LAC 6 | Change Management


The recent pandemic has brought on significant changes in how people work. But is this change also reflected in how leaders lead? What should leaders be doing to dive into the people side of change management? Joining Alicia Couri to shed light on the topic is Keisha A. Rivers. As Chief Change Officer and President of The KARS Group LTD, Keisha facilitates successful outcomes by equipping people to embrace, manage and lead through change. In this episode, she enlightens on the impact of the pandemic on workers and leaders alike and how executives should adapt in order to maintain that trust between them and their employees. The two tackle the importance of maintaining a sense of psychological safety amidst uncertainty and what to do to mitigate unhealthy behaviors through positive culture. Tune in to hear more of Keisha’s insights and strategies for leaders as she challenges them to pivot and get in touch with people from every level of their business.

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Understanding The People Side Of Change Management With Keisha A. Rivers

Our guest is Keisha Rivers. Let me share with you Keisha and all her awesomeness. Keisha A. Rivers survived a harrowing Hurricane Katrina experience to become a successful international speaker, change agent, and leading leader. As Chief Change Officer and President of the Kars Group Limited, she facilitates successful outcomes by equipping people to embrace, manage, and lead through change. Leveraging over 29 years of experience in the strategic consulting and organizational development space, she creates opportunities for change, growth, and sustainable success with clients across a variety of industries. You can contact Keisha at Keisha, welcome. We’re going to have a great conversation

Thank you for having me. I’m looking forward to it.

I know Keisha. She is amazing. Full disclosure, she and I are in the same coaching group together. I’ve watched this woman’s brilliance. I needed to have her on the show to share some of that with you. I’m going to start off by asking because the top banner on your website says, “Managing the people side of change.” I want you to explain to everyone what the people’s side of change means.

When we talk about change, most people talk about events and action steps. What are the things that we need to do in order to make sure that we are handling the change? People rarely think about organizations in particular. They rarely think about the people’s side of change. When I talk about that, I like to say that when a change event happens, when a change process goes on, when we’re going through this shift of transformation and trying to figure out what’s next, we always focus on the actions and what has to be done.

We rarely think about the fact that we are all in the same storm. We may all be going through this change together, but we’re in different boats, which means that everybody reacts to it differently. Everyone has different triggers and traumas. Everyone has different stress levels. Everyone thinks about, manages, and processes change differently. If your organization wants to be one that can embrace, manage, and lead through change, you have to deal with the people side of change before you deal with the process side.

LAC 6 | Change Management

Change Management: We may all be going through this change together, but we’re in different boats, which means everybody reacts to it differently. Everyone has their different triggers and traumas. Everyone has their different stress levels. Everyone thinks about and manages and processes change differently.


You have to be able to manage all the emotional, psychological, and all of those that are going on for other people because we’re not robots, and you can’t just flip a switch and say, “We’re doing this today,” and everybody is on board and happy and going in the right and same direction. Sometimes there’s a lot of turmoil that happens, and triggers and traumas. We have to address all those things and that’s what your company does so brilliantly. In that whole vein of the people side of change, what is your opinion that leaders are getting wrong? They’re not awakened yet and they’re still getting it wrong.

The biggest thing that leaders are missing right now is the need for psychological safety. Everyone right now is feeling so much uncertainty over the past couple of years, thinking about us being in a global pandemic. This is the first time in recent history that the entire world has experienced the same exact issue where everyone, regardless of what country it is, was not exempt from being touched by this. That coupled with all of the uncertainty, and then in the US in particular, we’ve been dealing with so much with regards to our own upheaval, as I call it, with regards to mass shootings, racial issues, and political issues and all of this upheaval that has been going on simultaneously while people are still trying to figure out how to deal with the pandemic and the after-effects of that.

The biggest thing that leaders are missing right now is that need for psychological safety. Click To Tweet

What leaders are missing is that their people are not able to compartmentalize anymore. It’s too much. I can’t turn that off. Before COVID, people used to say, “You’re coming here from 9:00 to 5:00. You can turn off and leave whatever is going on at home. You will deal with this and you will do your job to the best of your ability.” When you leave, then you can put back on your people hat and your family, and deal with all of that.

