Making It Stick

August - September 2008 Issue

by Diana Del Bel Belluz, M.A.Sc., P.Eng.

Is risk management alive and well in your organization? As a risk management leader, your main goal is to get people in your organization to take something that they do intuitively, but perhaps not consistently, and make it much more systematic and deliberate.This means getting the management discipline so ingrained into your people’s psyches that it becomes part of their routine behaviour and an integral part of your organization’s culture.

It’s relatively straight forward to issue policies, disseminate knowledge, and provide tools and frameworks for risk management. But it is very hard to transform the way people think and act. Getting risk management to ‘stick’ is particularly challenging because it requires taking abstract, complex concepts and making them live and breath in your organization.

Chip Heath and Dan Heath provide practical insights on how to make ideas stick in their book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. This book is full of useful insights for dealing with the type of emotional resistance discussed in this month’s Feature Article. The authors draw on the work of psychologists, education researchers, and political scientists, and on their own experience (Chip is a professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Dan is a consultant at Duke Corporate Education) to argue that great ideas are made, not born —and that you can drastically improve the stickiness of ideas [including risk management concepts] by following 6 key principles. The book focuses on 6 Key Principles of Sticky Ideas that are essential tools for all risk management leaders:

  1. Simplicity: How to strip an idea to its core without turning it into a silly sound bite.
  2. Unexpectedness: How to capture people’s attention, and hold it.
  3. Concreteness: How to help people understand your idea and remember it much later.
  4. Credibility: How to get people to believe your idea.
  5. Emotional: How to get people to care about your idea.
  6. Stories: How to get people to act on your idea.

Click to read a chapter of the book, including a brief synopsis of the 6 principles.

Follow the links to:

  • Read this month's Feature Article - Overcoming Resistance Part 2 - Why You Can't Afford to Ignore Their Feelings
  • Download a printable version of the entire August - September 2008 issue of the Risk Management Made Simple Advisory.
  • View the Article Index to access back issues of the Risk Management Made Simple Advisory.

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Diana's Pick

Neuroscience and the Nonprofit Manager (written by Andy  Segedin and published in the NonProfit Times) shares some of the tips on how to counteract common biases and habits that impede effective decisions.

The article is based on a workshop that Diana Del Bel Belluz of Risk Wise presented at the 2015 Risk Summit organized by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.