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Ian Ziskin + Collaborators, The Secret Sauce For Leading Transformational Change
Episode 21114th November 2022 • Unlocking Your World of Creativity • Mark Stinson
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Welcome back friends to our podcast, unlocking your world of creativity, the podcast, where we talk about how to get inspired and how to organize our ideas. And most of all, how to gain the confidence and the connections to launch our creative work out and to the world.

Today we've got a unique set of guests who are gonna talk to us about transformational change and creativity, and how to apply our creativity in whatever creative practitioners might be working on right now.

They are Ian Ziskin and a panel of collaborators, Linda Naiman, Susan Robertson, Kelly Bean, and Karen Jaw-Madson.

Ian leads a group called the consortium for change and has just published a book, The Secret Sauce For Leading Transformational Change

The book is a collaborative effort by Ian and the Consortium for Change. Written by a diverse, and inclusive community of contributors and business experts, The Secret Sauce guides readers through navigating change on an individual, organizational, and societal level. Every essay is unique, ranging from deeply personal challenges like confronting a life-threatening cancer diagnosis to reimagining the organizational and societal impact of a world of work without jobs. Readers will learn concepts and techniques to engage the mind, navigate vulnerable moments, cultivate adaptive leadership, and much more. 

Linda Naiman is joining the fourth industrial revolution and going technical, designing, and producing an online on-demand course on creative resilience.

Kelly Bean is the principal of parent strategy partners based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has been working with organizations and universities on how to integrate learning into everything we do on a daily basis.

Karen Jaw-Madson Has been primarily spending her time between executive coaching and consulting in leadership culture, diversity, talent optimization, and change. She has also been spending a lot of time teaching as well as advising and investing in the startup space and developing a research project at the intersection of DEI and culture.

Susan Robertson is working on her third book, real Cultural Transformation To Change. She is doing a lot of executive coaching on how to get into the C-suite and has a special interest in working with culture change in the healthcare industry.

We opened our discussion with what were some of the underpinnings that he began to explore when we cooked up the idea to put this book together.

  • Those leaders who are actually successfully leading sustained transformational change why and what are they doing? 
  • The second question that we began to explore was a lot of situations where transformational change is not successful. Why do we so often fail? to touch on the broader concept of large-scale transformational change. 

We also dove into each author’s sense of what transformational change was as they contributed to the book. 

We also started with a bit of a hypothesis or premise that we wanted to explore. Basically, the assumption that all transformation is changed, but is all changed transformational

Linda Naiman: transformation has to do with an evolved state where you go transform from unawareness to awareness or to higher awareness and to create an improved quality.Her contribution to the book has to do with using the arts as a catalyst for transformation in people, and in organizations. 

Kelly Bean: She says leaders have to be learners. And if you're a learner, you have every capability and possibility to be a leader. And so in order to do that, you have to practice

Karen Jaw-Madson: To be able to manage changes, you have to be good at change too. You have to be able to be adaptive and agile as well. Learning is demonstrated by changed behavior, and so learning is change and change is learning. The way you successfully manage change is you need to have enough depth and breadth in order to be successful

Susan Robertson: When it comes to transformation, you have to change it at the individual level, the team level, and the organizational level if you talk about the issues that create distrust, you'll actually create trust in order for them to be able to break down barriers between themselves and reach that creative space.

We also had a candid discussion on knowing that there were other people writing in parallel, and how it inspired,  encouraged, and motivated each writer for their chapter. 

Ian Ziskin said that people have different points of view and it was very motivating for him to keep it short enough to be usable, but also diverse enough to be valuable in terms of the input.

Kelly Bean : For her, it was just getting out of her own way.

Susan Robertson: Writing with other writers made her want to level up her game and learn in the process in terms of her own writing.

Karen Jaw-Madson: She asked herself where she could uniquely contribute and used it as a blank page.

In conclusion, Ian told us that one of the big things he learned about the process of putting the book together was trying to get the balance right between providing guidance and deadlines and being clear about what it is you that he was looking for. So people felt like they had some framework to work within while at the same time, providing an appropriate level of degrees of freedom for creativity and ideas and diverse perspectives to flow through.

Finally, the authors shared their versions of what should we not do -- and what should we do instead?

