During the uncertainty of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, my good friend Alicia McKay and I felt the need to sit down and make sense of the crazy experience we and the rest of the world were going through. Our chats were raw, open and honest as we got real about what we were thinking and feeling.
As we’ve navigated our way through the messiness and shared our thinking with the world, we’ve realised people like what we’re saying, and how we’re saying it. So we’re sticking with it!
We hope you find these musings as cathartic and great for the soul as we do!!
You can also listen to us here:
To get notified each time there’s a new episode, just subscribe here.
Episode 54: Ping Pong Balls
14 October 2020
This one makes me giggle.
On What’s On Your Mind? Podcast this week, Alicia and I talk about… ping pong.
We touch on:
- How to stick in when you’re not seeing results yet
- The number of tiny changes that are needed for your ultimate transformation
- Cultivating discomfort and finding joy in the struggle.
We’d love your thoughts!
Episode 53: Timing
9 October 2020
Our relationship with time has changed in 2020.
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I realise that ‘time’ is a totally made-up concept. That means we can change how we relate to it.
Here’s some food for thought:
- We know there’s a lag between effort and results. So what would happen if you took ‘when’ out of the equation?
- Our language shapes our actions. What would happen if you simply changed your language from “I don’t have enough time” to “I’ve got plenty of time”?
- When we have a sense we can control the future, we plan ahead. So what do we do when we realise we have no idea what the future will hold?
When time doesn’t matter, it makes what’s most important clearer.
When you feel you don’t have to make it happen, you lighten up.
How has your relationship with time changed this year?
Episode 52: Experimenting
7 October 2020
I’ve been thinking a lot about values this week – what they mean, how to live them and why they’re so important.
In this weeks What’s On Your Mind? Podcast, Alicia and I explore the idea of values-based experimentation. We reckon:
- Your values don’t mean much if you’re not living them
- Your experiments don’t mean much if they’re not hooked into something bigger.
What are your values, and how can you find ways to live them, in your work and life? What experiments could you run?
We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Episode 51: Ownership
2 October 2020
How often does delivery trump discovery in your organisation? And are you getting people to take ownership, or letting them?
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I talk about what it takes to create a workplace that combines world-class delivery, high accountability, and rich learning. We reckon:
- Let people take ownership and all the consequences that come with it
- Operate across the dimensions of time, learning and quality
- Consider the power dynamics in play: are you allowing, or enabling?
While Alicia and I disagree on a bunch of stuff here, at the end of the day, we think both perspectives hold some useful truth. What do you reckon?
Episode 50: Commitment
30 September 2020
How committed are we? What’s the difference between saying we’ll do something and actually DOING something?
On this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I ask what the magic ingredients are for driving people to action…
- It might not be about the first action, but the first hurdle
- We need to make things real, quickly
- We should commit to someone else
- We need feedback (from the right place)
Episode 49: Translators
23 September 2020
When you live between worlds, you have an important privilege and responsibility. You’re a translator.
In the book Poverty Safari, Darren McGarvey talks about the challenge of class mobilisation, where you move beyond your background, but never quite belong elsewhere.
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind?, Alicia and I talk about the power of translation and wonder how we can make it a valued part of the way we do work, life, and business.
Are you a translator, too? Which worlds do you straddle, and how can you bring that gift to your community and workplace?
Episode 48: The Problem With Resilience Training
18 September 2020
On today’s What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I reckon resilience training misses the point.
It’s a fine way to help us cope. But it doesn’t solve the real problem, which is a system that drives us to breaking point.
We think resilience training sends a message that simply says “you should be better.”
What if, instead, we sent a message that says “hey, we know the system’s not working too well. We’d love your help to change it. Let’s do that together.”
What might happen then, do you think?
Episode 47: Stress
16 September 2020
Mate, just DO something.
On this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I talk about stress – especially that yucky, low-grade, chronic stuff that eats away at you.
We reckon agency is the ticket for this one.
What’s the smallest possible thing you could do to tackle yours?
Episode 46: Possibility Generation
11 September 2020
I reckon people spend too much time solving problems. In fact, we love a good problem to solve, right?
In today’s episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I reckon making problems go away is important, but it’s not enough. We say a better approach is to get the balance right between problem solving and possibility generation. And the bridge between the two is to run experiments.
