My guest today is Gayle Karen Young (@MissGayle), the former Head of Culture and Talent at Wikimedia, which is the parent company for the Wikipedia. Gayle shepherded a company which grew to 300 employees serving half a billion users each month! We discuss her role, and what made it possible for her to support both company employees and the much larger Wikipedia community around the world.

Since leaving Wikimedia in 2015, Gayle has returned to her practice consulting practice and now works with a variety of companies and executives to create dynamic organizational cultures in which people are empowered to do their best work.

I have rarely been as moved by the careful choice of words as I was throughout this conversation. I was  impressed with Gayle’s depth of thinking about human development applied to organizations.

Gayle was one of our speakers at the 1st Annual Responsive Conference. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it!

Show Notes

1:00 – 4:00 Gayle’s interest in organization design
5:00 – 9:00 Wikimedia Foundation
9:00 – 13:00 How the Wikimedia Foundation is organized
13:00 – 15:30 Diversity within the team
15:30 – 23:00 Gayle time joining Wikimedia and the Wikipedia blackout
23:00 – 25:30 Leading with consciousness
25:30 – 28:00 Buddhist monk influence –
28:00 – 30:00 Robin’s podcast with:

30:00 – 35:00 Organizational dynamics created by leader’s shadows
35:00 – 38:00 Creating open feedback loops and a growth mindset
38:00 – 41:00 The mythic and the mundane of leadership
41:00 – 44:00 The power of poetry and understanding the spirit of an organization
44:00 – 48:00 Encyclopedias and editors
48:00 – 52:00 Why Gayle left Wikimedia
52:00 – 56:00 What Gayle is working on now
56:00 – 60:00 Working from cities versus isolated islands
60:00 – 102:00 Robin’s life
102:00 – 110:00 Embodiment

Gayle’s Recommended Books:

Connect with Gayle:

On the web: http://www.gaylekarenyoung.com/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gaylekaren
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/MissGayle

Erica Seldin (@eseldin) is one of the founders of August Public, a new kind of consulting company that believes today’s most valuable work depends on teams of people who work well together, enabled by organizations purposefully designed to embrace uncertainty.

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“This is what the future of work looks like – we just have to figure out how to talk about it.”

My guest today is Alexis Gonzales-Black, an early advocate of the Responsive.org movement. I had heard Alexis praised as an incredibly innovative thinking on “the future of work”, and it was certainly my experience that she brings enormous enthusiasm and insight to bear on the topic of organizational design.

Alexis co-led the rollout of Holacracy (which is a system of self-governance) at Zappos – the world-famous shoe company. She describes what is was like to be in the room when the CEO Tony Hsieh walked in and declared that the company needed to operate more like a city. Alexis now works in organizational design at IDEO.

I’m really impressed with the work she as done to date, and I hope you enjoy this interview with Alexis Gonzales-Back.

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joel

Today’s guest – I’m thrilled to announce – is Joel Gascoigne – the co-founder and CEO of the social media company Buffer.

This interview is an experiment, recorded live at the Responsive Conference on September 20th, 2016. I’ve admired Joel and his company for several years, as they have paved the way for a new kind of company. As we discuss in this interview, Buffer exemplifies the exploration at the forefront of the future of work.

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September 12th, 2016
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bob-gower

Bob Gower (@bobgower) has one of the most eclectic career paths of anyone I know. I met Bob after he published the article “From Sex Cult to C-Suite” and I was so intrigued by the range of things he had done in his life that I reached out to him. We have been collaborating ever since.

In this interview we dive into what does it mean for humans to be fully mature and how can organizations support human development.

Bob is a part of the curation team and a speaker at the upcoming Responsive Conference, taking place on Sept. 19-20th in Berkeley, CA.

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Meredith

My guest today, Meredith Haberfeld (@merhaberfeld), is the co-founder of Think Human, a coaching company that has worked with a wide variety of organizations – including, among many others, SoulCycle, Spotify, and Flat Iron Health – to foster leadership and build high performing organizations.