Susan Robertson: start anywhere, in terms of all the chapters, then pick a theme And go down

Linda Naiman: Don't run away from chaos and ambiguity

Kelly Bean: Don't have too much certainty and have more curiosity

Karen Jaw-Madson: Don't self-limit, explore the possibilities, connect with people, and also enjoy the journey.

www.transformationalchangebook.com



Ian Ziskin, coach, entrepreneur, speaker, teacher, and lead author of The Secret Sauce For Leading Transformational Change (coming June 1, 2022). Through his coaching and speaking, Ian has helped countless executives grow their leadership, effectively navigate organizational change, and develop their human capital strategy, and he is eager to share his expertise with your audience.  

Ian brings 40 years of experience to his work, serving as a business and HR leader, board advisor and member, coach, consultant, entrepreneur, teacher, speaker, and author. He is President of the coaching and consulting firm EXec EXcel Group LLC, and the Co-Founder and Partner of Business inSITE Group (BiG), a strategic partnership focused on coaching, leadership development, and HR transformation. Ian is also Co-Founder and Leader of the Consortium for Change (C4C), a community of coaches and consultants, and Co-Founder of the CHREATE Project, designed to address the future of work and HR.

 

Ian has written or co-edited four books, The Secret Sauce for Leading Transformational Change (2022), Black Holes and White Spaces: Reimagining the Future of Work and HR with the CHREATE Project (2018), THREE: The Human Resources Emerging Executive (2015), and WillBe: 13 Reasons WillBe’s are Luckier than WannaBe’s (2011), and he is a contributing author to The End of Jobs by Jeff Wald (2020), The Rise of HR: Wisdom From 73 Thought Leaders edited by Dave Ulrich, et. al. (2015), and The Chief HR Officer: Defining the New Role of Human Resource Leaders, edited by Pat Wright, et.al. (2011). He has written dozens of articles, blogs, and book chapters on the future of work, HR, and leadership, as well as on coaching and HR’s role with Boards of Directors, among other topics.


Ian's Website


Copyright 2022 Mark Stinson

Transcripts

Mark (:

Well, welcome back friends to our podcast, unlocking your world of creativity, the podcast, where we talk about how to get inspired and how to organize our ideas. And most of all, how to gain the confidence and the connections to launch our creative work out and to the world. And today we've got a unique set of guests who are gonna talk to us about transformational change and creativity, and how to apply our creativity and whatever creative practitioners might be working on right now. And I'm just so happy to welcome Ian Ziskin and a panel of collaborators, which I'll introduce in a moment that Ian, welcome to our program.

Ian Ziskin (:

Great to be with you, mark. Thank you for

Mark (:

Having us. Ian leads a group called the consortium for change and has just published a book, the secret sauce for leading transformational change, and the co-authors that are here. Linda Naman.

Linda Naiman (:

Hi mark.

Mark (:

And what are you working for? Thanks

Linda Naiman (:

For having me here. Actually, I'm joining the fourth industrial revolution and going technical, designing, and producing an online on-demand course on creative resilience.

Mark (:

Oh, fantastic.

Linda Naiman (:

So it's been a journey.

Mark (:

Can't wait to hear more. And Kelly Bean is with us.

Kelly Bean (:

Oh, thank you so much, mark. It's great to be with you

Mark (:

And tell us about your work.

Kelly Bean (:

I am the principal of parent strategy partners based here in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I have been working with organizations and universities on how we integrate learning into everything we do daily.

Mark (:

And we're also joined by.

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

Thank you, mark. It's great to be here.

Mark (:

What are you working on these days?

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

Well, Ian will laugh. He'll probably say, what is she not working on today? but I would say I'm primarily spending my time between executive coaching and consulting in leadership culture, diversity, talent optimization, and change. But I do spend a lot of time teaching as well as advising and investing in the startup space and developing a research project at the intersection of DEI and culture.

Mark (:

Lots to explore there. Thank you. We're also joined by

Susan Robertson (:

Hi mark. Nice to see you

Mark (:

Again. Nice to see you. And what creative passions are you exploring these days?

Susan Robertson (:

A lot, I too am from Charlottesville, Virginia, and I'm working on my third book, real cultural transformation to change as well as what I contributed here. I'm actually doing a lot of executive coaching on how to get into the C-suite and then I've had a special interest in working with culture change in the healthcare industry, given all the things that have happened in the last two and a half years.

