High-Stakes Decisions: Manage Risk and Reputation

Booth School of Business

Booth School of Business


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Who should attend

This program is designed for senior leaders who are responsible for making high-stakes decisions to protect, prepare, or move their organization ahead. It benefits those who are involved in developing a proactive strategic risk management approach for their organization or who play a role in managing their organization’s reputation and risk to shareholders, customers, employees, and other key stakeholders.

Executives from a wide range of industries and organizations, including corporations, startups, and public sector organizations will find this program beneficial. Suggested titles include board of directors, C-suite executives, senior vice presidents, entrepreneurs, and other senior executives.

About the course

Make impactful strategic risk and leadership decisions to mitigate crises. In this collaborative live-online program, senior executives will move beyond traditional risk management approaches to uncover fragile interconnections, anticipate potential shock waves, and develop a proactive risk and reward management strategy for their organization. You'll gain high-performance leadership and communication frameworks to protect and manage your organization's reputation in the process.

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, the stakes for organizations are high. Successful leaders are those who proactively lead risk management strategies for their organization—scanning the horizon for threats and shining a light on new opportunities while communicating clearly under pressure.

In this 5-week program, you'll learn critical strategic approaches for managing risk and making high-stakes decisions. You'll acquire the tools to identify and anticipate a broad set of risks—not only the risks in your direct control, but also ones that can result from external forces such as pandemics, supply chain disruptions, financial crises, terrorism, and cybersecurity threats. You'll also elevate your ability to make critical leadership and communication decisions during times of change, uncertainty, and crisis.

By attending, you will:

  • Scan the horizon for red flags in government and market conditions to better protect your organization from potentially disruptive events.
  • Broaden your perspective to better understand your organization’s vulnerabilities and avoid being hurt as an "innocent bystander".
  • Gain the strategic mindset to capitalize on new opportunities that occur as a result of a crisis.
  • Cultivate a resilient organization in times of uncertainty and change.
  • Learn how to leverage and enhance your organization's reputation as a tool in your crisis management planning.
  • Gain effective communication and messaging frameworks that can be applied to diverse audiences such as investors, customers, employees, and government officials when your organization's reputation is on the line.

When you leave this program, you and your organization will be better prepared to make the tough decisions when it matters most and spotlight what your organization stands for through impactful leadership and effective communication.

Program Format

Offered in a series of focused 90-minute live segments over five weeks, the program fits into the busy schedules of senior executives and provides an opportunity to reflect and apply program concepts in between sessions. It also fosters an environment where senior leaders can share experiences and engage with the faculty and each other not only during the class sessions but also through group projects, after-class hangouts, and a virtual "fireside chat."

Each week combines live sessions with self-study readings and assignments. Live-online sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10–11:30 a.m. US Central Time. These sessions are recorded, but you are highly encouraged to participate live. After-class hangouts with faculty will follow from 11:30 am-12:00 pm CT on Thursdays during Weeks 1-4.

Participants should expect to commit a total of 4-6 hours per week to the program.

Why Attend

This program provides an unprecedented opportunity to learn from renowned faculty and a high-caliber, global network of senior leaders.

Renowned Faculty

Chicago Booth Professor Randall S. Kroszner will share his expertise and experience as former Governor of the Federal Reserve System during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2001-2003 where he dealt with the shock of 9/11, Latin American debt and currency crises, and corporate governance scandals. Dr. Kroszner is currently the Chair of the Financial Research Advisory Committee of the Office of Financial Research of the U.S. Treasury, an entity that provides financial stability and “shines a light in the dark corners of the financial system” to analyze, assess, and predict risk as well as provide policymakers with risk mitigation tools.

You can learn more about professor Kroszner's experiences making critical decisions for US policy during the 2008-2009 financial crisis here.

What's more, attendees will learn from Susan Lucia Annunzio, President and CEO, The Center for High Performance (CfHP), where she acts as a strategic advisor to CEOs of leading global companies on strategy attainment, business transformation, and thought leader on shaping and maintaining high-performance business environments. By working directly with board of directors, senior teams, and business units, Lucia has a proven record of enhancing collaboration, communication, and creativity during challenging times of change.

Fireside Chat

Learn firsthand from a renowned guest speaker who'll share how they have managed strategic challenges and risk in their organization.

Group Projects

You'll have an opportunity to apply what you've learned to a real-life scenario. You'll collaborate with peers to discuss and present solutions, getting feedback from the actual organization that faced the scenario.

After-Class Hangouts with Faculty and Peers

Participants can get to know each other and the faculty outside the classroom through casual discussion on Zoom. Participants will have an opportunity to share thoughts about today's business environment and their challenges.

Program Outline

Scanning the Horizon: A Proactive Strategic Risk Management Approach

  • Learn how to put your domain expertise in the context of broader risks that pose a threat to your organization and the economy more generally
  • Uncover fragile interconnections to understand systemic risks that can emerge from events such as pandemics, policy changes, financial crises, and supply chain disruptions
  • Discover how to step outside your organization in order to understand your vulnerabilities and avoid being hurt as an "innocent bystander"
  • Gain the strategic mindset to capitalize on new opportunities that occur as a result of a crisis
  • Examine unintended consequences and global spillovers of policy responses to crises and macro volatility
  • Apply a risk and reward framework—Urgency, Mission, Agility, and Persistence—to encourage innovation, manage disruption, and “UMAP” your future

High-Stakes Leadership: Dealing with Uncertainty and Managing Reputation

  • Cultivate resilient, high-performance teams in difficult times
  • Learn how to optimize thinking during change and uncertainty
  • Understand the important role of emotions and empathy during change
  • Improve strategic communication to lead effectively, guard against miscommunication, and avoid reputational damage
  • Gain the communication tools to tell bad news, diffuse negativity, tackle tough questions and unspeakable subjects, and make loud statements of change
  • Acquire frameworks to formulate effective messages for different audiences and stakeholders


Susan Lucia Annunzio

I am the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for High Performance (CfHP). In this role, I act as a strategic advisor to CEOs of leading global companies on strategy attainment and business transformation. I have a strong track record of helping leaders maximize returns on strategi...

Randall Kroszner

Randall S. Kroszner served as a Governor of the Federal Reserve System from 2006 until 2009. He chaired the committee on Supervision and Regulation of Banking Institutions and the committee on Consumer and Community Affairs. In these capacities, he took a leading role in developing responses to t...

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High-Stakes Decisions: Manage Risk and Reputation at Booth School of Business

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