We went through almost two years of people working remotely or doing a hybrid. Even now, there are a lot of companies that are still continuing that. It’s too much. It wasn’t healthy, to begin with, to ask people to compartmentalize and turn off their personal lives. The big thing that leaders are missing is that your people can’t turn it off anymore. They cannot turn it off. You have to be aware of and empathetic to the fact that your people need a psychologically safe environment where they don’t have to figure out how to code switch and how to turn off parts of who they are.

The lines became blurred. Home, business, everything became a mashup. It was just life at that point. You had Zoom meetings. We’re on Zoom right now. We have Zoom meetings. We’re supposed to be in the office. We’re doing work and our kids are coming and interrupting. Our animals and everybody is home life. We could not compartmentalize. You’re so right.

The whole world went through this trauma together and had a loss and had so much going on that all these other events that are happening now are impacting on such a more profound level that they can’t just switch it off anymore. You’re coming to work. You were dealing with sexual harassment or discrimination of some kind in the workplace. From #MeToo to George Floyd to now the mass shootings and everything else that’s going on, you’re overwhelmed emotionally.

You’re absolutely right. Managers, leaders, CEOs, and C-suite executives all have to understand that your people need compassion. I think that’s empathy and compassion and leading from that place. We talk about the pandemic that everybody went through. You survived Hurricane Katrina. What did that experience bring to you now when coming through this pandemic where there are lessons learned, and things that you experienced back then that you were able to now help organizations with because you’ve been through a trauma like that already?

It was interesting because I was talking to a colleague of mine and until the last book that I wrote, Equipped For Change, I hadn’t talked a lot publicly about my Katrina experience, not in detail. There are people who knew that I had gone through it, but I hadn’t talked about it in detail. I unpacked the leadership lessons from there and the lessons that I learned from life within there. A couple of things that stood out to me that I have worked with organizations to help them with is, first and foremost, your people need to feel safe, seen, heard and valued. They don’t need to be treated like a number. They don’t need to be treated as if they are expendable or replaceable. They need to be treated in a way that helps them to understand that you see them for who they are.

LAC 6 | Change Management

Change Management: First and foremost, your people need to feel safe, seen, heard, and valued.


They have value in your organization.

Creating this safe environment where people feel safe, seen, heard and valued is key for them to feel as if they can show up fully and that they can bring ideas to the table. They can give you the heads up on things that you may want to pivot about or potential problems that may arise. Even looking at possible opportunities that you didn’t even think about. Even being able to say, “The way we’re doing this right now isn’t working. Let’s try something different.” This whole notion that we’re all together in this is something that has to be born out of this safety and this opportunity for people to feel that their safe, heard, and valued. That’s one.

The second thing that came out of the entire experience with Katrina was that there are plans that we make, but our plans don’t necessarily account for life. When you are looking at the plans that you make, all of our organizations have our KPIs. We have our goals and what we’re going to be doing at this point, the 2nd, 3rd or 4th quarter. We have our revenue goals and all of that. We have our strategic plans, operational plans, and organizational plans.

Those don’t account for life because most of the time, they are driven by a rigid system that assumes a model where everything goes according to plan. With organizations that I work with primarily, I give them the fundamental frameworks and the building blocks where they’re able to look at things and say, “How am I empowering my people to feel as if they can pivot? How are we becoming an organization that is fluid in the ways in which we adjust and adapt? How are we becoming more open to other ways of getting there?”

I tell people, “If your goal is to get to ten and you mapped out a process where you were going to go, ‘We’re going to do 1 plus 9 and we’re going to get to 10,’ maybe you have to pivot and you have to say, ‘We’re going to do 1 plus 2 plus 7 to get to 10.’” You have to be open to getting there in a different route but still getting to the goal. Those are the two huge things that came to me. One, life happens.

If your goal is to get to 10 and you mapped out a process where you were going to do 1 plus 9 and get to 10, maybe you have to pivot and say, “Okay, we're gonna do 1 plus 2 plus 7 to get to 10.” You have to be open to getting there in a different… Click To Tweet

Honestly, life happens so quickly for some that they couldn’t pivot. It’s like one day, you’re fine. The next day, you’re down for 2 to 3 weeks in the hospital. You have to be able to learn how to go with it and figure it out.

