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December 12, 2022 50 mins
Matthew Barzun, author of The Power of Giving Away Power: How the Best Leaders Learn to Let Go

Bill Ringle and Matthew Barzun discuss leadership insights for small business leaders from Matthew’s perspective as a United States ambassador to Sweden and the United Kingdom.

>>> Visit  for complete show notes and more expert advice and inspiring stories to propel your small business growth. My Quest for the Best is a top-rated small business podcast with over 300 episodes of thought-provoking and insightful interviews with today’s top thought leaders and business experts. Host Bill Ringle’s mission with this show is to provide the strategies, insights, and resources that will unlock the growth potential of your business through these powerful conversations.

Interview Insights Top 3 Takeaways
  • Co-creation is a valuable meeting outcome. It occurs when you create something — a product, a plan, a concept — thorugh your interactions.
  • A team operates better as a constellation: Everyone is their own star, but together they form a higher level context and purpose.
  • Our obsession with “solutionism” blinds us to the fact that not everything is a problem that needs to be solved. Sometimes we’re having difficulties and can just go around them.
  • Read the Show Notes from this Episode
  • Jacques Barzun, a Provost at Columbia University, author of 40 books, and a man with a great understanding of life was Matthew’s grandfather and his biggest inspiration growing up. [01:22]
  • What business leaders can learn about meetings from Peter Drucker’s guru, Mary Parker Follett. [03:51]
  • The Mary Parker Follet Test: What are the four possible outcomes in a meeting? Are you focused on the only one that is worthwhile. [05:30]
  • We should expect three things after a meeting: To be needed, to need others, and to be changed. [07:05]
  • How did PowerPoint change the power structure in meetings. [07:41]
  • What is Amazon’s 6-page brief model of collaborative? [09:03]
  • Explaining the difference between the pyramid and the constellation. Do you have a one dollar bill to examine? [10:38]
  • The Internet itself is a constellation. The world’s most impactful innovations and successful businesses are organized this way.[13:38]
  • “What is the opposite of winning and losing?” [16:03]
  • Why the West is obsessed with “solutionism,” the idea that everything needs to be solved. [17:48]
  • After a conversation with stand-up comedian Jimmy Carr, Matthew concluded that leadership is a joke. Seriously. [20:09]
  • My Quest for the Best lighting round begins. [34:12]
  • What was former President Barack Obama’s advice for his then-first-time diplomat? [37:00]
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    Expert Bio

    Matthew Barzun has always been fascinated by how we can stand out and fit in simultaneously. He helped countries do both when he served as US Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Sweden. He helped citizens do both as National Finance Chair for Barack Obama by pioneering new ways for people to have a stronger voice in politics. And he helped tech consumers do both as an entrepreneur when he helped start CNET Networks in the early 90s. Barzun was raised on the East Coast, started his career on the West Coast, and settled in the middle in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Brooke, and their three children.

    Contact Info and Social Media for Matthew Barzun
  • Primary website
  • Travels from: Louisville, KY
  • Connect on: Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook
  • Resources Mentioned During the Interview

    Below are key people, places, books, quotes, websites and other resources that we discussed, so you can explore further.

  • Mary Parker Follett
  • Free download sample of The Power of Giving Away Power by Matthew Barzun
  • Peter Drucker
  • PowerPoint
  • VISA
  • Stephen Covey- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • The West Wing
  • Barack Obama
  • Published by Matthew Barzun

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