The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast

50 Navigating Change through Radiant Leadership with Kristen Lisanti

February 12, 2024 Dr Nia D Thomas Episode 50
50 Navigating Change through Radiant Leadership with Kristen Lisanti
The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast
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The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast
50 Navigating Change through Radiant Leadership with Kristen Lisanti
Feb 12, 2024 Episode 50
Dr Nia D Thomas

 In today's episode, host Nia Thomas is joined by Kristen Lisanti, a seasoned coach with over 25 years of experience in leadership roles. Kristen has had a wonderful career marked by change. She began in marketing and communications, focusing on social awareness and public education campaigns for causes close to her heart. After feeling removed from the people she was serving, she made a change within the organization she was working for, which was also undergoing a lot of change. Kristen has always been dedicated to bringing about positive change in the world.

Kristen shares her wealth of knowledge, discussing the concept of "surfing the curve" in leadership, navigating resistance during change, and the impact of self-awareness on leadership success. She also delves into her own transformative journey and introduces the Radiant Leader community, providing valuable insights and practical tools for transformational leadership. Get ready to explore the power of mindfulness, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, and the importance of building a supportive community within organizations.

Join us as we uncover the keys to becoming a radiant leader in today's ever-evolving business landscape.

Access Kristen's website here

Access the Radiant Leaders' Community here

Support the Show.

Find Out More
Thanks for joining me on my learning journey! Until next time...

Rate and Review
Once you've taken a listen please leave a rate and review on your favourite podcast player. A little word from you means a big deal to me!

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Show Notes Transcript

 In today's episode, host Nia Thomas is joined by Kristen Lisanti, a seasoned coach with over 25 years of experience in leadership roles. Kristen has had a wonderful career marked by change. She began in marketing and communications, focusing on social awareness and public education campaigns for causes close to her heart. After feeling removed from the people she was serving, she made a change within the organization she was working for, which was also undergoing a lot of change. Kristen has always been dedicated to bringing about positive change in the world.

Kristen shares her wealth of knowledge, discussing the concept of "surfing the curve" in leadership, navigating resistance during change, and the impact of self-awareness on leadership success. She also delves into her own transformative journey and introduces the Radiant Leader community, providing valuable insights and practical tools for transformational leadership. Get ready to explore the power of mindfulness, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, and the importance of building a supportive community within organizations.

Join us as we uncover the keys to becoming a radiant leader in today's ever-evolving business landscape.

Access Kristen's website here

Access the Radiant Leaders' Community here

Support the Show.

Find Out More
Thanks for joining me on my learning journey! Until next time...

Rate and Review
Once you've taken a listen please leave a rate and review on your favourite podcast player. A little word from you means a big deal to me!

Nia Thomas [00:00:03]:
Hello, and welcome to the Knowing Self Knowing Others podcast where we discuss self aware leadership with thinkers from around the globe. I'm your host, Nia Thomas, and join me as I talk to today's guest.

Nia Thomas [00:00:15]:
Listeners, I'm delighted to be joined by Kristin Lozante today. Kristin is a coach, and she has coached hundreds of leaders their teams to drive transformation at scale, and she guides them through her proven process to spark and sustain meaningful change, and and we will ask her to tell us more about that shortly. Over 25 years, Kistner has held executive culture, talent and communication roles in global firms, coaching CEOs, advising senior leadership teams, and building healthy, high performing cultures around the world. Kristen is trained and certified by the NeuroLeadership Institute, the Mindful Awareness Research Center, UCLA's Semmel Institute For Neuroscience and Human Behavior and the International Coaching Federation. Kirsten, it's so nice to have you here. Thank you very much for joining me.

Kristen [00:01:07]:
I'm delighted to be with you, Nia. I've I've been listening to your podcast, and I'm a fan of your work, So I'm looking forward to this conversation.

Nia Thomas [00:01:15]:
Oh, that's wonderful. Thank you very much for that. Tell us a little bit more about your career because that is Quite an interesting span of time scales and organizations and leaders that you've worked with.

Kristen [00:01:26]:
It has been a wonderful career, with stages, Certainly. I think if I had to sum it all up in one word, it would be change. I have not only because I've had changes throughout the course of my career, but my career really has focused on bringing change forward. So I started out in marketing and communications working on social awareness and public education campaigns, so raising awareness of mental health, the importance of nutrition, early childhood development, as well as, voter registration here in the states. So working on a lot of causes that were near and dear to my heart, Deeply rewarding work as you might imagine. But after some time, even though I was writing messaging platforms and training spokespeople, I was starting to feel removed from the people that I was serving, and I was craving more intimacy with the change that I, was working toward. So I, had the good fortune of being able to make a change within an organization that I was working in at the time. It was going through a tremendous amount of change itself.

