Innovation

Leader, do you also feel there is no time to innovate? 

I would like to start quoting J.R.R.Tolkien: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

In Lord of the Rings, the moment of this phrase is when Gandalf brings hope to Frodo, who is tired, in pain and realising the weight of the burden he has to carry. Gandalf does not ask for him to ignore, or say that this is silly what he is feeling, no. He indeed confirms the weight of the challenge he is into, but encourages him with that phrase above that highlights something simple, but powerful: There are many things in our destiny that we can not change, but there are many others we can and that, depends only with what do we prioritise in our time. 

I could exemplify this mindset in several dimensions of our life, but I want just to focus now only in one: innovation in corporations.

This quote already brings the main point of this post: yes, we have time. And everyday we are making decisions on what to prioritise for our teams, for the day, week, projects, budget, etc.

Time, is the same for everyone. 

When we say: “Time is too short”, “I don‘t have time for that”, in the end, is not about the amount of things you include in your agenda for the day, but what are you prioritising.

There is no right or wrong, it is just about decisions we make.  

Talking with colleagues that shares the same career path of bringing innovation into corporations, one of the most common thing we all hear is that people don’t have time for innovation, because they have too much to do. But actually what they are saying is that this is not priority for them. 

And, when we realize on their daily tasks, demands and activities, that is true, innovation is very often not a concrete demand from the company for their leaders and teams. 

If they are not demanded, not measured and not recognised by innovation, why should they invest their time on it? 

But, during the last years, I have also met a lot of leaders that succeeded to deliver great results from current businesses and in pursuing innovation at the same time. 

And I have seen some things in common: 

  • They include innovation in they team’s agenda 

If the leader doesn’t prioritise it in the teams agenda, nobody will. 

The team needs to feel the openness from the leader to be able to share ideas and also, problems. To have a space and place to talk and interact. 

A moment on the weekly team meeting to brainstorm all together on the problems and challenges they are facing, or on opportunities they may have found is already a valuable start. 

When the team feels that the leader is willing to hear their thoughts, critics and ideas, that is the start of an environment propitious to innovation, and will also create this bonding and synergy to make this growth together.

  • The leader’s agenda is dedicated for managing results, people, coordinate plans and to promote continuous improvement.

The best person to understand how the department and projects performance are aligned with the company results and objectives, is the leader.

By doing this they can support and intervene on problems in advance and to help the teams at the right timing. 

As the leader is the one who can see from above the operational activities from his department from one side, and the interface with the company strategies on the other side, he is able to promote strategic directions, change in priorities and propose new projects to deliver the company big goals.

As the team members are most part of their attention and the time on the operational activities that they were entitled to, the leader should be the one looking from the “forest view” and to be able to see the number of rework,  troubles and unnecessary tasks and to invite them to rethink the process/project and dedicate to improvements. 

Continuous improvement on the daily processes is the best investment of time, because is the base to liberate precious time and talent from the team from operational tasks to dedicate into what adds more value for the business.

  • They let go of operational activities

At the point the person comes to a leadership position, sometime he/she brings the routines and the passion for some activities, but it very important to learn how to let it go, and trust the team that will conduct the activities. 

At the managerial position, learning to let operational activities behind is very important to liberate time to all the tasks that the manager is needed to make. 

  • They invest on the team’s capabilities  

Trusting the team, and promoting their development is the best investment for their motivation and also to promote new ideas and insights. Investing in degrees, certificates, events, exhibitions, congresses, bring fresh ideas into the routines. 

The team feels also more motivated and is natural the wish to bring what they have learned into the department. 

  • They invest time on network, inside and outside the organization 

Building network and contacts inside and outside the organization is crucial to learn from other companies, making benchmark visits to nurture on insights, and also to promote the work and results from the department into the market. 

All off those activities are just major topics that I have seen leaders dedicating their agenda, but there must be a balance, and I am sure that there must be other activities that are also promoting innovative culture inside departments, that could also be shared. 

One important thing is to have in mind that we are always learning and there is always time to try something new. 

In case you have read until here, I will be more than glad to read your comments and thoughts on this topic and will invite you to think on the first quote I’ve wrote: “What are you doing with the time that is given to you?”

Carolina Frodl

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Germany

An unattachment process

In every decision comes great responsibility, and courage in getting accountable for the result of what has been decided.

