High Fidelity Conversations:  Nine Elements for Launching Culture Change

High Fidelity Conversations: Nine Elements for Launching Culture Change

High Fidelity Conversations:  Nine Elements for Launching Culture Change

These types of conversations are High Fidelity because they provide strength and resonance for the people who engage in them.  They’re designed to support the Core Ideology of the organization and especially support the people experiencing the change.  LeeAnn describes nine elements important for launching these conversations.

Show Notes


“Waiting until you have created the perfect, most elegant solution keeps you out of today’s game. Launch it!” 


High Fidelity Conversations Support Culture Change


Organizations are constantly changing and responding to both external and internal events.

Mergers and acquisitions, disruptive technology, and various economic pressures, like those brought on by the Covid pandemic are prime examples. This year, in addition to facing a pandemic, the US had to deal with hard truths on racial injustice, and the need to address the topic in the workplace was no longer avoidable.

On a previous Podcast episode, How to Talk About Race at Work, Drew Clancy and Lori Bishop shared how they tackled the topic head-on at PCI.  They explained why they didn’t wait for the perfect long-term solution to address concerns about race and how they tied the conversations to their values and focus on increasing trust throughout the organization.

Whether your goal is to step fully into conversations about race, or to committing to the successful adaptation of a critical change to your culture, it’s important to provide strength, alignment, and resonance, – or fidelity – for the people who engage in them.

Do you know how to provide the proper framework for these delicate conversations?

This entire episode has been created to guide leaders on how to begin culture change in their organization by following these nine actionable concepts for designing high fidelity conversations.

A Few Elements from the Guide Described in the Episode


05:52 – “Create a vision that everyone can see themselves in. And what that means is, create a compelling future that matters for people. People need to see how the change is going to benefit them and the organization long term.”

07:26 – “And with conversations, that means listening and learning and being open to other points of view.”

10:36 – “Waiting will keep you out of the game today. And you want to balance this immediate action with the longer-term creation of policies and structures that provide resistance-free solutions.”

11:43 – “Naming the effort gives people language for how to refer to the change”.

For more resources highlighted in this audio episode please follow the links below:

Episode 15: How to Talk About Race at Work

A Guide to High Fidelity Conversations


I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you.



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High Fidelity Conversations:  Nine Elements for Launching Culture Change

How to Talk About Race at Work

How to Talk About Race at Work

Publishing Concepts (PCI) didn’t wait for the perfect long-term solution to address concerns about race.  Drew Clancy, President, and Lori Bishop, CPO, saw people hurting and they responded. They thoughtfully organized Meaningful Conversations as a way to talk about race.  This is their first step for improving long term trust and for healing throughout the entire workplace.

Episode 15   | August 11, 2020

Show Notes


“What we’re creating here is, first and foremost, just living our values. Just being who we say we are and digging deeper as it relates to the structural racism that we have all been forced to live in here in the United States...” 

Lori Bishop, CPO, Publishing Concepts – PCI

“I think this calls for leadership and leaning into it… I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to ultimately strengthen the culture of the organization and have better conversations, better relationships, a stronger organization. ”  

Drew Clancy, President, Publishing Concepts – PCI


Are You Having Meaningful Conversations About Race?

Organizations are all over the map in terms of how they’re addressing the issue of racial and social justice within their own companies. I can empathize with the feelings of uncertainty and fear of doing or saying the wrong thing.

Where do you even start?

Conversations in this domain can be delicate and deserve to be handled with care.  It takes courage, commitment, and humility to open oneself to hear the experiences of those who have been marginalized. It can be uncomfortable.

It can also be transformational – on all levels.

Following are a few quotes and several links.  I will be following up with more podcasts and tools to help you along your journey.  Stay tuned.

I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you.


Start By Listening to Experiences

[06:28] Drew:  …what I said to them that afternoon was, Im really just here to listen and I’m interested in your perspective. Many of these guys, weve worked together for many years but wed never had a conversation about race or these types of issues, and it was, I will say, for me, very eye-opening and just the level of frustration, the level of discouragement, the hopelessness in certain cases around what was going on.

Each of the men told some version of a story of growing up and a parent or maybe a grandparent saying, “When you leave this house, you need to be very careful what you say, how you act, especially around law enforcement.” After that conversation, it really struck me that the advice they were getting was you essentially have to be invisible. Again, good advice, but what a message to hear.

I’m just fed up, and we’ve reached a moment in time when action is required here. As businesses, as a for-profit business, perhaps businesses can be on the – We can be part of the solution.

Vulnerability + Courage

[10:21] Lori: I was afraid.  I have learned that Im going to have to take off some masks. …. There was a level of safety and caution that I wasn’t sure I can let go of and really embrace from a trust perspective. I had to tell myself, as a black person, all the things that I’ve heard from growing up and how my safety depended on me never trusting in white people. I had to admit that to myself before I could help Drew on this journey.

Structure Your Conversations About Race

[19:04] Lori: … the original conversations had breakout sessions … and people are very unvarnished and open …  people are embracing it. Theyre asking questions. They’re doing their homework. Theyre sharing stories. Theyre coming into levels of self-awareness that they never thought that they would have as people, and theyre doing it at work. To be able to experience this with people has been incredibly fulfilling.

… and people are answering with real-life experiences. We’ve made that a rule because we don’t want to start debating, as Drew says, politics and a bunch of whataboutisms and frankly just ways to stay stuck on either side of this issue. … We decided that trust was the only way to get there…


More Links from this Episode:


Drew Clancy

Lori Bishop

Eric Mosley


White Fragility

Robin DiAngelo

Servant Leadership

Bob Kegan

Immunity to Change

An Everyone Culture

Additional Guides and Articles

Storycorps Guide to Talking About George Floyd’s Murder and Black Lives Matter Demonstrations

Forbes: Yes, You Must Talk About Race At Work

Wharton: How to Begin Talking About Race at Work

Wharton: Leading Diversity: Why Listening and Learning Come Before Strategy


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High Fidelity Conversations:  Nine Elements for Launching Culture Change

Regoal and Reframe for Reslience: Gloria Park, PhD

Regoal + Reframe for Resilience:  Gloria Park, PhD

As an applied positive psychology and sport and performance psychology practitioner, Gloria Park, PhD is uniquely qualified to speak about how we continue to learn, grow, evolve and even thrive in the face of challenge. And we are certainly being challenged in 2020! Gloria shares transformative skills and strategies during the interview.  

Episode 14   | July 14, 2020

Show Notes

“I’m often navigating the tension between helping people do better at whatever craft they’ve chosen for themselves…and balancing that with how [they] do that AND maintain some degree of wellbeing.  It’s my fervent belief that you can have both; that you can do well and be well.” 

Gloria Park, PhD

Regoaling vs Reacting

It’s easy to get overwhelmed these days while we’re in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis and also trying to thoughtfully enter and positively impact the domain of racial injustice.

In April I attended a webinar co-lead by Gloria.  It was very timely given the newness and shock concerning Covid-19. When I first heard the term, ‘re-goaling’, I thought, YES!, this is how I would describe the thoughtful and intentional shift I see some people making.  It’s different from simply reacting. Re-goaling means that I consciously disengage from the old goal and thoughtfully create a new goal. It also means that I feel and acknowledge the continuum of emotions and engage in hope.   In this interview we explore ways to our own resilience.

The quotes stood out for me:

Covid’s Impact on the Human Psyche

[11:31] …everyone is dealing with this very deep sense of grief about things that matter deeply to them and now look no longer like they used to…the second place where people are really struggling is the uncertainty.

The Important Role of Hope and Goals

[13:43] …what gives me hope is that people are finding things to be hopeful about despite all of the uncertainty and despite all of the grief…

[26:36] …But if you think about the average person and the goals we set for ourselves, we set those goals because they’re a reflection of things that are really valuable to us and they’re often tied, especially in the performance domain, deeply to our sense of self-worth and our identities, and you wouldn’t have set those goals if they didn’t mean a lot to you.

