Press Pause for Conscious Choice – How to Stay Calm and Centered in the Midst of Challenging Circumstances

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Original Date: November 19, 2019
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  (Viktor E. Frankl)

The increasingly fast pace of change in today’s world can be overwhelming. We have much better chances of sustainable success – no matter what the actual organizational and personal outcomes we strive for – if we know how to come from a calm, centered space.

At the core of conscious leadership, a high performing team and a future proof organization is a calm center.

In this webinarSilke Zanker, Axialent’s Head of Impact Creation, will leverage her 20+ years of experience working with high performance individuals, teams and organization.

Silke will share with you:

  • Why the ability to stay calm and be mindful is at the core of high performance.
  • The exact strategies and tactics top executives, athletes and many of our fortune 500 clients use to make powerful choices during stressful times.


19 November 2019

10am ET / 4pm CET


Barbie: Hi everyone and welcome to today’s Lead to Transform webinar, Press Pause for Conscious Choice. How to stay calm and Centered in the Midst of Challenging Circumstances. This is one in a series of webinars where we connect for 30 to 45 minutes to bring to life the challenges we see in the market and what to do about them. The increasingly fast pace of change in today’s world can be overwhelming. We have a much better chance of sustainable success, no matter what the actual organizational and personal outcomes we strive for, if we know how to come from a calm centered space.

Barbie: During this session, Silke Zanker, head of impact creation, will share with you why the ability to stay calm and be mindful is at the core of high performance. And the exact strategies and tactics top executives, athletes, and many of our Fortune 500 clients use to make powerful choices during stressful times. We will host a Q and A at the end of this session. So if you have any questions during the session you can use your control panel and type in your question. And with that I hand it over to you, Silke.

Silke: Thank you, Barbie. Welcome everyone, and first of all, thank you for joining. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening, wherever you are in this world. Pressing Pause for Conscious Choice starts with that moment, right now, with you showing up and taking that moment for yourself, and yeah, to just create a moment to breath and maybe learn something or reinforce something that you already know but maybe would like to do more of, or maybe less of. First of all, thank you for being here and for creating this experience together with us. We really invite you to send in questions, to share your experiences, to share what works, what works for you, and yeah, any type of questions that you have.

Silke: Because I believe that in times like this where the world is turning so fast and things are coming at us, it’s not only the worker world outside, it’s the worker work inside. We’re just stronger when we share with each other what we have learned and that really is the purpose of this webinar as well. I will share with you some of the best practices that we have been working together on with our clients all over the world in many, many different countries on all continents, with top-level athletes, with executives, with people on every level in many different types of organizations. Stay tuned, engage, ask your questions, and then let’s just get going and let’s practice together and apply some of these tactics and strategies straight away.

Silke: I’m going to just go to the slide mode and start with one assumption that I believe really is something that, as a leader, and a leader not necessarily a title, so yes it could be a title that you have in your organization, but when we lead from within it doesn’t matter. We can be a role model wherever we are in the organization. And as a leader, our shadow casts a long way. Whatever we do, whatever we don’t do, has an impact on ourselves but also on the people around us and on our organization. I believe it’s very important to be really mindful of how we show up. In particular, during times of stress, during times of fast changes and complexity.

Silke: Right now it’s November, middle of November, we have 45 days more or less left until the end of the year. For many companies, end of the fiscal year as well. Even if that’s not the case, it’s always kind of a point for us to create a new strategy, to step back for a moment, to reassess how we’ve doing. But this year, it’s not only the end of the year, it’s the end of a decade. We’re moving into a new decade. And I would love for you to move into it from a place of calm and from a place of strength and power, so that this can become the best decade yet. It’s not only the end of the year but for many of us it’s also Christmas coming up and there’s a lot of personal commitments you also have. It sometimes seems it’s this time where I would just love to breath for a moment.