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My guest today – Adam Pisoni (@Adampisoni– is the co-founder and former CTO of Yammer, a business communication software company which sold to Microsoft for over 1 Billion dollars.

I met Adam last year as a part of the Responsive Org community, which Adam co-created.

Adam’s new company A.b.l. is the next step in building resilience and responsiveness at work and beyond. We discuss how A.b.l. is striving to impact children’s lives through changing how schools allocate resources, which drive the day-to-day operations of student’s learning.

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My guest today, Steve Hopkins (@Stevehopkins), is one of the original signators of the Responsive.org movement. In this interview we discuss Steve’s history and his current work with the start-up, Culture Amp. We cover his experience building Yammer alongside our mutual friend, Adam Pisoni, why he moved to San Francisco from Australia, and his love of coffee.

We also touch on parenting and sports, to better understand how to manage people and work as a team.

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grLYag3z

Blake Brandes (@BlakeBrandes) is a motivational speaker, hip-hop educator, and music producer.  He was the recipient of the Marshall Scholarship, one of the most competitive postgraduate awards in the world, which he used to complete his Master’s and PhD on hip-hop and global youth cultures at the University of Kent in England. While he was completing his PhD, Blake was also running a music production and artist management company, where he produced Top 40 radio songs and played over 75 shows across Europe and the US.  Blake completed a 3 year term as chief program officer at Champions for Kids, where he helped design service projects and corporate partnerships that resulted in over 1 million children receiving needed resources across America. Blake was also recently invited to audition for America’s Got Talent, where he received a standing ovation from a crowd of 3,000 people in Madison Square Garden.

Blake is co-founder of the personal development company, Motivational Millennial, and co-host of the Motivational Millennial Podcast. He serves as Chief Innovation Officer for the benefit corporation, Simple Giving Inc., and he runs a hip-hop motivational speaking business as President of Decrypt Productions. Blake is currently finishing a motivational hip-hop album called Remix Your Reality, and he also runs a blog called The Up Beat, where he publishes rap videos and blog posts on motivational topics like overcoming challenges and balling out of control.

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April 18th, 2016
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D. Cody Fielding is a professional coach who has worked in the fields of fitness, wellness, and performance enhancement for more than 20 years. I met Cody in 2008, shortly after moving to San Francisco, just as I began my own career as a personal trainer, and he had a profound impact on my own thinking about movement and the body.

We conducted this interview in Cody’s private studio in the Mission District of San Francisco. Cody’s backgrounds includes the study and practice of biomechanics, posture, nutrition, evolutionary biology, psychology, and physics. He has worked with and studied the works of everyone from Joseph Pilates, Moshe Feldenkrais, Scott Sonnon, Mel Siff, and many others.

I’ve been consistently impressed with Cody’s diligence and examination of how to improve performance, but also the subtler elements that make a peak performer. Once, over coffee, Cody interviewed me with a quality of complete focus that contributed to my own desire to learn to conduct interviews. Similarly, over the course of one memorable hour Cody taught me how to throw a football, which is something I had never done previously. His thoughtfulness and thoroughness made learning to throw a football effortless, and for the first time, fun.

Cody and I delve pretty deep into what he calls “physical culture,” which is to say the study and practice of movement and the human body. I have learned an enormous amount about performance, movement, and the body from Cody and I hope you enjoy this interview.

 

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Much of what I know about hand balancing I learned from today’s guest – professional acrobat Cory Tabino. To celebrate I’ve re-released my book How To Do A Handstand and just this week I am giving it away for free. Visit fearlesshandstands.com for your own free copy.

Now, onwards with the Show!

I’m thrilled to share today’s guest – Cory Tabino – who is a professional circus performer and acrobat. Cory was my first hand balancing instructor and paved the way for much of my performance career since.

