June 16, 2021

P!vot, Disrupt, Transform | Marcia Daszko

P!vot, Disrupt, Transform | Marcia Daszko

Marcia is helping leaders to pivot and navigate through crises, challenges, and significant growth. She's also the co-author of “From Crisis to Growth” and best-selling author of “Pivot, Disrupt, Transform.” Marcia challenges leaders to think, act differently, and why not. As Marcia puts it, “When the status quo no longer works and insightful strategic contrarian, perspective reigns.”

Knowledge Bomb 

  • Only 12% of the people want to go back to the office full-time, 53% would go back hybrid (maybe a couple of days a week), and the rest just want to stay at home.

About the Guest

Marsha Daszko is a trusted strategic advisor and educator for Fortune 500/Private Corporations; education, healthcare; the U.S. Navy; and local and global non-profits. She is the bestselling author of Pivot Disrupt Transform (2020).

About the Show 

Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey with Michelle St Jane

A podcast for Global and Re-Emerging Leadership creating community/tribe, a circle of influence, transcendency of compassionate leadership in the world and wider universe. A unique destination for learning about Leadership + Conscious Stewardship + Legacy.

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Intro: You're listening to Life and Leadership: A Conscious Journey. The podcast that shares wisdom and strength. Join your host, Dr. Michelle St Jane's weekly conversation on how to have a positive impact on people, the planet, and the wider world. If you want to live a life of intention, to be proactive with your time, and bring your vision for the future to live one today at a time you were in the right place at the right time. Let's get started.

Michelle St Jane: She’s a catalyst for strategic change, profitable transformation, and disruptive innovation.  Full of passion, high energy, and strategic systems knowledge, Marcia Daszko helps leaders challenge their thinking and achieve exponential growth and impact. She is a trusted strategic advisor and educator for executive teams, Fortune 500 private corporations, education, healthcare, the US Navy.  She even helps local and global nonprofits. 

Marcia is helping leaders to pivot and navigate through crises, challenges, and significant growth. She's also the co-author of “From Crisis To Growthand best-selling author of “Pivot, Disrupt, Transform.” Marcia challenges leaders to think, act differently, and why not. As Marcia puts it, “when the status quo no longer works and insightful strategic contrarian perspective reigns.”

Marcia, I really enjoyed the deep wisdom and provocative thinking in your 2020 book “Pivot, Disrupt, and Transform.” Marcia, can you share what Pivot, Disrupt and Transform will do for you? 

Marcia Daszko: [00:01:47] For so many people, it can be a variety of options. I think that one thing it does is it challenges people to think about their beliefs, assumptions, their practices, their habits, and ask, “Are those things happening all for them?”

Personally, it helps them think about personal transformation, and if they're in a family or on a team, in an organization, leading an organization. Ask: “How can they pivot to assess any impending challenges that they might/may see on the horizon or anticipate?” Then, great leaders are always looking for new possibilities and opportunities.

If they disrupt themselves and are constantly thinking about transformational change and continual improvement, then they will always be able to keep transforming. That means they're having fun, doing hard work, but making a difference in having an impact in families, communities, and organizations. 

Michelle St Jane:  [00:03:00] Well said! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book. I liked the way it was provoking how I currently thought, encouraging me to challenge it, and also there was this beautiful influence of how can I think and interact differently. Get out of my comfort zone, adopt new and different or useful ways of communicating, collaborating, delivering meaningful value for not only in your home and your work, but also for society.

There's just so much wisdom, for sure. How did you come to write this? The timing was perfect wasn't it? 

Marcia Daszko:  [00:03:33]Yes. It came up on my crystal ball. No. Over time.

When I look back at my life, I have gone through so many personal transformations, from being excruciatingly shy, to now loving to be a guest on podcasts.  Loving to grab that mic and share with an audience that everyone is a natural leader. They can lead with their passion.  They can also make a difference they never thought about before. 

So many leaders are struggling and declining and being so overwhelmed with challenges in a business and they don't need too. Many leaders who are struggling, even before the pandemic, and some went out of business before the pandemic, or the pandemic accelerated them going out of business. It's not because they needed to, it's because of the fork in the road. They took the wrong path. They took the easy way. They took the management fads and best practices, and that created internal competition. It created dysfunctional, unhappy, unhealthy workplaces. And so if leaders take a look at and time consider to:

  • What is my environment?
  • What do my teams and my organization do?
  • What do they look like?
  • Are we always struggling? 
  • Are we stressed? 
  • Are we overwhelmed? 
  • Are we fighting with each other? 

If all of these things are happening, then question is, 

  • Are you getting the results that you want? 

If not, you really need transformation, you need a different way, a bold way. New beliefs, new assumptions. New practices and that's created with a foundational philosophy of management.

