|Do they look to you?|
Three professors who studied chief risk officers at two banks for five years discovered patterns of behavior that are instructive for the rest of us, whether we're on the inside as employees or on the outside as consultants.
The researchers are Anette Mikes, assistant professor at Harvard Business School; Matthew Hall, reader at the London School of Economics; and Yuval Millo, at the University of Leicester.
Effective influencers, they found, do four things:
Team building. They use personal interaction to take in others’ expertise and convince people of the relevance of their own. Executives who use toolmaking need to enroll supporters and users. One approach is to co-opt people into collaborating on the creation of the tools, seeking their feedback and incorporating it into the design. One risk management group, for example, gave divisional managers early versions of the scenario planning templates. The managers could then discuss them with their senior staff, provide feedback, and see their own influence on the final templates.
Translating. They help decision makers understand complex content. To remain influential, experts need to help others use their tools and interpret the results. Although the quarterly report of one risk management group produced contained output from complex risk models, the CRO took great care to keep it free of technical jargon. For example, the first three or four pages were dedicated to a self-evident “traffic light” representation of risks. They also worked alongside board members and business managers as they considered the tools and their outputs.
If they fit the organization's strategy and structure, and if the top leadership can be won over, and if the would-be influencer remains flexible, there seems to be little downside in using these tactics.