Episode 52: The Rise And Fall Of Blackberry With Jacquie McNish [The Amiel Show]

Jackie McNish

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On Tuesday Blackberry announced it was discontinuing the Blackberry Classic smartphone.

I never owned a Blackberry, but my wife did when I first met her 13 years ago. Although she never treated it as a Crackberry, it did seem to follow her everywhere.

The Blackberry ruled the universe for many years. And then one day Apple released the iPhone. The world hasn’t been the same since.

But what really happened at this upstart Canadian company based in the small town of Waterloo, Ontario? Who were the people behind the company’s atmospheric rise and ultimate fall? What choices did they make? How did they relate as leaders and human beings?

This is the subject of last year’s highly touted book, Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry.

Jacquie McNish, one of the book’s coauthors and an award-winning Wall Street Journal reporter, joins me this week to talk about the amazing human story behind Blackberry.

Highlights

  • 7:00  Who were the two CEOs–and how did they come together?
  • 14:15 Inspired by the Art of War
  • 19:30 A revelation about technology while holding a screaming baby
  • 22:45 Refusing to play the Wall Street and Silicon Valley games
  • 28:30  Dinner with Palm’s CEO, “Topper”
  • 32:45 A patent battle stresses the CEO’s relationship
  • 36:20 A devastating trauma and betrayal
  • 42:45 The Apple/AT&T agreement changes the rules of the game
  • 53:45 Waterloo, Ontario: a tech startup ecosystem

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Blackberry’s CEOs were connected at the hip in business dealings.

–Jacquie McNish Tweet this quote

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Episode 39: Elizabeth Doty On Making Only Promises You Can Keep [The Amiel Show]

Elizabeth Doty is on a mission to focus leaders on their most critical commitments. In Episode 39 of the podcast, this seasoned consultant, author, and frequent contributor to Strategy + Business joins me to ask:

  • What if we were to take our commitments to each other so seriously that we made only the ones we knew we could keep?
  • What if companies recognized that the reliability of their promises to customers and society was central to their success?
  • What if teams stopped waiting around for new leaders to define direction and instead said, “Here’s a proposal for the next three months. Can you support this?”

I think you’ll get great value from this invigorating, high impact conversation. Please share with your friends!

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Highlights

  • 5:00 “The company made me a liar.”
  • 7:20 When businesses drift from their promises
  • 13:30 Why scapegoating CEOs or “rogue employees” doesn’t improve outcomes
  • 16:30 Creating shared maps of different parts of the system
  • 18:00 The peril of new leaders ignoring existing commitments
  • 27:00 The measurable benefits of companies keeping commitments
  • 33:00 A “no harm” diamond company commits to a simple rule
  • 41:00 What teams can do during leadership changes instead of waiting for direction
  • 46:30 Why keeping your head down is risky
  • 48:00 The power of “irrational generosity” during downward spirals
  • 52:30 A hopeful story about promises, money, and career trajectories

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There is an art in crafting commitments and being clear what we’re committing to.

–Elizabeth Doty   Tweet this quote

A recipe for stalling: change your leaders often or put your strategy into question.

–Elizabeth Doty   Tweet this quote

Explore Additional Resources

Liberating structures, a concept introduced by Bill Torbert
Strategy maps—articles by Robert Kaplan and David Norton in Strategic Finance and HBR

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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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Subscribe to the Show on iTunes (It’s Easy!)

  1. Sign into iTunes using your ID and password
  2. Search the iTunes store for “Amiel Show”
  3. Click on the Subscribe button. It’s in the upper left corner of the screen.

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  1. Sign into iTunes using your ID and password
  2. Search the iTunes store for “Amiel Show”
  3. Click on “Ratings and Reviews”
  4. Give it a rating. Bonus for a review

Episode 19: Wendy Wallbridge On Spiraling Upward And Women’s Cocreative Powers [The Amiel Show]

Great interview with Wendy Wallbridge, founder of TEDx SandHillRdWomen and author of the new book Spiraling Upward: The 5 Co-Creative Powers for Women on the Rise. We discuss:

  • 9:00 A life-threatening disease that changed Wendy’s life in her 20s
  • 13:36 What is feminine leadership?
  • 24:45 Bringing women into the workforce after motherhood
  • 32:26 When two women executives vie for a CEO’s attention
  • 40:00 Asking your body, “Is it a Yes or a No?”
  • 42:30 The cocreative power of speech
  • 45:45 How to make a counteroffer to your boss
  • 55:00 What Wendy is deliberately practicing to grow as a person

Wendy-Wallbridge

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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 4: Bill Torbert on power, framing, and action [The Amiel Show]

If I were to create a Leadership Development Hall of Fame, Bill Torbert would be in it. It was therefore an honor to interview him about ideas that have influenced how I live, learn, and coach.

In Episode 4 of The Amiel Show, I speak with Bill Torbert, who for decades has been a pioneer in helping managers improve their results by practicing a powerful approach that he calls “action inquiry.” We discuss:

  • How to make the next meeting better than the previous one by paying attention to four “territories of experience”
  • What it’s important to start staff meetings by developing a shared frame of what’s at stake
  • How conversations can go astray because of “dueling advocacy” or “naked inquiry”
  • An unsuccessful attempt to trim my son’s fingernails
  • The different forms of power we gain access to as we develop as adults—and how each can be valuable yet limits us when used in every situation
  • Why some managers get threatened by their direct reports
  • What we can learn about “transforming power” from former Czech President, Vaclav Havel

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