What’s your experience? Is possibility generation a luxury? Or a necessity?
Do you know how much time you spend on problem-solving versus possibility generation? What’s your ideal split?
And how do you bridge the two?
We’d love to know!
Episode 45: Heroes
9 September 2020
I’m so sick of heroes.
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I unpick the problem with heroes and suggest some alternatives.
We don’t have all the answers, but we’ve got some ideas.
What are yours? We’d love to hear them.
Episode 44: Productive Disagreement
4 September 2020
On What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I love being in ‘productive disagreement’.
Today, we wonder out loud:
- What’s the value of a good argument?
- Do you just get to skip there?
- What does it take to try out another perspective?
- On the bogan spectrum of engagement, where does Alicia sit?
It’s all about trust, separating ideas and identities, and looking at the cone in the box from multiple perspectives.
Check out the cone in the box: https://www.judysorumbrown.com/cone-in-the-box
And then tell us what you think!
Episode 43: Big or Small?
2 September 2020
Let’s change the world.
Everyone’s talking about systems transformation – but in this episode of What’s On Your Mind?, Alicia and I have a bit of an argument – should we dream big first, or does it make more sense to start local?
Alicia gets a bit feisty in this one: You can’t fix the problems of the whole world unless you understand the problems of the individual.
She works with government, and see’s this all the time. She’ll often poke her leaders by asking questions like:
What if you didn’t spend $10 million on “changing the system” this year, and spent $50K each on 200 people who really needed it instead?
What kind of tangible, scalable outcomes and lessons would that bring us all, and how much genuine transformation could we point to then?
We’re very keen for your thoughts on this one – I’ll leave you to make sense of the broccoli situation…
Episode 42: Make Yourself Redundant
28 August 2020
What would, or wouldn’t, happen if your role didn’t exist?
How willing are you to let go of the notion that you need to be busy?
People abhor a time vacuum. We rush to fill it with busyness. Often at a significant opportunity cost. What might that be for you?
In today’s episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I talk about finding the courage to slow down from your busy work and:
- see the bigger system at play
- make better choices about what you spend your time on
- move beyond putting out fires to truly changing the game
- keep growing, and allow others to keep growing too
What’s your busyness driven by? What helps you get upstream?
For more on this idea:
The book we discussed: Upstream by Dan Heath
Episode 41: People Are Wrong
26 August 2020
People are wrong.
If you’re out there to try and make someone realise something, you’re doing it wrong.
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I talk about owning your bit.
If you’re making your problems about everyone else – stop it. You can’t “get buy-in” if you don’t get your ego out of the way.
How are you showing up?
It’s the only thing you can change anyway.
Episode 40: Mindset
21 August 2020
Today, we’re unhooking from the future!
In today’s episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I wonder: is being driven all it’s cracked up to be?
I argue that it’s good to mentally unhook from striving. Stop chasing, and start being present. High intention, low attachment.
While Alicia reckons that might be a luxury that many can’t really afford.
And then we agree: you know, it’s all about the mindset.
Sometimes, you need to be driven. Other times, ya gotta unhook. Both are right at different times.
What do you think? Is there also a third way?
Episode 39: COVID’s Back
19 August 2020
Does NZ need to go to counselling?
COVID came back – did we get complacent in the interim?
On this episode of What’s on Your Mind podcast, Alicia and I have a bit of a tiff about whether places like the USA and Victoria are actually better off in the long run and settle on the agreement that we need some serious vision.
Warning: this one does get a bit politically sensitive!
Episode 38: Transition
7 August 2020
Navigating transitions. It’s not a point A to point B thing with nice easy steps.
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia McKay and I disagree on how best to navigate transitions. Then realise maybe we’re both right…
We get into:
- What do you do when you have the awareness that you want to change, but you’re not yet capable of making the changes you want?
- How to master being in the liminal space (for more on this, check out my post here)
- Getting the balance right between aspiration and essence
How do you navigate transition? We’d love to know…
Episode 37: Relationships
5 August 2020
Are you investing enough in connection, trust and communication?
On this episode of What’s On Your Mind? Alicia and I talk about relationships.
Being connected at work matters – and it doesn’t have to mean being on the social club!
When you have an established connection and foundation, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time. You’ve got the margin and permission to speak your mind, and you can make decisions more quickly. We reckon that’s smart leadership.
