Fireside Chat with Floriane Gramlich, OLX Group

Video Transcription

Mhm. Hi, everyone and welcome to the fireside chat with Florian Gramlich, managing director and Hubli at office at the Berlin office at Oil X Group.She is a senior product and commercial tax savvy leader with broad international experience in strategy growth, marketing operations, business development, analytics X product management. 15 years plus years of, of work experience previously working at Twitter, paypal, ebay with a huge passion for payment, mobile and e-commerce people management, leading diverse teams and foster and inclusion. She is also a big foodie and loves traveling. Hi, Florian and welcome.

Hi. Thank you Anna for, for having me this evening, at least evening in Berlin time, I think di diverse time zones.

Yeah, absolutely. It's our pleasure and thanks, thanks for joining us. Uh Let us know everyone where you're watching us from. And if you had a chance to be part of the Women Tech Global Conference 2020 wherever you hear something that resonates with you, let us know in the live chat, share your thoughts, questions and I will be speaking through the chat from time to time. Uh and we will have more time also at the end of the chat to answer the questions. So I'm super excited to have you with us today, Florian. And thanks a lot for your great con contribution to the Women Tech Global Conference 2020. We received lots of positive feedback about your talk and thanks for sharing your experience being very authentic with some questions when people been asking and sharing your personal opinion. That was really great. So I looked at your bio on, on linkedin. That was super impressive.

And I, I believe there is lots, lots of things that you are doing and what is not covered on linkedin. So my first question is, what is your typical day look like?

It's um kind of uh my typical days are not that typical anymore. Kind of uh I have some routines, especially when it comes to this COVID-19 times. So I think uh and also routines are a bit important. I get up, I go running each morning. Um So that's important to keep me sane in terms of mind and body. Um Usually, then I try to get my mind kind of my day sorted out and kind of get a plan for the day and then I need to be open improvised because no day is the same. Like the last one. It's like uh a lot of uh situational uh also, situational leadership needed actually was uh just uh a lot happening also on the people side and on topic side. So I'm trying to be flexible.

All right. What is situational leadership for you in, in, in current circumstances also?

Yeah, it means sometimes to adopt quite fast. Um I'm, I've, I've have a, a team over, over different locations and problems and issues and challenges are quite different. So whereas maybe somebody needs like just an open ear in order to, for me to actually listen and kind of to, to give some, some soft advice. Um Others actually need to really hard on um uh kind of escalations or kind of issues with other, other teams where I need to react and kind of step in a little bit more. But it actually really means kind of acting based on the situation and adapting to it and then applying the leadership style is important in this uh in this moment in time for me. And I'm the business since quite some time comes quite natural these days. Uh But it was quite a lot more work uh when I was uh like a little bit um early in my career.

Yeah. What was, what were some important steps that you have taken in order to develop? Do you, do you, do you believe in your opinion that leaders are born with some leadership potential already or do they become and grow and build themselves?

Uh It's a very difficult question because it depends on what leader you're looking for. Um Kind of, you can also be an authoritative leader uh which is uh sometimes in some cultures also where this, I believe you can learn. Uh if you want to be being an inspirational uh uh leader um that requires certain traits. I believe that uh you can also partly learn, but it comes easier if you, if you have some certain characteristics, but it depends, it also depends on kind of, I asked people in my team all the time and leadership asking what kind of leader do you want to be? It's a little bit your question. It's uh I cannot tell you that it's for me, it was also a journey and will continue to be a German. I don't, I don't think I'm nearly at the end. It's kind of all in cycles. So

it's a process, right? Yes.

Yeah, of course, it's like life. If you stand still kind of, then I think terrible.

What do you think makes like a good leader? In your opinion? We understand that there are different types of leaders but what makes like a good leader uh effective? Uh a good, what makes, what are some traits of character? What are some skills? And how would you describe yourself because you are a leader? Right? And how, how would you describe also yourself?

Yeah. Um First of all, what is, what is a good leader? It depends actually really on the situation. Um And again, having these different skills and also to adapt to it, sometimes it really requires to listen, uh to be there uh to be present. Um I believe trust is the huge component of it. Um Being true to yourself, uh authentic. Um people, people will see it as a play a role. Obviously, kind of, we always have like clothes on. We always play a certain role in our lives and kind of you are not always 100% ourselves. Sometimes it cannot be, but uh kind of holding true to those things that you believe in. Um I, I believe that I'm valued driven. Um And uh I also don't have any poker face. So maybe it was sometimes a little bit bad in my, my past because kind of, I tried to, to play over that and then it was not authentic anymore. Um But since then I learned, I more or less like take me who I am and then I'm just honest in this situation. Uh But this again creates trust. Um And yeah, then I think there then also kind of be more, um let's say harder, harder things and more or less like being reliable. Um knowing that actually people that people can believe in, you can trust in you that you're holding true to your work.

Um And that's also a little bit what I believe in, in, in myself. I look at myself as being like a servant, servant leader. Um I'm at a point in my time where I'm more or less like also thinking a lot about management versus leadership kind of the people, management components of my job. And they are important but they are not my passion like uh performance reviews or goal setting and all this stuff. It needs to happen in order to make it easier to play. But, but to the core of my heart, I, I want to be people leader uh regardless of uh of uh the, the what's it called? Like the managing lines and reporting lines and whatever. And uh I see myself at the moment as a servant here. So more or less kind of how can I help people in my team to be successful? Um Not so much like looking after my own ego, but really kind of seeing what I can do to empower and enable my team and figuring out the gaps and, and being there and giving them also psychological safety. Um Everybody should be allowed to fail.