Flexibility is key to that because I always say that there’s assessing your process, and there’s evaluating your progress. Most times people are only evaluating, “How far did we get? What boxes did we check off? Did we meet this milestone? Did we meet this goal?” They’re not going back and looking at the process that they’re taking and seeing, “Is this process still working for our company? Is this process still working for our people?” Now there’s this whole debate that is going to still continue to be going on when this airs, but there’s this debate about working from home versus being in the office.

I tell people, “You have to reframe the way we look at this,” because we’re not working from home. We are at home during a global pandemic and during a time of immense change trying to work. That’s what people need to emphasize. Is it more important that I’m sitting in front of you or is it more important that I’m getting what needs to get done, done? On the horizon, there’s going to be this new shift where people are going to demand that the workplace become more individualized and more flexible, and allow them to show up fully, wholly, and authentically as themselves to be able to give the best of themselves. Most importantly, it has to trust people to understand the best ways in which they work.

LAC 6 | Change Management

Change Management: On the horizon, there’s going to be a shift where people are going to demand that the workplace become more individualized and more flexible. Allow them to show up fully, wholly, and authentically as themselves to be able to give the best of themselves.


This sparks a huge question for me. You talk about psychological safety. The leaders have to make sure that their employees and the people that work for them have psychological safety. What about leaders who have very little trust in their employees to start with? This is why the work-from-home thing is so difficult for them because they lack confidence. This is about having confidence. They lack the confidence that they’re getting the work done, and so they want to put a tight leash on them. How do you speak to those leaders that are saying, “I don’t trust my people to get the work done?”

That’s innately the major issue. Every time I go into an organization and we talk about whether it’s a hybrid workforce working environment or everyone is in the office or anything, language is important. Words have history and meaning. If you are a manager or a supervisor, your job is to manage your people and supervise them when they’re doing tasks.

If you’re not in front of me, I can’t do that. There is nothing inherently in the title manager, lead manager or supervisor that lends itself to any type of trust. The fact that I have to have a manager or supervisor to make sure I’m doing my work means you don’t trust me. That’s why I shift to let’s talk about creating mid-level leadership where you have people who are instead of supervisors and managers, they are people and process leaders.

They are cultivating and creating a community and an environment where their people choose to work there, and they choose to be accountable to each other. I’m not beholding to you as my manager or supervisor. I’m not doing things out of fear of getting fired or repercussions. I’m doing it because I understand that what I do is important because Alicia and I are teammates and we’re a part of this community. If I don’t do what I need to do, then it’s going to impact Alicia negatively. It’s going to impact Kevin negatively, and it’s going to impact these other people.

There’s this collective sense of accountability and this collective sense of community where I am choosing to be here, and this collective trust because I feel safe and I understand that you value me because I’m going to be seen, heard and valued. Now, you don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m doing my work because there’s this sense of mutual community, mutual trust, and mutual accountability. For anyone who is a leadership supervisor or in a management position who’s reading this, if you do not have trust both ways, you do not have a sustainable model at all. You’re going to have breakdowns.

If you do not have trust, you do not have a sustainable model at all. You're going to have breakdowns. Click To Tweet

That is huge. The leaders are looking for a quick fix because that’s one of the other things. They’re like, “Come do a workshop. People need a workshop or they need training. Come do that. That will fix it.” What do you say to those?

The standard nice answer to people who want us to come in and do a “one-off training” or a “one-off workshop” is change is a process that begins with an event. If your event to begin your process of building trust, community, accountability, and building this environment where both ways people feel like they can rely on each other is a workshop, training, speaking, an event or an off-site, that’s fine but that’s just the beginning. What else are you putting in place to support this and develop it?

You can’t build trust, especially if you don’t trust the people with one workshop or even two, “We’ll just do two trainings and that’s it because that’s what our budget can sustain.” First of all your people is probably the largest investment of your organization. If you’re not investing in sustaining those people, that’s why you’re going to have high numbers of attrition, but there needs to also be an investment in how you lead them and how they engage with each other. That’s what’s going to build trust. If you’re not investing in that and saying, “We’re going to do payroll and we’re already investing in their benefits, so that’s it. We’re done.You’re not going to build that trust.

