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Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future

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Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future features interviews with Ohio and global business leaders. Host Maureen Metcalf brings 30 years of experience and success in the fields of leadership, innovation, and technology.

A regular contributor to Forbes.com, Metcalf has authored an award-winning book series on leadership and established the Innovative Leadership Institute.

Metcalf also earned a spot in the International Leadership Association's inaugural class of fellows, a select group of distinguished professionals recognized for their outstanding contributions to the field of leadership through their scholarship, teaching and/or effective practice, and their commitment to the mission of the ILA.  

Sophisticated assessments, data, and software are giving CEOs and managers within any organization or industry detailed insights into human behavior. As CEO of The Predictive Index, Mike Zani has witnessed firsthand how the application of data and science can impact, and completely change, the way we function in our professional lives. In his new book, THE SCIENCE OF DREAM TEAMS: How Talent Optimization Can Drive Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness, Zani details a data-driven approach to talent strategy that makes hiring, motivating, and managing people more efficient and effective than ever.

When building a world class sales team, an organization needs to implement a formal sales process which has been shown to improve sales performance.  This formal sales process is like the back office for sales.  Joe DiDonato and Don Mastro join the show to discuss their experiences and the case study they wrote to explain what Don did to get his team through the pandemic -- and then skyrocket sales this year using a formal sales process.

Conversations about meaning and purpose at work are very old and very new. Spirituality provides a lens for those discussions. Workplace spirituality helps us understand issues such as fulfillment, engagement, purpose, leadership and more. However, it also increases worries about values conflicts and how well organizations handle that. Paul Gibbons joins Maureen to discuss the spirituality of work and leadership for leaders and organizations.

To be competitive in business over the next decade, it will not only be necessary to optimize the body for physical and mental health purposes, but it will also be necessary to ensure that cognitive optimization is a major focus. The human brain is simply not equipped to handle the deluge of data that is coming, nor the constant upskilling requirements that are inevitable. Dr. J.J. Walcutt joins host Maureen Metcalf to share information about Accelerate, a program that can get businesses stared on the right track toward building a culture of brain health, growth, and effectiveness.

Our discussion with Allison Duquette of CampusLogic continues, going deeper into the ways she integrated assessments in both her current sales team, selection of sales managers, and new hires.  Assessment tools boost the efficacy of hiring the right candidate for the job...yet most managers still hire by "gut feeling." That’s a mistake Allison overcame, and in so doing, learned assessments can make the difference between firing someone, and figuring out where they can thrive.

The debut of a special sales-team-focused miniseries, co-produced by the Innovative Leadership Institute and Baker Communications Incorporated.  Assessments can provide fresh insights into the strengths of your top sales performers -- and ways to build those strengths in the rest of your team. Allison Duquette of CampusLogic discusses her real-world use of assessment tools with her sales team...along with the refreshing surprises encountered along the way!  Co-hosted by Maureen Metcalf and Joe DiDonato.

Change is now a constant in all organizations. Is there a way to make it easier? Jake Jacobs joins Maureen to discuss his new book Leverage Change, and how leaders can use the concept of leverage to achieve faster, easier, better results related to all change work they are doing in their organizations -- at the individual, team or organizational levels. He shares practical actions leaders can take to achieve these much sought-after, but seldom accomplished, goals.

The leadership journey can be a difficult one with unseen challenges that ruin reputations. Skilled people can be left wondering what went wrong if they don’t have effective sponsorship. These challenges are even more pronounced for underrepresented people in leadership roles. Ricky Robinson and Keith Powell talk about the importance of having a sponsor, and of being sponsor ready.

In The Self Help Book: 6 Practical Ways to Never Stop Growing, author and coach Jared Graybeal outlines six practical ways to live a life of constant growth while avoiding stagnation or burnout: Confidence. Competence. Clarity. Character. Connections. Commitment. This short, insightful guide is filled with inspiration and encouragement, and is designed to give you the perspective you’re looking for, no matter what’s going on in your life. Jared joins Maureen to discuss his new book, and how listeners can begin to be reenergized to never stop growing.

