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A Short Guide to Facilitating Risk Management: Engaging People to Identify, Own and Manage Risk

If you need to make sound decisions in important but risky situations; work with groups to identify, prioritise and respond to risks, deliver value and, along the way, ensure the credibility of the process and the resilience of your organisation, A Short Guide to Facilitating Risk Management is for you.

About the book

Many organisations have spent small fortunes to set up risk processes and supporting tools which then fail to deliver the expected value. This is because rational processes don’t work well when trying to get groups of people to agree what is risky, why and what to do about it.

If you need to make sound decisions in important but risky situations; work with groups to identify, prioritise and respond to risks, deliver value and, along the way, ensure the credibility of the process and the resilience of your organisation, A Short Guide to Facilitating Risk Management is for you. It sets out a very practical approach to how the risk management process can deliver value through effective facilitation. It brings together Ruth Murray-Webster’s expertise in the human aspects of risk and risk attitude and Penny Pullan’s wide experience of the facilitation of project workshops to cover five main areas:

avoiding pitfalls – how to makesure you are better prepared, better able to use your knowledge with groups and better able to avoid unsupported or skewed results;
an understanding of risk management – to refresh your own knowledge and provide the basis for knowledge and ideas you can share with your group(s);
understanding your role – whether you are a full-time facilitator or a line manager with the need to improve risk management, you’ll learn the skills you need and gain an understanding of how best to develop them;
tried and tested tips for each step of the risk management process – proven practices showing how you can use the right mix of workshops, small groups and individual work to keep people engaged and get results;
running risk workshops – the whole area of making workshops work.

This book is illustrated with practical examples from the authors’ experience and their findings from interviews and surveys to help you get the best from your groups when they’re working together, both face-to-face and virtually.

You can find more information and order the book at Routledge (the publishers), Amazon UK, Amazon.com and all other good bookshops.

‘Risk meetings don’t have to be boring: A Short Guide to Facilitating Risk Management is the book that risk managers have been waiting for. It provides practical guidance on facilitating risk workshops, and making risk management happen outside of the workshop setting as well. Dotted throughout with cartoons, the emphasis is on practical guidance for getting things done without suffocating those poor souls who have to attend risk reviews. The book provides a clear introduction to tackling risk (including opportunities) in a fun, professional way, with the aim of gaining consensus. It’s pragmatic and practical, with real-life examples to show how risk management can become ingrained in the day-to-day management of initiatives in your organisation.’

Elizabeth Harrin

author of Project Management in the Real World and Head of IT Programme Delivery, Spire Healthcare

Resources to help with your business analysis

Has your organisation spent a small fortune to set up risk processes which then fail to deliver the expected value? We’ve seen it all too often.

The trouble isn’t so much the risk processes themselves, which are usually very logical and correct. The trouble seems to be with groups of human beings dealing with uncertainty. How can you get people to identify risks sensibly, let alone agree on what to do with them? How can you make sure people will take on ownership of risk?


There are ways to make risk management work. We’ve written a book about a practical approach to effective faciltiation of risk.

We hope very much that you will join in the debate by signing up below to become part of our risk facilitation community. You’ll receive updates from us from time to time. In your first e-mail, sent immediately, we’ll include a discount of 35% on the book price!


Special Programmes

How useful would you find risk management support, tailored specifically to what you need right now to succeed in your own organisation?

Please note that since Dr Ruth Murray Webster joined the Risk Practice of KPMG in September 2014, that the programmes are facilitated by Dr Penny Pullan.

We have written this book to provide very practical guidance that can be applied immediately. However, it’s only a short guide and for those who would like more support to facilitate risk management so that people identify, own and manage risks, we have some for you, wherever you are in the world.

This support is for people who have knowledge of risk management processes, tools and practices (as described in Chapter 2), but who struggle to get people in their organisation enthused and committed enough to make risk management work and deliver real value.

STOP PRESS – our previous Open Workshops and 12 month mentoring are now combined in our Virtual Risk Facilitation self paced Programme.

