Let Go & Lead with Maril MacDonald
As a leader, letting go doesn’t mean abdicating responsibility. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Letting go to lead means encouraging your people toward mastery, infusing the workplace with a sense of purpose, allowing room for self-direction and giving others more autonomy in their jobs.
Danielle Merfeld, Chief Technology Officer for GE Renewable Energy, is a true convener who models shared power and confidently elevates others within her organization. Known for leading teams of experts who possess very different technical expertise than she does, Danielle understands where she adds value to get things done. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Danielle shares techniques for breaking down organizational silos, leading through change, releasing control and igniting debate when leading remotely.
When Blake Jones co-founded Namasté Solar, he set out to transform both the energy industry and business itself. Determined to build a company that practices conscientious business, Blake and his co-founders wanted to positively impact each stakeholder group, from employees and customers to community, investors, the environment and partners. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Blake shares the key leadership and cultural tenets that have sustained Namasté Solar over the years, as well as what’s changed and evolved as the company has grown and scaled.
Michele Skerl, a renowned horsemanship teacher, horse trainer and breeder, and MaryCay Durrant, a skilled facilitator and sought after executive business transformation coach, share a passion for bringing out the best in leaders through horses. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, MaryCay and Michele reveal how horses can help leaders live into their authenticity, ignite energy and build trust.
Commander Rorke Denver has led Navy SEAL special-forces missions around the world and run every phase of Navy SEAL training. Today, as Founder of Ever Onward, Rorke uses SEAL principles to call leaders to take action and be bold so they can perform at their highest levels. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Rorke shares stories that underscore the importance of clear decision making, calm and composed leadership, training for extreme scenarios and building mental fortitude to strengthen personal resilience.
Francesca Gino, award winning-expert on the psychology of organizations, professor at Harvard Business School and author of “Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules in Work and Life,” shares that not only do rebels have a bad reputation, but they are arguably the best suited to lead business forward in a world of continual disruption. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Francesca shares stories from rebel leaders, tips on how to hire effectively for rebel characteristics and how to spark constructive rebelliousness within an organization.
Richard Sheridan, CEO, Co-founder & Chief Storyteller, Menlo Innovations, launched the software firm in 2001 with the intention of creating a joyful work environment that people loved. He knew things could be better and that work could be filled with camaraderie, energy, creativity and productivity. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Rich and Maril discuss how to create and sustain human energy in the workplace, share how leading with joy increases fulfillment and builds trust and offer how anyone can begin making cultural changes within his or her organization.
Malaika Myers, Hyatt’s Chief Human Resources Officer, is a beacon for the company’s purpose: to care for people so they can be their best. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, recorded prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaika shares how Hyatt’s purpose is lived each day, offers practical tips on creating a culture of belonging and challenges us all to turn fear into love.
Dr. James Madara, CEO and executive vice president of the American Medical Association, joins Maril for the kick-off of Let Go & Lead’s third season. In their conversation, recorded just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they discuss how the AMA captures and champions physician voices from across the nation. Dr. Madara shares insights on connected power, effectively leading multiple stakeholder groups and adapting to new environments with curiosity and humility.
We’re excited to share that the third season of Let Go & Lead will premiere on April 14. We have some fantastic guests for you, including award winning organizational psychologist Francesca Gino, Hyatt’s Chief Human Resources Officer Malaika Myers and U.S. Navy SEAL Commander Rorke Denver. Thanks for listening and for being a part of the Let Go & Lead community!
Tom Wilson, Chair, President and CEO of Allstate, is passionate about the purpose of individuals and the purpose of business. He recently shared the stage with Maril at an Executives’ Club of Chicago event. Their conversation, released here as the Season 2 finale of Let Go & Lead, dives into leading through change, balancing visionary leadership with detail oriented execution, making effective decisions and of course, leading with purpose at Allstate.
Jenn Hulett, Vice President of People for Ericsson North America, shares her region’s transformation story. Following a downturn, and harnessing the team’s energy and readiness to change, Jenn led the development of the team’s transformation strategy, putting the business on a path to long-term success. In this episode, Jenn shares how this journey began, progressed and also coincided with her own personal transformation journey.