Silke: Again, the way you deal with these moments is crucial because it will set an example for the people around you. The choices you make will have a ripple effect. It’s the small choices. It’s not always the big choices of completely changing direction, but it’s the small changes we make day by day, moment by moment. Let’s zoom into these choices for a moment. That’s what it feels for many people. Statistics show us that in the US, for example, 83%, 84% of the workers suffer. They say, “I suffer from stress”. Now, that’s an example for the US, but there are similar numbers for Asia, for Europe, for countries all over the world.

Silke: Some research shows how 30% to 40% of the respondents say that stress actually has to do with working with their superior, with their boss. Now, if we are in a position where we lead people and manage people, that’s a huge responsibility to contribute to somebody’s stress level and therefore performance level or level of creativity and level of feeling part of a team and really being at their best. That is also a questions for ourselves. Business nowadays, I would ask you right now how are you doing? I do that very often, consciously ask of yourself how are you? And often the answer these days is, “I’m good.” “I;, busy.”

Silke: Busy nearly being an answer of a status symbol. If I’m not busy, I’m not important, kind of. I would love for you to consciously observe the answers that you get, but also the answers that you receive from people, and to just be aware of how we label and the stories we tell ourselves that being busy is a good thing. Or, maybe it’s the thing that I’m expected to be if I have a certain position. And maybe could you, could I, one, two, three, 10, 100, 1,000 of us redefine what it means to be a high performer where we don’t have to say that we are busy and business is not a status symbol.

Silke: Now the question though is, and this webinar is about, how do I reach that space inside of myself where I don’t get swayed? I don’t get swayed by the business of what is around me, but also I don’t get swayed by the business inside of me. That really is what we’re talking. This is not about taking four weeks out and meditating and going to a monastery or going far off to Bali sitting on the beach, which is a nice thing to do and also has its place, but I feel and I also see that in myself. I’ve had these experiences and I see that with many of the people that I work with who sometimes position these questions in our lives as either or choices.

Silke: It’s not either I’m super busy and crazy busy or I just sit there all day and meditate. It’s a question of how can I integrate those two worlds? And how can I have practices? How do I have morning practices, mindful practices, that I integrate into my everyday life, into my thinking, into my being? In order to do the things that I love doing and to inspire the people around me? Therefore, the question is what do we mean with high performance and why is coming from a calm space so important? High performance, the way I describe it, and the way we work with our clients, is really this ability to succeed beyond standard norms over the long-term in a sustainable way.

Silke: No short-term, peak performance, but long-term sustainable succeeding beyond and above the standards, where you play. But also doing that while being healthy and happy. I repeat that because I really think that is important. It’s about succeeding above and beyond standards norms in the long-term sustainably, but also leading a happy and healthy life and being that role model for other people. Therefore, what does that inner calm look like? It could literally be pressing that pause button and taking a step back. But more than that, in our every day life, when you … you do have to take difficult decisions. You have to get the strategy together. You have to deploy some strategy work with people. It’s not about taking the time out or the time. It’s about creating the ability, being able to step into a frame of mind and also having the skills where I can have that inner calm.

Silke: Well, I have not necessarily chill behavior to the outside and I’m the cool person. No, it’s I come from a space inside that no one else sees but only I can feel, from a space where my thoughts are calm, where I can take a decision that gives me the space not to react in the moment, but to respond with awareness. Because when we speak about increased self-awareness, and you look at emotional intelligence and running a business in a conscious way, it all starts with being self-aware. Aware of myself, aware of my environment, awareness of other people, not being hijacked by my emotions. But how do I get there if I’m on auto pilot? I don’t.

Silke: It always starts with this calm center. And then when things spin around me, I don’t spin with them and I don’t get dizzy. That calm can be an outer calm, but I really think that is super important in today’s world because that’s why we’re looking at high performance and being calm at the same time. Being calm has nothing to do with being laid back and having people that just do half of what they could do. No, being calm can be really coming from this place and at the same time being a high performer that succeeds beyond standard norms over the long-term. In our experience having worked with many teams around the globe, around how to become a high performing team, it is at the core for all high performance.

