I have always been fascinated by the old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” According to one article I read prior to writing this blog, the chicken came first because the formation of eggs is only possible due to proteins found in a chicken’s ovaries. Because that was the answer I wanted to hear, that is as far as my research went. Now to my point.
Communicating the benefits of an intangible benefit is incredibly difficult. Take communicating the benefits of a program that helps facilitate sound risk-based decision making. If you have been down this path you know the benefits. The egg has been laid, another chicken born and reproduction of the benefit of that first egg is occurring.
Unfortunately there are still so many organisations with the chicken still standing on the other side of the road with too much traffic to safely cross to lay a golden egg.
Why? Because risk, HR, finance and many other functions, got hijacked by well-meaning technical specialists. So technical, so smart, that they created too many technical requirements, surrounded by technical jargon, that it became meaningless to the business they were meant to serve.
Because of the damage done, many senior leaders have desperately avoided implementing programs of worth. They have paid them lip service. There are only two ways to turn them around. The first is to wait until disaster strikes and then pounce. The second, and more effective option, is to change their experience of the program.
Invite a chicken to lunch… If you want a good risk, HR, procurement or any other program.
Implementing effective programs starts with a conversation. Just like one you might have over lunch with a colleague or client. One where you get to explore their perceptions, tell them stories, give them some new insights and then gain their agreement to have some more conversations. Gradually the perceptions change and momentum is gained.
So put down your report, delete the graphs, stop talking in parseltongue and go have lunch with the most influential person in the organisation you can reach and have a down-to-earth conversation. Then book more conversations.
Oh, and please don’t tell them they are the chicken. They may not quite get your point.