Transcript: To Solve Team Problems Mindful Leaders Do These Four Things

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Mitch Simon 0:10
Welcome to another episode of team anywhere where CEOs, leaders and experts are building teams, companies, organizations, and amazing cultures

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 0:22
share how to lead from anywhere in the world. I’m your co host on the East Coast chicken Bianca Mathis,

Mitch Simon 0:28
and I’m your co host on the West Coast. Mitch Simon. And we invite you to join us to Team anywhere.

Is there a connection between leadership and mindfulness? Is there a connection between profitability in mindfulness? What is the benefit of mindfulness on a remote team? And why is it crucial now more than ever? On today’s podcast, we interview Dr. Kevin souk, and find out how mindfulness was actually responsible for a company getting acquired. Hello, and welcome to another episode of team anywhere. I’m your co host on the West Coast, Mitch Simon and another east coast. We have our co hosts Jimmy Mathis. We’re excited today to have on the podcast. Dr. Kevin souk cannon is the founder and CEO of wisdom to lead and a keynote speaker on mindfulness based leadership, she helps companies deal with their challenges and handle organizational tensions through mindfulness. She’s also the host of a phenomenal podcast, mind your leadership. So Kevin, welcome to the program.

Keren Tsuk 1:44
Thank you for having me. It’s pleasure to be with you.

Mitch Simon 1:48
Beautiful, beautiful. So let’s just begin, please tell us, we’re a year into COVID, please tell us how have thin things been for you over the last year? And what are your challenges? And what are your wins.

Keren Tsuk 2:00
So actually, my challenges were to adopt to the virtual world, I think, like everybody, so at the same time, he was my wins because it helped me to work virtually, and expand my whole horizon. So, you know, once we embrace our challenges, and don’t let them stop us, we can reach out, extend our reach, globally. So this is always my main challenge, actually, in the last year. So now I’m facilitating my courses, my lectures and meditation via zoom, the only thing that I’m doing offline is a retreat once in a while, facilitate face to face a retreat. And you know, once the skies will be open, I will do it too broad. So looking forward to it.

Mitch Simon 2:48
Okay, we can’t wait to see you here in San Diego. All right, great. And what have been, what have been your wins, then it sounds like in the in your challenges, you actually have a lot of wins.

Keren Tsuk 2:58
Yes. And I also finished my book I’ve read in a book that will soon be published called mindfully wise leadership, the secrets of today’s leader. So it’s also one of my wins, that will be out there. And the wins is to I think, to work with people globally and to extend the reach this is, as I feel my win, to extend my activity.

Mitch Simon 3:21
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into mindfulness based leadership,

Keren Tsuk 3:27
okay, so, actually, I was raised in a home, when my dad was from the technology world, and my mind was from a spiritual and conscious world. And I always look to blend this two aspect in my life. So it was my question, leading question in my life. And I went to be in an organization consulted to work with organizations and leaders to help them increase their self awareness, their consciousness in order to lead a better nowadays and it all and then I went to, I conducted my PhD, I went through a I did a case study, I was to use in a company in a high tech company. In my leading question, what was what is the role of leaders nowadays in leading financially successful organizations, alongside motivating the employees for meaningfulness, intrinsic motivation, in order to enable them to fulfill themselves and to be creative and for the organization to be innovative. And I found that mindfulness is a crucial element that leaders will need to embrace nowadays, I’m hearing that leaders who need to embrace nowadays, and five years ago, I was invited to Hong Kong to pull you a professor will open the second degree, their master degree called executive meaningfulness, innovative leadership, and he actually opened the 30 hours component of minds. oneness, and inviting me to teach there.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 5:03
Yeah. Wow, that’s that’s pretty amazing.

Keren Tsuk 5:06

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 5:08

Keren Tsuk 5:10
So then I understood that this will be the tours I will bring that then all the dots are connected and understood that this will be the tours, I will bring two leaders in organization in order to help them to live from a better place.

