Tag Archives: mindful leadership

By Caitlin Krause

A new calendar year prompts a feeling of open possibility, and a curiosity to discover and realize our greatest potentials, in business and beyond. We’re undoubtedly living in times of rapid change and high demand; times of immense challenge. I certainly feel it– all I need to do is glance at daily news headlines to have a feeling of perspective and urgency.

We want to ensure that the work we’re doing is valued; we want to know that it matters, and matches our own personal goals and resolutions (which, let’s face it, span far beyond the hype and trend of the new year). We strive to maintain a sense of balance, as we navigate this complex world, maintaining focus and resilience, while maximizing our capabilities. In addition, the global corporate culture and increased connectivity require even more flexibility, and broader skill sets that encompass a range of intelligences, including emotional intelligence and empathy.

Instead of feeling daunted, it’s the ideal time for us to invite some mindfulness into the equation. Here we are in a complex, fascinating environment, ripe with opportunity. The field of global mobility and intercultural exchange has never been more exciting– and, there has never been a higher demand for everyone to develop these skills and abilities, across all industries and vocations. It’s a time when adopting a modern, holistic global competency model is imperative– one that embraces a flexible, resilient mindset. Integrating mindfulness values and practices into a model of global competency makes perfect sense, and has significant long-term benefits for career, health, well-being and happiness.

I have a client who travels between five hub cities, located in three separate continents, on a regular basis. In each place, she has a slightly different lifestyle, and varied expectations to fulfill the job requirement. When she discovered the uses mindfulness has in increasing flexibility, resilience, and stress management, she was amazed at the positive impact. Mindfulness, and specifically the methods I’ve developed, can be summed up by 3 A’s: awareness, advancement, and authenticity. I custom-design mindfulness programs that are experiential, practical, and sustainable. By focusing on providing support, engagement, personalization and expertise, individuals can build on the traditional dimensions of the Global Competency Model described by Weinberger (2016) that are already well-recognized in truly diverse intercultural competency programs.

The connection between global competency and mindfulness is clear, and it’s enhanced my own experience. When I first moved overseas to Belgium, I was busy teaching, coaching, and adjusting to the new environment at the same time– plus, setting up a home. I was impatient with myself for struggling with my basic-level French; at the same time, I didn’t yet anticipate the cultural norms that take time to adjust to– everything from taking a ticket as a number to stand in line at the bakery to the fact that all stores are closed on Sundays, which was the one day that I didn’t coach or teach full-time– this was constantly a surprise, and my initial reaction was to look at my own naïveté as a form of failure.

Mindfulness taught me to flip this concept– I embraced my own enhanced awareness, celebrating the foibles that I could then laugh about, convincing myself that someday they will become part of a book (which could be a Bill Bryson spinoff titled: “Bumbling through Belgium”). I began to feel gratitude for my vitality– for the very feeling, uncomfortable at times, that reminds me that I’m alive(!). I felt immensely grateful for the mix of backgrounds and experiences that create the unexpected. I also grew to appreciate that a population is not homogenous, yet we share underlying truths and a certain mutual respect and dignity. These insights are also embedded in mindfulness– an appreciation for what is, in the moment, even as we set-goals and look toward the emerging future.

In a globalised working culture, mindfulness is especially valuable because it gives agency back to the individual. It gave me a better sense of stability, even in situations that were beyond my ability to anticipate and fully control. Because of this, mindfulness also increased my connection capacity in place of fragmentation. In other words, I was able to reach out and connect with others more easily, because I was more self-aware and had developed skills of resiliency. I was confident, not despite my challenges, but because of them. In Stanford researcher Carol Dweck’s seminal book Mindset, she relates this capacity to growth mindset, and it’s all about mindfulness, self-awareness, and embracing the rigor instead of denying or avoiding it.

