“catalysts must be intentional, clear & bold and accept that they can’t help everyone all the time..”
Tracey, Shannon and I delve into the world of innovators and change-makers who can’t help but take in information, create a vision, connect the dots and make change for the better – even if no-one has asked them to ! How do we create systemic change and thriving as a catalyst ? How do we create visibility and understanding of what catalysts need to fulfil their quest to innovate, get stuff done and take others with them.. ? How do we equip catalysts with operational tools and approaches to translate their visions into operations and find other catalysts to create momentum ?We discuss the challenges facing catalysts as they strive to effect sustainable change :managing their speed and energy, recognising and naming their emotions, creating curiosity and the erosion of catalyst leadership trust. Tracey and Shannon share their journey, thoughts, research and experience from being catalysts and from working with catalysts around the globe.
The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :
- Book was inspired by a lack of information about and representation of the people behind innovation: fire-starters, troublemakers, disruptors and catalysts – who very often feel broken and alone.
- It aims to define and formalise the catalyst role, particularly post-covid. Catalysts are defined by their attributes of constantly synthesising information, recognising opportunities to improve the world around them, and forming visions, moving into action and having a design thinking mindset for iteration.
- They thrive in community with other catalysts and organisations must connect with and train their catalysts by providing psychological safety for them to speak up, inviting conversation and making them feel valued.
- Catalysts see things very clearly but may not have brought others along with them. It is difficult for them to slow down before ‘breadcrumbing’ the way for others to understand and acknowledge what they do or have achieved.
- Catalysts should keep spreadsheets of the data they have collected, the conversations they have had, etc.; practice mindful self-compassion and claim their power to bring compassion to and empathise with others.
- Cognitive is explicit but emotional is not. Catalysts must recognise that the change they want to bring about requires them to have a full tank and be self-regulated in order to do the hard work. Success means having this full tank, then making smart choices, like taking a break.
- Catalysts must be intentional, clear and accept that they can’t help everyone all the time. They must help themselves and prioritise for themselves to produce a ripple effect to achieve more and/or differently, rather than draining their own energy.
- 3 (intuitive) superpowers of catalysts (that are often invisible to people):
- The ability to take in information – they must take a step back and reformulate to allow others to catch up; to understand the disconnect
- The ability to go outside the structure, build relationships, demonstrate empathy – people are needed to shift mindsets, ideas and behaviours
- The ability to get shit done and make possibilities a reality – they are not visionaries, who only see the picture, they operationalise the vision
- The catalyst’s toolbox:- prioritisation list: leaders must have clear objectives for the team and themselves; a ‘not-right-now’ list; and a list for self-care and rejuvenation to model for others- regular reflection: act as orchestra conductor to guide others from vision to execution; an orchestration calendar with thoughtful and realistic input- network map: create influence by seeking out those with power, those who make decisions, those sitting on the fence; build a human system that is intentionally designed- Communication: to allow others to keep up; repeat their message, which lands differently every time and can then percolate with others- ‘breadcrumbing’: creating space for change and spaciousness for themselves and others, which is very difficult in fast-paced, delivery-driven times
- The biggest challenges facing catalysts are burnout, the pandemic and the erosion of catalyst leadership trust. COVID has taken away cross-silo trust building and communication, which deprives catalysts of their superpower to leverage ‘water cooler’ moments to get shit done.
- Suggested antidotes to ‘too-muchness’; catalyst empowerment summit; self-compassion; and regenerative mindful practices.