Mitch Simon 5:24
And great. So you’re in your PhD Did you find the connection to do you find that that connection between mindfulness and profits,

Keren Tsuk 5:32
I find that yes, the main three characters of leaders nowadays, in order to lead find a financially successful organization is to be able to be mindful to hold tensions, you know, the modern organization word has a lot of tensions between the short term and the long term, between speed and quality between the employees needs and the organization’s needs. And once a leader acts from a present and mindful place, he can hold the tensions and enable the right solution to emerge. And to be innovative in a creative. So the last thing is leading from being as a servant, like mindful leadership is being able to connect deeper to ourselves, and to really listen to our customers needs to our employees needs to the community, and to see how we can serve them better. So once we are acting from a present and mindful place, and listening deeply, we can create and produce products and services that add value for customers, right? And then we can succeed it’s a win win the paper planet profit paradigm, it’s a new paradigm, actually. So Kevin,

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 6:46
could you paint a picture? My favorite coaching phrase? Can you paint a picture of a mindful leader, talking to a hybrid team, some are in the office, some are out, you know, scattered all over the world, maybe. And the leader is being mindful and role modeling that because that is what he or she wants the team to do? What kinds of things behaviors? might you be encouraging that leader to do to say, etc.

Keren Tsuk 7:23
Amazing, I love this question, because it’s really practical. So opening the meeting, first of all, I will do a checkup, ask each participant on the scale of one to 10 out percent is it right now, you know, because usually, when we come to the meeting via zoom, my head can be with my kids, I can be distracted. But once I’m saying it and talking it and put it on the table, I can be more present here with you in this meeting. So this is the first thing and you know, now to the pandemic that all of us work remotely, I think the anxiety increase increases in the stress. So I think you can invite people to speak and be be empathic towards them and say, okay, you know, Johnny, I see you’re stressed out, can I be with you, you need me to be here with you. And also being vulnerable and sharing with your employees what you feel right now. You know, so one of my, of the managers who went through my course we talked about, we touch upon the vulnerability, the ability to be vulnerable, and connected to our own feelings and to share them into empathic. And she, she told me that she went through a very difficult year, because she also is all of us went through the epidemic. But beyond that, she was she divorce this year, and she has two little kids. So she was really, and she’s a senior manager, you know, so she really was all in all of it inside of her. And after the course, she said, Okay, I’m going to share with my team. And she told me that she was really vulnerable and share with them what she went through this year, and the divorce and the tough situation she was in. And she said, Wow, it was amazing. Everybody was so empathic todo, and Sheila did legitimize for the employees to also be vulnerable. So one of the things he said, You know, I feel really lonely nowadays. And other said, I feel really anxiety and stress. So, being a leader and being authentic and vulnerable, you create space for others to be present with with what it is not right now. And once you see people and you connect in a deeper level, people will engage with you and you can do everything with them. And also the ROI will increase because

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 9:41
your servant leadership comes in.

Mitch Simon 9:44
Karen, I would like to ask for for those of us who who don’t have a lot of practice and being empathetic and we have in what we’re finding here in the United States. I’m sure you’re Finding the same where you are in Israel is with the different generations. Right? So if I’m, if I’m a boss, and then let’s say I’m in my 50s, and I don’t have kids at home, and I have a nice house with lots of rooms. And then one of my teammates, says, gosh, I’m really stressed out, they’ve got kids, or I’m going through something Really? Then how do you help that leader, empathize or commiserate or connect to someone if they haven’t really practiced? being empathetic and being connected to that type of, let’s say, uncomfortable emotion?

