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#43—Whitney Johnson: Mastering Your Individual Growth Journey

#43—Whitney Johnson: Mastering Your Individual Growth Journey

Whitney Johnson is the CEO of human capital consultancy WLJ Advisors, an Inc. 5000 2020 fastest-growing private company in America. She is an expert at helping high-growth organizations develop high-growth individuals, and recognized as one of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world (#14) as named by Thinkers50.

Having worked at Fortune 100 companies, been an award-winning equity analyst on Wall Street, invested with Harvard’s Clayton Christensen, and coached alongside the renowned Marshall Goldsmith, Whitney understands how companies work, how investors think, and how the best coaches coach–––all of which she brings to her work in coaching CEOs and CSuite executives. Whitney works with high growth venture-backed start-ups and Fortune 100 companies across a variety of sectors including consumer goods, technology, higher education and financial services. In 2017, she was selected from more than 16,000 candidates as a “Top 15 Coach” by Dr. Marshall Goldsmith.

She is an award-winning author, world-class keynote speaker, and frequent lecturer for Harvard Business School's Corporate Learning. She is a popular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, has 1.8 million followers on LinkedIn, where she was selected as a Top Voice in 2018, and her course on Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship has been viewed more than 1 million times.

Whitney joined us last year in our podcast as a guest speaker and she introduced us to how the S Curve or adoption curve can be applied to yourself and your career. But in her books so far, the S Curve was sort of a “supporting character.” Now, in her new book, Smart Growth, she puts the S Curve front and center and lays out with remarkable precision and clarity the milestones along that S Curve.

In this podcast, she shares:

  • Points out that without landmarks, people literally walk around in circles

  • Provides a map of six landmarks you can use to help you avoid walking around in circles in your career

  • How to know if you have plateaued in your career or your business, and whether it's time to get uncomfortable or find a new adventure

  • How to then know if you are the right next s-curve


"And when you know where you are, you increase your capacity to grow and the more you grow, the more you can grow. And so, you can use this for yourself, if you're willing to grow yourself, then you're going to be able to grow your people. And if you can grow your people, then you can grow your organization"

-Whitney Johnson


  • Episode Timeline:

    00:00—Introducing Whitney + The topic of today’s episode

    3:00—Why did you decide to write your third and newest book?

    3:56—Could you unpack the metaphor from your book?

    8:22—How can you know if you've plateaued, whether in your life or career?

    10:45—How do you know if the next S Curve you're stepping on to is the right path?

    12:28—Digging deeper into the "Explorer" phase of the S Curve

    16:00—The sweet spot of the S Curve

    18:05—How can you know when you've reached the mastery phase vs. you're actually just in the beginning phase?

    20:10—Are there any last thoughts you'd like to share?

    20:48—How can people connect with you?


  • Additional Resources:

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The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.