Being Included vs. Being Engaged – One Key to ERM Success

I have written previously about how ERM can be integrated into strategic planning (see here, here, and here) and project management.

During a recent conversation with another risk professional regarding ERM’s role within an organization, we spoke about how it was included in various activities and meetings. While ERM was being “included,”  it soon became  apparent that it wasn’t truly engaged.

There is a world of difference between the two words, even though they are frequently used interchangeably.

“Included” is defined as being part of the whole, while “engaged” is defined as “busy or occupied; involved.”

How many times as risk management professionals have we asked to be included in an email distribution or meeting invite? (For me, it was more times than I want to remember!)

In the end, I got what I wanted…but I felt like the unwanted guest. You know, the person who barges their way into a room because they want to be part of the group, but the group doesn’t really want them there.

When this happens, the dynamics in the room change, the vibe in the air changes, and it makes me cringe…so I didn’t get engaged.

And then I realized I was going about it all wrong.

In reality, ERM needs an active seat at the table, a chance to provide valuable input at critical junctures in the decision-making process.

You may be asking yourself: how can I transition from just being included in the discussions on strategy and project management to being engaged? I don’t want to push my way in, but rather be a welcomed, active participant in the conversation.

Getting to this point requires you to put on your sales hat for a bit…

It means taking time to build relationships and demonstrate the value that ERM can bring to various areas throughout your organization, even in little ways. Because sometimes the little things make bigger impressions.

It means having informal conversations with key people in a variety of roles, talking about what they do and how ERM can benefit them. Make sure you are clear that they do a great job already and that ERM is focused on building even more value into the important work  they’re doing.

It means getting others  to take the initiative and invite you to important discussions  or reach out for ERM’s input into a decision.

Ultimately, this is the key difference between being “included” versus “engaged” – executives and managers will seek your input rather than roll their eyes when they see you.

Realizing this through painstaking trial and error was a huge turning point – for both my way of thinking and the success of the ERM initiative I was in charge of.

And it was time well-spent. I got to know more people, learn more about the organization, and see positive outcomes from ERM feedback.

Are you engaged in the decision-making process? How did you get there?

Tell me in the comments below or join the conversation on LinkedIn to share your thoughts.

And to learn about other factors that are key to ERM success, I invite you to check out the following:

If your organization needs someone to provide a new perspective on achieving ERM success, please contact me or continue browsing ERMInsightsbyCarol.com to learn more about how I approach ERM and crafting solutions.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Carol,
    I know you know that it’s really a question of attitude!
    Let’s ask around us if we Risk People, are viewed as facilitators in projects or blockers.
    And if we are seen as blockers, let’s try to find out why? What are the reasons people often see us as negative forces.
    Could it be that we do not project a dynamic image demonstating our passion to share with them the objective to achieve?

    Reply
    • Michel, you make great points!

      I completely agree about the question of attitude and how people perceive us. In fact, a common perception is that ERM is a bunch of naysayers, trying to keep business from being innovative or forward-thinking.

      In reality, we should be supporting the business objectives and providing them with information they need to achieve those objectives!

      Reply

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