Collaborative Environments, Indirect Influence: Barry George [Podcast]

Barry M GeorgeI spoke with Barry M George.

Barry is a Certified Professional Coach and Advisor to Executives, Entrepreneurs and their Companies.

He’s a thought leader, author and motivational speaker on topics including organizational design, employee engagement, job fit, knowledge flow, cross generational communications, team building, human performance, work/life balance, neural linguistic programming, overcoming fear/doubt and the power of politics in business.

(More about Barry in the section Barry M George Bio, below)

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We discussed:

  • how CEOs see and respond to digital disruption
  • a key to a great coaching relationship
  • Millennials and the new workplace environment
  • indirect influence and why it is important
  • how CEOs can deal with pressure to deliver short term shareholder value

Digital Disruption as Opportunity for Growth

How do CEOs see digital disruption – challenge, threat, or opportunity? And how can coaches help?

“One of the key elements of a great coaching relationship is the ability of the coach and their client to really be open and honest with each other and to create an environment in which the client has the opportunity to look at the world from a different perspective, a fresh awareness from what they do in their daily lives.”

“Digital disruption is oftentimes an excuse by a leader to cover their own inability to think outside of where they are, the way things have been and to look at new processes and look at what their clients are needing now – or what they required last week or last  year.”

It’s a difficult shift for leaders, but a necessary one.

Millennials (Gen Y) and the New Age-Diverse Workforce

The technology industry is filled with Millennials and San Francisco is the “millennial capital of the world”.

The first time in history we have had five generations in the one workplace.

Previous generations, on reaching a mature 35-40, have had more similarities with the generation preceding them than differences. Millennials are the first generation that are so different from previous generations, in so many ways.

Millennial generation “thinks from its heart not its wallet”. Considering their parents’ experience – the 9/11 attacks, the 2008 global financial collapse – “they’ve seen that hard work, with a focus on money, gets you nothing”.

They admire philanthropists, want to work for companies that give back.

“They are collaborators and transparent.”

Indirect Influence

The new collaborative workplace environment is based on the need for indirect influence.

Indirect influence is where you as the leader let me share my knowledge with you, not just sharing your knowledge with me. It’s where leaders respect the values of their team and are interested in their unique thoughts and feelings.

What Keeps Business Leaders Awake at Night?

The waste of time and lack of productivity in their business from the 18% of time research shows employees spend trying to figure out what their managers want them to do.

(And listen for the first humorous but telling answer to the question – priceless!)

CEOs under Pressure for Shareholder Value, with Risk to Long Term Goals

No simple answer.

Have to demonstrate both operational excellence and commitment to long term goals.

Hold people accountable and develop a coaching culture in the company, that demonstrates an understanding that the company’s people are valued assets.

Millennials need to be shown how their efforts plug into the creation of long term value for the company, not just short term profitability.

Barry M George Bio

Barry M George Is a Certified Professional Coach and Advisor to Executives, Entrepreneurs and their Companies. Barry is a thought leader, author and motivational speaker on topics including organizational design, employee engagement, job fit, knowledge flow, cross generational communications, team building, human performance, work/life balance, neural linguistic programming, overcoming fear/doubt and the power of politics in business.

Barry graduated in 2013 with honors from the University of Texas earning a Master’s in Organizational Behavior. That same year Barry became a certified coach passing all requirements of both the International Coach Federation and the Association of Coaches. Finally, in 2014 he earned analyst credentials from TTI Success Insights for their full range of personality assessment instruments.

Previously, Barry spent 30 years as a senior executive for technology companies from the US, Taiwan and Germany including start-ups, acquisitions, IPOs and Global 100 companies starting with his own multimillion dollar company as Founder and CEO at 26.

Dedicated to moving the coaching industry into the 21st Century, Barry designed the first comprehensive development portal for coaches and their clients. The platform empowers coaches, accelerates growth of start-ups and supports global corporate standards with localize delivery in 90 languages in 140 countries.

As Founder/CEO of Impact Coaching+Advising Barry has built a global network of certified professional coaches utilizing the Socratic Coach platform. From global corporations to entrepreneurs and individuals who want to invest in a highly desirable future. The combination of innovative technology and highly trained coaches provoke and partner with clients for maximum performance, balance and authentic happiness.