Um Everybody should be allowed to try things out. But if people don't keep psychological safe, if they think, OK, it has consequences, then they're not risking anything and no risk, no fun. It comes from somewhere. It's uh uh so psychological safety is enormously important, especially in these times at the moment where there are so many variables and so much out of our control uh that I least want to give people.

Right. Absolutely. What do you find the most challenging? And on, on one hand, and what do we find the most rewarding of working with people.

Um challenging sometimes people are people. So it's uh it's uh I think we might talk about diversity and inclusion also a little bit. I have quite diverse themes, but the diversity is nothing if you're not taking care of inclusion, which is not always super easy because it also kind of brings in cognitive diversity where people are just very, very different. Um And uh it's sometimes not easy to actually create this empathetic path to actually that you understand, kind of get to this person. Uh So it's sometimes they're struggling with, I see that somebody is actually um need help but they are not open for it or not ready for it yet. And they, they don't let me in. Um that is some something I'm struggling with them. I'm also maybe sometimes a little bit too protective of the team because I firmly believe that people are not resources but um really kind of it, it's a development process. Um So they are more struggling with external things and I actually need to feel the team. Yeah, that gives me energy. But I think what drives me the most is more or less like really seeing people developing really actually succeeding.

Um I sometimes take some bets uh kind of also seeing that um yeah, giving, giving people opportunities even if it seems like a quite a sw and then it's like super nice to see if that actually works out obviously with the right support. Right. But I think it's nothing more rewarding than that, at least for me.

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it, it also takes time, right? As you said, people need to feel safe in order to be able to make mistakes, to get to the level, to the stage where they want to get and to develop in their career. Right. Uh What do you think makes a good manager, a good leader? We see very often managers, you know, are appointed to be managers, but are they good leader? And what do you think makes a good manager a good leader

as well? Yeah, when, when, when I started my career and I started actually in advertising, um I, I'm a bit of a, I'm control figures maybe too strong but uh uh I, I was at least one maybe this time then I believe I was also not the greatest manager uh in the early days of my period because I tried to control situations um and try to, to, to manage situations um instead of kind of tapping into this uniqueness of people who find just other ways of doing things that I intend to do them because uh it's uh if I control the situation and I'm just, then people just do how I do.

Uh instead of kind of I'm tapping into this kind of really diversity aspect of, of cognitive diversity. Uh And uh that is what I believe, many do wrong. Um, it's more or less like mirroring themselves and then kind of applying that to others and kind of making them things do in the same way that I do. Um, and that's, that makes actually a kind of, I believe a bad manager, uh, micro management, not giving enough space, uh, not actually being there for the people. Uh, that also often happens, kind of, especially with younger and unexperienced people, managers, they go getting throw to the uh the part and then uh they don't get the necessary uh education uh trainings, trainings on the jobs and kind of seeing um how that uh can, can be done, they need to have support.

Um So that, that often unfortunately happens and it's kind of, they have people they are managing that they are actually kind of, they're being left alone and uh I think I lost you but I still continue talking. Um And then they're also leaving the people alone. Um On the other hand, kind of a good manager, good manager is actually really there kind of, as you said, kind of helping uh with the, with the struggle of, of, of, of work um of, of um of uh like struggles in, in the work site and being enabling uh these the the people in the team.

And uh that is more or less like the direct, direct teams, but the leader also does this for other teams. The leader also does it for other people outside the the spectrum. Um actually also playing this. So I'm also saying kind of the the the manager model is for me a little bit outdated. Um I believe more people leadership um which have some necessary management components. So good people manage a good manager is actually a good leader, good people leader and puts people first instead of themselves.

All right, I disconnected for a minute, some, some challenges, but I'm back. So I I heard the last body about it talked about micro micro, I like that you, you just kept going. That was very important. So people can can that was really great. I think what makes you also a good, a good manager or a good um a good uh let's say uh a strong uh strong leader. I mean, we are talking about also personal leadership about professional leadership is that you, no, and you dare to improvise and to take, you know, that kind of a risk challenge, a new opportunity even if it won't go smooth or if it won't go, you know that it won't go smooth, it will never go smooth, right?

If you're trying something new.

Um that's also agility to so yeah, but that's also agility to a certain degree as we see with the situation today, you don't know what tomorrow looks like. It could be that tomorrow you are again a lockdown. So how to deal with that. So you need to constantly kind of monitor the situation, just reactive. Um but then not be also just reactive and also kind of combine it with the right um activeness kind of having a little bit of a strategic uh longer view. And then hopefully that brings home the price,

right? I know that in 2012, you did an, an executive MB A. How did it help you to improve your management? Tell her, let me share more about your experience and how did it actually help you to improve your, your management skills? And I believe other skills as

well. It's actually actually a funny story. I don't know if it's funny but um I, I studied law and uh and, and history. Uh so kind of I didn't study business or uh whatsoever, but at some point in my life, I was responsible on the US side for the PNL for, for ebay, Germany. Uh sorry for, for, for pay on ebay, for, in, in, in Germany. I didn't have a finance background and kind of suddenly I needed to, to work with these, all these KPIS and really kind of reporting on them constantly and kind of seeing how this works. And then I decided that I need to take an MB A um more kind of to learn these hard skills that I didn't learn formally. Um And uh it didn't help me so much in my leadership management journey. Uh it more or less like enabled me to, to see the different puzzle stones when it comes to the business because I needed to, to do um like uh uh the marketing side, the finance people management, uh process management, all this stuff and kind of all these aspects which you touched at some point in life when you're not a complete specialist.

