Jess and Margy are the co-owners of Interview Connections, the first and leading podcast booking agency. This is the podcast where you will learn all about podcast guesting and how to leverage podcast interviews to grow your brand awareness! On today’s episode of Rock the Podcast, Jess had the opportunity to speak with Interview Connections client and leader of change Nancy Murphy!
Nancy is the founder and president of CSR Communications and creator of Intrapreneurs Influence Lab. Her passion is helping leaders of change within established organizations (intrapreneurs) influence and persuade others so that they can realize their vision for change faster, with less frustration and resistance.
From challenging stereotypes of girls in her Catholic school more than 40 years ago, to her first job after college convincing nonprofits to engage youth volunteers or her role as board chair of a global nonprofit transforming the way we do international development, Nancy has experienced the challenges of leading big change within established organizations. And she’s willing to share all the mistakes she made – and all the solutions she discovered – so that you don’t have to learn them the hard way!
First, Jess asks Nancy what led her to a business where she helps companies with intrapreneurs?
Very early in Nancy’s life, she realized she was a status quo challenger by always challenging perceptions. She found herself often being hired to be a leader of change, or once she was hired she would always find a way to be a leader of change.
Once Nancy started working in consulting, she found that her clients were often also people who were leading change in organizations. Nancy realized that she had lessons and techniques to share, so she then started CSR Communications!
Jess then wants to know, what is at the root of people’s fear of change? Why do people resist change?
Nancy’s mantra is “Leaders don’t respond to lizard brain with lizard brain.” Well, what does “lizard brain” mean!? Our brains are very good at pattern recognition and this helps protect us. Lizard brain is the ancient part of our brain that is designed to protect us. It’s the part that triggers the fight, flight, or freeze response. Particularly in times of change, that part of our brain goes into overdrive, and our brain is trying to protect us from that change.
As leaders of change, we can’t get into letting our lizard brains take over in response to other people’s lizard brains!
She does, however, urge leaders to not always view resistance as a bad thing. Resistance can make us stronger, it can illuminate our blind spots, and it can make us better.
We don’t always want to see resistance as a negative. Instead, we want to get curious about it and see what’s going on underneath it. We want to find out what we can do to use that resistance in a way that improves and advances the change!
Nancy tells her clients that they need to become credible leaders to be effective leaders of change. The first step in doing this is looking in the mirror. Jess loves this because the mirror concept is something that she and Margy talk about all the time.
Your team is a direct reflection of your leadership!
Nancy agrees and explains that the only thing we can control is ourselves. We can, however, influence others. Everything really starts with what can we do to become credible! She also recommends being open and being curious as a leader. It’s crucial to have empathy and to appreciate when someone is freaking out or feeling anxious about change.
Once we know something we can’t un-know it. Nancy knows that it’s really hard to explain something you already know to someone who is hearing it for the first time. She recommends that leaders ask themselves, “what curse of knowledge do we have for our vision of change? What are those gaps we forget to fill in that really make all the difference?”
Jess and Nancy both stress the importance of patience. Nancy discusses the power of pause. As a leader, if you’re about to train someone on something new, ask yourself, “How can I pause before I go into this training or teaching scenario? How can I actually put myself in a scenario when I was learning something new?”
“What did that feel like? How can I imagine what that person can be feeling on the opposite side of my teaching or training?”
Nancy also asks her clients to think of themselves as campaigners. People on the campaign trail give the same speech over and over, but they still have to make it dynamic and interesting every day. When people ask questions, the campaigners have to act as if that is the first time they’ve heard that question.
When people challenge them, the campaigner has to act like this is the first time they’ve heard an opposite point of view. Nancy asks her clients, “How can we adopt the campaigner mindset?”
Jess then asks Nancy if she has any tips for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
She brings up a key point that she uses in her consulting frequently, and that is the concept of artifacts. If an organization has been around for a long time, what are all those little things left behind that show people what that organization really values? What really matters in terms of how things get done in that organization?
When we go through change, look across all aspects of the organization and ask, “What do those artifacts convey? Are they aligned with the change that we’re leading?” If they don’t, you’ll have to address those head-on and challenge what they mean for your organization. That will be imperative to being an effective leader of change wherever you are!
You can connect with Nancy at csrcommunications.com and be sure to head over to the freebies tab for loads of free resources, including a Meeting Makeover Kit, a Quarterly Momentum Maker Worksheet and more!