The best way to get to know each other is through direct conversation. I had one of these in July 2020 with Katrin Freshness in our home office in Munich. We have recorded the conversation. Have a look!
“My aim is to get people into action by bringing the potential of individuals and of teams and organizations to light. This frees up a lot of power and makes it possible to generate impact sustainably and effectively. ”- Monika Smith
Monika, you have clearly defined your “purpose”, as you call it. When did you discover this for yourself?
The question of what I can give the world has occupied me since childhood. Back then I thought about why I am here and what I can give the world with my personality.
When I was young, I asked myself about my personal strengths: What am I good at? How can I be effective in the world?
But the discovery of my purpose was still a few decades away. As so often, I discovered it in the course of a change in my life and now formulate it as follows: To bring the individual potential of people and teams to light and to support them in making the best of it for them.
What distinguishes your work from Monika?
It is the combination of soft and hard topics. I am very performance-oriented, at the same time I am concerned with the purpose and impact of people and organizations. I don't think the mixture is so common.
And what would you call your strengths?
I think it's essentially this mix of intuition and mind. I have a good sense of people and situations. At the same time, I recognize larger relationships and love juggling numbers. Last but not least, I have a "cosmic" feeling for trends and the future.
The joy of change runs like a thread through your life. How do you manage to stay authentic?
In my base I am extremely loyal to myself, I think in my deepest heart I am even a downright conservative person:
I need my home, maintain my partnership and look after my family. Only when I have them do I feel ready for the next step of change, which I am always trying to do. I don't like stagnation. But I never completely reinvented myself in depth. Moni remains Moni.
A secure basis for change is needed. In your experience, is this also true for organizations?
Absolutely! A clear awareness of your own identity and a firm basis of values is the best prerequisite for successful change processes. The clearer this is anchored in the company, the more resilient or willing to change a company becomes.
You are an entrepreneurial person and have already started a number of activities. Can you name learning experiences from it?
Yes, there were quite a few! Perhaps the most drastic I had in connection with the company that I brought together with my brother, a micro-conglomerate for lifestyle products. Everything went great, we worked well together, hired employees, grew and continuously expanded our business. Then came the first big wave of digitization and we became, so to speak, victims of the online shop advance. In retrospect it is clear to us that we have not had enough of our purpose in mind. It would not have protected us from the competition of the online giants, but maybe new business areas would have resulted from the orientation towards our purpose. We would surely have been better prepared for the changes in the market.
What do people get who work with you?
First of all, I immerse myself in the world of my customers and explore weak points and potential. I see myself here as a kind of medium. Through intuition and targeted inquiries based on my professional experience, I recognize weaknesses and potential. I then link these with impulses from conferences and think tanks. It is not infrequent that real eye-opening experiences are created. With this I get people and teams over a threshold. That's when I usually get goosebumps. Then I know: something new has now been created!
In your work as a consultant and facilitator, you focused strongly on the topic of purpose. How do you define the topic of purpose for you?
Purpose for me is the individual drive that enables me to bring about a positive change in this world, a mixture of heart, mind and the necessary means to realize the vision.
You're going a lot further than Simon Sinek, right?
Yes, with his Golden Circle, Simon Sinek has created a model whose strength lies in simplicity. But he stays with the Why, that is, for what. For me, the Why is the platform on which I stand and from which I can define my direction. That's where my main interest begins: How can I make my purpose measurable and thus generate impact?
And how would you define your own purpose?
It is always a little difficult for me to break down into one sentence, but I try it here: my purpose is to reveal the individual potential of people and teams and to support them in making the best of it for them.
As you say about yourself, you have a “cosmic sense” for trends and the future. Where do you see our society heading?
I can imagine a lot here. In my utopia I see our society as a global community with a generally valid value system in which we support each other and we rebuild our earth together. I hope that we can make our structures and systems so dynamic that they remain or become stable. Ideally, artificial intelligence will support us in this. I hope that as many as possible have asked themselves the question of meaning by then and have found a satisfactory solution for themselves. To actively shape the world instead of just living on it.
What should your grandchildren tell you about Monika?
I can't answer that for you, I don't have a big all-encompassing vision. I live in the flow, want to fully enjoy my life and will continue to actively shape the world. The grandchildren and hopefully great-grandchildren may then say: Look, the brisk grandma there - she's already crazy. Always on the go, with a smile on her face and she makes the best apple pie there is. When she's there ...!
I believe that every company must have a purpose and should take advantage of it to be viable and worthy in the future.
My concern is to promote companies with meaning and value and to integrate purpose as a profit formula in companies.
I stand for: