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#30 How to Change Leadership Behaviour, One at a Time with Dave Stachowiak.

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

proudly Brought to you in association with SA Partners.


Welcome to episode 30 of the Enterprise Excellence Podcast. I am so pleased to have with me on the show today, Mr Dave Stachowiak. Personally, I have gained so much over the years from Dave's podcast "Coaching for Leaders" and the knowledge that he has shared personally on coaching, leadership, development and behavioural change. Dave has had a successful career supporting leaders while at Dale Carnegie, and now through his own leadership academy. Dave helps leaders discover practical wisdom, build meaningful relationships and create movement for genuine results. It is such a pleasure to have you on the show today Dave.

Let's get into the episode.

Episode Summary

Dave first accessed a coach during an overwhelming time in his college years, working part-time, taking challenging courses, and partaking in extra-curricular activities. During this overwhelm, Dave spoke to the coach about reframing his life, time management, scheduling and making better decisions. Dave appreciated the perspective from this coach. He then became a manager of a large project, which delivered his first performance review. The team's feedback was not so good - the key message was that he needed a backbone. Dave began searching for how he could develop his leadership style and searched for books, mentors and advisors to help.

Is Dave a continual learner? Well, yes and no. He believes in learning but attributes it to behaviour change, and behaviour change is hard. He appreciates the new skills that he has developed through the struggle. Working at Dale Carnegie, which is all about behaviour change, Dave realised the effort was to help students go back into the workforce and use their new behavioural skills. Ultimately what gives the results is behaviour change, and what a gift that was for Dave.

The Coaching the Leaders Academy that Dave has founded focuses on shifting behaviour rather than developing knowledge. His clients are educated to a high level and seek the Academy to put the learning into action. So, what are the key elements in leadership behaviour change?

Thinking big with the framework but then tactically working on changing behaviour each day.

  1. Create a picture of what success looks like when you're done? The blueprint of the next 2-3 years: your role, leadership behaviours, what feedback and results you are receiving, and what your personal life looks like.

  2. How do you create this picture, one step at a time? Commit to choose one behaviour to change over 90 days. This takes discipline, and over time, you will start to fill in the blueprint. Don't try to build everything at once. Focus on daily action.

Dave's purpose is 'helping leaders get better through conversation'. Dave wishes to open up doors into intentional and meaningful virtual meetings and coach well in an online environment to create community and connection. He has worked in a virtual world for 8-9 years and wants to use this history to help his clients navigate the shift from in-human to virtual working environments successfully. How do we, as leaders, ensure that we include every person in making decisions in a virtual world. How do we empathise with people in our team during this challenging time of working during lockdown at home?

Dave recommends Lean Start-up by Eric Lease for anyone to read. Dave believes that school and university breeds learning as perfection as a once-off event. After reading the Lean Start-up book, Dave now believes in taking the next step in the iteration - talking to people, asking for feedback, and asking what is not working—learning as an ongoing continuous improvement practice. Dave believes in offering students more of this experience than the knowledge alone: behaviour change, practicums etc.

Dave has stopped reading a book as a whole and completing it as a transaction from start to finish. He believes that the purpose of reading is to gain the most helpful idea. So rather than reading a book from cover to cover, skipping around the content, and finding what you need.


Dave's LinkedIn Profile:

Key Takeaways

For me, the key takeaways were Dave's process for helping leaders develop new behaviours and move towards their desired future.

  1. Create a blueprint of the future you want.

  2. Choose one behaviour to focus on now.

  3. Commit to action, no matter how small in practising that behaviour

The blueprint gives you the vision for the future and allows a person to improve behaviours towards achieving this incrementally. The desired behaviour now can be chosen and then practised for some time until it becomes natural, a new habit. The commitment to action and coaching Dave provides through his Academy establishes the support needed to help his academy members through this journey. Dave is genuinely helping people and organisations improve and create a better future.

Thanks again, Dave, for your expertise, your openly sharing nature and your high energy. It was an absolute pleasure to speak with you, and we will look forward to connecting again in the future.

Bye for now.


10:56min but also, more importantly, seeing how much of a difference it made in people’s lives and in their work. They would come back to our classroom between sessions and tell these incredible stories about how they changed relationships with family members and with co-workers. And opened up opportunities in their careers that they would have probably not done on their own without, you know, the framework.

19:41min and behaviour change doesn't work so well that way. Trying to do lots of things at once, trying to change lots of behaviours at once does not tend to work well. It's possible, but it's just really hard.

21:17min it's thinking big, and then it's getting really tactical on how do I take a daily action to change my behaviour, so I get better?

43:19min having to unlearn a lot of that and get better at doing lots of small iterations, and kind of seeing how things go. And then investing in the things that work and that people tell you work. And then being really apparent about it. Like telling people, "Hey, we're trying this", and I try to do that with our members and listeners, "Hey, we're trying this. Let me know how it goes." And putting together events where we have conversations.

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