Episode #51 – Kari Granger: Trust, Authenticity and Commitment

“Trust is an action, it’s what we do through conversation. Trust is built, sustained and rebuilt when violated, through conversation.”

Kari Granger is the founder and CEO of The Granger Network, an executive and leadership development firm. Considered a thought leader in her field, Kari leads with authenticity, bravery and relevance and collaborates with a specialized team of coaches and consultants who work with client leaders at every organizational level resulting in impressive organizational transformations.

Recently Kari and her team have uncovered a specialized approach to cultural mis-alignment post-mergers and acquisitions which has powerfully and positively impacted organizational performance, engagement and culture.

The Granger Network supports clients that span the globe, from individual leaders to national and international associations, institutions, military units, corporations, and organizations with special emphasis in healthcare, military and higher education.

A decorated former U.S. Air Force officer, Kari is a subject matter expert in both applying and teaching the concepts of transformative leadership under the most challenging conditions. She has worked in close coordination with numerous branches of the U.S. armed forces and governmental agencies to achieve breakthrough mission performance, from solving airlift logistical challenges and leading U.S. troops under enemy fire during combat duty in Iraq to cultural alignment work for Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) activities. She empowers leaders in all realms, to create tangible results in the areas they are committed to.

Kari studied at the Bonch-Bruevich Saint-Petersburg State University of Telecommunications in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a B.S. in Behavioral Sciences, holds an M.A. in Education Leadership from the University of New Mexico, and is an ICF Professional Certified Coach. As a mother and wife with a strong voice in the world, Kari has a special interest in working with powerful leaders who also have a profound commitment to being present for their family while fulfilling on their personal global purpose.

  • Show Notes
  • [02:08] Patrick introduces his next guest: Kari Granger
  • [03:51] Kari and Patrick get their conversation fired up.
  • [04:42] Kari shares what she’s got going on right now. In a word: growing!
  • [05:36] Granger Network – what is it, and how do Kari and her team of coaches and consultants support their clients?
  • [07:16] Kari describes the kind of client teams they are working with and the special niche that the Granger Network has discovered and refined.
  • [08:55] Kari and her team excel in the interesting human-side of large corporate change, supporting all stakeholders in being heard and great culture not only cultivated but championed.
  • [10:39] Kari affirms that changes in any business must start with the leaders. There is no compromise for leaders to first attend to their own challenges if they want to achieve positive and powerful change within their organization.
  • [12:48] Kari breaks down the three domains of leadership and management competence. Manage, adapt and transform.
  • [16:35] Kari’s overarching leadership philosophy.
  • [18:14] Expanding on her definition a little further, Kari talks about “fundamental cares” [or concerns] for stakeholders.
  • [20:57] In working with and developing leaders, Kari’s primary goal is to expand their range and achieve a rich arsenal of qualities and resources from which to draw to achieve foundational success.
  • [24:14] Kari and Patrick circle back to allowing authentic frustration and anger to show up in service to an outcome vs. a trigger. Acting from triggers constrict leadership range.
  • [28:43] Trust. Kari deconstructs the definition of trust – what it is, what it isn’t, the human truth of betrayal and overcoming it when it happens.
  • [33:07] Kari details the four significant conversations for trust. Truth, accountability, competence and care.
  • [38:15] Furthering these four cornerstones of trust, Patrick and Kari dissect how unstated expectations and assumptions can result in trust breakdown. This is where authentic, clear conversations promote alignment.
  • [41:18] Kari speaks to delegation and where many people, including her, are missing the mark by delegating action and tasks. By expressing their vision, opportunities, criteria for success and probable breakdowns, leaders can influence their team in delegation for success.
  • [42:38] Kari shares her military background at the U.S. Air Force Academy, why she got involved [soccer?!], and why she stayed with the military: duty and honour.
  • [47:38] The sharp, poignant realization of theoretical leadership vs. leadership in action under fire in Iraq. Her way of being, courage in action and embodying leadership proved far more important in light of a bigger commitment to support her fellow soldiers.
  • [53:01] Kari illustrates a difficult circumstance in which she had to overcome betrayal by a few members of her military team and dig deep into her leadership training to skillfully address the situation while remaining committed to her confidence, power and authenticity.
  • [59:56] Before diving into her upbringing and background, Kari completes her story by sharing her experience of being a woman. Bringing masculine and feminine energy into balance breeds power, grounding and authenticity.
  • [62:00] Who in Kari’s life demonstrated and modeled discipline, strength, and leadership in her early life and upbringing?
  • [65:36] Kari expresses her appreciation for her sisters and what they have brought to her life.
  • [67:43] Patrick reflects on his recent conversation with Tahani Aburaneh [episode 49] around adversity, resilience and flourishing success and how he also sees these qualities within Kari.
  • [71:08] Kari’s perception of her crucible moments, her adversities and how they shaped her experience and success. It’s not about the events, it’s who we become as we manage them.​
  • [74:28] The double-edge reality of being a woman in a place of power and leadership.
  • [75:09] Kari explains the perspective of cultural sights and shaping which result in how we become who we are, why our life experiences unfold as they do and the choices we make from there.
  • [78:20] Kari describes how she and her team equip leaders with robust tools and training in which to build trust, exhibit bravery and embrace authentic conversations in a way that spurs productive action. Who knew negative assessments could be so positive?
  • [84:03] Let’s gear up for a little rapid fire! Vital reads (and gifts), favourite swear word, messages at the pearly gates, Kari’s weirdness scale, what she’s not very good at (oh there’s two!), room-desk-car, favourite movie and favourite music (ok, you’ll have to wait until minute 92:00 for that).
  • [89:22] Kari’s far-reaching gratitude. ​

Connect with Kari Granger:

The Granger Network





Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode:

Culture of Trust course from the Granger Network

Fernando Flores

Julio Olalla

Building Trust: In Business, Politics, Relationships, and Life by Robert C. Solomon and Fernando Flores

Crucible Moments by Steven J. Bell

Strozzi Insitute – Embodied Leadership

Rising Strong by Brené Brown

The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz, Jean Gomes and Catherine McCarthy

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