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Info Sharing Session: The Biggest Risks are Sometimes the Ones We Never Talk About

26 February, 2016
8:30 am - 9:00 am


26 February, 2016 @ 8:30 am - 9:00 am

The Biggest Risks Are Sometimes the Ones We Never Talk About

By Miles Crisp: CEO – Tarsus Technologies Group

Wow what a presentation. Thank you Miles. I think everyone will agree that we were spell bound and highly entertained by a real heart to heart, honest and refreshing look into corporate culture.  My short write up won’t do justice to what Miles spoke about.  Fortunately we videoed the event which will soon be up on the web-site and well worth a look at.

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Miles spoke about looking deeper into what makes an organisation tick and not just taking things at face value. There is a lot going on under the surface of all organisations. Miles spoke about organisations being ‘mist’ (my interpretation being: ‘a facade and what you see is not quite what you get’), steeped in tradition, brand, processes and controls that portray this wonderful outside image of the company. In many cases however there is a culture right from the top aimed at systematically indoctrinating us all (the public) to believe in this wonderful organisation. But beneath the surface there are these submarines (people and groups within an organisation) battling it out and torpedoing and sinking one another. The oil slick bubbles up to the surface and risk managers and others run around trying to contain the oil slick. They don’t see all the machinations below the surface and the cause of the oil slick which happened 1 km below the surface and 12 kms away from where the slick popped up on the surface.  We as risk and audit managers don’t ask the hard questions or get to the root cause of the problem which more often than not involves people, politics and the senior leadership of the organisation. Instead we tick-off and find holes in processes, controls etc. which is an important function but does not address  the root cause of how people work / don’t work together resulting in inefficiencies and the inability for the organisation to achieve its strategy. We don’t find or unblock the ‘clot’ (i.e. people undermining the strategy) that causes the heart attack that can bring the entire organisation to its knees.

What made Miles’s presentation real was the number of examples where we as the public have been duped; to name just a few: Dick Cheney / Geroge W. Bush and the world-wide propaganda and justification of calling for the invasion of Iraq, based on the misleading claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction; behind the scenes this was about making money for the Carlyle Group supplying and making a fortune out of arms dealings. The FIFA scandal which reads like a mafia story. The orchestrated dishonesty at VW regarding the emission scandal, the Siemens scandals in 2008 and beyond with Solmssen’s comment: ‘a culture of corruption extended far beyond the executive suite. As one German investigator later put it, “bribery was Siemens’ business model”. In fact, the company even had a handy accounting euphemism for its bribes: “nützliche Aufwendungen,” or “useful money”.

Miles spoke about and referred to lessons learnt whilst working with Etsko Schuitema (care and growth leadership consulting) where you need to look at the people element by mentoring the right people to enable them to step up to the plate, take accountability and get results rather than just being rules based, fit for purpose robots. Miles made reference to a good example of ‘robot based’ processes: leave accruals which were so high that by sending everyone on leave the company could make its profit targets. This is where the process has superseded good business sense. How many other processes / controls are there like this which are audited again and again and make no difference. The oil slicks… without finding the root cause. The important thing however is that once you have empowered someone and they are given the accountability and responsibility, there must be consequences if they don’t deliver.

Putting the right people in the right seats to achieve success, removing the clots (people and groups blocking the vision / strategy and smooth flow of the organisation) and ethical and honest leadership (genuine tone from the top) results in a winning business.

For the video please click on https://barnowl.co.za/videos/

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GRCReady is the official provider of risk management content for the BarnOwl GRC software solution. GRCReady provides extensive risk libraries and risk maturity checklists/surveys which are integrated with BarnOwl.

GRCReady, based in Australia, offers a comprehensive and holistic library of products and associated services including templates, policies, procedures, guidelines, checklists etc.t to help owners and directors of SMEs, startups and corporates to satisfy their corporate governance, risk management and regulatory compliance needs.

By integrating GRCReady's rich content libraries into BarnOwl's GRC software, we are able to offer our clients a state of the art, turnkey GRC solution.

GRCReady provides, arguably, the most comprehensive risk and governance maturity assessment framework with detailed steps and artefacts. BarnOwl's survey and action plan portal provides a simple and effective way to monitor and report on your current state of risk maturity and suggest and drive remedial action plans to take you to your desired state of risk and governance and maturity.

By integrating GRCReady's risk libraries with the BarnOwl GRC software, means that you don't have to start from scratch. In addition, ongoing updates and insights keep you informed and up-to-date on best practices.



Season Rhyrhm is BarnOwl's preferred partner in Botswana assisting with BarnOwl implementations, support services and client relationship management.

Season Rhythm is an established and distinguished player in the ICT sector in Botswana, specialising in a range of cutting-edge solutions. Season Rhythm leverages BarnOwl to provide tailored GRC&A services to businesses in Botswana facilitating:

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BarnOwl works closely with NSA in the field of GRC and assurance.

NSA is an education and risk & assurance advisory services provider, consisting of a team of professional consultants and facilitators who have been hand-picked on experience and expertise. NSA services include:

  • Strategic intervention: 30 expert consultants facilitating strategic planning, combined assurance, effective governance and risk management assignments.
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Morgan Solus is BarnOwl's preferred business continuity specialist consulting firm with its 'BCM toolkit' software. BarnOwl GRC together with the BCM toolkit, provides a comprehensive risk management and BCM software solution.

Morgan Solus is a specialist consultancy firm focusing on risk, resilience and continuity. Morgan Solus's core services are centred on resilience, crisis management, business continuity (BCM), IT services continuity and disaster recovery (DRP) and training.

The BCM toolkit ensures a consistent approach to implementing BCM and IT disaster recover and cuts down implementation timelines by 60% whilst driving up successful outcomes.

BarnOwl's extensive GRC and assurance functionally coupled with Morgan Solus's BCM toolkit provide the ultimate risk management and BCM software solution.



Arbutus Analytics is Barnowl's preferred data analytics software. BarnOwl GRC integrated with Arbutus Analytics, provides the ultimate in continuous risk monitoring.

Arbutus Analyzer is a powerful data access and analysis solution specifically developed for auditors, business analysts, and fraud investigators. Its robust performance and user-friendly features offer you the ability to access and analyse data quickly and simply.

BarnOwl GRC, integrated with the real-time metrics from Arbutus provides a strategic early warning system driving preventative and predictive capability facilitating effective business decision making business improvement.

www.arbutussoftware.com with local sub-sahara African distributor www.betasoftware.co.za


Barnowl works closely with Pax Resilience in the field of GRC and sustainability.

Pax Resilience offers solutions in risk, resilience and cyber security. Pax Resilience strive to create peace of mind by assisting you to build the resilience in your organisation so essential to survive and thrive in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world we live in.

Pax Resilience regularly presents online information sharing sessions together with Barnowl.



Paige Law is the official provider of compliance content for the Barnowl GRC software solution. Paige Law provides an extensive Library of South African acts including provisions [CRMPs] and checklists which are integrated with Barnowl.

Paige Law specialises in compliance, Commercial Law, Legal process consultancy, managed legal services and POPIA/ GDPR.


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