In OutsideVoices Mark Bidwell talks to remarkable and compelling leaders from the worlds of business, exploration, arts, sports, and academia. In these conversations he explores topics of fundamental importance to many of us today, both in work and in life, topics ranging from leadership and performance to creativity and growth.
The Art of Impossible: the Playbook for Impractical People in 2021
Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award winning journalist and the executive director of the Flow Research Collective. He's one of the world's leading experts on human performance. He's the author of nine bestselling books, including The Future is Faster Than You Think, Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, and the most recent one, The Art of Impossible, which we are talking about in this episode. His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into over 40 languages, and appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, Time and the Harvard Business Review.
Steven is a remarkably productive person, and he puts a lot of that extraordinary productivity down to what he's been doing for the last 30 years, and what he's writing about in The Art of Impossible. In this book, he refers to the work of our previous guests Mike Gervais and Angela Duckworth, and talks about the topics that we’ve explored with Frans Johansson and Scott Page in previous episodes. Steven Kotler is making his third appearance on this podcast, and if you are looking for, as he describes it, a practical playbook for impractical people, this is another powerful, relevant, and compelling conversation about the results of his decades long research into peak performance.
What is Covered:
The sequence of external and intrinsic motivators that produce peak performance How extraordinary capability emerges in individuals The compounding effect of long-term practice for achieving peak performance Neurochemistry of fear and why peak performers set unrealistic expectations for themselves Key Takeaways and Learnings:
Peak performance is getting your biology to work for you, rather than against you. It’s a limited set of skills shaped by biology, which are meant to be deployed in a sequence and in certain order. Challenge to skills ratio is the most important of flow's triggers. When the challenge of the task at hand slightly exceeds our skill set, when we are stretching our skills to the utmost, it is a precondition for flow. Peak performers are always going to look for something that really scares them, because they are going to get a lot of energy and a lot of focus for free. But they don't take on huge fears all at once. They chunk them down, one step at a time, and often. Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
The Art of Impossible by Steven Kotler https://www.theartofimpossible.com/ Steven Kotler’s other books https://www.stevenkotler.com/books The Flow Research Collective https://www.flowresearchcollective.com/ Animals in Translation, a book by Temple Grandin https://www.amazon.com/Animals-Translation-Mysteries-Behavior-Harvest/dp/0156031442 Bone Games, a book by Rob Schultheis https://www.amazon.com/Bone-Games-Extreme-Shamanism-Transcendence/dp/1558215069 The Space Between Commitment and Hesitation with Michael Gervais on OutsideVoices Podcast https://outsidelens.com/the-space-between-hesitation-and-commitment-with-michael-gervais/ Angela Duckworth: Grit - The Power of Passion and Perseverance on OutsideVoices Podcast https://outsidelens.com/angela-duckworth-grit-the-power-of-passion-and-perseverance/ Ignoring the Siren Call of Sameness Creates Lasting Value with Scott Page on OutsideVoices Podcast https://outsidelens.com/ignoring-the-siren-call-of-sameness-creates-lasting-value-with-scott-page/ Innovating, Medici Style with Frans Johansson on OutsideVoices Podcast https://outsidelens.com/innovating-medici-style-with-frans-johansson/ Connect with OutsideVoices
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Gillian Zoe Segal - The Power of Proximity, and What We Can Learn From The World's Greatest Entrepreneurs
Gillian Zoe Segal is the author of Getting There: A Book of Mentors. In that book, Gillian interviews incredibly successful entrepreneurs, mentors and people like Warren Buffett, to discover their secrets to success and innovation. On today's show, she discusses some of the insights into the lives of these successful and driven people and talks on what truly makes them tick.
