Authors: Anil Kumar (India) – Ekaterina Semenkevich (Russia) – Elizaveta Chelishcheva (Russia) – Marcella Zoccoli (Italy) – Tejal Patel Shankar (India)
One Community of Practice: LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT
4 International courses =>135 students
Basic Leadership Skills course – Bachelor level
Co-Creative Organizational Leadership – Bachelor level
Emotional Management of International Business Complexity – Master level course 1
Emotional Management of International Business Complexity – Master level course 2
1 experiential learning project-based aim: raise awareness on the healthy human intelligences and aspects needed in our challenging time: save leadership & management ”soil”!
1 vision: the ”Conscious Leaders on a Conscious Planet #savesoil #saveleadership” educational project was envisioned and designed by Marcella Zoccoli. The arching theme for all her 4 courses of the Spring 2022 semester was inspired by Save Soil: ”the global movement launched by Sadhguru, to address the soil crisis by bringing together people from around the world to stand up for Soil Health, and supporting leaders of all nations to institute national policies and actions toward increasing the organic content in cultivable Soil” (www.consciousplanet.org). During the semester, the students had the chance to train and practice their skills through the activities of the EspressoSkillsLAB© (https://zellainternational.org) while learning their specific leadership & management course subjects. The project culminated in a final crash course event held on the 13th of May 2022 – facilitated by Marcella at the School of Business at JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Finland. This project is also part of her doctoral research “The Intertwining of Spirituality, Business, and Technology in International Business Leadership studies” (Faculty of Social Science, University of Helsinki). The structure of this paper follows the design program for the event on 13th May 2022. In part 1, the work and the practice of bachelor’s students while in part 2 the master’s level courses active topics. We share with joy and gratitude our journey and reflections on the four connected, although specific, learning topics and our memories of this incredible human-driven transformative leadership experience!
( the videos of the event are available on the Youtube educational channel Zella International and in the video section of this e-magazine – in the descriptions the key moments of the program with timestamps).
DIG A LITTLE, CARE & LEARN A LOT!
Event – Part 1
Co-Creative Organizational Leadership (COOL) course
How COOL is the Leadership SOIL!
written by Ekaterina Semenkevich
Our learning journey
The journey through the Co-Creative Organizational leadership course was full of new openings, experiences, and insights for us as students and possible future leaders. This course was co-created with the students, a joint work where everybody including the teacher and students contributed. There were no strict instructions, our teacher, Marcella, through frameworks and her leadership directions facilitated us to approach this learning journey and got valuable knowledge and experience. All of us affected the way how the course was going and offered input. During the course, we were involved in the learning process through projects, discussions, and training activities such as EspressoSkillLAB© and the preparation of the final event in collaboration with the other three courses. We managed to get an understanding of co-creativity and how leaders can apply it in organizations. Moreover, we had an opportunity to use co-creativity in practice and develop our creative skills. Everybody in the course was responsible for certain creative tasks. For example, some students made a video and prepared visual material for the final event, somebody else was involved in creating activities to be presented to the class during the EspressoSkillLAB day. This kind of workshop gave us the chance to try some practices through which creativity could be raised in companies. As an example, one of our classmates presented the practice of mindfulness, someone else danced and sang.
The core of the course
The core of the course was that we looked at co-creativity in organizations from three different levels: individual, team, and organizational. All students were divided into three intercultural communities, and each of them made a research on their own level. The creative attitude was used in all stages of the course including the creation of communities with dedicated names given by the students themselves: “Brainstorm”, “SunFlower” and “OAK” communities. All groups worked out their own logo to which they put specific meaning, and there was a unique spirit in each group. Every community discovered significant information and all together we understood the importance of creativity on each level, but at the same time, we realized that only their joint functioning can provide the circulation of creativity in the company.
Creativity is started on the individual level. It is the level where ideas are born. The feature of it is that every member of the organization has their own creative mindset, and everybody sees the world from a different perspective, so the creative attitude also varies from person to person. This level was studied by the Brainstorm community, and their work was focused on the CEO of a company as the representative of the individual level. Their research showed the big impact of the CEO on the development of creativity in an organization, and eventually, they summarized with some practical examples of how a CEO can enhance creativity in a company.