Silke: Pressing the pause button is giving yourself the gift of conscious choice that you then have the chance to have a more functional and a more mindful response and just choose which way you want to go, but from that place of really resting in yourself. And as a leader, also helping others to get to that place. Because again, at the beginning of this webinar we spoke about how as a leader we have such an impact on other people and how we need to be aware of that impact. Because good intentions are really important. And if my intentions are good and my impact is not effective or has a negative impact on people, my good intentions don’t help that much.

Silke: How do I get there? Well, more self-awareness and really good feedback, and also the ability to ask for that feedback. I just want to give you a moment to think about when you are in a place where you feel stress, where you’re busy, where things are turning, how difficult or easy is it for you to make choices that are aligned with your values? Where you feel an integrity? How easy or difficult is it for you to set and keep boundaries when you get the 200 emails … I think the average work in the US gets between 150, 200 emails a day? Many of us get many more emails or Slap messages or telegram messages or whatever it may be.

Silke: How easy or difficult is it for you to really keep your boundaries, set the boundaries and come from a place where you are fully aligned with your values and how you want to lead? That is really at the core now of the next 10 minutes or so, 10, 15 minutes, where I want to share with you three tactics and strategies that we have worked with and tested over and over again with our clients and really received outstanding feedback around how practical they are to apply. Because I also believe it’s important that we are, in the short-term, able to make more conscious choices. The very first thing I want to share with you today … if you’re sitting somewhere where you can’t take notes, I really recommend … take those notes, write down what comes to you, either what I share or something that comes up for you that is important, that you would like to revisit after this webinar, or maybe a choice you want to make in that moment.

Silke: Number one important point is to have focus. Again, we’re looking at how can I come from a calm, clear mind? A mind and emotions where I’m at my best? Our experience and loads and loads or research shows the more clear I am about the focus I have, the goals I have, of course, but also the intention from moment to moment, the more am I to actually also achieve what I would like to achieve. What I recommend and I have found tremendous, yeah, tremendous outcomes is to not going into a day without any clear intention for the day. Meaning are you … do you take the five minutes it takes to have a clear intention for the day? To know how you want to respond to challenges that may come up? Are you anticipating these challenges? In the morning, do you know what you need to be at your best during the day?

Silke: It could be that you’re traveling and there are maybe some choices you need to make beforehand. It could be that you have challenging meetings. Have you planned what you need to eat before a challenging meeting so that your energy levels stay high? Have you planned to maybe have recovery time in between a meeting and a focus session where you’re creating a strategy and you want to be creative and then hopping on a train to go to the airport? What is your clear purpose, your intention, for the day? But also for every aspect of the day? It takes 30 seconds before you join an online meeting to say, “How do I want to show up in this meeting? Will I be there full of energy? Will I put myself into a listening mode? Am I more in a really high energetic mode?” What is it that you want to achieve and how do you want to show up? Number one, is your focus and having a very clear purpose and goal and your intentions.

Silke: Number two is, what I mentioned earlier a little bit, is clear boundaries and priories. Because the thing is the moment, the challenges get stronger at the moment. The wheel turns faster and situations become more complex. That’s not the moment to think about what are my boundaries, in terms of maybe relationships with other people, or requests that come my way, and what are my priories? Those priorities and boundaries, they need to be deep ingrained in ourselves. When we’re looking at the team, they need to be clear for our team. Do your peers and your team members know what your priorities are? Do you know what the priorities of your colleagues are? And does the team have a common understanding of what the priorities are?

Silke: Because if … let’s say we have these two days before we have to hand in a very important project and make some form of presentation. That’s the worst time to discuss the boundaries and find out, or that we have different priorities as a team on what is important, what is urgent, or what is not important. Tip number two is be really clear around boundaries, but also be clear about what priorities are.

Silke: Then tip number three is continuous learning, and reviewing our own learning. Also, here again, how much do I take ownership and full responsibility of how my days unfold and how I respond to whatever’s unfolding? It’s not so much about … there’s many things in life that we are not … that we don’t control. But what we always control is our response to whatever happens. From a growth mind perspective, from a perspective where we look at continuous learning and up scaling and really rising to the challenge, it is incredibly important that we take the time to review how we’ve responded, what we’ve learned in a day, the insights that we’ve had.