We find that continued support over several months works best for developing risk facilitation skills. So we have our Virtual Risk Facilitation Programme, which ran first in 2012.

Virtual Risk Facilitation Programme for self study

Do you need to run risk workshops and other group meetings or sessions where risk is the topic? If so, this is the programme for you. We cover both face-to-face and virtual techniques and support you as you apply them with confidence in your organisation.

This programme focuses on the practical skills of facilitation, applied to making risk management work well. With modules full of video, audio and reading materials, not to mention the support and challenge of other group participants, you will receive specific guidance and feedback on your own issues. You can time the modules to fit your own risk management process.

What do people say about our Virtual Risk Facilitation Programme?

What went well: the quality of the course, content and virtual facilitation. The sequence is well designed and logical.
Why join the program: if you need to manage risks (for your projects or Company) and you don’t know how to start, or simply want to innovate your approach, then you should follow this course. Brilliantly led by two recognised professionals, you’ll quickly get into practical and common problems, get solutions and learn how to master risks keeping people effective and involved in the process. The quality of the learning material and support is excellent and will complete your experience!

Fabio Panzavolta, Consultant and Project Manager, FPA Consulting, France www.fpaconsulting.eu

I have enjoyed every minute.

1. Sharing experiences with fellow risk practitioners is priceless. Looking at the soft skills aspects was something I had not considered in the past.

2. To encourage new participants I would say you need to take part fully and actively in the sessions and working through the material. Also try and match the stages of the course with what you are actually doing at work.

Simon, Risk Manager, UK


What do people say about our previous Risk Facilitation Skills training?

Working with Ruth & Penny was a sheer joy, we learnt so big
fundamental answers to questions we had such as ‘how do you actually
put together a risk workshop from start to finish’ to the more subtle
changes such as our use of language and how it can colour a whole
interaction with an individual or group which is such a gem of advice
when facilitating.

We also learnt how to make facilitating a risk workshop fun, enjoyable
AND productive – from scoping the workshop to meeting the objectives.
When putting this learning into practice with the Management Team some
of the comments back included:
‘That was really enjoyable’
‘That was fun’
‘The session was really worthwhile’
‘It’s made us realise how important a stakeholder plan is for managing
the programme….’
‘I’m really impressed with the quality of workshop’
‘I can’t believe how many opportunities there are’

The skills developed and knowledged shared during our session has
really helped spark enthusiasm, energy and real interest in the risk
process – amazing!

Thank you Ruth & Penny.

Find out more about the programme and sign up to try the next one here.

Our Tailored Virtual Support Programme

We know that some people are really busy and need quick and effective support with specific facilitation and/or risk management problems at a time to suit them. If this is your situation, you can opt to have personal support from Penny by telephone and online. We offer a service where you can schedule and define the agenda for monthly sessions over a period of twelve months.

For each session, you’ll describe the particular context and challenges that you’d like to cover and we’ll prepare to provide advice and tips based on our experience, and then run the session. After each session, we’ll let you have a short summary, highlighting the actions to take and any optional further reading that might be helpful.

This service of course covers the whole spectrum of risk facilitation. The investment for this focused service is £6000 for 12 months (plus VAT where applicable), and includes access to our virtual programme. (A variation of this is available that includes fewer sessions at a slightly reduced cost, contact us to find out more)

To take up this tailored support, please contact us for an initial conversation to ensure that this is right for your organisation. You can contact us by clicking here.

Our bespoke Risk Services

If there are multiple people in your organisation that need support, then it will be much better value for money to organise bespoke services. These could include any combination of:

  • a personalised instance of the virtual programme for your organisation, so you can learn together.
  • a face-to-face learning event that will focus on developing enhanced facilitation skills when adopting best practice risk management.
  • Very specific consultancy to help you fix risk facilitation related challenges quickly and effectively.

We would be delighted to talk with you to answer your questions and to explore how best we might support your work in making sure that risk management works well in your organisation. You can contact us by clicking here. Thank you.

More feedback from people who have been trained by us

To see pictures and read feedback from a workshop we ran together in March, have a look here.


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