Making Sense

Over the last few weeks, I have encouraged you to look at risk workshops as pathways to creating clarity for teams about what is between them and success. Sensemaking or making sense of the world.

The secret to successful risk workshops is the preparation you undertake. I know you are busy, and preparing takes time. However, if there is one tip I give that I wish you would take and always follow, it’s to over-prepare for a risk workshop. The more you prepare the more insights you can create for the team, the greater their ability to make sense of their world and the more you are valued.

I remember running a risk workshop about 15 years ago that did not go so well. It is the last time I broke my golden rules about preparing a strong piece of analysis, and making sure I met the two most important people in the room before the day. In this case it was a board, and the two most important people were the Chair and the most vocal or influential board member. All had gone very well with the division workshops I ran and because “everyone is so busy” they did not think I needed to meet them beforehand.

It became a bit of a slanging match between board and exec. When the workshop finished my client commented: “That did not go too bad.” Turns out it was an adversarial relationship between board and management. I would have sensed that had I met with them beforehand and I would have taken a different approach. I would have done more asking for their thoughts, rather than informing them of what management thought were the key risks to the organisation’s objectives.

Stay safe and please run engaging workshops.