245. General Stanley McChrystal: The Biggest Risk to You Is …Yourself

Sometimes the business landscape can be a battlefield, but this week's guest puts all that in perspective.

General Stanley McChrystal is a highly decorated U.S. Army veteran who is no stranger to real battlefields. He’s a retired four-star general, and commanded an enormous contingent of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s also an avid student of history, who acutely observes how the great successes and failures of the past are so deeply intertwined with risk management.

His latest book is called Risk: A User’s Guide, and it documents the unsuspecting factors that undo successful organizations, and provides a framework of preparedness so you can weather the storm.

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243. Emma McAdam: Stop Trying to Feel Better and Get Better at Feeling

Mental health has never been more top-of-mind than in recent years, and Emma McAdam has built an extraordinary therapeutic resource in an unlikely place: YouTube.

Emma is a licensed marriage and family therapist best known for her incredibly popular “Therapy in a Nutshell” videos that demystify things like anxiety, depression, and emotional regulation.

This candid conversation will completely change your perspective on stress, happiness, and why our brains perceive stuff like email as a constant survival threat. Emma also has very practical tips on how to form new pathways in our brains and break the “anxiety loops” that can trap us.

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242. Smart Growth: Why My Friend “Eviscerated” the First Draft of My Book

This week, the tables are turned when the host becomes the guest on her own show. Amy Humble, president of Disruption Advisors, interviews Whitney about the challenge and personal growth that comes out of writing a book.

Smart Growth, which expounds on the S-Curve of learning for organizations, had a dramatic development curve of its own: unbridled excitement at the beginning, with a plummet to the bottom when the work began. It was “laborious and painful.”

But as Whitney explains, writing a book is not a solitary endeavor. “It's a team sport.” Many hands have touched Smart Growth. A trusted friend even “eviscerated” an early manuscript — a terrifying ordeal that bore essential fruit.

As Whitney explains in the book, growth is contagious, which is why personal growth among individuals is critical to organizational growth. The birth of this book is no exception.

Smart Growth: How to Grow Your People to Grow Your Company is available for pre-order now wherever books are sold.

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241. Tanya Dalton: When We Don’t Know What’s Possible, Anything’s Possible

If you're not great at long-term planning, you're not alone. In fact, the human brain is wired to seek short-term gains. Neuroscience even shows that we perceive our “future selves” as strangers — people we're aware of, but don't know personally.

These ideas intrigue our guest Tanya Dalton, a productivity expert whose new book “On Purpose” unpacks success and motivation through a variety of lenses: perfectionism, fear, psychology, and being a woman in a world that suffers from bias.

Tanya's practical toolkit for knocking down productivity barriers confirms what we know deep down: Most of our blockers are self-inflicted. Most of our fears are not of failure, but of public perception. And when purpose and productivity align, the sky's the limit.

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240. Rob Cross: The Invisible Cost of Dysfunctional Collaboration

If your company has too many meetings, this week's episode is a must-listen.

Email, Slack, and Zoom are technologies built to make us more productive. But when we use meetings and messages to solve all our problems, it leaves little time to actually get work done.

This is “collaboration overload.” Our guest Rob Cross, who studies this phenomenon, says that collaborative demands on workers have risen 50% in the last decade, yet the enormous cost (time, money, and employee well-being) is often invisible to organizations. “If anything else had increased 50%, a CEO would be all over it,” he says.

But tech tools are not the enemy, Rob explains. The culture and ground rules about their use (which come from the top!) are the culprit. His book, “Beyond Collaboration Overload,” is filled with data and personal interviews to back it up.

In this week's discussion, Rob lays out his extraordinary research showing how not all tasks are equivalent when collaboration is involved, and why our culture of always “jumping in” to solve problems probably makes them worse. He also makes the case for a new executive position — Chief Collaboration Officer — who is responsible for empowering great teamwork, and rooting out dysfunction.

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239. John Tesh: How Positive Thinking (Literally) Saved My Life

John Tesh wears many hats: News reporter, sports commentator, TV host, radio personality, composer, author, and touring musician to name a few. What you may not know is how a variety of mistakes and “crimes” (as he puts it!) lead him to become a household name.

