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Prepare for External Risks

Proactively prepare the organization’s talent for the risks of tomorrow by uncovering HR initiatives to implement today.

  • Organizations focus on finding operational and financial solutions to external risks without evaluating how talent can be part of the solution. When HR is not involved early on, by the time the talent implications are apparent, the damage is already done.
  • This is further complicated by a VUCA climate where there is less time to rectify errors before organizational survival is threatened.

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  • Get advice, coaching, and insight at key project milestones
  • Go through a Guided Implementation to help you get through your project

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Managing risks must go beyond maintaining the status quo. HR departments that anticipate and proactively plan for the talent implications of external risks not only survive but thrive through challenging times.

Impact and Result

  • Conduct an environmental scan to identify and prioritize external risks according to their likelihood, impact, and HR relevance.
  • Create scenarios to anticipate the talent implications of the prioritized risks.
  • Identify HR initiatives that enable organizations to survive and thrive in a VUCA world with the use of three principles: proactive implementation, plan now for the future, and opportunity for growth.

Prepare for External Risks Research & Tools

1. Conduct an environmental scan

Assess the organization’s context and scan the environment to prioritize external risks.

2. Create external risk scenarios

Determine the scope of scenario planning, identify assumptions and uncertainties, and build scenarios for each prioritized risk.

3. Identify HR initiatives

Define talent implications and HR initiatives to address them, then present recommendations to the board.

4. McLean Academy Learning Snapshot

Watch this learning snapshot for an introduction to managing risk.

Prepare for External Risks preview picture

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 3-phase advisory process. You'll receive 7 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Conduct an environmental scan
  • Call 1: Identify resources and plan to conduct an environmental scan.
  • Call 2: Review prioritized external risks.

Guided Implementation 2: Create external risk scenarios
  • Call 1: Determine the scope of scenario planning.
  • Call 2: Review scenarios and discuss assumptions and uncertainties of each prioritized risk.

Guided Implementation 3: Identify HR initiatives
  • Call 1: Define talent implications from each risk scenario.
  • Call 2: Review the External Risks Initiatives Catalog and discuss appropriate initiatives.
  • Call 3: Prepare to present to stakeholders.


  • Wayne Cascio, Professor, UC Denver Business School
  • Sharon Jobity, Former VP HR, Ontario Centres of Excellence
  • Cynthia Lengnick-Hall, Professor, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Daniel Lucy, Deputy Director HR Research and Consultancy, Institute for Employment Studies
  • Carol Ann Malinowsky, VP Performance and Rewards, Custom Ink
  • Joel McLean, Founder and Executive Chairman, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Leesa Schipani, Partner, Kardas Larson
  • John Selsky, Consulting Fellow, Institute for Washington’s Future
  • Dr. Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor, Researcher and Consultant, University of Auckland
  • Ira Wolfe, President, Success Performance Solutions
  • Anonymous Contributor