Cory has been a professional circus artist for more than 20 years, having done performances ranging from sideshow to Cirque du Soleil. He is full of hilarious stories about the life of an acrobat, and he shares them throughout the show.

Back alley surgeries?
Stage fright?
Training with Marines?

This episode has it all!

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My guest today, Steve Scott (@stevescott1), is an authority on self-publishing. Steve is an extraordinarily prolific writer, author, and Internet entrepreneur.

Steve has published 60+ books on Amazon, several of which made the difference for me to publish my first book start writing and publishing. I first learned about Steve Scott from an interview he did on the James Altucher podcast in 2014, and have Steve to thank for the publication of my own first book “How to Do a Handstand,” which went on to be a National Bestseller in Japan.

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Late Nite Art 3

Adam Rosendahl (@Adam_Rosendahl) is the founder of the global creative events company LATE NITE ART. Adam and I reconnected at last year’s Design for Dance conference, but as it turns out also went the middle school and played soccer together as kids. In the decades since Adam has been a high school teacher, volunteered with a homeless shelter, and led Outward Bound trips which are leadership with at risk youth in the Mississippi bayou.

Along the way, Adam began leading creative, collaborative pop-up events, and now runs the company LATE NITE ART, which creates creative, collaborative, stylish and also playful events for corporate audiences. Adam details whatLATE NITE ART is and how it works early on in the interview.

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Anna Botelho Head Shot for NYC

Today’s guest, Anna Botelho, founded Google’s Dance Program, and told her story at the 2015 Design for Dance conference. She will be speaking at the 2016 conference on April 28-29, 2016. But before we dive into her introduction I want to share a special opportunity. Tickets are now on sale for the 2016 Design for Dance conference. And today only tickets are 50% OFF.  Join us for 2 days in April to learn from and collaborate with our amazing presenters.

Join us for only $99!

 

Now, onwards with the show… Anna Botelho was a keynote at the 2015 Design for Dance conference and founded Google’s Dance Program. She is now in the middle of building out Google’s entire Arts Program. I think you’ll enjoy this interview.

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Michael Krigsman (@mkrigsman), founder of CxO Talk, is internationally recognized for his work as an industry analyst and commentator, and a man of many interests. A writer, interviewer, speaker, and professional photographer,  Michael finds ways to share his passions across a wide variety of media.

We discuss Michael’s interviews at CxO Talk as well as his love for photography. He shares what he has learned about openness and storytelling after hosting hundreds of live interviews and we discuss the benefit of a creative practice. Whether for practical insights into how technology impacts everyday life, or for insight into what makes a compelling story, please enjoy this interview with Michael Krigsman.

Show Notes

2:00 CxO Talk = Chief [blank] Officer
3:15 First guest: Guy Kawasaki
6:20 Solving for complexities in large company
10:30 The story of the elephant
12:30 Positive change = innovation
13:00 Innovation as defined by John Michael Schert
13:30 Michael and Stephen Hoover (Xerox PARC) discuss innovation
17:30 Average Is Over by Tyler Cowen
18:00 Practical tools from Michael’s interviews: Be open, listen carefully, and pay attention
19:00 Characteristics of these people: bright, curious, passionate, competitive, focused
22:00 Michael’s photography
23:00 Equipment doesn’t matter, the photographer does
27:00 Photography = recognizing shapes, spatial relationships, color, light, gradation but can be very visual and emotional rather than intellectual
35:00 The writers habit: write for a few hours every morning
45:00 Michael’s favorite books: The Heart of Unconditional Love  by Tulku Thondup. Also, Chögyam Trungpa.
47:00 More about Michael:

For another podcast episode on innovative entrepreneurship listen to this interview with founder of Entrepreneur on Fire John Lee Dumas:

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IdeasxLab 2

Today I’m excited to bring you a four-way interview with members of IDEAS x Lab (@ideasxlab),  a company bringing together artists and corporations to cultivate a more creative, productive workforce.

