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Agile Leaders Conversations

Agile Leaders Conversations Ep 7 – Mr Christian Kastner, Sales Director

Master Your Inner Journey to Reach Your Next Peak

In this episode of Agile Leaders Conversations, hear Mr Christian Kastner, a veteran sales leader, share his insights after reading ‘8 Paradoxes of Leadership Agility’, how he connected with the paradox ‘principled vs adaptable.’ He shared many great leadership advice that will help leaders relook their focus and emphasis on life.

Connect with Christian at https://www.linkedin.com/in/christiankastner/

YOUTUBE VIDEO

TRANSCRIPT

Christian Kastner 

Learn to fill the other areas of your life with meaningful things. You becoming a much better leader as well, because one area is influencing the other one. If you have peace at home, you are more effective at work.

 

Chuen Chuen Yeo 

Welcome to agile leaders conversations, agile leaders conversations is a series of dialogues, where we engage industry leaders in discussions of how they see apply agility and navigate paradoxes as they lead and pivot in the new normal. My name is Chuen Chuen, and I’m executive coach who specialises in leadership agility. My guest today is Mr. Christian Kastner. Christian is a veteran sales leader who has a wealth of experience in leadership and coaching. Let me hand over the time to Christian to share a little about himself.

 

Christian Kastner 

Hello, good afternoon, Chuen Chuen. It’s very great privilege to be with you today. And to speak to people around the world, especially in lovely Singapore. And I’m very happy to do so. I’m sitting for a good number of years now in sales. And over the time, I progressed up my career to be more leadership position now, for the last 10 plus years. And over this time, I developed real quick desire to learn more about leadership and how to do this well. So my daily practice is about sales, business development, and in leadership, because in the last couple of years in our business model, what we are doing transformed a lot. I’m working for small and medium sized enterprises here in Germany. But the things that I’m doing is that I help our daughter companies, our distributors all around the world, to apply and to promote our products in a more effective way. And so it’s a lot of sales talks, training on the top, but also investment in people and helping our partners to be more effective.

 

Chuen Chuen Yeo 

So you’re in this very important work of building capability, increasing effectiveness. And the Christian is joining us from Germany, and is now 1pm in Singapore. So it is extremely early in Germany. Thank you so much for joining the call very, very early today. So Christian, we connected on LinkedIn after he read my book. And so here I want to invite Christian, to share your general thoughts of the book after reading it.

 

Christian Kastner 

Yeah, you say, I made a lot of notes, you know, it’s a book. And it’s a great book. So if you had a chance so far to buy it, I highly recommended. It’s called the eight paradoxes of leadership agility. And what I really liked about the book, it’s really practical. And in the beginning, I thought, okay, that’s very easy. And then I came to realise that there’s a lot of deep thoughts behind the book, you know, and so, it took a couple of chapters for me to read, and coming along with the meaning of it. And there was one chapter, which received very much because it reflected my life at a certain time in my life. And that was about chapter eight. In this example, you mentioned a person you called Kelly, and Kelly is one of this ambitious executives, very early in her career. And she really is used to be promoted every couple of months or years. And she’s constantly switching companies and being promoted one step after the next one. And you met her probably at a time where she came to kind of a plateau with no further rise (promotion). And then usually at this stage, you have a time of self questioning where you think, okay, should I just ‘switch shops’ in order to get the next kick, the next excitement? And what you described as Kelly was rather a more holistic picture of being a leader. Yeah. And she realised that now it’s a time you know, to do things beside of her work. And to get a more complete understanding what life is all about. And what resonated very much with me was the picture of this tree, you know, that is not a tree with just one branch, your career, and your earning. But it’s rather a more holistic picture you know about the family, it’s about the relationship with the parents, it’s about the relationship with your inner self. And this draws a picture of a more complete person. And that helped me also, you know, when I was a bit younger, you know, you were really ambitious, and you want to really wanted to excel in life, and you’re coming along. And then I realised that this is not enough because I neglected relationships with my family and these other people around me. And so, it really showed that, you know, even with there isn’t an immediate progression, in the career when you learn to fill the other areas of your life with meaningful things, you become a much better leader as well, because one area is influencing the other one, if you have peace at home, you are more effective at work. If you’re good at work, you’re probably a more holistic person. And if you’re doing some reflecting on what’s going on in your life, and you’re adjusting the different areas, then the complete picture becomes much more holistic and whole.

 

Chuen Chuen Yeo 

So I think, Christian, you point out one thing that is really key for leaders to understand. to advance in our career and to be better leaders, what we need is probably to also take care of the other parts of our lives, which are equally important, and make sure that we can then continue to grow as a person, and, as a result become much better leaders.

 

Christian Kastner 

What I found out, you know, it has a lot to do with your mindset. So the word mindset, it means where you set your mind and where you concentrate on and I realised, you know, that a lot of focus in especially in our world is just money, you know, money, prestige, outward appearance, and then when you have just a mindset on that, you’re missing a lot of life, because you’re missing a lot of people things, you missing a lot of family time, you’re missing a lot of other activities, which could enrich your life. And so it’s important to realise that your identity is not connected with your tribe. And sometimes you have to realise this only if you are struggling, you know, or if things are not going smooth, and you realise suddenly, that it’s not all about things, and outward things and money and prestige and status. It’s more about what’s inside you.

 

Chuen Chuen Yeo 

I think materials are only one aspect of what’s important in our lifetimes. And given that we only live once, perhaps this is a question that leaders can ask themselves and gauge you know, how are they measuring their lives? So there was a definition of leadership, agility and paradoxes in the book. So I’m wondering how do you see leadership agility and paradoxes? From your point of view?