One thing that I want people to understand is this is a mindset shift. This is about how you think because training is about behavior. It is, “Let me show you these checklists or these set of steps or actions that I want you to take.” When you are talking about a workshop, it is, “Let me show you how to do these things and check these boxes to get this result.” You cannot sustain any type of change. You cannot sustain any type of growth unless you have a mindset shift.

People who are looking for that one-off are not looking for the mindset shift. If I get you to change your mind about something, you cannot go back to doing something the way you were before because you are fundamentally different. That’s where we need to get to. We need to get to building a community that is safe. It is an opportunity for people to be seen, heard, and valued. It is an opportunity for people to have trust in both ways. That is a mindset shift. That mindset shift only happens over time.

What needs to become the norm but is not right now is anything to do with mindset training, coaching or helping their individual employees better themselves, these two schools of thought need to go away. One is, what’s the business case? I think that’s ridiculous because you will invest in them learning the proper skillset to do the job that you want them to do, but then you won’t invest in them expanding and growing their mind so that they come at the job in a more productive and better healthier way.

The business case should speak for itself and then this whole idea that it has to be tangible, which is the business case. We have to see it being very tangible for us to take a hold of it. That all comes down to trust as well. The third thing I was thinking of is this idea that if I invest in them and they leave or I’m investing in them to grow and then they leave me, what does that do for me? That’s a mindset. It’s a scarcity mindset.

The key thing that I find when I talk to organizations and I go into organizations are the ones who say, “This is a lot and I don’t have any guarantees. Show me the business case for it,” and all of that. Those questions come up from a lack of confidence. They come from a lack of trust in the process. They come from a lack of understanding about what this means and what this looks like in terms of the long-term impact.

You’re being impacted by your people not trusting you. You’re being impacted by your people not having the mindset and taking ownership and accountability for what they do, and as part of the company to say that I’m going to contribute to something that’s bigger than me and that I want to give 110% or 100% because we’re going to be healthy about this. You’re missing out on that. How much are you losing because your people aren’t doing that? That’s one.

LAC 6 | Change Management

Change Management: You’re being impacted by your people not trusting you. You’re being impacted by your people not having the mindset and taking ownership and accountability for what they do.


Two, when they ask this thing of, “I don’t want to invest all of this into my people and they leave,” if you don’t invest this into them and they stay, how much are they costing you? If you think how about it, how many issues do you deal with? Either lost opportunity, things not being done right, people only doing the bare minimum and so you miss out on opportunities, not utilizing all of the people’s strengths, talents, and abilities where they’re only going to be told this so they’re only going to stay in this box. You’re missing out on all these other things. You are limiting yourself.

You are contracting yourself. If you expand and allow them to expand, how much better is your business going to be? They may never want to leave because you are valuing them. They’re being seen, heard and valued, and they may never want to leave you. If they do leave, you’re making room for more. You’re garnering a reputation that you are the place to work for because you care for your employees and you do all these amazing things to help them grow and develop. You’ll have lines of people waiting to come in if someone leaves. You can’t look at it from that scarcity mindset at all.

I tell organizations that I work with, “Our goal is to get you on the right path for you to create an environment where the wrong people cannot stay, the right people will never want to leave, and the people that you need will be beating down your door waiting to get in.”

I love that. Say that again, Keisha.

The wrong people are not going to stay. The right people are never going to want to leave, and the people that you want are going to be beating down your door to get a shot to get in.

That’s building audacious confidence in your company and in your organization at every level, not just at the leadership level. You are now building confidence. People who want to not just have ownership but want to see the business grow and be a part of the business growth. That’s exciting. That leads me to my next question. When you say all those things, as you do that, how do you build this unshakeable confidence in leaders when you come into an organization? It starts at the top and goes down. It has to.

Interestingly enough, my approach is sandwich. I talk to the people at the C-suite, top-level leadership because I need them to understand the mindset for this. I usually start by laying a foundation of, what does success look like for you? What is it that you want to see happen? Let’s talk about your big picture vision beyond the we want to increase our profit margin by X percentage or we want to expand X percentage of market share or whatever it is. What does this look like on a day-to-day basis?