Keren Tsuk 10:39
You know, it’s a great question. I don’t know if I ever an answer, if it doesn’t embrace the mindfulness because I will go back to understand what is mindfulness means to our listeners who doesn’t know and then we’ll elaborate on it and hold on three. So for me being actually the classical definition of mindfulness of Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn is the ability to be present here and now intentionally and in a non judgmental way. Okay. So now when I’m present with you, in this podcast, I’m fully with you. And not in my wandering mind thinking, what was happening in my with my kids on zoom, not zoom, I’m here fully with you. Okay. My definition for mindfulness, its ability to be aware of an experience that we are going through, it can be a thought that runs through my mind, it can be an emotion that I’m feeling, it can be a process that I’m going through, like the Coronavirus, all of us are going through in a non judgmental way. And without being managed by it. Let me give you an example. What does it mean? Okay, because it helps us to understand. So if I’m really feeling stressed, right now, whenever I’m sitting in a meeting, and I’m stressed, okay, so if I want acknowledge and give place to this emotion and connect to it, probably it will manage me, and I will be stressful during the meeting, and I won’t be with the right. So it will manage my being my doing. But once I will acknowledge it, and it is even, we’ll share it with my team, or with my manager. So you know, I’m really stressed right now. I don’t know what to do with it. But this is what I’m feeling right now. So for the manager, so it helped me to observe it, but not being managed by it. So as a manager, if one of my employees will say it, or if I can see it, I will say okay, you know, Johnny, I, I see that you’re stressed, I can understand your stress situation with your kids. Let’s maybe let’s think together how we can make it more productive this meeting, maybe if we can move it a little bit, that meeting, maybe, I don’t know, you want to do a break 510 minutes to finish your things out there and come fresh to the meeting. So it’s like being curious, also seeing the other people and giving them place and giving plays to his emotion. That’s okay. You know, as leaders, and I think as people we really got, we are scared to feel because we scared that it will flood us, right. And we don’t want to be able to deal with it. But once we don’t touch it, it floods us. But if we walk in with it, we can manage it, and not ignore it. So you know, I think as people in the Western world, we, we really learn to disconnect for emotion because we are scared. So most of the day we walk in from our mind. But you know, at the end of the day, all the creativity and compassion and patient, it’s in our heart. And we want to be creative and compassionate, closing this part within us. So mindfulness enabled us to be more complete work also with our minds, but also connected to our heart in it without being managed by it, but managing our emotions and our process that we are going through.

Mitch Simon 13:57
Why is mindfulness so important today?

Keren Tsuk 14:00
So there are a few reasons. First of all, we are in the midst of the transformation of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. And it’s transforming the way we live, as well as the economic in the business world. And as managers want to want successful, creative and innovative companies, we need to be flexible in our thinking and innovative in rapidly adjust to the changing needs of the environment in the market. So we need to adopt new tools to motivate our organization to be at the cutting edge. So this is the first thing. The second thing you know, we’re living in uncertain times today is the corona tomorrow it will be something else. I think a crucial element of leaders nowadays is the ability to be present in the answers and times and even anchor and present and not be moved from the winds of change you know, because otherwise we will lose it. The other important aspect that we need in the times of action Racial and political diversity intentions. And I think we need as leaders and managers to increase our ability to be compassionate and empathic toward others. So I think this is the main aspect. And again, today we’ll work it remotely, we’ll, anxiety is on the rise, stressful situations, people feeling lonely. So again, we need to embrace them to increase our ability to connect better with people, and to see them as human, to deepen the connection through this technological world. So I think this is the main crucial things, we need to embrace the mindfulness aspect in the day to day.

Mitch Simon 15:49
So can you I know, we’ve already asked you for a couple of examples, we’re gonna I’m gonna ask you for a lot of examples today.

Keren Tsuk 15:54
That’s a good day, but also, I can’t.

Mitch Simon 16:00
So I’m gonna, I’m a manager, and, and I’m facing lots of change. And I’m facing, you know, all my teammates are, you know, across the planet, and I’m feel like I’m losing connection with them. What? So what do I do? Like, what do I What do I do? And how does it help?

Keren Tsuk 16:22
First of all, I think you can, it’s important to connect to each and every one of them one on one, you can set a meeting via zoom and speak with them and be present with them. See how they feel? Are they handling this situation? How can you be there for them? We talked about leaders a servant, how can I serve my employees what they need for me right now. And you know, sometimes they only want you to listen and be with them. You know, as leaders, we know that we need to bring the answer the solution, but that’s not right anymore, we need to be present in sometimes, when we are just present with our employees, things get resolved quicker. And they get what they need only by you listening and they are talking and then the solution can emerge, you don’t need to bring the solution. So first of all, I think you need a one on one connection. And with the team, I really encourage you to, to ever to a meeting, not instrumental meeting, meeting to connect, you know, you can also only start the meeting 10 minutes in from a deeper connection to invite each and every one to share his experience this week, maybe something good that he went through maybe is challenging times, maybe what he’s struggling with whatever you want to bring to the table, but invite people to be present, beyond their results beyond the efficiency in when there is a connection and people feeling seen. They will really connect and engage. So I think this is, you know, it’s look like in a paradoxical way a waste of time. But then the end of the day, it really increases the productivity and the teamwork. So this is my advice for leaders who want to engage the people in this challenging times.

