How to manage a successful enterprise risk management program
So, not only do you have to bring clarity of purpose through the charter, vision and mission, you must also repeat these statements often with your committee members. This will ensure a greater likelihood that they can clearly articulate their role and the role the committee plays within your organization.
Another important point is: Do not write these documents for the committee! Your job is to facilitate the discussions and help the committee draw the necessary conclusion(s) through your expert guidance. This can be a painful process, and I’ve been through as many as 30 edit sessions to reach an agreement – but it is critical. Although laborious at times, it is time well spent in that it ensures the committee “owns” the charter, vision and mission and are engaged in the process from day one.
3. Be an action-orientated steering committee
So, many steering committees get mired in discussion and “what if’s” that action ceases to exist. As the committee leader, you play a critical role in driving the committee and its actions.
First, you should send out pre-work before meetings. Develop the topics, readings, things you would like the committee to do some pre-think on etc. This gives them an engagement task that will serve as a central focus for the meeting. This significantly improves the ability to stay on track.
Second, clearly define the agenda and set time limits for each topic. Make it clear which parts of the agenda are discussion times (and limit the time) and which decisions must be made during the meeting. Most of the meeting time should be spent making decisions. Stick to the timeline and keep the agenda moving.
And lastly, provide homework at the end of each meeting. This affords you an opportunity to engage with each committee member individually outside of the committee meeting and gives the sponsor real and meaningful work to help move the initiative along. With more face time, you can clear up misunderstandings, take a pulse check on how each member is viewing the progress and use that time to influence.
4. Coach up!
Most executives I have worked with over the years want to see the initiative succeed and certainly want a return on investment. So, typically the want and desire to sponsor and support is there, but the understanding and language of the subject matter may not be.
For this reason you have a responsibility to “coach up.” This means educating the committee members on the subject matter in a way they can understand. Provide them with communication templates and give them the language to express the importance of the initiative(s) and its value to the organization. Remember to talk in terms of value creation or value preservation. You can also script the sponsors support by asking them to call a person and communicate a certain message, or help draft language for them to use in there communication documents, or help build a piece of a key presentation they are doing.
Provide committee members with the knowledge, talking points/language and the direction and watch your initiative soar!
Troy Hackett is the director enterprise risk management at Wilbur-Ellis Company and has worked extensively in the ERM space. Hackett is a graduate of Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Mo. with a degree in Industrial Safety and went on to earn his M.B.A. at Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga. Hackett also holds certifications from the Risk and Insurance Management Society and the American Society of Safety Engineers.
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