In difficult times, it's easy to despair.
s2.ep20: Unleash Curiosity, with Dr. Shannon Minifie, CEO of Box of Crayons
I recorded this episode in early July 2020, one year since I stepped away from being CEO of Box of Crayons and handed that responsibility over to today’s guest, Dr. Shannon Minifie. In our conversation, we discuss the three kinds of curiosity; the impacts curiosity culture can have on innovation, resilience, engagement, and connection; the relationship between curiosity and world-making; the importance of thinking of curiosity as a state, not a trait, and how that changes how you spark, peak, and cultivate it; and why curiosity is more important now than ever.
s2.ep19: Lead in extremis with Tom Kolditz, former Brigadier General
Tom Kolditz is the founding Director of the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University, named top university program by the Association of Leadership Educators. The Doerr Institute is his fifth successful leader development start-up. His book In Extremis Leadership: Leading as if Your Life Depended on It has become one of the go-to texts for leading in the COVID-19 crisis. In our conversation we dig into the process for evaluating risk in a snapshot moment; the power of a premortem; how to enroll the most junior person in a room to create diversity of thought; and why feelings matter in a time of crisis.
s2.ep18: Abandon vision with Gianpiero Petriglieri, INSEAD professor
Today I’m speaking to Gianpiero “GP” Petriglieri, Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour at INSEAD, Europe’s preeminent business school. A recent article of his on HBR.org laid down the gauntlet: vision is overrated. Try “holding” instead. In our conversation GP and I dig into the dangers of vision, and the dangerous story that many visions hold; what he means exactly by “holding” and its two different components; a favourite model of mine, Karpman’s Drama Triangle; and why we shouldn’t think of “holding” as being soft, because of the importance of challenge in this concept.
s2.ep17: Create white space with Juliet Funt, effectiveness expert
Part of the self-growth work for me right now is creating space in my life to think, to regenerate, to allow what’s next to emerge. And, frankly, I need help because of my lifetime habit of filling my calendar. That’s why I’m talking to Juliet Funt today. Juliet is the CEO of White Space at Work, an organizational efficiency consultancy to organizations big and small. She is a globally recognized warrior in the battle of effectiveness versus reactive busy-ness. In our conversation we look at the diminishing cycle of busyness and exhaustion we can all find ourselves in; what she means by “white space” and why it’s so essential at a personal and an organizational level; and why a critical question is “how much is enough?”
s2.ep16: Help others rise with Shelley Winner, restorative justice advocate
Once a season, I’ll be sharing an episode from another podcast I listen to and admire, and there’s no better place to start than with Dave Stachowiak’s Coaching for Leaders. This conversation with Shelley Winner is an absolute beauty. Shelley was caught in a downward spiral, and had ended up in jail ... but that's just the beginning of the story. In this conversation Dave explores with Shelley why prison was the easiest part of her journey; how she took her first step towards working with one of the world’s biggest tech companies; the battle that almost cost her everything; and exactly why organizations should consider hiring past offenders.
s2.ep15: Navigate a VUCA world with Bill Carrier, undercover coach
Bill Carrier is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, a former army officer and a Rotary international ambassador scholar. He anchors his coaching work in extensive practical leadership experience and the firm belief that we're all part of something bigger than ourselves. In our conversation we start with the importance of character and strategy (and why character matters the most); how to be generous and still give direction and hold people accountable; the difference between empathy and multi-perspective; and how to set yourself up to perform at the highest level.
s2.ep14: Consider the adjacent possible with Aaron Dignan, author of Brave New Work
Aaron Dignan is the author of one of the most exciting books that I’ve read in the last number of years. Brave New Work lays down the challenge (and shows the way) to build an organization that is both “people positive” and also “complexity conscious”. In our conversation we talk about the idea of the adjacent possible and why it’s a helpful alternative to the classic “five year plan”; the power of constraints, and how they define systems (and why that matters); why “tension” gets a bad rap; and how to acknowledge and navigate the resistance that this type of change will always engender.
