12. Getting Unstuck: Creating a Culture of Change Part 2 – an Interview with Amy Sokal

How do you view change – as episodic or as a constant? In this episode, which is Part 2 of a two-part series, we’ll continue to explore the idea of building a culture of change – or as we prefer to call it, a culture of continuous learning, growth and improvement.

• Part 1 focused on leaders and organizations that operate within an atmosphere of continuous learning.

• Part 2 focuses on leaders and organizations that operate in the absence of that philosophy. We’ll be joined in this second part by Amy Sokal.

Amy has focused her almost twenty-year career on non‐profit development and fundraising.  She has served as Executive Director and Director of Development at several large and small nonprofits in New York City. She has worked with several founders and founding boards, and has worn every hat in the development department from major gifts and events planning to individual stewardship. She has specialized expertise in building and managing relationships with major donors, corporate sponsors, and foundations.  

Listen for:

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. ― Andy Warhol

• Three qualities or characteristics that a leader demonstrates can contribute to growing a culture of change.

1. Having a proactive vs reactive mindset.

2. Asking the question: “Relative to everything we are already doing or could be doing, how will changing in this way move us closer to achieving desired results?”

3. Seeing leadership as a behavior, not as a position.

You can’t look ahead if you’re always looking at your feet.

• How leaders have to approach change differently than a manager would.

• How organizational silos negatively impact productive change.

• Why having the courage to pause is an essential leadership behavior.

• Why building trust and demonstrating passion with staff are essential to change success.

• How past success can actually inhibit a culture of change.

• What is meant by the concept of“lead learner” and how leaders need to demonstrate “lead learner” behavior to benefit the organization.


• How leaders can best navigate the river of change and problem solve if they cultivate a “mind like water.”

• Why suspending what you know is a key problem solving behavior.

After listening to the episode:

  1. Pause and scan your organization to identify where are you are continually putting out fires. And what does that fire fighting keep you and the organization from doing that might be more productive?

  2. As a private individual, where are you looking at your feet? Where are you missing or avoiding opportunities to think through what might be holding you back?

Jeff Ikler