The Leader Learner Podcast

S03E13 The Story I'm Telling Myself Episode

March 27, 2024 Theresa Destrebecq & Vincent Musolino Season 3 Episode 13
The Leader Learner Podcast
S03E13 The Story I'm Telling Myself Episode
Show Notes


  • Which projects give you energy?

Big Ideas:

  • 3 skills that lead to successful groups: building safety, sharing vulnerability, establishing purpose
  • cohesive groups - telling stories and reminding one another what they stand for
  • murmuration - how birds move together
  • using small signals to link the present moment to the future ideal
  • organizations that don't have a purpose, mission, vision, etc. 
  • the challenge of extracting a purpose
  • how to detect weak signals and act on them
  • going through the motions of purpose - some people feel it's not worthwhile
  • "What's the purpose of having a purpose?" 
  • Purpose is a higher order construct - something you can build everything else around
  • If there are no words, there's no knowledge
  • Purpose seems too impractical - not actionable, practical enough
  • Cultural differences in focusing on culture
  • A tool without a purpose is just an object.
  • Leadership without purpose doesn't serve anyone
  • You can pivot around a purpose, and shift your business structure
  • Don't sell change
  • When companies focus their purpose around a story or stories, it can motivate employees in a new way
  • Having a clear beacon of purpose
  • What can organizations do to re-engage employees? Is story enough?
  • Belief that narratives only apply to children and politicians 
  • Stories are a way to make groups work together - story-telling goes back thousands of years
  • Any good story has conflict and strong emotion -- some organizations still try to separate emotions from work
  • How to help people identify the stories that they are telling themselves? 
  • Once you identify the story, you can change the story
  • How stories drive our emotional world.
  • Our brains want to close the loop, so we make up the rest of the story so we can move on - a necessary evolutionary device
  • Being in the matrix and not knowing you are in the matrix
  • Leading for Proficiency (being the lighthouse) - establishing priorities and connected behaviors
  • Leading for Creativity (being the ship's engineer, not the captain) - safe flat, high-candor environment, not about how to
  • What's your leadership purpose?
  • Transactional versus transformational leadership
  • The leader's job isn't to motivate others, but to create conditions for people to be motivated


  • The Culture Code, by Daniel Coyle
  • Start with Why Simon Sinek
  • Find Your Why, Simon Sinek
  • Adam Grant

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