Mitch Simon 18:07
So can should we have been doing this before? Like pandemic? Or is it just now that we should be taking on these mindfulness practice?

Keren Tsuk 18:14
No, I, you know, is Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn say is still now it was a vitamin, now it’s crucial, we need it. So we always needed to do it to connect as human beings to be human to be present. But nowadays, we must do it. Otherwise, we really would lose to people. And we also will lose ourselves. Look, it’s challenging time for each and every one of us also, for leaders, for managers, for individuals, it doesn’t matter. So it’s also a tool to stop, pause and be present with ourselves. So you know, when we’re practicing mindfulness, we’re also practicing the ability to accept ourselves and be compassionate toward ourselves. You know, my viewpoint is that we can’t be for other more than what we are for ourselves. So I can’t love anybody, then more than I love myself, right? I if I’m judgmental toward myself, I will be judgmental towards my employee because I don’t know something else. So we really it starts within us. You know, for me leadership, the foundation of leadership nowadays is self management, is the ability to manage our internal world of thoughts, our emotion, the process that we are going through our time. And leading from this place. We’re living from an example. So we walk the talk. So if like if I set a meeting in don’t attend my own meeting on time, I will be people engaged. Apparently they won’t engage right? However, when I’m starting with myself, and then I engage people I’m leading by example, so people will follow me. So it’s the same thing except it is an as a practice more mindfulness. I’m less judgmental, in that I can be more acceptance of other people. It doesn’t mean that I don’t need to be demanding, you know, I can’t be demanding, but I can also be human and see the person in the struggle is going through. It’s this what I talked about holding the tension, right? Or lead the tension between the need of the company right now to deliver and the needs of the employee. And when we’re present, we can handle it better. In further accuracy solution,

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 20:21
I love I was just going to ask you about the tension part. So let’s say I have a team who happens to be out in Chicago, I’m, I’m wherever I’m in a different location. And they’re not meeting the product delivery date or something like that. I have been trying, you know, I’ve tried to be mindful, I have the regular meeting. And yet I have to address this issue. How do I do this in a mindful way?

Keren Tsuk 20:51
Okay. So, first of all, you know, in my research, I found a crucial a tool that I call it a central tool, I call it dialogue spaces. What does it mean? It means being present in the meeting, and bringing myself fully and listening to the other person. So you know, I can say, okay, you know, we have an issue now, because we didn’t deliver and we need to deal with it. So I want to share with you what I feel that a garden it in my viewpoint, and I will be happy to invite you to share your viewpoints and what you feel regarding this issue. And let’s hold this place for a minute, let’s be in the uncertain area. Maybe we want to come to a conclusion in this meeting. And this Okay, so I’m given legitimize to not know the answer to be in the uncertain and to respect other people even that we are, we don’t need to agree, okay. But we for a minute pausing and listening, being present. And when we able in this space, and really listening and something, the accurate solution will emerge. And it may be it will emerge beyond each and every one of us, it will be different solution. It won’t be what I thought in the beginning, and not what which thought or not, but we’ll find the accurate solution that will be the back for us.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 22:15
And, and one more follow up question to that. So here I am, I’m having this discussion. I, I’ve been practicing trying to be mindful, I’m using some good dialogue, something happens in the meeting, and I go off the rails.

Keren Tsuk 22:32
Mm hmm.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 22:33
I’m out of mindfulness. What do you suggest to leaders? How do I bring that back?