Kristen [00:02:31]:
They had just been acquired, and navigating that change and bringing people along with it became a big part of my role. So I made a shift into operational leadership leading a few moves later, leading The HR and people team at that organization's corporate parent company and and then moving into head of culture roles in global firms from there. And then just 18 months ago, went out on my own to take the Lessons that I've learned about change and leading change at scale into coaching leaders and leadership teams on how to do the same in their organizations.

Nia Thomas [00:03:12]:
Tell us a bit more about culture because culture is such an all encompassing word, and it can mean so many different things to different people. When you say you were leading culture, what were you doing in that role?

Kristen [00:03:24]:
This is a beautiful question because I think that understanding what culture is and how we work with it is is critical for today's complex organizations and also Still very misunderstood. I think, typically, when people think about culture, they might think about going down to the pub for a pint after work or, you know, how often do we get together in the office in person? But I think and talk about culture as Something much more complex and much more embedded within the fabric of the organization. I I think about culture as a the complex ecosystem within your organization that sustains your organizational performance or doesn't, Right? Depending on how healthy that culture is. So if we think about a coral reef, right, what are all of the conditions, that need to be attended to and calibrated in order to sustain the growth and the health of that ecosystem. That's how we can think about culture. When it came to my role in a chief culture officer position, I looked at the ecosystem I was in, and I said, what's my highest leverage point here to really create the conditions for this ecosystem to be healthy and high performing, and it comes down to the leaders. The leaders are The ones in any ecosystem who set the conditions of the water, if you will, to continue our our coral reef metaphor. They're setting the conditions.

Kristen [00:04:54]:
Is it too hot? Is it too cold? Is the water moving enough in order to kind of keep things dynamic and and generating results? So working with the leaders as a coach, training them on some of the core competencies of transformational leadership, 1st and foremost, being your specialty, self awareness. How do we help leaders develop their own self awareness So that they can show up understanding the impact they're having on the ecosystem around them.

Nia Thomas [00:05:25]:
Oh, there's so many questions. Firstly, For me, when we're talking about leaders and their roles within culture, behavior and behavior modeling always comes to the top of my My list that I want to talk about. How do do you coach and talk to your leaders that you're working with about Their behavior modeling, which sets the tone and the temperature of that water.

Kristen [00:05:49]:
I think we have to come at it from a couple different ways. The first thing that comes to mind for me in this moment is that behavior is preceded by thought, Right? Which is preceded oftentimes by feeling. So helping leaders understand what are the thoughts and feelings that are maybe spurring them to action and to behavior. And then I say sometimes preceded by because so much of our behavior is, of course, habitual. Right? We have learned ways of showing up mostly probably to keep us safe, but some of which we've, you know, come to believe are what make us effective as leaders. So the first thing I do when I'm working with leaders is to take a look at okay. We usually use some form of data. I I've got a an assessment that I use.

Kristen [00:06:35]:
It's a a pure leadership assessment, not a performance evaluation, but an assessment of leadership called the leadership circle. It's a beautiful tool, and it gives us a very rich look at what are the ways in which this leader is showing up in a highly effective way, and what are the ways in which they're getting in their own way. And we start there. Right? What are those old ways of of behavior, to your point, that maybe have been part of the pattern for so long we don't even see them anymore. But if we can bring our awareness to them, then we can recognize, is this still serving? Is it still appropriate for the current context, or is it something that really should be left in the past so that we can make room for what's needed now?

Nia Thomas [00:07:21]:
And as so much of what I talk about in terms of leadership, it does start with self awareness. So how do you define self self awareness. How do you describe it? What does it mean to you?

Kristen [00:07:33]:
I I really like what I think is the classical, definition or at least a classical way of thinking about it very simply as, you know, understanding ourselves and understanding how others see us. So understanding what's going on within us and then understanding how we are perceived. For me, the simplicity of that, it makes it very accessible to my clients too for whom a lot of this work that we do can feel very nebulous and and squishy If we don't break it down into kind of simple building blocks. So I find that to be just a very simple way of looking at it. There's a lot within it, of course, but that kind of straightforward way of thinking about it is a good starting point. Another way that I think about self awareness is in the context of emotional intelligence. Right? It's the first step. If we have self awareness, Then we can self manage.

Kristen [00:08:29]:
Right? If we can see how we're showing up and we have some recognition of what those patterns are, then we can manage ourselves and decide, ourselves and decide, make make conscious choices about how we're showing up. If we can do that, then we'll have some room for social awareness, what's going on around us. And then we'll be able to manage the relationships and how we show up in that social constructive context. So I I do I agree with you completely. Self awareness is at the heart of all of it.