We live in the midst of a global corporate climate that is rife with burnout, stress and depression. Recent studies cite stress and burnout as the top threat to workplace health, resulting in great losses across all quality measurement areas, including employee work satisfaction, job retention, company culture, and revenue. The rate of burnout continues to increase each year; mindfulness is seen as a top strategy and method to provide burnout prevention. Instead of succumbing to this threatening trend, looking at establishing an environment that promotes the best, most adaptive and advantageous state of well-being is the answer for global leadership.

As a burnout prevention measure, stress reducer, leadership and confidence booster, creativity cultivator, and overall well-being motivator and life enhancer, mindfulness serves as a necessary base layer for a holistic model of leadership, learning and global competency. For me, it’s a lens to look through, and it can be applied to just about everything.

This could be why, when I’m asked to define mindfulness, I call it simply: “a way to be in the world”– with awareness (understanding of surrounding context), advancement (having a sense of purpose), and authenticity (detaching from judgment; focusing on situations while maintaining resilience). I use these three A’s as foundational pillars for designing applications and programs.

Being globally competent involves developing a wide range of capacities– and, the ability to truly reflect on the learning experience and acknowledge the complexity of global systems involves great awareness– including cultural awareness, emotional awareness and self awareness.

I apply this philosophy with many different practical approaches, making it real, personal, holistic, and able to be experienced by each individual in a powerful way. In addition, it reinforces the sense of community, which is perfectly in-line with global mobility dimensions of supporting the whole person in a long-term, reflective approach that encompasses a multitude of lifelong learning facets and personal experiences.

Recognizing our own multi-dimensional natures and experiences, this makes perfect sense, allowing us to build our abilities and reach goals while staying grounded in this complex, inter-connected global landscape. Combining mindfulness and global competency could yield a new, even more powerful concept: mindful global competency. Let’s test it out!

Kicking off the New Year, I have already dedicated myself to several aspirations and goals, many of which are definitely “curiosity-driven” pursuits, all embedded in a framework of mindful global competency. I’ll invite you to try out a few exercises, to test the process for yourself and give it a go. See what it feels like to sit down and write your own answers to the following. Just go with where your reflections take you, in the moment, without over-thinking:

  • Awareness: Record something, in a description, that made you happy yesterday. Include as many of the five senses as possible. For example, if you were happy when you went for a hike in the woods, try to describe the temperature, the feel of it, the colors and sights around you, etc. Try to bring yourself back there through the writing.
  • Advancing: Write down three attributes that you have that you value in yourself– these could be any quality, from trustworthiness to funny to For each quality, what is a life situation that you have experienced– an “anecdote”– that illustrates it in your life? Feel free to think of examples that have humor. Could you practice by sharing this out loud with someone else? Sometimes, these illustrated moments make for great connection points, yet we deny ourselves the right to “own them” and appreciate them.
  • Authentic: Think back to an experience where the time itself was not what you expected in the short term, yet it offered some sort of long-term benefit. Describe the situation in detail, using a “before” perspective (anticipation), a “during” (experience), and an “after” (reflection). What do you appreciate about it now, in hindsight? How do you think it adds some flavor and dimension to your life?

Sometimes, just taking time to record our own reflections and thoughts about these experiences can lend us deeper clarity and insight. For me, building components of writing and storytelling into my mindfulness practice adds an extra layer of appreciation, insight, and what I call “connection capacity”. May it add to your life, too. After all, 2017 is wide open with possibility, and we all want to make the most of that!

Wishing you a wonderful year, filled with surprise and delight, enjoying the ride.

Caitlin

 

Guest post by Caitlin Krause, Founder & CEO, MindWise.

Caitlin Krause  is a creative collaborator  with a curiosity-driven mindset. As the founder of MindWise, she’s a writer, storyteller, teacher, speaker, VR designer, artist and leadership specialist. Her passion for active, sustainable, ethically-driven leadership and learning models drives her work. 

Empowering personal and organizational change, MindWise’s core “AAA” values are: Aware, Advancing, and Authentic. Caitlin integrates best practices and new discoveries about creativity, neuroscience, mindfulness and technology to promote immersive empathetic experiences on a local and global scale. 