Keren Tsuk 22:38
Okay, you know, I talked about it before when I speak, when I teach in my course. And then I say we need we have two layers of communication where the rational communication that we really good in it in the organization or the emotional discourse that we don’t use usually. So you know, if someone went a law set or even I have lost it, I say, Okay, look, I’m so I’m, I want to pause for a minute I feel I lost it, I feel I’m really angry and the anger and manage me right now. So I want to pause and to sit back and maybe to invite other people to talk or if another my employee, get angry and started charging, so I can reflect upon it and say, okay, Johnny, I see you already stressed right now, I see you. However, let’s see how we can talk in a different way to engage people, maybe share with us your experience, you know, when we share the experience, it’s not a finger pointing communication, we’re not judging each other, we try to really be present with the different experience says that people are going through and from this place, we can listen deeply to what’s needed right now. And you know, maybe he’s really stressful because he promised the client to break to deliver on time and he didn’t now we need to confront is a client that doesn’t feel comfortable with it. That’s legitimate. Right? So even me is another employee that I’m listening to him So okay, I can the standard is angry, I would also be angry if I was in his shoes. So it’s broaden our perspective. It enables us to see the broader picture and not act upon our emotions, but the tips that I give to leaders it’s there to speak the emotion I know it’s not a common language, but they’re to say what you feel you know, I feel uncomfortable right now. You even though don’t we don’t even know to name it because we don’t use the language. So even say no, I feel confused right now. I want to pause it for a moment. This is what I’m feeling. I don’t have to say anything beyond this. But this is what my experience right now. Is it in the other person wants to share with us? Are we experienced this meeting?


Mitch Simon 24:56
Great question I have is Kevin Love To know, of any use the word interventions, I’d love to know of any case studies, where you have entered a company that, let’s say, definitely could use greater mindfulness, perhaps, sure, they didn’t call you up and say, Oh, you know what we’re lacking mindfulness. And they probably had an issue and help them. And I’d love for you to kind of share with us maybe an example of, of how you helped a team work.

Keren Tsuk 25:29
Great. So I have a lot of examples that I would pick one. So I have a co founders, two co founders of a startup company, they, they almost were acquired, but they didn’t. And they were like, in a trauma experience. And they had a new opportunity to be acquired by a new company. And then they called me to help them, you know, succeed with this client. And I started working with the co founders. And first we made the clarity about the motivation and the ability to work together. And then we coordinated expectations. But along the way, I understood that they have a VP, a senior VP that he was, he was very professional. In his doing. However, he didn’t have a social skills. So he was shouting at everybody, and people left the company because of his behavior. And you know, it was a startup company, it’s like, was 1020 people, you can feel each and every person. So it’s really crucial. And through the process, I saw that their leaders, they couldn’t see the effect this manager had on the company, people who live in more afraid of him. And because you know, the manager that the CEO, had a few things that I was thinking about, he was, first of all, he was afraid to confront this manager, it was the worst three ever had. The other one was, he was afraid of the monitoring of the of the company, what will happen to the company, when he live in? What will he say about the company can own the company. And the third thing that we’re thinking about is, they really needed this position, if they will let them go, you know, in the startup nation, they needed, they were scared, they weren’t ever the right people there and they will lose their ability to deliver and an act. So this is what he was scared about in the process. So he was really acting upon his fear, you know, because the fear blinded him, he couldn’t see the impact it had on his company, or the fear that they had. So through the process, I reflected him, the fear and I was pregnant with this fury, I gave it legitimization, I said that it’s okay to, to be scared to confront him. That’s, that’s okay. But I also had to connect to the broader picture beyond the feeling that made him freeze. And once he could connect to the broader picture, he dare to be present to feel his fear, but not let it manage him, but manage his fear. And he started to having a difficult conversation with this VP, and reflecting that in starting putting boundaries and saying, okay, we can go on like this, we need to see what are we going forward. And it was really from a respectful place. And you know, what was amazing for me, I wasn’t present in this conversation, you know, because it was their conversation. However, it was amazing, because after only a few meetings they had between them from a really respectful place. The VP undistorted It’s time for him to go on, in no hard feelings. They understood it, it’s finished. And that’s okay. And so, what was amazing for me even beyond this, that only one week, after he left, they found the accurate person for the job. So it was amazing, you know, when you get really working for Miss respect to replace for the people for the process thing are synchronized, right? And it’s like investing minimum effort and getting the maximum results and being in a flow situation. So for me, it was really

Mitch Simon 29:16
common, it’s like, so what’s the ROI on mindfulness? Oh, we just got, you know, several million dollars. Acquired, you know, but you know, it’s not that important. So great. Yeah. Wow. Is there anything we haven’t asked you that, that we should be asking you about mindfulness?

