Meet Carmen Medina, a former CIA change agent and co-author of Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within. Carmen spent 32 years at the Central Intelligence Agency. Her story as a heretic and change agent at CIA is featured in Adam Grant's bestseller Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. Carmen is passionate about many things, but namely intelligence analysis, strategic thinking, and the diversity of thought and innovation.
In this episode, Carmen and I talk about the culture of the CIA and why she surprised many of her friends in the 80’s with her views. As the self-proclaimed “Analyst of Little Things,” Carmen breaks down what that means and how it has helped her in the world of intelligence analytics. We also talk about handling pushback when introducing new ideas and how to be an effective change agent, or rebel at work.
As you listen to this episode, I challenge you to think about someone who needs to hear about being a rebel in the workforce. Once you have someone in mind, please share this episode with them. Also, think about one tiny action that you can take to start being an effective change agent at work or in the world today. We need you!
Selected link love + resources from the episode:
Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within by Carmen Medina (book)
Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley (book)
Ludwig Wittgenstein by Ray Monk (book)
Dr. Amanda Sammann of The Better Lab
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adan Grant (book)
Five Nouns, Five Verbs for Leaders (blog post)
My favorite phrase as a manager, “Wouldn’t it be fun?”
Sign up for the Le vital corps Salon newsletter (sent twice monthly and includes news about podcast episode releases, helpful health + lifestyle information)
Turn your old task list into art! 33K Task List Project
All of this is from Carmen (with some minor edits for readability).
[00:04:27] - When fate comes knocking, it’s always a good idea to at least open the door and take a peek.
[00:09:20] - I didn’t agree with everything the CIA did, who would? It would be odd if you were completely in agreement. But I think that things like the advent of cable news and the first faint stirrings of digital technology made me think, ‘Golly, we’re a knowledge organization. The way knowledge is spreading in the world - maybe we need to change to adapt to it.’
[00:15:57] - My career went from typewriter to Twitter. When I started in 1978, we all had typewriters. Nobody had a computer terminal.
[00:18:59] - I like to call myself the ‘Analyst of Little Things.’ I think that’s a really cute title. I was always looking for that smaller, odd little event that was an indicator of change. One of my favorite sayings is, ‘Everything stays the same until it changes.’
[01:07:19] - I had some very bad experiences at work. I had a bad manager. I thought I could cope with the bad manager, but, really, it was just eating me up. The lesson that I learned from that is that the length of time it takes you to get into a funk is equal to the length of time it takes you to get out of the funk.
Subscribe to Le vital corps Salon podcast
Got something to say? A question? An idea for a future guest? The comment section is there for you, IF you can (1) be excellent to others, (2) ask or say things like you're talking to a real human, and (3) be critical without being nasty. If you can't do that, prepare to be deleted. Otherwise, have fun and merci beaucoup for adding to the convo.