How do you connect?
How do you encourage others to do that as well?
Episode 36: Disappointment
31 July 2020
When things don’t work out like you wanted them to, the common advice is usually something like ‘look on the bright side’ or something like that.
We think that’s a bit simplistic, actually.
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I talk about how to deal with disappointment. Some nuggets include:
- You can’t just skip your way through it.
- How it’s smart to name disappointment and really feel it. Like, really.
- Why authenticity is so powerful (and how authenticity comes with vulnerability!)
- How so often we try to make it ‘right’ too quickly.
When it all heads south, how do you sit with disappointment? What approaches best serve you and the people you lead? We’d love to know!
Bonus: Look out for Alicia’s holiday snaps 🙂
Episode 35: It’s You
29 July 2020
Everywhere I go, there I am.
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind?, Alicia and I talk about tiredness, responsibility and patterns of behaviour.
If you’re experiencing the same problem repeatedly, here’s a tip: it’s you.
Episode 34: Antifragile
24 July 2020
In today’s episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia McKay and I are into antifragile! The idea of being able to come back from shocks better and stronger. We discuss:
- What does being antifragile even mean?
- How becoming antifragile involves getting rid of parts of the system that don’t serve it anymore
- How an ongoing investment in your intangible, transformational assets build antifragility
- How you gotta get ruthless with your priorities!
What do you do to build your intangible assets? We’d love to know!
Episode 33: Tipping Point
22 July 2020
What are you great at that’s not helping you anymore?
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind Podcast, Alicia and I talk about tipping points – those curly identity transitions where you reach the ceiling of effort and it’s time to change.
- Have you reached a tipping point?
- How do you know where that point is?
- What are your choices?
Episode 32: Listening
15 July 2020
What are you listening for?
On this week’s What’s On Your Mind? Podcast, Alicia McKay and I talk about listening.
When you listen:
- Is it to fix?
- Is it to learn?
- Is it to win?
- Is it to build?
…. are you not listening at all?!
Episode 31: What’s Your Job?
10 July 2020
What’s your job?
Really, what’s your actual job?
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I call out how we can spend so much time doing stuff that’s not actually our real work.
We posing more questions than answers, including:
- What are you doing that’s not your job?
- What’s the stuff you do that doesn’t add any value whatsoever?
- What if you started every day afresh asking “what’s the most valuable thing I could do today?”
- What if you asked people “what would be the most valuable thing I can do for them today?” And then just did that (without all the periphery)?
We also discover how the power of doing a time log keeps you real.
What gets in the way of you doing your real job? We’d love to know!
Episode 30: Preparation
8 July 2020
Are you preparing the wrong stuff?
In this episode of What’s on Your Mind, Alicia and I talk about sudden illumination, building a practice instead of a product, and the unexpected brilliance that can come from developing your thinking, skills and strategies instead of plans, scripts and agendas.
Do you have an example of something great you’ve done off the cuff?
We’d love to hear about it!
Episode 29: Humility
3 July 2020
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I get all fired up about the power of language and stories as levers of influence. In six action-packed minutes, we cover:
- Why it’s so important to integrate visible leadership with humility
- The option of co-creating, so it’s not about you having to shoulder it all
- What it takes to make ideas stick
- Why you should go ‘laser’ rather than go ‘fluoro’!
How might the way you choose to use your language and your stories impact your culture?
Episode 28: Cathedral Projects
1 July 2020
In this episode of SVU, oh wait, I mean What’s On Your Mind? Podcast, Alicia and I talk about “cathedral projects”
- How do we operate from a big picture perspective in our work and life?
- Are people so busy striving for normal, post-COVID that we’re missing important opportunities?
- Is our environment set up to help us think long term?
If you’re thinking about your bigger picture – what could YOUR cathedral project be?
Episode 27: Leverage
26 June 2020
We often try to find ways of making more happen. But what if it’s not about more? What if it’s about right? Or simply, better?
In this episode of what’s on your mind, Alicia and I question the idea of leverage. We explore:
- Ephemeralisation! How you can do more and more and more with less and less and less until, you can do everything with nothing
- The idea that there’s joy in effort, and that can be the reward
- Getting to absolute potency: only doing the stuff that only you can do.
