Megan Reitz is author of Dialogue in Organizations and a professor at Ashridge Business School. Her new groundbreaking global research (with Michael Chaskalson) explores the impact of mindfulness training on key leadership capacities. She takes the Thinkers50 50 seconds dialogue challenge.
What book are you currently reading?
‘First Person Action Research’ by Judi Marshall. Her approach to ‘living life as an inquiry’ speaks right to the heart of effective leadership – and to a more humane workplace.
‘Oh the places you’ll go!’ by Dr Seuss – a favourite of both my daughters, one that I love reading out loud and also a book that contains some wonderfully wise messages for all of us.
How do you describe what you do?
At ‘work’ – Persistently seek to create more humane workplaces through inquiring, researching and advising about how we ‘encounter’ one another in our organisations. In particular how we are present (or not) with one another, how curious we are (or not) about one another, how we speak up (or not) to one another and how the organizational system we influence and that influences us creates ‘rules of the game’ which perpetuate or change these things.
At ‘home’ – Navigate attempts to be the best wife, mother, daughter and friend that I am able to be.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My children inspire me to be the best I can be for their sake.
Martin Buber’s work on I-Thou dialogue inspires me to imagine and work towards more dialogic organisations whilst keeping me cognizant of the hurdles in the way.
What does success look like?
Living life in an inquiring, generous, compassionate, passionate and joyful manner and thus inspiring my daughters and others around me to do the same. Being curious and finding the funny side when I don’t manage to do this whilst being more determined to experiment. Feeling that I have made some positive differences to some individuals who have then in turn made positive differences to those around them.
What is your competitive advantage?
This question I find tricky – I don’t particularly feel the need to see myself as in competition with others. I am however extremely grateful for and aware of how privileged I am to be safe, loved and able to follow my passion.
How do you keep your thinking fresh?
Experience new things, sometimes on my own and sometimes with others – research, meet up, travel, talk, read, see – and inquire whilst I do so.
How much time do you spend travelling?
Enough but not too much. I spend a lot of my time in the beautiful environment of Ashridge which I am lucky to have 7 minutes away from where I live.
What is the secret of a great presentation?
Genuine connection with the audience and being utterly passionate and endlessly fascinated about your topic – these feelings tend to be contagious.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Take time out to reflect regularly and learn to reflect while doing. Find out what you are passionately interested in and allow that to be a big part of your life. Keep things in perspective by knowing what is important to you and to those around you and why.
What is your next goal?
I have a few….Writing books on mindful leadership and also on speaking truth to power are high up on the priority list….I also want to continue to push the boundaries with my consulting and coaching practice, deepening my inquiry and my understanding about leading in the moment.
Describe yourself in three words.
Dedicated, curious, spirited.