s2.ep13: Survive cancer with Kerry Taylor, financial planning expert
Kerry Taylor is one of the world’s top financial bloggers. But she had another story to tell: the experience of surviving one of the most virulent forms of breast cancer. In this rare and precious conversation we discuss that moment when you have the worst possible news confirmed; what it is you can actually control, and why that really matters; how to ensure the uncertainty of the future doesn’t steal away the joy of the present; and what Kerry learnt about her own tendency to perfectionism.
s2.ep12: Create Sacred Spaces with Pamay Bassey, CLO of Kraft Heinz
What role do we have in creating sacred space … and why would we want to? Let's ask Pamay Bassey. She is the CLO of Kraft Heinz and the Chief Experience Officer of the My 52 Weeks of Worship project. In our conversation we talk about why we might create sacred spaces and what purpose they serve; the core requirements needed to create sacred space; the role of learning in a modern organization; and how learning and generosity are fundamentally connected.
s2.ep11: Survive 10, 000 Years, with Alexander Rose of the Long Now Foundation
We’re 10,000 years into civilization. How do we act as stewards for the next 10,000 years? The perfect person to answer this question is Alexander Rose, the Executive Director of The Long Now Foundation. In our conversation we discuss: how the combination of mechanisms and myths help generate the conversations we need to survive the next 10,000 years; what it means to think about “a hundred year fix”; how the Foundation decides where to invest its time and money; and why their policy is to not take sides.
s2.ep10: How to Move Through Complexity with Dave Snowden, seminal thinker
My guest today is Dave Snowden. Dave is the creator of the Cynefin model, which helps us understand what it means to be operating within a complex system, and how that differs from ordered systems and chaos. It’s a framework that fundamentally changes how you understand the world. In my conversation with Dave we discuss exactly what the Cynefin model is; the importance of boundaries and transition; why Dave’s a skeptic about Emotional Intelligence; and the power of being a generalist.
s2.ep9: How to Have a Good Day, with Caroline Webb, behavioural science expert
Let me introduce you to Caroline Webb. She is an executive coach, author and speaker who specializes in showing people how to use insights from behavioural science to improve their professional lives. Her book is called – you got it—How to Have a Good Day, and it's been published in 14 languages and more than 60 countries. In our conversation we discuss: the brain science of engagement; how to calm your brain when it’s feeling anxious; the power of labeling; and the power of connecting to what you’re uniquely good at.
s2.ep8: How to Transition with Grace, with Sarah Kerr, death doula
My guest today is Sarah Kerr, a ritual healing practitioner and death doula whose work supports the living, the dying, and the dead. She facilitates private and public healing rituals, and regularly presents on topics of death midwifery and holistic death care. In our conversation we unpack what a ritual is; explore how we loosen our fixation on the physical and the outer and the visible and the tangible; how grief and grieving differ; and how to understand our life as a spiral rather than a relentless trajectory.
s2.ep7: How to Train Ugly, with Trevor Ragan, the learners learner
I love the power of thinking about your thinking. This is where sustainable learning truly happens. My guest today is Trevor Ragan, the founder of The Learner Lab, an educational website that helps unpack and share the science of learning and development. In our conversation we talk about an essential process for successful training; why random can be better than predictable; a counterintuitive approach to managing difficult emotions; and of course, just what it means to train ugly.
s2.ep6: How to Answer the Unanswerable Question with Ron Carucci, prolific HBR contributor
Ron Carucci is co-founder and managing partner at Navalent, and works with CEOs and executives pursuing transformational change for their organizations, leaders, and industries. He is the author of 8 books, a relentless contributor to the Harvard Business Review, and a two-time TEDx speaker. In our conversation we talk about the power of knowing you don’t know; when the best answer is sometimes another question; the somatic wisdom of your body; and how grace can be a guiding principle when you don’t know what to do.