The team level was explored by the ‘’Sunflower’’ community. They looked at how creativity happens during teamwork where something is developed by a group of people and every member with their individual approach can contribute to the result. This community also looked at how to onboard a new member to an existing community of practice by using a co-creative approach. Their research showed that co-creativity has practical applications for various purposes in real life.
Finally, through teams, the creativity of individuals is spread on the organizational level. Here all ideas from different teams come together and make their contribution to the development of the vision of the organization. In a summary, the ‘’OAK community’’ developed a questionnaire about co-creativity which was sent to students of this course. It helped to gather different opinions and analyze how this concept is applied in real life.
The co-creative interconnection
The main output of the course was about the interconnection of these three levels. Their joint work can bring the most effective result, as it is difficult to achieve creativity in a company if some level is missing. That is why the interaction of levels is crucial in organizations. We realized it in our own example, as even though we were divided into groups, we still interacted with members of other groups through discussions and common activities and shared the acquired knowledge with each other. Providing this interaction can be challenging for a company, but it is worth all inputs. Another important aspect of this course was the analogy with soil which was emphasized throughout the course. We learned about the movement #SaveSoil started by Sadhguru ( www.consciousplanet.org). It promotes a conscious attitude to the soil, and the same attitude should be toward leadership soil. Co-creativity in the organization can be compared with the deep level of soil, and instead of minerals that nourish plants, there are energy and wisdom which stimulate growth and development. These co-creative minerals can not only sustain but also poison the soil of leadership. That is why it is very important to find a good use for these resources. It is essential to remember it while developing a co-creative organizational culture. This comparison helped us to get a better understanding of the significance of co-creativity in leadership. This Save Soil movement was integrated by Marcella in the crash course leadership event, where our Co-Creative Organizational Leadership course presented our projects about three levels of co-creativity and then we wrapped up all our work with a Save Soil dance. It was a very joyful and involving moment as almost all students from this course performed together. This common activity was a good example of co-creativity itself, and it symbolized our unity. At this energetic point, our course finished, but many significant ideas were left in our minds. The short name for our course was “COOL”, and it really describes the course itself. It was cool in many ways, and it definitely made a great contribution to our development as future conscious leaders who are able to use co-creativity for the good of a company.
COOL – EspressoSkillsLAB© activity: Song & Dance
Magic of Soil – by Sadhguru
Basic Leadership Skills (BLS) course
The Synergists of the Leadership SOIL: Skills & Attitudes
written by Elizaveta Chelishcheva
Attitudes are known to be contagious: do you know what kind of attitude you are spreading to others?
We were six communities embarked on a great adventure, we formed one international community of leadership practice in Spring 2022. During the Basic Leadership Skills course, all communities had a great, impactful experiential learning leadership journey with activities, where right from the beginning the goal of learning how to set a foot on the path of conscious leadership on a conscious planet was established to understand and reach by the end of the course.
Becoming conscious leaders
As turned out, one of the most essential aspects to think about when talking about basic leadership is vision. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.” And it is, indeed, true. Without any focus, people will not be able to accomplish their goal, and will not be able to eventually reach the target. An older translation of the same quote says, “Without vision, the people perish.” With the following being said, leadership is not just only about creating the vision. It is also about translating this vision into reality, leading people to this reality transformation, and teaching them how to. Studying leadership basic skills grounds during the Basic Leadership Skills course, for us, the six communities, was not just about learning how to manage and lead people. Importantly about learning how to firstly take care of ourselves as future potential great leaders, train our attitude to become mindful, develop and enhance our leadership skills, and grow our mindset into a conscious person capable of being responsible and taking care of not only himself/herself but also of others. A leadership quote by Jack Welch (2019) says: ‘’Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.’’ – this describes the attitude that all communities pursued during this course. One might think or just hear it somewhere that true, great leaders are born this way – to lead people. Naturally, this statement could be true. But all great leaders were born this way or did some of them create, and shaped themselves over time with practice? If we follow the thought framework that leadership is an influencing aspect, then leaders are born and every person in the world is a natural leader. We all influence someone to one degree or another. From the type of clothes, we wear to the car we drive to the persona we portray; we are influencing people to act, think, or even buy as we do. Every person you come into contact with is a leader/influencer of you as you are a leader/influencer of them. The question is to what degree?
