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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

May 31, 2017

Dr. Linda Sharkey and Morag Barrett, co-authors of The Future-Proof Workplace, share their views on how the industrial revolution left us with the broken and toxic workplaces we see today. Virtual enterprises and aspirational millennials do not thrive under command-and-control leadership. Linda and Morag talk about how a culture of curiosity, learning, diversity, growth, and purpose can future-proof the workplace to lend purpose and power to individuals and teams.


Key Takeaways

[5:40] Linda explains that the rules of industry were designed for an era with different values and beliefs, such as the belief that people need to be controlled and managed to achieve their goals. The manual manufacturing environment is replaced by automation. ‘Command and control’ is still seen in the office. Linda would rather see ideas put in place to help people be the best they can be, and contribute fully.

[9:59] Linda comments on command and control. She considers the pressure to produce and sell, which has been present since the Great Recession, causes leaders to revert to the default style of command and control to meet high-pressure deadlines.

[16:09] Linda says more books are written on leadership than any other topic. Leadership has been an issue for thousands of years. The style of leadership that is engaging, focused on development and on the individuals you are leading, with heart, has always been successful. People have tolerated command and control, but changed conditions and technology have made it unsustainable for this century.

[17:41] Linda considers how current massive changes may cause us to step back and ask how can we really get to that place we’ve all been talking about for the last 50 years, of belonging, of diversity, with a culture that values people, and makes them feel they can participate and innovate, and feel appreciated. Things will never be as they were in the 1960s, so embrace the change and transform along with it.

[20:11] Morag studied authors Christophe Morin, Sebastian Junger, and Robin Dunbar for her first book, on the importance of professional relationships. Technology gives us an illusion of connection, but social media friends are not friends to call on in an emergency. The neuroscience of what makes us human — how we work together, is important. Morag cites Daniel Pink on autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

[23:02] Linda stresses the importance of purpose. Purpose needs to be the rallying cause. People get much more excited about what they’re doing, when thinking from a purposeful perspective. Deep down, people do want to help other people, and want to make and do things that will make a difference and leave a legacy.

[24:56] Connection and empathy are basic principles. Morag suggests pausing to check in, and connect, before you dive into the project. Relationships are critical to success in the 21st century. Linda says technology gives us information very quickly, but the emotional connection, and feeling of a relationship is what makes a difference to people. Google research shows that the best teams care about each other.

[34:18] Morag says leaders today need to have these conversations: what culture do we have on this team, what are our rules of engagement, and how are we working together? Start creating a language and framework that effects change, at your level of influence, if you are not in the C-suite. There will be a ripple effect to the rest of the organization.

[39:17] Deal humanely with people that don’t produce. But saying that a certain percentage will be cut is toxic. Look at your strategy, and look at your people. Who has the skills now to move the strategy forward, who needs development, and who would work better in another area, or at another company? Keep the workforce vital, to deliver on the strategy. Dump the rules, and grow people with the company.

[43:49] Morag shares case studies. They helped someone pivot from the mindset of a treadmill career track to a portfolio career, where the same skills performed a different role, and provided empowerment and fulfillment. Linda and Morag helped a team move past the way it has always been done, to an innovative, influential solution. Linda and Morag helped an organization find hidden talent in-house.

[47:18] Linda shares a cultural transformation story of a Canadian division of a global company. With six months of serious effort, they really changed how leadership acted, and how they were interacting with the company. They measured the results with psychometric tools. Over a year, they were able to turn the culture around to become a star division in the company. Use science, not hunches, to make changes.


Book: The Future-Proof Workplace: Six Strategies to Accelerate Talent Development, Reshape
Your Culture, and Succeed with Purpose,
by Linda Sharkey, PhD. and Morag Barrett

Website: For a special 40% discount on the book.



Twitter: @TheLindaSharkey

Twitter: @SkyeMorag

Twitter: @SkyeTeam

LinkedIn: Linda D. Sharkey

LinkedIn: Morag Barrett

Facebook: The Linda Sharkey

Facebook: Skye Teamn


Dr. Linda Sharkey is the author of The Future-Proof Workplace and a trusted transformational expert, author, speaker, and global leadership development coach.

Through her programs and no-nonsense approach, she helps create high-potential leaders and shapes company culture. Linda has deep experience working with Fortune 50 companies, and held senior human resource executive positions at Hewlett-Packard and at GE Capital.

Her co-authored book Winning With Transglobal Leadership was named one of the top 30 best business books for 2013.

Dr. Sharkey is a founding member of the Marshall Goldsmith Group, and an inspiring keynote speaker at many global events, including the Global HR Academy with the Conference Board and the World Human Resources Development Conference, where she was honored with the “Super Women Achievement Award.”



Morag Barrett is the author of The Future-Proof Workplace and Cultivate: The Power of Winning Relationships. She is also the founder and CEO of SkyeTeam, an international HR and leadership development company.

With a background in corporate banking, Morag brings a pragmatic perspective to her work with forward-thinking organizations, from start-up to FTSE 100 and Fortune 100 companies. She is a regular contributor to,, and the American Management Association.

Prior to founding SkyeTeam, Morag held leadership positions at Level 3 Communications, and NatWest Bank where she advised international organizations on their corporate strategy and growth plans. Originally from the UK, she has experience working with more than 3,000 leaders in twenty countries on four continents.


Books Mentioned in This Episode

Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and In Life, by Tasha Eurich

Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer's Brain, by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger

How Many Friends Does One Person Need?: Dunbar's Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks, by Robin Dunbar

Cultivate: The Power of Winning Relationships, by Morag Barrett

Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink

"The Five Keys to a Successful Google Team," Google work article by Julia Rozovsky

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

Reinvention Roadmap: Break the Rules to Get the Job You Want and Career You Deserve, by Liz Ryan

The Future of Management, by Gary Hamel

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization, by Peter M. Senge