59: Flourishing in an Ever-Changing World with Randy Pennington

We are both honored and delighted to be speaking to Randy Pennington today! Randy is very well-known in our industry. Not only is he a great thinker, but he is also someone who can look into implementing strategies that positively impact your organization, your business, or yourself. He is a leading voice in our industry who has been involved with many major industry associations and he has also written several books.

We are sure you will enjoy our conversation with Randy Pennington today!

Randy Pennington’s bio

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of endless uncertainty and change. Randy’s original insights are grounded in a unique blend of solid research and continuing hands-on work with leaders and organizations in various industries. Whether you need a keynote presentation, facilitation, a strategic workshop, or in-depth consulting and advisory support, Randy’s ability to develop solutions that work in your world provide a catalyst for delivering results. Randy is the author of the award-winning books Results Rule! and Make Change Work. His insights have appeared in Fast Company, Entrepreneur, the New York Times in numerous newspapers and many professional/trade association journals, and contributor to the Huffington Post. His expertise has made him a respected guest commentator with appearances on CNN, PBS, Fox News, the ABC Radio Network, and the BBC. His background is a unique blend of line, staff, and consulting experience ranging from hourly employee to senior management. He holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Psychology and has completed Postgraduate work in Organization Administration and Management. Along the way, Randy has been a senior executive in a start-up mental health facility, an HR professional in a 25,000 employee government agency, a CFO of a multi-million dollar professional services firm, Chairman of the Board for a 17-million-dollar non-profit, Chairman of the Board for a multi-million dollar foundation,  Entrepreneur, Adjunct professor in Southern Methodist University’s Edwin L. Cox Business Leadership Center’s programming for Cox MBA students since 1991, earning 21 Teaching Excellence Awards, and inducted into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame and is a recipient of their prestigious Cavett Award.

No more new normal

Randy feels that there is no more new normal. There is only a new next.

Change models

For Randy, all change models go back to the psychologist, Kurt Lewin. He was considered the father of social psychology and developed one of the first models around change. He said that to make change happen, you must first unfreeze the thing you want to change. Then, make the change and refreeze it.

To get to normal

When following Lewin’s model, one would assume that to get to normal, we have to re-freeze. What happens, however, if you never get to the point of refreezing? When things are changing all the time, there is never the opportunity to become completely normal.

Frustration for businesses and organizations

Part of the frustration that we have all been feeling in our businesses and organizations is that almost as soon as we get something changed, we need to change it again. Or, something else needs to get changed.

A better mindset

A better mindset for everyone today is to accept that we may never get back to normal. The closest thing we’re going to get to normal is change happening faster than it’s ever happened before.


In the strategic planning groups that Randy has been doing since COVID, he has noticed that everyone takes the threat piece way more seriously than before when they do the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. That means that people are now thinking more realistically about threats.

Things that Randy Pennington has learned from COVID

Something that Randy Pennington has learned from COVID is that we have to think about probabilities and possibilities a little differently, and we need to be ready to move quickly.

Flourishing and surviving

In the meetings industry, we are not pivoting. We are expanding and accelerating. The more we can anticipate, the better our chances for flourishing and surviving in the ever-changing world.

Small business owners

Small business owners need to ensure that they always have enough cash in reserve to sleep well at night.

Live meetings

Randy is sure that in our industry, we will go back to live meetings. They will also have a hybrid or virtual component, however.

Challenges for meetings and events

The pandemic has changed everything about how we do what we do. Two questions that we need to ask regarding meetings and events are: “What if?” and “What next?”.

The purpose of meetings

The purpose of meetings is to create connections, educate, and engage, and that never changes.

Randy Pennington’s thoughts on preparing to survive and thrive

Meeting and event planners need to cultivate new skills to survive and thrive. They need enough curiosity about new things to allow them to see the connections before they occur, according to Randy Pennington.

The levels of change

The first level of change is to adapt. The second level is to anticipate. Level three change is pursuing things that will be different and make a difference. Another level, which Randy looks at as Level 0, is about the changes we should ignore.

Talent matters

Talent matters, so organizations need to be sure that they provide a space where the best and brightest would want to work.

More ideas

In a world of uncertainty, we need more ideas, because we have to deal with experiences we have never had before right now.

Forced collisions

A way for business owners to get new ideas is to create forced collisions in the business. That means they have to put people together who might not normally go well together to work on a problem where more than one perspective is needed.

Training the next generation

Training for the next generation in the industry should focus on cultivating qualities like curiosity, collaboration, and cooperation. Also, effective communication, tapping into the things that make all of us the same and dealing with cross-cultural issues.

Earning your seat at the table

Although the logistics of meetings are crucial, they are not the priority. You first need to earn your seat at the table. Learn to think like CEOs, CFOs, and VPs of Marketing think. Focus on what they focus on.

Connect with Randy Pennington

On Website

Results Rule with Randy Pennington group on Facebook

Books mentioned

Outrageous Empowerment by Ron Lovett

(Catch Ron Lovett’s interview with Eric HERE!)

Humanocracy by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini

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Eric Rozenberg

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