Thoughts about business and economic development in rural areas.


March 2008
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Archive for March 6th, 2008

Taking a Risk

Just reviewing the comment sheets from participants at two training sessions I conducted yesterday. I’m happy to say that the vast majority of the comments and ratings were favourable. In fact more than a few were very generous in their praise and many gave the ultimate compliment by listing one or more items that they were going to immediately do as a result of our session.

But as any trainer or leader knows you certainly can’t please all the people all of the time. One person in each session gave me & the presentation the lowest marks possible. They were really really displeased with the session content and the presenter. A complete miss. A complete waste of their time. (Ouch, that hurts…..and admit it, you’d feel the same way.)

So what does one do? Well first you look back to that “can’t please all the people all the time’ phrase and then remind yourself that it’s true…..very very true. And your chances of displeasing someone rise with your willingness to take risks. As a presenter I am very animated and enthusiastic. I don’t go for half the loaf. Not every person’s cup of tea to be sure but no one ever falls asleep in my sessions either. By taking those risks I try to shake up my audience and get them to think differently so they will consider accepting and acting on the changes I am suggesting.

The same is true with anything you try to do as well. As we get out of our comfort zone and try new ways to improve customer service or adopt new ideas to build our communities and businesses we have to remember that not everyone will like the changes. In fact, some folks may even get upset and if we are fortunate, they will voice their opinions. We need that feedback.

But we also need to keep in mind that many more people may accept and even welcome the changes although they might not be quite as forthcoming in expressing those feelings. I’ve seen too many groups who immediately change or stop everything when they run into one negative comment. They’re scared to death and not wanting to offend anyone, they risk (and do) nothing.

But with great risk comes the potential of great reward. I would even argue that rewards at any level will only be ours if we are willing to take risks and accept the results, both good and bad.

The alternative is to do nothing and that’s a risk I’m unwilling to take.