 

Reference:

Weinberger, A. (2016): The Global Mobility Workbook, print ed., Global People Transitions, Zurich


Feedback can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the context and the type of feedback. This experiential workshop takes us on a journey to examine giving and receiving feedback and to explore alternatives to traditional feedback exchanges.

Feedback and its Alternatives – an Exploration for Global, Mindful People

An explorative workshop with Adrienne Rubatos and Angie Weinberger applying concepts and tools based on the Vermeulen-Analysis-Model and the Vermeulen & Kinast coaching school.

An essential concern of this workshop is to deconstruct feedback in general, but especially the traditional Western approach of “giving feedback”, which still dominates the business world. Global folks are demanding a new approach to feedback, an approach that is mindful, supportive and transcultural.

The workshop will seek to support you in developing these new feedback styles.

Both facilitators have experienced constructive and destructive feedback, in the context of corporate, author or coaching roles directly with herself or with her clients. Indeed this was the starting point for deepening knowledge on the topic and for experimenting with new feedback forms.

Researching among global peers, general uncertainty in recommending suitable forms of feedback, especially between high and low context cultures can be observed. Surprisingly even in Western countries, traditionally known for directness, a new openness towards more creative, collaborative and non-hierarchal feedback styles is growing. Such feedback treated with reflection and mindfulness on both sides of the feedback process can lead to personal and professional growth.

The workshop invites participants to explore the concept of “mindful feedback” further.

Beside rich content, sharing of experiences among the participants and collective exploration of the topic, participants will also benefit from exploring alternative, less known methods: body learning, relationship explorations, dyads, meditation elements, sensing, metaphors, dancing, drawing, and spiritual wisdom. These interventions generally help to build self-awareness, self-confidence and a strong personal and leadership presence even in complex environments, like global teams.

The facilitators practice these in their everyday personal and professional lives. Most of them originate in the Vermeulen-Analysis-Model and the coaching school around it, which certified a limited number of coaches only.

We invite participants of low and high context cultures, both senior and junior professionals 

  • who want to deepen and widen his/her use of feedback and its alternatives
  • who want to enrich his/her coaching or training methods
  • who practice self-support and peer coaching
  • who want to sharpen his/herself-awareness through body work and mindful practices
  • who are open to exchange, experiment and learn in a collaborative style.

The workshop has multiple goals:

At a personal level

  • to review our past and create new personal experiences around feedback situations
  • to develop ourselves by learning new methods of collaboration, reflection, inquiry, self-coaching and deep-preparation for feedback situations

At the content level

  • to tackle, in a new depth and width, the components of, and the conditions necessary for, feedback
  • to look at methods and models to transform feedback, or even the wisdom to replace it

At the business application level

  • how we can learn to react, treat or receive feedback from our clients in a self-respecting way
  • to develop intercultural feedback styles for our clients, that they can apply to team members of various cultural backgrounds
  • to incorporate suitable technology designs, media and tools to receive messages from the clients (e.g. personal debriefing, social media, wish lists to the manager, feedback wall…)

Registration and Fee

This is a pre-conference workshop to the SIETAR Congress Dublin, 25 to 27 Mai 2017

www.sietareu.org/the-congress/pre-congress-workshops

Early Early Bird Fee until 28 Feb 2017 is EUR 390 (incl. 23% VAT).

The number of workshop participants is limited. First-come, first-served.

If you have any questions please contact us via adrienne.rubatos@t-online.de and angela.weinberger@globalpeopletransitions.com

Registration here.

Your facilitators


Adrienne Rubatos

Intercultural Consultant, Trainer and Executive Coach

Adrienne Rubatos is a senior change management and intercultural consultant, trainer and coach specialized on cooperation between East and West in Europe. She accompanies mainly multinationals in their complex international programs. Before, she gathered 16 years of industry and management experience, which took her around the globe. She holds a Master in Electrical-Engineering and an Executive-MBA degree, as well as various certifications in coaching, consulting and intercultural studies. She enjoys travels and languages, speaking six of them. Adrienne is an associate professor of IBR (global MBA program in Africa, Eastern-Europe, India, Israel) within Steinbeis University Berlin since twelve years, teaching currently HR. She is the author of diversophy®Romania, the book “Beruflich in Rumänien”, numerous articles and SIETAR conference papers. She descends from Transylvania, lives in Germany and works globally. Her growing passion is both meta-perspectives and small mindful and embodiment practices included to her work and life.