After 4 years working for the company that brought me to Germany, I was invited by another company for a new challenge, bigger scope and challenge which energize me a lot.
My new role is 100% remote, which made me see myself in a thinking loop… specially about the city in which I am living today.

I’ll share a little bit of my moves from the last years:

In the last 4 years, I had lived in 4 homes already, the first one was a temporary furnished room inside of a very nice couple’s house, the second year I have rented an apartment which the same couple had for rent. I stayed there exactly 1,5 year until I moved to my ex-boyfriend’s house, we lived together for 1 year, and with the breakup, I return to rent a new home and this time near my previous job.

Worms, where I am currently living is a nice town, with 80.000 habitants, but if you are coming from a big city like me (Sao Paulo area in Brazil), you would miss some movements and the vibe that a big town can offer. Living in small towns in Germany is nice to improve the German as nobody speaks English, or even if they do, they don’t want to.

There are a lot of green fields to walk, nice parks, and the neighbours are also sweet and kind (at least I am a lucky one… I have heard not so nice stories from friends).

But, when you come as expat alone, a small town in Germany is not the perfect place, at it is very hard to build friendship. On my first year for example it took me 6 months until I start to have friends, and, lucky for me they are Brazilians :).

With this new plan in mind: moving to a bigger city, I have also decided for a more adventurer side of it: smart living concept, or, minimalist. In which I consider to have everything that I and my dog need to live fitting in my car.

Because this way, in case the next home does not work, I just move on…

Here in Germany there is a concept called “Wohnen auf Zeit”, which translates as “Temporary living”. It means that the home is 100% furnished, and includes in the monthly payment the internet, gas and electricity, you don’t need to worry about opening/closing contracts.

Perfect model for my current moment! 😀

I have been searching for this model in the Frankfurt area and have found an amazing building concept which includes besides the furnished apartment, garage, gym , coworking area and a nice terrace. In a very nice and new neighbourhood in Frankfurt, full of things around: gym, restaurants, markets, shops, and between the forest and the Main river.

Looks fantastic, and what is the current challenge with it? Reduce and let things go!

My future home will be a studio of 27m2, which I will live and work with my cutie dog.

The wardrobe is so small that I will need to reduce around 70% of what I have today (I have counted 180 pieces of clothes!!!)

And off course, if it is furnished, all the things I have bought for this current home I will have to let go…

So, the first plan: Garage Sale! 😀

I will make a big garage sale on the next days trying to reduce everything… low price, to really make this go…

Hopefully I’ll succeed, in case I don’t, some organisation will receive a lot of donations from me 🙂

But, the best part of this process is the emotional unattachment of the material things. There are things that I have for years, which I thought were valuable for me, but to be honest, it had a value in the past, and I can still find it in the future, so it feels really nice to let things go and make new people happy with my things. 🙂

Have you ever wondered what are the things you are accumulating, not using, and you believe it has value for you?

Maybe my post can inspire you to look from a different perspective… after all, what has really meaning in this life is not material at all.

Innovation

The danger of a “Fear of talking”​ culture

“When two men in a business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”

William Wrigley, Jr.

I was reading about William Wrigley and that thought came in my mind: 

A company with the “fear of talking” culture is the tangible example of the quote above. A place where employees are scared of exposing their opinion or questioning others, especially in higher positions. 

The culture driven by fear of authority is a very dangerous trigger to inefficiency, as people are always accepting what is told to do, without questioning.

It is a so called “execution company” which interferes innovation, as questions of “what could be different?” never appears. Employees with this mind-set have even more difficulty to see the possibilities of what could be transformed, as they are in execution mode. 

Do you remember any meeting that you would like to share your opinion, or to make a question but, afraid of being wrong, you haven’t spoke at all? 

This is not an easy topic, but for sure is something that we need to develop in ourselves.

Two things are necessary: 

  1. Courage: For questioning and sharing our thoughts

2.    Humbleness: For accepting the return that can be different of our first opinion. 

Be mindful and aware that we are always learning. Independent of your age, your position and how many degrees you have, the world changes so fast that new theories are always being created and new solutions are available every day in the world. 

There are always opportunities that employees can share their learnings and thoughts. If you are a leader, take a time to question yourself on, how often your employees are stimulating you on new ways of thinking and doing things? 

If there are not much feedback or return from their side, how are you promoting the necessary openness, so they can feel comfortable for sharing their opinion? 