(C.R. Snyder’s Hope Theory):  People feel hope whey they have three things:  they have a goal that they’re focused on; they have beliefs that they have the capacity within them to strive towards that goal; and that there are avenues available for them to be able to pursue those goals.

[29:38 ] A lot of the foundation of resiliency training as well as a lot of the foundation for performance psychology is about understanding the connections between those three things:  your thoughts, your emotions and your behaviors.

[43:51 ]  But the accomplishments will always be there.  The world will be there to await you to show up and be able to strive towards those things again.  I think, right now, we really need to be paying attention to our wellbeing and figure out how we can support our families and support our employees in an organizational context to really help them navigate this crisis successfully.


We’ve all heard of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-driven); Gloria is also an advocate for DUMB goals! (42:05)

More Links from this Episode

Download the Transcript

Dr. Martin (Marty) Seligman

University of Pennyslvania Positive Psychology Center –

Dr. Chris Feudtner

Regoaling: a conceptual model of how parents of children with serious illness change medical care goals

Dr. Feudtner’s Regoaling table

C.R. Snyder

Snyder’s Hope Theory

Snyder’s Hope Scale

Dr. Karen Reivich

Eudaimonic by Design

Choosing Optimism: The Art of the Reframe

Embodied Resilience

Hope in Uncertain Times

Francesca Gino’s HBR article for working moms


A FREE course on resilience offered through UPenn.  Dr. Karen Reivich is the primary instructor; Dr. Park also instructs.

After listening to the interview and reading the notes, I wonder what your takeaway is?

Thanks for tuning in!


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High Fidelity Conversations:  Nine Elements for Launching Culture Change

3 Vital Questions for Transformative Results: David Emerald Womeldorff

3 Vital Questions for Transformative Results:  David Emerald 

David has followed up his wildly popular and super sticky book, The Power of TED: The Empowerment Dynamic with 3 Vital Questions: Transforming Workplace Drama.  When we answer these questions and re-orient our perspective, we become more resilient and more likely to create the results we desire.

Season  2  |  Episode 13   | May 11, 2020

Show Notes

“All leadership really starts with self-leadership and the way that we lead our own lives has everything to do with the quality of leadership that we bring to our organizations, frankly our families, our communities, our school system, etc.”

David Emerald Womeldorff

Energy Follows Attention

We’re built for survival.  Our default mode is to scan for danger and then react.  If we want to create a wonderful life and build great places to work, then we have to move past problem-solving.  We have to build habits that support designing futures rather than reacting to problems.  David Emerald’s 3 Vital Questions takes our focus from a problem to an outcome orientation.

Highlights from the Interview

These excerpts have been edited for context.

[07:10]  …The first vital question is, Where are you putting your focus? The subtext to that is, are you focusing on problems, or are you focusing on outcomes? What informs that question is an organizing framework that I call FISBE. FISBE is an acronym that stands for Focus, Inner State and BEhavior. The idea is that what we focus on engages some emotional response. That inner state that then drives our behavior. 

[17:16] …Vital Question Two is, How are you relating? How are you relating to others? How are you relating to your experience? And how are you relating to yourself? Are you relating in ways that produce, or perpetuate drama? Or are you relating in ways that empower others and yourself to be more resourceful, resilient and innovative?

If our orientation is problem-focused, fear-based and reactive in nature, that creates the environment and the conditions for the Dreaded Drama Triangle, or DDT, which I’ll explain in more detail in just a moment. I also want to say that if we can consciously choose to operate as much as possible out of that Outcome Orientation, where we’re focused on what we care about, that our inner state is more passion-based and we’re taking creative action, that creates the conditions for a different set of relationship roles and dynamics that we call TED or The Empowerment Dynamic.

[31:29]: What actions are you taking? Are you merely reacting to the problems of the moment, or are you taking creative and generative action, including the solving of problems in service to outcomes? Dynamic tension informs the Third Vital Question.