Silke: Also, here I do recommend schedule it in. If it’s not scheduled, most likely it won’t happen. If it doesn’t get some time in your calendar, it’s the first thing that goes out of the window. Making changes in our life starts with the small, little choices. It’s the choice of now. Actually, after this webinar, straight away scheduling in 15 minutes at the end of each day to review the day and review what you’ve learned. Number one of our top strategies and tactics is focus, have the clarity of clear intentions and clear goals. Set clear boundaries and have your focal and priorities clear. And then review your learnings.

Silke: As a leader, of course, it’s our responsibility to also create an environment where this is possible for other people. Where we can be the role model, that we also invite them into these processes. And we take ownership of how we respond to whatever is happening throughout the day.

Silke: Second area is my energy and my mind. I’ve shared that for a moment now. It’s really very much about the moment to moment of how I show up, and the energy that I bring into a meeting. 67% of all meetings are regarded as unsuccessful meetings. I think probably when you are in the middle of a management, you spend 50% or more of your day in meetings. That is a huge opportunity to increase performance in a team, in an entire organization. How you show up in that meeting, that can be in need of mover. One of the quickest way of shifting your energy, your physical energy, your emotion energy, and your mental energy, is actually to move. And if you are right now not driving but you are in a place where you could, then I really invite you … I’m just going to switch on my camera for a moment so that you see.

Silke: Sorry, there we go. That you see me as well. I invite you to just quickly … you can be sitting. I stand so that when I have important calls like this webinar, I always stand because it keeps my energy high and my focus really clear. But if you’re sitting, just move your shoulders for a moment. If you stand, even better. Do not do that if you drive. Quick movement. Shake your arms a little bit. Interlace your fingers in front of you. Inhale. Take a deep breath in. Arms up. And then exhale. Lower your arms to the side. And do that one more time. Interlace your fingers. Turn the palms out. Inhale. Up. Pause on top of inhale. And then slowly and gently and silently exhale. Okay.

Silke: And then sit upright, if you can. And you can do the exercise that we’re going to do in a moment, you can do that with the eyes open. I invite you to close your eyes now to practice it. It is easier to practice it that way. But in the future, there’s no excuse. You can do that at your desk, looking at the screen, even with eyes open. But let’s close our eyes for a moment and I’ll guide you through a three, four minute exercise that you then can do for yourself as well. Okay. Close your eyes. Sit upright. And just become aware of the sounds in your environment. Become aware of my voice. Maybe the sounds that are little bit further away.

Silke: The sounds that are close to you. Become aware of those sounds without judging, just becoming aware. And now, become aware of your physical sensations. Feel yourself sitting or standing. Feel your body. Maybe the air on your skin. Just become aware of your physical sensations. Become aware of your body and the sensations within. And then become aware of your breath. Observe your breath without trying to control it or change it. Just become aware of your breath. And now become aware of how you’re feeling. And also here try not to judge or interpret. Just become aware of how you are feeling in this very moment. Now, move on and become aware of quality of your mind or your thoughts, if any. Just become aware of the quality of your mind and your thoughts, if any.

Silke: And lastly, become aware of that part of you that is having all of these experiences. There is part of you that is having all these experiences. Become aware of that part of yourself. Just for a few more short moments. And then slightly deepen your breath. Become aware of your body. Start moving a little bit. And then gently open your eyes and come back into the room. That was a few minutes, three, four minutes maybe. Of course, you can expand that awareness exercise for as long as you want and then rest at the end. But really, if you, during the day, if you want to do something that shifts your energy. Let’s say you have a difficult conversation. You’re coming out of the conversation and you move into a next meeting with a different group of people where you’re required to be creative and innovative and inspire these people.