Barry George on LinkedIn:

Barry’s company Impact Ventures: – and see Contact tab

Book mentioned by Barry: You Raised Us – Now Work With Us: Millennials, Career Success, and Building Strong Workplace Teams Laureen Rikleen

Book mentioned by Des: Lethal Generosity: Contextual Technology and the Competitive Edge – Shel Israel

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Why Executives Need to be Network Leaders [Podcast]

Des Walsh's LinkedIn network March 2014In this first episode for 2016 for the Let’s Talk Leadership podcast show, I do the following:

  • announce that the show will now be produced every two weeks, not every week as previously
  • review a report on leadership – produced some three years ago but in content still very timely
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Networks as Asset Class for the Co-Creator Leader

A model of leadership for the digital age, from The Wharton School, presents four styles of leadership in a historical framework, from commander, via communicator, then collaborator, to co-creator, this last as being the appropriate style for contemporary leadership.

In the model, each style is matched with an asset class. The asset class for the Co-creation style is the network.

I did a presentation on this model last year with a slide deck, as in this video.

The Rise of the Network Leader – Report

CEB global survey leadershipreportA report from the company CEB provides a new framework for leadership responsibilities, that I believe meshes nicely with the Wharton School model as above, specifically for the Co-Creator leader and with direct reference to the concept of the network (or networks) as the related asset class for that style of leadership.

The report from CEB, The Rise of the Network Leader: Reframing Leadership in the New Work Environment, is two or three years old now, but still, in my view, very relevant, very timely.

Some key points from the report

Leaders have traditionally have needed to be skilled in two key areas, Transformational Leadership and Transactional Leadership.

The report argues that changes in the work environment require that leaders now must add and apply a third key skillset, that of Network Leadership.

The report writers see this as a major challenge.

CEB Research shows that very few leaders have the competencies and drive necessary to be effective leaders in a more collaborative, networked, and knowledge-based work environment.

They argue that companies and other organizations must rethink and reframe their approach to leadership.

Network Leadership

The report defines Network Leadership:

This role (complementing the roles of Transformational and Transactional Leadership) involves establishing strong network performance by building, aligning, and enabling broad networks both internal and external to the organization. Network leadership is more about influence than control; it is also a more indirect than direct form of leadership, requiring leaders to create a work environment based on autonomy, empowerment, trust, sharing and collaboration.

The report provides (p 15) a useful list of sixteen core competencies critical to effective network leadership.

For anyone who may think this is all fairly obvious and/or that most executives would understand and be good at network leadership, the report has some sobering words.

Unfortunately, many organizations and their leaders are not prepared to develop network leadership capabilities. CEB research has found that roughly 7% of leaders are likely to be strong in all three leaddership roles: transformational, transactional, and network leadership.

The report offers a threefold set of activities for organizations and individuals to step up their game.

  • Leaders: manage to a new set of network building activities
  • Organizations: apply and build network leadership skills
  • Organizations: adopt a portfolio approach to succession.

For individual executives and for organizations, this very clear, very readable report offers research that will be seen by some as discouraging and by others as representing new opportunities to shine and prosper.

Check it out for yourself. It’s only 35 pages and some of those are blank fillers or have graphics. Here’s the link again.

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Small Town Success Challenges Startup Stereotype: Jason Kintzler [Podcast]

Jason Kintzler, Founder & CEO of Pitchengine
Jason Kintzler is Founder and CEO of PitchEngine, a new media and marketing software company, based in Jason’s home town of Lander, Wyoming. PitchEngine’s products are used by more than 50,000 brands and small businesses worldwide, including some of the world’s largest brands such as Walmart, Pepsico, Budweiser and more.

Jason has been credited with “heralding in a new era of public relations” by creating “one of the PR industry’s most transformative innovations.” Jason and/or Pitchengine have appeared in several popular books including; Small Town Rules, Engage, Twitterville, Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, SocialCorp and Social Media Marketing for Dummies.

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Jason is the author of Author of The New American Startup.

He is seriously active on social media:

  • Top 50 Social Media Influencers on Twitter 2014
  • 2014 Top 50 Content Marketing Influencers on Twitter
  • Top 10 PR People to Follow on Twitter 2014

On the community front, PitchEngine has also created PitchEngine Communities, a fascinating initiative with the tagline “Pioneering the Community News Stream”. Pitchengine Communities provides a new media model focused on connecting communities. They employ full-time reporters, photographers and marketing types, and the model is centered around the communities they serve.

Jason’s motto on Twitter: I challenge, invent, disrupt and inspire.

The attraction and the challenge of creating and building a startup in a small town

Given the smallness and remoteness of Lander, Wyoming, I asked Jason why he started the business there and whether he had ever been tempted to move to Silicon Valley, New York City, or some other center of startups and tech innovation.

“Certainly an anomaly, a remote startup in the Wild Wild West”.

