DiscoverGreatness Podcast
Greatness Podcast
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Greatness Podcast

Author: Gretchen Gagel

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The podcast where the world's leading thinkers share their ideas about how to create greatness. Great leaders, great teams and great organizations. Why be good when you can be great!
108 Episodes
I have so much admiration for my good friend Bobbi Mahlab for starting not-for-profit Mentor Walks, a brilliant model that connects mentors and mentees once a month for an hour-long "walk and talk'' in many cities throughout the world. I have participated for years here in Australia and love it because the program is curated to match me as a mentor with 1-to-3 mentees that expressly want to discuss topics relevant to me. Bobbi is continuing to expand the program globally with the support of their generous corporate sponsors. 
Systems thinking and sustainability are big topics today, and Shaun Deverson, founder of Lighthouse Futures, brought his brilliant thinking on these topics to the Greatness Podcast. Nature-base solutions and "balance" - how are we continuing to evolve our thinking, as global leaders, to focus upon our stewardship of the planet? Leveraging ancient thinking, taking an anthropological approach, asking the right questions, having the humility as leaders to be more open minded, these are some of the topics we cover. Shaun shares concrete tips for leaders like the ancient concept of "agora".
"Any business plan created before 2020 is obsolete." This is the post by my friend Ted Souder, former Google Executive and Global Digital Transformation Expert, that prompted me to invite him onto the Greatness podcast to discuss the future of digital transformation. Ted recommends having a "digital mindset", thinking as a company about how to have a "modern approach to leadership" and a "test and learn mentality". First steps to developing a "digital mindset"? Ted shares many concrete ideas for Boards and leaders, ideas like creating a digital innovation lab and a digital investment plan.
Are you intimidated by ChatGPT? I am! So I invited Donna McGeorge, author of The ChatGPT Revolution, to the Greatness podcast to help me, and you, understand what Chat GPT can do for us. "Charlie", as Donna calls her ChatGPT, can do many wonderful things, like putting together a meal plan for the week including recipes and an ingredient list, or writing the first draft of a letter to get you started. Donna describes ChatGPT as "an eager intern with a hangover" and you have to check their work, and it is here to stay. There is a reason this book is on the bestseller list as it is a great starting point for understanding how AI can help us in practical ways.
Want to know what great questions to ask yourself and your Board/organization to help navigate the volatile, uncertain, and complex world we live in today? Dr. Richard David Hames, philosopher, activist, and strategic foresight practitioner, joined the Greatness Podcast to share his global insights on this. One great question - how can you reassure me that what we are doing and how we are doing it is systemically viable and strategically relevant today, tomorrow, and into the future? When I asked Richard what he hoped we all cared about, his answer - that we all be wrapped in love and compassion instead of fear. Richards' global insights as the advisor to many of the world's leaders is compelling.
Are you passionate about your work? Do you feel fulfilled in life? For many people I know the answer to this is "no" but they may not know what to do about it, feeling either trapped in a job or unaware of their passions. Christelle Pillot, Owner of Freedom Catcher Academy, joined the Greatness podcast to share her expertise in helping people find their purpose and overcome our natural fear of change. Key questions she asks - When do I really feel alive? Why was that so inspiring for me? Are you just surviving or are you thriving? "Dare to be yourself" and follow the path to happiness.
Howard Ross, author, activist, "builder of innovations in the field of diversity and inclusion", and expert on bias, joins the Greatness Podcast to discuss unconscious bias and inclusion.If you are a student of inclusion and unconscious bias, as am I, this is an important podcast for you. One key point - what would it look like if a construction company approached inclusion in the same way they approach safety? Howard grew up in a family that stressed "bad things happen in the world and it's everyone's responsibility to do something about it."  Howard is an inspiration and I'm confident you'll enjoy his advice.
Do you know how to make an effective point in a meeting or presentation? Have you ever sat in a meeting thinking "is this person ever going to get to the point?"? Joel Schwarzberg, leading public speaking coach, joined the Greatness Podcast to help us understand how to be effective in sharing the "so what" of our idea. The original HBR article I read by Joel grabbed my attention because it was about how to articulate your strengths, a critical skill for all of us and difficult for many. Do you have your personal elevator pitch? Are you projecting confidence? Joel provides great tips during this podcast including a simple one - speak louder!
Edgar Schein, one of the most brilliant consultants, researchers, authors, and academics, sadly passed away in January 2023. I was so fortunate to be the recipient of his coaching in the year leading up to that, and I had the bright idea of honouring Ed for the 100th episode of the Greatness podcast. I'm deeply grateful to my good friend and former colleague Kelcey Henderson, President of Continuum Advisory Group, for facilitating what was a deeply meaningful and emotional conversation about Ed and the lessons I learned from him. Ed will live on in my heart as his wise words of advice will continue to guide me. As I say in the podcast, we can only hope to have that kind of impact on another human being during our journey on this planet.
