You have been asked to meet a deadline to accomplish a given goal for enterprise risk management in your organisation. What is the first thing you do? Carol Williams, enterprise risk management consultant and founder of ERM Insights

You instantly start making a list of all the necessary steps (doesn’t matter whether the list is electronic, hard-copy, or a mental list).

Then you put those steps in order.

Then you open your calendar to plan out the following weeks (and maybe months) when you will be taking those steps. The list goes on and on…

But how do you know that each of those steps will be successful? After all, the next step depends on the prior step having the desired result.

Do you feel comfortable taking that next step if you are unsure of your last step?

Most people would say no, they are not comfortable, but they would force themselves to take the next step anyway because that was the plan.

Is this the best approach? Are you able to provide the most value to your organization?

I was inspired to write about this important topic due to a recent conversation with a client. The organizational culture is very focused on taking action then pausing for reflection. Instead, we risk professionals frequently start out gung-ho with what we need to do and just push through to the end without stopping to reflect.

Taking baby steps is a concept that is frequently mentioned in a variety of ways. Pausing to reflect and reiterate and not racing to the finish line is yet another area where it can be applied.

What if you could have tweaked something in the middle of the list to achieve a much more powerful outcome? It is too late…and you just missed your opportunity.

You can take these 3 easy steps to ensure an optimal and powerful outcome for your risk-related activities.

1. Act: Complete a planned step

2. Reflect: Pause to think about success of that step. Ask yourself:

    • What went well?
    • What went wrong?
    • What could have gone better?

3. Reiterate: Adjust your plan to address those items that didn’t go well and what could have gone better.

Sounds simple, I know. And it is always easier to say than do.

You might be thinking – I just don’t have time to reflect and reiterate if I am going to meet this deadline. Well, let me give you a piece of advice. Reflection doesn’t have to take days or even hours. Take 5-10 minutes immediately after you finish a conversation or conclude a workshop. You instinctively know the answers to the reflect questions above.

And if you are with a team, involve them. Different perspectives are always helpful.

The idea of act, reflect and reiterate can be used for small actions or large projects, all based on what you are working on right now. In fact, I suggest that if your organization is seeking a different outcome from its risk conversations but keeps on doing the same thing, reflection and reiteration are the two missing steps for you!

If you are wondering how this concept would be applied to a bigger scale, I previously wrote about how conducting a pilot can be a game-changer for implementing a large-scale change.

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