Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps With Jennifer Garvey Berger (Episode 93)

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 92: Practicing Leadership On-The-Job (3-Minute Thursday)

(Delayed due to technical glitch. The gorilla sat on my media server. I swear.)

Practicing leadership on the job.

It’s the single best way to improve what you do and who you are becoming as a leader.

Practicing leadership on the job involves learning while you work.

This is different from practicing leadership directly, the subject of episode 90. Instead of stepping outside the flow of work to focus 100% on improvement, practicing leadership on the job means you develop and work at the same time.

I call this the On-The-Job-Practice Cycle. It involves four steps:

  • Prepare
  • Act
  • Reflect
  • Get Feedback

Listen in as I walk you through these four steps.

All in 3-minutes.

So you can stop listening—and start practicing.

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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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Episode 90: Practice Leadership Like Athletes And Chess Masters (3-Minute Thursday)

Practice leadership

Practice leadership like athletes and chess masters!

Welcome to 3-minute Thursday. Today’s episode is about four ways you can improve your leadership by emulating top performers in sports, chess, and the arts.

Let’s say you want to become more skillful at having rigorous and respectful conversations with others. In my first book, Practice Greatness, I call this Arguing Better. How would you use the following four methods of direct practice to argue better?

  1. The music approach
  2. The chess approach
  3. The sports conditioning approach
  4. The sports simulation approach

Listen in as I walk you through all four options.

All in 3-minutes. OK, this time it’s 5 minutes!

So you can stop listening—and start practicing.

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Episode 89: GTD And Promise-Based Management With Michael Dolan

In this week’s episode, Michael Dolan and I show you how to bring about the results you want in life by combining two powerful action frameworks: Getting Things Done (GTD) and promise-based management.

GTD, also known as workflow coaching, helps you manage agreements with yourself. David Allen, my guest on episode 13, outlined this model in his mega bestselling book, Getting Things Done. Michael has been bringing this approach to executives and senior professionals for many years.

Promise-based management helps you manage commitments with others. I heard about it 20 years ago, gave my first talk about it in 2003, and enjoy introducing it to clients. It has been one of the principal themes of this podcast. Many of you heard the integral mashup I did on this topic several months ago.

The question Michael and I explore today is this: what happens when you integrate both frameworks into your day-to-day work life? What becomes possible when you become adept at managing agreements with yourself using GTD and skilled at managing commitments with others using promise-based management?

Neither of us promises you will become superhuman or super-happy.

Then again, nor do we claim these are out of reach!

But seriously, I enjoyed rolling up my sleeves with Michael. Join us as we dig in below the level of concepts to explore specific behaviors you can start practicing today when you combine these powerful frameworks.


  • 12:00 How can promises from a 1-on-1 meeting end up in your inbox?
  • 18:00 Processing items at your desk when you’re confused about who promised what
  • 24:00 It’s easier to process (“What is this?”) when you’ve already discussed this with others
  • 30:00 Check your “delegated project” list at the end of a meeting
  • 37:00 Asking the other person to promise to bring up a topic in three months
  • 41:00 You saying “no” to me could help me renegotiate agreements with myself!
  • 47:00 You thought they were going to produce a brochure. They thought they agreed to get it approved.
  • 52:00 What if you don’t trust others to manage their promises?
  • 59:00 Why Michael is in awe of the volume of work his clients manage

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Episode 88: Do You Know Your People? (3-Minute Thursday)

Photo Credit: davidmoore326 Flickr via Compfight cc

Do you know your people?

Welcome to 3-minute Thursday. Today, I give you four questions to ask yourself about the people on your team so you can know them better tomorrow than you do today.

Why is it important to get to know your people?

  1. To retain them.
  2. To keep them happy, engaged, and performing at a high level.

I also offer four ways you can find answers to these questions.

All in 3-minutes. So you can stop listening—and start practicing.

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