In our latest video series, Chris Paton talks to Richard Withers, a consultant specialising in Decision Games for the Pharmaceutical Industry. After 11 years of building up his very successful consultancy firm, he sold it and now works as a strategic advisor. Here’s Richard’s very own honest opinion of how he ended up in Decision Games due to his self-professed misdemeanours:
“After securing a well-deserved 3rd in Physical Education from Cardiff I was launched into my first negotiation lesson – pacifying my father, who suggested sensibly the military may knock some sense into me. A short time later I left the army having led an “average” career leading unfortunate soldiers to places which I cannot name, not on the grounds of secrecy, but because I was lost. Halcyon days indeed. After (in ascending order of stress) business school, several different jobs and children, in 2004, with my wife Sarah, founded a consultancy serving the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Amongst other services we ran many, many “war games”. It seemed to go very well and our business was acquired in 2015. Now, after a 3 year non compete, Sarah wants me “out from under her feet”, she makes a good point, I need a fresh challenge”.
In the latest installment of our video series, Chris and Richard discuss how pressure testing plays a part in breaking down key assumptions held by stakeholders. The first real hurdle in Decision Games is gaining consensus from all stakeholders. Clarity around the chosen plan can come later when actionable plans can be mutually agreed upon.
Pressure Testing plans creates confidence. Any apprehension or fears team members may have can be brought to the surface in a safe environment. Decision Games are also a great space for naysayers, those who question plans regularly can have their say and in this capacity are of great benefit to the session.
Chris and Richard discuss the importance of clarity. Poor assumptions lead to poor strategy. Decision Games allow for discussion and clarity around all the assumptions that are held by various members of the team.
The greatest benefits of pressure testing are gaining consensus and clarity around the key assumptions being held by all involved. If your assumptions about the future are poor, then it holds that your strategy about that future state is flawed. In the Decision Game, the various stakeholders can chew over them and ultimately test their robustness.
By the end of the session, if solutions are achieved they must be tangible and viable for all involved. The sessions allow everyone to co-design actionable outcomes and thereby gain the confidence and investment needed to drive through the change.