Nia Thomas [00:08:57]:
Do you find that when you approach your coaching clients or your your leaders within your organizations, Do they have a long distance to travel to get to a point where they understand what self awareness is and that it's a continuous journey, Or do you find that that people are already partway on that journey and and they they're already with you as you talk about how they need to understand themselves more, become more aware of of who they are and what they think.

Kristen [00:09:28]:
Mhmm. I would say, in my experience, it's It's a broad spectrum. Some folks, particularly those who come enthusiastically into coaching, are hungry to understand themselves better and and eager can grow in that particular way of doing that deep personal transformation work that really elevates their leadership. And they know that conceptually, And they're ready for it experientially. Other leaders come to coaching with me in particular because they are navigating some form of change or transformation In their organizations or in their careers, and they have found out the hard way as so many of us do that what used to work for us is no longer working so well and that maybe our old patterns are starting to let us down. And so they may be a little bit further away. They may have a little bit more distance from that notion of of working on myself. They may still come into coaching saying, well, the problem's with my team.

Kristen [00:10:23]:
And so we can actually help them kind of back into self awareness, I think, by starting where they are. You know? What are your what are your business objectives? What is it that you're here to do? Okay. Where where is that getting tripped up? Right? What patterns do you find that you and the team are falling into? Okay. And then if you want the team to shift in this way, what does that mean in terms of how you need to show up differently? Right? In what ways might you be unconsciously perpetuating some of the behaviors that you're seeing in your team that are leading to the lackluster business results. And I find that to be very effective in helping leaders recognize, Oh, I have more power here than I realized, and I'm ready to step into that power, especially because it isn't always about reinventing your whole personality. I think that's what a lot of leaders are frankly terrified of because they think if I change myself, I won't be effective anymore. I'll lose my edge. This is this is how I became so successful in the 1st place.

Kristen [00:11:22]:
But it's about micro shifts, isn't it? It's about just walking into the room in a different way or or engaging in a conversation slightly differently. And once they get that, I just feel like it blows everything wide open, and we have a lot of room to work.

Nia Thomas [00:11:38]:
Interesting that our conversation has just come right back around to behavior, behavior modeling, And and somewhat of of a conversation around authenticity at the same time without saying it, but it's still there, but running through as a thread. So tell us a little bit more about your mindfulness based leadership development program. It it sounds really innovative.

Kristen [00:11:59]:
Yes. So when I was in my chief culture officer role at a firm called BCW, a communications firm, it's a global organization, about 4,000 people globally. And I thought, okay. How do we scale this this leadership development work? Right. If if we know that leaders are the highest leverage points for change in the organization ecosystem, How do I work with as many leaders as possible? And from that came program that honestly had been a dream of mine for a very long time before I was a coach. I I trained as a mindfulness teacher at at UCLA as you mentioned in the opening. And this is this is really at the core of who I am as a person as well as a professional and as a coach. Mindfulness is just, for me, absolutely foundational.

Kristen [00:12:48]:
Changed my life without a doubt, and I've seen it change many, many others. So creating a leadership Development program that was based in mindfulness was an exciting but daunting challenge. We piloted the 1st cohort. It was a 12 week program. We pilot at virtual, by the way. We knew we wanted it to be a global cohort based program. Cohort based because I firmly believe we learn most effectively in community. So I I I I didn't want it to be 1 on 1 individual coaching, bringing in external coaches to work 1 on 1.

Kristen [00:13:25]:
I wanted these leaders practicing and learning together from one another. So we piloted this 12 week program, which was literally teaching executives how to meditate And then applying those insights about themselves and the way that their minds worked to their leadership. And our pilot kicked off in January of 2020. And you know what happened next, didn't you?

Nia Thomas [00:13:51]:
Right in the thick of it.

Kristen [00:13:52]:
Halfway through that cohort, the world changed around us. And and this program ended up becoming, I think, Incredibly special for leaders in a time where the ways that we thought about leadership, the ways that we defined ourselves as leaders. The way the all of those old ways of working that we were used to leading through needed reinvention. And and the program went on for 2 more years and trained nearly 200 leaders around the world and resulted in a significant degree of, I think opening, awakening, transformation, and tremendous success for those leaders who have gone on to do great things in their careers.

Nia Thomas [00:14:34]:
Something we talk a lot about on this podcast is mindfulness, and it really it feels like a a door that opens up your your whole persona to self awareness. Is that something that you find that mindfulness is sort of a a precursor to that conversation about self awareness, and how does that fit together?

