Yesterday, March 7, 2011, Part One of this question and answer interview with Karlin Sloan was featured by host Yvonne Perry at her Writers In The Sky blog.
It is my pleasure to offer you the second half of that interview and to invite you to continue following the tour by visiting tomorrow's host, The New Book Review, for a review of UNFEAR Facing Change In and Era of Uncertainty. A full tour schedule can be found at http://bit.ly/unfearvirtualtour.
Karlin Sloan is the founder and CEO of Karlin Sloan & Company, Ms. Sloan provides organization development consulting, training and executive coaching to clients the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia. She is the author of Smarter, Faster, Better; Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2006) and Unfear (January 2011).
As a consultant and executive coach, Sloan speaks with powerful corporate leaders every day and, over the years, has seen that many of the people she works with are living with stress and ambiguity. Managing from a fear-based state affects an individual personally, which can lead to consequences that impede a work team and, in turn, the larger organization. The book inspires readers to make decisions out of hope and purpose, rather than out of fear.
Vonnie: Karlin, you and your company are considered to be at the forefront of the executive coaching industry. You are an entrepreneur, an innovator, and visionary with a message of change. What are the greatest influences that have shaped your development as a leader?
Karlin: What a great question. My clients have had an enormous impact on my development as a leader. I’ve met some very talented, gifted people who have been examples of what is possible in galvanizing a team or a whole organization. I’ve been greatly influenced by pioneers in positive psychology who have opted not to study dysfunction and pathology, but have focused on what makes us happy, productive, engaged and optimistic. I’ve endeavored to put what I’ve learned into practice in my own organization, and I think we’ve got a wonderfully collaborative and positive community as a result.
Vonnie: How did you come to the concept of UNFEAR and how were the four practices developed?
Karlin: I had an epiphany one day when I was doing research on leadership and resilience, specifically studying the leadership case study of Earnest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer who was foiled in his efforts to cross the continent on dogsled in 1914. I was trying to capture in writing the practices that enabled him to lead his team through a truly harrowing journey of shipwreck and survival, and I wrote out an early version of the four practices of UNFEAR. I tried them out with clients and found they really fit anyone leading in uncertain times.
Vonnie: What kind of fruit have you seen as a result of executives practicing the four practices of UNFEAR? What does a company look like when its leaders work together following the four practices?
Karlin: The energy in those organizations is infectious. People are engaged, excited about their contribution to something larger than themselves. You can feel it, and you hear it immediately when you walk in the door because people are talking about the business from a positive perspective. We spend so much of our lives at work – and we have a choice to build organizations that add to our lives and the lives of our customers and our communities.
Vonnie: As a consultant your clients are executive leaders, upper management seeking leadership development programs and executive coaching. What does your book offer the employee? How can the four practices of UNFEAR be used by employees seeking more out of their professional life? How might someone that is not currently in a position of leadership use your book and the four practices of UNFEAR to elevate themselves within a company?
Karlin: UNFEAR is really for everyone. What I believe is that leadership is at every level of an organization. That mantle no longer belongs only to those at the top. No one person holds all the cards in our complex, interdependent organizations, and we all need to take charge of ourselves and the world that we influence. UNFEAR is something that helps everyone around us. I’ve had people tell me what an impact it’s made on their family to use the four practices – and I find that so gratifying!
Vonnie: How have you used the four practices of UNFEAR in your own business, as CEO of Karlin Sloan & Company?
Karlin: We just completed our strategic planning retreat to prepare for 2011, and we were able to use the four practices to evaluate how we’ve done in the past year and to define what we want to do differently in the next year. I think they are a reminder for us to stick to our values and to keep ourselves healthy as an organization, and also as individuals.
Vonnie: If there is one message, out of the many in your book, that you hope the reading audience will absorb, what would it be?
Karlin: That wonderful things are possible when we set our minds in the right direction! We all have the capacity to shift ourselves out of unproductive, fearful states into fulfilling, empowered states from which we can lead ourselves and others. The world needs us to be at our best in order to meet the challenges we face, and the first step is to shift into UNFEAR.