Greatness Podcast with Gretchen Gagel

Gretchen Gagel, Managing Director of Conversant Asia Pacific, hosts the world's leading thinkers as they share their ideas about how to create greatness in leadership, teams and organizations.

Below you'll find a selection of episodes most relevant to the Conversant body of work. If you'd like to explore all past episodes of the podcast, you can find them here: Greatness Podcast

Taking a Systems Approach to Complex Change, with Anne Murray Allen

Anne Murray Allen joined Gretchen to share how Conversant partnered with The Nature Conservancy to help them address a critical and complex challenge: improving the health of the Mississippi River Basin. Detailed Show Notes

The Impact of Creating a Culture of Authenticity, with Bill Boyar

Bill Boyar, founding partner of the Houston law firm BoyarMiller, joined Gretchen Gagel on the Greatness Podcast to share the difference it makes when an organization chooses to be driven by values and authenticity rather than the P&L alone. Detailed Show Notes

The Social Imperative of Business & Well-being

Gretchen hosted Dr. Amanda Rischbieth to discuss the role health and well-being have to play in business, and how creating a "culture of care" is not only good for employees and good for long-term business success, but good for the society in which these organizations operate. Detailed Show Notes

Answering Conflict & Challenge with Authentic Conversation

Mickey Connolly joins Gretchen for a conversation about how organizations can face massive and seemingly insurmountable business challenges with authentic collaboration. He shares a story of an organization in the aviation industry facing what leadership saw as an inevitable strike that could affect company productivity long-term. Detailed Show Notes


How Organizations Can Excel at Employee Well-being, with Evelyn Jonkman

Society is in a deep and vigorous discussion on the right trade-off between health and economy. Evelyn Jonkman joined Gretchen to share what she's learned from researching the foundations of healthy workplaces. They discuss the sensed trade-off between employee well-being and organizational interests in businesses globally, bringing a new possibility to the conversation - maybe it isn’t a trade-off after all? Detailed Show Notes

Leadership in Challenging Times, with Mickey Connolly

As leaders all around the world face difficult decisions and look to balance the long-term success of their businesses with the immediate needs of their people, Mickey Connolly joined Gretchen on the podcast to tell a story about a past client - a high-tech Fortune 500 company that was facing a plant closure due to growing competition and an urgent need to lower costs. With a one-year wait for a new, more efficient plant to open that would consolidate operations and increase efficiency, the company was left with the difficult task of maintaining full production at an old site that would eventually close, where everyone knew they would soon be losing their jobs. Detailed Show Notes

Leaders, Bosses & Bastards Podcast

Episode 15: Loving Leadership and Inclusion for Everyone, Interview with Ann Shannon

We’re hearing more and more about including love in the way we lead. This may seem like a new topic in relationship to work, but we believe it is imperative. It’s an approach rooted in the deepest human needs of every person within our organizations. When we can understand the needs our team members have to be loved and fill that need in appropriate ways, there are powerful things that will happen. Colin’s guest on this episode is Ann Shannon understands these issues and consults with teams and companies to great success. You can hear Ann’s insights about loving leadership and the profound impact it has on the sports industry. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 14: Are You Killing or Encouraging Innovation in the Workplace? Interview with Peter Mulford

Innovation in the workplace is something we all want to see more of - IF we even know what we’re talking about! Today’s guest Peter Mulford, Chief Innovation Officer at BTS, is an expert in both the understanding and practice of true innovation. On this episode of Leaders, Bosses and Bastards he busts the myths surrounding what innovation really is, why and where companies need it, and how leaders, in particular, can be notorious for killing it without even knowing it. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 13: Organizational Problems: How to Find Them and Truly Fix Them, with Anne Murray Allen

Most of us have been in meetings where the topic of discussion is a particular problem that’s been going on in the organization for some time. Everyone at the table is frustrated and tired of dealing with the same issue - again. But most of the time we walk away from those meetings feeling better because we’ve actually done something. However, did we do the right thing that will actually fix the problem? Only time will tell. On this episode of Leaders, Bosses, and Bastards, Mickey talks with his friend Anne Murray Allen about this issue of organizational problems and how most of our attempts to fix them are nowhere near a real solution. They’ll dive into ways you can uncover the hidden causes of problems within your organization and why it’s so hard to get there. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 12: Transform Civil Discourse Using a 3 Letter Word, with Laura Huffman

You may not use the word “civil discourse” in daily conversation much but you engage in it all the time. It’s the act of talking with others with a goal of attaining understanding. Isn’t that what all of us want from our conversations? The ironic thing is that we often sabotage understanding by injecting the conversation with limiting terms that we don’t realize are coming out of our mouths.  In this episode of Leaders, Bosses, and Bastards I’m chatting with my friend Laura Huffman about the importance of truly civil discourse, why we need to revive the idea in our day and age, and how one three-letter word can change the dynamic of our conversations in amazing ways. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 11: Why Continuous Improvement is Dangerous

In this episode, Colin and Mickey discuss the dangers and limitations that come with striving for “continuous improvement” in an age that demands companies change and innovate to survive. Leaders today face the challenge of staying responsible for both the stability of their companies and the capacity for their teams to take risks and invent. Connected leaders must appreciate what is gained from failures and the diversity required to confront challenges so they are better prepared to make the changes the circumstances require. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 10: Does Your Strategy Fit Your Culture? It Should.

