Buying Time

In my blog last week I answered a question which came up during my masterclass on “How to run an impactful risk workshop”, about tackling Risk Management fatigue. Another question was asked during the workshop concerning that finite resource, time:

“Do you typically run multiple workshops for the one business unit?
E.g. A risk identification workshop first and then another to explore the
detail? How do you overcome time constraints? I find that people often
get bogged down on exploring the first couple risks and we run out of time.”

My answer is that I buy time. That is, I ask for the maximum time I can get for a workshop, take what I get, give the participants a valuable experience and I have subsequently bought more time. That is, they want to, or are at least willing to, have another session because they know there was important unfinished business.

I usually can get two hours with a Board or Executive Team. Much can be accomplished in that time but there is still plenty of work to do afterwards to get final agreement on the risk profile and all the actions that need to be taken. Occasionally I get three or four hours but there is still work to be done afterwards because there are always things that need to be followed up with others. So I don’t try and land the whole profile in that time. I prefer to take the extra time to explore potential areas of risk and to have richer conversations about the ones identified.

I recommend against workshops exceeding half a day. Too many participants either cancel last moment or duck out too often. Instead, I buy time.