In this candid interview, John recounts how disappointing his dad, being homeless, and the kindness of one friend set him on a disruptive path toward radio and TV production. Thanks to his tinkering with reel-to-reel tapes and microphones in his childhood basement, he felt at home when sneaking into a college radio station to make the demo tape that would later get him on the air.

Fast-forward to a wildly successful career in broadcasting, and then a terminal cancer diagnosis in 2015. When his doctors told him to “get his affairs in order,” John became a “victim,” as he puts it: of cancer, depression, and alcohol. But a profound shift in his attitude and faith changed everything. He recounts the story of how he and his family beat the odds in his latest book, Relentless: Unleashing a Life of Purpose Grit, and Faith.

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238. Jennifer Moss: The Cure For Burnout Isn’t Self-Care

A healthy amount of stress is so important for personal growth, but chronic stress that demands our attention 24/7 can disconnect us from our work, colleagues, and purpose.

This is burnout, and Jennifer Moss observes that we are facing an epidemic. She's an award-winning journalist, columnist, and author of The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It.

But contrary to popular wisdom, making time for that bubble bath or movie night isn't the solution. Burnout is a “we” problem, and the root causes are at the organizational level.

Jennifer shares her surprising research on where burnout comes from, why it's worse than it's ever been, and why we need a system of preventative care.

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237. Steve Bullock: What Golf Pioneers Teach Us About Taking Risks

Even if you don't play golf, there's a surprising amount to learn from pro golfers who broke with tradition to “swing their own swing.” That's what Steve Bullock learned when he analyzed tons of data for his book Out of the Box Golf. Think: Moneyball for the 9-iron crowd.

For instance, even holding a club the “traditional” way puts players at a huge disadvantage. Yet even when golfers find clear advantages through technology or alternate practices, most players ignore them (often for decades!) and fall behind their peers. “Humans tend toward conformity,” he explains. It's not hard to see how this applies to the business world as well.

Whitney and Steve discuss the extraordinary ways that experimenting with risk can pay off, in your professional life, and on the fairway. And Steve stresses that if you don't have the pioneer's stomach for risk, make certain that you're a fast follower when innovation comes knocking.

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236. Pamay Bassey: Make Learning Your Superpower

A 21st century career path can take many twists and turns. The skills you learn for one S Curve may not map perfectly to the next. That's why learning is the most important skill of all.

That's some wisdom from Ekpedeme “Pamay” Bassey, the Chief Learning and Chief Diversity Officer at Kraft Heinz. And she should know. Before earning her many prestigious titles in the corporate world, she came from a background in standup comedy and improv. Pamay is a first generation Nigerian-American, born in New York City. Her heritage has deeply informed her approach to diversity and inclusion, but her passion for comedy made her career path unconventional to say the least.

Pamay and Whitney discuss how to translate skills from one S Curve to another, especially when it comes to job interviews. And why it's so important to fill your eyes and ears with the stories of others who have accomplished great things. Pamay also explains how journaling regularly became a powerful self-reflection tool, especially during a difficult time of loss.

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235. Leena Nair: Raise Your Hand for the Hardest Job

We all have jobs to pay the bills, but what is your purpose? And what's your

Leena Nair asks these questions every day. She's the chief human resources officer at Unilever. She's also the first female, first Asian, and youngest CHRO in the company's history.

“Companies with purpose last. And people with purpose thrive,” Leena explains. And she has the data to back it up.

Ensuring the well-being of 150,000 employees is a monumental endeavor, but her success stems from spending time with people to understand their motivations. And she rejects outdated business models that only view employees as a cost, rather than a company's greatest asset.

Leena's made huge investments in purpose workshops and mental health programs. It's not only good for people — it's good for the bottom line, too. “For every $1 I invest in human well-being, we get $2.50 back.”

Whitney and Leena discuss why raising your hand for the most difficult jobs is one of the most important things you can do. “When was the last time you did something for the first time in your life? That's the last time you grew.”

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