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Apr 1, 2023

In this episode, Dan connects with business strategist, executive coach, exit strategy specialist, and counselor to leaders in industry and government, Carri Nicholson. As The Leader Whisperer™, Carri knows how to help CEOs understand the pitfalls and obstacles that cause businesses to stall or fizzle out before achieving next-level growth or profitable exit. Her decades of experience advising leaders - first alongside her father as a business consultant, then as an officer and diplomat in the British army, and later as a CEO in her own right - have given her a comprehensive understanding of leadership. 

She and Dan talk about the challenges she faced as a woman in the UK, taking on leadership roles in the Army and the private sector, and how the power of human connections is one reason she succeeded. They talk about leadership; her observations of world leaders from playing a key role in the Middle East peace process; how CEOs manage teams and projects to scale a business end to end; and how you can become efficient at leading and becoming an effective leader. 

This 90-minute session with Carri is full of useful insights, in-depth analysis based on practical experiences, conclusions based on factual data, and online resources and recommendations that would be a great asset to anyone interested in expanding their leadership skills.

This is one episode you don’t want to miss.


In This Episode

  • (01:49) Welcoming Carrie Nicholson to the Dan Nestle Show.

  • (03:25) Never underestimate the power of human connections.

  • (06:21) Becoming the leader whisperer.

  • (13:41) The Middle East peace process post-Oslo.

  • (19:07) Joining the Officer Training Corps and becoming a sniper.

  • (23:54) Talking about ranks, gaining rank, and pulling rank. 

  • (31:12) Leadership lessons learned through life and death.

  • (33:34) Recalling her experiences at the Royal Military Academy.

  • (37:46) Becoming a leader by observing other leaders in the military.

  • (40:47) Meeting her 2nd husband and running the MBA program at the University of Durham.

  • (44:21) Becoming the CEO of Red Squirrel Conservation Program for the UK.

  • (45:15) Working with the Prince of Wales.

  • (46:50) Hosting a private dinner and securing donations from the 26 wealthiest people in UK.

  • (52:00) How the idea of mentoring other people came about.

  • (1:02:38) The 12 blind spots of STEM people.

  • (1:06:49) The challenges faced by the peas in the pod.

  • (1:08:11) Managing people’s emotions and behaviors.

  • (1:11:30) Talking about toxic cultures.

  • (1:13:16) How venture capital companies find partners.

  • (1:20:19) Discussing the best collection of business books online.

  • (1:22:30) Where to start your research.

  • (1:26:01) Becoming a person of your word.

  • (1:29:11) Understanding leadership and how leaders think.


Notable Quotes

  • “Things that the Army really did teach me is that even when you are in a position of command, you don't know everything. And I saw so many young officers fail. Because they assumed that having the rank gave them the knowledge.” – Carrie (22:45)

  • “If you've come from a STEM background, you are taught and you've been drawn into that because of your personality types, you are taught that perfection is everything. What that actually means is that it can lead to procrastination because you are constantly in search of the ideal rather than the good enough, and you put off making decisions because of that.” – Carrie (1:04:17)

  • “There's always that period of time where you think that the symbol that you have on your collar or on your or on your shoulder entitles you to just tell people what to do. There are rules, but you're not going to make it very long in your space or you're not going to ever get promoted. You're not going to move forward. You’re just not going to be successful in achieving your project objectives, if you don't learn how to lead and don't learn fast.” Dan (23:54)

  • “Managing people means managing their emotions and behaviors, and that is something that STEM leaders can find very, very challenging and what that means is that they struggle to build functional teams. And linked into that is a communication thing. Understanding how people communicate and how to communicate your particular values and your ethos and the behaviors that you expect to see happen. And so there's a whole quadrant on the wheel, which is about understanding that you can build teams in a better way and they don't have to be dysfunctional.” Carrie (1:08:11)

  • “Don't beat yourself up, guys. Because to get as far any leader to even survive a year is beating the odds. All you need is the boost to get to the next level. But you can't do that by yourself. So if it's not me, find somebody. Yeah, because everybody needs somebody in their corner.” Carrie (1:31:00) 

About Carri Nicholson

Carri Nicholson specializes in helping CEOs address blind spots that many small business leaders face when scaling their businesses. An entrepreneur herself, she's also a former British Army officer with decades of experience dealing with leaders in the military, political, and business arenas. Now, as The Leader Whisperer™, she's turned her deep understanding of management and leadership into programs that help small business owners and CEOs to become big business owners and CEOs.

Resources & Links


Dan Nestle


 Carri Nicholson