Kristen [00:14:56]:
For me, it's it's it's My primary tool. I think there are so many ways to develop self awareness, you know, right from journaling to therapy. I was turned on to mindfulness by a therapist used to. I I've been seeing her for about a year, and she said, you know, I think therapy is great for you, but I what I really think you need is a mindfulness practice. I think you need to sit down And look at your mind. I heard one of your recent guests talk about the fact that, you know, mindfulness is typically thought of as, you know, Do this to feel better. Right? And she took issue with that, and I do too. I think that mindfulness, in some ways, it might stress you out a little bit more because it's not easy need to do.

Kristen [00:15:32]:
But feeling better or numbing out or hashtag self care is not the point of mindfulness. The point of mindfulness, I think, is twofold. 1, so that we can see more clearly, including seeing ourselves more clearly. And 2, so that with that clarity, we can make new choices. Yeah. You know? About how we show up in the world, about how we show up in our work, about how we lead, about how we live, love. And that's really it for me. It's, can can we see more clearly what's going on in here, in our minds, and out there in the world? And then can we show up differently as a result? So, So, yeah, I think self awareness is it's it's baked right in there.

Kristen [00:16:10]:
And it's not quite enough, is it? Right? We need to we need to be self aware, but then we need to put that self awareness into action. Can You just do something. Show that's right. That's right. Otherwise, I think I think I've seen leaders show up to coaching and say, I've got a lot of self Awareness. I really know myself. I'm like, yeah. But you're not doing anything differently because of it.

Kristen [00:16:30]:
You're just you just accepted yourself, And you're not leaving any room for growth, or ownership of the implications of what what's happening on the people around you. So I think it's important to bridge that gap too.

Nia Thomas [00:16:42]:
Yeah. Definitely. I think introspection alone doesn't really get you to self awareness. That is just introspection. That's all it is, and and you have to learn on it and grow and and develop into your self aware leadership practice. Yes.

Kristen [00:16:56]:

Nia Thomas [00:16:56]:
So tell us, you were involved in, a diversity and inclusion, initiative at, I think it was Plus company that you were working at. But The approach that you took really, really was was slightly different. So tell us more about that.

Kristen [00:17:13]:
This was Many years ago, the organization had never had anything around DEI before. It was not yet kind of accepted that that was just a a fundamental part of business operations and people operations. So this was the company where I made my pivot From being kind of marketing communications focused into operational leadership. And and just with the core value of of Diversity, inclusion, and equity being personal to me with a little bit of lobbying and a lot of partnership support From, other people leaders across the organization, we decided to to see what we could build in this organization. It was a it was a parent company. It company was a holding company of many different marketing agencies, and so we knew each one was gonna have its own flavor. But we we we decided to actually kind of take the idea of diversity. We didn't want it to feel like checking the box.

Kristen [00:18:08]:
We didn't want it to feel like it was a theory based initiative. We wanted it to feel personal to people. So we called it diversity, inclusion, and individuality. And we really focused on what makes you you, what makes you wonderful, and that allowed us to have this conversation with everyone Instead of terming certain people as diverse and certain people as not and and leaving some people out of the conversation, It really opened us up to have conversations about who we are as people and all the many sides of our identities through the lens of individuality and and why that is valuable, but why also being individuals is not enough. We have to come together In an inclusive culture that leaves no one out. So that was the approach we took. It was a it was an experiment. Like, pretty much everything I had done in my career was an experiment, And it was it just felt really fresh in terms of a way to bring a con that conversation into an organization that was relatively new to it.

Nia Thomas [00:19:10]:
I like that in inclusion of individuality within that reference because we tend to talk about in inclusion, which is about almost like a nebulous idea of bring everybody together so everybody's in 1 melding pot, And you forget that you've got individuals within that and that few different people need different things. I I really like that. I might borrow that in the future.

Kristen [00:19:33]:
Please take it with you.

Nia Thomas [00:19:35]:
Wonderful. You were a volunteer at AmeriCorp, and I what I've read about Your journey and your career, it seems to have been a pivotal point in your career. Can you tell us more about that that experience, and really how did that change you and influence you in into what you do now.

Kristen [00:19:54]:
Definitely. AmeriCorps, for those who aren't in the states, is a volunteer organization. So most people who volunteer with AmeriCorps will do it maybe in their early twenties, maybe fresh out of university. That was my if in in my case. So I was an English literature major. My plan was to become an English literature professor. I was gonna go to grad school and teach early 20th century American poetry. So I took a year off, volunteered with AmeriCorps and fell in love with service.

Kristen [00:20:21]:
That role was I was placed in a public health agency in just south of San Francisco. I taught sexual health education to high school students in underserved areas, and it was I think it was a real awakening for me in terms of my passion of working with people, of teaching, yes, but of of really helping people see themselves in their choices And and feeling empowered to make their own choices for themselves. And I never looked back. I never made it to grad school. I that was started my my career in change, and I always say it was the best job I've ever had and probably will ever have. Although I'm pretty happy with my job now, I wouldn't be here without that role and that opportunity.

