contradicts their beliefs, ideas, and values.

Communication: The process of delivering a message using words or behavior, and exchanging that message to someone else with shared understanding.

Communication Intelligence: The ability to acquire knowledge using words, sounds, signs, and behaviors; synthesize it into a message; and exchange the information to another with a high degree of success. See “Risk Intelligence

Critical Risk Event: The existence of a vulnerability that is likely to cause serious damage to a particular outcome.

Data Dictionary: A set of terms describing the content, format, and structure of a set of data; the relationships between each element; and rules by which access is controlled.

Decision Making: The cognitive process of selecting a final course of action among alternate possibilities.

Devil’s Advocate: A person who holds an opposing position to the accepted norm—whether or not he or she agrees with that position—in order to examine it further.

Dictionary: An alphabetized set of terms that describes the spelling, pronunciation, and meanings of referenced words.

Feedback Loop: A control system in which leaders collect new input (suggestion, appreciation, or complaint), respond to the sender, validate and measure the input’s usefulness, decide which action to take, adjust processes, confirm outcomes, and alert the sender that action was taken. See Cause and Effect

Framework: The structure of facts and principles necessary to form a decision, concept, or system.

Implementation: The process of transforming a concept into reality by using a specified set of activities to execute the plan.

Innovation: “Applied creativity” through the creation of new products, services, relationships, and approaches. (Credit: Dr. Alan Weiss)

Language: A communication system that uses a set of words, sounds, symbols, or gestures to convey meaning.

Operational Risk: The probability of uncertainty in an organization’s internal and external operations that make it vulnerable to loss.

Participatory: Showing respect and dignity to all stakeholders, and providing them with the opportunity to be actively involved in generating ideas, designing processes, and ensuring a result that meets their needs.

Risk: The probability of uncertainty resulting in a negative or positive impact (damage, injury, liability, loss) due to internal or external vulnerabilities. See “Risk Intelligence

Risk   =   Likelihood  x  Effect


Risk Analysis: The process of systematically identifying, evaluating, and responding to factors that present a threat to the success of an organization.

Risk Forecasting: The prediction of future events based on past and present data trends, both quantitative (objective numbers) and qualitative (subjective and objective experiences).

Risk Framework: The structure an organization uses to predict and respond to all threats of damage, injury, liability, or loss.

Risk Index: Categories used to predict the expected impact and probability of a threat or opportunity, to determine which actions can reduce damage and increase the likelihood of success.

Risk index   =   Impact of a risk event  x  Probability of occurrence


Risk Intelligence: The ability to effectively distinguish which actions must be avoided to prevent loss or harm, and which actions must be taken to gain a competitive advantage. See “Strategic Risk Intelligence

Risk Investigation: A systematic exploration to identify and authenticate activities known to cause damage, injury, liability, or loss.

Risk Management: The identification, assessment, and prioritization of an organization’s uncertainties in achieving its objectives; and coordinated implementation of safeguards that minimize, monitor, and control the impact of failure and maximize the chance of success.

Risk Map: A graphical depiction that illustrates an organization’s risk impact and likelihood of its occurrence; used to identify, prioritize, and macro-quantify risks and opportunities.

Risk Measurement: Determination of the likelihood and impact of quantitative and qualitative uncertainties.

Risk Monitoring: Regular observation and planned response to uncertainties; systematic review over a period of time.

Risk Preparedness: Readiness for the impact of uncertainty.

Risk Taking: Conscious decision to take action that has an uncertain outcome.

Roadblock: A situation that blocks progress and makes it difficult or impossible to achieve objectives.

Root Cause: The most fundamental reason for occurrence of a failure or negative result.

Strategic Bias: The unconscious partiality toward a particular outcome that occurs because of unrecognized blind spots, insufficient information, and/or cognitive dissonance. See “Cognitive Dissonance

Strategic Plan: An organization’s process of determining the overall direction (Strategy), which goals they wish to achieve (Objectives), using which actions and resources (Tactics), and how they will know it was successful (Measures); abbreviated as VMVOM: Vision, Mission, Values, Objectives, and Measures. See “VMVOM

Strategic Risk: The vulnerabilities and untapped opportunities available in developing an organization’s goals. (Examples: Known and Unknown, Negative and Positive, Desirable and Undesirable, Integrated and Partitioned)

Strategic Risk Analysis: Detailed examination and interpretation of data related to an organization’s decision-making, hidden blind spots, and future uncertainties.

Strategic Risk Intelligence: The ability to effectively distinguish vulnerabilities and untapped opportunities in developing an organization’s goals, and translate these insights into superior judgment and practical action. See  “Communication Intelligence

Strategic Risk Management: The identification, analysis, and control of uncertainties that impede an organization from achieving its strategic objectives.

Surprise: To discover something unexpected and without warning; can be positive (pleasant wonder, astonishment) or negative (sudden attack, shock).

Unknown: Something that is unfamiliar, not recognized, or inconsistent.

VMVOM: The 5 basic components of an organization’s Strategic Plan:

Vision (“What does a perfect future look like?”)
Mission (“Why do we exist, and who do we serve?”)
Values (“What guides our behavior to others?”)
Objectives (“Where are we going, and How are we getting there?”), and
Measures (“How will we know when we’ve arrived?”)

Vulnerability: The state of being exposed to the possibility of attack, harm, or damage; from the Latin word “vulnus” (“wound”).

Workflow: An orchestrated sequence of activities where tasks, documents, and/or information are transferred step by step in order to achieve a final outcome; can be depicted in a visual diagram.

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Speaking and Training Terms

Breakout Session
Keynote Speaking
Panel Discussion

Breakout Session: A brief, powerful, and poignant discussion among a limited number of conference attendees related to the broader event theme.

Keynote Speaking: An event’s highlight message that sets the tone and encapsulates the sponsoring organization’s core message and values.

Panel Discussion: Expert discussion to an audience at a scientific, business, or academic conference.

Seminar: An informative presentation (virtual or in person) with a combination of lecture, visual materials, interactive tools, and demonstrations for a complete learning experience.

Webinar: A presentation, workshop or seminar conducted over the Internet that is interactive (attendees are encouraged to participate), multimedia (blends visual, audio, slides, and handout materials); may occur in real-time or previously recorded.

Workshop: A highly interactive method for participants to learn and apply new skills (virtual or in person). Unique demonstrations, hands-on testing “labs,” and skill practice are designed to help participants easily adopt new techniques.

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