 

Christian Kastner 

You know, that’s a very good point. And I think in our world, which is described as the vuca world, you know, volatile and constantly changing, and no more stable. You know, when I go back to the time of my parents, my parents, my father, he stayed for over forty years in one company. Yeah. And basically, that is the way the generations before him were also used to do and they hardly had any interruption, they even did not think about change. And for us, change is just part of daily life. And that is something most people still do not realise they think back about the good old times. But we, especially as leaders, we have to be agile, and keeping our mind set on the proactive mode. Yeah, to be anticipative, take initiative, driven, and just looking for opportunities, because nowadays, it’s very difficult on one side in business, but on the other side, there are more opportunities today than it was ever before. And everyone can reach it, especially because of modern technology, the internet, the possibility to do business with different cultures for everyone. So the key for a leader is to be agile in your mind, and then transforming the agility of your mind into your area of reach. Not in the organisation in general because it’s usually too big. But in your little area, your department, the people you’re interacting and keeping them agile in order to adapt to the change in the world around you.

 

Chuen Chuen Yeo 

So there is that keeping a lookout for the opportunities that are available, that recognising that things are not the same as before, and that we are actually changing everyday. And that is going to be a norm. Right? There’s no more of, I guess not, I can’t say no more, I probably much less, much less of staying in the same company for a long time. And even among my clients, those who are very tenured, they stay with companies for a long time, they are still evolving and still able to be agile and grow and change in that same company.

 

Christian Kastner 

Yeah. And the thing is, you know, you have to always keep learning. Yeah, that is one of the things which is very dear value of myself, the lifelong learning. And this involves not only the mental aspect, but also you know, the practical aspect. You know, for example, for the, let’s say, all the people, people over 50, or 60, you know, to be able to use videos for example, making videos on LinkedIn, making videos on YouTube, adapting to things like Tik Tok or to, you know, just modern things. And that keeps the brain alive and at trial as well. And young people can learn from the older people about a lot of things also. So what I see right now is that especially, let’s say what we call the millennials, people less than 30 years old, I see a very big desire to learn from older people. But I also see a lot of older people willing to learn from the younger ones. And that is something what was in the previous generation, it was more of “they are here, and we are here” There’s not so much into moving or connecting. And so I think that’s a great thing, what is happening right now that people, despite of the age trying to learn from each other.

 

Chuen Chuen Yeo 

So it is this spirit of lifelong learning that is associated with leadership, agility, intergenerational connecting bonding is not just the younger generation who can learn from the older, more experienced generation in maybe management leading or business acumen. And it’s also the other way around, the more matured workers or leaders can also learn from the younger ones, especially when they are digital natives.

 

Christian Kastner 

This is a mindset as well, you know, because if you think as a leader, you know, you’re the smartest cookie in the room, then you’re probably in the wrong room, you know, and the thing is, you know, whoever I meet, I can learn something, even if it’s just learning, how not to do something. Yeah. But in the most people I meet, I find very inspiring, because they are usually experts in our niche, which I am not an expert. And so I can connect my experience and my knowledge of products of processes, with their experiences and their industry. And together, I can form an offer, which is a win win situation. For me in my company, as well as for their company.

 

Chuen Chuen Yeo 

What is your advice for veteran and aspiring leaders out there?

 

Christian Kastner 

Most important thing is that you’re working with a good coach. I had at various stages in my life, and coach, and always some mentor, which helped me as a kind of a sounding board, just listening and trying to help me to connecting with myself. Yeah. A lot of people and leaders are afraid of that. And they are afraid because they don’t know what’s coming out. And what I realised is you can only reach a certain level without understanding yourself. Because at the end of the day, everything what you do is triggered by your inner self, by your values, by your past experience by your emotions. Yeah. And if you do not deal with it early in life is that it will come out later at a point where you cannot handle it anymore. And then it needs much more time and energy to fix it. Yeah. So that is something actually, you know, the younger generation is much more aware than the older generation. And it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help and to employing a coach. Yeah. And so I would advise you get as much help as you can read, study, but also have a continuous reflection and use some As a sounding board is more experienced with intelligent questions to help you to move to the next level, because without the thinking, you will only be able to reach a plateau, and they’re not improving anymore.

 

Chuen Chuen Yeo 

Very, very wise words, are you talking about this personal mastery, for leaders and being connected with our emotions, and it’s just a matter of time, whether you will come out now or come on later. And if later, these things do come up. Sometimes the consequences can be a little bit more expensive. And it’s better to then to start this inner journey earlier than later. So personal mastery is one, asking for help – It’s not a weakness. I think there was another very wise thing that you said, yeah, this is really great and read more reflect and things like that. So thank you so much Christian for spending your precious time you’re very early morning sharing your insights with us. And I’m sure for the viewers, you might be interested to know more about how to collaborate and learn from Christian is really a very experienced sales leader. Christian, could you share with them where and how they can find you?

 

Christian Kastner 

Yeah, very well. I’m very happy to connect to everyone on LinkedIn. And also, I have a weekly video blog called leadership Wednesday, just follow the hashtag leadership Wednesday, or hashtag Christian Kastner. And I sharing my 50 cents of leadership of personal development. More or less on a weekly basis, there are over 60 episodes already available. And if you want to connect with me and ask specific question, I’m an open networker and I am very happy to help or to share.

 

Chuen Chuen Yeo 

Thank you so much. I think sharing your insights is definitely one of the best gift that a leader can give to everyone. So I will insert Christian’s LinkedIn link and where you can find his blog in the post. So thank you so much for making time again, and let’s stay in touch.

 

Christian Kastner 

Thank you very much for reaching out and make sure that you buy the book. It’s a fantastic read. And thank you for having me on the show, Chuen Chuen.

Check out the rest of the episodes.

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