So that helped me with that. Um Also understanding a little bit like the challenges um of other other um functions at the moment we are in budget planning, like many other companies. So it helps me quite a lot that I understand the struggles and the that the finance function has within an organization that it's not hard, not that easy. Um It helped me with that maybe empathy in this case, but also kind of a little bit of knowledge about this.

Yeah, interesting. Um Yeah, to, just to help you to understand the the pieces of a puzzle as you said and the components

to 11 thing kind of which was maybe a little bit insane, but I did the MB A on the side. Um So I did it while 100% working. And uh I also did before it became trendy, I did an online one with the present seminars, but most of it was online and now everything is online. But

because that time it was like, was it like weird a bit or like a 2012.

Yeah, because the technology was also not there. Uh, kind of course there was video conferencing but quality was not that great. Uh, it costs a lot more and people were simply not used to it. Uh, today it's simply normal but it was always a little bit awkward and a lot with chat. A lot of chat.

Yeah. Interesting. Interesting. Um, here's one question in the chat from deep t what is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? We are talking about leadership and the traits.

Yeah, I think I said it already. The authenticity is, is I believe a very important one. It's uh I think also um having a certain amount of value, um value driven us. Um uh Another one I believe is important to be humble. Uh arrogance is like uh like a disease to a certain degree because it also means that you are, that you are not reflecting that you're not willing to accept that you are also doing things wrong and everybody does things wrong. Um And that's ok. So I know name three. I'm sorry. But uh

I think it's hard to name just one. But yeah, what you said authenticity and being humble that that's super important. And um yeah, authenticity. That's something that would define every, every leader because that's, that's you, it was your unique values with your uh with your experiences, with your understanding, with your region that what makes you, how did you, how did you, um, identify your values in the early careers or did it happen just natural and, like, do you think that it came from your family, from the background, like, um, where you started, where you worked in early of your career?

Yes. I think you're, everybody's influence very much in all the different aspects around us. People, uh, culture, uh, and history and everything. So kind of for me. Uh, I was growing up as the youngest of three sisters and my sisters are quite older than I am like uh 10 and 13 years older. And my parents were owning a factory like the old school factory, like they were producing electric spools. So if you have a washing machine and you cannot open the washing machine and the washing machine is going and that's because of the, the electrical spoons in there. And some of them were from my parents. Um but they had a super hard time. It was like um when I was smaller in the eighties and there was like, was an econ econ economic um uh stress in this industry. And um my parents were working around the clock and just trying to also people keep their jobs. Um And uh I was growing up with this, I kind of was sitting first in my first machine when I was like 11, I think, not, not dangerous anymore in terms of authorities, but it was also kind of to be close with my parents. But I also was growing up with all these workers, um, many of the workers without any, any education, but they were kind of my family. Uh, and that always grounded me quite a bit.

Um, kind of being, being around the people kind of, uh, had a different life than I did. And I, I'm insanely thankful for that because I think that laid a little bit like the foundation for the, the, the the humble humbleness part. But otherwise it's like uh it's you go like through life like a, like a fish in, in, in, in, in a river. It's kind of you, you see different things over time, people, different people who, who influence you. It's uh I think also finding out to surround you with the right people. Um So sometimes, sometimes you can learn from people kind of saying, hey, I don't want to be like that. Uh But you learn from people who, who actually are also a little bit like role model when you are kind of possessing some traits can help you on this journey.

Yeah. So surround yourself with people who you want to be like, right?

Not necessarily need to be like, but where you know that help you to grow and uh to that also have like the best interests of your mind, which is not super easy because sometimes you don't see if somebody doesn't have it. It's uh yeah, people, people around you are important,

right? You surrounding. Do you think there is a difference between male and female leadership?

Yeah, I think men always have it a little bit easier. Um That's just how it is. Uh I basically a good colleague of mine uh Enrico. He, he gave me this book here. Um How to be successful without hurting men's feelings uh by Sarah Cooper who I find insanely funny. She's doing this Trump impersonation or kind of uh each Saturday and uh shows about the double standards between men and women here. A woman saying I need more time on this for a man. It is, he's detail oriented uh for women. It means she's slow and uh these are challenges uh that uh that women need to overcome and uh which requires a certain amount of resilience. Uh And uh I believe when, when women get through it, I, I think it's, I know some insanely insanely great um female female leaders. Um When I, when I went to Twitter, I actually went there because I wanted to work for, for this amazing woman. Valerie Valerie Begena. Uh she was the first non Indian um uh female founder in India and she found a zip dial uh kind of no internet. Internet is not, not an issue anymore in, in India, but it was kind of was an opportunity for people to get internet access. Uh despite um um uh so infrastructure and I wanted to work for her because she kind of taught me this whole thing around servant leadership and uh kind of, uh was somebody I wanted to learn from. Um, so men have it easier.

Uh, but still kind of, I think women and women also take on their own traits and kind of just be who they are. Um, there shouldn't be a difference.

Right. Right. Um That's why such organizations as women tech network and other female focused organization do exist. And I think they help and they help to understand, you know, that it's not only you are having this challenge right now that other women in their career had the challenges maybe having and there are women here to help you.

