How would you classify your latest work, what inspired its inception?
My new book, Change from the Inside Out: Making You, Your Team and Your Organization Change Capable, is aimed primarily at helping leaders understand and move through change, and helping them support their teams and their organizations to do the same. I started writing it in 2018 in order to answer two questions: “Why is change so hard for us?” and “What happens, psychologically and emotionally, when an individual person makes a change?” And then I wanted to explain our five-step model for making change within the context of those questions. I’m excited about the answers I found – and I think those answers are useful not only to leaders, but anyone having to go through change professionally or personally.
How long did it take you to complete? .
I started thinking about this book in 2018 and finished it in the fall of 2020, with about a four-month hiatus in early 2020 while we pivoted our whole coaching, consulting facilitation and training business to virtual. It turned out to be, as you might imagine, a fascinating time to be writing a book about change!
Who are some of your top 5 authors or writers you look up to & admire?
I am a huge fan of my brother, Kurt Andersen, who writes non-fiction, fiction and humor. His latest book, “Evil Geniuses,” is especially brilliant. He’s better than any other writer I know at doing exhaustive research for his books, and then finding the important patterns in that information and sharing it in a deeply engaging and compelling way. I also love Dan Pink’s work – I really enjoy how he takes universal topics– Motivation, Sales, Timing – and offers new clarity about them. I also love his use of story. In fiction, I love Tolkien for the power of his world-creation and the fact that so many wonderful authors have been able to follow in his footsteps to create fascinating possible worlds. I could go on and on…but I’ll stop there.
Why do you write?
I write books to crack codes. With each of my five published books, I wanted to find the simplicity at the heart of a complex topic: managing employees, thinking and acting strategically, being a followable leader, becoming a master learner – and, with this latest book – change. I try to find simple, practical pathways through a topic, and to write about those pathways in a way that’s easy to take in, reflect upon and operationalize.
In fact, that last sentence applies to everything I write – from books to articles to emails to interviews. I write to share things I find interesting or useful, and that I think will be helpful to people. I always want to communicate those things in a way that makes it as easy as possible for the reader to take in what I’m saying and then to reflect and decide whether it’s something they want to incorporate into their own understanding and way of being in the world.
What’s the biggest take away you want your readers to come away with after reading your latest work?
That constant change is now the norm, and that we can re-wire ourselves to become capable of thriving through non-stop change.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
That is impossible for me to answer! Good books can be good in so many different ways. A great book is sometimes great just because the writing is so magnificent. Some books are great because the writer is an amazing storyteller – even if the writing isn’t always ideal. Still other books are perfect for the time you read them; they “speak to your condition,” as the Quakers say, filling a specific need or answering a particular question. And finally, there are books that are great because they try something innovative and make it work brilliantly (James Joyce’ Ulysses comes to mind).
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
I loved writing even as a child. I remember being excited about “having” to write essays in school when all the other kids were groaning. Writing has always been part of my professional life – from articles to workbooks, marketing pieces to proposals, website content to client letters, and I always enjoyed it and had a sense, from an early age, of trying to get better – to hone my craft. So, it wasn’t so much that I decided I wanted to become a writer; I just was and am a writer. As for books, I started thinking about writing my first, Growing Great Employees, almost 20 years ago. I guess that’s when I first started thinking of myself as a writer of books.
How have you evolved as a writer over the last year?
I’m always reviewing my writing to see how I can be clearer, more engaging, more natural. And during the pandemic I’ve focused even more on how I can use the written word to connect authentically and honestly with people, since connection to each other has become more important than ever.
If you could meet, have dinner, have a drink with anyone (writer/non-writer) (dead or alive) who would it be?
Like the best book question, this is impossible for me to answer! If I could put together a dinner party, though, it would be: Barack and Michelle Obama, Mozart, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Shakespeare, Madame C. J Walker, Mahatma Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
What’s next for you?
I want to keep exploring, keep challenging myself, keep building deeper connections with those I love, keep helping people become who they most want to become….
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: https://erikaandersen.com/
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End of Interview