I wrote the book because over time I learned about these concepts from my mentors over time. I was working with small to large global organizations and I was helping them apply, learn as you're doing and making mistakes. Discover, what works, what doesn't? Then I would teach MBA classes, or I would teach executive teams or boards of directors.

All the concepts that I wanted to talk about and teach were not in one place. It was like, my students would say, you expect us to read 10 books in 10 weeks. Of course, I read five to 10 books a week. That's nothing. I wanted all the concepts in one place. That's why I wrote my book.

Michelle St Jane: [00:06:07]I really liked how Part One was about What Leaders Should Stop Doing, and Part Two What Leaders Should Start Doing

There were some great assessments and questions. For sure.  I agree with you when I read your book. Everything is in one place. An easy read. Well-referenced, there’s a bibliography, plenty of end notes, with recent research. 

You did an awesome job of getting everything in one place. That's the beauty of experience isn’t it. I feel that there's such an opportunity for intergenerational collaboration between leaders. I certainly have been through the eighties, the nineties, the early noughties, and we had recessions and then the great recession.

We've had catastrophic failures. We've had Y2K. I've bet a lot of people who don't even know what that is anymore. We had the SARS pandemic, now we have the COVID-19 pandemic. We know we have all this experience. We've also had the opportunity to learn how to pivot or how to disrupt or how to transform

I really liked the way that you brought all three into the one place. Like a dance cha, cha, cha, pivot, disrupt, transform cha, cha, cha. Let's keep moving. We can stay moving as opposed to frozen in fear or in flight, or we can turn our back on our creativity and our bodies can also be moving. We're not all stuck in place thinking, “Oh, who's going to get the chop next.” Well, I put it this wayIf you're made redundant, it's called redirection.

If your job is no longer available it’s time to reschedule and redirect your energies, maybe to someplace you would really like to be. Where you're part of the sustained growth of the company and an agile company as well. 

Marcia Daszko: [00:07:47] For sure. Definitely. Yes, because even when we thought about the people that lost jobs or their hours were cut, there were many companies and industries that were overwhelmed, whether it was the distribution companies, the companies that then had to supply the PPE, the gallons and the mass and the ventilators.

That's why Ford and General Motors made such a pivot because they typically are manufacturing cars. They pivoted and produced more than a hundred thousand ventilators because society needed them and that still is going on. We have to always look, “What does society need? What does our company need?” and “What do our work customers need? How can we create new markets?” 

Michelle St Jane: [00:08:37] Oh, absolutely. I was very taken by your formula for effective change, dissatisfaction, readiness, vision, next steps and integration. Would you explain to my audience how this formula comes together? 

Marcia Daszko:  [00:08:50] Certainly. We know that mere change is not enough. There's more than mere transactional change. It's like going from A to B and we know where A and B are. Like, we want to go from Los Angeles to New York, but when there's transformational change, that takes a whole new level of thinking. The Change Formula, which is you have step number one is dissatisfaction.

If you have a customer that needs help and you can see it. But they can't quite see it. They just know there are issues. They don't want to really make a change. People are resistant to change. Actually, they're resistant to being changed. If you increase the level of their dissatisfaction in conversation and actions and so forth, then you get their ear.

Then through that conversation, step two, you're doing some education, some teaching, asking questions, getting them to reflect on that dissatisfaction. That's getting them ready for a change. Then you talk more about the vision.

Step three. What is the vision of: 

  • Where could they be? 
  • What could they be doing? 
  • How could things be different?  

That's you really giving them hope. Then once they start seeing that vision, then you can say, “Okay, well, let's take a few steps.” The next steps, a few things improving, growing, helping them see that there is great potential for a better vision and then integration. So that's when you do a lot of steps and it gets better and better, and then you can integrate it into the whole.

 I use an example of a child riding a bicycle. Let's say there are two brothers. One rides the bicycle really well. Cause he's eight years old and the little one is only five and he wants to go with his brother and friends to the park, but he can't because he can't ride. So he's got the dissatisfaction, he goes to his dad and says, will you help me learn how to ride the bike?

That's getting ready. Then his vision is I'm going to ride to the park with the other kids. The next step is he's on the bike wobbling around trying to steer and brake and so forth. And then he gets all those pieces together about the steering, the braking, and he integrates those steps, and next, he can jump on his bicycle and go off to the park with his big brother and their friends.

Michelle St Jane: [00:11:15] Well, with leadership, just like riding a bike, you get into these positions and you've got to figure out how to manage crises, people and childcare and all the rest of it. The bike is a good analogy. 

I would really appreciate you speaking to the Deming philosophy of transformation, leadership, your mentor.

