Episode 41: Peter Block On Ambition, Authenticity, And Community [The Amiel Show]

One of my favorites interviews of all time!

In the consulting field Peter Block is a giant. His book Flawless Consulting–now in its third edition–taught us how to show up in client relationships with authenticity, rigor, and an eye for potential pitfalls.

Peter also influenced a generation of managers with his book The Empowered Manager. Today, he brings his passion to building local community around people’s assets.

In this interview, Peter and I walk through the trajectory of his career–his earlier years as an ambitious internal consultant, the decision (unusual at the time) to start an external consultancy, how he learned to build relationships with others despite being a self-described “loner,” and the questions and commitments that have pulled him in and shifted how he works.

For a serious conversation about big ideas and a full life, this was a heck of a lot of fun.  Enjoy–and share widely!

1PBlock color 05

 

Highlights

  • 5:00 Getting into the field by accident & influence of Chris Argyris
  • 12:30 A loner finds connection in Gestalt and T-groups
  • 16:30 Early years of restless ambition and almost getting fired
  • 22:30 The risks of being authentic
  • 25:30 Influence of Werner Erhard, language, and speech acts
  • 31:30 The Philippines—working with citizens and loving it
  • 37:00 Taking two years off to raise kids
  • 42:00 Peter tells me, “You’re amazing. You frighten me.”
  • 47:30 Why focus on gifts rather than deficiencies
  • 50:30 John McKnight’s work on asset-base community development
  • 58:30 Contracting in place-based communities

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Authenticity–putting into words what you see happening–is risky.

–Peter Block   Tweet this quote

As soon as you acknowledge your gifts, you become accountable.

–Peter Block   Tweet this quote

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Episode 35: Doc Parsley on How Sleep Makes Everything Better [The Amiel Show]

Sleep helps you perform better at everything.

Everything.

At work. At home. And all the places in between.

Now, what if you’re less interested in doing more than in being the best version of yourself?

Sleeps helps there, too.

This is the message of Doctor Kirk Parsley, known widely as Doc Parsley. He is a medical doctor, sleep and hormonal modulation expert, consultant to corporations and professional teams, and former Sleep Medicine expert for Navy Special Warfare.

One other distinction: Doc Parsley is physically strong. Who better to disabuse us of the notion that “sleep is for the weak” than a former Navy SEAL and competitive athlete?

Head Shot

Highlights

  • 5:00 What persuades people to pay attention to their sleep
  • 22:00 How our ancestors maximized slow wave sleep
  • 26:30 How REM sleep cements everything you learned that day
  • 33:30 How sleep can help you when starting a new leadership role
  • 39:30 Doc Parsley’s journey from competitive athlete to Navy SEAL to physician to sleep expert
  • 44:00 Navy SEALs with blood panels you’d expect in an out-of-shape 65-year-old man
  • 57:00 The great results you can get from one week of great sleep
  • 59:00 Sleep hygiene
  • 1:02:30 How catching up on sleep is like paying off credit card debt
  • 1:08:30 The ideal length of a nap
  • 1:12:30 Perimenopausal and menopausal women and their hormonal and sleep challenges

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The time you get better at everything is while you sleep

–Doc Parsley  Tweet this quote

If I gave you $1M to make sleep your #1 priority for a week, could you do it?

–Doc Parsley Tweet this quote

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Episode 31: Hilary Bradbury On Women, Men, Power, And Eros [The Amiel Show]

Ready for a candid and edgy conversation about power relationships between women and men in the workplace?

Then you’ll want to download this episode and listen on your next car ride, walk, or flight.

Hilary Bradbury joins me to discuss her provocative and inspiring new book, Eros/Power: Love In The Spirit of Inquiry, which you can purchase here.  In this book, Hilary and her coauthor, Bill Torbert, a previous guest on the podcast, use their own autobiographical stories to reveal important yet often hidden dynamics that trip up leaders at work and in the rest of life.

Join me as I talk with this trailblazing leadership coach, organizational consultant, and professor.