Mark (:

Well, Ian what a panel we've assembled here and going back to this idea of transformational change, I mean, look at all the areas our other contributors are exploring in terms of putting this book together and the issues of transformational change. Let's start with a bit of a definition. Where did you springboard from in defining transformation?

Ian Ziskin (:

Started from a placemark in thinking about a few questions that we would try to explore in the book. One of which would be those leaders who are actually successfully leading sustained transformational change., why, what are they doing? Right. The second question that we began to explore was a lot of situations where transformational change is not successful. Why do we so often fail? We also started with a bit of a hypothesis or premise that we wanted to explore. The assumption is that all transformation is changed, but is all changed transformational. And, just to sneak preview a bit, I think the answer is no, not really, not all change is transformational, but also started thinking about this concept of transformational change from the perspective of the individual, the team, the organization, and perhaps even to a certain degree society and trying to make, each of those things as effective as possible, but also from a perspective of health and happiness and survivability and long term viability, all of those things tend to touch on the broader concept of large scale transformational change. And those were some of the underpinnings that we began to explore when we cooked up the idea to put this book together.

Mark (:

And I think to pick up on that definition, I have to ask transformation as a word sounds so glamorous, and it sounds so positive. And yet one of the premises I read about was the fact that so much of this is disruption. It's unanticipated, it's often at the address it's changed for change's sake. What's the difference? And what can we learn from

Ian Ziskin (:

That? Well, I think you summarize that really well because at least for myself, and I think for the others on the panel as well to various degrees, you kind of come to this realization when you start looking at this topic of transformational change, that people tend to think about it as plan for anticipated the ability to see around corners and to address things in advance of the need., that all feels very strategic and there's plenty of examples in the book and in the life of that sense of anticipatory change that's well prepared for. However, I certainly learned in pulling the book together as the lead author, that there are actually many more examples of things that are unplanned for kind of happen to us. We didn't see them coming. They were unanticipated, there's very little preparation and we just kind of get whacked upside the head.

Ian Ziskin (:

You know, one of my favorite quotes I included in the book was from Mike Tyson, the heavyweight boxer, who was being interviewed in advance of one of his heavyweight bouts by a member of the media who asked what his strategy was was was for in this heavyweight fight. And he said everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. and I think there are plenty of examples of individuals and teams and organizations and, and even societies that are getting punched in the mouth and then have to figure out how to deal with the circumstance that they are facing. Didn't see it coming. It wasn't very well planned.

Mark (:

No, it takes that whack on the side of the head book, title to a whole different level. Doesn't it? Well, Linda, let's bring you into the conversation here. I mean, clients ranging from American Express to the UN to the US Navy have called on you for dealing with change and change strategy. But what did you see when you were contributing your chapter and essay to the book? What was your sense of what transformational change could look like and how a creative team could deal with it?

Linda Naiman (:

Well, thanks, Mark. First, these organizations contact me to help them be more creative. So I'm not being asked to take them through a whole change process except to change their minds. And so, there's another aspect of transformation for me, which has to do with going from one state to another, which is to a more evolved state. And so transformation for me has to do with an evolved state where you let's say go transform from unawareness to awareness or higher awareness and to create an improved quality. So my contribution to this book has to do with using the arts as a catalyst for transformation in people, and organizations. And so one thing, that Ian was writing at the beginning of the book, was about, we have to understand what reality is in the first place and go from there.

Linda Naiman (:

So how, how do you tell the truth about reality? Yousuf Karsh a celebrated Canadian photographer advised a young filmmaker once to always tell the truth, but in terms of beauty. And so I use art as a way for people to have creative conversations. So I will ask a strategic conversation, I'll ask a strategic question and have people answer with a paintbrush and paint, and then talk about what they experienced and what they see in their pictures. And so it externalizes the truth. So you're not confronting the truth directly with each other and it makes it safe to discuss the undiscussable. It's also a way to draw out symbols and metaphors from the work of art. So I'm not asking people to be artists, I'm asking them to take a deep dive into inquiry, into curiosity, into using their imaginations.