The journey that we put ourselves through during this BLS course (Basic Leadership Skills) taught us how to properly expand that influencing skill that we already had in us – potential leaders with different backgrounds and experiences. To become a great, mindful-conscious leader, we had to analyze and practice different ways of influencing people, crafting a vision, and taking steps to make this vision into reality, while chasing a certain attitude to keep up the positive spirits and general mood along the journey of vision realization.
Of great help were the academic articles and books that we could access and study. In the e-book ”Flying on the Eagle: Millennials’ educational journey into the Mindful Leadership” (Zoccoli, 2018) one article was intriguing ‘’Meditation as needed’’ by Sultanbekov Amir. The author’s personal experience with the meditation introduced to us the meditation’s positive abilities and persuaded some of the students in doing the same as the author did when studying at the university in order to become more resilient and focused. It is to practice different meditation techniques and document, compare the results after, discovering your self-awareness.
To become conscious participants of the Basic Leadership Skills journey – our recommendation is to read at least some of the leadership books or articles in the literature suggested – whether you plan to become or not become a leader. There is so much knowledge and understanding to be had from leaders who have mastered their ability to influence. For instance, sustaining mindful leadership that we learned with the help of the e-journal article written by the CEO of Fratelli Branca Distillerie Srl: ”Two or three things I know about leadership”. This life example showcased us the conscious leadership journey in practice, which was crucial for individual and collective learning in general.
In conclusion about naturally born and created leaders, is that we are all born to lead, but being born is simply the first step in a true leadership journey. Life individual lessons and lessons learned from the other already well-established leaders, courses such as this – Basic Leadership Skills course. It all serves us in developing our skills and keeping our leadership soil fresh and taken care of. Remarkable leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and many more had talent, circumstances, and willingness to do something extraordinary that transformed them into remarkable leaders. No one is born with any quality. Everyone is like raw soil waiting for the gardener to fertilize and plant something significant into it, giving it a professional value. What this course has taught us is that a leader is mostly born and sculpted heavily over practices and situations that the individual leader is facing. After this experience we could say, leaders, can be self-made, and can practice and display leadership across all their functions and roles lifetime. Having said this, a person who does not have the basic leadership ability over born might have failed a lot on his leadership role journey and decision-making process. The only thing that separates successful and unsuccessful leaders is a proper understanding of the power of failure. Success requires us that we must learn from mistakes, missteps, and also with misunderstandings along the way rather than falling into despair and giving up. With this leadership attitude towards failure, you can never really fail.
BLS – EspressoSkillsLAB© activity: Namaskar Meditation
(inspired by Isha Yoga for Love – Namaskar Process)
Event – Part 2
Emotional Management of International Business Complexity (EMIBC course 2)
East-West educational cultural journey:
from India to Finland… with a taste of Italy
written by Anil Kumar
Culture refers to a racial, religious, or social group’s traditional beliefs, social forms, and material characteristics, as well as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that define an institution or organization. Most of the time culture is like an iceberg: what is visible above the surface is a massive base of assumptions, attitudes, and values that influence people’s decision-making, relationships, and other actions. Culture plays a major role in a society, organization, or country. Culture affects every aspect of daily life including the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the language and the way we speak, and the music we listen to. The geographical area, climate, and natural resources affect the culture of any group or country.
During the course Emotional Management of International Business Complexity (class 2) we were a group of Indian students who had the chance to explore and perform an East-West educational cultural journey: from India to Finland… with a taste of Italy (Marcella, our teacher has Italian origin). Here is what we learned during the course, and we presented it in the form of videos at the final event on the 13th of MAY.
