A key factor influencing the use of the tools mentioned above is, in any case, whether and, if so, how these are involved in the company’s decision-making processes. For instance, leading indicators that are not an integral part of the regular management process will generally make little or no difference to the company. Similarly, risk cockpits that do not have the backing of the board are likely to turn out to be ineffective “paper tigers”. Moreover, the findings of the WHU study show that, according to controllers, the reason why companies are constrained in their ability to respond is not because change is being identified too late. In fact, in most cases it appears that the problem lies in management's ability to turn their discussions into an actual decision and that this decision, once made, is implemented too slowly.
This clearly shows that it is not enough to enhance and extend the use of leading indicators. In many companies, the anticipation and early warning capability is already very well developed; nevertheless these companies are still not able to predict major changes, such as the next crisis, sufficiently well – and they never will be! That is why it is important to take all relevant aspects of volatility management into consideration. Controllers must not limit themselves to their role as guardian of the toolbox. On the contrary, they need to ensure that management is fully focused on being able to respond rapidly at the first sign of change.