Here is what? Yeah, sorry. That is something I, I see sometimes and um literally hurts me. Um I talked about resilience and often women need to be a little bit more resilient than them because they have it more complicated, more difficult. And what then sometimes happens is that these women, they don't help other women anymore. I don't understand why. But uh I, what I urge everybody also, my I have a highly diverse team, more women than men actually in, in, in the team. It's more or less like be there for each other kind of if you learn something, help other people, especially women because they have it hard and help them also in this journey. Not try not to be like men and kind of going through the same that men often do it. Like the boys clubs, community be there for each other and, and help develop um mentor. Uh That's important.

Yeah. Yeah. II I do agree with you and experienced it not that many times, but when women are not very prone to help women and I think that that's why women tech network and also coding girls were born because I thought that there is another way you know, that it shouldn't be like that.

And I think that we should be there for each other that you are telling and we can help and it won't become ever less, the more you help, the more you receive it, it's like it won't be ever less, it won't stop stop uh knowing what you're knowing like there will be less, you won't be less skilled, right?

So I think the more you help, the more like if you are, if you are to empower a woman and she can grow professionally, that's great. And then we can create a stronger network of diverse team, diverse uh good products, good services and good

life. And, and again, kind of look, look at paypal uh that there is kind of the, the the the found, the founders of paypal and all these people who then followed in the early stages of paper. These are all men, but they're all connected. Still there's power in this and kind of all these men Elon Musk and many others, they founded new companies and then they created new networks, new networks. Yes, women you can do the same.

Totally, totally agree. Yeah. Uh Here's a question from Magda. Uh How did you overcome the urge to control your teams?

Uh First of all, kind of iii I still, I spent a lot of time in kind of my personal development. So kind of coaching was quite powerful for me to actually invest in a coach. Um No, but ultimately it's uh it's learning to trust um to let go. I think this uh this is kind of this whole thing that many, many people have that they think I can do it best um needs to be overcome if you're getting out of this thing that you're saying I do it best but more recognizing that, yeah, you might have your way. Um But also kind of there might be other ways, better ways then this is, this is helping quite a lot but it's uh it's, it's work for me. This is all kind of yy, you have like a positive side. I I'm, I'm a doer get things done. That's very great. It's super. But the yeah, the, the downside of it can be that I'm trying that I'm getting too pushy or getting too control it. So I need to kind of need to see that this young Yin Yang balance is restored. The first thing is more or less like accepting it, how it is that it is home. Maybe it may be a blind spot of yours and then work on it.

Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's not that easy, right? It's uh Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Um So, you know, we talk a lot about diversity inclusion at different events right now. We've touched it. So how do you foster the inclusion because you talked that it can't be, we can't talk about diversity without inclusion. So how do you foster inclusion at OIC Group? You said you have diverse teams, right? So like they come from different countries, nationalities, um social economic background, right?

So how, how, how do, how do you foster from your experience and how others can foster in the organizations, companies, initiatives?

Um First of all, it's more or less like, again, it comes a little bit of the control freak goodness in this case, more or less like accepting that people do different things or do things in a different way. And uh and uh helping, helping with that, I think one important thing here, which is called individualization. Um Basically, when you recognize that each person has a unique quality. Um and uh you, you focus on the differences between individuals instead of making the these differences the same.

Um And that is something where if you're putting together a team and you're also seeing that you have, again, not the same, same people, but maybe some people also have this quality they help with opening the eyes of, of other people. If you're having a team of people with just only action list, the people who try to get things going and kind of little empathy. Um then you can have a lot of gender and cultural diversity, but it will not foster because they, they just do things their own way. So you need to see that they have a good team fit with these different traits when it comes to character also. Um So that means also kind of investing really in, in, in hiring, don't let yourself blind. Um Just uh to hire for certain criteria. Yeah, you need to have this quota and this quota, obviously quotas are to a certain distinct important in order to that we are not kind of that we are challenged and, and doing the right decisions, but it's even more important that we are also having the people who can actually deal with it.

And um other other aspects is more investing quite a lot in teambuilding and team fit. Basically that we really, um the people are at least in the, their, their own team that they are not looking at each other's competition. But more as VP is that there's a network of trust where it should be OK to be different. And also show this and ideally other people, they learn that they can learn from each other. Um That um there uh the traits I have that's fine. Right. But maybe also want to want to improve some of the traits and I don't have that much so fostering this climate. Um, and, uh, and again, kind of also kind of saying that it is completely ok to, to try things out. Um, even if they don't work, um, this, uh, like I had said it before, psychological safety, I think if you, if you have that then also kind of, um, inclusivity is, is clear. And the last but not least I have a zero acceptance uh for things um that few people make people feel unsafe or even harassed and this stuff still happens. It still happens that there are sometimes that comments which are racist or which are going against women. Um You see it in almost every company but what, what you can show is more or less like a zero acceptance when it happens and really kind of set this example.

Um if somebody is overstepping uh and that can also be to make somebody even uh feel, not feel, feel good in themselves and highlighting it and also make other people to, to speak up, right?

So whenever it's


yeah, it's complicated, you know, it, it made me think that it's probably a process, it's very hard to eradicate. Just if you hear one comment here, one comment, then it's been repetitive, you know, and you need to make people understand that this, this is not right? Like ma ma ma male jokes are not good around women and, and or like whatever comments there could be, especially we when we work with different nationalities and it's international company,

right? And, and, and look, look, look around, look at the US, for example, um kind of what we're seeing in many, many areas at the moment. It's like a lack of inclusivity um and inclusivity create, this requires constant work. Um But again, kind of these, these jokes, they are, they are still happening on both sides but even worse things. Um so speak up and uh don't, don't let it get to you and uh see that if you see it, for example, in your company, uh bring it up with uh with your manager or hr and kind of see that we protect also others even maybe you think, oh, I can stand it.

