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    ALEX BUDAK: Becoming a Changemaker

    Alex Budak is a social entrepreneur and professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He teaches, speaks, consults, and advises organizations around the world, with the mission of helping people from all walks of life, become changemakers. He’s a graduate of Georgetown University and UCLA and received UCLA’s recent graduate of the year award. He loves spending time with his two favorite changemakers: his wife, Rebecca, and their baby son. Alex teaches one of the most popular courses at Berkeley, the namesake of his book, “Becoming a Changemaker.” Together Marcel and Alex discuss the 3 parts of becoming a changemaker: Mindset, Leadership, and Action with interesting anecdotes from his class and student experiences!


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    Show Notes


    “We’re all attracted to confidence in great leaders…but yet if you take one wrong turn it becomes overconfidence and then people look at you as arrogant.” [4:08] Co-host Robb Holman and Marcel discuss the perfect paradox in leadership which is humility and confidence. Humility is often seen as a weakness yet it instead has immense power for gaining trust and respect. Humble leaders put their egos to the side, spotlight their employees, and give credit where credit is due. 

    Changemaker Mindset

    Marcel and Alex discuss the mindsets involved in becoming a changemaker, including the importance of failure. How can failing actually be a good thing? Alex shares about an incredible teaching opportunity where he requires his students to go out and fail on purpose and all of the shifts and mindset changes that occur when they do this. “The data shows that those who succeed the most, also fail the most. Sometimes it’s not about one stroke of genius but rather having that willingness to keep going again, and again, and again.” [54:37]

    Changemaker Leadership

    When Alex works through leadership with his class, he has his students list all of the traits of the bad leaders they’ve encountered. How do you change these traits? Reinvent leadership, led as a changemaker. Stop waiting for permission to lead, start asking the right questions, and see leadership in its simplest form, leadership moments. “I think we so often look at these courageous, heroic leaders and we say if that’s what leadership is and I am not naturally as charismatic as this…does that mean I can’t be a leader? I think absolutely not..there is an opportunity for us to shift from thinking of leadership as a title to leadership as an act.” [1:02:08]

    Changemaker Action

    “The sum of your mindset and your leadership, multiplied by your action…that’s how you have impact as a changemaker….It doesn’t take a math Ph.D. to know that if you multiply a number by 0 the result is 0….Even if you have that mindset, even if you have that leadership, if you just sit on it and never do anything with it, you will never have any impact as a changemaker. Impact is driven by action.”[1:04:06] Alex explains how changemakers should see themselves as scientists, constantly learning from unplanned outcomes and failures, running tests and experiments, and keep moving forward. 

    The Book

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    About Marcel Schwantes

    Marcel Schwantes is the founder and chief human officer of Leadership from the Core, a global leadership training and executive coaching boutique aimed at developing great leaders and great cultures through Servant Leadership.

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