[32:42]: The three basic steps of dynamic tension are first and foremost,  focus on the outcome and to be as clear as we can on the outcome, that the outcome can sometimes be clear and concrete, other times it may be more vague and directional.

Then the second step is to step back and tell the truth about, what’s my current reality in relation to the outcome? That engages a tension between what we want and what we’re currently experiencing.

The third piece of dynamic tension is to then determine and take baby steps that move from our current reality toward our envisioned outcome. Baby steps to me are things that as an individual, or team, we can choose to do that tend to be short-term and in organizational terms. LeeAnn, it could be as simple as, ‘I need to have a conversation’, or ‘we need to go gather this information’. It’s just whenever the next little step is, that’s going to help us move toward and/or get clearer about the outcome.

More Links from this Episode

Download the Transcript

3 Vital Questions website

The Power of TED: The Empowerment Dynamic

3 Vital Questions:Transforming Workplace Drama

David Emerald

Donna Zajonc

Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle

Bob Anderson

The Leadership Circle Profile

Robert Fritz:  Structural Tension



After listening to the interview and reading the notes, I wonder what your takeaway is?

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Boot Up Your Inner Game:  Bob Anderson

Boot Up Your Inner Game: Bob Anderson

Boot Up Your Inner Game:  Bob Anderson

Bob Anderson has dedicated his career to exploring the intersections between leadership and personal mastery, and between competence and consciousness. Over the past 35 years, he has helped leaders gain deep, personal insight into their creative competencies that promote effective leadership, and their reactive tendencies that limit it. He is the creator of The Leadership Circle Profile, a 360 leadership assessment tool that provides integrated feedback in multiple domains across the Creative and Reactive categories.

In our conversation, we focus on recent findings based on qualitative data provided by senior leaders in large, complex organizations.

Season  2  |  Episode 12   | April 8, 2020

Show Notes

“The outer game boots up on a more mature inner game.”

Bob Anderson

Founder + Chairman; The Leadership Circle

The Times Call for Exemplary Leadership

Bob and I spoke on February 21, 2020.  The date is significant because the first case of community-spread novel coronavirus had not yet been detected in the U.S.  Today the U.S., as well as much of the globe, is in some sort of lockdown to prevent its spread.  Thousands of lives have been lost to the pandemic. The lack of mention of Covid-19 seems tone-deaf today, as managing the spread and responding to the health and economic crises are all-consuming for many.

Bob has spent the past few decades understanding what characteristics indicate a leaders’ ability to deal effectively with the increasingly complex situations they’re presented with.  Our current, unfortunate predicament illustrates, even more, the need for agile, innovative and visionary leadership.

Highlights about Creative Leadership from the Interview

These excerpts have been edited for context.

[09:51]  … The Creative half is run out of passion and purpose and a vision, and are about bringing into being what I care about and becoming who I most desire to be as a leader. The Creative half is about bringing into being. The Reactive half is about responding to problems, fears and threats. There will always be problems, fears and threats, but when we make up that it’s too dangerous to speak up in the room or if I always have to prove how smart I am or if I always have to be in control, that has liabilities.

[11:30] … there are three basic Reactive strategies:

  • One, we play too small. We play careful and cautious. We seek harmony over the kind of conflict that often ensues when we really put forth what we’re after as a leader; we that call Complying.
  • The other is Controlling,  where we’re overly driven to get results usually over the top of people. Results over people.
  • Then there’s Protecting, …which includes Arrogance. With arrogance, we’re highly rational and we have a vested interest in proving to people how brilliant we are.

Underlying any one of those strategies goes right to the core of how we form our identity and the core operating beliefs and assumptions that define us. The basic equation under any Reactive strategy is, my worth is in your hands. Somehow you define me. How you see me is vitally important to how I see me. And I maintain that in certain ways: I’m the one who always gets results, or I’m the one who is nice and agreeable, or I’m the one who’s super-rational and brilliant. This defines me.

Well, any situation which threatens, that puts us under pressure and we tend to react.

