Zafer Achi: Dancing with complexity

Zafer Achi is an executive coach, a team coach and a designer and facilitator of leadership development interventions. He has 34 years of consulting experience, including 27 years as a partner with McKinsey & Company. We have invited Zafer Achi to talk to us about complexity. He will help us create a language on the different types of challenges we face to enable us to apply the right tools.

The key topics covered in this episode are the difference between technical and adaptive challenges, and when something is complicated or complex, how to lead with curiosity and compassion, how to address adaptive challenges, integrating perspectives to manage complexity better and how to set a direction instead of a destination and lead towards it.

Jennifer Garvey Berger: Mindtraps

Jennifer Garvey Berger is the co-founder and CEO of Cultivating Leadership. She holds a master’s degree and a doctorate from Harvard University and is a former associate professor at George Mason University. Jennifer believes that leadership is one of the single most important tools in these times of uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. We have invited Jennifer to introduce us to mindtraps and how they can hinder us when dealing with complexity. 

The key topics covered in this episode are the five instincts that are most prevailing in our conversations, how our mindtraps lead to corporate theatre, how awareness of our mindtraps can lead to an invitation and how we can dissemble our mindtraps to thrive in complexity.

Laura Sicola: Speaking to influence

Dr Laura Sicola is a leadership communication and influence expert and the author of “Speaking to Influence: Mastering Your Leadership Voice”. We have invited Laura to talk to us about how you can establish your vocal executive presence through the three C’s: command, connect and close the deal. She also addresses how to remain invitational in conversations even if there is an experience of competing priorities and how to unlock the potential of seemingly opposing views.

The key topics covered in this episode are the experts curse and not taking the perspective of the listener, conversations are not a zero-sum game, people do not listen to process – they listen to respond, the three C’s: command, connect and close the deal and how to be intentional in the way you use your voice

Eli Buren: Embodied presence

Eli Buren is an expert in embodied presence. Eli has taught workshops and retreats and has worked with clients internationally since 2005, working with thousands of people across the US, Europe and Asia. We have invited Eli to talk about how we can be more present in our conversations by working with embodiment.

The key topics covered in this episode are how to bring presence to your conversations, how to practise presence, how to honour the creation cycle , giving space in the conversation to be more effective, noticing how your body is reacting in a conversation and using the body as your anchor.

Michele Zanini: Cutting bureaucracy out of our conversations

Michele Zanini is the co-founder of the management lab and the co-author of the book “Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them”. Michele helps organisations become more resilient, creative and engaging places to work by inventing new management practices. We have invited Michele to talk about how we can unleash people’s potential by introducing a more humanocratic organisational model.

The key topics covered in this episode are how organisations can reach their full potential by introducing the right organisational model, how conversations in post-bureaucratic companies are far more lateral than they are vertical, how to transfer knowledge and problem-solving expertise in a very organic way, how to create cross-pollination of expertise within an organisation and the importance of opening up the conversation and giving people the tools to have interesting and productive conversations with each other.

Wendy Smith: Capitalising on tension in conversation

Wendy Smith is a professor of management at the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics, co-founder of the Women’s Leadership Initiative and author of the book Both/And Thinking. She is an advocate for bold leadership, and much of her work focuses on helping leaders and teams navigate paradoxes.

We have invited Wendy Smith to talk about how we can get better at embracing paradoxes and go from either/or to both/and thinking. The key topics covered in this episode are how we can embrace and invite tensions into the organisation, how paradox invites us to honour different points of view, how we can capitalise on friction, the importance of being transparent and vulnerable as a leader, inviting ourselves to think about a different possibility space and how we can change questions from either/or to both/and.

Sheila Heen: Thanks for the feedback

Sheila Heen is the founder of Triad Consulting Group, a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School and Co-Author of “Thanks for the Feedback” and “Difficult Conversations”. She is consulting with companies ranging from Pixar, Hugo Boss to the NBA around difficult conversations, negotiation and sound decision-making. We have invited Sheila Heen to talk about the conversations around feedback and specifically how we can each be better feedback receivers.

The key topics covered in this episode are how we move away from being dismissive in the way we receive feedback to genuinely being grateful and appreciating the feedback, feedback as a learning and leadership skill, the three types of triggered feedback reactions: Truth triggers, relationship triggers and identity triggers, asking for the feedback you want and enabling feedback in your organisation.