Silke: How easy it is to forget that come part of me just had a difficult conversation. I may be worked up and maybe annoyed with somebody or just have an emotion that doesn’t necessarily get me into the best space to be the inspiring leader that I want to be. What is it that you and I can do to shift our energy quickly? The quickest way is to work with movement and to work with our breath. The exercise that I just shared with you is something that I share with all my clients, this one and many others, depending on what we want to work on and how quickly we want to shift something, but it takes a few minutes. And it takes some practice, like everything. But once you have it, it’ll be a few moments and you’ll shift into a different space inside of yourself.

Silke: The ability to stay present and to shift our energy really it’s one of the most important skills for a leader to have in today’s world, and to lead organizations successfully into the future. Because like Viktor Frankl said so beautifully that, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. And in that space is our power to choose our response. And in our response lies our growth and our freedom.” And the ability to move into that space quickly, that is what will move the needle from very good people, competing against the same attention of others or the same resources. It is your ability to make these choices and to come from a different level of consciousness and awareness that sometimes makes the difference. And really the difference that will move things ahead faster or not.

Silke: Let’s move to the last point, which we only will quickly touch upon today, and that is communication. We had number one was your focus. Number two was how you work with your energy in your mind. And number three is communication. Because at the end of the day, how I’m going to change the culture around my team, the organization, well I change it one conversation at a time. For us leaders, we cannot not communicate. Now, the changes that you may make by spending the first 15, 20 minutes every day to plan for the day and set intentions, you may have to communicate that to someone. Maybe at home or maybe in the office, if you’re going to do this in the office. You have to communicate the boundaries around certain things.

Silke: Or if you want to change how you start meetings with your team, it starts with a conversation. The ability to have conversations from that conscious, calm space and really look at what is under the surface is one of the most important skills that then we have as leaders to extend out. To extend out to our teams, to our peers, and to all stakeholders around us. I just want to highlight today how important it is and that it is really one of your, yeah, one of your super powers as a leader, is the ability to have conscious conversations. In one of our next webinars, we will go deeper into a very practical way on how to work with that. Stay tuned for that.

Silke: But be aware of how … when you shift internally, the way you communicate will also change and shift. Now my invitation is for you to practice. If there’s one thing that you would like to change after having listened to what I shared today, what would it be? Write down one thing. When we come at this from a perspective of being curious and having the humility of knowing that there’s always something that we can better at or more effective or more inspiring, what is it that you would love to change, that would make a difference to yourself and to the people around you? Commit to it now, because really it is better to commit to something today and make a small shift than wait for the next two months until something is perfect and then make that change in two months.

Silke: Would it be to take a deep breath before you have a difficult conversation? Do that exercise that we just did together? Or maybe setting your intentions in the morning? Or review in the evening? Whatever it is, write it down, practice it. And then as a second step, share your experience. Share your questions. Share your experience with me. And I would love to have a conversation. We can help you to just move to the next level with your high performance and share our experiences together.

Silke: Thank you for listening, and thank you for participating. I would love to hear if you have any questions or experiences that you want to share.

Barbie: Thank you so much, Silke. That was great. For anyone who has a question, if you can either type it in the question portion of your control panel, or you can raise your hand and I’m happy to unmute you. I have Silvia here. I want to … Oh, her hand went down. Maybe that was a mistake. And let’s see, Rolan, no. Rolanda says, “Thank you.” Okay, Silvia, I’m going to unmute you, so you can ask your question. Silvia, are you there?

Silvia: Yes, I am. Thank you much. I don’t want … I don’t have any questions, just positive feedback on all of the beauty of the presentation and the speech. It’s very insightful and very motivational. I always follow everything that Axialent publish and post, so I’m a fan of this company, of all of the concepts so I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you.

Barbie: Thank you very much, Silvia. And thank you for sharing.

Silke: Thank you, Silvia.

Barbie: Okay, I actually have a question.

Silke: Go for it, Barbie.

Barbie: How can I, as a leader, integrate some of these tactics into my work, my team? Do you have any recommendations or best practices that you can share?