Nia Thomas [00:21:06]:
Oh, interesting. Yes. And it's sometimes you you have these big master plans when you're younger, but, actually, the world has got different ideas for you.

Kristen [00:21:14]:
And I guess staying open to following that current, right, and and listening to those signals from The world and also from within was has been a big part of my my journey.

Nia Thomas [00:21:25]:
Tell us a little bit about your Radiant Leaders community. Tian. And to start with, what is a radiant leader?

Kristen [00:21:31]:
Oh, I'm so glad you asked. I could talk about this all day. Let's hope it doesn't take up the rest of our conversation. Okay. What is a radiant leader? That's an excellent question. I I think everyone in the radiant leader community would answer that differently, so I'll offer you the way I think about it. I use the word radiant in my work. I we talk about radiant change being the opposite of linear change.

Kristen [00:21:52]:
So one of the one of the courses I teach called agents of radiant change is all about really shifting our relationship to change from thinking that change is an a to b journey Okay. Right? Like, oh, at point a, we see that change is needed. And so someone writes a smart plan, and then we deliver that plan. And then, you know, in very order. We make a small jump to point b, and change is delivered and mission accomplished. And everyone feels great about it, and we move on with life. Of Of course, that's never happened in the once in the course of human existence. Right? So so radiant change is really about this idea that change is always happening around us, and it's always emanating out from us.

Kristen [00:22:32]:
As a radiant leader, I think it comes back to where you were talking about earlier, change coming from within, right, through self awareness and then opening up to new behaviors and then opening up to new patterns and influencing The ecosystems around us and as well as maybe some of the the structures and systems that we design in our businesses and in our organizations. So radiant leader is someone who understands that they're not just here on a transactional basis. They're not just here to deliver value In terms of dollars, they're not just managing their company on a spreadsheet. They understand that they have a responsibility to lead with vision And to really engage everyone around them in bringing that vision forward and that the way that we way that we do that is from the inside out. So that's a radiant leader.

Nia Thomas [00:23:24]:
If we think about radiant, we almost need to think about that circle. And I suppose within my definition of of self aware leadership, There is the impact that you have on others, and you need to be aware of that impact. So I think there is commonality with your definition of radiant leadership there.

Kristen [00:23:42]:
Absolutely. And if you look at my organizational logo, it's that little circle and then the bigger circle and the bigger circle, and that's that notion of radiance That I think when we start to make those microshifts in ourselves, everything around us can change. We don't even have to force it. We don't even have to make it happen per se. Us changing means the world around us changes. It's that's just the nature of how interdependent, interconnected we all are. Yep. So I couldn't agree with you more.

Kristen [00:24:11]:
Now in that notion of interdependence, this is where the Radiant Leader community, I think, becomes really vital. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, Nia. In my experience, being a leader, period. Being a leader, period, is lonely, awfully lonely. The higher up you go, The lonelinger, I think it gets. Being a transformational leader, a leader who is here to bring forward some kind of change In a transactional organization, in a transactional world is extremely lonely. Oftentimes, you spend most days feeling like you're pushing a boulder uphill Only to have it roll back over you every other day. Yeah.

Kristen [00:24:50]:
You you you sometimes this was this was me. I think dig back to my chief culture officer role. Some days, I just thought, you know, I'm maybe I'm crazy. I just feel like I'm speaking a totally different language here. I feel like I see the organization so differently then a lot of these other leaders do, and it can feel lonely. It can feel isolating. It can feel disillusioning. So Radiant Leader is a community of practice for transformational leaders.

Kristen [00:25:15]:
So the community aspect is bringing people together. We've got leaders In India, we've got leaders in Sweden. We've got leaders in the States, in Canada, South Africa, all coming together because they share This commitment to transformational leadership. And we say it's a community of practice because it's not just about networking, although it's great for that. It's a community of practice and that we see leadership as a practice, not a title. Yeah. We see it as something that we have to actively do, that we need to bring ourselves back to just like we bring ourselves back to the present moment in mindfulness, we bring ourselves back to what is our leadership intention, And what are the tools and strategies that we have for keeping ourselves and our teams grounded in transformational leadership versus transactional leadership?

Nia Thomas [00:26:02]:
Interesting. And and I'll certainly look that that community up, and and maybe it's something I I would join if if

Kristen [00:26:08]:
Oh, yeah. We would love to have oh, we would love need to have you. Yeah. It's it's really exciting. We've just we've actually just launched, and, already, the response has been wonderful. And I think even more importantly Then the growth we're seeing this early is that it feels really wonderful in there. I wanted to create kind of a retreat for leaders.