Linda Naiman (:

And we have multiple ways of learning beyond just, the verbal and the linear, and the analytical. So there are layers of learning, and there are multiple ways of knowing, and that's what we tap into using the arts. And so the art is in the conversation and it's the art, the conversation that transforms. So what I do is I create a safe space. I call it a crucible for transformation through which the group feels we create a crucible created by safety, a feeling of safety and trust, to talk about what matters and in a way, what I've noticed over the years, this is a way for the group to dive in and extract the gold of wisdom that is buried in the group that's transformation. And from there, they come up with creative solutions and aspirations and then start, to create a desired future. Very so, that's more or less what I wrote in the chapter in the essay, I should say,

Mark (:

Very helpful. I love that way of tapping in and then providing a space to create well, Kelly let's explore your contribution. You've looked at this both from a maybe academic and from a practical business standpoint, how do we move from the sort of concept and the glorious feelings that transformation might entail, but the real practical application of getting it done?

Kelly Bean (:

Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, it's been my experience that learning and lifelong learning leads to the best practical application testing, discovering ideating everything that Linda was just talking about having those conversations and putting that together in an intentional way, I base the premise that leaders have to be learners. And if you're a learner, you have every capability and possibility to be a leader. And so in order to do that, you have to practice. And this is where I think learning brings that together. I think leaders oftentimes in the organizations that I've worked with on behalf of a variety of universities, a learning journey often is what helps bring transformational change to the forefront. It doesn't happen in two days or three days. It happens over a period of time and mindsets are difficult to shift and change.

Kelly Bean (:

And so it's those small pieces of the practical application of learning something going in, trying it, stretching yourself, recognizing that you are uncomfortable and when you're uncomfortable, you're growing and when you're growing, keep at it because you're growing others. And that transformational change begins to kind of trickle down into the organization. I think the important piece, that I've learned over the years and what the contribution that I made to the book is that you have to be a learning leader in today's workforce. And to be that learning leader, you have to take on a variety of different roles to be able to understand not only how the business, that you're part of works or the organization works, but also how you work, right? And what is getting in the way, what do you need to take with you?

Kelly Bean (:

What do you need to continue to grow? And then as Ian mentioned at the beginning, it's not enough anymore to just integrate how the business works and how you work. You have to take that other view of what's happening in society, what's happening in global trends. And so the learning leader today kind of sits in the middle of all three of those perspectives. And by taking on these different roles, whether that's of being an innovator or a value creator or change activist or communicator, or an agile problem solver, as you step into those roles and your practice that helps to bring the practical application into the mix, but you have to balance that with reflection, do-overs and teaching others.

Mark (:

Yes. Well, and none of this happens fast, as you said. And Karen, I think about things like changing culture, things like embracing diversity, everything that Kelly's been talking about with this embracing a learning mindset, but it's not always easy when you kind of touch these sensitive topics as it.

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

No, absolutely not. And, and if I could just back up a little bit, just respond to what I heard from my colleagues here and tie that into your question., when it comes to change in general, I mean, we're, we're humans, we're mostly adaptable, mostly, especially when we have to. Oftentimes it's not necessarily just the change itself. It's how the change is managed, right? So Ian spoke about why we wrote this book because it's the ability to manage change. And by the way, to be able to practice that during change because not everything is predictable. One of my favorite Warner Burke quotes is to assume that change in organizations is or can be, be rational, is irrational, right? So to be able to manage changes to be, you have to be good at change too. You have to be able to be adaptive and agile as well.

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

We found this and Ian mentioned covid the organizations that were good cultures and great at change. They rose to the occasion. I mean, there are a lot of great examples where companies really stepped up. And I think what this pandemic did was exacerbate what was already there. So if it was a great culture that was good at managing change, they got, even better at it. Right. And then those that struggled with it struggled even more. And, so learning that you brought up Kelly and Mark that you asked about, becomes that much more important because it is such a huge part of, by the way, any creative process too, as a nod to Linda. And the way I would summarize it is that learning is demonstrated by changed behavior, right? And so learning is change and change is learning.

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

And so that is a big part of what change is all about which is why not toot our own horns. We love this book because it's just so comprehensive. And, it ties into the way I structured my essay and the way the book itself is structured is the way you successfully manage change. And this is what my essay delves into you need to have enough depth and breadth to be successful at that. And that's why we talk about it at an individual team and organization scale. Oftentimes organizations tend to take a big hammer and, and, and, and force change through in ways that are you talked about disruption. You want positive disruption, not destructive disruption, right? so my essay was written. I tend to write based on certain frustrations.

