Letting go does not mean abdicating responsibility. Just the opposite, it requires a different, and in many ways tougher mantle of leadership. As Dan Pink noted in one of our first conversations, it’s easy to dangle a carrot in front of someone. It’s easy to threaten people into compliance with the proverbial “stick.” Helping people move toward mastery, infusing the workplace with a sense of purpose, allowing room for self-direction, and giving people more autonomy in their jobs—well, that’s harder.

To help you get started in putting these ideas to practice, we’ve created an introductory Leader Discussion Guide to support each video interview. You can download the guide and the corresponding video clips directly from this site and use the tools to hold a conversation with your team. Each Leader Discussion Guide includes:

  • Questions for Individual Reflection for you to prepare to meet with your team.
  • A Group Exercise that can be tailored to your specific needs, but is meant to encourage meaningful conversation around the concepts raised by our thought leaders.

So try it out! Let us know how the conversation goes. Please share new insights from your team with the broader community. And, let us know if you need help!


Mitch Albom

Best-selling Author, Journalist & Philanthropist

There’s a point in Tuesdays With Morrie when Mitch notices Morrie’s visitors struggling, not knowing how to talk to a dying person. They’d start with an awkward joke or a story, trying to cheer him up. Morrie would ask about their lives and the conversation would shift.

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Partners, BridgeWorks, Generational Puzzle Solvers

After years of working together and constantly butting heads, David and Lynn Lancaster had an insight that sparked a new business venture: Their challenge wasn’t styles or personalities, it was context. And they weren’t alone.

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Al Carey

CEO, PepsiCo Americas Beverages

There are few business leaders out there today who have seen more than Al Carey. After 30 years spanning the company, across brands and through various functions, in 2011, Al became the CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages. In assuming the role, he brought his own unique vantage point on leadership.

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Carol Coletta

Leading Urban Thinker, Community Builder & President, ArtPlace

Carol’s the quintessential “city gal” – she’s smart, stylish, sophisticated, and most of all fearless. You get all of that from her walking into the room. Talk to Carol and the term “city gal” takes on a whole new meaning.Carol’s made it her life’s work to develop our cities, tackling the toughest issues facing urban communities through creativity and innovation.

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Jay Conger

Prolific Writer, Educator & Leadership Guru

Spend five minutes with Jay and you know—he is one of those rare leaders who effortlessly embodies paradox. He is the professor and the practitioner. He is the expert and the student. He is the visionary and the pragmatist.

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Dan DiZio

CEO, Philly Pretzel Factory

Like the Liberty Bell, Yuengling, Rocky, and cheese steaks, soft pretzels occupy a place at the core of Philadelphia’s culture, heritage, and identity. In fact, born, bred and raised in the city, Dan DiZio has been selling the salty snacks since he was just 11 years old.

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Patricia Harrison

President & CEO, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Speaking with Patricia Harrison is a super-charged experience. Her enthusiasm is contagious! She crackles with energy, enthusiasm and passion for the mission of The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the leading funder of U.S. public radio and television programming.

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Simon Mainwaring

Brand Strategist, Social Entrepreneur & Bestselling Author

Spend five minutes with Simon and you know: This is a man on a mission! Simon’s taking on our culture of conspicuous consumption and suggesting an alternative — contributory consumption; or, as he likes to frame it, moving from a “me first” to a “we first” society.

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Stephanie Pace Marshall

Educational Trailblazer, Founder & President Emerita, Illinois Math & Science Academy (IMSA)

Looking into Stephanie’s career and life is like gazing into a kaleidoscope: She is a synthesizer, a weaver, an integrator, and a “perturber.” Her work has led to major, ongoing and colorful shifts in the fields of education and leadership.

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Bruce Mau

Visionary, Designer & Author

You don’t just meet Bruce. You experience Bruce. His presence fills the room, infusing it with an inexhaustible energy for ideas. Bruce is a world-leading visionary and innovator who has collaborated with some of the world’s leading artists, institutions and businesses to further education and human development.

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Julio Ottino

Dean of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Northwestern University

Creative disruption. It’s at the heart of Julio’s genius. A career artist turned renowned chaos theorist, Julio has an uncanny gift of creating space for people from different fields to come together and channel their collective experience toward solving a challenge.

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Dan Pink

Best-selling Author, Various

Dan has a peculiar fascination with work. It’s the inspiration behind his books Drive, A Whole New Mind, Johnny Bunko and Fast Company‘s blog Free Agent Nation. Dan thinks of his work as a writer in terms of bricks and mortar—manual labor that’s more “hands than head.”

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Denise Ramos

CEO & President, ITT Corporation

Denise beams with a fierce curiosity. Sit down with her and you sense that she’s not only interested in what you have to say, but how you think. She wants not only to understand your perspective, but to better understand herself.

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Eric Ryan

Co-founder, Method

Eric Ryan is a game changer. Just over ten years ago, he and his business partner Adam Lowry set out to advance a cause: revolutionizing the way we clean. Along the way, they built Method, one of Inc’s fastest-growing companies, pulling in more than $100M in annual sales.

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Howard Schultz

Founder & CEO, Starbucks

"The day of my interview with Howard started as any other—with my morning run to Starbucks to get a Grande Bold. I asked the barista whether she had read Howard’s latest book, Onward. She replied, 'Of course. My partner, Howard, gave it to me.'"

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Jonathan Spitz

Artistic Director, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

When we first sat down with Jonathan, he was quick to correct us on his title—he is one of three artistic directors of the internationally acclaimed Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. It’s an important distinction because it gets to the very heart of Orpheus’ artistry.

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Bernard Tyson

President & COO, Kaiser Permanente

Bernard has passion in his heart that lights a fire in those around him. It’s the kind of passion that emanates from a person who’s doing the work he’s truly meant to do. At the core, Bernard is someone driven to help others.

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Meg Wheatley

Author, Co-Founder of the Berkana Institute

Meg works with organizations and communities around the world, helping them tap into their own ingenuity, intelligence and caring to solve real world problems. Meg is one of the world’s greatest teachers because she is one of its most voracious learners.

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