Meg Wheatley, Author, Co-Founder of the Berkana Institute

Meg opens Walk Out, Walk On with a dare: “This looks like a book and reads like a book. But it can be much more than that.” So is any conversation with Meg. Sitting with her, chatting over a cup of tea, you begin to notice what usually goes unseen—those invisible paradigms that shape how we think about ourselves, our jobs, and our communities; the mental models that serve as the lens through which we see the world. Meg is someone who helps you see there is another way. She helps us all see the world differently.

June 2015

But Meg is no ivory tower philosopher. She’s with the people and of the people. 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. She brings to her work a tremendous sense of wonder for life and for the capacity of the human spirit. In doing so, she creates new possibilities for us as leaders by changing how we think about things.

Leaders must be curious (4:18)
I can always tell which way a leader will go with his or her leadership style. If I can discern how they feel about other people's capacity. So you can't talk to a leader about high engagement strategies or letting go to lead effectively, if they have a deep distrust of other people.
Leaders Need Honest Feedback (4:15)
I think the first thing is who do you go to for accurate feedback about your leadership style. I mean most senior leaders are shocked that their good intentions and what they feel is openness and accessibility, you know that’s how they're thinking and behaving and they're shocked when in a team meeting or because they do 360 degree or some other process.
Letting go of ego (3:46)
The first is the shifting in your ego. It’s the shrinking of your ego. It’s a shrinking of thinking that I'm the best. I'm the brightest. I'm the most creative. I have the most vision. I'm the most entrepreneurial and innovative and to just let go of that stuff; which is just really confining and blinding to other people's potential.
On Owning What You Create (3:28)
I'm right there with you as much as I know what's going on in the process of people developing ownership of your idea. I'll describe that in a moment but as much as I know this I sit there and I just have to keep my mouth shut and just keep telling myself, just give this group time, it’s actually building ownership so the process is that you present a very well defined, well researched, well thought out plan at a meeting.
On shifting from hero to host (3:37)
I want to come back to this data that is incontrovertible: That if you want increased productivity you engage people. If you engage people you get their commitment. You get their buy-in. You get their creativity. You get their imagination.
On Solving Tough Problems (4:30)
You know a great quantum scientist said about human nature, and also about the whole universe is that we're all bundles of potential that manifest only in relationships. And that's what we've got to work with. How wonderful.
The Misperception of Competition (4:54)
My own perception of what's going on in just about every leadership team unless they've gotten wise, is they just keep trying the same approach over and over again and the only changes that they make is that they do it faster. It's like speed is the missing variable here and actually its people's engagement that's the missing variable.
On controlling chaos (6:20)
Well I want to talk about in the context of this wonderful phrase you've, you know, come up with for this series, Let Go and Lead because as leaders we are faced with more and more uncertainty, more and more crisis, more and more um impatience and cynicism and dependency; I think being a leader these days is almost mission impossible unless you really notice that you could change your beliefs at a fundamental level.