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No Turning Back

Author: Stan McChrystal

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No Turning Back is a podcast by retired Army Four-Star General Stan McChrystal and former Navy SEAL Chris Fussell. In this series, they explore the future of leadership and teams with the world's most consequential leaders. From CEOs to political leaders to deep thinkers, Stan and Chris will bring you advice from the brightest minds about how to tackle the most pressing organizational and institutional challenges we face.
28 Episodes
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Stan McChrystal once told Keith Krach that he was one of the few leaders he’s known in business that we could put a uniform on tomorrow and be effective as a general officer in the United States Army. This week, Stan and Chris Fussell sit down with Keith Krach, the former Chairman, CEO, & President of DocuSign, the former Chairman and CEO of Ariba, and most recently, the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. They discuss Keith’s leadership across the public and private sectors, how to build trust in new teams, and why we should wear failure like a badge of honor.
Every night at 9 p.m. EST, Rachel Maddow sits down to discuss the latest in American politics on her award-winning "The Rachel Maddow Show." This week, Stan and Chris explore Maddow's conclusions about leadership after her 13 years of examining the political space - discussing whether Americans overweigh the importance of leadership, as well as the role of media in politics, using history and experience as their guide.
Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell first sat down with "Mayor Pete" Buttigieg in April of last year to record their first episode of No Turning Back. Stan and Chris release the episode's audio for the first time, revisiting now-Secretary Buttigieg's thoughts on the power of local leadership to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, the necessity of trust, and the need to innovate as we tackle global challenges. As Secretary Buttigieg starts his new role in the Cabinet, Stan and Chris reflect on the challenges and benefits of developing trust in teams - in an important time in our nation's history.
What is the Space Force? How do you build a new armed service and lead a new frontier? This week, Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell sit down with Lt Gen Saltzman, the Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the United States Space Force, to hear the answers to these questions. As the first US Air Force general officer who was transferred and promoted in the Space Force, Lt Gen Saltzman discusses the newest armed service in the Department of Defense and shares what’s at stake for protecting our space capabilities. He relays important lessons about when to take revolutionary, and not evolutionary, steps to create a new team – sharing important wisdom on how to build team culture from the ground-up.
Walgreens has a new incoming CEO: Rosalind (Roz) Brewer. Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell revisit their fascinating conversation with Roz, reflecting on how her value-based approach to leadership, connection to frontline workers, and long-term focus on initiatives rather than immediate wins will position her well to take on the CEO role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tim Brown and Iain Roberts are experts within the design thinking field, and are the Executive Chair at IDEO and its Chief Operating Officer, respectively. This week, Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell sit down with Tim and Iain to learn more about how design shapes the world to fit consumers' needs, how prototyping mitigates risk, and why organizations learn faster by building faster.
Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell interview Mike Hayes, a 20-year veteran of the Navy SEALs, the former Director of Defense Policy and Strategy at the National Security Council, and most recently, the Chief Digital Transformation Officer at VMWare. Hayes is a dynamic and experienced leader who shares his changing perspective on risk as he shifts through industries, how he approaches the first 90 days in any new role, and what businesses can learn from the SEALs’ training technique to lift a giant log over your head.
Garry Kasparov is one of the world's most well-known and accomplished chess players. But he built on his excellence and notoriety in chess to become a pro-democracy advocate in Russia, and for democracy globally. Through his remarkable career at the heights of the game, Garry proved that hard work is a talent, and that mistakes are great fuel for practice. Beyond chess, Garry discusses his ongoing efforts to promote democracy worldwide, how he thinks about risk-taking, and finding your purpose.
Stan and Chris kick off the new year with an episode answering questions from No Turning Back listeners. This podcast started in April of 2020 during the heavy uncertainty of crisis, leaving leaders in uniquely tough situations trying to support the health of their team and business. It’s thanks to our listeners that we’ve been able to continue this podcast many guests and months later. Enjoy Stan and Chris as they answer questions on national service, leading through change, and their surprising career leadership lessons.
