Change Leadership Gems from the Podcast Series

by | Nov 25, 2019

  • Timeless and timely advice from some amazing change leaders.
  • Glad to be in FeedSpot’s list of the top 5 Change Management Podcasts.
  • The last quarter of the #changeblogchallenge is on Leadership.

Over the past few years I’ve been fortunate to sit down and speak to change leaders about what change and leadership means to them.

The resulting podcasts are full to overflowing with anecdotes and advice from change leaders on how they have navigated their way through careers, change challenges and often life in general.

All leaders in their field. All candid and generous with their time. Each one offering an “Aha!” moment during their podcast. 

Leadership is also this last quarter’s theme for the #changeblogchallenge, and so I’ve grabbed a moment from a select group of the leaders featured on the Conversations of Change with Dr Jen Frahm podcast.

I’m also happy to report that the podcast recently got onto another list – Feedspot’s Top 5 Change Management Podcasts You Must Follow in 2019.  So I’m chuffed that the interviews are getting downloaded and are resonating with other change leaders around the world. 

So, read on, and if you find something that piques your interest, just follow the link to the full podcast and transcript of each of the entries. 

If you’ve got any thoughts or suggestions for interview candidates I’d love to hear from you.

Wisdom from Change Leaders:
Conversations of Change.
#changeblogchallenge leadership edition. 


Cameron Schwab on Change LeadershipCameron Schwab: What footy can teach us about change leadership.

Well, it’s driven by performance, so therefore it has to be up for change. Because performance by definition, when you’re competing, means you’ve got one team that wins and one team that loses each weekend.

If you’re not up for change, you’re not up for high performance really. I think if I was looking at anything that sport in does in this way, and this applies to business as well, that if you just did a little simple quadrant, and you just had on one side, “Is it working?”, and on the other side, “Is it important?”


Andrew Maher on Digital LandscapesAndrew Maher: Digital Landscapes.

I’m going to ask them some of the same questions that you’ve asked me today. “What does it mean? What does it mean to you? Where is it going to sit in the organization? Are you personally invested in making this happen?” I won’t be expecting to hear about the minutiae of what it needs to be here or there. But it’s really the narrative of is it a guiding principle for where the organization has to go? What does it mean to the people in the organization? Are they going to be supported? 

That’s the sort of narrative that I would expect to be hearing from a leader who is going to be engaged with it. And that’s the way I’d guide the conversation as well. And people do come and ask. People have come and asked for lots of lessons. And I go into the way that we’ve structured things here and how we measure progress. All that has to be in place, but you need the person at the top of the organization to say, “It’s time to do it.” And it’s time to do it for broader societal reasons than just “Guess what, we need to make sure to tick the box on digital transformation.”


Helen Bevan, Chief Transformation Officer NHS Horizons TeamHelen Bevan: NHS Horizons

What I would say is that if we want to make really big change happen in our organizations and systems, then we need diversity. We need people with different backgrounds and people who have different experiences who can come together and see the world in very different ways and challenge each other.

We can only really value the difference that we need if we can create the kind of psychological safety, the ability for people to work together, to respect difference, to feel supported by each other. So I’d say that in terms of my change practice, how we create psychological safety, how we create spaces where different people can come together and enable change together.


Adam Salzer: Transforming Boards and CEOs

If you are going to take your organization into this new world, it requires a lot of courage, and it requires a different approach to risk. You need to be able to keep your foot firmly on the accelerator even though you often don’t know where you are going. It is a different world and our existing boards don’t have that capability, especially in the Chairs. Because the Chairs are where we’re actually aiming our guns, primarily.

You talk to the Chairs and they have really difficulty bringing diversity on the boards, I don’t mean gender diversity, I mean any sort of diversity. Quotes like, “I wouldn’t be able to control them”, you go, “Yes”. Because the Chairs are selecting CEO’s that are operational, they themselves are putting in Boards that are fundamentally risk averse and do their jobs as avoiding risk. 


Margarette Purvis: New York City Foodbank.

Well, I think my role, number one, is get on top of it or expect to not be here long. I mean, the reality is that there’s a requirement for change, for you to have an appetite, for you to have a nimble disposition towards it. There’s a requirement for you to lead it and not allow it to happen to you. It’s just something at Food Bank that we openly embrace.

I will tell you, what I have learned over time, and it’s something that actually I credit Toyota with as well, is when you have embraced change and when you have been up to process improvement up to your eyeballs, that you also got to take a moment to pause.


Donna Hardman: The Role of the Board.

Well, in today’s world, everything is about change, I suppose. It’s quite volatile and unclear and complex and ambiguous today, the world we operate in. Everything that a board is doing, I guess, the context within which you’re doing your work is a changing one.

So business leadership is change leadership – be it a board member’s role or a CEO or a member of an executive team. Consequently, governance, to my mind anyway, is change governance. I mean, the more interesting, and probably arguably, the more important work you do is governing through change. I would argue that the board’s role is pretty significant.

Perhaps just to give some context, in my mind, it goes like this. The pressure that we face today in business is pretty vast, you know? You’ve got new environmental circumstances such as, let’s say, changing wheels of competition. Think about Uber and the taxi industry. We’ve got shorter tech life cycles than ever before, you know, apps on your phone versus how long it used to take to change a legacy banking system. Customers demand delivery to my door today. There’s a lot of pressure facing organizations and therefore boards. Your skill, your ability to adapt and flex in that environment is really key.

1 Comment

  1. Derek Bailey

    A plethora of acumen andbhard won experience. A treasure trove of real help for anyone in management from a leading hand to CEO.

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