Yeah, it's not OK. And you know, we've talked at, at, at one of our fire side chat with uh Michelle King from she's the director of Inclusion at um at Netflix. And she said that be an ally whenever you hear someone like says, don't just don't just, maybe this person is not feeling safe uh to speak up right now because maybe this person is new, just started a job and like, you know, start to understand so speak up and be an ally for the people who are in the situation.

So that's, that's also important too to know and, and to consider in different situations like that. Um So how do you think that how important is company culture to you and what measures do you take to maintain your desired

culture? First of all, company culture is immensely important to me. Um Kind of uh as you can imagine, kind of also with a certain leadership style could not exist in every company. So I could there are many very old school German companies, for example, very hierarchical. Um I'm not sure if I would be the best fit for that. Um So I need a company culture that also fits to my personal values and kind of my, my leadership values. Um insanely important. I think uh even maybe the most important thing to look after when, when choosing a job um is the the company culture is that it often comes top down and it influences every function if done, right? Or even worse, the lack of a company culture uh kind of the uh everybody eats everybody that's even worse. Uh Also kind of uh can become quite toxic quite fast. Um uh Sorry, now, I kind of I lost you with the second part of the question. I'm super sorry.

Yeah, it's basically what measures do you take to maintain the desired culture. So let's say you have your vision, right? That's how you think the things should be and you have like, OK, that everyone should be included, right? Everyone should feel have have the psychological safety.

So how, how do you, how do you basically work towards the desired culture? And also this is like a recommendation for maybe aspiring leaders or leaders who are on the way to be uh managers, for example. So how they they can actually communicate it to their team and to poster it.

Yeah, first of all live it every day. Um also kind kind of really, I see myself as a role model and uh and uh I need to be this kind of more or less like if you're in a certain certain role, people also look sometimes a little bit up to you, they look for you for advice. If I do something completely wrong and against the company culture, I'm setting them utterly bad example. Um And uh if I do it constantly, then kind of I'm also ruining company culture. So it's more or less like living each every day, but also being clear uh that you have a certain responsibility um as as a leader, meaning that you need to set the right example um and live true by it um Each day. Uh So I think that's, that's imperative. Um And also sometimes accepting that you cannot control everything we talked about the control um um topic, I can influence my team a lot. I can also influence others who want to. Um But I cannot influence the complete company culture will exist too big for that or any other company so I can do my part.

Um But also need to accept that not everything is in my hands and then there's more or less like being kind of a little bit like the, the compass, maybe for the, the team and um being there and kind of what, what this means. Uh And sometimes culture uh goes like that this happens, it's completely normal in every organization. So I also accept what you cannot influence at times.

Yeah. Interesting. Um Yeah, absolutely be an example of what you want, not just say let's do this. So these are, these are the things, these are the values, are you communicating? Are you the example? Are you leaving your values? Right. So if you are, then people probably will follow and will set it as a standard as a thing to uh that's the same as a bad behavior for example, or it's,

it's, yeah, for sure. I'm also, I'm also trying to do one thing. It's more as like I have a saying, I'm always saying I have an opinion on almost everything but it doesn't matter much. So I'm, I'm also trying to, to, to the way I need to, obviously sometimes things come with experience, right? I don't, I don't need to do a research to know that I'm breaking a leg or something worse when I'm falling out of the window, right? Um But otherwise it's more or less I'm trying to back things up with rational arguments being a data points for whatever things can be quantitative just or talking to people. Um and not just kind of going to direction because I just woke up and had a great idea under the shower. And that happens often enough too because then you're disempowering teams again and they don't understand why you're doing things because the mood can change and then kind of, then we have a different idea. So it's more or less like um making it also rational and understandable to a certain degree um transparent, that also helps at least.

No, here is a question from Yukka. She's asking how do you keep going moving forward when you face with some setbacks, what is the source of energy or are there any tips? So when you're not feeling, you know, like you have lots of energy to do the things that maybe you have to do. So what motivates you, what gives you energy.

Uh Personally, I, I I'm quite lucky that I'm a relatively resilient, more glass half full person. So I'm, I'm usually quite optimistic and uh it's like a personality trait, I guess I'm lucky to, to have this. Um And uh so, but that is not what was helping you in this moment. I think a certain amount of optimism though can be learned. Um I, I think it's much easier to oversee the problems and the challenges um instead of looking kind of OK, these are the opportunities. And even if I get this bad feedback, even if this was messed up, OK, what, what can I learn out of it? What can I do better the next time not seeing it as a personal failure or um like I did something so don't take it personal. That also helps and just look at everything in life as a learning opportunity, everything that you do um that also helps. Um Then kind of, I already said that like people give me an immense amount of energy. Um It's surrounding me, people um that give me energy and minimize the people that drain my energy. Obviously, sometimes you need to, yeah, I also sometimes are confronted with toxic behaviors and people around you but trying to minimize those helps for sure.

