E226: Disruption, leadership, and how to let go and delegate with Charlene Li

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For the past two decades, Charlene Li has been helping people see the future. She’s an expert on digital transformation, leadership, customer experience, and the future of work. She’s the author of six books, including the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership, and co-author of the critically acclaimed book, Groundswell. Her latest book is the bestseller The Disruption Mindset. She is the Founder and Senior Fellow at Altimeter, a disruptive analyst firm acquired in 2015 by Prophet. Named one of the most creative people in business by Fast Company, Charlene is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School and lives in San Francisco.

Episode highlights:

  • Disruption! Wait… what does it really mean?
  • How can a company that isn’t comfortable with disruption handle what might be coming?
  • How to frame failure to become a leader who is more comfortable with disruption.
  • The difference between perfection and excellence, and what that means for you as an entrepreneur.
  • “The idea failed” vs “I failed”.
  • Why vulnerability is strength.
  • Gender. Race. Stature. How Charlene leads when she’s “not the person anyone expected.”
  • The hallmark of a truly disruptive leader.
  • Do you struggle with letting it go and allowing others to step up? Here’s how to think about it and change your mindset.
  • Pull out your calendar. When do you have time to strategize?
  • How to organize and prune your meeting schedule and agenda.
  • How to have fewer meetings with clients.
  • Best advice: Manage your career in 18-month sprints
  • Habit that contributes to success: Taking deep breaths, being centered, and being present
  • Recommended tool: Timebuddy
  • Recommended book: Impact Players by Liz Weisman (also Multipliers by same author)
  • Run time: 42:11


Links:

Quotes:

  • “We all have first-hand experience of what disruption looks like and feels like.”
  • “They see that it’s worth it on the other side.”
  • “The needs haven’t gone away. They’ve shifted.”
  • “Disruptors are comfortable with uncertainty.”
  • “You look at it as a data point.”
  • “Instead of being perfect, you can focus your energy on being excellent.”
  • “I don’t have all the answers, I just have a lot of questions.”
  • “Can you imagine them doing it better than you?”
  • “One meeting to end all meetings.”
  • “Are you clear about who you want to be?”

Takeaways:

  • Think about the future! How will you serve your clients?
  • What is your relationship with failure? How willing are you to potentially face it?
  • Look at your calendar. Where is your time to reflect and think about your business? It can’t happen if you’re sucked into the day-to-day work. Designate times for no meetings, rather than whenever.
  • Meetings: decide if they’re worth your time. 1=amazing, 2=middle ground, 3=not worth it. No more 3’s, limit your 2’s.

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