Risk Insider: Grace Crickette

It’s Not Risk Management, it’s Change Management

By: | June 4, 2014

Grace Crickette, a leader in enterprise risk management, is special administrator, Finance and Administration for San Francisco State University. She can be reached at [email protected].

Topics: Claims | ERM | Risk Insider

I might practice Risk Management, but I live Change Management.  Whether it is implementing a new loss control program, facilitating a session on risk appetite, or working on the annual budgeting process; I’m either dealing with change that is happening to me, or I’m trying to introduce change to someone else.

I’m always looking for a way to create a win for everyone involved, not offend others or be offended, and navigating my way to the path of least resistance.  The “way” usually involves listening and gaining understanding about what is important to the other person, a good dose of compromise and then adapting my language to the audience.

Not everyone has the same appreciation for risk or the same sense of urgency that I do.

John P. Kotter in his book, “Leading by Change” identifies the first step in creating lasting change as establishing a sense of urgency.  This requires examining  market and competitive realities and identifying and discussing crisis, potential crisis or major opportunities.

You always have to be mindful to create a sense of urgency without creating a culture of fear.

As risk managers, we don’t want to be known as “the boy who cried wolf,” or the bearer of bad news. Starting your conversation with, “don’t kill the messenger” is not a good risk mitigation tool.

I have had numerous situations where I knew that change was urgently needed, but was challenged with how to deliver the message without alienating my audience.  You always have to be mindful to create a sense of urgency without creating a culture of fear.

In one particular situation there was a significant financial deficit that in order to turn around would require significant change in how employees did their jobs. I gathered the group together and provided a theme based on the old Mission Impossible show, but with a twist…

Mission Possible

I leveraged our actuaries at the meeting to demonstrate the “market analysis and competitive realities,” clearly demonstrating that if we continued with business as usual the deficit was going to continue to grow.

One key component to the Mission was that we needed to get claims closed.  One individual stood up and asked, “ … but if we close the claims, what will I do?”

I responded that if we changed our claims management strategy there would be a reduced need for time to be spent on claims (I was honest), but that it would free employees to focus on loss prevention.  I then went on to introduce a new safety program in which all the employees would be engaged in the opportunity piece of the equation.  The individual who expressed their fear of change went on to be a huge success in their organization, reducing employee injuries, reducing the financial deficit and in turn was promoted.

Key Takeaway:  Create a sense of urgency

Mission Possible: Provide data analysis, anticipate the fear, and be ready with a solution to address that fear.

Remember – It’s not Risk Management, its Change Management!

Read all of Grace Crickette’s Risk Insider contributions.

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