If you didn’t exist, what would people miss out on? That’s one to mull on, eh?
Episode 26: Future Seeds
24 June 2020
If we “act as if” things are different, we can experiment our way into a new future.
In this week’s What’s On Your Mind? Podcast, Alicia and I riff on the idea of potential and possibility – it’s hard to figure out what we can do differently, when we’re trapped in the powerful momentum of what we ‘should’ do.
What do you have real energy for?
What’s on your sh*t list?
How can you act your way into something different?
Episode 25: The Invisible List
19 June 2020
What’s on your ‘invisible list’?
On today’s episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I recognise how much stuff there is that we can feel responsible for but never name.
With Alicia in a vulnerable state, and me listening to learn, we wonder out loud about:
- The challenge of switching off your brain
- Why half of what we do lives on an invisible list: the stuff we own that we’re not even aware that we’re taking responsibility for
- Why we’re happy to outsource some stuff but not other stuff.
Get well soon Alicia!
So, what’s on your invisible list?
Episode 24: Taking Action
17 June 2020
How often do you have an idea…and it just stays as an idea? How do you get it out of your head and make it a tangible piece of reality? In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I discuss:
- How nothing changes until we face it
- Getting past ‘one day’ and moving into action
- How there are many different ways to make stuff real.
We’d love to hear. What works for you to take an idea and make it real?
Episode 23: Making Space
12 June 2020
Are you creating enough space in your days?
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I discuss the challenge of flicking the ‘off’ switch. We explore:
- Why creating space to allow new, creative ideas to emerge is so important right now
- How hard it is to just ‘stop’
- Our corrosive culture of busyness and how to overcome it.
It’s a gnarly topic, right? With no easy answers.
Do you face the same dilemma as us? How are you making space for thinking and creating?
Episode 22: The Messy Middle
8 June 2020
Middle managers can be perceived as blockers. The energy and capacity for change is currently high, but the window is closing.
Episode 21: Transition and Overwhelm
5 June 2020
How are you transitioning right now?
In this episode of what’s on your mind, Alicia McKay and I shine a light on the roller coaster experience of transition. In six action-packed minutes, we explore:
- The frustration of being overwhelmed
- How fighting frustration doesn’t really work, and why surrender could be a better option
- Why being intentional about who you want to be is more powerful than what you want to say.
Episode 20: Authenticity
2 June 2020
When it comes to connecting with your people, how real are you?
In this episode of what’s on your mind, Alicia McKay and I get real and get into:
- Why authenticity and vulnerability are two sides of the same coin
- What can happen when you’re vulnerable with others
- Why show your ‘uncool’ bits actually makes you cool
Episode 19: Transformation Triggers
25 May 2020
What are your transformation triggers?
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I nut out some chunky questions, including:
- What triggers transformation?
- Can you have transformation if you don’t have a vision for what you want?
- Is changing what you do enough, or do you also have to change how you think?
Raw, real and freshly cut. Enjoy!
Episode 18: Community Leadership
22 May 2020
We have so many opportunities that we can realise right now.
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I wonder “what does leadership need to look like to realise those opportunities?”
- The importance of creating the conditions to activate people
- Why you should role-model learning
- How to get out of the way
“It’s a little unorthodox, but food for thought!”
Episode 17: World Domination
18 May 2020
What’s going on in New Zealand? How we’re dealing with the Covid thing here seems to have got the world’s attention. But how clearly can we see it for ourselves? What are we not seeing?
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia McKay and I explore:
- What if we thought of New Zealand as the leadership capital of the world?
- How we often can’t see our own gifts that other see in us
- The importance of an outside-in perspective to help you see (and own) what you’ve got
Who could you invite into your world to help you see what you might be missing?
Episode 16: What would this look like if it were easy?
14 May 2020
Making change happen is hard. And often harder than it needs to be. In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I discuss what it takes to take the friction out and put the ease in.
Episode 15: How are you using this time to experiment?
12 May 2020
This Covid19 thing has forced us into a place where we’ve all had the chance to try new ways of operating. In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I dig into:
- Why experiments are simply the end point of a good decision-making process
- How experiments are just questions with deliberate actions behind them
- The importance of building your ‘transformational assets’
What have you been experimenting with? And how’s it going? We’d love to know!