By their very nature, emerging industries present unique leadership challenges – and opportunities – rarely encountered in long-established businesses.  In addition to general entrepreneurism, you’re creating something new for the marketplace…and forging the team to shepherd it. Emerging industries often lend a new twist on businesses: they allow the opportunity to relook at old practices, and can lead to innovation in the business sector. James Brenza joins the show to discuss his recent venture into an emerging industry -- and how looking at an emerging industry can provide new challenges as well as the possibilities of new solutions.

Several of the Innovative Leadership Institute’s certified facilitators have taken the concepts that they learned from a 9-month program and applied them to their business functions.  GraduatesTom Grote and Christoph Hinske join Maureen to discuss how they have extended the program content, and built a values-based systems mapping technique that helped shape both of their professional and personal journeys.

We see lots of articles on the future of work, but few about the future of leadership. As work changes, leadership must also change to ensure organizations can meet their objectives. It is essential for leaders to "innovate how they lead" to keep pace, but what does that mean? Greg Moran joins the show to explore the changes leaders need to make in how they think about and perform the essential work of leadership.

Technological advances are putting quality jobs out of reach for workers who lack the proper skills and training. We need a roadmap for a new workforce education system to rebuild America's working class, tackling inequality by equipping our workers for twenty-first-century jobs. We need to train more workers more quickly, using innovative methods.

Women (and men) face unhealthy stress and anxiety on a daily basis - it’s a wonder we’re still standing. Too few of us have stress tools powerful enough to put stress to work for us so we can enjoy the journey. Once you’ve learned how to be mentally tough, you will use stress to your advantage. It becomes your superpower! Colonel Deb Lewis joins the show to share her experiences, and how you can learn to effectively use stress to your advantage.

Deep tech describes capabilities that were impossible yesterday, barely feasible today, but tomorrow will be so pervasive it will be hard to imagine life without it. We're in the early stages of the digital age, and understanding how deep tech is disrupting the world is no longer a competitive advantage; it's a matter of survival.  Eric Redmond joins us to discuss his new book, Deep Tech: Demystifying the Breakthrough Technologies That Will Revolutionize Everything.

Disruption to the norm, unexpected events, uncertain times: many of us faced these during the worldwide pandemic. We have seen jobs lost, companies forced to rethink how they have done business and how they can continue to stay in business. Leaders are daily faced with tough decisions on how to lead in this new and different environment. Sean Castrina joins the show to discuss his story of overcoming a setback, how he has gone on to start multiple new businesses, and the leadership lessons he has learned from his experiences.

The world has witnessed three-step functions in technological change: mechanization, electrification, and computerization. These industrial revolutions led to massive increases in productivity and thus we need far fewer workers. With each of these technological breakthroughs, the power balance between companies and workers shifted heavily to companies. The abuses of that power by companies instigated employee unrest. Counterbalancing forces rose to constrain companies’ power, eventually prompting unions, regulation, and the social safety net to bring stability to the relationship.

Diversity recruiting and retention has become a hot topic and yet, many organizations don’t understand the nuances of recruiting and how to navigate the complexities of retention, and ensuring candidates and organizations create the best experiences and mutual success. Eric Douglas Keene joins Maureen to discuss changes occurring in the world of diversity recruiting.

Everyone can be creative in their own way. Creativity skills can be learned and developed. The creative process is iterative: we typically fail many times before we succeed. We learn from those failures and approach the next experiment with new information and an improved understanding. Jeff DeGraff joins Maureen to share how you can tap your individual creativity…and how to deal with the realities of how true innovation is received in the workplace.

Coaching skills are not just for the life coach or the executive coach, they are every leader’s secret weapon.  Managers can become the leaders that are needed when they understand how to use coaching skills that put the development of their team as the top priority, and multiply their impact. Want to move from managing your team to leading your team? Coaching skills are the key.  Jonathan Reitz joins Maureen to share how managers can move toward leading by learning some simple coaching behaviors.

In an age where most business communication comes through text messages, e-mails, and Zoom meetings, body language all but disappears.  Yet over 70% of human communication is non-verbal.  We need to understand what we are conveying with our digital body language. In this episode, Erica Dhawan joins host Maureen Metcalf to share findings from her newest book – Digital Body Language – which decodes the new signals and cues of effective collaboration and teamwork in a digital-first human workplace.

