"I'd much rather look at the reality rather than the opinions people carry."
— Tony Quinlan
When we face intractable problems — wanting to change the trajectory of our lives and stalling, wanting to change the direction of our community and failing — an important area that we often don’t examine are the stories we tell ourselves and others. In this conversation I speak with Narrate CEO Tony Quinlan. We discuss how bringing into focus the stories that underlie our lives can open up previously unnoticed avenues for action that were always there.
"One of the things that we know from complexity theory — especially used in leadership — is that we can't figure it out. There is no plan that can work, necessarily. But what we can do is we can pay attention to the patterns of behavior and we can just try stuff, experiment."
— Carolyn Coughlin
Occasionally we find ourselves doing the same thing over and over again — at work, at home, with friends — and whatever we’re doing just isn’t working. When we try to control or outsmart or charm our way through this challenge, we only make matters worse. And if we do find a new approach that actually does work, we don’t have the wherewithal to sustain our efforts. Cultivating Leadership partner Carolyn Coughlin sheds light on this dynamic and offers for our consideration an approach that links complexity theory to the ideas we hold about our identity as well as the ways in which we experience our bodies.
If you were intrigued by what Carolyn has to say, you'll love this conversation in episode 56 with Carolyn's partner Jennifer Garvey Berger on adult development theory.
Readings Carolyn recommends:
Doug Silsbee, "Presence-Based Leadership"
Jennifer Garvey Berger & Keith Johnston, "Simple Habits for Complex Times"
Jennifer Garvey Berger, "Changing on the Job"
Carolyn Coughlin, "A New Resource for Cultivating Whole Leaders for Complexity"
Carolyn Coughlin, "Nine Panes, Nine Perspectives for Cultivating a Complexity-Adapted Self"
Carolyn Coughlin, "What the Mountain Taught Me about Complexity Fitness"
Carolyn Coughlin, "Three Ways to Cultivate Complexity Fitness"
"It is 100% based around the idea of making dreams come true and going above and beyond the regular steps of service to build an experience that will be a memory that lasts a lifetime."
— Nitiya Sin
We’ve all experienced moments in which time seems to stop. It’s as though we’re transported. To better understand what these experiences are made of, in this conversation we learn from someone who creates them. Nitiya Sin is a hospitality professional who most recently served as Concierge at the Washington, DC restaurant minibar.
"I can project, I can whisper, I can do all these kinds of things. But when I’m code-switching, there’s a mindful approach to how I want the information to be received and how I want to be perceived by this person. And I want to create connection."
— Alma Molina
How we communicate is highly dependent on where we’re communicating and with whom. The work we put into tailoring our delivery can range from hyper-intentional to largely unconscious. In this conversation, Dewey Square Group principal and multicultural communications strategist Alma Molina shares her experience in code-switching.
"Don't be too quick to say 'Ah, that's the issue,' or 'That's the issue with the issue.' It's just to be uncomfortable, to be ambiguous, to stay in that space until it is uncomfortable, because great awareness comes with — especially in the task-based society we live in these days — having the patience to listen."
— Magda Mook
The work we do day-in, day-out over decades shapes our bodies, our minds, and our souls. International Coach Federation CEO Magda Mook and International Coach Federation Global Board of Directors Chair Jean-François Cousin discuss with K Street Coaching founder Gideon Culman the profound impact that the work of coaching has on the coach.
"When we don’t understand ourselves well enough and when we don’t understand the ways we trip up consistently, we act as though we haven’t tripped up, and that gets us into even more trouble."
— Jennifer Garvey Berger
Jennifer Garvey Berger writes in her new book Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps about unhelpful patterns of behavior that we fall into without noticing that we’ve fallen into them. These are behaviors that treat the uncertainty, ambiguity, and change around us as though the world were more understandable, more predictable, and more constant than it is. In this conversation you'll discover some of the counterintuitive ways we can act that would be much more helpful, given the complexity and dynamism of the world.
Jennifer's latest book:
“Just because it’s rare, and just because somebody says it’s the best, doesn’t mean you even have to like it."
— Sarah Jane Curran
Sarah Jane Curran is the host of the podcast Beer Me! She has focused her studies on beer in culinary school and grad school, she has been a beer director at Eleven Madison Park and the general manager of DC’s Churchkey/Birch & Barley, and in this episode Sarah Jane shares with us some of the many ways in which beer makes the world a better place.
“The complexity we face is actually an evolutionary pressure. We evolve or we die. And we’re there. We’re there as a species, we’re there in organizations, and we develop or else. And that’s harsh, but it’s also a spiritual bootcamp. It’s a kind of evolutionary pressure on us to evolve into more complex ways of knowing, understanding, and relating, and so on. And so you can not not be in a gap. It just is the territory. And that normalizes it. It levels the playing field. There’s nothing wrong with you because you’re facing limits and meeting limits."
— Bob Anderson
Bob Anderson is the founder and chairman of the Leadership Circle and the Full Circle Group. His new book with Bill Adams, Scaling Leadership, shares surprising information about how senior leaders view leadership. In this conversation we discuss which strengths create the most effective leadership and which strengths undermine it. Bob contends that, no matter where we are, we always find ourselves in a feedback rich environment. Our challenge is to harvest the bounty of feedback and grow.