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

That's how I ended up writing my first book culture, culture, innovating experiences at work because it's all of these frustrations that we, we have a sense, or at least we know what to do, and the challenges, in making it happen. And so my essay in this book was about sustainable DEI because guess what, I talk about the graveyard of failed initiatives that are missing. And, it is that depth and breadth that we talk about. So that's kind of where that comes from and why I think it's, and by the way, I highly recommend collaborative book projects. That's a lot easier to collaborate with colleagues and to write a book all by yourself. Yes, I've got, I've done four group projects now, and it's, it's all been a joy. It brings us closer together. So I wanna thank Ian for, being the brain the brains behind pulling this all together, because I'm telling you, we talk about collective intelligence in a creative process. That's exactly what happened here. The different voices you hear just in this panel, but in the entire book, it really truly is transformational to be able to learn through all the different voices here.

Mark (:

Yeah. Fantastic. I'll ask you about that in a moment, but Susan bringing you in here, I mean, as we think about strategy it is nice to think about a visionary saying, Hey, what? We really ought to make transformational change around here. I mean, certainly, companies are looking for a competitive advantage. They just, yes. We wanna make our culture stronger, but we wanna compete better in the marketplace.

Susan Robertson (:

Yeah. well, the chapter that I wrote actually happens to be a live experience of a group that I worked with the inside of a large fortune 100 company. And they had what they called a drill and kill the culture. And so this drill and kill, which made it very easy to grind they were highly competitive with each other. So I was working with one of the many call centers across the globe and the particular call center I was working with was the number one ranking call center. And they wanted to keep becoming better and better and better. And what happened is they ultimately began competing with themselves. And so within their own call center. So despite the fact that they were so successful and despite the fact that they were trying to avoid drill and kill, they became drill and kill with each other.

Susan Robertson (:

And so when it comes to transformation, you do, you have to change it at the individual level, the team level, and the organizational level. And when they realized that they were drilling and killing each other, that was actually when I came in and it was highly contentious yet highly, they were highly performing high performers as an organization. So there was this reticence to change because of the high performance. . And so getting people, one of the things that we like to say when we're working with organizations, is if you talk about the issues that create distrust, you'll actually create trust, and that's not actually easy to do. And then how do you bring that out? And those are all the facilitative techniques that you have to get into with these teams in order for them to be able to break down barriers between themselves and reach that creative space.

Susan Robertson (:

And, those are the things, as we talked about last time that I talked about my book raw leadership, and then when it comes to culture, then having everyone go through paradigm shifts with themselves and go through an individual transformation in order to create the organizational transformation. And that's what this book also talks about in those three levels. And then how do you do it and how do you create a practical application so that you get everyone on board so that it's a learning organization? You have diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across the board. And then of course getting to that level of creativity when you're competitive, you're not being creative at all, as Linda would say. And so an individual ability, the leader, you don't have to wait for the organization to change in order to change your organization. And that's what I think that my little essay illustrates in terms of the client that I interviewed.

Mark (:

Yeah. I love the fact that all of you brought in these real experiences, whether it be from frustration or whether it be from a case study point of view, and Ian, I'd like to explore that creative process and how you brought those perspectives together. Well, Ian, I'd like to explore those creative processes where we brought so many different points of view on change and on what transformation takes over 35 contributors these 25 essays on different points of view, but what was your creative process? How did you bring all this together? Give our listeners some insight into the, how-to,

Ian Ziskin (:

Well, for me the decision was easy, right? From the beginning. When I quickly realized I wasn't smart enough to write an entire book on transformational change by myself,

Mark (:

Awareness is always the first step

Ian Ziskin (:

Right. So self self-awareness was extraordinarily important. And the same time, we were very lucky to have this collective group of members of the consortium for change., everybody who's on this panel is an active member in that group where we have a lot of coaches and consultants and experts on not only leading transformational change but a variety of other topics. So there was a lot of passion for the concept, but also a lot of very valuable points of view that we wanted to bring into the story I've now grown fond of calling the book 200 voices and under 200 pages because it turns out that as a lot of people have asked me what do you think potentially distinguishes this book from others in the leading change space? One of the things I point to is the fact that it's not just Ian's view of the world or even a few co-authors.