Silke: Yeah, definitely. My recommendation is always to make small incremental changes, but make them very quickly. One thing that we do with all our clients, actually in all our workshops, but also when we work with them of how they can make changes in the workplace is how you start a meeting and how you end a meeting. We call that a check in, at the beginning of the meeting, and a check out, at the end of the meeting. Basically, it’s creating a short space for people to arrive and to share, with a specific formula, how am I arriving? What is on my mind right now, in terms of the intention for that meeting? And if there is anything that would stand in the way for me being fully present, what would that be?

Silke: And if do something like this at the beginning of the meeting, you go around quickly, the participants, it’s quite amazing to see how just stopping for five minutes can change, can clear up misunderstandings, can create empathy for each other, and the awareness that people come to the same meeting from different place, with different days behind them, or experiences behind them. And it gives the opportunity to just realign as a team. And then to do that at the end of a meeting as well, and say okay, so who was that meeting for us? What am I taking away from it? What is my commitment? Who will do what by when? Is there anything that I would need from the team to move forward? Again, to also give everybody an equal space and the opportunity to speak up and have that moment.

Silke: If you then combine that with maybe just a minute of briefing or just awareness to sit down, take a breath, nobody speaks for 30 seconds or one minute, that really does wonders. We have amazing experiences from clients all over the world. Just recently I was with a group of senior managers and we were all sitting there and just stopping for a minute in between meetings from time to time, and it completely shifted the energy in the room. People can just come from a more settled space and then move on with the meeting. Those are two best practices that I can share.

Barbie: Thank you. That’s great. In the meantime, we’ve got another question. What do you see as the most challenging for the leaders that we work with? That we see at our client’s?

Silke: They ask what I see as for the most challenging in-

Barbie: Yes, what challenges, like what’s the challenges the leaders have? That you’ve encountered?

Silke: Yeah. I think … I would say there is two things that interlink, that I see are really very challenging for people these days, for leaders. One is the speed with which everything changes, whether it is regulations, technology, innovation, the way we relate to each other, geo politics. Everything, our world changes so fast and it really is exponential change. The challenge with exponential change is that it takes a long time where it just changes a little bit and then there is this turning point and then the change becomes exponential. Many people don’t anticipate that point. I think that is a challenge for people. When if they have missed to anticipate that turning point and then their industry is turning upside down and they’re being disrupted. The rules that we used to play by, even five years ago, don’t apply anymore.

Silke: Because then we cannot fall on the experiences of the past, but you can invent the future from an experience in the past that will not apply. I think that is one of the major challenges for leaders. And linked to that is that fact that, as a leader, I cannot have all the answers. It’s not up to me to have all the answers. It’s up to me to create an environment where I can attract talent and people that can come up with the answers or go and find the answers. Or we collaborate with other firms. And we really create a network that then together can come up with answers. That to be able to let go and also be humble enough and curious enough to say, okay, I’m responsible here. I am the leader of this department, but I do not have all the answers. But I can create an environment to attract talent. I think those are the two things that are very closely linked that I see as major challenges in all industries all over the world really.

Barbie: That’s great. Thank you, Silke. And we have another question. Any recommendations to keep the learning and the review of the day, and hold the day without judgment?

Silke: Very nice question. I love that. Yes. There is one technique that I now don’t have the time to share, which is introspection technique that really helps with that. But the number one prerequisite for non-judgment is the awareness for it. To exactly do what you just said, to before you start the review of the day, to bring yourself into a space where you are as calm as possible. Maybe do the exercise that we just did, or go for a walk, even if it is just 10 minutes around the block. Then sit down, have a nice cup of tea, and create that environment where you can come … where you really have a transition from what happened throughout the day and then you go into the review. We start with the intention and say, I’m going to move into this review from a space of non-judgment, of openness and curiosity, and if need be, forgiveness for myself or for other people.

Silke: That will go a very long way. And then there is layers to it, but I think that’s a very good first step.

Barbie: Thank you. Then I see that Ekin has raised her hand, so I’m going unmute Ekin so she can ask her question. Ekin, are you there?