[17:26]: The highly effective, and Creative leaders had a very different set of strengths. They had all the other strengths in equal measure: technical strengths, domain knowledge, etc., but they excelled at people, people, people and people. People, teams, developing people, listening, approachable. Six out of the top 10 most commented-on strengths for the highly effective Creative leader group had to do with people and teams and their ability to develop people and lead them well.

The next set of strengths was purpose, vision and authenticity, and that rounded out the top 10 list of the most effective leaders. Yes, they have their technical skills and their intellect and brilliance. You have to have that to play. That’s table stakes. It doesn’t define leadership, and it doesn’t scale if you’re trying to run your leadership through your own creative brilliance. It scales when you can develop that in others.

The top 10 Creative competencies, according to write-in comments on the Leadership Circle Profile 360:

[20:48]: Number one: Strong People Skills. 79% of leaders had three or more comments from their raters on good with people – 79%. Reactive leaders rated only 28% good with people. That just sums it up. If you look at the list, Strong People Skills, Visionary, Team Builder, Personable/Approachable, Leads by Example. That’s authenticity and integrity, right? Passion & Drive, that’s purpose. Good Listener, Develops People, Empowers People, Positive Attitude. That’s the top 10 list.

[22:51] You’ve got to work the inner game and the outer game. The outer-game boots up on a more mature inner game. As you start to  take in feedback and work it,  see how you’re showing up and the impact you’re having, you can get underneath the feedback and say, “Well, what’s the story I’m making up or the set of assumptions that running that pattern?” That frees up a lot of space for the stuff that you’re trying to create. That’s one half the inner game. The other half of the inner game is getting really clear about what you’re trying to create, why it matters, what kind of behaviors you need to get better at in order to really have the impact you want to have as a leader.

As you focus on what you want, you move toward it. As you unhook from old patterns, you move towards even more, in an accelerated rate, what you want.  You work both ends of that spectrum. That is what the Leadership Circle Profile was designed to facilitate because you’re going to have feedback on both ends of that spectrum.

[27:16]  We think that the complexity of today’s business environment, VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, all of those things – the turbulence and perturbation and disruption that we’re always in now, require a Creative mindset or higher. You can’t create the kind of agile, adaptive, innovative, engaged workplaces that we are trying to construct in order to thrive in a VUCA world. You literally can’t create those cultures and systems and structures from a Reactive leadership mindset. They won’t boot up.

More Links from this Episode

Download Practices to Boot Up Your Inner Game

Download the Transcript


Bob Kegan

Socialized and Self-Authoring mindsets



After listening to the interview and reading the notes, I wonder what your takeaway is?

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Boot Up Your Inner Game:  Bob Anderson

Alexander McCobin: Conscious Capitalism – An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Alexander McCobin:  Conscious Capitalism – An Idea Whose Time Has Come

2020 Conference Discount

April 14 – 16, 2020

Get $100 off your 2020 Annual Conference Registration with code CCAC20RISE

Conscious capitalism is a term, a movement and the name of the non-profit organization, Conscious Capitalism, Inc. (CCI), whose role it is to be the foundation of the movement. CCI brings business leaders together to share best practices for implementing the ideals of conscious capitalism.

Aspects of conscious capitalism have been around for decades. As we discuss in the interview, Conscious Capitalism provides an organizing principle for many practices that put humans at the center of the business ecosystem.  During our conversation, Alexander passionately describes the opportunities,  challenges and future of Conscious Capitalism.

Season  2  |  Episode 11   |   March 3, 2020

Show Notes

“By delivering a genuine, no-baloney product for our guests and environment for our employees to work in, we then could deliver for our shareholders…  Starting from that place of authenticity and caring profoundly about the lives of other people leads to better financial results because of the way the economy and capitalism works.”

Ron Shaich

CEO and Founder, Panera Bread

Can We Make Conscious Capitalism Redundant?

That’s the long term goal.

The general opinion of capitalism and of the for-profit business world is one of greed and scarcity, a winner-take-all mindset,  and overpaid executives at the expense of underpaid and under-insured employees (just listen to the 2020 election rhetoric!).  While that opinion has been earned, there is a movement underway that is gaining support from capitalist business leaders across the globe to change that.

