Mike Czumak

I'm a CISO, father, servant leader, and lifelong learner.
[Views are my own]

My Why:
To invest in the success and well-being of others, so that they never have to settle for anything less than great

6 minute read


I make it a habit to learn as much as I can from others, so every week I listen to an assortment of podcasts covering topics such as leadership, communication, techology, security and more.

Here are some recent podcasts that I think are worth a listen. Topics for this post include:

  • Doing Agile Right
  • Should You Keep Emotions Out of the Workplace?
  • What Leadership and Parenting Have in Common
  • Digital Healthcare
  • The Importance of Leading with Purpose
  • Culture Eats…Security for Breakfast

Doing agile right

LISTEN: Digital Transformation Podcast - Doing Agile Right with Darrel Rigby

This is a good listen for anyone implementing or preparing to implement agile. Adopting agile means shifting away from a rigid a monolothic command and control approach to one that is focused on continuous learning and adapting. While it may be tempting to try to apply an agile methodology everywhere, Darrel cautions against taking it to an extreme. Not everything needs to be agile and, just as important, not everything needs to be agile all at once. Start small, learn, adapt. Figure out what will have most impact at the least cost. Tackling too much at one time will lead to inefficiencies.

Some other key points he hits on:

  • Agile does not require making major changes to the structure of the organization.
  • A successful agile effort benefits from the innovation generated by a diverse areas of expertise, where the collective intelligence is stronger and smarter than any one individual.

Should You Keep Emotions Out of the Workplace?

LISTEN: Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller: Miles Adcox — Should You Really Keep Emotions Out of the Workplace?

Rather than try to keep emotions out of the workplace, Miles talks about:

  • How to use your emotions to your advantage to Reset, Recalibrate, and Reconnect
  • The importance of understanding not only what you feel but also when you feel it
  • How growing EQ is more important than growing IQ

What Leadership and Parenting Have in Common

LISTEN: Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller: Hal Runkel — What Leadership and Parenting Have in Common

I thought this was a very interesting way to look at both leadership and parenting.

Some good pointers from Hal’s episode:

  • Don’t approach tense situations with the assertion that you “need” someone to do. something. When you are in need, they have the advantage, not you
  • Don’t delegate tasks, delegate anxiety. Give ownership to them.
  • Go in with the lowest heart rate. You have to manage you. When you are calm and present you are a calming presence.
  • If you are not actively giving people more responsibility and consequence you dont really want to lead them.
  • As a leader, your job is to help others manage their own behavior and outcomes.
  • Calm your anxiety by giving up needing to know how others feel.
  • Allow your kids and employees to disagree with you.

As a parent I decided to try some of his methods. The morning I listened to this podcast, my six year old was watching a cartoon before she did her morning chores/routine which, in our house, must be completed before breakfast. This has been a recurring issue which usually leads to me turning off the TV, her getting upset, and both of us starting the day on a negative note. This time, rather than take that route, I sat down next to her and calmly laid out her options. Option A, she could keep watching the cartoon but she would miss breakfast, go hungry for the rest of the morning, and start the day off on a negative note. Or, Option B, she could do her chores, have breakfast, and still have just enough time to watch the rest of the cartoon before school started. Either way, I told her, I’m ok and it’s her choice how we continue to start our day. She chose option B and we haven’t had that issue for the remainder of the week. I’ve applied this approach in other circumstances with my kids through the course of this wekk, which they now call my “We all have choices” spiel. But I must say, it has been working pretty effectively.

The point is, your job is not to manage someone else’s behavior because that’s really a futile exercise. Your children and your employees each have a mind of their own and they will ultimately decide what they do. It’s your job to give them the right tools/information and let them make their own decision.

Digital Healthcare

LISTEN: Becker’s Healthcare Podcast: Alistair Erskine, Chief Digital Health Officer at Mass General Brigham

I like this podcast series because it provides an opportunity to hear from practioners in the healthcare space. In this episode Alistair talks about the importance of a consistent patient experience, how telemedicine is introducing new healthcare roles, the importance of data, their COVID innnovation center, and how they’ve kept people connected and engaged during this extended period of remote work. He also shares some thoughts on how reduced clicks, natural language and just in time training are all important for the digital clinician experience.

The Importance of Leading with Purpose

It’s no coincidence that some of the most successful leaders across industries keep coming back to the importance of purpose. Here are two more podcasts that I found very interesting and informative on the topic.

LISTEN: The Learning Leader with Ryan Hawk - Episode #387 - Arthur Blank Owner Of The Atlanta Falcons: How Purpose & Profit Go Hand-In-Hand

It was great to hear Arthur talk about how vital culture is to the success of an organization, the importance of valuing relationships over transactions, and why he treats every member of his team as a free agent. He’s so passionate about the topic and this was an entertaining listen.

LISTEN: How Leaders Lead with David Novak:Leading with Purpose - 822 Group Founder & CEO, Mory Fontanez

In this episode Mory gives her thoughts on how the workforce needs more leaders they can trust and customers need a clear connection to purpose including:

  • “Soft” concepts like authenticity, empathy, and passion are just as (if not more) important than the “hard” business concepts
  • Customers expect to see themselves in your brand and have been known to pay more for a brand with a relatable purpose
  • Customers see through inauthenticity…you must demonstrate your purpose
  • Build an environment where diverse perspectives are truly valued and people are comfortable offering their input
  • The leadership team should be actively discussing purpose and values
  • Micromanagement is often related to lack of trust. Instead, qualify your expectations and your definition of done.

Culture Eats…Security for Breakfast

LISTEN: The New CISO Podcast Episode 34: Culture Eats…Security for Breakfast

I find it very valuable to hear from other CISOs about their challenges and the successful ideas they’ve put into practice. George had a number of interesting insights in this episode but I was particularly interested in some of the work he’s done with phishing, how culture can contribute to the success of a security incident, and the importance of avoiding the mindset that security is a “people problem”.

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