Finnish culture / Indian culture
In Finnish organizations, people who are in higher positions are called by their first name instead of referring them with titles such as Dr. or Mr. The opinion of every employee is valued, and they can even challenge the opinion of others, including those people much higher in the hierarchy than the employee. Even at JAMK University of Applied Sciences we call the lecturers by their first names, and this is the accepted norm of Finnish society though as an Indian we find it a bit awkward because in India it’s not the same case, people will rather feel disrespected if you call them with their first names so we must use titles for the concerned person. When we meet a teacher in Finland, we greet them by saying “Moi “whereas in India we either greet them with “Namaste” or even touch their feet as a mark of respect to them but saying ‘Hi” or “Hello” is considered rude. The power distance in India is high and power is unequally distributed which is clearly evident in Indian culture. India is a male dominant society and even in workplaces men are usually in the top ranks. However, Finland is considered to have feminine culture and women participate equally.
Finnish cultural values / Indian cultural values
Indian culture is very ancient, and Yoga, meditation, and dance are part of Indian culture. All these were also practiced during our EspressoSkillsLAB© activities with Marcella. Finns usually do not brag about their achievements they believe that whatever they have achieved in their life is for themselves and is not something to talk about. In India, we love to talk about our achievements, and we take pride in telling what all we have achieved in our life usually when we meet someone for the first time, we ask each other where we work, and a person is associated with his job profile. Finnish people are very punctual. If we agree to meet someone at 8 am you are supposed to be there at 8 am sharp so it would be better to reach, there 5 minutes earlier rather than 1 minute late. Being late is considered rude and impolite and it simply means that you do not respect their time. Finnish people like to go straight to the business which means if you are for a meeting they will not chitchat and just talk about the business, informal talk is usually kept for coffee or lunch breaks. On the other hand, in India when we talk to each other and do not ask about the well-being of them or their family it’s considered rude. Let us say if you meet some new people at your workplace, it might be some colleagues there is nothing too special regarding the interaction so when you are introducing yourself, a firm handshake is enough. No physical contact in Finland. In India at workplaces usually, we fold our hands and say “Namaste” which means “I humbly bow to you”. The relationship with Finns is usually built outside the office. For example, if you get an invitation to the sauna, that is a great way to build business relationships with those Finnish people. Indian people are usually very expressive and they build relations at the workplace and these relations are extended to even families and family functions as well.
The work-life balance in Finland is more about working smarter not harder or longer hours and usually, we have just seven-and-a-half hours’ workday, from Monday to Friday, and there can be some overtime work. Whereas in India we have five or six days a week with eight to nine hours workdays.
Indians are religious and even though we have different religions in India, people respect each other’s beliefs and even celebrate festivals with people from other religions. Wearing religious symbols and doing religious rituals is a common practice. India celebrates a lot of festivals based on religion and during these festivals, we have large gatherings, dancing, and celebrations which we also saw at EspressoSkillsLAB© and the event where Indian students had shown their cultural dance. But in Finland, it is different. For example, religious symbols and scarves are allowed in Finland and at Finnish jobs. As for Finnish people, religion is a personal matter and religion has less importance.
Finnish communication styles & patterns / Indian communication styles & patterns
Finns are usually quiet people, and they rarely say something, unless they are in the sauna. They like discussions and talking but only in saunas. But when they meet you, they greet you by saying “Moi” and usually that is the end of the conversation. If you meet an Indian even for the first time, they will greet you with “Namaste” and that is the beginning of a conversation about you, your family, what you do, what you like, etc. because Indians love interacting and generally consider everyone as their friend. Indian people believe in an old Sanskrit saying ”Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam“ which means that the whole world is one single family. Indians are usually fun-loving and happy people and get along with everyone very easily as we had also seen in interviews of JAMK students who belong to various countries, and they too agreed upon this.
Finnish stereotypes / Indian stereotypes
The Finns do not usually like small talk conventions. For example: If you ask a Fin “So how are you?” be prepared to hear how they actually are feeling at that moment. Small talk questions can get interpreted as genuine inquiries instead of just something said in order to fill the void. But in India whenever we meet someone we usually ask, “how are you?” and they will just reply “I am fine” instead of actually giving details of what they actually feel, and this is what the expected reply is. The Finns are not very expressive and talk less, Finns really like their space but if they feel someone is showing interest in them, they have honest conversations with them. Talking about the Indian stereotypes, India is a male-dominated society and earlier women were supposed to take care of the home and kids while men earned a living. But things are changing really fast, and we now see women working in offices and almost in every walk of life.