Um One thing I do quite regular um is more or less also kind of doing this kind of do it maybe once a month. Um this month, what drained my energy? What gave me energy to just reflect on this kind of and seeing writing this down because sometimes I don't even know, I knew that something was draining me. So then also kind of then seeing them, I know how to deal with it or learn how to deal with it. And maybe I can also actively avoid it without running away. Um Because uh sometimes we also kind of seeking the fight. It also happens, but maybe we, we, we don't need to um Yeah. And the last, but not least, um, also kind of, I, I work a lot but I love vacation. Uh, I'm, uh, vegans are, uh, quite sacred to me. Uh, same as evenings. So I, I'm, I'm not working until 10, uh, if I can avoid it because you need to have a balance a little bit in, in, in life. And I kind of see that I see my friends often have got good food and things. Uh and then also go running in the morning, kind of these things make me fresh for the day, even if it was maybe a shitty day, the day before.

It sounds like you have a good work life balance. Is there such thing in your personal, like, you know, perception, opinion because what you're describing, you know, you, you do the work that you love, you meet with friends evenings and weekends. And I think this from what I'm, I'm, I'm hearing gives also good balance and good energy and I can totally relate to the, to the positivity that you have shared because I'm, I I'm also a person that believes that, um, you know, there is always an opportunity even in a crisis in some bad situation and you just need to look from the other side of it like everyone makes mistakes, ok, you messed up.

So what I mean, next time, you know what not to do if you don't do anything, no, nothing will happen. Right? Like being like up in the air or like not making a decision, not making a move, sometimes can paralyze you and then you won't be able to do anything to move forward anyhow. But good tips in making the what, you know, drains your energy because I always also, not always, but sometimes can find myself, like, and sometimes I'm not feeling like, you know, myself. So what really irritates me and what you're writing like, ok, just write down what, what like pisses you off like is that was that, that you need to analyze and to reflect and to understand what it is actually. Right.

Yeah. And, and, and sometimes it can happen that you're actually in, in a situation that you can be in a work situation where you're simply not happy. Um Maybe the circumstances around you are not perfect for you anymore. Maybe they were never um never perfect and, and sometimes I see people that are struggling, they're trying to, to deal with the situation. But sometimes again, things are out of their control and it's also a question on how to take the consequences on it, which is again also, ok, you need to know what the source is kind of what, what, what, what, what keeps it on and, and uh I think 11 thing you might learn with the COVID-19, it's more or less like, I think for leadership, it's like uh ideal playground, you see kind of really kind of before it was like a little bit blurry.

But now you see very, very much the good leaders and you see the bad leaders and I'm also kind of learning from these examples in good and bad times, but also learning learning from yourself because I think anybody in these times needs need to step up and kind of see how they do their part when it comes to, to leadership, meaning kind of leading the the topics areas are just simply kind of leading where other people at the moment are down because uh also like it, it draining, mentally draining on many people so good, good playing ground.

Yeah, absolutely. Um What is one thing that you're most proud of as a leader in your career? Was there some big moment? I believe there were many moments. Is there something that you remember that maybe you influence somehow someone in a positive way and that you are most proud of some achievement of yours in your three year career? Just

uh it's difficult because um iiii I, there wouldn't be one thing that come to mind. Uh It's uh like content wise, kind of um I'm proud to kind of have, have, have delivered some quite difficult, difficult projects. I, I worked for example, at paypal and I kind of worked on a, on a new um payment product which was called pay pay plus as A PM. And uh kind of there were I believe 3 p.m. working on, on that top before me and since it was so it was political and quite complex and kind of uh I was able to deliver it. Um I was not the best leader at uh at this point in time. Uh It learned me a lot on how to get a better leader. So I'm, I'm proud of this uh delivery. Um I'm proud of my current team at the moment who's uh despite that we're having uh COVID made everything a little more complicated when it comes to priorities and kind of changing priorities because some things might not be that important anymore. Um Both Nevis Preco VD than they are now and they are still, but they're still taking on course and where I see myself a little bit like a like still as a captain on a ship who who helps to go through this rocky um season, but nobody is kind of falling off the ship.

So I'm proud of that. Um But ultimately, it's more the smaller things like uh it's

not just one, this big thing that you did in life and you're like done. Yeah, it's, it's, it's different. Small, small Victor is the way small achievements, small moments that you are proud of, right? Maybe it's, it's not, it doesn't sound big, but it's big for you or big on, on this day, on this occasion, this year, this month, this week, right? So it's important to notice them and celebrate them. Magre is asking a really good point except uh what you can't change. Uh What about choosing your battles?

It's quite similar to that. No, it's uh I'm, I'm a PM by heart, a product manager by heart and kind of part of that is more or less also prioritizing kind of uh what is uh what is important, um what is not as important. Uh And uh sometimes I uh then also kind of see what is the biggest, has the biggest effect and, and, and, and impact so that drives a little bit of that. Um Sometimes also a little bit uh common sense. Sometimes there would be things that I would, I feel I would need to get into. But then there are so many people and so many actors already on this battleground. I'm saying a I cannot win this. Um It's more or less like, uh even if I should do it then, then I don't get involved. Um Because, uh so I, I would never visit it and I would be quite bruised um after that. And then I'm more or less like, rather focused um on, on something else that I can actually deliver some value uh instead of burning bridges, which might then also be bad for my team. It's a, it's a topic to topic discussion. It requires a bit of comment by. Yeah. But I think ultimately, I think everybody knows this feeling a little bit, then something is happening, you believe, how can this happen? And what are these people doing? And I need, need to do something. Sometimes it's gut driven, sometimes it's emotions. Um sometimes it's ego.

Um When this is happening, I'm always like, like, OK, flo breathe and kind of see that you are, don't, don't be too impulsive. Um And uh just see and kind of assess the situation uh in a logical way. And then maybe the world looks a little bit different than uh because maybe this was not my, my, my, my battle to take actually, I was just emotional.

