“Pato is coming!” shouted Grace as she burst into the staff break room, where her colleagues were busy having lunch and chatting quietly. Everyone turned and stared at her mutely, then John asked idly, “Is this one of you jokes? April Fool Day was 4 months ago”, John remarked doubtfully.
“No, really, I’m serious this time.” Grace looked around and sighed. Just then Peter, the Project Manager, stepped into the room smiling, “It is true, we have been asked to host a special event, to honor Patrick’s return to our community.” The atmosphere in the room lightened visibly, and everyone was jubilating with a lot of fist pumping and hand slapping. Everyone knew Patrick Masimba: he was a local hero since he got signed up for a major team in the Premier League. Now every football player want to be “Pato” as he was affectionately called. Rumors had been flying around that he was coming into the country to visit his mother, whose home was in a town about 2 miles away.
“We are lucky we have been chosen to welcome him home,” Moses piped in, and everyone nodded. “He arrives in two days” said Peter, “How much can we do within that time?” John looked at his watch quickly and said. “If Peter can agree to extend our break for another half hour, we may be able to come up with a plan.” Peter nodded and stepped back and watched as someone pulled out a paper and pen and everyone settled down quickly to thinking. John said, “I will go to the Accountant and find out how much we are able to spend on this activity.”
Ten minutes later, John stepped back and watched sadly the animated voices that filled the room. They turn in unison and he cleared is throat. “I’m sorry guys, here is all that is available to budget for this.” And the placed a sheet of paper in the center of the table. “Oh no” cried Grace, as they all leaned in, “how are we expected to make this happen? The amount you are mentioning is not nearly enough’.
Well, said Amos, the M & E Officer pushing away the notes he had been taking, and reaching out for a plain sheet of paper. Why don’t we look at the pros and cons of hosting Pato, and the best possible solution? There is always a risk to actions; we just need to work out if it’s beneficial or not. Lets do a risk assessment!”
“What does that even mean?”, Grace impatiently asked. Is it one of your M & E tests?” and everyone laughed. “Actually”, John said, taking a seat at the table, “Amos is right, its just a simple way to ensure that we are not exposing ourselves and our organization to bad surprises. Do we all agree that this is a good surprise?” Everyone nodded. Okay, then here is a list of questions that you could ask yourselves before we decide if we can go ahead and host this homecoming event”, as he quickly jotted down some points.
Here is his list:
- Outline your organizations vision and goals
- Make a list of what your organization does.
- Is the proposed event in line with your organization’s goals?
- Figure out what could go wrong if you carried out this event. Is that likely or unlikely to happen?
- How bad would that be for your organization?
- If likely or costly, how can you make it less likely or less costly? Is that likely or unlikely to happen?
- How good would the event be for your organization?
- How can you make it more likely or more helpful for your organization?
Almost one hour later, everyone agreed that it made for sense to have another local organization whose mandate was a better fit, take over the main event, only providing a small portion of the program to lend focus to their organization’s activities.
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