Business today is more competitive than ever; staying ahead requires you to make tough calls, face hard choices, and work through conflict. But productive conflict is so rare. Why? Because productive conflict requires a different mindset, new skills, and repeatable processes -- none of which come naturally.  Liane Davey joins Maureen to discuss building a productive conflict culture.

Research has shown that diversity at every level of leadership leads to a more successful organization. In the first segment, Dr. Christopher Washington of Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, joins Maureen to discuss the importance of J.E.D.I. (just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive environments) S.P.A.C.E. (supportive, purposeful, accountable, collaborative, and evaluative practices). The second segment features Valrie Grant, the Managing Director of GeoTechVision and one of the five 2020 WE Empower UN Sustainability Development Goals Challenge Awardees. She will discuss the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion at every level of leadership, including the board room.

How can we change the way conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion are progressing towards productive, inquiring, learning experiences -- and ultimately creating a more just and equitable workplace and society?  How can we understand the effects outside-of-work events have on people of color within work?  Laura Morgan Roberts and Courtney McCluney join the show to share insights from their work, and to encourage leaders to examine and understand racial barriers…and how those barriers can be removed.

Even before Covid-19, employees were reporting record rates of burnout and stress; Gallup studies showed only 15% of people fully engaged at work. Now with workers stuck behind screens, grasping for focus and suffering from the real mental challenges of prolonged social isolation and anxiety over the health of loved ones, organizations are in need of well-being development for their employees. It is essential for today’s workplaces to provide well-being support for employees, just as much as traditional professional development. Supporting the long-term mental health of your team can mean the difference between an engaged, collaborative and productive organization…or one riddled with toxicity and turnover. With 71% of U.S. office workers either curious about or already practicing meditation, now is the time to signal your long-term support for staff’s mental wellness, and bring in the neuroscientifically proven benefits of contemplative practices, such as meditation. Peter Weng and Rich Fernandez join Maureen to discuss mindfulness and employee well-being.


Peter Weng is the founder of the EWS Collective. Peter is focused on supporting individuals and organizations to optimize the balance of well-being and performance. As a corporate executive (Google, Dell) and well-being/mindfulness non-profit leader (HMI, SIYLI) he has implemented systems of well-being and performance in companies, governmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations around the world.

Gender inequality around the world has many facets: archaic laws that codify sexism, male control of joint income and household assets, exclusion from governance, trafficking and violence against women, denial of education and adequate health care, and gender segregation in the work force, to name a few. The Gender Equality and Governance Index (GEGI) taps into some of the world’s best datasets to analyze gender discrimination on a global scale, using five critical “pillars”: governance, education, work, entrepreneurship, and violence. The Index covers 158 countries and provides a compelling perspective on the status of gender inequality across the planet. It allows policymakers, the business community and civil society to pinpoint specific areas for improvement and to learn from best international practices. Amanda Ellis and Augusto Lopez-Claros join Maureen to discuss the index results for 2020 and how we as leaders can implement changes for the good of all.

As a society, we face a dramatic loss of trust in each other and in our institutions. This reduction in trust impacts everything from people's inability to come together to solve problems to an escalation in mental illness and suicide. Mary Jo Burchard shares her experiences with struggle and how it impacts your ability to build trust.

Mark Shapiro, President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, joins the show to share his approach to effective leadership and discuss how this approach positioned the Toronto Blue Jays to navigate the challenges they faced -- and the solutions they implemented so that the game could go on amidst the COVID pandemic.  He reveals the leadership insights learned in these unusual times. Through this conversation, Mark’s comments and perspective illustrate the best of effective leadership.

Universities and medical schools do a wonderful job preparing their students for medical procedures, but the crucial element to great healthcare that is missed is leadership training.  Neil Grunberg joins the show to share his experiences and how the leadership framework he developed with Maureen can be used to build the leadership skills needed by medical staff to make our healthcare system stronger.

Every entrepreneur dreams of expanding their business from around the corner to around the world. While today those dreams look doubtful, hope can be found from the story of a CEO who managed to do so despite decades of economic downturns, near bankruptcy, and constant change. Robert Rosenberg joins the show today to share insights and lessons learned from his experience taking Dunkin’ Donuts from 100 shops to 6,500 outlets.  These lessons are also captured in his new book, Around the Corner to Around the World: A Dozen Lessons I Learned Running Dunkin Donuts.

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