Do you think being less impulsive also comes with experience or it's like character related temperament related?

I have, it comes a bit of experience. I, I believe I kind of, I, I'm a little bit calmer than I am like 10 years ago, which is good, like 10 years ago. It was like everywhere I was smoking also, I'm kind of drinking a lot of coffee and I had a lot of energy. I still have a lot of energy, but I learned it to control a little bit more. So, yeah, it comes a little bit with experience. Um But it comes also with work. Uh So kind of uh I, I am still constantly trying to, to develop myself um based on reflection uh really seeing um kind of uh how, how, how is it going actually with me and inside me and and kind of in, in a, in a situation and working on topics, it's kind of still constant and for me that, um, kind of impulsiveness, depending on my mood, it can be harder to, to, to not be impulsive than, than, than other days.

And that's also ok. I'm not a robot. Hopefully nobody is. Um, so it's like, and, uh, yeah, but I think it's a, it's a common understanding that we need to accept that we also need to constantly reflect, work on each other. Find people who uh who do you, who you trust to give you feedback. Um And that also helps them kind of sometimes we say, hey, maybe take a step back right now. It's like uh going too far if somebody who trusts you, who, who you or you trust and, and has your back that's powerful. It's really powerful.

Now you are now talking about your partner, your mentor, your friends or a combination of people,

combination, combination.

Yeah, I know that you're also a mentor at, at uh at uh faster capital. Uh So when it comes to mentorship, what is the most rewarding thing about mentorship in your opinion? And who were your important mentors in your life?

Hm Maybe start with the letter kind of a um I actually had my first mentor like uh almost 10 years ago and he's still somebody whom I'm close contact with, even when we switch companies over over several times. And still somebody who actually I was actually over a um they, they started a female mentoring um at paypal. And so I was one of the lucky ones. I got somebody quite senior um uh who said that he would like to be my mentor and kind of if I want to. Um And uh that was when, when I had first the privilege of, of, of having, having a mentor. And since then, um I'm uh same as with coaching, mentoring is super powerful. Uh So kind of also in my team, everybody has a mentor or is a mentor uh to hopefully various people, um different people they can learn from and also kind of ideally it's a win win situation. Um No, but uh mentoring is uh yeah, kind mentoring often just means to have somebody who's actually an open ear uh with whom you can come with questions and kind of see uh that uh um yeah, that who can give you some advice uh and, and important life questions.

Uh Actually one of my mentors, even if he doesn't know it is more 11 close colleague of mine uh um who is more or less like somebody I can come with every topic, uh who I know I can trust and who gives me good advice, but also the, the other way around. Um But you need to be able to open up and, and, and trust these people. That's uh that's one basic thing because otherwise you're just talking about like bloody bloody stuff, like lovely stuff and it doesn't help anybody. Mhm

Yeah. Agree. Here's a question from Natalia. If your boss is a woman, how would you influence her to be more sensitive and supportive to other women employees in this, in this context?

So if I understand it correctly, kind of you have somebody who's not that sensitive towards women. Apparently. Yes.

Natalie if you can provide us some more details about this, but the question is probably that uh there is a female manager, right, a woman who is a boss and she's not showing the support towards other women. How do you think, what should be done about the situation? Should you quit the job? Should you ask her to be more sensitive? What maybe you could advise in this situation?

Ah It's again, it's not not an easy topic. Um is uh especially when it's your manager. Uh But uh it depends if the people, if that person is, is open to feedback, I would try to give feedback, open feedback. Um uh Also kind of seeing if, if you feel if is it objective or do you just feel that she's kind of unnecessary heart to you or is it, is it really unfair? Um Also kind of seeing that you're basically validating uh this this impression um then kind of uh if that person is open to, to listen, then hopefully as a good mentor uh she's open for feedback or maybe sharing why she's doing certain things in a certain way that also often helps kind of this empathy level that you're basically known by a person is doing such things.

But uh if uh if your styles are clashing too much, then I think another way is more or less like getting out of this team, of course. Um And this happens sometimes it's uh uh it's the saying is not without reason that people mostly leave um managers, um less than companies is there are quite a few bad managers out there, female and male. Um Then it's like uh discuss with the boss of the boss. Uh at some point once you gave this feedback and then see maybe there are other options in within the company um as, as a last resort. Yeah, it happens unfortunately

that you had like a bad manager and that you had to leave a company or not really.

I have to admit that I never left the company or a company because of a bad manager, but I had a few. Um uh and uh and again, kind of me resilience helped a little bit. Then I kind of, and I just took my own path and minimized contact as far as I could. Um And saw that I kind of found other people from whom I could learn and help me with. Not sure if that is necessarily the right approach. Um And uh sometimes this was also eating on me. So I'm, I'm not sure that I would just give that as an advice. Uh But uh yeah, there are bad managers and uh depending on the company culture, uh you can give this feedback or you might not be able to give that feedback coming back to this whole thing. Explore the company culture before you go somewhere. Um And there are even networks where you can explore this a little bit in the beginning like blind, for example, is a social uh network for, for, for uh yeah, for tech industry, it's mainly America, but it's also India, it's a little bit Europe. Um And you can read a lot about company culture or glass door uh inquire via other people uh who, who know these companies and that helps.