If you’ve listened to prior episodes, then you probably know that this podcast is about improving performance and changing how we work. I interview artists, educators and strategies from a variety of backgrounds. Today is no exception…

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Sam Aquillano (@samaquillano) is a creative entrepreneur who is bringing new life to what we think of when we talk about museums. Sam is the Founder and Executive Director of Design Museum Foundation, which is challenging norms by bringing his museum to where people already are. Currently located in Boston, Portland, and San Francisco, Design Museum acts like a pop-up retail shop hosting events and programs that are widely accessible to the public.

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JMS

John Michael Schert (@jmschert) is a ballet dancer who studies and teaches the creative process.

John Michael is a classically trained ballet dancer, having performed with the American Ballet Theater, one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world. He moved on to become a founding member at Cedar Lake Ballet, and for four years performed with Alonzo King LINES ballet.

In 2004 John Michael co-founded the Trey McIntyre Project and served as the company’s executive director and dancer for 9 years. In that time he built a nationally recognized and sustainable arts organization, which toured in Vietnam, China, the Philippines, South Korea, around the US, and which was recognized by publications like the New York Times and PBS. But what is to me even more impressive is the impact that Trey McIntire Project had on local communities, especially in their hometown of Boise, Idaho. The company paved the way for the impact an artistic endeavor can make within a community.

Since the fall of 2013 John Michael has stepped away from his performance career and become a visiting artist and social entrepreneur at the Chicago Booth School of Business where he mentors students and works with faculty to examine the creative process. Recently he has been speaking from stages and consulting around the world on the underutilization of artists and the creative process within business. We met because he was a keynote speaker at last year’s Design for Dance conference.

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Jenny Sauer-Klein has accomplished something few ever do. She co-founded and created a global movement, AcroYoga, which has millions of practitioners around the world.

What is even more impressive is that Jenny also has the humility and courage to have build AcroYoga and then let it go. After 10 years of traveling and teaching, she has now embarked on her next program, Play On Purpose, through which Jenny helps rapid-growth companies integrate new talent quickly and create the trust and connection necessary for creativity to thrive.

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amy-cueva

Amy Cueva (@AmyCueva) believes that design can improve the human condition. It was with that mission and vision that she co-founded Mad*Pow in 2000 and has built an award-winning design and digital agency which serves industries from health to financial services and beyond.

But quite apart from having spend the last 15 years building her company Mad*Pow, Amy lives in a wide variety of different spheres, including sidelining as a belly dance performer and constantly exploring new avenues to positively impact human health. Amy spoke about this diverse mix of careers, projects, and hobbies at the 2015 Design for Dance conference.

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chance's end

Ryan Avery is the violinist behind the electronic violin duo Chance’s End, which Ryan began in the early 2000s to feature violin music in contexts where it usually isn’t. Ryan began practicing classical violin as a young boy, but began experimenting with electronic violin music as early as middle school when he played his violin over his own recorded audio cassette.

In the last decade and spurred on the by the rise of well-known electronic violinists such as Lindsay Sterling, Ryan has begun performing his violin electronica around the world alongside his partner Emily Zisman. Chance’s End most well known song Diamond in Disguise has been listened to 23 million times on Pandora alone.

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mike

Mike Arauz (@mikearauz) is a founding member and acting president of August, a New York-based consulting firm which helps organizations keep up in an increasing fast-paced world. Mike is also co-author of Responsive.org, a community leading the self-organization movement.

Mike is passionate about helping companies to innovate quickly, to make their dent in the universe. In our interview today, Mike discusses what lead him into consulting in digital technology from his beginnings in the arts in New York City.

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November 25th, 2015
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Dana Caspersen (@danacaspersen) is a conflict specialist, author, and performing artist.

For more than 30 years Dana has been a creator and dancer with the Ballet Frankfurt and the Forsythe dance Company. Dana has developed an enormous variety of choreographic works alongside the world-famous choreographer William Forsythe.