For example, if you were being recognized for Time Business of the Year or if Oprah was doing a story on you or Good Morning America or the Today Show or Success Magazine, pick whoever you value. If they were going to send a camera crew to follow you around and be in your business for one day, and they were going to follow you from the moment you opened until the time you left, what would they see in the day-to-day activity that would translate to that vision of success that you have?

We start by painting this very explicit and detailed picture of what success looks like. We then say, “Based on what success looks like, what does it look like for each level of the business?” Most of the time, people or leaders or supervisors or managers or whoever are saying, “Our people, we don’t have the buy-in and our people aren’t getting this.” I say, “Are you speaking corporatese where they don’t understand what you mean and what that looks like and how it relates to the way they do what they do on a day-to-day basis?” If they don’t, they can’t see it. If I can’t see myself in the picture, I don’t know what actions to take to be successful.

It starts with this vision and being plain about the vision and being explicit about the vision. I then go to each level of the company and ask them, “What does this look like?” I ask them the same exact question. If I start at the C-suite level, and then I’m talking to the people who are on the front line and their vision of what it looks like on a day-to-day basis is not the same, then the first thing we have to do is make sure we all see the same picture.

I give the analogy of people who are blind or the blind men who were stationed around an elephant. One person had the trunk. One person was at the ear, and the other one was at the side. Somebody else had a foot or a leg. The other one was at the tail. When you asked each of them to describe what the elephant was, they could only describe the elephant from their perspective. They were all right, but they didn’t connect the dots.

The first thing I do with all leaders, and this is leaders at every level of the company, one of the first things I do when I go in is talk to everyone. I said, “You are all leading from within. You are leading from within your zone of influence. Whatever you touch and do, you are leading from your zone of influence. Now how does your zone of influence connect to the other zones of influence to create this big-picture success for the company?”

You are leading from within your zone of influence. Whatever you touch, whatever you do, you are leading from your zone of influence. Now, how does your zone of influence connect to the other zones of influence to create this big picture success for… Click To Tweet

There are so many silos. Everybody is working on their own thing and nobody is focused on where we’re all going. They are all rowing in their little boats. We’re all trying to get over there, but we’re all spinning around because we’re all rowing in different directions and can’t align. That’s beautiful. That’s wonderful. This show is all about leading with audacious confidence. Audaciousness is boldness and the tenacity to step out and do things that others probably wouldn’t.

You look at your organization and you take an honest look at your organization. I talk to leaders and a lot of them are so fixed on, “Everything is going fine because the pulse survey says so.” We’re making our numbers or something. They don’t want to understand the people’s side of the business and what’s happening. They’re all just, “We’re great. We’re fine,” but when you start talking to the people, it’s like, “People are leaving in droves.”

There are companies that I’ve talked to that have an acceptable level of attrition. It’s like, “We’re not going to keep everybody, 20% turnover is fine.” Who are the 20%? If you got 20% of your people overturning on a regular basis and the people that are leaving are always the people who are the last ones to come in or you get people up to a certain point and by year 2 or 3 they’re out. Maybe the people who stay beyond that are not fully engaged, they just show up, punch a clock, do what they got to do the bare minimum, and they leave. You need to go deeper into this to figure out what’s working.

I tell people all the time, “It takes a long time to turn a cruise ship. The bigger the boat, the longer it takes to turn.” Unless you are paying attention to the little shifts that are happening, the next thing you know, you’re like, “Why are we headed for an iceberg? We were supposed to be going that way.” You weren’t noticing the little subtle shifts that were happening. We can’t just rely on the number or anything like that. We have to get down into it.

If people are leaving, the intellectual property, the mind share, the stuff that’s not properly documented or written down as processes, that’s leaving too. When you have turnover, you’re lacking the right engagement in the process. While you think, “We have this manual and people are following,” but maybe there were some things in the manual that other people were doing because there were some glitches and some problems and they weren’t sharing that down the line or making sure that it got into the processes and procedures. When they leave, they take that with them.