Episode 14: LinkedIn Live episode
8 May 2020
In our first-ever Linkedin Live edition of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I chatted about:
- letting go
- finding ease
- setting expectations
- changing mindsets and surrender.
Episode 13: Got a vision for what you want?
7 May 2020
Got a vision for what you want? Great! And, it’s not enough.
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I discuss:
- how structural forces will overcome willpower every time
- that you need to stabilise ‘what is’ while also transitioning to the new
- why it’s about changing how you think as well as what you do
And Alicia rocks the end too!
Episode 12: How are your new ways of working working?
4 May 2020
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I:
- question whether anything’s actually changed in the way we’re all working
- what it takes to make real change stick
- being kind to your Future You
Real and uncut. Enjoy!
Episode 11: Are you Zoomed out?
24 April 2020
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I acknowledge that the world’s got Zoom fatigue. Including us! We dig into:
- The dangers of defaulting to a new normal
- How our brains are lazy, and how hard it is to keep making intentional choices
- How we can simply do ‘minimum viable experiments’ to enable transformation.
Episode 10 – How are you building your Ambiguity Muscle?
24 April 2020
In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I chat about:
- how tired we’re feeling
- how we have a myth in society that ‘ambiguity is bad’
- how we can build our ambiguity muscle
We came into this conversation exhausted after a big week. And I love how we both perk up during our chat! So good when you talk with someone who lifts you 🙂
Episode 9 – What are your Change Dragons?
17 April 2020
We’re in a time where I reckon many of us are tasting the opportunity to make some real change happen. What gets in the way? Change Dragons! Those things that make change hard to happen that we have to face down and overcome. Start by asking “What are the Change Dragons?” Both in your head and out there in your world. In this episode of What’s On Your Mind, Alicia and I talk about the change dragons we’re anticipating as we navigate our way out of lockdown.
Episode 8 – Presence
17 April 2020
Will we value another’s time and presence more once we’re through this Covid19 thing? Will meetings become about ‘meeting’? We hope so. Alicia and I noodle on this question and have a great time doing it during this 6 minute watch of What’s On Your Mind?
Episode 7 – Will meetings become about ‘meeting’?
12 April 2020
What are you learning about working online? In this instalment of What’s On Your Mind?, Alicia and I chat about the surprisingly positive impact that delivering webinars, keynotes and workshops can have! And hang on until the end of the 6 mins – you’ll get to see us forgetting that we’re on camera!
Episode 6 – Where are you on the four-week cycle?
9 April 2020
Everyone’s lockdown experience will be different, right? Where are you in the four-week cycle? Going crazy with cabin fever, or getting ready for opportunity? Alicia and I share our thoughts on this question in the latest of our ‘What’s On Your Mind? series as we navigate our new realities.
Episode 5 – Is this a time for new learning, growth and development?
2 April 2020
Is this a time for new learning, growth and development? Or just getting through and finding meaning in each day? Maybe it’s both? In this episode of What’s On Your Mind?, Alicia and I kick around these questions and more as we get together (remotely!) for a chat.
Episode 4 – Less content, more connection
26 March 2020
In this short punchy episode (with a little guitar playing) Alicia and I talk about:
- Why we need less content and more connection
- The power of sending a message that simply says “I see you”
- The micro-moments that matter
Episode 3 – What does Level Four mean to you?
24 March 2020
Where were you when you realised that your world has changed?
Episode 2 – Exploring the tensions & questions we’re living with right now.
22 March 2020
Here’s the next instalment of what Alicia and I are calling our ‘What’s On Your Mind?’ conversations. Shot over a coffee. We dig into:
- getting to simplicity with decisions
- the importance of having a ‘carpe diem’ mentality
- creating softness and space for people
- the gift of presence
Do yourself a favour, grab a cuppa and enjoy nine minutes of us riffing and exploring the tensions and questions we’re living with right now.
Episode 1 – How are you feeling and responding to the disruption?
19 March 2020
In this jam-packed energising conversation with Alicia you can learn about our perspectives on the world in this crazy time (opportunity!), what leadership needs to look like now (compassionate and strong), and our tips for how to navigate each day (be in service). And more:
- how to know whether your social distancing is correct.
- flattening your own curve
- the difference between melancholy and perspective
- what you can do now, and every day…