s2.ep5: How to See into the Future with Bina Venkataraman, author of The Optimist’s Telescope
Bina Venkataraman is the editorial page editor of The Boston Globe and a fellow at New America. She served as a senior adviser for climate change innovation in the Obama White House, was the director of Global Policy Initiatives at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She is the author of a terrific book, The Optimist's Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age. In our conversation we talk about the power of a vividly imagined future; how to deal with vulnerable decision points; lessons learned from professional poker players; and both the flaws and usefulness of the marshmallow test.
s2.ep4: How to Strengthen Micro-resilience with Bonnie St. John, former Olympian
Bonnie St. John was the first African American to win medals in a winter Olympic competition, a Rhodes Scholar, and served in the White House as a Director of the National Economic Council. Today, Bonnie travels the globe as a keynote speaker, Fortune 500 leadership expert, and bestselling author. In our conversation we dive into the principles, strategies and tactics of micro-resilience; explore how someone from San Diego ends up winning skiing medals; look into the power of what happens in between the moments of performance; and how to stay focused on “the next turn”, whatever that may be for you.
s2.ep3: How to Create an Invincible Company with Alexander Osterwalder, innovation expert
Dr. Alexander Osterwalder is one of the world's most influential innovation experts, and is an author, entrepreneur and speaker. He shot to fame with his business model canvas, a tool used by millions worldwide. In our conversation we talk about what it means to me to create an ambidextrous company; the role of the CEO in innovation; some examples from his library of different business models; and the power of a gravity creation model.
s2.ep2: How to Build Awesome with Neil Pasricha, shining light of awesomeness
It’s one of the stories that doesn’t quite seem real. Man has a really rough time in his life, starts a blog to cheer himself up--1,000 awesome things--it blows up, the book versions sell millions, the TEDx talk is seen by more millions, and he goes on to write more books, host podcasts and be a sought-after keynote speaker. My friend Neil Pasricha is this self-same man. In our conversation, we look at the magical 40% of life you can control; why the question about half-full or half-empty is the wrong question about the glass; the three books I shared in his podcast; and how and why Neil is starting to think of himself as an activist.
s2.ep1: How to See Around Corners with Rita McGrath, world’s #1 strategy thinker
Rita McGrath is a popular speaker, an author and a long time faculty member at Columbia Business School. She's been on the Thinkers 50 ranking for global management thinkers for more than a decade, and recently was ranked the number one thinker in strategy. In our conversation we look at the temptations and delusions of certainty; the power of Discovery Driven Planning; how to work back from the future; and why intelligent failure is a critical component of success.
Season Two: Brilliant Strategists, Death Doulas, Training Ugly and More
s1.ep19: How to Feel Your Feelings, with Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener, positive psychology coach
Dr Robert Biswas-Diener is a psychologist, a researcher, and a coach, who focuses on positive topics, such as happiness, courage, and social support. In our conversation we dig into why the “happy” emotions feel a bit same-ish, and why the “sad” ones feel different; how being disconnected from your feelings makes you less smart; a simple way to settle down when you’re feeling upset; and an essential, timeless insight for managing through difficult times.
s1.ep18: How Build a Resilience Profile, with Dr. Edy Greenblatt, author of Restore Yourself
Dr. Edy Greenblatt is a resilience pioneer, a work/life balance expert, and a coach supervisor. She has a joint PhD in organizational behaviour from the Harvard Business School, and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where she specialized in dance. In our conversation we dig into what, exactly, a dance anthropologist is; how to find those behaviours that nourish and deplete us; and Michael gets some coaching on dealing with a particularly annoying pile of paperwork.
s1.ep17: How to Positively Plan, with Rona Birenbaum, my financial advisor
Rona Birenbaum is the founder of Caring for Clients, a Canadian fee-for-service financial planning firm. She has been named one of the top 50 advisors in Canada for five years running, an award well-deserved. In this episode we get into the mind-games of investing our money; what it means to plan positively using three different scenarios; just how a stock differs from a bond (so a tiny bit of financial basics for those of us who need it); and the power of self-care.