People who come in now have to figure it out. How much time and how much money are you losing in the transfer or in getting up to speed because you’re having this attrition problem? I know this is about leadership and everything, but I remember going to the doctor in my early 40s and I had put on some weight, 5 pounds. She said, “That’s normal, 5 pounds in a year.” I thought, “Normal, 5 pounds in a year? How big am I going to be in ten years? Holy crap, no way.”

There is no way 5 pounds is acceptable in a year for me. You have to decide what is acceptable and that 20%, 5%, or whatever it is, is not acceptable. Let’s get it down to 1%. Let’s do what it is to minimize this as much as possible because you don’t realize how much you’re losing not just in income but in profitability and time, and time is money. You’re losing all of that through turnover.

You brought up a good point because when people look at things in the short term, it’s always interesting to me how companies and how leaders choose to measure things. If it’s 20% in a year, it’s not that bad. If you drill it down to, “We have 5 people in a department and 3 of them left,” that’s a bigger deal. It’s a matter of whether you are fudging the numbers to make yourself feel better or are you looking at the totality of it and saying, “What kind of impact is this having?” She said 5 pounds in a year was fine. You’re like, “If we’re keeping at this rate and there are ten years, that’s 50 pounds. We’re not doing this. How big am I going to be and what is that going to do for me health-wise? What are all the other issues that we’re going to have to deal with?

When we talk about all of this, I don’t want people who are either in a leadership position or people who are thinking about being in a leadership position to miss the point of this. There are so many different nuances to what this looks like and all of the things that need to be considered. What we want you to do is we want you to understand that there are some fundamental truths and some things that you have to adhere to because your boss says, “We are looking at our profit margins, our growth, our numbers, and so on and so forth.

As a leader, it is up to you to drill down to what’s important. You have to drill down to the people level is what I call it. Instead of always looking at the numbers, which gives you the 50,000-foot view, you got to drill down to the individual people that you are touching and that you are working with to see what type of impact is this having.

LAC 6 | Change Management

Change Management: Instead of always looking at the numbers, which gives you the 50,000 foot view, you have to drill down to the individual people that you are touching and working with to see what type of impact this is really having.


Don’t put on the blinders. Don’t stick your head in the sand. Dig up the truth. Sometimes it’s hard as leaders to even have self-awareness and look at the ugly truth about ourselves. We need to do that about ourselves and have great self-awareness. We also need to do it about our companies and have great self-awareness about our companies.

Thank you so much, Keisha. This has been rich. This has been amazing. I want to change. I want to make a pivot right now. First of all, I want to tell everybody to get in touch with Keisha. If anything to do with change management, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are on your horizon or your to-do list, please contact Keisha. She’s at It’s Keisha A. Rivers. Contact them and get your boat aligned and rowing in the right direction, so you don’t hit that iceberg. I’m going to now hit Keisha with some rapid-fire questions. Let’s get to know Keisha a little bit on a personal level. First of all, Keisha, what’s the biggest leadership mistake you ever made or were a victim of?

The biggest leadership mistake I was a victim of is that someone underestimated me severely. They thought that they had summed me up after meeting me and thought that I logged in to this nice little neat box. They did not realize the depth and breadth of my experience and my expertise. They also did not realize how well I knew their boss. That was an interesting thing. As far as the biggest mistake I made, it happened when I was teaching first grade. In one of my past lives, I was an educator. I had this notion of leadership being about control and that I could control what happened because I was the leader. I’m the person in the room.

I had 26 first-grade students, and they taught me that control is an illusion because back at that point, you have the car alarms. There was one time, I will never forget this, there are twenty 6-year-olds in this room and one kid started making the sound of the car alarm and everybody joins in. There was nothing I could do about it. At that point, I went, “Leadership is not about control at all because they’re going to do what they’re going to do.”

I think everyone should teach young kids, kindergarten, first grade, and three-year-olds. I teach three-year-olds at Sunday school. That gives you a lesson in humility, control and leadership in a big way when you teach kids and a group of them. Not just your own kids but a group of kids. It’s very humbling indeed. I love that. What’s the best advice you ever got that you still implement now?

Just because you need help does not mean you failed. It means you’re not in it by yourself.

