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Storytellers, Googlers, Innovators and Bosses!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017  
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Storytellers Googlers Innovators and Bosses

Storytellers, Googlers, Innovators and Bosses!

By Lisa Zangari, Director of Learning, Leadership Louisville Center

The past six months of Leadership Louisville Center’s professional development offering – the Leadership Green Room – featured a diverse line-up of courses designed to help individuals discover their power to make a positive difference as leaders. Participants learned how to tell engaging stories, be their most creative, apply mindfulness at work, have tough conversations and ‘lead like bosses’. Here are some of my favorite take-aways...

We kicked off the summer with Stop Talking, Start Storytelling. There are numerous examples of strategic storytelling changing attitudes and behaviors in business – not to mention “storytelling” has been identified by CMOs as one of the most critical leadership skills of the next five years (HBR, Entrepreneur, Fast Company).

In this refreshing and fast-paced course, Madison Cork, Founder of Cork Communications, taught us that:

  • Data needs stories and stories need data.
  • Stories create sticky memories in the listener’s brain. They generate imagery that goes beyond normal corporate jargon and take us deeper into our emotions.
  • Great storytelling builds that trust more quickly and effectively than any other communication tactic.

One of the leaders in the room shared, “I was skeptical of the subject matter at first but found it to be really relevant and applicable. Excellent execution.”

In August, I partnered with Leadership Louisville Center’s VP, Holly, to teach Lead Like a Boss. This course was a homegrown mash-up of Marshall Goldsmith’s book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, emotional intelligence components and behavior change theory. We designed the course to help leaders:

  • Discover their own leadership brand and how to use journaling/reflection to build greater self-awareness.
  • Identify blind spots and ineffective leadership habits that are keeping them from being even more successful.
  • Practice techniques for making positive and lasting behavior change.
  • Here is what one participant told us after the course:

“I am a very driven, confident and results-oriented person, and imagined that would be enough to move up at my firm. This course helped me see that how I work with co-workers and ‘my brand’ are just as important to my professional success. With the habits and exercises I can start taking steps in the right direction to better collaborate and communicate with my team.”

October’s course, Unleashing Creativity & Unlocking Innovation, gave me the opportunity to share some of the tools and behaviors I used with Fortune 500 companies while working as an innovation consultant in NYC for 10+ years.

Participants from GE, Louisville Metro, Justice AV solutions, Texas Roadhouse and more learned that:

  • We are all creative! Some of us just need to re-learn how to access our innate curiosity and expansive thinking skills.
  • Behaviors eat process for breakfast when it comes to making innovation thrive.
  • You can collaborate to grow new ideas using “S.U.N.” – Suspend judgment, Understand more about the idea and Nurture the idea until it’s ‘big enough’ to be fairly evaluated.

In the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Future of Jobs report, complex problem solving and creativity are ranked first and third, respectively, as the most critical skills for the (very near) future and now some of our KY and IN leaders have a fresh approach to add to their innovation toolbox!

"This course did an amazing job of setting the stage for processes to make our minds think differently and truly be innovative,” wrote one participant.

Leadership ImageIn November, we welcomed the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, born out of a course that was originally developed and tested at Google. We asked them to consider bringing the course to Louisville and one of the big draws for them was our distinction as an international compassionate city. We had over 100 people attend the Search Inside Yourself course from our region but also places as far away as Brazil! It was a truly global audience right here in our backyard.

One of our participants shared just how impactful the course was for her – “This was one of the best professional development sessions I have attended in my career. I have been experiencing symptoms of executive burnout and leadership fatigue and this was exactly what I needed, especially Day 2. As a result of attending this program, I feel a sense of calm and of renewal.”

Finally, we ended the year with Crucial Conversations. So many critical conversations that need to be had at work (and in life) are done ineffectively or worse, never had at all. Avoiding tough conversations in the workplace can lead to mediocrity and diminished engagement. Our Green Room faculty, Cynthia and Aaron, armed the class with the confidence, framework and skills to have those crucial conversations and lead more effectively in 2017 and beyond!

It’s been a stellar learning journey and we’re so grateful for the 500+ people that have already joined us in the Leadership Green Room. Every participant helps to further our mission while building greater confidence, knowledge and networks to fuel their own development.

January kicks off with our newly launched, Executive Green Room, and the Human Performance Institute will be teaching executives how to manage energy for higher performance and become “Corporate Athletes.” Stay tuned for more from the Green Room soon!

A shorter version of this blog is available at


About This Author

Lisa Zangari Head ShotLisa Buckley Zangari
Director of Learning
Leadership Louisville Center

Having spent more than twelve years on the front lines of innovation, Lisa Buckley Zangari brings a unique blend of business savvy and human-driven change-management.

Before joining Leadership Louisville, Lisa spent nine years at ?What If! Innovation Partners in New York City. While there, she partnered with Fortune 500 executives and their teams to build innovation capability, develop new products/services, launch internal start-ups and nurture more creative corporate cultures. As the global account leader for several clients, Lisa worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and across North America.

She designed and led numerous leadership development programs for companies such as AARP, American Express, AT&T, Citibank, Hasbro, Independence Blue Cross, Pfizer, The Hershey Company and more. This included taking leaders behind the scenes of some of the world’s most innovative organizations – Facebook, Google, Southwest Airlines, etc. – and helping them apply what they learned back in their own organizations. Lisa also spearheaded What If NYC’s social innovation practice with clients such as Acumen, Future Generation Foundation of Egypt and (RED)™.

Lisa’s innovation career started at Saatchi & Saatchi where she worked with iconic brands and retailers, such as P&G and Walmart, to reinvent the shopping experience. She has an M.B.A. from Texas A&M University and degrees in Psychology and Theatre.

Since moving to Louisville last summer, Lisa has been doing pro-bono consulting for New Roots (a local food access non-profit) and the Louisville Downtown Residents Association and was a 2015 volunteer camp counselor for the Earth and Spirit Center’s ‘Camp Nature Odyssey for Kids’. Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Image credit: leaders Creative Commons: by thinkpublic (website)