Additionally, over the last decade, Dana has made a study of conflict and mediation. She has created numerous events and projects that bridge her experience as a performing artist and a conflict specialist – using the physical body and choreographic thinking to enable communication in challenging times.

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Several years ago, as a result of a conversation with Karen Cheng, I taught myself how to draw. Mostly by following the steps played out in the book You Can Draw In 30 Days I learned all of the incremental components to be able to draw circles, increasingly complex perspectives, and eventually my own hand. But even more interesting that specific techniques, I was interested to explore perception, even without the ability to produce photo realistic drawings.

So, when I met Virgil Wong (@virgilwong), I was equally intrigued by his company Medical Avatar and by his artistry.


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Josie Garthwaite (@redances) lives simultaneously in two very different professions: she is a professional dancer with the ODC Dance company and a Stanford-trained reporter. In this interview we explore how Josie continues to refine both of her crafts, and how they complement each other.

Among other feats, Josie co-founded the reporting collective Climate Confidential. She has a long track record of bringing extremely complex scientific topics to a lay audience. Simultaneously, her everyday work as a dancer involves the practice of creativity and innovation, which she has managed to transfer across her careers.

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“Intuition is a learned skill that can start with the body.” – Robin Zander

In this episode Ella Saltmarshe hijacks the Robin Zander Show and interviews me. If you missed it, in a previous episode of the Show Ella was my guest and we discussed learning and how Ella manages multiple careers. Here, Ella has turned the tables and asks me questions about what it means to learn things deeply, use fear as a compass, and record what we learn.

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Ella-Saltemarshe

Jack of all trades,
Maser of none.
Of’ times better,
Than a master of one.

Ella Saltmarshe (@saltsea) is a polymath. I came to be familiar with her work when a friend sent me Ella’s TEDx talk “All Power to the Polymaths.”

All of Ella’s efforts revolve around two major themes: social change and story. She explains what each of these mean in our interview. But embedded throughout Ella’s work is willingness to go out on a limb to learn something new. She is currently writing for a soap opera hospital drama (never before haven’t written a soap opera), coalition building around climate change, presenting from stage, and writing a children’s book. And that’s just what she’s working on this month!

Ella speaks eloquently about the utility of not just being the master of a single, exclusive discipline. She describes what it takes to excel in multiple domains and what we can all learn from those who forge “plural” careers. I hope you enjoy this interview with Ella Saltmarshe.

Let Ella know what you think of our interview on Twitter, Instagram, or on her About.me page.

If you enjoyed this episode of the Robin Zander Show, stay up to date with goings-on and get weekly tactics via the newsletter.

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October 29th, 2015
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DerekSivers

Derek Sivers is probably best know as the founder of CD Baby, a company serving independent musicians which sold to charity for 22 million dollars. But the thing that makes Derek notable is his lifelong drive to learn, or in his words, personal improvement. Prior to founding CD Baby Derek trained him self obsessively for 15 years to become a professional musician, and since selling his company to charity he taught himself to become a speaker and “thought leader.” These days, Derek is a citizen of the world, currently living in New Zealand, and studying level human and software development languages.

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October 22nd, 2015
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Autism is a topic near and dear to my heart. Though I haven’t discussed on the podcast to date, for many years I ran Move Autism, a consulting company working with children with autism and their families around the world.

In November 2014, I was interviewed by the host of the Autism Show podcast Catherine Pascuas (@edcautism). Here, we turn the tables and discuss Catherine’s podcast The Autism Show, her origin story, and more.

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This interview is a fast-paced conversation with the host of the award-winning podcast Entrepreneur on Fire. I haven’t had a lot of my interviews with famous entrepreneur, but I wanted to bring John Lee Dumas on not just because he’s a successful businessman, but because he’s a successful teacher. Over the last three years of hosting a 7-day-a-week podcast John has taught thousands of aspiring entrepreneur and enabled others like him to find, pursue and monetize their passion.

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