Simon Sinek is the author of multiple best-selling books including Start With Why, which led to his viral TED Talk about how great leaders inspire action with the concept of “why.” He is a thought leader changing how we connect leaders and organizations together to inspire a sense of purpose and action. A visionary and optimist, Simon shares his perspective on the future of organizations, observations from teams this year, and why people are so motivated to find their purpose.
Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox News show Fox & Friends and author of numerous books about historical American leaders, shares his perspective about present-day leaders and how they compare to leaders throughout history. In this episode, they discuss how Brian’s day to day work in the media creates the space for him to be a leader, record history each day, and compare today's climate with past eras and what it means for those in the public eye.
Jan Singer is one of America's most experienced fashion retail CEOs. She's built a reputation and a playbook for effectiveness and agility through her CEO roles at Spanx, Victoria's Secret, and J.Crew. She joins Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell on this week's episode to share her experience of becoming a senior leader, transforming companies in the retail space, and leading them through the pressures of a pandemic.
Scott Rechler is the CEO of RXR Realty, served on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, served as Vice Chairman of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and is Chairman of the Regional Plan Association. An expert on real estate development and operations, Scott has a unique perspective on what the future of work looks like - both how offices will look, and how teams will collaborate. In this episode, we start with a far-out visioning exercise about how the world will transform, and draw out lessons on leading today, leading through transformation, and being a good citizen.
This week, Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell are joined by Norah O’Donnell, well known as the Lead Anchor & Editor for CBS Evening News, regular contributor to 60 Minutes, and third woman to ever solo anchor the evening news on a major network. She built her career on thorough investigative journalism and the belief that the key components of leadership are accuracy, truth, and relationship building. In this episode, you will hear about Norah’s commitment to the truth and commitment to serve the public through journalism.
Eric Roza is a successful technology CEO, and fitness fanatic. After years of training with and owning a CrossFit box, he ended up becoming a significant investor into CrossFit, and now its CEO. CrossFit is undergoing a public, major transformation and Eric's lessons about crisis leadership and how to leverage his personal passion for the CrossFit brand and experience are instructive for all leaders. This is an episode about how to be your best self - in your personal life, and professional life.
Sue Desmond-Hellmann wrapped up a six-year tenure as CEO of the Gates Foundation this summer, where she sat at the center of the world’s largest philanthropic effort. Beyond her time there Sue was the chancellor of UC San Francisco, a division President at Genentech, and one of the world’s foremost oncology researchers – building a leadership profile that’s almost without rival. With her down to earth approach to leadership, the way she engages with people on her team, and how she builds team - there is a lot to learn from Sue on how to lead in all sectors and the common playbook she brings to each of those roles.
Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell interview Wes Moore, an army combat veteran, national bestselling author, and CEO of Robin Hood Foundation, a major nonprofit trying to fight poverty in New York City. In this episode, Wes talks about his upbringing in Baltimore and New York and how his childhood experiences in the military academy was forging for him, putting him on a powerful path towards where he is now today, a young leader with a relentless focus on serving others.
In today’s episode, Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell interview Jeff Immelt. Jeff is a Venture Partner at New Enterprise Associates and former Chairman and CEO of General Electric. From being a new member of a massive organization to running the company for well over a decade and a half, Jeff has lived through the leadership experience at every level. In this interview, Jeff talks about his book that will be soon released and shares the voice of a leader who has spent a few years diving deeply into their own experiences being very honest about strengths and weaknesses that he learned along the way.
In this episode, Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell interview Michèle Flournoy. Michèle, a managing Partner of WestExec Advisors located in D.C., has held multiple senior positions inside the Pentagon – including serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy during the Obama administration. She is known as a thoughtful and hardworking public servant and accomplished team builder for mission critical teams. In this episode, Michèle talks about the impact of leadership in national security, advising Presidents and Secretaries of Defense, and what she’s learned in the private sector since she left government 8 years ago.
Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell speak with Molly Joseph, Chief Executive Officer of UnitedHealthcare Global and Executive Vice President of UnitedHealth Group. They discuss the differences between leadership and management and the impact of authentic leadership on organizational morale and efficiency.
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