"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 there 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.
“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.
“What people need to do is look at their lives through that lens ‘How much of what I do is intentional and how much of what I do is routine? How much of what I do is considered and how much of what I do is simply a function of I did it that way yesterday, I did it again today, and likely I’ll do it tomorrow?’”
— Jerry Johnson
Jerry Johnson manages relevance research at Brodeur Partners. His team helps organizations stay relevant in people's lives. In this episode Jerry discusses how to evaluate the many messages that every day appeal to our attention and our wallets. Learn how being aware and intentional about what matters to us can affect our lives.
“Anybody offering their truth to the world is a generous act. It doesn’t have to be perfectly wrought or perfectly abstractly conceptualized. But offering your authentic take on the world is just a gift, really. We don’t get a lot of honesty in the world. And emotional honesty is even rarer."
— Sara Mansfield Taber
Sara Mansfield Taber is a writer and a teacher of writing. She has a lucid understanding of what gets in the way of people writing well. Sara has released a book called Chance Particulars that swiftly moves us past our blocks by training our attention on the concrete details of the beautiful world around us.
"Life is filled with great diversity. You see it all through nature. When we as people take the opportunity to respect and appreciate the diversity that we have as humans, we have the power to build a better and more just society."
— Angela Hayes
Angela Hayes is the owner of Collins Hayes Management and Consulting. As the communities we live in grow increasingly diverse, what can companies do to make sure they resonate with every customer they're trying to reach? In this conversation, we discuss what steps companies can take to avoid embarrassing and costly missteps, as well as how we all benefit from a focus on inclusion.
“We all do the best we can. And I think whatever someone decides to do is the right step for them. But speaking out does have an impact. And I know that sharing my story brought comfort to many women, brought accountability to one man in particular, got legislation passed, and I think served as a bit of an educational opportunity or a warning to a lot of other men. And that makes it all worthwhile. It’s all of that.”
— Maryland State Senator, Cheryl Kagan
Cheryl Kagan represents Maryland State Senate District 17 in Annapolis. On March 1, 2018 she was inappropriately touched by a lobbyist. After she she called him out publicly, inspired by brave voices in the #MeToo movement, the lobbyist called her delusional and threatened to sue. Then Sen. Kagan produced video evidence and drove the legislature to pass an anti-sexual harassment law. In this interview, Sen. Kagan discusses what went into speaking up and taking action.
Most of us don't have literacy — we weren't trained in school to be literate — in the language of transformation, in the basic math and ABCs of transformation. So how do I learn to listen to my silent thoughts and feelings and track them down to core assumptions that are actually limiting? That if I can see them and break through, the whole game changes?
— Bob Anderson
Bob Anderson is the Founder and Chairman of The Leadership Circle and the Full Circle Group. In this interview we discuss his integration of leadership and adult developmental theory into the model underlying the Leadership Circle Profile 360 assessment.
Mastering Leadership: https://amzn.to/2wN9V2i
If you love this conversation, you will find episode 56 with Jennifer Garvey Berger fascinating.
My experience growing up taught me, 'Just 'cause they said 'No' doesn't mean I'm not qualified. They think I'm not qualified, but I'm qualified. They're idiots.' My view was that I was going to come to Washington, I was going to get them to offer me the job, and then I was going to turn them down. Just so they could see what it feels like.
— Lydia Borland
Ever wonder what a lobbyist actually does? In this episode, lobbyist Lydia Borland provides insight into the role lobbyists play in the legislative process. The key takeaway from this conversation is that, while lobbyists provide legislators with a wealth of information on the issues they vote on, the most important person a legislator can ever hear from is you.
There ought to be room for joy in the workplace. There ought to be room for experiencing the joy that comes from working collaboratively with others: feeling that joy, celebrating that joy, acknowledging that joy. It turns the daily slog into . . . joy. That doesn't exist without collaboration. So maybe getting started down this path is asking oneself, "Do I have enough joy in the work that I do in the place where I work?"
— Robert Tobias
Robert Tobias is the founder of the Key Executive Leadership Programs at American University. In this episode you'll learn what makes collaboration and authenticity so critical to successful leadership — not buzzwords, but rather tangible qualities. Allow this conversation to help you get curious about how you might develop your own leadership.
“We need to look beyond institutions to stand up for our rights, for our lifestyle, our quality of life. Time to broaden that to the organizations, to the businesses we interact with each and every day and realize there is power there.”
