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A string of high-profile disasters--the financial meltdown, the Gulf oil spill, and even an erupting Icelandic volcano--has drawn risk management to the center of attention in recent years. The stakes for managing risk successfully are high indeed, as companies move into increasingly unfamiliar territory in search of growth. But the risk management efforts that could contribute to more predictable business performance are competing for resources with a raft of other priorities in this fragile recovery. In this study, we explore companies' most urgent challenges and examine, from a practical perspective, how finance executives can help their companies understand and manage risk more effectively.