In today’s episode, Colin and Mickey discuss culture change, a once “too soft” topic for business development that has become one of the greatest concerns for today’s senior executives. With the average life expectancy of a company quickly decreasing, leaders that encourage the re-imagination of cultural identity are far better prepared to outlast their competitors. Colin and Mickey consider what handling culture change as a Leader, Boss, or Bastard looks like, and which one stands a chance at navigating the quickly changing landscape of business. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 9: Don't Bastardize Your Apology

In today’s episode, Mickey is joined by senior Conversant consultant, Robin Anselmi, to discuss the importance apology plays within the realm of leadership, as well as how to gracefully execute an apology rather than bastardize it. Because humans are innately imperfect, as Robin points out, apologies will be necessary, and they need to happen in a way that offers connection and learning. Mickey and Robin lay out the anatomy of an apology that a connected leader should strive for and discuss the opportunities for growth available to individuals and businesses that adopt this model. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 8: Good Leaders Kill the Annual Performance Review

In this episode, Mickey interviews a senior leader of Conversant, Jim Motroni, on his thoughts of why annual performance reviews might actually decrease performance. Leaders must learn hot to be partners for improvement. Learn more about how leaders influence the performance and wellbeing of other people. Working with humans can be unpredictable, but the outcomes are sure to be much more positive through open lines of communication between leaders and the people they work with. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 7: Why Mergers, Acquisitions and Culture Transformations Fail

What does it take for two very different, large organizations, with very different company cultures, to come together under the same overarching vision? Mickey interviews Bob Johnson, the Chief Executive Officer of Conversant, about all the conversational ins-and-outs that are involved in mergers, acquisitions and major organizational changes. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 6: Empathy is Essential to Leadership

Colin Pidd engages Jaap Jonkman, a consultant with decades of executive experience in the financial industry, in a conversation about leadership in the landscape of global finance. They discuss the importance of instilling shared purpose and empathy in organizations ranging from banks to correctional facilities, and the roles that both shared purpose in the workplace and a growing shared economy will have on the future. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 5: Good Leaders Must Focus on Personal Development

Don Van Winkle joins the show to discuss the primary traits that lend themselves to “good” leaders. First and foremost, Mickey and Don discuss the overarching need for a leader to prioritize the evolution of themselves and the needs of the company, always striving for greater awareness of what both they and their organization will become tomorrow—and how to start working toward that future today. Please forgive the sound quality as the interview took place in a less than ideal location. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 4: How To Steward the Organizational Culture You Want

Despite how many leaders habitually approach cultural change, force is not what is needed for evolution within an organization. Intentional thought and action is needed to effectively co-create the future of any company, starting with examining the stories and patterns we fall into that have us follow purposes that don’t serve us. We must look at the chasm between where we are and where we want to go, with actionable changes in our daily behaviors to get there. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 3: How To Stop Expending Too Much Effort for Too Little Return

Again and again, organizations are expending way too much effort, while still causing very little positive change to show for their work. More engagement surveys haven’t been the answer, so what is? Leaders need to foster the natural circumstances that make people want to do the work to create measurable results. Learn which key promises to make (and keep) to accelerate vitality and productivity in your workplace. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 2: The Quality of Connection Shapes Results

Connection isn’t just a convenient by-product of results. Rather, high levels of connection within an organization actually help shape the results. When people within a workplace feel a sense of community and the possibility to make a valuable contribution, the need for supervision and added accountability decreases. In this episode, Mickey and Colin begin with the question of how the quality of connection informs the outcomes and the methods needed to take along the way to get there. Detailed Show Notes

Episode 1: What Sets A Leader Apart from a Boss or Bastard?

Leaders, bosses, and bastards: we all know them, we’ve been them, and we’ve probably been all three at some point in each of our lives. What sets a leader apart from a boss or a bastard? Mickey and Colin dive into the distinguishing pair of features that lead in conjunction with one another: care and sense of direction—neither should be mutually exclusive and both can result in extraordinary economic value. Detailed Show Notes