s1.ep16: How to Talk to People About Things, with Misha Glouberman, author of The Chairs Are Where the People Go
Misha Glouberman runs a program called “How to Talk to People About Things,” is a faculty director at the executive education program at the Ivy Business School, and the host of Trampoline Hall. In our conversation we work on how to get out of our own way when we’re having a conversation; the foundational error that derails a good conversation; how curiosity can be a saving grace; why we so often continue to tolerate short-term irritation; and why we’re often not bold enough in owning up to what irritates us most.
s1.ep15: How to Stay Values-Based, with Karen Wright, master coach
When I moved to Toronto and first dipped my toes in the murky waters of professional coaching, the name that got whispered with awe in the coffee shops and the ICF chapter gatherings was Karen Wright. In our conversation we talk about why your own ambition might get in the way of your own ambition (yes, that’s what I meant to say!); the difference between a purpose-driven leader and a values-based one; and how one of the best tests of a value is when you notice how you’re letting yourself down.
s1.ep14: How to Tell an Epic, with Nancy Duarte, author of Data Story
Nancy Duarte is the co-founder and CEO of Duarte, an agency based in Silicon Valley that has been at the forefront of the revolution to improve communication. In our conversation we explore the power of the three-act structure, different types of stories and the problems they solve, and how to start and finish any story with grace and aplomb.
s1.ep13: How to Harness the Power of Music, with Nathan Leigh Jones, PhD student in the power of lyrics
Nathan Leigh Jones is a musician and an academic. He's performed all over the world, and is doing a PhD that exposes the impact of music and lyrics on emotional wellbeing. That expertise has meant he was the official music curator at the World Happiness Summit. In our conversation we talk about the dance between words and music, how you test to discover if lyrics really matter, and how to build the playlist you’re going to need.
s1.ep12: Should we do a second season?
This is the first season of We Will Get Through This, and of course I’m curious … should I keep doing it? Personally, I’m really enjoying the conversations, but I want to make sure that they’re useful for you too. Will you email and let me know? Tell me what you like and don’t like about the show. Suggest some awesome guests, if someone comes to mind - [email protected]. I’d love to know what’s on your mind.
s1.ep11: How to Manage your Mindset, with Ric Leahy, practical leadership practitioner
Ric Leahy served on the staff of the Chief of the Australian Navy, and was awarded a Queen's Gold Medal, and later in his career the Conspicuous Service Cross. He now leads a number of leadership programs for Australia’s top business schools, has become a “neuro nerd” with an Executive Masters degree on neuroscience and leadership, and is an endurance athlete. In our conversation we talk about where we do our best thinking--and why--and three powerful mindsets: the Sensei, the Scientist and the Socializer.
s1.ep10: How to Settle Down, with Eric Klein, Founder of Wisdom Heart
Eric Klein is one of the rare people on the planet to be both a best-selling leadership author and a lineage holder and teacher in a 3,000 year yoga tradition. In our conversation we dig into the neuroscience of calmness, the power of making a prenuptial contract with your own brain, where is the most useful place to start to settle yourself down, and (as strange as this might sound) just what it takes to breathe.
s1.ep9: How to Build a Resilience MO with Kate Lye, enterprise change coach
One of the few people in my life who was a great boss to me was Kate Lye. Kate is a leadership specialist based in London who works with clients worldwide, equipping them to hardwire tough changes and be clear-sighted about what or who gets in the way. In our conversation, we sweep aside the platitudes and empty generalities that plague any discussion about resilience, and uncover the process by which we need to construct our own, personalized, RMO: Resilience Modus Operandi.
s1.ep8: How to Save a Story with Bernadette Jiwa, creator of The Story Skills Workshop
The poet Muriel Rukeyser wrote, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” I think, actually, it’s likely made of both … and while I can’t really claim any deep expertise in physics, I do know a little bit about the power of story-telling. But not as much as Bernadette Jiwa who helps people, organizations, and communities practice everyday storytelling to build resilience, trust, and connection … all critical skills to help us get through this. In this episode we discuss storytelling as the fabric that creates relationship, community, and history - allowing you to navigate the present and create the path to the future; as well as Bernadette's Story Scaffold for telling a story that matters.