Gail Gallie: Changing a global conversation

Gail Gallie is the co-founder and creative leader of Project Everyone. Project Everyone is the organisation behind the campaign launch of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Previously, Gail Gallie has run marketing and advertising practices, but she is now focusing on how to drive solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

In this episode, we have invited Gail Gallie to talk about the conversations that led up to the big success that is the Global Goals and how it changed global conversations. The key topics covered in this episode are the power of conversations, trusting your instinct, keeping it low-fi and listening, how visuals can help fuel a conversation, the importance of making things granular, how we can engage everyone in changing global conversations and how to enable a global ecosystem of changemakers.

Julie Diamond: Power in conversation

Julie Diamond is the founder of Diamond Leadership. She works as an executive coach and international leadership consultant, and she authored the book: “Power - A User’s Guide”. Her focus is on creating transformational learning and leadership solutions across sectors.

In this episode, we talk with Julie Diamond about the power of power in conversations and how each of us can become better power users. Key topics covered in this episode are understanding the difference between social and personal power, advice on how to be more inclusive as a person with high social power, speaking up as a person with low social power, and addressing power when it comes to difficult conversations, for example conversations in a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion space

Fred Dust: Committing to the conversation

Fred Dust is the founder of Dust&Co. He works as a designer and advisor to social and business leaders and he is the author of the book “Making Conversation”. He works at the intersection of business, society, and creativity where he tries to implement the craft of humancentric design. In this conversation, we talk with Fred Dust about the importance of committing to the conversation and thinking of conversation as a creative act.

Key topics covered in this episode are building a space for creative conversations, committing to the conversation first, the people second and your beliefs third, making friends with the unknown and the importance of being a good listener.

David Whyte: Courageous conversations

David Whyte is a philosopher and poet. He explores the conversational nature of reality, focusing on the relationship of human beings to their world, to creation, to others, and to the end of life itself. In this conversation, David Whyte challenges us to think of conversations not as an exchange of words but rather as a lens through which you can look at your life and way of being.

Key topics covered in this episode are being in conversation with the things that are other than us, the concept of a beautiful question, the conversations you need to stop having, the invitation you bring into a conversation and letting the conversation do the work.

Elizabeth Stokoe: Effective conversations

In this episode, hosts Katrina Marshall Dyrting and Stig Albertsen are exploring how British professor Elizabeth Stokoe’s research and experience could be applied to better understand and change conversations. Stokoe is a is a scientist and Professor of Social Interaction at Loughborough University where shy also studies conversation analysis. Key topics covered are our ability to predict the way a conversation is going to go, the way that one word can change an entire conversation, mapping conversations to better understand which parts of them work less well and the importance of “recipient design” in shaping great conversations.

Priya Parker: Gatherings that change us

In this episode we meet with conflict resolution facilitator and author, Priya Parker. We discuss takeaways from her book, “The Art of Gathering” and how to make a gathering meaningful, effective and engaging.

In the pursuit of designing more transformational conversations and meetings, Parker encourages us to address the deepest need of the moment in our gatherings, to name a meeting according to its purpose, and to think about when a conversation or a meeting should take place in the context of the “arch of the week”.

Roger Martin: Changing conversations in strategy

In this episode, hosts Katrina Marshall Dyrting and Stig Albertsen are joined by renowned strategy advisor and author Professor Roger Martin to talk about the five strategy questions laid out in his book “Playing to Win”. Through the lens of changing conversations, they discuss a case example from the book: how strategic conversations might have been problematic in the past, what the resulting conversations looked like, and what it took to change those conversations.

Mads Nipper: Leaders in conversation

In this episode, hosts Katrina Marshall Dyrting and Stig Albertsen are joined by Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper. The episode explores how leaders are never not in conversation and Mads Nipper’s perspective on how he engages in those hundreds of touchpoints each day.

Stig Albertsen and Katrina Marshall Dyrting: Change is changing conversations

In this introductory episode, hosts Stig Albertsen and Katrina Marshall Dyrting discuss changing conversations in organisations and lay out the foundation for this podcast series: why focus on conversations, what could be possible if we do and who we will meet in the coming episodes?

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Changing conversations

Dive into our topic on how conversations might be the smallest biggest thing in catalysing transformation.

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Michele Zanini

Wendy Smith: Capitalising on Tension in Conversation

Sheila Heen

Julie Diamond: Power in conversation

  • Power: A User’s Guide by Julie Diamond
  • Humanocracy by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini
  • Deep Diversity. A Compassionate scientific approach to achieving racial justice by Shakil Choudhury
  • Equity: How to Design Organizations where Everyone Thrives by Minal Bopaiah

Priya Parker: Gatherings that change us: