Marcus“s file made a slapping noise on the boardroom table. He’d dropped it casually as he’d bounced into the room, cheerful as always.
He threw himself into a chair at the far end of the table, leaned forward with hands clasped, and grinned.
‘This sounds especially boring!’ he chirped. ‘And finally it’s not my job.’
A ripple of obsequious laughter tinkled around the table.
‘Righto, thanks for deigning to join us,’ a pair of kindly eyes regarded Marcus over their silver spectacles. ‘Yes, risk, schmisk, right?’
An awkward silence.
‘Barry, it’s gotta be done,’ nodded Marcus. Then he sat back and prepared to fight sleep.
Barry flipped through Marcus’s file. He made some affirmative mm-hmm noises, and then stood up, walked to the door, and placed it into the secure shredding bin. Every movement was exaggerated.
‘The way we’ve approached this stuff is all wrong,’ Barry told the bin.
The team stared.
Barry pulled his phone or of his back pocket, put it on the table.
‘Listen to this.’
What followed was a deep conversation with a staffer from their direct competitor, explaining that the way they handle risk management was what enabled them to carve out their impressive, almost unbeatable, market position.
The nasally female voice twanged:
‘Baz, we’ve pretty much become psychic. We don’t just go aw look someone’ll get offended cos the virtue-signalling wankers will cancel us; No! We go, well if we don’t get this email right it’s gunna fark up the social relationship with this client, ya know? We go, if this social campaign fails then we’ve wasted a precise amount of money and we know that it’ll fail if we’re flyin by the seat of our pants. We go, this job’s gunna need some special handling cos the client’s a prick, and we better do that by phone or he’s gunna bitch about having too many emails and that’s my fault. See?’
Pacing slowly around the table while his recording played, Barry watched the faces of his team members go from amused, to bored, to fascinated.
Lips were chewed
Nobody took notes, though; they weren’t that switched on.
As the nasally voice concluded her insights, Barry leaned over a woman’s shoulder and pressed stop.
‘All this time, you guys have focused on the type of risk that doesn’t really matter.’
He went back to his seat, pulled the chair in under him.
‘All that stuff about minorities and sex change people? Fluff and rubbish.’
‘Well, their voices are really important and we don’t have enough of them in our materials. We can’t use their voices – ’ babbled a young woman in her early 20s.
‘Shut up, Lucy.’
Lucy gaped like she had been slapped with a fish.
Barry ignored her.
‘What’s the one thing you all noticed about this stuff?’ he tapped his pen on his notepad.
Thoughtful faces filled the table.
Barry sighed inwardly and resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Apparently none of this company’s employees had half a brain, much less a willingness to think in public.
‘All of those things have a visible link to their finances,’ offered Marcus eventually. ‘Clever.’
Barry watched the team nod enthusiastically. In his mind danced a series of miniature Barries, each one facepalming the next, an unending reel of suppressed eye rolls and annoyance.
The silence was impenetrable.
‘Ok look. Why don’t you all go back to work. We will reconvene tomorrow. Come back with your ideas and be prepared to discuss them.’ Barry stood, opened the door, and waited for them to file out.
Because he was watching Marcus talk animatedly to some hangers-on, Barry didn’t notice that one person had stayed behind.
A feather-light touch tickled his elbow.
‘Barry, they’re goldfish darling,’ purred a woman in a frilly, purple top. ‘What was your point, sharing an illegal call recording?’
‘Marianne, the point was to shake up this place. Gaining market share isn’t hard.’
‘Through risk management?’ Marianne’s perfect brows kissed her perfectly blunt fringe.
‘Yes, because seeing risk clearly is to understand the way content can support sales and loyalty. It’s the kind of special knowledge you can’t get elsewhere. I thought that was obvious?’
Marianne patted Barry on the arm, nodded towards the cluster of people they could see eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
‘I think you might be wasting your time.’
If you do not identify as a sycophantic goldfish and you’re keen to understand
- How risk is your fastest way to improve your client experience
- How to surface the nuances of risk in your projects
- How your content creation and management is your gateway into the first two
… Here’s what to do:
First, reply to this email and reserve your place for the next Pro Communicators group. It kicks off on 1 July and has just 6 places available. Make sure you don’t miss out, because the masterclasses are incredibly helpful (and at $60/month your access is $300 cheaper than everyone else’s).
Second, go download the free content risk canvas.
Leticia “definitely not risk averse” Mooney