Finnish diplomacy & negotiation attitude / Indian diplomacy & negotiation attitude
In India business is usually on a personal level and to run and excel in business relationships plays a significant role. The negotiations have to be formal and usually, Indians negotiate in a friendly manner, and it’s done politely. Indians find it really difficult to say “NO” as they do not like refusing. The business is done in leisure time and the important decisions are made at the top due to the power gap which we already discussed. Finns do not like small talk and in business, they directly start discussing business. As they talk less it makes the talk a serious one and individuals are considered responsible for decision making.
EMIBC course 2 – EspressoSkillsLAB© activity:
GIDHA Punjabi Indian Live Song & Dance
Emotional Management of International Business Complexity (EMIBC course 1)
“The BIG 6” Emotions:
FEAR DISGUST ANGER SADNESS SURPRISE JOY
language barriers and cultural differences – challenges & possibilities in international business
written by Tejal Shankar Patel
Emotions observed, studied, and trained: Anger, Disgust, Sadness, Fear, Surprise, Happiness
Awareness in leadership and management
Leadership role should not be like to work in a crucial way by being strong and behaving like an annoying chief or manager showing extra qualities, degrees, or skills. A successful leader is one who helps others and manages stress, work in a team, give proper feedback, coach the team members in a positive manner, and cooperate with each other by showing humble gesture. A leader is the one with whom the team should not have a fear to approach as he/she should be humble and polite and should listen to the problems and try to solve them together as such behavior is significant, and a quick response can totally benefit the entire working environment. A leader and his/her team should be ready to manage the unexpected hurdles while working together. There are few things that can encourage the workers working in the firm like giving awards or rewards to the one who deserves and had contributed more by doing hard work, working space should create a joyful environment which increases the willingness to work in the firm. Emotions like anger, disgust, fear, and sadness should be replaced to some extent to run a smooth business without any hurdles or losses in the global and local market. Leaders, as well as employees, can improve their performance by not only showing their skills but also by learning to manage their emotions. It is a must to have the education to emotion which tends to great working style, a calm environment, not much pressure and conflicts, and responding to each other with empathy. We should not think to change others, but we should work on bringing a change in ourselves first, then expect from others. Your co-workers will automatically change towards you as per your requirements it is better to have self-awareness as it show-case your qualities, strengths as well as weaknesses. If one person thinks that others are not the best and works towards improving them it is better first work on yourself as first bring out your best and then access others. If the workers are not perfect while working it can evaluate the worst performance which only increases stress among others and can decrease motivation within yourself. Furthermore, social awareness plays a vital role as leaders need to practice empathy work which enables them to understand other feelings and emotions. Due to the global market, there are many aspects for instance cultural differences and language barriers are affecting while working together so empathy walk can effectively enable them to communicate with each other and understand their values which results in accurate and quick decision making whether it is individual or group it raises the performance of the employees and develops the whole foundation of the firm. Other components like self-management and relationship management if one who basically lack self-management can tend in react negatively so to maintain your emotion just try to meditate or pause, breathe, listen to music, or chat or call your friends to divert your mind and share your thoughts take it easy do things which make you feel comfortable which can manage your emotions and you can avoid a hard time. To build the whole ”empire” it is essential to build proper relations, so it is better to stay away from conflicts and stop wasting time gossiping about other colleagues. The leader should focus on keeping all the employees happy and can have an open conversation that solves the conflicts without any fear or disgust feeling. Respect each other at all levels which creates job satisfaction among all the employees.
Education to emotion
“Emotions are a process, a particular kind of automatic appraisal influenced by our evolutionary and personal past, in which we sense that something important to our welfare is occurring, and a set of psychological changes and emotional behaviors begins to deal with the situation.”