Yeah, great. Um Maybe one last piece of advice or several. What would be your last message to everyone who's listening to us and people are coming from all walks of life. Some of them are in the beginning of their career, some of them are in the middle, some of them are already accomplished. Uh leaders uh women working in tax tax specialists. What would be your final message to them? What do you maybe wish you new years back? That would help you right now to be where you are or maybe you wouldn't want to change anything. So what would be your final message?

A I did tons of mistakes, have plenty and I still do. Um And uh no, but I said it in the, uh the conference already. It's more or less like be yourself and know who that is. Um That, that helps quite immensely. It's like, uh uh I'm, I'm sometimes amazed how many people um kind of do not reflect and do not see, kind of do not look inside and kind of see how they react to certain certain things. So reflection and then ideally finding out who, who you are and maybe also kind of who you want to be. Um kind of what, what are the areas which you wanna want to work on and constantly being open um to, to work on those. Um I, I always look at my, my career but also kind of want to look at leadership as a toolbox. Um like in the beginning, I got a screwdriver, then, then I got a hammer and like at some point later in life, I realized, hey, the screwdriver was not good and I substituted with a, with a much nicer model. And then, then I have this box with all these things that I can take out depending on the situation. Um But that, that's my approach, that's how I kind of see it.

I still see it that way, but that also helps a little bit and you identify what are the tools you want to have in your toolbox and what are important. Um And I strongly urge to also find out what, what the values are. Uh you wanna want to do your job, but ultimately, we're all not mercenaries. We are also in here to uh to, to influence something to, to be recognized, rewarded to a certain degree, but also to, to pave the way for others um and make it easier for others better for others. Um And uh when you do this and they're also multiplicative uh then you're not a leader of just of your surroundings. So they also kind of influence future leaders. Um And uh I hope that uh maybe everybody who, who kindly listen today, maybe take that uh with you kind of saying, hey, I can be a multiplicative. I am not, I'm not, I don't need to be passive. I am I can be out there and yes, bad things will happen sometimes uh there will be a man or whatever kind of or manager kind of putting you putting you down and then you stand up and say, OK, I am, I'm not giving up because I'm stubborn and uh I am actually have a right for this seat on the table because I, I also wanna wanna make it right for the others that come behind me.

That's a really, really strong and good message. I think that you gave us some food for reflection, to identify uh who we are, what are our values and um how we can impact others live in multiple ways, right? Not just in one way, in one role, being a leader of our lives, being a leader of uh the position that you hold and improve and grow, being a leader in a community, being a leader who, which you want to become if you are in early stage in your career. So thank you very much for this, very honest and very authentic uh discussions that we had today with you. I really appreciate you being very honest and open about your career path, different things that you have learned on the way. And uh what would be the best way to get in touch with you if some people have questions and maybe were shy to ask them in the chat if you are open for that. And uh if you, if you have some time, you can also stay with us and everyone who is on hoping you can go to the networking area and um connect with others in the chat. So yes, please go ahead. What would be the best way will linkedin work or um what would be uh how people could connect with you?

I have a bad backlog at the moment on, on linkedin, but I, I will come to, I promise. So uh uh linkedin works. Um I'm, I'm also active on Twitter, but kind of, you can also DM me there. Um You can, yeah, I can also kind of uh share my, my email, um my private email address, uh let's connect via, via linkedin first. I think

linkedin would be a good start. And uh yeah, it, it takes time and I know myself how hard it will be to be overwhelmed with work. And when you have many message messages on linkedin, so everyone, please keep, keep patient and it's not that easy to get in touch with the people who are, let's say, have worked hard in their life to get to the level where you are right now. Florian, I'm very impressed with your work experience and everything that you managed to achieve and still being super humble about your experiences and your success. This is very fascinating and I really, really, really enjoyed our talk today, very happy that you found time for us to make it happen.

Yeah, of course. And thank you for inviting me. And one last thing if you go to the network area, maybe, maybe also kind of leave the network area and you found yourself each one of your mentor, somebody you believe that you want to really connect with. I think when I look at the people here who are actually attending the quite, quite a diverse crowd. So yeah, I think.

Great. Thank you very much Florian and I'm wishing you a great evening and absolutely looking forward to having you at our future events and maybe we can do the next the second fireside chat. I feel like we still have many topics to discuss and, and you have many insightful tips and advice uh to share with our audience. Thank you very much and I'm wishing you a great evening.

Bye bye. You too. Bye bye bye.

So thank you very much for joining us today. I really appreciate your questions, your comments, your positive energy. And I hope you enjoyed our fireside chat today with Florian very different from our previous fireside chat. Um Many new aspects we have discovered on inclusion on authenticity on what makes a good manager a good leader and how to be true to your values. I think that Florian left you with homework to uh identify what kind of leader do you want to become? If you are an early stage of your career career or uh for for example, a good practice that I also like personally is to uh make you know, this list of understanding what uh makes you, for example, feel, feel, feel uh bad today and um to understand what kind of uh activity maybe you need to do in order to feel yourself this positive energy to be able to go ahead and do incredible things that you are capable of.

And if you want to join more fire side chat like this, we are going to have a fireside chat on 29th of July with Siri Shila from Harvard Kennedy. Um And uh we are going to talk about unconscious bias we are going to talk about um women, found female founders, um female uh basically uh other topics connected to female rights. And many more, we are going to announce it soon. Follow us on Facebook on linkedin. We are sharing also many useful tips and many insightful um topics to get inspired to learn something new to connect. Uh Thank you very much for tuning in and I'm wishing you a great day, a great evening. Uh, great morning, depending where you're joining us from and see you online. Bye bye.