Devry Boughner Vorwerk, CEO of DevryBV Sustainable Strategies and former head of Global Corporate Affairs and Communication at Cargill, is known for her courageous leadership and expertise building coalitions at the intersection of government, NGOs and the private sector. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Devry shares what makes a successful coalition, the distinction between a coalition and a movement and how she sees the future of leadership.
Peggy Alford, SVP of Core Markets at PayPal, has had a big year. She returned to PayPal after a stint with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and was named to Facebook’s Board of Directors. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Peggy, who is known for curating strong, diverse, high performing teams, shares her tips on leading, coaching and mentoring others in today’s world of accelerated digital transformation and growth.
Dave Hollis, CEO of The Hollis Company, gets to work alongside his wife, New York Times best-selling author Rachel Hollis, every day. As a senior executive at the Walt Disney Company, Dave had a career that looked great on paper, yet deep down he yearned for something deeper. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Dave shares his journey from Disney to The Hollis Company, how he’s moving from a fixed mindset to growth mindset and how success must be defined by oneself, not others.
Ginger Hardage, CEO of Unstoppable Cultures and former SVP of Culture at Southwest Airlines, knows a thing or two about building and sustaining the healthy, authentic and world-famous organizational culture at Southwest. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Ginger showcases how deliberately investing in culture can differentiate an organization, build authentic brand zealots and deliver positive business results.
Jeff Jones, CEO of H&R Block, is leading the company through a massive cultural transformation. He’s redefining leadership expectations in surprising and inspiring ways, setting a tone and activating a culture. Drawing on his experiences at Target, Uber and Coca-Cola, Jeff is taking his team on a journey unlike any before.
Daniel Pink, New York Times bestselling author, joins Maril as she kicks off Let Go & Lead’s second season. They discuss the research behind Dan’s latest book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, which examines the psychology, biology and economics of timing. Dan shares his top timing tips for leaders, what business leaders can learn from choral singers and more.
People analytics expert Michael Walsh helps organizations improve employee retention, rethink succession planning and elevate talent through data. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Michael and Maril discuss what a strong people analytics team looks like, why it’s critical not to broad-brush demographic assumptions and how people analytics can strengthen diversity and inclusion efforts.
Kristy Wallace, CEO of the Ellevate Network, is passionate about partnering with businesses to create true cultures of inclusion. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Kristy shares how leaders can take a big step toward creating a culture where all types of people can succeed by making a few simple behavior changes.
Darcy Winslow, President & Founder of the Academy for Systems Change, found her calling after leading five large-scale change efforts at Nike. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, Darcy and Maril talk all things systems thinking and leadership, including the importance of embracing a creative orientation, navigating the complex vs. complicated and that leaders are not defined by jobs or companies, but shaped by their purpose and work.
John Renehan, Pratt & Whitney Executive Director of Digital Solutions, is a practitioner of leadership. In actively establishing spaces for open dialogue, listening to others and elevating the experts in the room, John creates a culture of shared power in the workplace. In this episode of Let Go & Lead, John and Maril discuss his guiding leadership practices, the importance of embracing humanity in the midst of change and how simple gestures can result in powerful outcomes.
Glenda Eoyang, Founding Executive Director of the Human Systems Dynamics Institute, helps leaders build up their capacity for chaos. In using models and methods to understand patterns of chaos, Glenda shares how organizations can best navigate forward using practical, predictable structures.
Dorri McWhorter, CEO of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, shares her journey of evolving the 140-year old social service agency into a 21st century social enterprise. In the third episode of Let Go & Lead, Dorri reveals how she led her team through this transformation, growing the $10 million organization, which was losing $1 million a year, into the vibrant, robust, $23 million enterprise it is today.
Kathryn Petralia, President & co-founder of Kabbage, shares her story of creating a compassionate culture that defies hierarchy, embraces individuality and celebrates humanity. In the second episode of Let Go & Lead, Kathryn reflects on her leadership journey, explores how culture and values manifest and reveals how employers can screen for self-awareness.
Aaron Hurst, expert on the science of purpose at work, joins Maril for the launch episode of Let Go & Lead. Aaron’s the CEO and co-founder of Imperative, a technology platform for leaders in the new economy. Maril and Aaron talk all things purpose, meaning and fulfillment. Aaron shares his story, debunks the most common myths of purpose and reveals his groundswell movement towards a world full of workplaces with fulfilled employees.