Tell me your thought about it. Share your opinion.

Innovation

The Intrapreneurship value

I really love this global moment of entrepreneurship, is amazing the number of entrepreneurs , startups and people dreaming about building startups everywhere in the globe. This is really an exponencial moment of innovation, ideias and society development.

I, as an entrepreneurship lover and a corporate expert, believe that we should stimulate people inside the companies with the same energy and motivation for just allowing them of being intrapreneurs so it could provide new levels of development and changes for better results.

People usually have lots of ideas and all they just want are time and resources for implementing that. People just want an authorization . That is the biggest value of an intrapreneurship program.

When you create processes that stimulates ideas, when you put the people closed to the executives of the company to present their project proposal and when you provide time for them to work on their own ideas, you won’t have only more projects on your portfolio, but you will build a team of “owners” of the company, they will work as they own the company.

You will have employees more motivated and engaged with the main goal of the company, even if their idea is not approved, because the value of being listened is trumendous .

The cultural impact of an intrapreneur program is marvelous and the results will come by itself, as you are generating more protagonists for better results.

As the time passes, you will find out that all the people that passed through this intrapreneur program will become change makers and will start to promote it in their day by day and will become influencers to motivate their colleagues and the effect in a long term you can imagine.

For my experience in two big corporations and more then 8 years working with this innovation programs, I can tell you that all efforts worth it , specially when you see the culture of your company with more proactive people that are leading continuous improvements and innovations everyday with ownership of the business.

Note: This post was created in Oct 2017 in my Tumblr, and I am reposting here. Even that the content looks quite ok for nowadays, I have also expanded my vision about intrapreneurship after this 4 years in Germany. It deserves a new post, is coming soon .

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com
Body, mind and soul

Sweet self-esteem

The best phase when you are single is when you start to live your life on your own and Totally free from expectations from the outside.

Small things like traveling on a weekend to the place you want, to enjoy on your own… going to the market to buy healthy foods for you, just because you want to take care of you… without thinking to please someone else… just you…

To go shopping and buy clothes related to your taste and to please you, not the others…

To buy the best makeup for your skin, the best shampoo for your hair just because you like this little details for pleasing you and no one else .

To decide to have a walk alone in a forest, just to feel your own presence in the planet.

This is part of self confidence… and happiness comes easily when you stop pleasing others.

You are the most important person for yourself 😉 and life is too short …

But, could we also recognise it also when we are in a relationship ? I do need some time on my own, even when I am living with somebody. I am writing now, as a single stage in my life.

But, why not during a relationship also invest in a time by yourself? Do you do this? I would love to read about it .

Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com
Body, mind and soul

Are you investing time for what brings you joy?

What is your passion?

Soccer is one of my passions. Maybe is my Brazilian culture.

People are always asking me if I am going to the games alone… yes! Why not? (At least was before the pandemics…)

But the main message is that to be single doesn’t mean that you have to stay at home waiting to do something only when you have somebody to go with you, that is not living!

Go after your passions, how many things that you love your are postponing just because you are waiting for someone to go with?

I am sure that you will enjoy a lot this time with yourself and who knows which new friends you can make there ! 🙂

I am making new friends wherever I go…

Life is short to be waiting for someone to walk with you, your life is only yours … your dreams and passions defines who your are and where are you willing to go in this short experience as a human. Go for it !

Follow your passions

Body, mind and soul

What have you made as foundation for your life?

During my meditation teaching journey, the pillar and the start of the teachings were on the consciousness of who we are: a body, mind and soul.

The focus was to bring to the meditation participants the awareness that in order to achieve balance, we need to get conscious of what is happening within all three, and learn how to listen to ourselves. Our body send messages all the time for us, our mind and our soul as well.

The value was not just to listen and capture the message, but also understand that we work as a system, and all those three elements are correlated and influence each other, as an example: an emotion created by a thought in the mind can generate a tension in the body bringing some pain or discomfort. And meditation is a key to capture this information.

Besides the meditation teaching per itself, I always loved to made a closure with a question: From this vision about us as body, mind and soul, what are we bringing to our life as our main foundation? Like a table needs the feet to balance it and stand, what is are we bringing as our foundation to our lives? Money? Beauty? Instagram followers? Career? Relationships? Material possessions?

All of it has its value and importance in our lives, but, all of it will go away one day… we get old and the youth beauty will also go away… We may lose our jobs, we may loose relationships, we may loose all our money and material possessions. What is then left?

