A Catalyst for Positive Change

In This Podcast
Show Notes
David Williams
E 61

In This Podcast

  • Helping organizations transform themselves
  • Businesses are more agile than governments
  • The essence of experiential learning
  • How businesses will look in 20 years’ time
  • David’s advice to leaders
  • There is a generation of purposeful leaders emerging

David Williams is the founder of Impact, a multi-award winning creative change agency that operates in 17 offices across the globe. Today David talks about helping organizations transform themselves, why businesses are more agile than governments, the essence of experiential learning, why disrupting companies are good, his advice to leaders and why he’s tremendously optimistic about the future.

Show Notes

An important initiative

Impact International is an organization created for anyone who wants to achieve their full potential. They work with the private sector, with government departments and with not-for-profits.

The work they do is essentially about change and development: developing leadership and helping organizations transform themselves, creating a sustainable enterprise.

Keeping up with the times

Many organizations struggle with change because they invest a lot of time and energy in building a status quo. When that status quo is threatened, it’s very difficult for them to start seeing themselves in a different shape or form. It’s a constant dilemma.

David fervently believes that if businesses especially could incorporate in their business model the kind of activities that will lead to positive social change and restorative environmental strategies, then they are in the best place to make change happen. Businesses are far more agile than governments.

Millennials tend to avoid organizations and products that are actively damaging the world we live in, so on the long run businesses with ethical standards are more profitable and successful.

The construct of organizations in the early days was very different from what it is now. Organizations used to be driven by family values, by genuinely wanting to contribute to society. The current day model is shareholder value-driven.

A passion for learning and for preserving the environment

David is fearful of losing the world he grew up in. He doesn’t want his grandchildren to grow up in a world where there are no polar bears or wild tigers. He likes to think that the endpoint of any change that he’s able to make in the world is one of preserving the environment.

At Impact, they work a lot with experiential learning. The essence of good experiential learning is not actually the experience, it’s the facilitation that lies behind the experience. David and his team have become experts in creating memorable, novel, challenging experiences that are based in the real world and that help people recreate a future for themselves.

Businesses will look a lot different 20 years from now

David believes that the current construct of business will change rapidly over the next 10-20 years. Dispersed ownership will become much more of the norm. It’s important for companies to think long-term. All the organizations that he really respects and admires are the ones that are thinking about where they’re going to be in 20 years’ time. It’s also important for them to be agile.

He really appreciates the idea of disruptor companies. He also believes that they stop being disruptors when they start being bureaucratic.

There is a generation of purposeful leaders that’s emerging

David’s advice to leaders? Connect what you’re doing to your own passions. You’re not operating in an authentic space if you’re not doing so. Don’t see work as something that’s apart from you. It should be the same thing.

He strongly believes that as soon as we link an individual’s passions to an organization’s goals, we build loyalty, innovation and influence.

What advice would he give to his younger self? Take more risks, move faster, do more things more quickly and be more challenging.

What about what the world needs the most right now, in David’s opinion? Purposeful leadership at all levels in society and organizations. Leaders should prioritize making the world a better place instead of minding their own pockets. David genuinely believes that there is a generation of purposeful leaders emerging. It gives him tremendous optimism for the future.

If the talk resonates with you, we’d recommend you listen to this episode too: Link to Petronella Panerus