Stories of change

Creating a cultural shift in attitudes towards risk

Where?  A large global financial institution

Why ?

An increased global regulatory environment meant that any errors are costlier than ever. While these risks were well understood by the senior leadership, they were not necessarily as clearly understood across. The organization had launched a communications campaign to highlight the importance of risk. Six months later, however, feedback revealed that little had changed on the ground. Not wanting to risk an “incident” that could create negative publicity, a change program was designed and piloted in ten different teams.

How ?

Change requires sustained attention and the introduction of new behaviors within the targeted teams. Business leaders and change teams worked to educate all teams about the criticality of risk. Notice boards and visual dashboards stayed as a constant reminder of risk.

Each team member offered suggestions for how risk could be mitigated within their respective teams. Business leaders and change teams worked to implement suggestions. New behaviors were introduced as process checklists. These were carefully nurtured through daily discussions.

In just 10 weeks of sustained implementation, engagement with the subject of risk increased many fold. Mid-course feedback revealed higher levels of overall engagement as the change process tapped into the collective wisdom of team members and made them part of the process.

After 4-6 months of sustained implementation, most teams showed a dramatic decrease in risk incidents.