Nia Thomas [00:26:30]:

Kristen [00:26:30]:
Know, a place where they could kind of their own world where they could leave their organizational chaos and come and say, okay. I have resources here. I have connections here. I have space. We have a mindful Mondays live stream that we do every Monday together. We have monthly workshops where we go deep on our transformational leadership competencies. It feels really good to be there, and I would love it if you would come and join us.

Nia Thomas [00:26:54]:
Listeners, we will make sure that there is a link in the show notes for you if you want to go and find out more about the community. Going back to your question about Leadership and being lonely. Mhmm. I think that is it's interesting, and and I think the way that I think about it is that there are different things that you can talk fight with different people. And there are some things that you have to manage in a different way because there are legal implications So there are HR implications or there are problem solving implications. And I remember reading I think it was Patrick Lencioni's Five dysfunctions of a team. Mhmm. And within that, he talks about your number one team, and we are very good at Thinking of our number one team is the people that we put our arms around.

Nia Thomas [00:27:39]:
So they are direct reports, and they are the people that we want to make sure they are okay. We will check on them. And in his book, what he says is that, actually, that isn't your team. Your team are the people to your left and to your right, And it's something that I think a lot about because there there are often situations where you have to have difficult conversations with your direct reports about Performance or it's about continuing roles or it's about redundancies or whatever may come. And where, as the leader, do you get your support? So it's something that I actively ask my line manager, who are the people to my left and to my right? Because when I'm in a tricky situation, I need to know who those people to my left and to my right are. And maybe, as you're saying, if you don't have those people to your left and right, you need this kind of community. So leaders, if you are listening, Then maybe this is where you need to go to get that support to your left and to your right. When it's not appropriate for you to be having your conversations with direct reports or you want test something out before you check it out with your line managers.

Nia Thomas [00:28:44]:
Go to your left and to your right, and maybe you need to go towards the Radiant Leaders community to get that support.

Kristen [00:28:52]:
Mhmm. I I'm so glad that you brought in that notion of of who is your 1 team, who's your number 1 team. I think that you're absolutely right. People will see their direct reports as their team, and then what that I often find inadvertently does is it sets them up in competition with their peers, their colleagues. Right? Yeah. My team versus your team. Who's getting more resources? My territory versus your territory. And That that in and of itself can be isolating, can be, inflammatory in terms of the ecosystem as well as your own personal health.

Kristen [00:29:27]:
But if we're prioritizing building community in our teams, and this is a big part of what I do in my coaching work, I don't often coach individual leaders on their own. It's usually I'm coaching individual leader in the context of a team coaching initiative Because the system matters so much. Right? And building trust, which is Lencioni's right, first level of the pyramid, first behavior, is if we can build trust there and build community, then we can get out of this notion of leadership being a solo sport, which don't think it's serving anybody. It's certainly not serving our people, certainly not serving our bottom lines because we're competing with one another within an organization. It makes no sense.

Nia Thomas [00:30:10]:
I think you're absolutely right. And maybe that is something that harks back to the industrial paradigm and maybe we're we're moving out of that, But I definitely don't think we're there yet.

Kristen [00:30:20]:
I think you're right. I also I think it definitely comes from the industrial paradigm. I would go back to the enlightenment. I blame Descartes. I blame Descartes for a lot of what's wrong with business today because I think that the the hyperrationalist like, everything can be broken down and understood, write in these very kind of clear cut distinctions, seeing the organization as a machine that and and the only things that matter are the things that can be measured. These kinds of fallacies, these kinds of thinking really, I think, betray the complexity and the humanity of our organizations, and they they stifle our ability to lead effectively. Live. So if you wanna blame anybody, I would say go back to the enlightenment and have a few words with I think, therefore, I am.

Nia Thomas [00:31:06]:
Yeah. I think you're right. Yes. Organizations are no longer machines. They are moving towards a a humanization of an organization and as an organic entity And right bringing us right back to individuals.

Kristen [00:31:20]:
That's right.

Nia Thomas [00:31:21]:
You mentioned the Radiant Resources Library and on demand courses. Tell us a little bit more about that because, as you said, the the community itself is new, so maybe people haven't heard about this and don't know how to access it.

Kristen [00:31:34]:
Yeah. Beautiful. So within the Radiant Leader community, we have a treasure trove of resources for leaders, that really dig into each of the, what I call, the 10 truths of radiant change, which I think are kind of fundamental pillars of transformational leadership. If we wanna lead change In our organizations or in our communities or our societies, we need to shift our relationship to change as we talked about before. These resources offer Practical tools and also personal practices for how to do that, for how to bring change forward in a way that really does come from within and is sustainable, not just a flash in the pan as so many change initiatives are. Then the on demand courses, this is I'm actually really excited about this. We're about to launch our first won within Radiant Leader. That mindful leadership program we were talking about just a few moments ago that I launched back at at BCW, I've retooled it.