Ian Ziskin (:

We actually have the perspective of these 25 different essays and eight interviews. And over 150 people's worth of input on a survey that we did all of whom brings their unique perspective. But the other thing that we also were trying to accomplish was to keep it brief enough and focused enough and practical enough and pragmatic enough that people would actually use it and find it a useful tool as our publisher reminded us. And I think lots of other people know from their own personal experience, that it's getting harder and harder for people to read books anymore. And so the 350 or 400-page variety, while there are plenty of great ones out there, it's hard for people to make the time to get through it. And so our approach on the collaborative side was to bring in a very diverse set of voices and perspectives.

Ian Ziskin (:

There is a lot of reinforcement, and common experiences that people have shared in the book, and those themes come through. But there's also divergence people have different points of view and that's, I think one of the things that make the book we hope a useful learning tool for people. And by keeping it short, hopefully, make it accessible for people to be able to actually use it in a practical way. That was very motivating for me to keep it short enough to be usable, but also diverse enough to be valuable in terms of the input.

Mark (:

Sure. Well, I'd love to hear from the authors Kelly, maybe I could start with you in terms of your process and knowing that there were these other people writing in parallel how did that both inspire you and encourage you, I guess, but, motivate you to get your chapter.

Kelly Bean (:

Yeah, well as kind of a new entrepreneur and new author, some of it for me was just getting outta my own way. And I think that the process that we followed around what are your views on transformation and what have you experienced. It actually allowed me very, very clearly to just kind of open up and say, Hey, what what are some experiences that I've been through where I've seen in my case, learning has a huge impact on leading on transformation and, and building leaders and, what are, what are my takeaways from that? And what are I think my favorite parts of the book that I loved? And when I first started to read it, read the manuscript, I went there almost immediately. What are the three things to know or do about transformational change? And what I loved is that each of us had kind of our own perspective on it. They become like these little prompts that we can use. And so I have found myself even today is we've been going through this. I have quite a few different prompts written down by some of my colleagues. So I think the richness of integrating all those different ideas has just been a really great experience.

Mark (:

Perfect. Well, you've written other books and articles. How did this process compare or contrast to your other writing experiences?

Kelly Bean (:

It was a pleasure too, to write this essay and Ian made it easy because he provided some guidelines. He knew what he wanted in terms of the book and what he wanted from an essay. And so that's way easier than if it's just a vague ask and but the hard part is to say so much in so few words. So that, but that's something I've had practice in from writing columns@ink.com over a couple of years. So yeah, that, that was, that was difficult, but I had, I felt like I had plenty of support from Ian and his team. And so, it fulfills my mission to help people liberate their creativity and make life and work a work of art. So, this is a way to be of service to that mission.

Mark (:

Very good. And Susan, Linda has mentioned this support. I couldn't help, but wonder if many of our listeners might be, have been invited to contribute to maybe compendiums like this, or be a coauthor in a book. How, how does that feel knowing that there are so many others, quote, unquote more experience or better or more qualified, did, did the imposter syndrome ever grab anybody?

Susan Robertson (:

Oh, I'm so glad you asked me that question. Cuz that was exactly what I was thinking about. I've recently took taken up tennis and the way you get better at tennis is you play against somebody who's better than you. And so I found this process as I thought about it. One as Ian said to be, having a targeted topic is extremely important. Whereas when you're writing a book, you have a bunch of targeted topics. So I just kept thinking about what made this creative for me I was thinking, okay, I'm, I'm playing against eight players and I wanna level up my game and these people are gonna help me level up my game. And I'm gonna learn in the process in terms of my own writing, but also in terms of what other people are sharing from their experiences.

Susan Robertson (:

So I was excited to just be part of that and that helped, generate or sustain the creative juices around what is it, what would be the most important thing that I could contribute based on the experiences, but more, not really my experiences, but my client's experiences on what it takes in terms of transformation because you really do have to get out of your comfort zone, which takes a breaking of your mindset and being coming in creative and thinking outside of the box. So I just found it a great way to level up.

Mark (:

Perfect. And Karen, a lot of writers and authors and contributors to books like this, they start with this blank page and they go, as you have listed so many interests, so many topics, so many possibilities, then, where do you begin? How did you find this process in that regard?

