Leadership, people and culture during a pandemic

In this episode we speak with Dr Melinda Muth. Managing Director of Streamwise Learning, Facilitator, Board Advisor and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Director of the Harvard Club Australia and author of the book “Setting the Tone from the Top: How director conversations shape culture”. So, let’s get into it.


  • 00:00:06 Melinda’s Introduction to The Growth Manifesto Podcast
  • 00:01:40 Melinda and Alex discuss “Humanities” and its place in the world today
  • 00:05:10 Melinda discusses what’s happening in our world today as stages of fear and grief in response to COVID-19
  • 00:07:07 “Rapid innovation under stress amidst fear”
  • 00:09:27 Melinda discusses the fear instincts of people during this time and how it can overtake the public perspective
  • 00:12:40 How do you approach this challenging environment we’re in as a leader?
  • 00:14:18 The first thing people need to do is to calm down so that they can use the talent of the brain they’ve got
  • 00:17:35 Find out where you’re situated, and think “what are my options in that?”
  • 00:18:30 “Good decisions are based on a good process”
  • 00:20:50 The speed of the decision making process has accelerated in our current climate but can you still move too fast in terms of making decisions?
  • 00:22:15 How do you balance the process of decision making with the speed?
  • 00:23:16 Melinda thinks the worship of speed during these times is not necessarily the thing that will be beneficial for everyone in the long run
  • 00:24:18 “Rate of Cash Burn” will determine pace for businesses
  • 00:27:52 What does the exponential increase of unemployment do for company culture and how does a business leader ensure that their culture remains as strong as possible?
  • 00:32:05 Melinda believes that business culture moving forward should be about the “humanity”
  • 00:33:10 As a leader, how do you communicate to your people at a time like this?
  • 00:37:03 “It’s what you say and how you communicate it.”
  • 00:39:20 It takes a lot for somebody to say “I don’t know.”
  • 00:39:35 Melinda’s definition of leadership is not someone who knows all the answers but someone who understands the environment and the needs and wants of the people they’re leading
  • 00:41:21 What are the characteristics of a company that is going to come out of this difficult time stronger?
  • 00:44:05 How do you transition to Zoom as a company? And when do you think it’s absolutely critical to be face to face with someone?
  • 00:48:19 Where is a company culture created right now because everything’s online and done through Zoom?
  • 00:50:07 Is culture created a lot stronger when it’s created in the same office in comparison to being done through a computer screen?
  • 00:52:16 Melinda explains that most of the elements that you can observe of a culture are still there despite the lack of the physical aspect.
  • 00:53:15 “Not everyone’s working on Zoom.”
  • 00:57:20 Your culture is not the tools that you use. It’s the people.
  • 01:01:31 How to contact Melinda Muth if you want to learn more about dealing with people if you feel stuck right now during this time


You’re listening to the 2020 Marketing Series on The Growth Manifesto Podcast, a Zoom video series brought to you by Webprofits where we talk about how to drive business and marketing success through the rest of 2020.

Hosted by Tony Kiss and Alex Cleanthous.

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