– Paul Ekman, PhD
Learning how to manage your emotions and try to recognize them is one of the most essential skills that people should try to understand- it is better to accept the fact that there is something going on somewhere and try to calm down yourself if you are annoyed or nervous. People around us might face the same situation and try to adjust and try to be good leaders when there are difficulties, but it is our responsibility in life to manage problems and have a healthy relationship with the team. Learning that emotions can boost our career by developing good relationships and rational choices and that they can play an important role in our business life is very important. It affects our state of mind as being stable and happy can lead to good decision-making and also creative thinking. It has a great impact on teamwork as the team can plan accurately and negotiate whenever they require their needs. People around us may be emotionally unbalanced so as to overcome such things it is better to understand others and manage emotions by using various techniques to “save the leadership soil” where to plant the seeds of strong connections, bonds, relations, team spirit, and the power to stay strong together in severe conditions. Like the tree with strong roots can stand still and survive in a severe storm, companies can do the same when grounded and are working for the same purpose following the same vision by using the force of emotions with awareness for the prosperity of the business and the impact on the company mission and image.
Challenges observed while working in a business environment and how to overcome them
Different types of challenges like Cultural Differences and Language Barriers were observed while working together on our in-class projects by simulating business situations where there is conflict in the team and that can lead to informal behavior not respecting others’ cultures and values and communication gaps. This can be dangerous in the company life, the place where to grow we need to have a strong relationship between the team leaders and the employees. The multicultural team may sometimes be beneficial as each, and every person has a different mindset and have creative ideas and innovative techniques such diverse skills can offer productivity, profitability, and competitive advantage.
For the professional growth of the organization, we must try to overcome such issues through mutual understanding, by using simple words, learning different languages, avoiding slang words being polite, asking for clarification to avoid misunderstanding, being careful of using jargon, try not to be complex and be patient, be specific and use ‘’thank you’’ and ‘’please’’ while working together. Learn about different cultures, food habits, and music, and give training to the employees to embrace distinct cultures. Share knowledge and start something unique by accommodating a different culture for instance start encouraging different religions or cultural activities and celebrations, like example EspressoSkillsLAB© where people can show their skills, they can share their opinions without hesitation and enjoy their heart with great enthusiasm, plan an event which spreads awareness among different people. This brings UNITY among all and decreases the distance of being apart from each other.
Different organizations need to bring a few essential changes in the workplace to avoid the “background noise” that could disturb the flow of the work. Comfort, mutual understanding, listening to others, valuing thoughts and opinions, patience, tolerance, and punctuality are social factors useful to create great opportunities both on individual and team levels to achieve the common goal. Avoiding slang words or phrases and learning distinct cultural backgrounds can foster workplace relationships and bring new opportunities. Unity and ethical behavior can improve the working environment life which is beneficial for the image of the company. Implementing new techniques by giving a chance to every candidate can clear “the noise” around the mission of the organization. Nowadays in many companies and working environments, international colleagues are called to work together facing challenges and problems typical of our complex time. Through planning and managing emotions and by spreading awareness about each other’s culture and language and organizing special events bringing all people together through the feeling of belonging to humanity as a unity.
EMIBC course 1 – EspressoSkillsLAB© activity: Music & Dance
WE MADE IT HAPPEN! ON 13 MAY 2022!
Conscious Leaders on a Conscious Planet!
…”remember…this is not the end…it is just a new Leadership beginning!”
– Zella 😉
Basic Leadership Skills course. (Spring 2022). Students experience
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Global Review of Research in Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Management (GRRTHLM) An Online International Research Journal (ISSN: 2311-3189) 2014 Vol: 1 Issue 1’
Co-Creative Organizational Leadership course.(Spring 2022). Students experience
EspressoSkillsLAB© (2021). https://zellainternational.org
Emotional Management of International Business Complexity course 1 and course 2.(Spring 2022).
Proverbs 29:18 – King James Version. Accessed on 28 MAY 2022. Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2029%3A18&version=KJV
SAVE SOIL.(2022). https://www.consciousplanet.org/
Love, T. (2016). 3 Tips for Being a Truly Great Leader. Article 17 November 2016. Accessed on 28 MAY 2022. Retrieved from https://fortune.com/2016/11/16/xerox-key-to-great-leadership/
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Zoccoli, M. (2018). Flying on the Eagle: Millennials’ educational journey into the Mindful Leadership. Accessed on 28 May 2022. Retrieved from https://www.theseus.fi/handle/10024/151348