"Life is messy"! Brilliant author and CEO coach Sabina Nawaz joined the Greatness podcast to share her insights on leadership after my LinkedIn post mentioning her HBR article on failure months ago received a record response. "If you're not failing enough, you're not experimenting enough, you're too much in your comfort zone".  As leaders, our failures help others have the courage to take risks and fail small instead of failing big. Sabina offers up concrete suggestions on how to create a learning organization, how to lead without having all the answers but instead asking the great questions. Blocking "white space" each week is one of her great tips, being intentional with your time versus "hiding behind busy". ***NOTE: I want to acknowledge that this podcast was recorded back in February 2023 and I had not yet heard of my coach Edgar Schein's passing a few days earlier when I mentioned Ed during the recording. After our recording, Sabina compassionately shared the news of his passing with me, and sat in empathy with my sorrow. I will always be grateful for her compassion.
Would you like to cut your training costs in half and achieve higher levels of training competency? I work hard to lift up global examples of break-through thinking that lift the entire construction industry, and that also apply to other industries. Adaptive learning applies AI to reduce training time by customizing each person's training to skip what they already know, and to improve competency by understanding what we think we know but don't. I applaud John Holland Group, one of the largest contractors in Australia, for their cutting-edge application of adaptive learning to enhance safety performance. JHG is also making this training content available throughout the industry. I look forward to seeing many more companies leverage this technology. 
If you only listen to one of my podcasts, please pick this one. Why? Because guest Sam Clark, CEO of Clark Construction in Lansing Michigan, candidly shares his organization's six year diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and results in an authentic and meaningful way. Would you like for your organization to have a 99% engagement score? Or to grow from $200 million to $500 million in three years? Understanding "dominant culture" and learning how to build an inclusive organization has women and minorities beating down their doors and has significantly contributed to these business results. As Sam states, this isn't "white male bashing". It's understanding the barriers to success that people outside of the dominant culture face, addressing these barriers through inclusivity, and unleashing the tremendous innovation of diverse organizations.
Are you ashamed of something you've done? Most of us are. Few of my guests on the Greatness podcast have so candidly and rawly shared their personal challenges and how their shame and guilt turned into a life passion for helping others. Luke Sniewski, author of Somawise: Get Out of Your Head. Get Into Your Body, shares his research about self care and compassion for ourselves and how we face our challenges with calmness and clarity. A sense of stillness is critical as we connect our bodies and our minds, and show up as a better version of ourselves every day. 
Feeling stressed? Donna McGeorge, author of The 25-minute Meeting, The First Two Hours, and The One Day Refund,  joined the Greatness podcast to share her great tips for reducing our "addiction to activity" and our stress. One great point - we as leaders need to ensure we are carving time out to "think and breath" in order to show up as the best version of ourselves. We owe it to our teams and ourselves. So many great tips including how we can create "buffer time".
I loved studying "agility" during my PhD - how to help organizations be nimble in the face of ever evolving business contexts. In particular, I loved finding people like Mario Moreira who dedicate their lives to helping teams and organizations be more agile. Mario's book, The Agile Enterprise, captures his work in achieving "agile transformations" and developing the culture change necessary to achieve agility.
As a member of the National Academy of Construction (NAC) I am so proud of all the ways we strive to share the expertise of our 400+ members as the "virtual mentors of the industry". NAC member Jerry Eyink joined the Greatness Podcast to talk about the wonderful podcast put forth by the NAC - Get the kNACk. The diverse perspectives and areas of expertise shared on Get the kNACk are outstanding.
We are all absolutely perfect, brilliant, and capable today just the way we are. It's our perception that we are imperfect that keeps us from realizing this, a simple yet profound message that Rhiannon Heins, author of  The Keepers of the Light Codes, shared with me during her visit to the Greatness podcast. One point that really landed for me - we frequently set ourselves up for failure by overscheduling our lives and setting unrealistic expectations. Rhiannon shares many practical tips for how we connect with the energy of the universe to support us in our experience of a beautiful life, including how to ask for help. 
Capitalism doesn't work for the masses. Whether you agree or disagree with this statement, listening to Dr. Richard David Hames thoughts on the topic is worth your time. Richard is one of the leading futurists in the world and mentors significant global leaders. Richard argues that the systems designed for two billion people are not working in a world with eight billion people, that our ongoing desire to "own more things", driven by propaganda, is not serving us well. His tips - don't take anything you hear or read as gospel, and if the information concerns you, ask who benefits from this? Who is funding this? Richard also shares his thoughts on global leadership.
Tuti Scott is an amazing change agent and joined the Greatness podcast to share the source of her inspiration (a resilient single mom raising five kids) and her advocacy for people who are "under-resourced in the world". From supporting women athletes to her current work around gender lens investing, Tuti is making a huge difference. A shocking 1.6% of both philanthropic and capital dollars go to women and girls. Tuti's free downloadable guide, Moving Money for Impact: A Guide to Gender Lens Investing, is a must-read on the topic. As consumers and investors, we can make a difference. 
Back in 2016 I had the good fortune to share the experience of doing my TEDx Talk with my good friend and bestselling author/coach Christy Belz, an amazing experience. Christy utilized our TEDx Talk experiences, and those of 10 other women, to bring her ideas to life in her book, Oh God of Second Chances, Here I Am Again. This book is an amazing exploration of living with courage and leading with authenticity. Christy discusses our daily choice points and how to be more present and centered in our lives, how to be a "human being" versus a "human doer". 
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