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

You know, it's interesting. I've been on a personal journey around being able to hone in on where I can uniquely contribute. So this question I've been asking myself is, do you need somebody or do you need me? And I, felt this way about the book as well, where can I uniquely contribute? That's kind of where my blank page started. I'm also somebody, and I try to practice why I preach around the learning piece as a lifelong learner. Who's extremely influenced by design thinking is like, I took an iterative approach. I mean, you take the I'll use that the first drafts right? , that essay has always been very influential in what I've become as a writer. You, just, you just start anywhere.

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

And you iterate and you learn through that process and you, put your own contribution to it. And so to be able to see, and, and first of all, I wanna give a lot of credit, not, not, first of all, I should have set that up front, Ian, but I give you and your team, all the credit of hurting all these cats, we're all extremely busy people. And the fact that this all came together in the timeline that it did is a huge achievement. And, between timelines and space, like these are actually constraints that really helped our creative process in some respects and, and created what you have before you. Now, I think this is something we're really proud about because we went through a transformation, our process ourselves in putting this book together. So, that's my take on it when you have a blank page, you start anywhere. So and then you iterate from there, and you focus on where you can uniquely contribute. Everyone has value to add. We all come from very different experiences. And I, I really do feel that there's something in here for everyone and a perspective on almost everything related to change.

Mark (:

I mean, and I certainly relate to your timeline comment, what creative person doesn't need a deadline to say one of these days we gotta wrap this thing up?

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

Well, I have a love-hate relationship with timelines

Mark (:

Of course. Yes. Well, Ian, the book has a lot of ahas about transformational change, and I, definitely wanna get to those, but first, what was an aha for you about the process of putting the book together as the creative lead?

Ian Ziskin (:

Well, I'm a firm believer that when you write a book, hopefully, you teach other people something, but you should also be learning something yourself. I learned a lot about transformational change. I also learned a lot about putting books together and maybe my next book will be a book about writing a book cuz it was a, it was a whole experience, including the cat herding that everybody was kind enough to refer to as one of the big things I learned about the process of putting the book together was trying to get the balance right between providing guidance and deadlines and being clear about what it is you're looking for. So people felt like they had some framework to work within while at the same time, providing an appropriate level of degrees of freedom for creativity and ideas and diverse perspectives to flow through.

Ian Ziskin (:

And that's a bit of an iterative process, frankly, you have to experiment and adjust along the way, but everybody did a beautiful job in their own unique way of staying within the guardrails, but not completely. And, they tested the boundaries of their own creativity and tried new ideas, and got their own voice to come through. And I was really excited to create the environment if you will. I think that my job was to create an environment that made it possible for people to allow their perspectives and voice to come through. Well at the same time, providing just enough structure and guidance and pressure to get us to finish the book on time and actually have it come out on time, which I've learned from talking to the publisher isn't as common as you might imagine where people set deadlines for books and they try to write a book and then six years later, they're still trying to write the same book and to be able to do it all within less than a year. I think we should all be proud of ourselves for having stuck to the game plan to make it happen.

Mark (:

Absolutely kudos to all well, one of the chapters in the book is don't do it and I'd love to go around our panel here and kind of say, don't do this, don't do that in a short, succinct wrap-up kind of a way, Susan, could I start with you if you're a creator looking to make a change don't do this, do this since then.

Susan Robertson (:

Okay. I would have to say it's exactly what everyone's talking about. Yes. Start anywhere, but don't start anywhere over and over and over and over again, once you figure out a thread, follow that for a while. Because I found that I, at one time was writing 10 different books instead of narrowing the scope because so many different ideas would come up. So then once you start anywhere, which I act absolutely believe in, in terms of all the chapters, then pick a theme And go down

Mark (:

Great, Linda, what should we not do? And what should we do instead?

Linda Naiman (:

I would say, don't run away from chaos and ambiguity. Too often I work with people who are high performers, everything has to be perfect. We're going through a change in transformation things. Aren't gonna be perfect and they want to come up with a solution right away and bypass chaos and ambiguity. I say, don't bypass that, dive in, get curious about it. Follow the thread of curiosity, pull on that thread because that's going to lead you to new perspectives, new ideas, and then new solutions. And also don't settle on your first perspective for your first idea listen to people on your team and listen to a diversity of perspectives. Cuz problem solving is a little bit like a puzzle. And so we all have a piece of the puzzle. So we need to be in dialogue to listen to each other minds that that group wisdom we can evolve and transform

Mark (:

Very good. Kelly, what would be your watchwords? Don't do this, do this instead.