That is the role of our soul, that should be our main foundation, that our believes will make us stand even during strong storms in our lives.

Whatever is you belief: God, Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus, Moses, bring it to your main foundation and fortify your faith, that will support you go through whatever is challenging you in this limited material life experience.

What are you making as the foundations of your life right now? Where are you investing more time today? Can it go away one day?

Then, it’s time to rethink… so you can fortify your life base for a more fulfilling life.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com
Body, mind and soul

Live to work, or work to live?

I classify my life and career in “ages”, just like in human history in which we have some common scenarios in each age: I see some facts, mindset and behaviours that marked me in specific phases of my career.

As an example, my “middle age” career time was in the early 2000’s, and it was like the dark age of humanity, lots of work, and taxes to pay, low in money and some terror from my colleague who used to fill me with fear. Looks like the human middle age, right? hehe

When I was in this career “middle age”, I remember to share to my life Guru: my Opa (grandfather) all my dissatisfaction and worries, and he came to me with this question: Are you living to work, or are you working to live ?

Guru that is a guru don’t need to speak much right? Just this phrase made me realize that the way I was handling my life was not the way I wanted really to live. And it took to make positive changes afterwards… I needed this push and light, and insights fro my life were appearing on the next days.

So, sharing this light for you too… Are you living to work, or are you working to live ?

Photo by Zachary DeBottis on Pexels.com
Germany

My move to Germany – The beginning process

The decision & process to move

Just a small intro first:

A decision to move to another country is not an easy one, and of course, shouldn’t be taken so fast, it is a process. (An internal and an external process).

By internal process I mean: all the areas that influences your emotions and inner peace. Because moving out means to be far away from the ones you love, means learning a new language, and also learning on how to deal with fear of the unknown. 

The external process refers about all the preparations in your life that you need to make, example: Prepare the language skills, learn the rules to move to that country: visa, work, living costs, laws, etc.

An important thing before deciding to live abroad is to know the place where you want to go. Germany has an important role in my life, it always had. I come from a German immigrants family, from my Grandfather side, they moved to Brazil in the 1929, from my grandmother side, around 1890. Both histories are very nice to hear, and I am glad to dedicate another post to write it. 

My German GreatGrandparents in Brazil around 1910, (parents of my Grandmother)

So, the German culture was always part of my childhood: I’ve grew up with a Cuckoo-clock from my great-grand father in my house, singing German songs in Christmas time. Being part of a German club (Verein), which I grew up having German food, and listening to German music. Listening my Oma(Grandma) and Opa(Grandpa) talking in German between them. Those are just some example…

The first time I came to Germany was in 2009 which I’ve traveled with a friend to Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin, and included Paris and Prague. It was a nice travel, but even more special because was the one I’ve met in person my German relatives (also another special story that deserves a dedicated post).

Me on the left and my sister in our family trip in 2012.

After this travel I came back to Germany for more 3 times, before I decided to move. Each travel was special, like in 2012 in which together with my parents and my sister, we’ve made a road trip through the Romantic Road – was really amazing, and full of stops in very special towns one the way. I recommend this route to everyone!

In 2017 I’ve made another vacation trip through Germany. I was traveling alone through cities I wished to meet, and when I was flying back to Brazil, I remember to wake up in the plane, landing in Guarulhos, and … some tears came down through my eyes… I was so sad to leave Germany. There is a connection that comes beyond my family roots, is a passion with the history, the language, the culture… there is something from past lives I am sure… 

The decision & starting the process: 

Well, after that travel in 2017,  in which I was sooo connected to the German land, I have started to study on how could I make this move. I have bought a new notebook (I love writing and journaling), So I have started to ideate my mind map of possibilities, I remember to cross the main ones: Studying or Working. There was no other way.

I thought that Studying would be the best and easiest way, find a master, try to get a scholarship. So that is what I focused at the first time, I have seen many opportunities, that I liked off course. 

At the same time, I wouldn’t close the door to find a job. But, as I have been working in Corporate Innovation for so many years with international experience and made so many investments in certificates, I didn’t want to change my area in which I love so much, so this was the condition that I would keep looking for jobs in my area. 