Ekin: Yes. Do you hear me?

Barbie: Yes.

Ekin: Okay. Yeah, I was just typing the question, but yes, thank you, Barb. What common challenge … linking it to the previous question, the one before the last. One common challenge that I can see among my clients is time management. They have full agendas. They even show me their calendar, like, “Look at my agenda. There’s not even five minutes of free time between one meeting the other.” They often find themselves going late to all of their meetings. They start lagging five minutes first meetings and then the next, and then finishing really late in the afternoon. Inside myself I’m always thinking why don’t you put an order to it? I know it’s not easy. I don’t always jump into it at the moment because we’re already talking about another challenge that they are having. So I don’t want to say words, but I really see this very, very often. I just was wondering if Silke you have any recommendations to us coaches.

Silke: Yeah. Well, I think … Thank you, Ekin for sharing. And I totally agree with your observation. I think one thing that one of mentors once taught early on how you do the little things is how you do the big things. I also agree that how we manage our … it’s not so much even our time, it’s how we manage our attention is a differentiating factor between being a high performer that is happy and healthy and maybe a high performer that burns out, which in my book is not high performance, or anything in between. I think how we manage our attention, and if I say yes to a meeting, to be really aware of what I say no to, what I could be doing in that time that would move the meeting forward, is a very good practice to have.

Silke: I would invite your clients actually into doing that, to really observing and understanding how spending 45, 30, 45, 60, 90 minutes in a meeting will help them to really move forward with the priorities for their team and the organization. And what they are saying no to, if they spent their time and the time of everybody else in that meeting. That’s one thing. Then the second thing is that these changes, they don’t happen without really having the conversations. It could be as simple as something I’ve started to do also for myself is to have 15 minute meetings and 25 minute meetings because it’s impossible to, in a physical space, to have a meeting up until the hour and then be in the next room at the same time basically. Maybe the room is down the hall or in another building.

Silke: It is very similar to when we do this online. I do think there are small, little best practices that can be used. But it starts, for me even more important than doing that, is to be very clear of what’s the purpose of this meeting? What is it for? And what’s the desired outcome? That’s my quick recommendation in two minutes.

Barbie: Thank you. I have one more question.

Silke: All right.

Barbie: And this is the last one.

Silke: Yeah.

Barbie: How do you trespass the barrier of a senior leader, or a leader of a senior team, that is unconscious and unaware of his own behavior? He understands cognitively but has no genuine desire to make any change happen if it’s not his way, or her way.

Silke: Again, at a starting point, I would first of all just say I come from this place where this is my observation and the assumptions I am making. Whoever shared that right now, thank you for sharing it. It could also be the outer appearance, because what we don’t know until we have spoken to the person is whether they are not trying to make changes and maybe are not as skilled as we wish for them to be. I think the first thing is to approach with a humility and have the conversation and double check whether that story is true.

Silke: If the story is true, there is term that we often use, it is to develop the ability to also manage up. It has something to do with how I invite, in this case my senior manager, into a conversation. I would say really develop your own ability to have a conversation where you can inquire and where you can inquire into what’s going on for the other person, but also then the courage to express and advocate for what you stand for. Of course, it’s never black and white. There may be situations where a person simply doesn’t want to change. Then that’s what it is. Then what applies then is that I know what is under my control and what is not under my control. I can control my behavior and maybe become more skilled at how I work with that person.

Silke: But what is not under my control is how that person responds and how they behave. Then there may be other things that I have to think about, how I work within that context. I want to leave it at that because without more context it’s difficult to go deeper. But definitely if you want to send me an email or have a phone conversation, very happy to explore and maybe give some more support.

Barbie: Wonderful.

Silke: Great.

Barbie: Thank you so much, Silke. That were all the questions. Thank you again for hosting this wonderful webinar. And thanks everybody for attending. And we’ll hope to see you on our next webinar.

Silke: Thank you very much. Have a great day and a great rest of the year.

Barbie: Bye, everyone.

Silke: Bye-bye.

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