Marcia Daszko: [00:11:34] When I first went to Dr. W. Edwards Deming's four day seminar, the first one of 20 that I attended, he was using words I was not familiar with. I'm thinking “systems, variation, a system of profound knowledge. What is this all about?” I began studying, studying, studying. Working with other mentors, Dr. Perry Luckman and Dr. Deming Perry were friends. Dr. Deming taught a system of profound knowledge, which is systems thinking, theory of variation, theory of psychology, how people learn and think, and so forth. And the theory of knowledge, how do they plan using his model of the PDSA Plan, Do, Study, Act and do it over and over and over again.

Another model that can easily be applied to life. Like when every year you plan a vacation, you take it, you study, you say, “Oh, did we like that place too? And wanting to go back or, that wasn't so good. We'll go someplace else.” Then you act, you integrate into what you like, what you don't like. Those four parts of Dr. Deming's thinking are really about systems, making better decisions. Understanding people and planning how you're going to optimize the whole system. I add to that communication as a system because there are leaders who have that kind of knowledge that can learn, but they really need to communicate it.

As I've looked at all of my clients over 25 plus years, and have helped them with their transformation efforts, communication was key. Creating a compelling aim, communicating it. So people understand it, making sure that they have the methods and strategies to do their work. That they understand the customers by listening, not going in with a PowerPoint deck, and saying we're selling all these things.

Instead of that they really can focus on listening to the customers. Once seeing what they also need and having a conversation about that. Then how do you measure progress and success? So many organizations and leaders look at the bottom line and the bottom line is not where all of the improvement and innovation occurs.

That's why it's important to look at the measures up to that as well. There's so much to learn, it's really exciting. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:14:06] Great point. I really liked the way that you bought variation. I will add some of these words to the glossary because you are quite right, but I'm sure you're first of your 20 seminars, you were like, what are all these words?

 As I used to tell my law students that law has its own language. Insurance has a certain language. Germany has its own language. Doctors have their own language. Grab yourself a dictionary and then lean into language on the subject you're going to learn about. A really good starting point. Also, measurement. You make another really valuable point around measurement because I often wonder why we celebrate the sacred money market based on GDP.

GDP is not a good measurement of all the things, things that society values. It may be a good measurement for leadership that only has the bottom line on their mind, but really if you're not balancing that sacred money market as David Korten calls it with the health of people and planet, and I would add the outer planetary cosmos as well.

You may not actually be delivering a value that is worthwhile. Particularly if you're killing the planet or people are dying from what you're providing, or you can make a whole lot of money out of doing things that are not necessarily so good. But if we're only focused on the bottom line, we're creating this sacred money market at the expense of people, the planet, and the outer cosmos.

I really appreciated what you had in your book around variation. Now working virtually remotely, and we may be continuing and there may actually be an up-swell of people who would really prefer not to be working in an office building. How do you lead during the pandemic?  

Michelle St Jane: [00:15:40] Or when the pandemic might rise again. All the changes, the novel risks, and the outcomes of this pandemic, maybe creating opportunities to lead differently. Certainly, the ability to work remotely in virtual has certainly been a tough pivot. I think it's been a blessing for people taking the hours of commute out the hours of business travel. We've had the technology to be virtual. It's now very well utilized. So how would you lead during a pandemic or the after times of a pandemic?

Marcia Daszko: [00:16:12] I think that we have learned so many lessons. Innovation has taken off because of it. I think every day I read more and more stories and see more statistics about the lessons. I read yesterday that, only 12% of the people want to go back to the office full-time, 53% would go back hybrid. Maybe a couple of days a week and the rest, they just want to stay at home.

I read that they were interviewing some CEOs who said I don't plan to go back. And so there goes leadership. The thing is we learn how to communicate differently and it takes accelerated leadership. A new kind of leadership to really lead people through this and out of this pandemic because people really needed to take care of each other.

They needed to take better care of themselves, their families. 25% of women in America left the workforce in the past year. So, what does that say? The stories I've heard about women leaving the workforce and families getting closer. I know it's had negative impacts and mental health and abusive relationships and so forth. I'm not downplaying that at all. That’s horrible. 

There have been many positive things that have come out. Families have gotten closer. Like you mentioned that commute time. We used to be sitting out here on the freeways of, I wouldn't even go out in the traffic when I could avoid it, but for 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM. We had bumper-to-bumper traffic from San Francisco to the South of San Jose.

That's just a huge area that could be a two-hour commute for some people each way. Yes, I think there have been many devastating factors from this pandemic, many, many great lessons, innovations, and so forth that have come out, when organizations were stuck, they could have done things, but they didn't.

This pandemic was a kick in the butt. It created telemedicine, so people could get on the computer or the phone, or they could talk to the doctors there, you know, and non-emergency issues. He didn't need to go into the hospital or to the doctor's office. Remote schooling is another great opportunity.

