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Managing Uncertainty Workshop

Managing Uncertainty Workshop

The world of business is becoming more complex.  Rapid changes in technology, the political and regulatory environment, combined with increased competition and litigation burdens, is putting more pressure than ever on organizations to make the best decisions.  Uncertainty grows right along with business complexity.

The Managing Uncertainty Workshop is for decision makers in organizations who are trying to cope with the uncertainty associated with relentless change. Combining learning and teambuilding, participants will develop an accurate risk profile for your organization.  We start with a clear understanding of your strategic, operational and financial objectives, including the expected outcomes and how they will be measured.

In a facilitated workshop your team will examine the internal and external environment in which the organization seeks to achieve its objectives.  This provides the basis for identifying risks based on those events that might create, enhance, prevent, degrade, accelerate or delay the achievement of objectives.

A risk analysis process is then used to comprehend the nature and level of each risk, thereby providing the basis for risk evaluation and decisions about the best response.  In the decision making process of developing your organizations risk profile, your management team will also learn:   

  • Why risk and uncertainty are not the same and how they should be treated differently
  • How to avoid errors when dealing with judgement under uncertainty
  • How to recognize and overcome problems associated with group decision making
  • How groups can make decisions faster and better
  • How to use an information filtering process to make the right decisions

When you and your team learn the process, you will be able to not only anticipate events that can threaten the achievement of your objective, but also identify opportunities to exploit for your competitive advantage.  It’s about performance, and all it requires to get started is a little leadership.

Managing Uncertainty Workshop Agenda

Workshop 1 Introduction

Learning objective:  To build capacity in understanding the definition of risk, how it promotes improvement in business performance, and the process used to manage it.  Topics covered include:

  • A brief history of risk
  • The origin of decision theory
  • The evolution of risk management
  • An overview of the process

Exercise:  This discussion will be followed by an exercise designed to help participants understand the internal and external factors that could give rise to risk, with positive or negative consequences, in their organization. 

Workshop 2 Risk Identification

Learning Objective:  To advance the thinking on how to find, recognize, and describe a risk, and obtain input on those risks that could positively or negatively impact the achievement of the organizations objectives.  Topics covered in this workshop include:

  • Review the Objective Register including expected outcomes and the measures that will be used.
  • How to identify a risk
  • How to describe a risk
  • How to get to a root cause

Exercise:  Each participant will write a risk statement and present it to the group for feedback.  The objective register will be updated with the risk descriptions.

Workshop 3 Risk Analysis

Learning Objective:  To decide on the magnitude of each of the risks identified in workshop 2.  Topics covered in this workshop include:

  • The difference between risk and uncertainty
  • Making judgements under uncertainty
  • Group dynamics
  • Decision making tips

Exercise:  Participants will vote on the likelihood, consequences and effectiveness of controls for each risk, with further discussion where necessary until the group reaches consensus on the ratings.

Workshop 4 Risk Evaluation and Treatment

Learning Objective:  To make decisions about the acceptability of risk and develop action plans for treatment including ownership and dates for completion.  Topics covered in this workshop include;

  • A rule set for making decisions about whether to treat risk
  • Options from which to choose in setting priorities for risk treatment
  • How to articulate the gap between current controls to modify risk and desired controls
  • The seven options for modifying risks

Exercise:  The group will discuss and decide on how to respond to each risk with the appropriate treatment, including the action plan, who will be responsible, and the due date for completion.

The deliverable is a ranked list of those risks that could accelerate or delay the achievement of your objectives, including the name of individuals who have the accountability and authority to manage each risk including SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) action plans for doing so.

These workshops provide a wonderful combination of learning and teambuilding.  For more information contact Ed Kempkey at (707) 265-2188 or