Key Person Risk

I prepare for and run a lot of enterprise risk workshops for executives and boards. As you can imagine, there can be a lot going on in a team of execs or board members that can affect how the workshop will play out. It’s impossible to know them all. That means a facilitator always carries some personal risk that the workshop will go haywire. What I playfully call Key Person Risk. That is, the key risk to me when I am the one in the front of the room!

There are two key strategies I employ to minimise, if not eliminate, the risk. First is preparation of insight tools. If I provide insights to participants and deeply challenge their thinking, the focus by everyone is on the conversation. I know I have said it thousands of times, however, preparation is absolutely key to a successful workshop.

The second strategy is to insist on meeting with the CEO or Chair of the Board prior to the workshop. This has a two-fold benefit. The first is obvious, to make sure I am aware of their expectations and to get a feel for where the team or board is at. I won’t know all the hidden agendas, but I will get the vibe.

The second benefit is sharing my unstated aim from the meeting, making sure the CEO or Chair get a feeling for me. To give them confidence that I will deliver for their team/board. If I do that successfully, I have a friend in the room on the day of the workshop in case things start heading off-track. And that friend is numero uno, the top dog!

What strategies do you employ to ensure the success of your workshop?

If you are in NZ the week of 17 June you might want to come along and get my full suite of tips on facilitating great workshops – RiskNZ/BWC Roadshow.