s1.ep7: How to Focus on the Right Thing with Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, author of The Project Revolution
In tough times, good systems are one of the things that help you live a better life, feel more in control, and get through this. Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez is the world expert on projects and project management. He really has been a champion forever in the argument that projects are the lingua franca of the business and personal worlds. In our conversation we talk about the power of focus; the necessity of courage; why saying No is perhaps the ultimate project management hack; and how to avoid the swamps of project management where so many of us can get bogged down.
s1.ep6: How to Strengthen Your Reputation with Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You
Dorie Clark has been described by no less than the New York Times as an expert in self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives. If you’re known for something, you’re more likely to be valued; and if you’re valued, you’re more likely to get through whatever’s ahead. In our conversation we talk about why we shouldn’t get tripped up on the whole idea of “a personal brand”; why, if you build it, they won’t come; the necessity of creating content, and how to start even if you don’t know where to start; the power of social proof; and why networking really isn’t as bad as you probably think it is.
s1.ep5: How to Have a Money Plan with Bruce Sellery, author of Moolala
Money is so often a source of anxiety … and that’s during the good times. That’s why I invited Bruce Sellery to be a guest on the podcast. He’s the author of Moolala: Why Smart People do Dumb Things with Their Money, and he also hosts Moolala: Money Made Simple, a weekly radio show on personal finance for SiriusXM. He’s about adding some flair and lightness to understanding money, while not diminishing its importance. In our conversation we dig deep into the four reasons why people do dumb things with money (“the C Factors); and then the five steps it takes to build out a robust money plan, in difficult times and in good times.
s1.ep4: How to Balance Compassion and Grit, with Jen Louden, author of Why Bother?
Jen Louden is one of my most important friends. I love her and I admire her work, in particular her new book Why Bother? which shares in a practical, compassionate and non-trite way how to find your way back to purpose, engagement and, ultimately, yourself. In our conversation we talk about the myths of self-comfort, and how it’s often hard, not soft; how it’s possible to have self-compassionate grit; why you have to be alert for key moments of transition; the power of Conditions of Enoughness; and how (to everyone’s surprise) Jen ended up being a committed trail runner.
s1.ep3: How to Stay Grateful, with Chester Elton, author of Leading with Gratitude
Chester Elton combines a big heart and a big brain in a way that’s irresistible. He has worked for more than two decades helping organizations engage their employees in organizational strategy, vision, and values. In our conversation we dig into the wisdom of his latest book, Leading with Gratitude. We crush the misunderstanding that gratitude is somehow self-indulgence; talk about what it takes to build up the gratitude muscle; wrestle with the “Hand of God” from an atheist’s (mine) point of view; and share the ritual Chester instituted to help his kids embrace the power of gratitude.
s1.ep2: How to Fight Well, with Liane Davey, author of The Good Fight
If we’re going to get through this, we need to manage conflict as best we can. That’s why it’s so important to listen to Liane Davey. She is an organizational psychologist who advises leaders on both strategy and team effectiveness. In our conversation we talk about why we’re biologically wired to avoid conflict (see, it isn’t just me!); the price we pay for accumulating “conflict debt”; the delusion of “picking your battles”; when sweating palms can be helpful; and how to best harness the power of validation and reciprocity.
s1.ep1: How to Practice Resilience, with Dr. Taryn Marie, Former Head of Executive Leadership at Nike
Few people have an established model of resilience, based on empirical evidence and tested in both the business and academic worlds. Dr Taryn Marie Stejskal is the unicorn. In this episode we get into what’s wrong with bouncing back; the five practices of resilient people; the distinction between choice and control; how Kevin Bacon may have shot himself in the foot; why the mindset “everything happens for a reason” drives us both crazy … and just what it means to over-egg a pudding.