The Complete Changemaker Guide for Leaders

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In today’s podcast episode we interview Alex Budak, Author of the new book, Becoming a Changemaker and faculty member at UC Berkeley Haas. Alex’s book teaches the specific methodologies in order to become a catalyst for change or a changemaker inside the organization. In today’s episode, topics are focused on the changemaker mindset, the 5 influence superpowers, how to teach leaders to fail forward, and seizing those leadership moments which will help manage team members from Anywhere.

What are Alex’s Thoughts on Leadership as 2022 Ends?

Alex is very much focused on helping individuals ignite their sense of agency and the feeling of control over their actions and consequences. 2022 sparked the new term called quiet quitting and people are looking for the company culture that accepts their sense of purpose. And since the Great Resignation happened, people tend to have more options to choose the culture that they want to be in. With that being said, leaders should strive to become better in improving employee engagement and talent retention.

The Changemaker Mindset

According to Alex, a changemaker is someone who leads positive change from wherever they are. But in order to become an effective changemaker, you have to have the right mindset. A successful changemaker takes on the belief that there is always another path and an opportunity for continuous improvement. With this view, good leaders illuminate these paths of possibility for team members to follow.

This concept is not based on toxic positivity or pretending that everything is okay. Rather, it is a process of creating future pictures, recognizing the challenges, and building infrastructure towards more meaningful states. 

The 5 Influence Superpowers of Changemakers

Alex discussed the five (5) influence superpowers that help other people change for the better.

  1. Empathy – This is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Many leaders do not take into consideration how people on the frontline perceive change. Describing the benefits of the change with vulnerability and care fosters support.
  2. Relationships – This is the epitome of long-term play. When participation and consideration are consistently demonstrated, leaders create follow-ship and trust.
  3. Vision – A leader who paints a compelling picture of the future encourages others to identify and contribute to that vision. 
  4. Passion – Authenticity matters because you cannot fake passion. When people are able to feel the passion of a leader, they begin to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. 
  5. Safety – Psychological safety encourages team members to offer ideas, share thoughts, challenge the status quo, and move towards change. Without safety, team members continue to hide behind false agreement and avoid challenges. A changemaker demonstrates that the burden, consequences, and wins will be shared by all members of the team. 

How to Teach Changemakers to Fail Forward

Alex mentioned that leaders often get criticized and rejected when trying to foster change. He explained that leaders must build an “embrace rejection” muscle as a natural part of being a change agent. Alex encourages those who wish to become changemakers to practice going out into the world and getting rejected. An exercise he often uses with students in his UC Berkeley class is asking them to go out and ask someone to purposefully get rejected. The insight comes from analyzing the feelings of getting rejected or the amazement in having someone agree. Alex shared that the result of this exercise is that one-third of the class usually gets a YES and the remaining two-thirds of the class get rejected. Repeating this exercise builds mental strength in implementing change and helps students reframe failure.

Who is Alex Budak?

Alex Budak is a social entrepreneur, faculty member at Berkeley Haas, and the author of Becoming a Changemaker. At UC Berkeley, he created and teaches the transformative course, “Becoming a Changemaker,” and is a Faculty Director for Berkeley Executive Education programs. As a social entrepreneur, Alex co-founded StartSomeGood, and held leadership positions at Reach for Change and He teaches, speaks, consults, and advises with the mission of helping people from all walks of life become changemakers and has spoken around the world from Cambodia to Ukraine to the Arctic Circle. Alex received a BA with honors from UCLA and an MPP from Georgetown University. 

To learn more about the complete changemaker guide, download this episode now.

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The Complete Changemaker Guide Quotes

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