Interview with Laura Macleod of From the Inside Out Project

Cover art for Leadership Caffeine PodcastWelcome back to the Leadership Caffeine Podcast series! While the series took a hiatus for an extended period during my last venture, the idea of bringing fresh voices to the important topics of management and leadership is an unyielding objective of mine here at the Management Excellence blog. For those kind listeners who have asked about the podcast, thanks for the reminders, and know that I’m slow but thorough!

I’m excited to return to the series and kick-off with Laura MacLeod, founder and proprietor of From the Inside Out Project, a firm dedicated to smoothing communications and relations between hourly employees and management.

LauraMacLeod Laura shares a bit about the genesis of her idea and some of the approaches she applies to promoting harmony between groups that struggle to communicate effectively with each other. As I mention during the interview, she had me at “harmonious.” I’ve been looking for that workplace for a long time.

While just a bit of a spoiler, Laura picked up on this idea when she found herself in the middle of one of those challenging hourly employee/management communication situations earlier in her career. Her approach to navigating the situation and then extending what worked to a business venture is instructive for all of us. Her guidance on navigating the sticky communications issues in the workplace in pursuit of constructive and even harmonious dialog is intriguing.

I had a great time catching up and learning from Laura. Enjoy the interview!


About Laura MacLeod

With a background in social work and 2 decades of experience as a union worker, Laura MacLeod created “From The Inside Out Project®,” with all levels of employment in mind to assist in maintaining a harmonious workplace. She is an adjunct professor in graduate studies at the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work and leads training sessions for social work professionals at The Coalition for Behavioral Health and Institute for Community Living in New York City. MacLeod speaks on conflict resolution, problem solving, and listening skills at conferences across the country.  

Art Petty serves senior executives and management teams as a performance coach and strategy facilitator. Art is a popular keynote speaker focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.


Leadership Caffeine™ Podcast-Become the CEO of You, Inc. with Susan Butler

Cover art for Leadership Caffeine PodcastOne of the many pleasures of this podcast project is the opportunity it affords to connect with remarkable people. While Susan Butler’s excellent book, Become the CEO of You, Inc., offers great insight, wisdom and career guidance for all of us (with an emphasis on aspiring female executives), it is her fascinating, trailblazing biography that serves as true inspiration.

Susan ties in some priceless career guidance with her story as the rise to become the first female partner of Accenture.

The book, CEO of You, Inc., is framed around a four-part process for managing your career:

  1. You are the CEO of You, Inc.
  2. Create the Vision for You, Inc.
  3. Build Your Team
  4. Develop Your Plan

And it offers proven and practical guidance for “Navigating the Journey.” Susan’s input on taking ownership of your career, developing and acting on your vision and seeking help along the way in the form of feedback, journaling, establishing your own Board of Advisors and many others, are particularly important for all of us in this challenging world today.

While she’s moved forward from her days serving clients and developing young professionals at Accenture, Susan has adopted a bit loftier goal, “to change the world.” As the founder of the Institute for the Development of Women Leaders and an active educator, speaker and coach, she’s well on her way to doing just that!

Enjoy learning more about this inspirational human and remarkable role model and in particular, enjoy learning from Susan Butler. It was my pleasure to connect with Susan. Enjoy the interview!

(You can learn more about Susan and contact her, by visiting her website at

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For more ideas on professional development-one sound bite at a time, check our Art’s latest book: Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development

Download a free excerpt of Leadership Caffeine (the book) at Art’s facebook page.

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An ideal book for anyone starting our in leadership: Practical Lessons in Leadership by Art Petty and Rich Petro.

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Leadership Caffeine™ Podcast-J. Keith Murnighan on Do Nothing!

Cover art for Leadership Caffeine PodcastI confessed to J. Keith Murnighan, Northwestern (Kellogg School of Management) Professor and author of the new book, Do Nothing! How to Stop Overmanaging and Become a Great Leader, that the title had me just a little bit worried. I learned once I began turning the pages, that this was an unfounded fear. There’s nothing trite here as a title of “Do Nothing!” might suggest.

Keith offers up some fascinating and occasionally counter-intuitive (and research backed) ideas in Do Nothing! on how we can improve our effectiveness as leaders.

Reading the book was like spending a few days in a Kellogg School of Management Executive Education program. You’re exposed to some of the sharpest minds in management offering up research-backed ideas and approaches that are immediately actionable. You leave the program inspired, motivated and a little out of breath, and Keith achieves this same effect in Do Nothing!

