How to REALLY hear what’s on your team’s mind

Conversation is a powerful way for leaders to inspire and motivate their teams. It’s also an opportunity to learn and make more effective decisions. Yet, engaging in conversations across an organization isn’t always easy

In this episode of LeaderLab, we are joined by Dave MacLeod, CEO and co-founder of ThoughtExchange, to explore the importance of conversations in organizations. Based on his research and insights shared in his new book, Scaling conversations: How leaders access the full potential of people, he offers strategies leaders can use to engage in more meaningful, inclusive and productive conversations across teams. 

Dave shares the following insights:

  • There’s never been a more important time to include as many voices in the conversation: “There are a lot of problems to solve [in our organizations] and a lot of pressure to do it. There’s a lot of change to our life and a lot of recognition of systemic racism and the recognition of power to drive our business, and there’s never been a more important time to hear from everybody who’s impacted by these things.”
  • We’re at an exciting moment where leaders feel they can admit they have bias and enter the right conversations that will move things in the right direction. “That’s maybe a really exciting moment right now… that people can say, ‘Yeah, I agree. I admit I have bias. So now what?’”
  • When dealing with polarizing topics, search for the common ground. “There’s ways to solve problems for two people who think very differently about how to make their business run faster and the same mechanism actually works when you have people who disagree strong – you have to find the common ground between them.”
  • Use technology and tools to eliminate our bias from conversations. “The idea of getting people to share ideas and listen to each other without knowing exactly who said them will get us to really think deeply about and empathize with each other’s points of view.”

Pick up Dave’s book to learn more strategies to scale conversations in your organization. Order Scaling conversations: How leaders access the full potential of people here:

Meet Dave MacLeod

Dave MacLeod is the CEO and a co-founder of ThoughtExchange, the essential Enterprise Discussion Management platform for scaling conversations. Dave’s expertise helped create the game-changing platform that’s used by millions at some of the world’s largest organizations like GE Healthcare and McDonald’s. From corporations to schools, ThoughtExchange invites participants to share insights anonymously—removing bias and getting the most important ideas in front of the leaders who make them happen. Dave is also the author of Scaling Conversations: How Leaders Access the Full Potential of People. Prior to ThoughtExchange, he was a successful entrepreneur who designed businesses and events focused on analog group communication innovation. Outside of work, Dave keeps busy as a dad of three who loves the outdoors.


TILTCO is a boutique consulting company that helps leaders define and execute their strategies in order to achieve extraordinary business and personal results. Founded by Tineke Keesmaat, she brings her 20 years of leadership consulting experience rooted at McKinsey & Company and Accenture to supports today’s leaders achieve exceptional results.