Risky Business

As many of you know, at Leadership Strategies we believe in a whole lot of clapping during our facilitated sessions! Successful facilitators know that lots of sincere, positive reinforcement will go a long way toward keeping participants energized and engaged.

Being that we are such strong advocates of positive reinforcement, we'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate one of our own facilitators, Bill Treasurer. Bill is a Senior Manager with Leadership Strategies and has just authored a book called Right Risk that deals with "purposeful risk-taking." Bill draws on his experiences as a former member of the U.S. High Diving Team where he performed over 1800 dives from up to 100 feet. The most amazing part is, Bill completed over 300 of these dives – while on fire! What follows is a brief interview with Bill about his new book.

Leadership Strategies: Bill, your book promotes what you call "purposeful risk-taking." How does that relate to facilitation?

Bill Treasurer: I actually think there are a number of ways that facilitators are called to take risks. First, at its base, a facilitated session is about getting a group of folks from where they are to where they want to be. What we facilitate is change and change almost always involves risk. Second, during the session, the facilitator often has to take interpersonal risks with people such as helping them challenge their assumptions. Many of the scariest risks people ever take are interpersonal in nature, and facilitators have to take them routinely in facilitated sessions.

LS: In Right Risk you offer 10 principles for risk-taking. How can facilitators apply these principles in their sessions to take more purposeful risks?

BT: Just as we have 10 Principles of Facilitation (our facilitator methodology) here at Leadership Strategies, my book offers 10 principles for taking smart and spirited risks. For example, one of the principles to use when taking a risk is to Put Yourself on the Line. Our commitment to the risk goes up when we invest something of ourselves in the risk. This may mean putting our credibility or reputation at stake. By staking your reputation, you affirm your belief in yourself. You essentially say that you have enough confidence to trust your own inclinations. You live with the satisfaction that you don't betray yourself and therefore live a compromised life.

Other chapters include : Make Your Fear Work for You, Have the Courage to Change, Be Courageous, and Be Perfectly Imperfect, to name a few of the others.

LS: So what advice would you have for helping facilitators take more risks?

BT: Good question. Well, first of all, remember that risk-taking is really decision-making. You can't make good decisions if you are fragmented in your thinking. One valuable thing facilitators can do is to get disconnected from the distractions of their cell phone, email, instant messenger, pager, etc. Then, sit down alone with a yellow pad and do some concentrated thinking. Ask the hard questions, like "What risk do I want to take?," "Where am I playing it too safe?," etc.

Another thing they can do is to assess their risk history. I think people give too much credence to beginning with the end in mind. I actually think you should begin with the beginning in mind. In fact, begin before the beginning. How has risk-taking played out in your family? Were there impressive risks that your grandparents, parents or family members took? What risks have you taken in the past, which were particularly successful or unsuccessful? What can you learn from these when facing your current risk?

Finally, facilitators should remember that it takes courage to take a risk. And courage is NOT about being fearless. In fact, courage is being fearful. It takes courage to facilitate a room full of senior executives, for example. A good facilitator moves toward that fear (and therefore into their courage) in order to help a group get the results it wants to achieve.

LS: That's great, Bill. How can our readers purchase Right Risk?

BT: Right Risk can be purchased clicking here and ordering from, or by visiting your local bookseller. It can also be ordered by calling: 800-867-7239.

LS: Bill is available for both training and consulting sessions. Other areas of his expertise include teambuilding, change management, facilitation coaching and meeting facilitation. You can reach Bill at 1-800-824-2850.

To purchase Right Risk now, click here!

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