Keren Tsuk 29:37
That you didn’t ask me? No, I think we. Well, you asked me. You know, I can talk to you tomorrow. But I think I think the crucial elements he has that I want to leave people with is there to listen to yourself there to connect to yourself. It’s scary. Some I know people, we are not regular to listen to our cell phone, we are so distracted listening outside. But we have wisdom within ourselves. And we usually live the life through our mind. But the mind is one tool, we have a lot of wisdom with that in ourselves, our, our intuition, our sensations are emotion, it comes and tells us something there to listen to it. You know, another nice example, for this for listening to our intuition. One of my clients was in a junk in a point that she needed to decide where to go, she was looking for a new job. And she had two option. One of the option was a big company with a big monitor, and then people thought it in a high salary. So people thought, Oh, you should go to this company for sure, no questions. And she had another offer a smaller company and with less a good condition by weight. But she’s I don’t know, something physical in my stomach to in my belly to go to this options, but she was pondering. And she decided to go with her intuition. And, you know, it was amazing, because only a few weeks after she decided to go with your intuition and to listen to your heart to heart, the bigger company a lot. Yeah. Wow. And if she would have listened to the destruction outside, she would get get, she would needed to find another job. And so now it’s listen to your intuition there to listen. And if and if you don’t know, what does it mean, ponder with it, take the time stay with it goes to sleep with it. Be with it for a few days, it’s okay. You know, sometimes it will be more productive, to take these few days and run on automatic behavior and not listen to all the messages that we have along the way. So this is what I came to my mind when you asked me.

Mitch Simon 31:56
Yeah, I would love God, I would love to bring Kevin back on and just do a whole hour on intuition. Intuition is what completely changed my life. And we don’t at least we don’t talk about it. We don’t know what it is. We don’t know how to listen to it. Or we know, but we’re really good at avoiding it.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 32:15
Yeah. Well,

Mitch Simon 32:17
great kick in. And this was, this was fantastic. And I love this. I can you could talk forever. And I could listen forever. Right now. And what I’d like to know is when is what is the title, the title of your book? And when is it coming out?

Keren Tsuk 32:33
My title of the book is a mindfully wise leadership, the secret of today’s leaders, and it would come in a few weeks, a few months as I joined July. I don’t know yet the accurate date. But when I will know it, I will be happy to share with you great.

Mitch Simon 32:47
How many in what languages will it be in English at the beginning in English? Fantastic. Fantastic. Okay, great. That’s in July. So we’re having you back on the show in June, July. How can we find you?

Keren Tsuk 32:59
So you can also as you said, I have my own podcast called mind, mind your leadership. Great. And you can visit my website, www dot wisdom to And on LinkedIn on Twitter, Facebook, you know, social media.

Mitch Simon 33:17
Right. We’ll put all those links in there. Well, Jimmy, and I would love to thank you, Jenny. Any closing remarks?

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 33:26
Yes, just i’d love and we can pick up on this maybe in our in another podcast in a way you need. It’s trust, trust. When you go to mindfulness, mindfulness, you can trust yourself, your own intuition and learn how to do with it. And trust those that you’re interacting with. And you’ll get the higher performance out of both.

Keren Tsuk 33:48
And a just wonderful, that’s awesome. And it’s really important, the trust issue. It’s the basic today to lead to ask yourself, I’ll pay them.

Mitch Simon 33:57
And I’m walking away on this podcast with you know, follow your intuition. Be mindful and people will buy your company. I just love that. So thank you very much. And thank you Ginny, and thank you all of our listeners to another incredible episode of team anywhere. We will see you next time.

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