What Is Covered
02:35 - Why did Gillian write Getting There? 03:10 - You don't need to know where you're heading when you're starting out. 03:45 - Successful people have a very fluid mindset and they're open to change. 05:35 - Everybody in Gillian's book is an entrepreneur and a trail blazer. 06:30 - How does innovation really happen? 06:45 - All of Gillian's entrepreneurs question everything and they don't blindly follow others. 07:20 - Gillian talks about Warren Buffett. 10:20 - How important is luck? 12:15 - Get ready to hear the word 'no' multiple times. 13:05 - Resilience is the key to success. 14:35 - Gillian was so confident in what she was doing, she didn't mind the word 'no'. Her drive kept her going for five years, which is how long it took to complete the book. 15:35 - You have to believe in your product. 17:35 - What advice does Gillian have for executives who are struggling to make an impact? 18:45 - If you remember who you are, you can do anything. 19:40 - You have to create your own opportunities. 21:00 - Don't let the fear of failure deter you. 22:15 - If you don't want to quit at least once a month, you're not trying hard enough. 25:00 - If Gillian had to do this all over again, who would she put in the book? 27:25 - How did Gillian manage to interview all these people for her book? 29:05 - Surround yourself with high-grade people. 30:15 - What are Gillian's morning rituals? 30:25 - What has Gillian changed her mind about recently? 31:25 - What advice does Gillian have for her 25-year-old self? 33:25 - What's Gillian's next project? That's a secret for right now! Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal https://www.amazon.com/Getting-There-Gillian-Zoe-Segal/dp/1419715704 Connect with Gillian Zoe Segal on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/gillian-zoe-segal-64041021/ Anyone Can Do It: Sahar's Remarkable Entrepreneurial Journey, OutsideVoices Podcast https://outsidelens.com/anyone-can-do-it-sahars-remarkable-entrepreneurial-journey/ Hacking Flow: How to Make Outperformance a Habit, OutsideVoices Podcast https://outsidelens.com/hacking-flow-how-to-make-outperformance-a-habit/ Connect with OutsideVoices Follow us on LinkedIn Check us out on Twitter
Turn Your Ship Around with David Marquet
In this episode, we are joined by David Marquet, who was the Captain of the USS Santa Fe from 1990 to 2001 and now works as a leadership expert with businesses worldwide. We cover his book, Turn The Ship Around! A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking Rules, which has been recently re-released with a new companion workbook.
What Is Covered
Why it is essential to have a longer-term perspective in your people development processes. Because while achievement scorecard runs while you're at an organization, your leadership scorecard starts counting the day you leave Why leadership should be centered on ‘leaning back’ and inviting your team to ‘lean forward’ Why David believes it is important to alternate between two sets of behaviors, languages, and mindsets to optimize between production and decision-making scenarios Key Takeaways and Learnings How pausing – and fighting the urge to take immediate action – is essential to developing the ‘leadership muscle’ of a team The differences between a ‘prove’ and ‘improve’ mindset and how to signal to your team which mindset should be adopted in different situations Actions to create a system thinkers and leaders at every level, how this develops organizational resilience and inoculates it against stupid decisions How leaders need to ‘flatten the power gradient’, to make themselves accessible and create the environment for others to contribute Links and Resources Covered in this Episode Get in touch with David Marquet via LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook David Marquet's website Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, a book by David Marquet United States Naval Academy, website Talking 100% Entrepreneurship & 0% Bureaucracy with Heiko Fischer of Resourceful Humans on OutsideVoices
Wrap Up 3: What Is Your Most Significant Failure/”Low”, What Have You Learned From It and How Have You Applied That Learning?
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. So said Winston Churchill, a man who had his fair share of professional disasters to accompany his well known successes.
A less painful and more practical strategy for many of us might be to learn from other people’s mistakes. There can be no doubt that you will encounter unexpected and unwanted outcomes as a result of looking at the world through multiple perspectives, or as a result of changing or adapting your work habits in order to remain fresh and creative. So we all need to be prepared for the inevitable lows and I believe that the key is to quickly identify your mistake and take action.
It is for this reason we ask every guest about their most significant lows, and what they have learned from them.