 Yes, there are some negatives, and it has to be managed. It had to create an education system, but we learned a lot from that. We learned that there are many possibilities with virtual education. Not everything has to be face-to-face. With little kids it's different. With university students or graduate students who have worked all day and then race to a classroom at night, many times, they don't have to go sit in a classroom to be able to see the professor.

There are so many fantastic things that have come out of this, many learnings. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:19:16] Absolutely. Let's pull that crystal ball out again. We're well into 2021. Where do you see us going in the next one to five years? Anything standing out for you? Any thoughts? 

Marcia Daszko: [00:19:28] Especially in the US we're really stepping up the vaccination and now in more countries are getting vaccinated.

I think now is the time where we require some new leadership thinking. Leaders are going to have to pivot their thinking now, as they prepare to come out of this, because everything is changing, it's like, coming out of a cave and seeing, you know, after the bomb went off and finding, what's still here, like driving down the street, going to a city, go into an airport. What survived. Then it's about creating the future, creating a new future.

The question will be for everyone. 

  • What do we want our life going forward to look like? 
  • What do we want society to look like? 
  • What do we want this industry to look like?  

Michelle St Jane: [00:20:19] If you could have it all your way, what would we lean into in 2021 and 2022? 

Marcia Daszko: [00:20:24] Much, much more creativity. Really creating the environment for people to have more conversations and focus on creativity and across all generations, whether it's children and teachers and executives. Get them together and have conversations and think about what's possible.

Of course, the big word is diversity. More diversity across everything: age, and different industries talking to other industries, because we saw that we could be more helpful to each other through this. 

The crystal ball in the next year or two would show that we don't go back. Try to find a new normal.  Think about what are the lessons that we did learn and let's apply those going forward.

I've been saying pivotal leadership and the more creative people can be the more impact to make a difference. We'll tackle those big issues as a system. We'll tackle education. I think education is one of the most important root causes. We've got to invest in education. Then of course our environment, our climate. We've got to take on the big, big issues and we've got to work together.

We have so much work to do. We have so much potential. If we collaborate across communities, organizations, countries, the more that we do it that way, the more powerful we can be as far as creating a healthy life. One that we want to be proud of. One that we want to create a legacy and look back after 70, 80, 90 years and say we made a difference.

 We did a good thing. We tried to help. We tried to serve. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:22:17] Well, just turning up and having the conversation. The quiet of the quarantine last year led me out of the corporate world and into the conversation and on my virtual podium called this podcast. I have done a doctorate in global leadership and realized one of the critical issues was lack of real conversation. There is the opportunity to have a conversation where you can actively listen and you can also authentically share your thoughts without fear of something happening because you didn't agree with the status quo. I totally concur with you on the conversations because we do not realize how much we are habituated into what is a conditioned normal.

It is not necessarily who we are or how we wish to contribute to the world. So yeah, conversations.  I'm a conversation catalyst. One of my bottom lines with this podcast is to be inclusive of less discussed conversations. 

I really appreciate your contributions and you offer services and you show up in many different ways. Would you like to share with the audience how you could serve them?  

Marcia Daszko: [00:23:22] I love having conversations with people. One point I wanted to make too is while I'm out there on social media, I like to go deeper. I mean, the clubhouse is new and it's like a minute or two conversations here and there. But deep conversations are what it's going to take to really help us focus together on the issues that we face in society. I love to speak to audiences virtually and in person that needs help in thinking differently. To get different results. That is something that I'm really focused on.

 Michelle St Jane: [00:23:59] I’d call it your super genius. 

Marcia Daszko: [00:24:01] Getting out in front of as many people as I can to have conversations and help them interactively think about where they might be stuck and how I can help them transform to go to new levels and make the difference they want to make in that make the difference we need as communities and societies and families.

I think everything is so interconnected now. Families, education system, and then growing into healthy work environments and healthy communities. We need those things. So as much as possible, I want to be out there speaking on stage or virtually facilitating executive retreats, having some of the tough conversations.

Michelle St Jane: [00:24:44] I appreciate your presence in the world Marcia. I will have all of your information in the show notes so that people can connect with you.  I really appreciate how you generously gifted your time to be here with me today. Thank you. 

Marcia Daszko: [00:24:57] Thank you so much. This is so much fun. I'm so happy to meet you.

Outro:  Dr. Michelle St Jane is a conscious steward of meaningful leadership in the world and the wider cosmos. Tune in every Thursday for real talk around life, leadership, and your conscious journey. Be ready to create and cultivate your dreams and wholehearted desires. Your support is valued. Please follow, subscribe, leave a review and a rating. More importantly, share with your connections.