Kristen [00:32:32]:
It's taking a different shape. It's, I think, gonna be even stronger in a lot of ways, but we are launching it This quarter, our 1st cohort of we're calling it momentum, moment being a key part of that word, And we are going to be doing intensive mindfulness based leadership development right there within the Radiant Leader community. So members will be able to opt in When they feel ready to kind of go to that deeper level and to do that intensive work.

Nia Thomas [00:33:01]:
Amazing. Good luck with the new course.

Kristen [00:33:03]:
Thank you.

Nia Thomas [00:33:04]:
Within your leadership, you talk about surfing the curve, and and you talk about this particularly around complexity, volatility, and and resistance. And I'm I'm guessing as part of your course, you're going to help leaders to surf that curve. Well, what do you mean by surfing the curve?

Kristen [00:33:22]:
Oh, yeah. So talking about the change curve and the fact that since it's not linear, as we talked about before, there's always that dip. Right? There's always the dip in the change curve. There's always the resistance that meets the progress or that meets the vision. And typically, when we find ourselves in that dip, the mind tells us the change is impossible. It can't happen, or the plan isn't good enough, Or most often, we are not good enough. We're not the person who can make this happen. So a big part of my work with leaders who are leading some kind of changes, teaching them how to surf that curve, teaching them how to, a, expect resistance to change.

Kristen [00:34:04]:
Just it's gonna happen. It's gonna be part of it. And if you've made progress, expect backlash because that's the system's response. Right? That's how that's what happens when we move something forward is that there's an energy that's kind of pushing back. It doesn't mean anything's wrong. It means you're making progress, so expecting that to be the case. And then we can continue to surf the curve rather than fighting it By really listening to the resistance that's coming in, listening to the emotions that are coming up for people, and leveraging see the emotional data in those emotions. What can we learn about what people are pushing back on? What do they what do they need, Right? That maybe has not been articulated, but we can see what the needs are in the form of this pushback that we're receiving.

Kristen [00:34:55]:
What do people need? Do they need more Certainty. Do they need more autonomy? Do they need more security? Do they need a greater sense of connectedness and respect? And then we can, as leaders, move to address those needs. I think what happens often as leaders is when we meet resistance, we will either give up or we'll just barrel on through without stopping to look and see, okay, what's what is all of this new data telling us about what's needed here and how we might be able to adjust in order to bring folks along with us. And then the final step of surfing the curve is really to then bring people back around to the vision. So you've honored how they're feeling. You've honored any losses that they've experienced in the change because every change comes with it some kind of loss. So honoring that, leveraging the emotional data, addressing their needs, and then saying, okay. But this is where we're going.

Kristen [00:35:46]:
Come with me. And being steadfast in your vision is how we surf the curve.

Nia Thomas [00:35:53]:
There is definitely something there about Awareness again of impact, but you you move from awareness of impact of the self to awareness of the impact of your organisation on individuals. And coming back to thinking about organisations as machines, people like to talk about The organization as if it's a separate entity, but, actually, it's just a collection of people that are are made up together. And, actually, those individuals have made choices about what they are going to do, and that therefore impacts others. So whether we're talking about our impact of our individual behavior on others or the impact of our decisions that we make for the organization and the impact on others. There is that self awareness of impact, and what goes out into the world comes back. And you're right. It's that I now recognize that feedback that's coming back, and I have to act on it, and I have to do something in response to those individuals who are pushing back.

Kristen [00:36:56]:
If you want to be successful in leading this change, that is what you must do. If you want to, you know, lead by mandate, barrel through the resistance and say, this is how it has to be. Be prepared for the fallout that will happen as a result. It is in the the leaders often will think it's much more expedient to take the linear route, do this because I said so, much more of a mechanistic, you know, I'll just engineer my organization to work this way. But it the friction it causes in the system and the lost Time, energy, and emotional strain, including probably turnover and and good people leaving the organization. The costs are just too high. Why not Slow down, meet that resistance, surf it rather than denying it or steamrolling it. Learn from it, And get people on your side.

Nia Thomas [00:37:47]:
Strategic level disconnect was something that came out in my research, and inclusive decision making is a mitigator against that. And that feeds directly into the conversation we've just had. It all fits together like a jigsaw.

Kristen [00:37:59]:
It really certainly does. Yep.

Nia Thomas [00:38:02]:
You are referred to as a Jedi, a loving warrior, and a magician. What does all of that mean?