Having grown up in Lander and then done his time working in the media and advertising and in various other places, he observed the phenomenon of people having acquired their wealth somewhere else and then moving out to places like Montana and Wyoming, to retire, and thought “Man if I could skip that step, wouldn’t it be great?”

“Tons of pressure” in the early days from the venture capitalists in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, to move.

It’s not always been easy. Right now, the days he wouldn’t move outweigh the days he would.

In the media, books etc the tech industry is presented as being all about raising money and that equalling success. But coming from a place like Wyoming, a remote place, a small town, “you build something first, then you ask for money…”

A word for companies sticking to old style PR

What did he think about business leaders who seem complacent about having old style PR, all being handled by their PR agency? (And I referenced a TEDx talk he gave at Jackson Hole).

For Jason it’s all about authenticity and story telling (both of which he talked about in that TEDx talk).

When he started PitchEngine there was a lot of pressure to make it like traditional PR:

“But I really wanted to keep it authentic and keep it about story telling and empower those people, those business owners, who are already passionate about their businesses, empower them to tell their stories.”

Creating the Community News Stream

  • Jason noticed small businesses as well as big brands using PitchEngine.
  • Looked at local media and saw businesses being under-served.
  • Created the Community News Stream – real time, as it happens, stories about the community, serves a huge need and connects the communities.
  • Great story about the County 10 brand and license plates.
  • Ambition to take the concept and platform across the country and across the world.

Leadership – especially with Millennials

  • Things are different in business now. A sharp contrast from 1980s and 1990s.
  • More and more people opting not to work full time, every day.
  • Business leaders need to be open minded, and at same time it still comes back to respect and responsibility.
  • More need for people to have “accolades”.
  • Company structure has become a lot flatter.
  • Measurement is important – then you can have flexibility.
  • Lifestyle an important part of the conversation.

Tips for Startups

  • Create a product that has value, before you seek money and Investment.
  • Be “super open-minded” to changing as you go along – be flexible.
  • Authenticity is a key piece
  • Grow incrementally
  • Have a big vision – it’s a long road


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Red Teaming for Business Success: Fred Aubin [Podcast]

Fred Aubin, Strategic Red Team Consulting

Lieutenant-Colonel (retd) Fred Aubin, CD, MCGI, is Founder and CEO of Strategic Red Team Consulting, and is based in Ottawa, Canada.

A 34 year command-level combat veteran of the Canadian Forces, Fred leads a consultancy team with an extensive arsenal of expertise for what he calls, “The Corporate Battlefield”. Fred has commanded everything from specialized strategic advisory teams of 20 to large multi-disciplinary task forces of 600, both at home in Canada and abroad in harm’s way. He was a highly experienced strategic planner in the Canadian Department of National Defence and has designed, managed and coordinated business plans, transformational “change management” campaigns and corporate level strategies with values in the billions of dollars.

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A firm believer in the principle that “all strategic issues are leadership issues”, Fred has been used extensively in executive leadership consultancy and strategic planning capacity building portfolios at Head of State, Ministerial, Ambassadorial, CEO and Senior Executive levels in Canada, Africa and Afghanistan. He holds a Masters in Military Technology from the Royal Military College of Science in Shrivenham, a Baccalaureate of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Ottawa, and is a graduate of the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College Kingston, the UK’s Joint Command and Staff College and the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

And as I’ve learnt from a number of extended conversations, Fred is a fund of information and wisdom about leadership.

Military Does Some Things Better

After leaving the military, and contemplating a new career in the private sector, Fred did “a complete environmental scan” and observed that:

  • there are some things that the private sector does very well
  • there are some things that the private sector does terribly

And he posed for himself the question of why they do those things terribly – and then why, in his perception, the military does them better. His conclusion:

“We do them better because we have certain tool sets and expertise that we build over decades of someone’s career that allows us to do these things.”

Several of those things “popped up” for him, including how people do intelligence.

“If we did intelligence in the military the way they do it in the private sector, we’d all be speaking Russian right now.”

Wargaming and Red Teaming

Fred’s company uses processes of wargaming and red teaming to help with strategic planning. He explained the difference.

Wargaming is where you get everybody included in the process and use techniques “to fix your plan and make sure everybody has unity of thought, purpose and plan before you execute it.”

Red teaming is “where you bring somebody in to make your plan fail”. In other words, put the plan under “extreme competitive stress”. (Sounds more interesting and useful than the Wikipedia definition I quoted in the podcast conversation!)

Does Culture Really Eat Strategy for Breakfast?