In addition to guidance on what effective leaders should be doing (hint: it’s not their old jobs!), to his guidance on giving trust to get it, setting high expectations instead of testing people, and his “Leadership Law” there’s interesting, actionable advice in every chapter.

And while the chapters titled, “Ignore Performance Goals,” and “De-emphasize Profits” might sound like heresy for a Kellogg Professor, you can be certain that Keith has some great guidance here as well.

The final chapter, “Unnatural Leaders” is worth twice the price of admission, and offers profiles of 7 leaders who have been successful and who in Keith’s view, both exemplify the principles in the book and, do things differently than most. 

Bob Sutton, author of “Good Boss, Bad Boss” and “The No Asshole Rule,” offers up high praise with his jacket quote that the book is, “Among the most imaginative, fun and useful leadership books ever published. It delivers on all 3 counts: fun, useful and imaginative! It’s a great addition for your leadership library.

You can check out Keith Murnighan’s blog at



Leadership Caffeine™ Podcast-Executive Coach Mary Jo Asmus

Cover art for Leadership Caffeine PodcastThere’s a secret to why I have so much fun producing this podcast. I only interview people who fascinate and inspire with their stories and ideas. The subject of this interview, Executive Coach, business owner at Aspire CS and popular leadership blogger, Mary Jo Asmus, hits the bullseye on all criteria.  And yes, as I offer in the opening of this fun interview, if Mary Jo had a fan club, I would be a card carrying member!

I’ve hosted a fairly steady stream of authors in the past few months, and it’s enjoyable in this interview to focus on a great person and professional and not a book.

Mary Jo describes a fascinating journey from executive inside Big Pharama to entrepreneur to someone celebrating the ten year anniversary of her successful coaching business.  Along the way, we gain some great insights into Mary Jo, her approach to business success and her ideas on the fast growing profession of executive coaching. In this last area, whether you are considering engaging a coach or becoming one, her insights and ideas are worth many times the price of admission to this podcast.

Enjoy meeting Mary Jo Asmus! 

After listening to the interview, make certain to check out her blog and services at Aspire-CS.  She consistently inspires, educates and provokes some important and often introspective thinking on our work as leaders.  I think so highly of her writing and blogging that with her permission, one of our collaboration efforts was included in my recently published book.

Don’t miss the next Leadership Caffeine-Newsletter! Register here.

For more ideas on professional development-one sound bite at a time, check our Art’s latest collection: Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development.

Download a free excerpt of Leadership Caffeine (the book) at Art’s facebook page.

To talk about a workshop or speaking need, contact Art at via e-mail at [email protected]


Leadership Caffeine™ Podcast-Getting Ahead with Joel Garfinkle

Cover art for Leadership Caffeine PodcastFor many of us, the idea of “self promotion” is uncomfortable. The concept conjures images and memories of famous a**-kissers we’ve known and not liked, and many of us firmly believe that our work speaks for itself.

Unfortunately, good work alone is not always enough to stand-out from the crowd. In a noisy, competitive workplace, where others choose us for big projects and new opportunities, finding a way to stand-out…while not becoming one of those aforementioned obnoxious characters, is a fact of life.

Joel Garfinkle, a leading executive coach, speaker and author, offers some excellent and practical guidance for all of us on this important but awkward topic in his latest book, Getting Ahead-Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level.

Joel through his book and this fun and engaging interview, helps us focus in on three key areas: perception, visibility and influence (PVI), in pursuit of getting noticed, building a strong value proposition/brand and extending our reach and impact. Learning the PVI model is worth the price of admission both to the podcast and this extremely helpful and engaging book. Enjoy!

About Joel Garfinkle:

Joel Garfinkle helps his executive and corporate coaching clients become effective and influential business leaders. He helps them achieve career advancement, gain promotions, and earn the respect of upper management by proving themselves to be highly capable leaders. You can learn more about Joel, his services and other books and resources by visiting his website.

Don’t miss the next Leadership Caffeine-Newsletter! Register here.

Art Petty is a Chicago-based management consultant focusing on strategy and leadership development. Art regularly speaks on innovation in management and leadership, and his work is reflected in two books, including the recent, Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development. (download a free excerpt at Art’s facebook page.)

Art publishes regularly at The Management Excellence blog at

Prior to his solo career, Art spent 20+ years leading marketing sales and business units in systems and software organizations around the globe. You can follow Art on twitter: @artpetty and he can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]