Kristen [00:38:09]:
I have no idea. Those are that that's a cheeky line in my bio because I have been called all of those things by my clients. I you know? And it's funny in the context of self awareness in terms of seeing how other people see you. Right? I find those Terms really useful for me to understand the impact that I have on other people and and and the responsibility that I have as a coach and as a teacher. I think that the the loving warrior offer was was when I was going through my cancer treatment, actually. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer 6 months into my chief culture officer role. Wow. So I was in this very visible position, global role.

Kristen [00:38:49]:
I was actually set to be in India and The UAE, the week that I started chemo. So I had to cancel all of my global travel and deal with this really aggressive form of breast cancer. And I think every cancer patient, every every patient who's going through a major health issue has a choice about how open they wanna be With their diagnosis and with their treatment, for me, it would have been much more work to hide it. So the easiest thing for me was to really be very open about what I was going through. And she I don't know if I would say use it, but to say, you know, we we all are going through challenges. This is how I'm I'm using the practices that I'm offering you to meet this moment in my own life, and I'll invite you to join me. And I think I think that was where loving warrior came from. Jedi, I attribute completely to mindfulness.

Kristen [00:39:42]:
You know? People think that I am pulling Jedi mind tricks on them. I'm not. I'm just Super present, and I'm inviting them into that that space. So, yeah, lovely words that remind me just how profound of an impact this work can have on people and to to take responsibility for it for sure.

Nia Thomas [00:39:59]:
Being a cancer survivor must impact worked on how you see the world and how you see leadership, how do your previous work experience and your mindfulness experience and your breast cancer Survivorship, how does all of that fit together to influence the way that you practice now?

Kristen [00:40:18]:
No. Just to just to connect those dots since you're offering that up to me, Nia. I think my mindfulness practice prepared me for that time. I felt like when I found myself in that completely uncontrollable, terrifying place, I leaning on my practice and all of the self awareness that I had built up over the course of the the preceding decade helped me meet the fear that was there. And and also the diagnosis itself also brought me fully into the present Even at a next level. Right? I mean, there's nothing like confronting your mortality, right, to remind you that you're alive. And that was what that period was for me. It was nearly a full year of of treatments that wrapped up promptly as COVID was kicking off, by the way.

Kristen [00:41:07]:
So That also prepared me for the unknown of of COVID and for leading people through that. But I I think I don't take a a single thing for granted. You know? It was a very difficult time, but it was a very special time. The outpouring of love, connection, community, I've never felt anything like it from my company, but also from my community around the world. Never felt anything like it in my life, and I think it has just reminded me just how precious this all is and that I wanna live every minute that I have as fully as I can.

Nia Thomas [00:41:43]:
And I'm so glad you're here with us and and able to share that. Kirsten, before you go, can you remind listeners? How can they assess your resources. What do you have out there in the world that they can dip into, that they can join with, and and really benefit from?

Kristen [00:42:01]:
Lovely. So a good place to start is It's there for you. Everything that I offer is linked from there. I am on LinkedIn and Instagram at Kristen Lassanti, so please feel free to come connect with me there. Although, if you'd like the shortcut, go ahead and jump over to It is linked from my website, but you can jump right in there. And there's a landing page that'll give you a rich of what this community is, who it's for.

Kristen [00:42:29]:
I'm willing to bet that if you're listening to this podcast, this community is for you. There's just so much alignment between the work that we do, and and you can find us at

Nia Thomas [00:42:42]:
Amazing. I'll make sure that all of those links are in the show notes for you listeners. And for listeners who like listening on YouTube or watching on YouTube, You will have the joy of seeing Kristen's little dog walking around in the background. So tell us what's your what's your dog called?

Kristen [00:42:58]:
That's Moe, And Moe is about to turn 15 years old. Oh, amazing. Yeah. He is my shadow. He's with me all the time. So he he made a cameo yesterday today on a training with the bank's executive team, and they were oohing and aahing over him. He's very popular in the community.

Nia Thomas [00:43:14]:
I imagine. I think that's something else we lived through COVID is that we could really get into people's houses and we could meet their furry friends. So listeners, if you also wanna become watchers, head over to YouTube. Kristin, it's been really, really interesting having the conversation, and I certainly wanna go and have a look at your resources. Listeners and watchers, I hope wanna do the same. Kristin Luzante, thank you so much for joining me. It's been a pleasure.

Kristen [00:43:39]:
Thank you, Nia. The pleasure is mine.

Nia Thomas [00:43:42]:
Thank you for joining me

Nia Thomas [00:43:43]:
on today's episode. Please remember to leave a rating review on your favorite podcast platform because a little word from you means a big deal offer me. You can also sign up for my newsletter on my website, knowing self, knowing Join me next week when we discuss self aware leadership with thinkers from around the globe to generate kinder, more respectful, and creative working relationships through reflection, recognition, and regulation. Looking forward to having you on my learning journey.

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