Kelly Bean (:

Yeah, it actually is pretty similar to what Linda said. What I wrote down when you asked that question is don't have too much certainty and have more curiosity, like just, I think as we get wiser and have more experiences, we know the answer or we feel like we know the answer and challenge ourselves to grow is about asking a different set of questions.

Mark (:

Very good. Karen, what would you say, don't do this, do this instead.

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

And you're gonna start to hear a theme here on things slightly differently. Don't self-limit, explore the possibilities, connect with people and also enjoy the journey this whole constantly looking at finishing. This is the problem with change management and transformation. Sometimes the focus is too much on the transaction of it that they lose the relationship, the connection, the community, and everything that makes change successful. So I'm kind of echoing a lot of what my colleagues have said here to make sure that those possibilities are things you capture. There might be things you don't expect. You, you have to be prepared for the for, for unintended benefits and consequences, both. Right? And so I, I would say definitely be mindful enough to, to, to kind of life in the present and in the journey itself and to continue to learn.

Mark (:

I love that. We're always looking back for those unintended consequences. I love that there may be unintended benefits I'll be watching for those the rest of the week. indeed. Absolutely. Well, Ian, as we close, first of all, I've got, a final question, but I wanted to make sure our listeners know how to connect with the consortium, and how to learn about the book. Where's the best place for us to find more information?

Ian Ziskin (:

Thanks for asking Mark actually the best place for one-stop shopping is the book website that we set up www.transformationalchangebook.com where everybody who's interested can go to get some chapter summaries, learn a bit more about the contributing authors, and also order the book at a discount, but it's also a way for them to interact with us and learn more about the consortium for change all at the same time at the same place.

Mark (:

Well, fantastic. We'll put all those links in the show notes and include the discount code, and our listeners can go and find it in order of the book. That'd be fantastic. Now I know that we wanna celebrate the work, but we also wanna look ahead how do you see the book going the messages, the authors, the collaboration, where do you see it going from here, Ian?

Ian Ziskin (:

Well, I think it's important to underscore, even though we've all said it in a variety of different ways in our time together, really the main purpose of this book is to try to raise the bar for the profession of leadership, the profession of leading transformational change. So anything that we can do to amplify the learning and the messages from the book and share them in an accessible way with people so they can make use of them in their own individual personal lives, but also with their teams and with their organizations. That's really what we're all about. So trying to spend the time now, not only through podcasts like this but also other presentations, leadership development opportunities that we'll have, and coaching or consulting opportunities that all of us tend to get engaged in actually teaching some of the lessons learned from what we discovered in putting the book together.

Ian Ziskin (:

To me, that's the best way, of amplifying the message. And I think sometimes as a book author, it's easy to get caught up in the trap of focusing exclusively on how many books you sell and that's always great when it happens, but for me personally, the much more important impact, if we can have it, is not in the number of books sold, but in the number of lives we improve as a result of teaching and sharing some of the things that we have learned, however, we best can convey that message. And there'll be a variety of different ways that we're doing that.

Mark (:

Perfect. Well, I can't thank you all enough for being on the program. The book is called the secret sauce for leading transformational change. It's from the consortium for change. A lead author is Ian Ziskin and Linda Naiman, Susan Robertson, Kelly Bean, and Karen Jaw-Madson have been my guest. Thank you all for being here.

Karen Jaw-Madson (:

Thank you.

Mark (:

Great. You mark. Yeah, it's just been so great unless there's, I think the key word here is lessons learned and lessons applied. We've talked about all the concepts and the philosophies and the strategies and approaches, but we've also talked about what it takes to actually apply these. I love the idea of diving into embracing curiosity. We've got to continue to be creators for change and it starts with creation. So let's keep creating, let's keep our ideas flowing, and let's be open to the thoughts of others. So I'm so glad you came along. Stop by again for our next episode of the podcast, where we travel around the world, talking to creative practitioners about how they get inspired and how they organize their ideas. As we've heard today, how to bring together a collaboration of authors, but also how we all gain the confidence and the connections to launch our work out into the world. So until next time, I'm Mark Stinson and we're unlocking your world of creativity for now.