Sven, thank you for agreeing to interview with us as we build up toward the Youth International Summer School in Shanghai. Please share with us a short introduction about yourself, your career and areas of expertise.
I have been interested in people as long as I can think of. Empowering and limiting elements on performance and being able to evoke ones potential has captured my interest in particular. I was involved with judo on a competitive level for 20 years. I witnessed some of the most talented athletes fail due to a faulty inner/outer ecology and vice versa, whose causes I been dedicated to unveil.
My background is in business economics. I started working in a highly competitive environment and realized that working hard and much doesn´t necessarily lead to desired results. The same I have witnessed in sports years earlier. Instead I have come across more subtle and definitely healthier ways of leading oneself and others in a smart way. I have dedicated my life to help people find their own way of leading a smart a more successful and sustainable life.
What is it about the Youth International Summer School in Shanghai that interests you most and how does the theme align with your personal interests and professional experiences?
In Shanghai, similar to the previous Summer Schools I have been part of, I am most interested in meeting people with different backgrounds that come together and share their unique talents, to witness how they learn from each other and inspire one another. I am sure that I myself will be leaving the event yet again inspired and to spread some of their thoughts and ideas in my seminars and coaching sessions.
Without giving too much away, could you explain exactly what is meant by “The Ecology of Leadership”?
There is an internal and an external ecology. Depending on the environment and socioeconomic circumstances we grow up in, we either focus too much on one or the other. Most cultures over emphasize the external factors. Smart leadership in my opinion needs the right balance of both and the knowledge of how to consciously influence one or the other.
What lessons can participants expect to gain from your workshop on and how will they best apply them in their future endeavors?
They will gain insights and have access to means of selfregulation and be able to reevaluate their internal and external ecology in order to lead whatever purpose they are set out to fulfil in a smarter way. There is no way of knowing in advance how each participant will best apply the lessons learned but I am sure I will be able to answer this part of the question by the end of workshop sessions.
As an expert who has joined us at previous events, can you share with us any impact on participants you have witnessed during and after them?
I am awestruck at how seriously participants take the contents offered to them and how dedicated they are to apply them in their own environment. For example; a female participant from Qatar took part in the workshop negotiation skills one year. Next time in Beijing the said she applied those principals during a job interview. The result was that the company not only hired her, but even gave her an advanced position despite lacking the required work experience. Skipping a career level as a graduate is one thing. Being a female graduate in Qatar skipping a career level was unheard of before in that company. That is one of many reasons why I truly cherish being part of the Summer School.
Is there any advice you can offer in advance to Youth International Summer School participants before attending your workshop?
The only advice I would like to give the participants at this point is to take a few moments each day and become aware of what has been driving them that very day. What were the factors that distracted them and what helped them make clear decisions. Sharpening awareness and the ability of self-reflection is a major part of smart leadership.