What Star Trek Taught Me about Risk Leadership

By Erin GloecknerLeonard_Nimoy_William_Shatner_Star_Trek_1968-768x546

Source: Nonprofit Risk Management Center

There’s not exactly a Starfleet Academy for nonprofit risk professionals, like in the beloved television and film series, Star Trek. Nonprofit risk professionals are often designated by surprise, and are expected to learn on the job, wear new hats (e.g., insurance program manager, safety committee leader, etc.), or seek out professional certifications and training outside our organizations. There are few—if any—accepted standards that nonprofit risk professionals must meet in order to be deemed effective as risk leaders. So how will you know when you reach the status of a commissioned officer, ready to traverse the stars in pursuit of knowledge… or the status of a Risk Champion, ready to traverse the realm of nonprofit stewardship in search of mission advancement?

All Risk Champions can learn from these nine poignant reminders of efficacy in risk leadership from the Star Trek universe. (Quotes source: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series)

James T. Kirk: “All your people must learn before you can reach for the stars.” – Star Trek: The Original Series, The Gamesters of Triskelion (1968)

  • In this episode, Kirk empowers Shahna and her comrades to take their opportunity to learn about freedom and build a new life. Kirk’s sentiment rings true for nonprofit leaders who desire to help all their team members engage in risk management initiatives. Many NRMC clients have expressed the desire to inculcate or bake-in risk awareness at all levels of their organizations. To empower diverse nonprofit team members to make risk-aware decisions, nonprofit leaders must first articulate the risk-taking approach for the organization, and then provide staff with the space and decision-making authority to interpret and apply that vision. A recent RISK eNews article shared tips for nonprofit leaders who want to encourage risk-taking and risk awareness among their teams.



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