Blog/The Jeff Heggie Show/Smart Growth with Whitney Johnson

Smart Growth with Whitney Johnson

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Jeff Heggie Show #30 - Whitney Johnson: Smart Growth


"Your odds of success are going to be six times higher when you pursue a disruptive course."   Whitney Johnson

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Whitney Johnson is CEO of the tech-enabled talent development company Disruption Advisors, an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company in America (2020). One of the top ten business thinkers in the world as named by Thinkers50, Whitney is an expert at smart growth leadership. Whitney has worked at FORTUNE 100 companies, and as an award-winning equity analyst on Wall Street. She co-founded the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Harvard Business School’s late Clayton Christensen. She has coached alongside the renowned Marshall Goldsmith, selected by Goldsmith in 2017 as a Top 15 Coach out of a pool of more than 17,000 candidates. Whitney understands how companies work, how investors think, and how the best coaches coach.

An award-winning author, Johnson teaches the S Curve of Learning to managers and companies as both a keynote speaker and a frequent lecturer for Harvard Business School’s Corporate Learning. She is a LinkedIn Top Voice (2020) with 1.8 million followers. Her course Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship has been viewed more than 1 million times.

An innovation and disruption theorist, Whitney is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review. Author of the bestselling Build an A Team (a Financial Times Book of the Month) and Disrupt Yourself, fittingly described by Publisher’s Weekly as “Savvy . . . often counterintuitive . . . superb.” She hosts the weekly Disrupt Yourself podcast with guests including Brené Brown, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and General Stanley McChrystal.

Whitney was co-founder of the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Clayton Christensen. Her role included fund formation, strategy, and capital raising. They invested and led the $8 million seed round for South Korea’s Coupang ecommerce platform, currently valued at $50 billion.

Whitney's Books

Smart Growth: How to Grow Your People to Grow Your Company

Growth is the goal. Helping people develop their potential—enabling them to articulate and become the self they want to be, are capable of being, and that best serves them and others in the short and long term—is what we as individuals and leaders strive toward.


But how do we grow? It turns out it happens in a predictable way, which means we can understand where we are in our growth and chart a way forward. In this compact, complete guide, Whitney Johnson dives more deeply than ever into the S Curve of Learning so that you can envision how growth happens and direct yourself and others in your organization to create a culture that fosters it.

Whitney Johnson Smart Growth Book

Build An A Team

What’s the secret to having an engaged and productive team? It’s having a plan for developing all employees–no matter where they are on their personal learning curves

Better morale and higher performance happen through learning, argues Whitney Johnson. In over twenty years of coaching, investing, and consulting, Johnson has seen that employees need continuous learning and fresh challenges to stay motivated.

The best bosses know this, and they know how to make it happen by thoughtfully designing people’s jobs around the skills they have today as well as the skills they’ll need to be even more valuable tomorrow. That’s how entire organizations stay competitive in an unpredictable, rapidly changing business environment.

Whitney Johnson Build An A Team

Disrupt Yourself

Startups, growth-stage companies, and private equity–backed companies all have one thing in common: They need high-growth individuals to execute high-growth plans. As a leader trying to achieve ambitious organizational goals, you need people who can do more than just keep up; you need people who can set the pace. You need high-growth individuals.

Disrupt Yourself helps high-growth individuals–and those trying to attain this status–learn the tools and frameworks necessary to make changes that matter. This book helps you understand how these frameworks of disruptive innovation can apply to your particular path, whether you are:

  • A self-starter ready to make a disruptive pivot in your business
  • ​A high-potential individual charting your career trajectory
  • ​A manager looking to instill innovative thinking within your team
  • ​A leader facing industry changes that make for an uncertain future
Whitney Johnson Disrupt Yourself book

Dare, Dream, Do

Whitney Johnson, popular Harvard Business Review blogger, has a goal: to help us identify and achieve our dreams. Her belief is that we can each achieve greater happiness when focusing both on our dreams and on other people in our lives. In this inspiring book, Johnson directs her attention to teaching women, in particular, a three-step model for personal advancement and happiness. She first encourages us to DARE to boldly step out, to consider disrupting life as we know it. Then she teaches us how to DREAM, to give life to the many possibilities available, whether to start a business, run a marathon, or travel the world. She shows us how to “date” our dreams (no need to commit!) and how to make space for dreams. Finally, Whitney’s model brings out the businesswoman in her; she teaches us to DO, to execute our dreams. She showcases the importance of sharing dreams with others to give them life, creating your own “dream team.” Rich with real stories of women who have dared to dream, DARE, DREAM, DO offers a practical framework to realize one’s true potential.

Whitney Johnson Dare Dream Do book

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Disrupt Yourself Podcast: LISTEN HERE

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