— DeVere Kutscher
DeVere Kutscher is a principal at Public Private Strategies. In this episode he discusses the role business plays in filling the void when there's a vacuum of political leadership. You will learn why business leaders can't afford to neglect broad swaths of population even when political leaders do. You will also find out why business, and even democracy itself, depends on the 2020 Census being carried out properly and in good faith.
Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman is the Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States of the America. In this interview we talk about, how throughout living memory, the Kurdish story has been told by people other than the Kurds. We discuss the many ways this has been changing since 2003.
Allison Shapira is the president and founder of Global Public Speaking. Most people are deathly afraid of speaking in public. In this episode, we discuss what gets in our way of public speaking and how we can remove these obstacles. The result is a clarity about who we are and a confidence in what we have to say.
Christopher McAuliffe is the founder of Accomplishment Coaching. In this interview we discuss Christopher’s journey into coaching, his vision to train over a thousand coaches, and his quest to design a coach training program of unparalleled quality. As the world around us transforms and the only reliable constant is a breath-taking pace of change, what role do coaches like play in society?
During his 12th year in the House of Representatives, Jim Kolbe became the first Republican congressman to come out as gay. In this interview, Jim describes how it happened: first leveling with himself about his own identity and then going public after receiving notice that a magazine would out him.
Anything and everything you say, whether it was a gaffe or something on point, can be cut, misconstrued, or marketed in a way that can go and hurt the candidate's position in the race. — Ben Sparks
What are politicians telling us? Why do campaigns go negative? *
Political operative Ben Sparks discusses the art and craft of campaign communication. Ben has directed campaign communications and managed campaigns for a variety of household names, including several sitting governors and senators. *
In this interview, we face uncomfortable truths about how campaign messages we despise are simply hideous reflections of ourselves. *
Further readings Ben recommends include: *
"The Iliad" by Homer - http://amzn.to/2lUaamo *
"All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren - http://amzn.to/2l9ojyV *
"Face the Nation" by Bob Schieffer - http://amzn.to/2mdmSzd *
"Oh, no! I'm shooting a fish in a barrel, but also I'm in the barrel, and the barrel's going over a cliff!" — Alexandra Petri *
What does a satirist do? What is the satirist's role in society? What, in turn, is our responsibility to the satirist? And what makes for genius satire? *
Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) is a Washington Post humor columnist. In this interview she addresses the terrifying convergence of her desire to write dystopian futures with her job of covering the actual news. What's a political satirist to do when it's impossible to come up with anything more bizarre or ridiculous than a verbatim transcription of our elected leaders' words? *
"My credibility is everything. If I'm viewed as in any way uncredible, I will lose everything." — Avi Mayer
What does it mean to be a spokesman? When you are one, why is it critical to know before whom you stand? And why is it important to build relationships?
When we hear a major public speech, we often take for granted that it was written by someone other than the speaker. But does the speechwriter do justice to the speaker's voice?
In this interview speechwriter David Levey discusses the process of writing for a principal, discovering their needs and providing appropriate support. David cites examples of genius speech-writing and suggests actions you can take to cultivate your own speech-writing skill.
Given how many natural languages are out there that you will never learn, what would possess someone to study an invented language like Esperanto, Klingon, or Dothraki? And who on earth would take the time to invent one?
This question drove linguist Arika Okrent (@arikaokrent) to research and write a book about invented languages. In this interview Arika offers an overview of the most salient languages invented since the 17th century. She provides fascinating historical context about the inventors, their motivations, and the reception of their languages.
Arika's book is In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius: http://amzn.to/2hr6qq3. Arika is also a columnist for Mental Floss.
To an outsider, the political arena may appear vast and foreboding. How do you get anything done?
Mark Bayer (@BayerStrategic) is the founder and president of Bayer Strategic Consulting, a government affairs and communications firm. Mark has served as a chief of staff, both in the US House of Representatives and in the US Senate in a Capitol Hill career spanning two decades. In this interview Mark shares useful perspectives on advancing your political agenda.
The languages we speak define who we are. What were to happen if you discovered a language that changed the course of your life?
Sarah Aroeste (@SarahAroeste) discusses this in depth in this interview. Sarah has forged a remarkable international, award-winning career by singing in the Sephardic language of Ladino. Sarah talks about infusing both her own original songs as well as 15th-century Ladino folks songs with her unique blend of pop, rock, and jazz.