A statement often attributed to the late, great management expert Peter Drucker (1909-2005), is “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. It appears there is no verifiable evidence that Drucker ever said that. Fred expressed some strong views on how that statement has been used and reminded me of the blog post he wrote for LinkedIn on this some time ago: Culture doesn’t eat strategy for breakfast….but it will regularly feast on weak leadership and incoherent strategy

Other Topics

Listen for Fred’s demolition job on the stereotype of rigid, inflexible, unimaginative leadership in the military and the implicit corollary that military leadership doesn’t fit for the kind of agile, adaptable kind of leadership needed today in the business world.

“We teach adaptive leadership. You adapt your leadership style to a) the mission and b) the team. And that is as true in business as it is in battle.”

Emotional intelligence – something new? Fred explained how the fundamental concept is literally thousands of years old. The Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius had said one must know the emotional pulse of the empire. And from more recent times Fred had a quote from Clausewitz. on the moral (i.e. in modern parlance, psychological) aspects of war.

Do leaders today, in the age of digital disruption, need new leadership skills or time-honoured ones? One aspect of this is they have to be, or learn to be, leaders, and not get stuck as specialists. “The C-suite have to be strategically minded, not tactically minded”

A couple more items

Fred said “Everything I’ve learnt (in the military) has commercial potential”.

“Leaders eat last” is not new: Fred traced it back to the legendary British general of WWI (and sometime Govenor-General of Australia) Sir William Slim. Last night, I found this quote:

To his officers (in Burma, facing huge odds against the Japanese), Slim said:

“I tell you, as officers, that you will not eat nor drink, nor smoke, nor sit down, nor lean against a tree, until you have personally seen that your men have first had the chance to do those things. If you will do this for them, they will follow you to the ends of the earth, and if you fail to do so, I will bust you in front of your regiments.”

Follow up with Fred

If you think Fred and his team can help your company, organisation, government agency, get in touch with him, have a chat. If my experience is anything to go by, you will at least come away from a conversation with Fred knowing something new, or seeing something with a fresh perspective. Make contact with Fred through the website for Strategic Red Team Consulting at this link:

And follow Fred on Twitter: @FM_Aubin

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Leadership – Removing Roadblocks: Ian Sampson [Podcast]

Ian SampsonIan Sampson is Co-Founder and Director of Glanton Solutions, a company focused on implementing web and content management platforms for leading companies around the world. Glanton Solutions specialises in identity management and are passionate about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, especially Salesforce, and about how adopting a CRM system can transform companies.

Ian is a Chartered Accountant, with Honours degrees in Business and Finance from Rhodes University, but But his career has always been in technology. As a developer, analyst and architect he has innovated and designed technology solutions for some of the largest companies in the world.

Starting as an Audit Manager with Ernst & Young in South Africa, he has held senior roles in a range of companies, co-founded WebAdvantage and angel investor Accelerati, is an Ambassador for Wearable World and has played a very active role with peak regional information technology industry body, IT Forum Gold Coast.

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Lessons about Leadership

Ian is clearly not enamored of traditional ideas of Leadership, in the sense of someone being the boss. He sees leadership more in terms of “getting in, getting your hands dirty, leading by example, working as a team”.

His exercise of volunteer leadership in the regional technology space was prompted by asking himself the question “What’s the ecosystem I want on my doorstep?” and then trying to do something about that.

He believes that leadership in the contemporary collaborative, co-creation space is about “finding ways to remove the roadblocks, letting people get on with what they want to do.”

Ian’s Comments on Australia and Innovation

Australia came through the Global Financial Crisis “relatively unscathed”: the rest of the world was scrambling to create new industries, IP – and to not lose the IP.

Recent years, in terms of government, represent missed opportunity, even damage done.

But the local Queensland State Government initiative Advance Queensland is a positive sign.

Some concern that the Federal government, in looking to other countries for ideas, is not focused on what we in Australia can do for ourselves.

“It very much seems to be ‘have a look over the fence and see what everyone else is doing’. ‘Look to New Zealand, the UK, the US. Look at these programs and bring them over here.’ That’s great, that’s safe. But if we’re just following how can we expect to lead in this digital innovation space?”

Optimistic about the Younger Generation, Concerned about the Education System

“I don’t think there’s a better time for people who are unencumbered (no mortgage, no school fees to pay etc) to have a go.”

Concerned that schools and teachers are not keeping up. It is not a time to stand still.

Startup Opportunities: Gold Coast vs Silicon Valley

For startups that need to scale, especially for the consumer market, Australia is too small and there is a need to go overseas.