I did several interviews after some weeks searching, but the end was the same answer… I need to improve my German. Improve? Wrong word… I need to start! As I was in A1, I’ve decided to stop everything I was doing after work (my beloved Pilates and Yoga), to immerse into an intensive German classes with a private teacher which was an amazing one… and this 4x classes/week immersion I’ve finished A1 and was able to start A2. At this moment, I’ve also decided to take holidays to make another intensive class, but this time in Berlin. I went for 20 days intensive (From 08:00 til 14:00), which I could finish A2. Was very easy to dedicate so much into classes when I was in Berlin, as it was February and outside was from -3/-10 degrees Celsius… super freezing for me…  

This travel was particularly very important in my moving plan, as during this travel I did an amazing interview for the work that brought me to Germany 🙂 

When I’ve returned, it took me some days to prepare all the topics: 

  • The number one: talk with the family and get their partnership in this decision. It it very important, as I didn’t want to hurt them so much… Several people may not understand, but Brazilians are family-kind of people, we live with our parents until we get married, our families are everything, so it was for me the hardest and most important step. For my surprise, My parents were so happy and supported my decision, that was like a breeze in my heart… 🙂 Was everything that I needed to get me the strengths to make the move.
  • Second step: Quit my job… Even though that I love until today my past company, and I have made so many great friends there, It was kind of easy to talk to my boss that I was quitting, as I was going to another country and full-fill my dream… 
  • Third step: Prepare all the documents necessary from the German Consulate to move.

One important thing during my moving process was the support from my future German company, they were amazing in everything, they knew the steps, They prepared documents and letters for me to present to the Consulate, and even helped me to find the right flat. They have even prepared a document with a lot of tips that would be important, like: doctors, health insurance, transportation, other types of insurances and so on… so I felt very secured with all this support. 

Conclusion if you are planning to move to another country:

  • Visit this country before, you need to know how is like living in that place, travel, go for vacation, make classes, to be sure that is the place you want to live. I know a lot of people who are unhappy here, they moved without knowing the country and now are unhappy – plan in advance… your happiness is the most important thing.
  • Learn the language – I am constantly learning. The pandemics delayed my improvements, but I have never stoped, now I am in B2, but also buying several books by myself to improve my vocabular. Also, listening to a lot of German music (I will write a post about the best musics and bands :D)
  • Travel with peace in your heart: for me, peace in my heart was to have the support from my family, my parents basically… they are so important for me, and be away is not easy. Several times I felt lonely and thought on coming back, with a call, they made me feel better. Family is everything, even far away, they are the best ones in our lives 🙂
  • Do what you love. Move to another country just to show pictures in instagram that you are living abroad shouldn’t be your driver, what do you love to do in life? What is the work you love ? Go after it, live a happy life today! (This is a tip, no matter where you are, even in your original home town…) But I see some people who moved to another country and are unhappy doing work that they don’t like, and there is no benefit to their lives at all… no money (living abroad is not cheap – so plan to avoid being without money, specially because there are no people around to support), no happiness, no sense of fulfilment – you shouldn’t be living this way no matter where… so, find your peace with activities that you love. Even that I was looking for a work in Germany so hard, and dedicating a lot and investing a lot for improving my German, I wouldn’t come with a work that I wouldn’t like…
  • And the last tip: study, study, study all the plans possible, study about the country, the culture, the laws, the rules, the religious in the place (some countries this is very important), the clothes, the climate, the food, the health system, the living costs… more research the better, so you will be less surprised when things happen. (But, don’t worry, there will always have surprises on the way).

That is… a big post about the first step. 

In case you want specific tips or want to know more about Germany, the process to move, visa, etc. I am happy to help with information. Just comment here.

Germany

Life, the greatest laboratory…

I have heard once that life should be seen as a laboratory, so we can see the decision making moments lighter, if we see them as experiments: It can work out and it can not work out, but it is all fine, as we will definitely learn in both ways…

Making decision is a very important symbol of our self-confidence, and decision involves not only the “yes”, but also saying “no” is very important, it means we are selecting what we want to live and we know what we want.

This mindset of seeing life as a laboratory full of experiments, is very important when I have big decisions to make, like the biggest one I had so far: moving from Brazil to Germany.

This decision could have seen as an easy one, as living in Germany was always my dream (since my childhood), but leaving family, friends and a work that you love is not an easy thing.

After 3 years of this decision, I have decided to make this blog to share this amazing experience! A Brazilian view in living in the beautiful and cold Germany…

Enjoy the reading!

Carol