Episode 101: Learning While Sprinting With Teresa Woodland


Teresa Woodland spent three decades working and living in China during its extraordinary economic and cultural transformation. Now back in the United States, she joins me to discuss what the West can learn from China. We discuss the Chinese ability to learn while sprinting, the virtues of systems thinking and embrace of paradox, how to have a light touch with “back-of-mind” stakeholders, conversations for exploring disappointments, why it’s unwise to “wait until things so down”, and how she wins the right to be on a journey with companies.


  • 8:30 Why the Chinese chew on western models of adult development, but don’t swallow them whole
  • 18:00 The talent story in China beneath the economic and policy headlines
  • 26:00 Western action learning works—but is there an even more pragmatic way to learn?
  • 31:00 Lessons from adopting a child and working with an orphanage
  • 37:00 Creating light touches sooner with “back-of-mind” stakeholders
  • 46:00 A Chinese company that looks ahead even while it’s sprinting
  • 52:00 Teresa always starts with the business issues and intersperses the learning in between
  • 57:00 Getting grounded by cuddling with your kids

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Episode 100: Humble Leadership With Ed Schein & Peter Schein

Humble Leadership

Humble Leadership. Yes, those two words belong together.

This week on the podcast, Ed and Peter Schein join me to discuss their book Humble Leadership. We talk about leadership as a verb, the relationships behind the Singapore economic miracle, innovation through psychological safety, script-based modes of adult relating, the costs of maintaining professional distance, giving up the absurd obsession with eye contact, antibodies that protect the core business, and how Ed’s curiosity landed his first big contract with Digital Equipment Corporation.

Ed Schein is Emeritus Professor at MIT where he taught in the School of Management for fifty years. Peter Schein has had a 30 year career in Silicon Valley in corporate development and business development. They are a father-son team with a powerful message for you and me.

Please share with others.


  • 4:30 It’s about the quality of the team, not you
  • 17:00 Getting curious about the person behind the role
  • 27:00 Opening the door to more than transactional relationships
  • 36:00 Using check-ins and check-outs to improve group meetings
  • 50:00 Bringing the water cooler conversation into the meeting itself
  • 57:00 When relationships are asymmetrical
  • 1:03:00 When company executives get threatened by genuine relating

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Episode 97: Spiral Dynamics With Jon Freeman

Spiral Dynamics

Waiting four years to discuss Spiral Dynamics on my podcast is like waiting that long on a show about desserts before bringing up chocolate.

Yes, Cindy Wigglesworth used Spiral Dynamics to help us make sense of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, but this week is our first in-depth exploration.

And I’m excited to share it.

Spiral Dynamics is my go-to framework for understanding politics, global events, cultural evolution, and the many big challenges we face as a people and planet. It also explains what happens inside of large organizations, a place where I do most of my coaching and consulting. Whether the topic is global climate change, right wing nationalism, competing economic theories, or race and culture, Spiral Dynamics gives me a way to understand the core worldviews that animate everyday conversations.

That’s why Spiral Dynamics is called the “master code” or code of all codes.

To illuminate this framework, I spoke with Jon Freeman, who, after a long business career, discovered Spiral Dynamics and became one of its leading teachers.


  • 9:30 Small bands roaming the savannah to warlord gangs to rule-bound towns—and beyond
  • 14:30 The worldviews dominant within big companies and organizations
  • 25:30 Why you want all worldviews present in organizations
  • 31:00 Reinterpreting the 2008 financial crisis through the Spiral
  • 39:00 The dangers of ignoring the virtues of Blue rules
  • 50:00 Why the U.S. underestimated China
  • 56:30 Humanity prepares for a momentous leap—the shift to second tier
  • 1:03:00 Reinventing Blue order in big corporations
  • 1:08:00 The rise of mafia enterprises and right wing nationalism
  • 1:15:00 Brexit, immigration, and complexity
  • 1:19:00 Climate change, clean tech, and Spiral Wizards in a time of catastrophe

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Episode 95: The Clean Tech Edge With Ron Pernick

clean tech edge

The story of clean technology is invigorating. The story of global climate change is sobering. What quality of mind and what forms of deliberate practice are needed to hold both stories in place simultaneously—and remain mostly sane?