Given their diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, here are some examples from the trenches about how a few of our highly accomplished guests from the worlds of business, academia, sports, science, and the arts have emerged from there lows and how they take that learning forward to create success.
Guests Featured in This Episode:
Hacking Flow: How to Make Outperformance a Habit with Steven Kotler Meaning Makers: How Top Leaders Use Stories with David Pearl Technonomics and Why My Profits Might Just Disappear with John Straw Bottling Amazonian Wisdom with Tyler Gage, the Co-Founder of RUNA Accidental CEO with David Novak Innovating, Medici Style with Frans Johansson Connect with OutsideVoices Follow us on LinkedIn Check us out on Twitter
Wrap Up 2: How Do You Remain Creative And Expose Yourself To Fresh Perspectives?
We believe passionately in the power of multiple perspectives to build and sustain innovation ecosystems.
And yet we are all creatures of habits, following schedules and routines that enable us to continue to perform at high levels, but which might leave us with little room for exploring the new. So unless we proactively seek out fresh perspectives, we run the risk of remaining in our own personal bubbles, surrounded by people who think only like us, so increasing the risk of biases like groupthink, not-invented-here and confirmation bias.
We always ask our guests what they do to remain fresh, to seek out diverse perspectives, and the answers are often surprisingly simple and practical. Here we provide a selection of tactics, all of which are easy to do, but are equally easy not to do. By regularly exercising your innovation muscles, the benefits to you and your organisation will build up and compound over time, as these world class performers have discovered.
Guests featured in this episode:
Meaning Makers: How Top Leaders Use Stories with David Pearl Back in the Game: EA's Near Death Experience with Andy Billings Dual Transformation and Why Noah's Arc Management Can't Work with Scott Anthony Bottling Amazonian Wisdom with Tyler Gage, the Co-Founder of RUNA Gambling on Innovation: How To Be Productively Wrong With Luis Perez-Breva of MIT When Big and Small Make Great with Brad Feld Innovating, Medici Style with Frans Johansson The Return on Investment of Mental Models with Robert Hagstrom Confessions of a Corporate Insurgent with Gib Bulloch Connect with OutsideVoices Follow us on LinkedIn Check us out on Twitter
Wrap Up 1: What Have You Changed Your Mind About Recently?
We have been extremely fortunate to have been able to attract some remarkable guests on OutsideVoices Podcast from the worlds of business, academia, sports, science and the arts, and all of these guests are world-class in their chosen field.
We ask our guests the same three questions, which get to the heart of what it takes as a leader to create an innovation ecosystem in your organization, irrespective of what business you are in, and where you are located. The guests are given these questions in advance so that they can reflect on them and the answers are invariably very insightful. The first of these three questions, "What Have You Changed Your Mind About Recently?" is the topic for this wrap up episode. The other two questions are featured in subsequent episodes.
The inspiration for the first question came from Charlie Munger, who in many respects constitutes one of the main wellsprings of inspiration for OutsideVoices.
Several years ago Charlie Munger made the following statement: “a year in which you do not change your mind on some big idea that is important to you is a wasted year”. This question gets to the heart of the unconscious biases that we as individuals all suffer from. Many of us go through life seeking confirmatory evidence to reinforce our decisions. Sometimes however, we are able to overcome this confirmation bias and change our minds on something big. From a business point of view it is key that you are able to overcome the organisational biases like "not invented here" syndrome, groupthink, the halo effect, stereotyping: this is how we can start to look at the market differently, to build our innovation muscles, to innovate around multiple value drivers, o change our perspective and the perspectives of those around us. So this is why we ask our guests this question, and the answers are fascinating.
Guests featured in this episode:
Back in the Game: EA's Near Death Experience with Andy Billings Dual Transformation and Why Noah's Arc Management Can't Work with Scott Anthony When Big and Small Make Great with Brad Feld Ignoring the Siren Call of Sameness Creates Lasting Value with Scott Page Innovating, Medici Style with Frans Johansson Connect with OutsideVoices Follow us on LinkedIn Check us out on Twitter