Extracting Teeth

I’ve seen it in their eyes when there is a suggestion that we run a risk workshop.

For starters, they (board, executive, team) are very busy people. They have much to achieve, they have a good plan, they have good robust discussions, including about risk. Why do they need a risk workshop?

Maybe they have attended risk workshops in the past and they felt bored out of their minds. Perhaps the facilitator (was it you?) followed a drab, mechanical process to collect risks for the beloved “risk register”.

Maybe they had a much worse experience. Maybe they felt like they had taken a trip to the dentist and were unexpectedly facing a tooth extraction. They were not bored; they were pained by aimless discussions about “inherent risk” or “risk velocity” or “line 1 vs line 2”. Not to mention a discussion about meteorites taking out part of the country (OK – I’m exaggerating but I hope you get my point).

If this has been their experience, your first challenge is to get them into the room. Last week in my masterclass on risk workshop facilitation I was asked about this challenge.

The answer I gave was to give them the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). I gave the example of attracting a “sales guy” to a workshop. I get salespeople in the room by telling them sales will improve or profit margin will improve or both “… which I presume would reflect in your bonus structure?”. I then tell them the story of when I worked with a private company turning over $150M+. The “sales guy” was the son of the owner and I set the expectation, as for all execs, that each must attend at least one other division workshop. He came to the one with the service delivery arm. Within an hour we had identified a disconnect between sales and service where they had completed a back of the envelope calculation identifying 20% of gross profit being lost because of this disconnect. The “sales guy” became my biggest supporter and the executive team risk workshop was a resounding success.

Risk management is about helping others be successful. Identify your target audience’s definition of success and explain how the risk workshop will help deliver that. It is not always easy, but you must find a hook.

Before you go, please ask yourself why risk workshops should deliver the success your audience craves? What is it about risk workshops that achieves this? I’ll give you to next week to answer the question then I will give you mine. ☺

Stay safe and please run engaging workshops.