Here’s a strange one. If you were a castaway on a deserted island, what three things would you hope washed ashore or was airdropped to you? One of them cannot be a cell phone.

I wouldn’t want a cell phone anyway. One, I would want books plural. Two, I would want notebooks in terms of journals. Three, I’m assuming I have everything I need to survive as far as food and everything else. The third thing I would want would be painting supplies to draw or to paint with.

That’s creative. I think this one will get a great insight into you. If you were a song, what song would it be? A song title that’s already out there. Don’t make up your own song title.

This is a tough one because while I listen to a lot of music, I am notoriously bad at knowing what the titles are. One that I absolutely loved that was my theme song is by Alicia Keys. It’s on the same album as the Girl on Fire song. This one is talking about loving herself and becoming herself, A Brand New Kind Of Me.

I don’t know that song. Maybe if I hear it, I do. There you go. Why is that?

I’m always reinventing myself. In that song, it starts out by saying how she was always putting her definitions of herself based on someone else, in the way they thought about her and the way they saw her. As she goes through the song, she talks about her growth and the way that she is embracing who she is becoming. Right now I’m 51. I have this thing where I say I’m Keisha 5.1. Keisha 5.2 is going to be a little bit different. It’s this brand-new kind of me that is always growing and developing as a result of my experiences.

I just entered my 5.3, so it’s getting better and better.

That’s a whole other audacious confidence that comes with that.

My last and final question for you is, what are you reading right now? Give us a list of your top three favorite books.

I’m reading several things right now. I always end up reading more than one book at a time. One of them that I’m reading is CEO Tools 2.0 by Jim Canfield. Another one that I am reading is by Brené Brown and it is Rising Strong.

You love books. It’s a hard thing to pick out favorites.

I’m looking around because there are four bookshelves in my office. There are books all over the place here. I will say one that I have read more than once was The Shack, and I don’t remember who it’s by. They also did a movie with it. I read that more than once. Another one that I have read more than once is The Power of Vulnerability. It’s Brené Brown.

Another one is any John Graham novel. I love mysteries and action and figuring stuff out. I’m looking over here and there are six of his books that I’m staring at right now. I try to mix it up with a little bit of things that take me away and are not related to work or any of that. Something that’s related to personal development or growth, and then something that’s going to help me professionally in terms of building.

Thank you so much, Keisha. This has been an absolute pleasure.

Thank you for having me. This was fun.

I encourage you all to go check out Keisha’s website. You can find her at I encourage you as well to continue to lead your teams, lead yourself, and lead your organization with audacious confidence. I will see you next time in the next episode. See you then.


Important Links


About Keisha A. Rivers

LAC 6 | Change ManagementRecent TEDx speaker, Keisha A. Rivers survived a harrowing Hurricane Katrina experience to become a successful international speaker, change agent and learning leader. As Chief Change Officer and President of The KARS Group LTD, she facilitates successful outcomes by equipping people to embrace, manage and lead through change. Leveraging over 29 years of experience in the strategic consulting and organizational development space, she creates opportunities for change, growth and sustainable success with clients across a variety of industries.

Keisha hosts a podcast entitled “Equipped 4 Change”, has authored several books, the latest entitled “Equipped for Change: Doing the Deep Work of Transformation”, and gives back through her 501c3 nonprofit organization The KARS Institute. Keisha holds a BA from University of Pennsylvania, a M.Ed. from University of New Orleans and a Certificate in Women’s Entrepreneurship from Cornell University. She is a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP), Certified Diversity Executive (CDE), Certified Talent Optimization Consultant and SHRM Recertification Provider.

Keisha has been named an “2022 Enterprising Women of the Year” awardee by Enterprising Women Magazine; “50 Most Influential Women of 2021” by the Mecklenburg Times for her leadership in the Charlotte area; “10 Most Influential Black Women in Business to Follow in 2021” by CIO Views Magazine; “Multicultural Entrepreneurs You Should Know” by PRIDE Magazine and a 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist for her book “Equipped for Change: Doing the Deep Work of Transformation”.

Past clients include: Walmart, Conduent, Linkedin, Predictive Index, F5, The City of Charlotte, Bunelle Foundation, and others. For more about Keisha, visit


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