Karlin Sloan – Author and CEO of Karlin Sloan and Company

CEO Karlin Sloan has committed herself to finding out what makes great leaders tick, and to supporting leaders to be the change they wish to see in the world. As a corporate citizen she is an advocate for creating sustainable ways of working and living, and for creating positive organizational communities that work together for the greater good. She is the author of the acclaimed business book Smarter, Faster, Better; Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership, which has been translated into Thai and Russian, and also the author of UNFEAR. She is the CEO and founder of Karlin Sloan & Company, a U.S.  based leadership development consultancy devoted to helping leaders use everything they’ve got to make their organizations smarter, faster, and better.  For more information on Karlin Sloan see www.karlinsloan.com or visit Karlin’s author site at Filedby.

What are you working on right now?

I’m gearing up for an upcoming trip to India and Nepal – I’m pretty excited about that!
Other than that, I’m promoting a new book, UNFEAR: Facing Change in an Era of Uncertainty. Our organizations are in trouble, and not just because of economic woes. The rapid fire pace of change is overwhelming us. When we get overwhelmed, when we operate from fear, our behavior gets more self-focused, less risk-taking, less oriented to the good of the organization or the customer or the world at large. I am completely impassioned about the material in the book because it’s practical and concrete, and leaders who’ve used the tools and exercises have been telling me how useful it’s been.

3 trends that excite you?

Eco and volunteer tourism, and how we can use adventure experiences to help leaders learn valuable skills/ develop self awareness.

The MBA Oath – that the next generation of business leaders are pledging to make a positive difference.

Online microfinance – and seeing the enormous power of “small” transactions.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It’s all about enrolling people. For me personally, that’s through writing and dialog. Nothing good happens in a vacuum, really good ideas come from energizing a group of talented people and letting them use their strengths.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by people who practice UNFEAR – it’s a word I made up that means believing in our capacity to create a positive outcome, no matter what the circumstance. When you look at great leaders they are able to transcend their own selfish survival needs and go to the bigger picture – they are able to see how their organizations, their countries, their teams are part of something greater than themselves, something that can contribute to the world in a powerful and positive way. That inspires me!

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

Only ONE? I suppose I make the same mistake a lot and need to learn the same lesson – here’s the lesson in a nutshell – DO LESS, and you will be more successful.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Someone really needs to do a large-scale implementation of treadmill desks in business settings – the technology exists people – I want to see a call center staffed with people walking and talking on their headsets! It’s all about health and getting people out of their sedentary, unhealthy working setups.

What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?

Book – that’s a hard question. I have a book sitting on my desk right now called Transformational Speaking by Gail Larsen – I do think being able to speak your ideas, to tell a great story is a very powerful thing. When we can articulate a vision in a way that gets people not just at the intellectual level, but at the heart level, we can inspire immediate action.
Tools – I am loving Google docs right now. It’s simple, easy, no version control, so efficient.  Thank you Google. (and yes, Google is our client, but no, they didn’t pay me to say that)

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

Dr. David Batstone – ethics prof, writer, head of Not for Sale and Free2Work.org.

Dr. Bob Deutsch, cognitive anthropologist.

Lynne Twist, fundraiser, founder of the Soul of Money Institute.

Sara Blakely, spanx entrepreneur.

What makes a great business leader?

There are so many answers to that because leadership is all about context, but my bias is that great business leaders in this era are facilitative leaders. They are not the old school command and control bosses of a simpler time. They have to deal with such complexity and ambiguity, and they have a magic combination of strategic/ visionary thinking, collaboration and influence skills, and self-awareness that enables them to know what they are good at and where they need help.   The great news is that great business leadership is not necessarily innate – it can be taught! I’ve seen amazing transformations in my role as an executive coach and consultant.

What motto do you live by?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. (Gandhi)  What would happen if we all focused on being the change? It all starts with us as individuals, how we choose to live our lives on a daily basis. Just spend one day practicing being kind to everyone you encounter. That one day will have a positive impact, and a ripple effect that you can’t imagine right now. Making the world a better place doesn’t have to be difficult.


Karlin Sloan on Twitter: @karlinsloan
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Company Website: www.karlinsloan.com