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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.  

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.

Research has shown that diversity at every level of leadership leads to a more successful organization. Helle Bank Jørgensen joins Maureen to discuss the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion at every level of leadership, including the board room.

What is the purpose of business in the 21st century? And what are the values and skills needed by business leaders in this new era of stakeholder value?  Keith Tuffley joins Maureen to discuss these emerging topics and share his experience.

Theory U blends systems thinking, innovation, and leading change from the viewpoint of an evolved human consciousness. Guest Otto Scharmer’s first book on the topic sold over 100,000 copies (versus the average traditional book which sells 3,000 copies in its lifetime). Otto joins Maureen to discuss his latest book: The Essentials of Theory U: Core Principles and Applications, which meets a crucial need during this point in history in helping us bring necessary changes to our foundational systems from a place of deep consciousness and perspective-taking from all key stakeholders – including the future as a key stakeholder.

The need for system leaders, system literacy, and collaboration are more important than ever. The field of ‘awareness-based systems change’ is growing, and there are many very accessible ways to engage. Darcy Winslow joins Maureen to discuss that taking a more holistic, or systems, approach does not require a Ph.D. in Systems Dynamics - anyone can become a systems thinker and have a positive impact on the systems in which they work and live.

Business disruptions are occurring every day for entire business segments. Effective organizations are looking ahead to lead the disruptive efforts to set the new market. If you are not disrupting – you will get disrupted. Mark Kvamme joins Maureen to discuss how he works with organizations to identify opportunities and be the disruptor rather than being disrupted.

“Great leaders are great learners” is often quoted but how can leaders implement this into their very hectic day? Ron Riggio has created a year-long leadership development guidebook that offers day-by-day instruction in short excerpts to provide leaders with knowledge and practical application ideas. Ron joins the show to discuss his new book “Daily Leadership Development,” his lifetime achievement award and his views on the current state of leadership.

In a time when people are sharing more of their personal struggles, we talk to Congresswoman Joyce Beatty and Doug McCollough about their struggles -- and more importantly how they navigated those struggles so they could make their greatest impact on the world. Congresswoman Beatty not only overcame, she changed the view of what it is to be a successful black woman. She talks about how helping women succeed helps America succeed.

Among our greatest leaders are those driven by impulses they cannot completely control - by lust. Lust is not, however, an abstraction; it has definition. Definition that, given the impact of leaders who lust, is essential to extract. Barbara Kellerman joins the show today to discuss her views on leadership education, what it takes to build highly effective leaders, and her new book Leaders Who Lust.

We are addicted to prediction, desperate for certainty about the future. But the complexity of modern life won’t allow that; experts in forecasting are reluctant to look more than 400 days out. History doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, and even genetics won’t tell you everything you want to know. Margaret Heffernan joins us to discuss her new book, Uncharted, How to Navigate the Future, in which she drew on a wide array of people and places to look at long-term projects developed over generations that could never have planned for the way that they have been run.

Building a talented workforce is a key element in growing our community.

Mike Morrow-Fox joins Maureen to explore how vertical development is required to build the mindset and competencies leaders require to navigate this complexity and create long term thriving enterprises.

We have talked extensively about the leadership skills required to handle the increasingly complex work challenges with an accelerating rate of change, interconnected workplaces across the globe and increasing pace of technology.

Sustainability is now a business-critical issue. Companies and industries that don't embrace it will be left behind. In fact, we are already starting to see this. Trista Bridges and Donald Eubank join the show today to discuss their new book Leading Sustainability: The Path to Sustainable Business and How the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) Changed Everything, which is the culmination of 18 months of research from around the world.

We are facing unprecedented changes in our world today. These changes range from geopolitical uncertainty to the impact the pandemic has on everything from how we work to technology acceleration – and all that change creates a corresponding need to adjust leadership, too. Christopher Washington joins Maureen to discuss the top seven Leadership Trends for 2021 and Beyond.

Thriving during a crisis is a challenging feat for any leader. Aline Kamakian shares how she encountered the difficult decisions that many faced in the hospitality industry due to the pandemic –then dealing with the destruction of one of her restaurants during the massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, in August of 2020. Aline reveals how she adapted to the crises her business endured, and offers very real-world advice for leaders gleaned from those experiences.

Part of the challenge in building innovative leadership is learning to become more introspective and how to put that introspective knowledge into practice. Looking inside yourself—examining the very makeup of your inner world—enables you to function in a highly grounded way, rather than operating from reactive habits and biases that simply lead to more uninformed or unconscious decision making.

Mindsets are the most foundational element for why leaders do what they do. Unfortunately, most leaders are not conscious of their mindsets, and their negative mindsets wreak havoc on their effectiveness. Ryan Gottfredson joins Innovating Leadership Co-Creating Our Future to discuss his new book Success Mindsets: The Key to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work and Leadership, and what leaders can do to be aware of their mindsets -- and develop Success Mindsets, so they can unlock much more effective leadership.

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