ILA Podcast

Activation Energy

Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders

with Dr. Todd Deal


Dr. Todd Deal from the Center for Creative Leadership joins Scott for a wide-ranging discussion on leadership and resilience.


“Activation energy – the minimum amount of energy that is required to activate atoms or molecules to a condition in which they can undergo chemical transformation or physical transport.” – Britannica

On moving from chemistry to leadership – “The molecules behave so much better than the people. They’re regular and you can predict what’s going to happen. The people you never know!”

On resilience – “It’s less about grit and getting through it – that’s a component. But it’s taking that recharge time, what is it that you’re doing to fill your bucket back up? So that you show up at your very, very best.”

About Dr. Todd Deal

Todd Deal, Ph.D., serves as Senior Faculty and Director of the Higher Education practice in the Societal Advancement group at the Center for Creative Leadership. In this role, his focus is on partnering with institutions across the broad landscape of higher education to provide leadership education and leader development. Todd and his team work across the higher education spectrum. They co-design leadership programs for college students to facilitate leadership development initiatives for faculty, staff, and executives at the college, university, and system levels.

Todd served as Associate Dean, earned tenure, and was promoted to full professor. He also authored a chemistry textbook – now in its 4th edition. Todd was the founding director of the leadership, community engagement, and service-learning program at Georgia Southern University where he taught leadership courses for 10+ years. He earned a graduate certificate in leadership from Northeastern University, completed the Art & Practice of Leadership Development with Ron Heifetz & Marty Linsky at Harvard University, and twice served as faculty for ILA’s Leadership Education Academy (LEA).

Todd is the founder of TDLearning, Inc. He is a sought-after speaker and leadership development professional, having partnered with various corporate, non-profit, and higher education institutions to provide innovative, strengths-based development experiences for professionals and students. His professional affiliations include the American Chemical Society, the International Leadership Association, the Association of Leadership Educators, and the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs.

Todd and his wife (of 27 yrs) Karen live in Hilton Head Island, SC (NOT retired, far from it!) and are the parents of two brilliant, beautiful, talented young adult daughters.

Host Scott J. Allen

Scott Allen

Scott J. Allen, Ph.D., is the Standard Products—Dr. James S. Reid Chair in Management at John Carroll University. He is an associate professor and teaches courses in leadership, management skills, and executive communication. He is also a communications coach, consultant, author, podcast host, and entrepreneur. For almost two decades, he’s worked with clients to improve their leadership and communication skills. Learn more about Scott here.

About Phronesis

Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders offers a smart, fast-paced discussion on all things leadership. Scott and his expert guests cover timely, relevant topics and incorporate practical tips designed to help you make a difference in how you lead and live.