Hilary-Bradbury

Highlights

  • First, second, and third person conversations (7:55)
  • The day Hilary got fired, then met Bill Torbert (18:00)
  • The “odd duality” women have about telling the truth (22:00)
  • Being an “eros bomb”, evoking confusion in Bill, and not realizing it (26:30)
  • Having crushes at work is different from acting them out (32:30)
  • Hilary and Bill’s most painful conflict with each other (38:50)
  • How Hilary’s Enneagram type–The Challenger–shows up in her work (48:30)
  • Bill’s great advice for Hilary on handling sexual harassment from a senior colleague of hers (55:10)
  • Hilary’s heartfelt apology and Bill’s graceful response (1:01.00)
  • Hilary’s angrily tells her life partner “I’m not your junior partner” (1:05.00)
  • Hilary and her partner’s weekly relationship-enhancing practice (1:11.00)

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“It’s a tricky thing when women & men try to do this power dance with integrity”

—Hilary Bradbury   Tweet this quote

Buy Hilary and Bill Torbert’s New Book

To purchase and/or review a copy of Eros/Power, click here.

To learn more about the book, read a sample, register for a related workshop, click here.

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New to Podcasts?

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Best. Performance. Review. Ever.

OK, so maybe I overdid it with my rant last week about the annual performance review.

Perhaps there is a way to make this (horrendous and widely despised) system work.

I’ve been thinking long and hard, and here’s what I’ve come up with.

The Best Performance Review Ever

Boss, walking down the hallway: Amiel, it’s time for your annual review

Amiel, stops to chat: Awesome, when can we schedule it?

Boss: It won’t take very long. How about we do it right now?

Amiel: Now works great. Did you want to get a conference room?

Boss: No need

Amiel: How about we at least step off to the side of the hallway?

Boss: No need. This will be fast. You ready?

Amiel: Shoot

Boss: Two things. First, you know that thing we’ve been talking about every week since your last review. That thing you’ve been getting really better at?

Amiel: Yes

Boss: Keep doing that

Amiel: Will do

Boss: And you know that other thing I’ve been giving you feedback about every day?

Amiel: How could I forget?

Boss: Keep working on that

Amiel: Got it. Anything else?

Boss: No, that’s it

Amiel: What? No ranking against my peers?

Boss: Nope

Amiel: Not even a rating?

Boss: Nope

Amiel: Alright. Thanks, boss.

Boss: Thank you.

 

Episode 18: Brian Underhill on executive coaching, politics, and presence [The Amiel Show]

Brian Underhill founded the world’s most experienced leadership coaching company, CoachSource. And he’s personally seen it all. So, I thought, what better person to ask about the “undiscussable issues” in leadership coaching?

In Episode 18 of the podcast, we discuss:

  • 10:30 Why many people still associate executive coaching with being messed up
  • 16:45 When leaders’ direct managers want them to be more like them
  • 19:45 The crucial role that HR leaders play in coaching
  • 23:00 How companies discuss the ROI of coaching
  • 29:00 Executive presence, grooming, and media skill
  • 38:00 Political challenges around executive coaching
  • 41:00 When coaches are asked to be surrogates for managers like George Clooney’s character in the film Up in The Air
  • 43:00 The challenge of integrating leaders from other cultures
  • 48:00 Brian’s personal use of peer coaching to stick to his goals

Brian-Underhill

 

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Episode 10: Jeannie Coyle on Lou Gerstner, AmEx, and Developing Leaders through Experience [The Amiel Show]

What happens when CEOs of large organizations make leadership development a central part of their business strategy? What becomes possible when they personally spearhead this pivotal work rather than delegating it to HR or ignoring it entirely?

In episode 10 of The Amiel Show, talent strategist Jeannie Coyle and I talk about her experience at American Express in the early 1980s, helping Lou Gerstner (who later “saved IBM”) build a powerful pipeline for developing leaders internally. We discuss:

  • The unusual approach that Americal Express took of developing leaders through focused experiences rather than training and complex tools
  • Jeannie’s big risk that paid off: giving Gerstner a one-page summary of high potential leaders instead of the customary big binders
  • How Gerstner created a new culture involving honest, transparent conversations that had never happened before
  • How Gerstner took personal responsibility for developing leaders at the company
  • What it was like to be a woman in leadership at American Express in the early 1980s

Jeannie-Coyle

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