I think about this question when I read about extreme temperatures, massive flooding, and drought…and then get in my all electric Nissan Leaf that is powered by PV solar panels on the roof of our home and drive by one of Portland’s many LEED Platinum green buildings.

It is exciting to witness the signs of technological progress yet frightening to experience the early days of what could be climate catastrophe.

Things are getting better and things are getting worse.

To make sense of this paradox, I’ve scheduled a series of interviews with thought leaders in sustainable enterprise, global climate change, and clean technology.

To launch the series, I speak this week with the person arguably most responsible for defining the contours of the clean technology economy, Ron Pernick, cofounder of Clean Edge and coauthor of Clean Tech Revolution and Clean Tech Nation.


Join us for this conversation, and let me know what you think.


  • 8:30 Diplomats discard the term “clean tech,” and Ron picks it up
  • 13:00 Ron creates the first clean tech stock index, and Nasdaq wants in
  • 26:00 Why Portland ranked high on the metro index of clean tech
  • 31:00 All electric SUVs are coming soon, and why it’s taken a while
  • 37:00 Clean tech needs to be better than what it is displacing
  • 48:00 The political landscape around clean tech
  • 1:00:00 Making sense of the 2018 IPCC report on climate change

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Episode 93: Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps With Jennifer Garvey Berger

Unlocking leadership mindtraps. Up for it?

I am.

This week I’m excited to share another mind-stretching conversation with adult development expert Jennifer Garvey Berger.

We discuss her new, shorter, faster, and easier book Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How To Thrive In Complexity. Once again, Jennifer helps me unpack, unlock and uncover some of the biggest questions in the field of leadership development. Our intent, as always, is to find simplicity on the other side of complexity, a.k.a. grow a little bit today so we can grow even a little bit more tomorrow.

My favorite part is our discussion of what Jennifer calls “simple stories,” something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, particularly in the context of global climate change. (No, snow and cold temperatures don’t mean the overall temperature of the planet isn’t increasing. Yes, it makes a devilishly simple story. No, people who swear by this story are not bad people. Yes, you can learn to see them as heroes in their own story. No, your doing this won’t magically reduce carbon emissions. Yes, it’s still a healthy act for you and the rest of us. But I digress…)

Join me for this invigorating conversation.


  • 8:00 Jennifer gets asked, “How can I do this faster?”
  • 12:00 The five most dangerous and most escapable mindtraps
  • 17:00 “This is who I am. Don’t mess with me.”
  • 20:30 A simple story about Brexit involving bananas
  • 29:00 We soothe ourselves by knowing the odds
  • 34:00 Ask “How is this person [I’m aggravated by] a hero?”
  • 41:30 Jennifer plays a game with clients: let’s create three simple stories
  • 52:30 Simple stories Jennifer has told herself about her experiences with her kids
  • 1:02:00 Mindtraps in the transition from socialized mind to self-authored mind
  • 1:08:00 Simple stories about the amazing leader who must have been born that way

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Episode 91: Agile Leadership With Jonathan Reams

Agile Leadership.

The word “agility” has many meanings. As kids, we prided ourselves on being physically agile at sports–or disappointed by our lack of agility. In software, agile is a methodology and set of principles for producing products and engaging teams. What about in leadership?

This week’s guest, Jonathan Reams, joins me to explore agile leadership.

Over 15 years ago, Jonathan and I met when matched together to organize “integral gatherings” in San Francisco involving several hundred people. He soon moved east to Norway, and I moved north to Portland. His move was much farther!

Jonathan once drove a dump truck. Now he teaches at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, edits the online journal, Integral Review (which I’ve read for years), and is co-founder of the European Center for Leadership Practice. I’m not sure whether his first career or his current one require more agility, but clearly the forms of agility are very different.

What is agile leadership? How can we use Ken Wilber’s four quadrants, developmental stages, and the Goldilocks Zone to understand it? How is elegantly simple different from simplistic? What happens when great cognitive agility causes harm?

Please share with friends and let me know what you think.


As the saying goes, “this space intentionally left blank.”

This week. As an experiment.

Do you wish this included time-stamped topics? Then shoot me an email at amiel@amielhandelsman.com and tell me why. I love feedback!

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