Danielle Strickland: Leading Transformational Change

Published August 13, 2019


Leading Organizations
The following are notes from Danielle Strickland’s talk at #GLS19. Use them to help you apply the content you learned at the Summit.


Story of workplace change: When email first became a thing, she worked with a boss who would have his secretary print out her emails so he could write his response on the bottom of the page and fax it back to Danielle.

  • Change comes fast and furious at all of us
  • Change has not slowed down since
  • The way we shop, communicate and date has all changed


How can we be leaders who survive change and thrive in the midst of it?

Story of Amplify Peace: Danielle was working with a movement that takes people on global immersions around the world that are suffering great difficulties but have exceptional leaders who are making peace and making changes in these environments. In Rwanda, she was meeting with a group of community leaders experiencing cultural change. Their domestic violence rate decreased by 60% in one year. The leader shared with her that happened because it started when Danielle’s training required him to confront the behavior.



Analogy of the tree: Life is a lot like a tree.

Leaves = Results: What is seen
Branches = Actions: What is done
Trunk = Values: What is best
Roots = Beliefs: What is true

  • When you have to let go to move forward, you ask for help
  • If you want to be a transformational leader, you need to pay attention to the fruit the tree is yielding
  • What are the values contributing to the branch of your life?
  • Have a deeply-rooted belief system

Transformational change requires leaders to go all the way down to the rooted belief system.

  • Productivity is linked to values we have as human beings
  • If we want to be leaders of influence to bring transformation to the world, we need to find the right things to change


Story of the last Emperor of Ethiopia: Haile Selassie died in 1974. A Polish journalist, Kapuscinski, interviewed the Emperor’s staff to see if he truly was a good leader. They said yes, and Kapuscinski asked why and was looking for evidence to support the claims of him being a great leader and good man. One million Ethiopians died of starvation during his reign while he feasted on the finest foods. Haile noticed his people were sad one day and flew in world-renowned experts from Sweden to lead his staff in 20 minutes of vigorous exercise so they could be happier working in the palace.


1. Change the right things

  • Leadership changes don’t always work if they’re not the right ones
  • Having open workplaces that seems to fix it all, new job descriptions
  • Doing the work of getting down into the deeply-rooted belief systems in order to bring transformational change into our lives, into our community’s lives, into the world’s life


It’s time for leaders to be transformational, change agents. If you want to change things, you’ve got to change the right things.


2. Embrace the process

Story of her family: Danielle and her family relocated to a different country. Her son had a difficult time adapting to change. He participated in a visualization scenario explaining what change feels like by looking at chairs and an exercise ball that start as stable then progressively become unstable.

  • Every leader needs to understand disruption is not a threat, it’s an invitation
  • Destruction is not a threat, it’s an invitation to keep moving to a new normal
  • Moving forward is equal parts fearful and equal parts exciting
  • Leaders help each other navigate and mobilize communities
  • Leaders find a new place to stand even when it doesn’t seem normal or familiar
  • Leaders find a new place and a new narrative which becomes the solution




Story of Acts 10: Peter has a vision from God telling him to kill and eat animals that are against his Jewish culture and religion. He wakes up confused and disturbed, wondering what it means. Later Peter says, “Oh, I see now.”

There is no changing the future without disrupting the present.

  • Peter navigated the chaos of leaving behind everything that was familiar
  • A new normal was born
  • Changing things doesn’t matter as much as changing the right things
  • Once you know what the right things are to change, you have to embrace them and the process


One encounter can change everything if you change the right thing.


Click here to view the homepage of the GLS19 Session Notes.

About the Author
Danielle Strickland is a 2019 Global Leadership Summit Speaker.

Danielle Strickland

Pastor, Author

Justice Advocate

Danielle Strickland is currently based in Toronto, Canada. She loves Jesus and she loves people. She is the author of 6 books with her most recent being Better Together: How Women and Men Can Heal the Divide and Work Together to Transform the Future. She is host of DJStrickland Podcast, ambassador for Stop the Traffik, as well as the co-founder of Infinitum, Amplify Peace, The Brave Campaign and the Women Speakers Collective. Danielle is a mom of 3, wife to @stephencourt and has been affectionately called the “ambassador of fun.”

Years at GLS 2016, 2018, 2019

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