Angie Weinberger

Angie Weinberger

Global Career Advisor, Executive Coach and Global Mobility Expert

Angie Weinberger, who graduated in International Business Studies, lived and worked in Germany, the UK, India and Australia before moving to Zurich in 2009. She has worked in HR and Global Mobility in large global corporates like Winterthur, Deutsche Bank, PwC, LafargeHolcim for 20 years. She founded Global People Transitions offering intercultural executive and career coaching to internationally mobile professionals through programs such as HireMe! and RockMe! both for corporate and private clients. Angie has a systemic consultancy background and is a certified professional intercultural coach (B.Vermeulen & Dr.E. Kinast) with a focus on relationship building, mindfulness and body awareness. She is a founding and active Board member of SIETAR Switzerland and volunteers in a variety of social projects. She published various books, recently “The Global Career Workbook” – a self-help job search guide for internationally mobile professionals. She learns Arabic and loves Bollywood Dancing.


[tweetthis]Walking is not only exercise. It also helps you to download and sort the information bytes that your brain sparks out like fireworks.[/tweetthis]

 

Do you sometimes feel that your brain is overloaded with information and that you need to outsource parts of it in order to function? Some of us hire an assistant or get married to have another person to support us with all the little details modern life entails. Despite smartphones, apps, calendars, productivity seminars and personal optimization, we still have moments where a little error disturbs our manicured perfectionism.

 

Often in other countries and in transition we feel those little errors more. We are pushed out of our programming. Some errors are dangerous, others are just purely stupid, still others cost us a lot of money. Have you ever noticed that decisions taken under stress (or the influence of alcohol) are not the best decisions in your life?

 

I travelled on a funicular the other day and while I paid I was chatting to my mum and also making jokes. I took back my credit card and a receipt. When we arrived on top I thought the receipt would be ticket but it did not fit into the ticket slot of the machine. I saw other people had real tickets. I went to the conductor and told him that I must have forgotten to take our tickets. My mum wasn’t even paying attention. He called the person at the bottom. Somehow, this person could not remember what happened to our tickets.

 

Meanwhile, I was getting angry at myself and tears kept creeping up. I felt like a child of 10 who had made a stupid mistake. The conductor was very friendly and said it wasn’t an issue but I felt so stupid. You might have similar experiences especially when you are new in a country. Your natural ability to function and get things done is interrupted continuously. Being self-reliant and independent is a strength I feel very proud of. I hate it when I am dependent on others (one of the worst experiences for me was being hospitalized even just for four days around 10 years ago.). Interestingly, when I was younger this experience would probably have ruined my mood for the whole day. Here it was a reminder to stay humble and be alert. We were in a different country after all. Even though in South Tyrol almost everyone I met was a German speaker.

 

After hiking away for about 2 km I had forgotten the incident and focused on the surrounding. It was amazing. Beauty all over. I enjoyed light conversation, a cup of coffee and we walked on in a zig zag. Rain did not stop us. We also had a bit of trouble with orientation. I blame it on my inner state of mind. I was seeking direction but took a few turns, detours and sometimes I felt like we were going in a circle. At the end of the hike, we heard a thunderstorm coming up and while I am a big fan of facing your fears, I frankly did not need to sit in an outside chair lift with the prospect of lightning.

 

The afternoon was full of ruins, castles and churches. My mind was opened up like a beer can. I could enjoy the beauty of old buildings and wooden altars from the 14th century. The more I walked over the next two days, the more I felt that baggage dropped, puzzle pieces moved into empty spaces like Jenga stones and my strength developed from inside out. With every new walk, I gained clarity.