Alexander McCobin is CEO of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., an organization founded by successful corporate CEOs and founders who are committed to shepherding in a new way of running businesses.  As Alexander says in the interview, it’s a Copernican Revolution, putting humans at the center of business rather than profits.  And the good news is that it’s not an either-or choice.  As Ron Shaich said in the quote, above, caring profoundly about employees and customers leads to better (and long-term) results!

Stand-out Quotes from My Interview With Alexander

[10:29]“It’s about creating a foundation for people to build the movement the way they want to…We need to let a thousand flowers bloom if we’re going to achieve our long term goal, which is for Conscious Capitalism to become redundant.” 

[00:11:17] “The times are changing. This is an idea whose time has come, finally. A decade ago, when this idea was being kicked around and introduced to conferences and boardrooms, it was being laughed out of those spaces. It wasn’t taken seriously. The initial job of Conscious Capitalism Inc. and even the reason for writing the book was to make the case for this, to change people’s minds, because everyone thought business is just about maximizing profit, serving the shareholders, and everyone and everything else is serving that end.”

[00:12:35] “The Business Roundtable is a group of 190, 200 or so CEOs of the largest companies in the United States. We’re talking everyone from J.P. Morgan, to Amazon, and if you know the name of the company and it’s a Fortune 100, it’s probably in there. In 1997, they adopted a statement on the purpose of the corporation being to serve shareholder interests. That this is the reason they exist.

Last year they changed that. They said that the purpose of the corporation is to serve a higher purpose and to take care of all their stakeholders. They basically took the conscious capitalist’s credo, reworded and adopted themselves, and that is tremendously exciting because it shows these principles and ideas are becoming well-accepted and these are CEOs making a commitment that this is how they’re going to run their businesses going forward that they can now be held accountable to. If they’re not living up to it, we are able to say, “You made this pledge. We’re going to hold you to it and we’re ready to help you accomplish it too.”

[00:16:23] “…Very explicitly, when we look at the businesses that we think we can have the greatest impact with who are most likely to adopt conscious capitalism not just in their rhetoric, but in their actions as well, it’s mid-market businesses. In particular, private and family-owned businesses, either because they’re still founder-driven who has the moral authority to implement changes like this, or they still remember the values they were rooted in from the very beginning and they want to maintain them as they grow. We not only see these private and family midmarket businesses getting involved with this already, but we are very proactively trying to work with more of them because they want to grow.”

[00:22:29]: “That is part of the stakeholder model. We need businesses to be at the forefront of addressing the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation conservation. Business has the greatest impact in these areas and it has the greatest opportunity to innovate and figure out what the solution is, because we’re not there yet and it’s not going to come from committee. It’s not going to come from bureaucracy. It’s going to come from businesses solving those problems themselves and they need to take that on.”

A Stakeholder Economy is Central to Conscious Capitalism

Outside of my conversation with Alexander, I’m collecting stories and artifacts about this shift to a long-term focus and the complexities associated with it.  We’ve built financial, accountability and status systems based on the Miltonian idea that profit is king.  This philosophy is not going to be easy to undo.  And it shouldn’t be completely undone!

Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest money management firm, publishes an Annual Letter to CEOs.  His urgency regarding climate change is increasing.  His letter this year essentially states that BlackRock will be allocating more capital that mitigates climate risk and voting against corporate managers who aren’t making progress on fighting the climate crisis.

Larry Fink’s 2020 Letter

The New York Times’ podcast The Daily, published these episodes about the Business Roundtable’s Commitment and Larry Fink’s 2020 Letter:

The Daily:  Can Corporations Stop Climate Change? (January 2020)

What American CEOs are Worried About (August 2019)

More Links from this Episode

Download the full transcript (full of valuable links!)

Conscious Capitalism Philosophy

Find Your Local Chapter

Annual Conference (April each year)

CEO Summit (October each year)

Conscious Capitalism Blog

After listening to the interview and reading the notes, I wonder what your takeaway is?

Thanks for tuning in!


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