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

4 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:

  • Leading through uncertainty
  • What’s (Actually) Possible For Your Business?
  • Learning From a Proven Leader (Frank Blake)

Leading through uncertainty

LISTEN: Mastering Remote: How To Lead Through Uncertainty With Atlassian Work Futurist Dom Price

Dominic is Atlassian’s resident Work Futurist and spends a lot of time thinking about improving the way teams work. He has some great insights and tips so it’s definitely worth a listen. Be sure to check out his additional resources for building stronger teams via the podcast link too. Here are a few points from the discussion that resonated with me:

  • Home life gets in the way and we have to recognize and empathize with the chaos behind the camera. Don’t practice “ruinous empathy” by avoiding the chance to give valuable feedback just to spare someone’s feelings. Try talking about your own situation and ask what you can do to help.
  • Bring your personal vulnerability to work. Practice and share your “4 Ls” every 90 days - What did you do that you Loved?, What did you do that you Loathed?, What do you Long to do but haven’t been able to do?, and What did you Learn?
  • Present your ideas with passion, but then shut your mouth and open your ears to give others a chance to contribute.
  • Focus on the person not the role. Some like to work from home, some from an office, some from a shared space. None of these are wrong, they’re just different.

That last point is particularly important. When it comes to work environment I think some people equate being fair and equitable with standardizing on the same approach for everyone – if one person from the team works from the office, everyone should be there. But to me, true fairness stems from seeking out opportunities to give people freedom of choice, while still meeting the needs of the organization. We should take this opportunity to improve the way we work by focusing on what’s right for the person, not the role.

I’ve been spending some time reading about organizations that have successfully implemented remote work cultures (including the below books) and this series of podcasts is a great resource.


What’s (Actually) Possible For Your Business?

LISTEN: Building a StoryBrand with Donald Miller: The Canlis Brothers — What’s (Actually) Possible For Your Business?

The Canlis brothers are a great story of ingenuity as well as how to build a selfless, yet successful business model. In the face of COVID, they adapted their fine dining restaurant model several times over by introducing a drive through burger joint, a bagel stand, a four course dinner delivery service and a drive in theater. Throughout all of this, they kept their focus on keeping their staff employed and giving back to their community. Their most recent endeavor is Canlis Community College, a six week online learning endeavor designed to benefit FareStart, a local nonprofit that provides meals to local shelters and offers restaurant job training to people struggling with poverty.

It’s a really inspiring story of two people truly making a difference in their community.

Learning From a Proven Leader (Frank Blake)

LISTEN: How Leaders Lead with David Novak: Leading with Humility - Home Depot former CEO, Frank Blake

Frank was a lawyer working on Mergers and Acquisitions when he was tapped to lead Home Depot. In this episode he shares some of the leadership lessons learned during his 8 years as CEO.

  • Leadership can be learned!
  • Look at the organization as an inverted pyramid with the CEO at the bottom. Messages do not cascade down – focus on communicating upwards and winning hearts and minds of your employees
  • Leadership is about investing in others’ success
  • Have the courage to take on things that push you out of your comfort zone

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