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“You really need to make sure that toxicity is absolutely caught before it spreads because it is very costly to the company and the lives of the people.” – Frank Wander

In this new era of work, people count more than ever, and what they are able to collectively produce means everything.  Everyone is responsible to help create workplaces where people are both inspired and enabled to give their best. This includes knowing how to handle toxic people and situations, which is what our Finding Brave guest focuses on in this episode.

Frank Wander is an author, former Fortune 250 turnaround CIO, and founder of PeopleProductive, a Human Capital Productivity company. Prior to PeopleProductive, he was a turnaround CIO at three different companies, most recently Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, as well as the President of during the .com era.  Early on, he developed a knack for transforming organizations and spent many years turning around failing IT divisions across corporations.

Frank is a Board member of ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company and a member of Rider University’s HR Curriculum Committee.  He is also the author Transforming IT Culture, published as part of Wiley’s CIO series.  

Caring and concern for others is the force that binds humans together, as the basis of all relationships and fundamental to personal and collective success. Human skills and competencies are no longer just “soft” concepts that leadership talks about in passing, which is why I believe that everyone can benefit from the wisdom that Frank shares with us today.

Highlights from this Episode:

  • What Frank has seen as the biggest issues existing in failing organizations that needed to be addressed in order to help turn them around [4:15]

  • Why there is such a disconnect between leadership and employees, and the role that the educational system plays in creating certain blind spots [8:20]

  • Who can create toxicity in the workplace, and the reasons why it’s not just confined to the leaders of a company [11:48]

  • The consequences that can occur as a result of having just one toxic person in a team or company [15:03]

  • What we can all do today to start becoming a “toxicity handler” in our professional lives [17:00]

  • Why Frank is so optimistic about the future of corporate America, and the awakening he is witnessing [19:08]

  • How we can each develop our skill of collaborating with others, while having fun, in the workplace [20:35]

  • The human framework that Frank and his company uses to assess the cultural fitness of the organization they work with [27:26]

  • Who he feels is his ultimate client and the reason why he likes working with this type of company [30:27]

For More Information:

Resources Mentioned: 

Frank’s Book, Transforming IT Culture: How to Use Social Intelligence, Human Factors, and Collaboration to Create an IT Department That Outperforms

Steve Plante’s White Paper, The Human Experience in the Digital Age

Kathy’s Blog Post, 6 Toxic Behaviors That Push People Away: How To Recognize Them In Yourself and Change Them

What Is Fear? (Paul Eckman Group)

The Toxic Handler: Organizational Hero—and Casualty (Harvard Business Review)

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“It’s the people side that’s not working, and this is not an isolated problem. This seems to be a problem across corporate America.” [5:52]

“There is a way to create an environment where people are both motivated and able to give their best.” [6:36]

“In order for companies and their people to thrive, you’ve got to actually produce business outcomes and more wealth to be shared. That’s how you keep your best people, so removing that blind spot is the key to the whole game.” [13:42]

“It’s amazing how when you can get rid of a few toxic people, everything starts to flow.” [15:33]

“I do believe everybody can have an impact, at every single level of an organization.” [20:01]

“Our model is really cultural fitness because we want companies to build a very fit culture where people are both willing and able to give their best.” [27:26]

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  1. If You’re Engaging In Any Of These Actions, You Shouldn’t Be A Manager - […] their jobs (and what contributes to the real health and emotional risks of working under a toxic boss and how toxicity spills over into other…


Kathy’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss shares vital information on the 7 most damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women face and how to overcome them. Boost your power and confidence today!


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