May be different for B2B.

We do offer some natural advantages for tech companies:

Australia, and specifically the Gold Coast, great offering in terms of standard of living: and things we can do well in terms of apps for leading industries such as mining and tourism.

Asia offers huge potential as “a massive market you can supply to”

Automation – Internet of Things (IoT)

“Tall Poppy Syndrome”

Ian sees the Tall Poppy Syndrome, whereby “no Australian is permitted to assume that he or she is better than any other Australian” as a hindrance to innovation.

Need a cultural shift.

We need to celebrate success and celebrate people who are being successful.

Culture – leadership in creating and nurturing it

“You have to be completely transparent, honest, open, clear. If you’re going to set goals for a team, in a team, and people are going to do better than others, then be very clear about what those expectations are, how they’re going to be implemented.”

What’s keeping business leaders awake at night?

Ian turned this around to consider those who have a smooth running business and sleeping well and offered this wakeup observation: “if you’re not disrupting, you’re being disrupted”.

And these tips:

  • Look at how technology can help you
  • Look at what your competitors are doing
  • A CRM system will transform your business (“staggered” at how few companies have one)
  • Think about how you can reinvent your industry (a great idea here for how to do this bit)


Ian Sampson on LinkedIn:

Glanton Solutions:

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Meditation for Executive Leaders: Peter Coroneos [Podcast]

Peter CoroneosPeter Coroneos is Founder and CEO of SerenityWorks, a company dedicated to transforming leaders and executives through advanced meditation skills.

Or, as expressed more elaborately on the company website, applying “proven mindfulness and meditation tools in the corporate setting to reduce stress, energise teams, unlock insight, tap into creativity and optimise decision making”.

Peter knows executive stress. For thirteen years and seven months, through the nineties and the first decade of the new century he was CEO of the Internet Industry Association of Australia (IIA).

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IIA, now part of the Communications Alliance, was in its heyday the national industry body for internet commerce, content and connectivity and a key player in often intense public policy debates and manouevres over the commercial, legal and political implications of the information revolution.

These were “uncharted waters” and “highly political”.

With academic qualifications in science, the law and education, Peter was well equipped intellectually and in experience to take on the challenge of this new field. And he clearly enjoyed the challenge.

“We really felt like we were the vanguard of a new way – a new way of being, a new way of communicating.

“A lot of our role was educational – developing innovative, well-reasoned positions on social policies and the economic implications.”

Nothing is Wasted: Tackling the Spam Menace

In 1998, IIA developed a code of practice, designed to help deal with spam.

Peter applied a process which he had used successfully in the field of environmental pollution. There the aim had been to generate attention and action by showing the economic cost of not dealing with environmental pollution. With the internet industry there was (and is) an economic cost of spam. A campaign was launched with the aim of shifting the cost burden of spam from the consumer and from internet service providers to the spammers.

This experience taught Peter that “You can actually foster an appropriate way of thinking that gives you more predictable access to the lessons of the past. It gives you inspiration to innovate that would otherwise be quite random.”


Peter had learned to meditate in 1977 and then, after successfully encouraging his businessman father to meditate,  he “glimpsed the applicability of these ancient techniques to modern corporate life”.

He attributes his capacity, over all those years as CEO of IIA, to sustain high levels of performance, in that turbulent environment, to his ability “to regularly enter a state of what we call stillness…”.

A couple of years on from IIA, the “tipping point” that moved him towards his current activity with SerenityWorks was in the form of developments in neuroscience with direct relevance to challenges faced by executives today, including:

  • the ability to process a volume of information quickly
  • maintaining focus and attention
  • emotional control
  • seeing things in perspective
  • managing fear

He cites the work of Sara Lazar with the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Medical School on the benefits of meditation, and work at UCLA on the folding of the brain.

“This whole meditation revolution (which is how it actually feels) feels surprisingly like the internet felt in 1997. It feels like we’re on the cusp of another huge wave now. And this time the revolution is around human consciousness and human performance, at the neurological level, but of course it’s supported by techniques that are thousands of years old.”


“The key to leadership these days is really having the courage to experiment, the courage to innovate.”

About SerenityWorks

Visit the website for more information about Peter’s company, SerenityWorks and specifically about the Executive Performance Development Program.


Eight Weeks to a Better Brain (Harvard Gazette – cites work of Sara Lazar)

Mindfulness can literally change your brain (Harvard Business Review)

How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains: Sara Lazar at TEDxCambridge 2011

Evidence builds that meditation strengthens the brain, UCLA researchers say

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