5 Things I Learned from Leadership Essentials: Personal change for Organizational Growth with Todd Iarussi


Leadership and Life Coach Todd Iarussi draws on insights gained as an executive recruiter in New York City, a fast-paced job which involved over 1,000 interviews. “I think we have a leadership development problem in the USA. In order to have healthy [corporate] cultures, leaders need to change.”  But how?

Todd took us through the process of taking apart a leadership goal using one of the many coaching tools he uses to help leaders reflect on what stands in the way of personal and organizational growth. He explained the instructions clearly, giving us examples at each step along the way.


Here are 5 things I learned:

  1. There are reasons why we are unable to change. We all have fears and worries which keep us from doing what we want to do. Iarussi cites a Harvard study which calls them “competing commitments”–the idea that we are unconsciously committed to patterns which keep us from creating the change we desire. Participants learned that there are both systemic and internal forces that make change hard.
  2. These reasons can feel very real to us. Perhaps the competing commitments feel insurmountable, like giant boulders blocking the train tracks of change. Todd gently encouraged participants to question the assumptions that were at odds with our personal and leadership aspirations.
  3. The reasons might be objectively true, they might be objectively false, most likely they are somewhere in the grey area. It is not always easy to grasp the correct proportions of our worry and fear while we are in the midst of them. There are genuine systemic forces which work to make change hard. There are positive fears and worries which keep us from wreaking havoc on people around us, or leaping into danger. And then there are burdensome cultural or personal beliefs which weigh on us like an overfilled backpack on a humid day.
  4. Common themes emerge. There is a certain comfort in knowing that much of what we brought to the table during this class could be linked to universal themes which have been with humanity forever, such as conflict management, abandonment, fear of failure, balancing life’s commitments and helping others to meet their potential.
  5. Having tools and processes to help us unravel these dynamics is valuable for us and also for our organization. Remember that heavy backpack? Going through the process as a group, we each took our commitments and our assumptions and aired them out in the light of day, with Coach Todd and the group offering support and ideas as well as further questions for reflection. We were instructed to ask of the reasons “is this true?” He then advocated for experimentation and observation to help answer that key question.

Many of us walked away with action plans to tackle our stated goal, even exchanging contact information with our partners to help create accountability and support for our stated commitments. We gained an increased awareness to reflect continually on what we learned in this space. “Hopefully we have a little bit more community now than we had before.”

Todd tells us that clients call on him when they are in a leadership role and want to decrease stress and increase effectiveness, or when they want to clarify their life purpose and create a professional life that supports living into their highest potential. Todd is an SEG Hub member and regularly offers our community classes and advising hours.  

You can learn more about Todd Iarussi and his coaching practice here.




Traci Picard
Venture Development Assistant

Traci Picard is a VISTA serving as Venture Development assistant here at SEG. She comes from the world of alternative health, running a small herbal business and teaching classes like Critical Thinking for Herbalists and Asking Better Questions. Traci is also a writer pursuing a Journalism degree, a mother of 3 and a passionate fan of books and the Public Library. Born in Providence, she has lived all over but continues to return home.

Contact: tpicard@segreenhouse.org