The best way to get to know each other is through a direct conversation. I had one of these in July 2020 with Katrin Frische. We have recorded the talk. Check it out!
“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. My thoughts were circulation around the question: "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 useful 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 out of it.
What distinguishes your work?
It is the combination of soft and hard topics. I am very performance-oriented, at the same time I am thinking about the purpose and impact of people and organizations.
And what would you call your strengths?
I think this mix of intuition and mind is special. 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. 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 connected 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 haven't focused enough on a purpose strategy. It wouldn't 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. This is what we call resilience.
What do people get who work with you?
A clear picture of who you are, what potential is in you and the company, and instructions on how to transform the potential into impact in the long term.
First of all, I immerse myself completely in the world of my customers. Through intuition and specific questions, based on my professional experience, I recognize weak points and potential. I then combine these with impulses from conferences and think tanks. It is not uncommon for this to result in real aha experiences. With it I lift people and teams over a threshold, an obstacle over it. That's when I usually get goosebumps. Then I know: now something new has arisen!
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. This requires a clear north star.
You're going a lot further than Simon Sinek, right?
Yes, Simon Sinek has created a model with his Golden Circle whose strength lies in simplicity. But he stops at the Why. For me, the Why is the platform on which I stand and from which I can define my direction of action. This is where my main interest begins: How can I make my purpose measurable and thus generate impact? It's about really changing something. Not just talking about it.
And how would you define your own purpose?
My purpose is to bring the individual potential of people and teams to the light of day 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 world community with a generally applicable value system in which we support each other and we rebuild our earth together. I hope that we can dynamize our structures and systems to the point where they are self-supporting. Ideally, the artificial intelligences support us in this. I hope that by then as many as possible have asked themselves the question of meaning 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 great all-encompassing vision. I live in flow and not in life planning. I want to enjoy my life to the full, which means for me to continue to actively shape the world in a positive way. The grandchildren and hopefully great-grandchildren might then say: Look, the brisk grandma there - she's already a bit 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: