first_imgDo you ever stop to consider what’s behind your walls? No, I’m not talking about spiders, bugs or ghosts… I’m talking about all of the “stuff” that has to work in order for your house to function well. I don’t think about it much either — until recently. I began the process of finishing my basement. I’ve never really backed away from home improvements, and I gain a great amount of pride for building “sweat equity.” My will to see a project through, coupled with what some would call uber-thriftiness, lead me down the path to performing this task on my own.My basement has undergone a massive transformation over the past several weeks. What was once a huge, unfinished slab of concrete has morphed into an appealing set of rooms, each with their own unique characteristics. What stood out to me from my role as a risk management practitioner is the importance of what is behind the walls, something to which I have traditionally given little thought. I was even required to have an inspection related to the activities that went on behind the walls. While many of the requirements were somewhat new to me (and quite frankly frustrating during the process), I quickly learned to appreciate the importance of those things we can’t see and don’t often think of. Items that are paramount to my family’s safety, integral to things working, and crucial to the structure allowing the finished product to look nice never even crossed my mind when I set out to create my man-cave. I thought that as a long-time homeowner and somebody that could be considered an expert in homes (heck, I’ve lived in one for 40 years), there wasn’t much I couldn’t figure out on my own. While most people who visit might not think much of the components behind the walls, they form the foundation on which everything else stands.That got me to thinking about credit unions, something I am passionate about. The Rochdale Group works with a number of credit unions on enterprise risk management (ERM) engagements. We spend a lot of time going “behind the walls” and discussing those critical elements of credit union operations that form the foundation on which everything else stands. We meet with experts in various departments, discuss key processes and functions performed within those departments, and strive to identify opportunities to create a better tomorrow for their membership. Our goal is not to find things that are wrong or even strive to reach a level of assurance that everything is right. Rather, our focus is on creating an opportunity to discuss the strategies and inner workings of the credit union, ensuring appropriate alignment of those things behind the walls with the desired mission and vision of the institution. You see, the more capable and confident we are of understanding and managing the risks of today (those things behind the walls), the better positioned we are to exploit, leverage and navigate the uncertainties of tomorrow (finished product). That was never so true as when I began hanging cabinets and putting on my finishing touches. Absent a keen understanding of what was behind the walls (i.e, plumbing, water lines, electrical work), and the use of a few tools to help protect me in the future (i.e., nail blocks, photos of “behind the walls”), I would have been forced to move forward very cautiously; with the potential risk of creating quite a mess for myself, or altogether failing to deliver on the vision that I had from the beginning.How comfortable are you with what’s behind your walls? What process do you use to increase your capabilities and confidence in understanding and managing your risks of today? Most importantly, what foundation have you built to seize opportunities and navigate uncertainties as you move into the future? 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jeff Owen Jeff has over 12 years of experience in the financial services arena. Prior to Rochdale, Jeff worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and was part of the … Web: Detailslast_img read more