[Ep#218] How to Lead Change 

How to Lead Change 

In our latest episode of the Women in Leadership Podcast, our host Annemarie Cross deepens our understanding of how to lead change, with transformational insights from the remarkable Marsha Acker, founder and CEO of Team Catapult.

Marsha is internationally recognized for her expertise in facilitating meaningful conversations, breaking through communication barriers, and promoting agility across organizations.  

Host of the Defining Moments of Leadership Podcast, she is also the author of The Art and Science of Facilitation and Build Your Model for Leading Change. She emphasizes the importance of facilitation and coaching skills as essential for 21st-century leaders. 

Tune in to this powerful episode and embrace the tactics, communication strategies, and self-awareness needed to lead impactful change in your organization.

On today’s show, Marsha is going to share:  

  • How leading change often means that we get stuck and have the same conversations over and over again without getting anywhere 
  • How deepening of your self-awareness to understand your impact on interpersonal and group dynamics    
  • 4 primary questions to ask when leading change 




Jump straight to these golden nuggets:

06:13 Encouraging curiosity in communication with young children.

08:13 Defaulting to “just go along to get along”

10:55 Bus delay, structural dynamics, miscommunication resolved.

14:54 Effective communication requires voicing, opposing, and listening.

17:21 Encouraging team participation in implementing new technology.

22:36 Self-awareness crucial for leadership; understand strengths, limitations.

26:42 Do less harm, know yourself, control behavior.

30:01 Leading change through learning and self-awareness.

32:07 Reflect on behavior, make meaningful changes, leadership.

35:06 Coaches and consultants unlock visibility and success.


Topic: Importance of Effective Communication and Change Management

  • Understanding the impact of default communication patterns like “because I said so”
  • Tips for shifting stuck conversations about change
  • Exploring the concept of structural dynamics in communication
  • Expressing all four communication actions (setting direction, following or supporting, opposing, bystand) in a conversation for effectiveness
  • The challenge of suppressed opposition and the importance of expressing intentions in conversations

Topic: Creating a Safe Environment for Open Communication

  • Inviting different points of view and not assuming silence as consent
  • Being aware of unresolved underlying issues
  • Slowing down for micro moments and deepening self-awareness
  • Understanding why one reacts a certain way and expanding leadership range

Topic: Importance of Self-Awareness in Leadership

  •  Allowing leaders to tap into their strengths and create a positive work environment
  •  Recognizing the impact of self-awareness on interpersonal dynamics
  •  The tendency to resort to “because I said so” responses in parenting and leadership


Viral Leadership Tactics: “You want change to happen, and you try some tactics to involve other people. You maybe watch what other leaders are doing or you've been led before and you've seen examples of other people doing it, and yet you find yourself in a high stakes moment and people are resisting.”

— Marsha Acker [00:07:50 → 00:07:58]

The Power of Effective Communication: “The way we communicate, like, how we show up in those conversations and the intersection of, you know, who we are as individuals and who we are as a group, I think that's where all change starts from, and the success either propels us forward or it sort of holds us back in what we're seeing.”

— Marsha Acker [00:09:13 → 00:09:28]

Parenting Dilemmas: “I need you to get your shoes on,” and she would follow by saying okay. But what she intended was a no. She intended and opposed.

— Marsha Acker [00:11:46 → 00:11:57]

The Importance of Intentions and Actions: “We intend one thing, but we do something else for all kinds of reasons, and then it creates confusion or misunderstanding or stuckness in the conversation we find ourselves repeating.”

— Marsha Acker [00:12:26 → 00:12:39]

The Importance of Intention in Communication: “I think that's one of our challenges in communication is just becoming more aware of what we're intending and does the intention match the action?”

— Marsha Acker [00:16:12 → 00:16:22]

Leadership and Seeking Different Points of View: “Asking questions like, well, where might I be wrong or where might we be missing something or what's the what's the con to the idea that's on the table? So, actually, really, genuinely and I think you have to mean it when you invite it. But I think really genuinely seeking different seeking different points of view.”

— Marsha Acker [00:19:46 → 00:20:03]

Self-Awareness in Leadership: “If I had any advice for my younger self, it would be to pay way more attention to how I was showing up and why I did what I did.”

— Marsha Acker [00:22:53 → 00:23:05]

Finding Comfort in Discomfort: “It really is something that we all as leaders need to find our own range. Like, it's not just about doing the things that we're comfortable with, but why are we comfortable with it?”

— Marsha Acker [00:24:25 → 00:24:36]

Leadership and Self-Awareness: “Do less harm and know the harm that you can do.”

— Marsha Acker [00:26:49 → 00:26:52]

Leading Change: “I think about it as, if you were to sit up in your chair, stand squarely with your feet on the floor. It is that solid ground of clarity that you come from when you start to lead, and I think it's those 3 things that help you answer that first question that last question which is how we lead change.”

— Marsha Acker [00:31:18 → 00:31:40]


Contact Marsha:

A Personal Message from Annemarie

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