Leadership Nudge® 360 – Take Risks on People

August 18, 2021by Sandy Wilmer

Taking risks on people helps modify their behavior to be more risk-embracing. Watch as David explains.


Hey, I’m in State College, Pennsylvania. Just come down this trail off of Mt. Nittany and it lets me talk about taking risk.  

I hear leaders often sort of bemoan, “Oh, I wish my people were more risk-embracing and I want people to take risks, be bold, make bold decisions.”  That kind of thing.  

Well, here’s the deal. Take risks on people, but not Mother Nature.  

So here you can see the trail at this point is quite rocky. So, if I’m coming down, taking risk, running fast on these, these rocks, that’s just dumb. It’s not a good idea to twist my ankle, hurt myself, fall down, something like that. Don’t take risk on Mother Nature, be very calculated with Mother Nature, because Mother Nature doesn’t care that you took risk on her.  

But take risks on people because people will respond when you take “risks.” You trust someone a little bit more, you give someone a little bit more authority, they’re going to respond. They’re going to study more and they’re going to invite more feedback. They’re going to check-in, they’re inspecting their thinking more, their behavior will be modified by the fact that you took, “risk on them.” Not so much the laws of nature.  

I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge. 

Sandy Wilmer