Shane Snow is an award-winning journalist, explorer, and entrepreneur, and the author of three books—including the #1 business bestseller Dream Teams. He speaks globally about innovation and teamwork, has performed comedy on Broadway, and been in the running for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism. Snow is also founder and board member of the media technology company Contently, and The Hatch Institute, a nonprofit for journalism in the public interest.

Snow’s writing has appeared in Fast Company, Wired, and The New Yorker. He has been called a “Wunderkind” by The New York Times and his work “Insanely addicting” by GQ—though he wishes they had been talking about his abs.


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“You must separate  your ego from intellect.”

  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Pattern recognition – The ability to connect ideas and people
    • Systems thinking – Connect dots, zoom out
    • The ability to continue to question yourself, a hunger to improve, a “voracious learner” (Liv Boeree)
    • Must relearn how to humble yourself
    • The #1 skill is intellectual humility — The ability to sit between gullibility and stubbornness
  • Why are people so unwilling to change their mind?
    • “So much of our ideas are attached to our identities.”
    • “You must separate your ego from intellect.”
  • What is a solution (as a leader)?
    • If you’re the one in power, invite people with a different perspective to the table.
    • Don’t invoke identity.  Just ask for perspective.
    • Leave space to change your mind… “I could be wrong but…”
  • Strength and flexibility should not be in conflict
  • Ben Franklin idea:
    • Use idea, leave space for change, set opinion, but use phrases less defensive, only change your mind based on evidence.  Say things like:
      • “I could be wrong but…”
      • “The research suggests…”
      • “The evidence suggests…”
  • Elon Musk — His pattern to persuade people…
    • It’s purpose based leadership (“to make life multi-planetary”)
    • The strength is in his vision and his purpose.  He’s seen as strong by being willing to change his mind.
  • Compliance versus Committed = Cult vs Culture
    • Difference between a cult and culture:
      • Cult – Must act and think in a certain way
      • Culture – Asked to contribute your ideas in your way
  • Key part of leadership: “Understand what matters to your people.”
  • Intellectual humility:
    • Respect for others’ viewpoints
    • Lack of intellectual overconfidence
    • Separating your ego from your intellect
    • Being open to revising your viewpoints
    • Openness to new experiences
  • Separate feelings/thoughts from facts
  • Trying something new creates new opportunities
  • Advice:
    • Learn about intellectual humility – take Shane’s assessment
    • Frame changing your mind as a strength — reward others for doing this
    • Habits: Instead of saying “I feel” say “I think.”  Words matter.
  • Separate facts from stories
  • Why joining The Learning Leader Circle is a good idea

More Resources:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode #300: AJ & Keith Hawk – How To Instill Work Ethic & Curiosity In Your Children

Episode #303:  General Stanley McChrystal – The New Definition Of Leadership