The Storied Future Podcast gives high-performing CEOs a front-row seat to candid conversations with leaders who have put new narratives out into the world, and then used those narratives to shift the future.
How NASA Creates Future Gravity w/ Steve Rader
There are few narratives bigger than space exploration, and few journeys that require a more dogged commitment to an unseen future—one that can only be reached through sustained innovation, flawless operations, and a whole lot of belief in that future.
Today's guest, Steve Rader, has worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center for 34 years, in mission control, developing software for the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station, building command and control systems for the X-38, and working on the Constellation Program. He is currently working to crowdsource innovation at NASA and across the federal government by tapping into a crowd of hundreds of millions of people around the globe.
In today’s episode, Steve and Chris discuss:
How Steve's upbringing inspired a love of space and an appreciation of the importance of diversityWhy some organizations fail at unlocking internal innovation, and what they can do differentlyThe story of the very first video conference in spaceHow the right narrative can become a center of future gravity that overcomes the pull of the status quo and shifts the future to give everyone the opportunity to win, togetherAnd much more!
How to Build a Better Business Strategy w/ Jennifer Riel of IDEO
Our guest on the first episode of 2024 is Jennifer Riel, an IDEO Partner and Chief Strategy Officer. Before IDEO, Jennifer spent 13 years at the Rotman School of Management, where she taught undergrads, MBAs, and executives how to think creatively about their toughest challenges. During this period, she partnered with organizations to help them build their strategic thinking capabilities and transform their teams. Jennifer also teamed up with Roger Martin to write the book Creating Great Choices: A Leader's Guide to Integrative Thinking.
In this fascinating and wide-ranging episode, Jennifer and Chris discuss:
The five essential questions at the heart of any strategyThe beauty of being wrong, the costs of not embracing this narrative, and how being wrong can help you build a better strategyThe false promises of the consensus narrative and why you should leave it behind and embrace tensionAnd how to effectively communicate your strategy from the boardroom to the buyer, and beyondAnd much more!
The Protagonist & The Narrator w/ Jonathan Adler
Today’s guest, Jonathan Adler, is an internationally recognized scholar in the study of personal narrative and its relationship with well-being. Jonathan is a professor of psychology at Olin College of Engineering, a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School, and a theater director and playwright. His work brings together the rigor of science with the wonder and mystery of art, to show how writing a narrative and then living into that narrative can shift the future for the better.
Jonathan and Chris discuss:
What the science tells us about how storytelling and narratives work Why humans tell stories, and the role these stories can play in transforming leaders and organizations Why redemptive narratives, such as the American narrative about beating cancer, can be transformative—but why these same narratives can also do harm How leaders can use storytelling to navigate narrative conflicts and create alignment around a shared vision of the future And much more!
When Authenticity Holds You Back w/ Herminia Ibarra
Our guest today is Dr. Herminia Ibarra, the Charles Handy Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School and an authority on leadership and career development. Earlier this year, Herminia and her colleagues Claudius A. Hildebrand and Sabine Vinck published an article in Harvard Business Review called “The Leadership Odyssey,” which explored the correlation between CEO skills and firm performance by examining 235 candidates across 75 CEO successions. Herminia and her colleagues then created a narrative pathway that aspiring CEOs can follow to transform their leadership and increase their effectiveness.
In this episode, Chris and Herminia explore:
The narrative pathway CEOs can use to elevate their leadership and move from a hands-on, directive approach to empowering and enabling their teamsInsights and stories from her global bestseller Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, as well as her book Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career. The surprising truth that will challenge your understanding and beliefs about authenticity and purpose, and how to build a new narrative grounded in your identity that can unlock new levels of growth.And much more!
Building the Biggest Machine in History w/ Brian Janous, Former Microsoft VP of Energy
Today's guest, Brian Janous, is the former VP of Energy at Microsoft. In fact, he was their first ever energy hire back in 2011. Until his departure earlier this year, Brian oversaw energy strategy and sourcing for all of Microsoft’s cloud and AI infrastructure, including procuring renewable energy for the company to meet its carbon objectives.
Since the earliest days of his career, Brian has sought to answer the question, “How do we build markets around the complex machine of the electric grid to drive behaviors that shift the future?” As you’ll hear, Microsoft gave him the opportunity to do just that.
When Brian joined the company in 2011, Microsoft’s market cap was north of $218 billion. Today its market cap has skyrocketed to over $2.7 trillion, thanks in no small part to the company's ability to acquire energy, refine it into data, and use that data to fuel the creation of value in the cloud.
Brian is a natural-born storyteller, and you’re in for a treat.
In this episode, Brian and Chris talk about:
The power of storytelling in building the world’s largest machineWhy the future of energy innovation must be informed by the past and grounded in the presentThe breakthrough that converted Microsoft’s CEO at the time, Steve Ballmer, into a true believer in Brian’s and his team’s vision for the future of energyThe importance of having an enduring narrative that drives your strategy forwardAnd much more!
Search, Succession & Writing the Future w/ Jim Citrin of Spencer Stuart
Today's guest is Jim Citrin, a legend in the world of CEO search and succession. Jim is the leader of Spencer Stuart's CEO practice. Over the course of his career, he's interviewed over 14,000 candidates and worked with clients on more than 800 searches and succession assignments. Jim's gift is seeing the future—a future that candidates and companies don't always see—and then bringing them together to write that future.
Chris and Jim discuss:
How Jim helped Hubert Joly and Mark Thompson land their respective CEO roles at Best Buy and the New York TimesWhy delivering great results alone is no longer enough for CEOsHow to rewrite the narrative about the perfect CEO who has all the answersWhat the succession process looks like, and what boards are looking for in candidatesHow you can use storytelling and your vision of the future to earn trust with the board in the interview process
And much more!
Great host, amazing guests and fabulous conversations
Chris turns interviews into conversations with insight and entertainment. He’s a fabulous host who asks unique questions to dive into his guests’ narratives and businesses and weaves that into a great story and show!
Incredibly valuable perspectives across the board!! Learn from the best.
I’m grateful for Chris bringing his deep expertise and unvailing the experience of his guests to deliver such an insight rich podcast. As someone who works in a closely adjacent industry (brand) and also continuously works with C-Suite on organizational transformation, I would confirm getting your narrative right is paramount. Don’t take the perspectives and directives in these interviews lightly.
Way beyond just interviews
Totally blown away by the depth and quality of these conversations. It speaks to the caliber of the guests and Chris’ unique ability to dig into the details of people’s journeys and weave together valuable themes and insights. The perfect blend of entertainment and sharing knowledge. Highly recommend.