The Risk Management Puzzle with Kevin Yascur, Risk Manager at Soben

On the latest episode of Risk Management: Brick by Brick, Jason Reichl is joined by Kevin Yascur, Risk Manager at Soben. Soben is a global construction consultancy firm with hands-on commercial experience delivering major construction projects across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. They are a value-based organization, acting with integrity, bravery, and inclusivity.

In this episode, Jason and Kevin discuss Kevin’s journey from accounting to risk management; the importance of relationship building and open lines of communication with project managers; and how technology has affected the risk management industry.

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Are Risk Managers Becoming Obsolete?

Technology. Along with AI, it’s the buzz-word of the year, right? And it seems like they’ll both be front and center for a long time. After all, we are in a digital age. For the vast majority of us, technology is now ingrained in our daily routines. Heck, even reading this article means you’re using technology! 

With all of these cool digital things in our day-to-day lives, we are also using more tech to support our careers, and it’s hard not to take that for granted. Only those of us in the risk management business for several decades will remember when cookie-cutter houses used to take a year and a half; they can now be thrown together in three months! That’s down to the tech we have now.

We are now able to use various programs to run numerous iterations and potential scenarios of a project, helping us to visualize ALL of the potential outcomes. It makes our risk management lives smoother, and means more projects are getting done on time and on budget. But is it maybe a little too helpful? Are the programs going to take over the risk management industry and make us no longer needed?

According to Kevin, the answer is a hard no. He says, “the cool thing, in my opinion, in risk management is we’re the people that ask the questions, right? You’re always gonna have to have someone that goes in, has to think critically, ask the right questions, point the conversation in the proper manner so that we have the right inputs into these systems, into the technology, so we can get the right outputs and get and derive success that way.” 

Your job role may be changing with the help of these programs, but you’ll still be needed for anything to get done correctly.

The Importance of Relationship Building

Even with all this tech helping you make recommendations, it is vital that they are heard and addressed appropriately by the relevant project managers and workers. But this is only possible if two things are achieved: trust with project managers and effective communication. 

For Kevin, the key to this is by demonstrating that risk management is a resource for them; they’re on the same team, working towards the same goal. Project managers wear a lot of hats and have to worry about many things, and so it’s important to ensure they know you’re only there to help with the risks. Kevin adds, “Just as long as you’re showing you’re a value added to them, right. And you’re helping them make their life easier from the risk side of things. […] You’ve got to talk the talk, walk the walk too, and that’s just a relationship that kind of builds over time as the project progresses.”

Building this relationship also helps to keep an open line of communication outside of regularly scheduled meetings. This means that, during an ongoing project, if a new risk becomes apparent, project managers will elevate it to the risk management team so it can be incorporated into the risk catalog quickly and efficiently.

Keep building those relationships, they are vital to your success as a risk manager.

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