Each month in our newsletter, we feature an interview with one of our Instigators. The interview for May was with Bill Treasurer (@btreasurer), Chief Encouragement Officer of Giant Leap Consulting from the Asheville, NC area.
What is your background in leadership?
I became interested in leadership after I did a bad job of leading. I discover that when one of my employees confronted me on my bullying leadership style. He was inches away from quitting, and because of that, had nothing to lose by confronting me. At first I got defensive. But after a day of sulking, I knew he was right. I apologized. I also got interested in doing a better job as a leader. So I started reading books on leadership and management, and decided to enter graduate school to pursue a Master’s degree in organizational development. I did my thesis in leadership. That was over 20 years ago.
In the last two decades, I have worked with thousands of executives throughout the world. I started out as a leadership development consultant at High Performing Systems, a boutique consulting firm. Later I became the vice president of program services at Executive Adventure, a team-building company in Atlanta. Later I joined Accenture, one of the world’s largest consulting companies. I was in the Human Performance practice and became Accenture’s first fulltime executive coach. I worked to strengthen and develop the leadership skills of Accenture partners and associate partners. Finally, over 10-years ago, I started Giant Leap Consulting. I am proud to be the company’s chief encouragement officer.
Relative to leadership, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. Along the way, I’ve written three books and an off-the-shelf facilitator training program. My newest book is Leaders Open Doors, and it aims to simplify leadership to bring it back to what’s most essential about leadership: creating opportunities for those you lead.
What do you do to engage in leadership?
Effective leadership requires deep self-awareness on the part of the leader. So a good starting place is self-evaluation. My company administers a self-rated leadership continuum tool whereby the leader evaluates him or herself on a number of key dimensions of leadership.
Next we work with the leader to have him or her answer what we call The Holy Question: What do you want? It’s important that the leader get explicitly clear about where she wants to end up in her career, and what kind of difference or impact she hopes to make.
Later in the process of working with a leader, we may administer a leader 360 degree feedback survey. Though they remain controversial, we still find them to be a useful means for providing unfiltered feedback to the leader. Often it’s this feedback, which can be startling to the leader in some cases, that provokes meaningful change.
Those are the kinds of things we do to engage individual leaders. But a lot of our work, in fact most of it, involves working with whole groups of people to develop and strengthen their leadership skills. We design, develop, and deliver leadership succession programs for “next level” (Hi Po) leaders.
Often this involves choreographing a series of workshops (or what we call Leadership Summits) that serve to illuminate a critical aspect of leadership. The budding leaders go through the program in cohorts of 25, and the program lasts 18-months long. The workshops are held every two months, and focus on topics such as culture change, courageous leadership, calculated risk-taking, motivating yourself and others, leading teams, strategic thinking and goal-setting, persuasive communication, etc
Do you have a book or person that particularly influenced you?
The most important piece of American literature I ever read is Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson. When I first read it–and I’ve now read it many times–I felt as if he had written my personal belief systems 150-years ago. Many consider it to be the start of the American self-help movement.
From a leadership standpoint, Ken Blanchard’s The One Minute Manager is the first leadership book I ever read, and it set me on my way. It has a few useful and memorable ideas that will stick with the reader for life.
What would you like to get out of your membership with the Lead Change Group?
To continue learning about the evergreen topic of leadership! And maybe introduce folks to some of my ideas about the topic too!
Bill is an Instigator in the Lead Change Group. We’re a non-profit global community dedicated to instigating a character-based leadership revolution… one person at a time. Find out more about becoming an instigator or membership in the group. This article originally appeared in our May newsletter. Subscribe to future newsletters here.