We’re delighted to announce the appointment of our new Senior Associate, Alis Anagnostakis.
Alis joins our team with almost 15 years of leadership development experience, and a wealth of expertise in coaching, transformation, culture change and positive psychology. She’s passionate about helping people grow in wisdom, understanding that deeper levels of consciousness can be a catalyst for whole system change. She’s looking forward to meeting you all soon. Until then, check out the interview below to get to know her a little better.
What do you find most inspiring?
What I find most fascinating in my life is people’s incredible capacity for transformation. I am always in awe when I am able, as a coach, to witness somebody’s process of waking up. Sometimes people seem to literally change their whole lives overnight, yet behind that change there is a long “incubation” period where they have slowly challenged themselves, taken themselves out of their comfort zones, discovered insight, and bit by bit and broken down old patterns, until suddenly they’re able to do things they never thought possible. I am deeply inspired by this seemingly magical process of growth, which continues throughout our lives, if we let it, and if we are willing to do the hard, often uncomfortable work that goes with it.
Also, still in the realm of human development, I am inspired by children’s extraordinary courage to jump right into the unknown — their relentless curiosity and innate wisdom. I believe us, adults, can learn so much from our kids when it comes to how to properly do the work of “growing-up”.
Thinking back over your career, what has been a standout moment for you?
A few years back I set out on a mission to make myself, as a consultant, redundant. That may sound funny, but I deeply believe that transformation has to come from inside organisations, and that Facilitators are there to create space for the agents of change inside companies so that they themselves can do the work of change. This often means getting out of the way and letting change come to fruition as something owned by the people experiencing and creating it.
A few years ago, I began wondering how to empower leaders from within companies to initiate and run deep change processes. I ended up creating a transformational coaching school devoted exclusively to leaders who wanted to make a positive difference in the world and felt they needed to go through a deep personal development process themselves and also acquire the tools of facilitating change in their teams and organisations.
Over 12 cohorts of leaders have undertaken this half-year long program and I’ve been amazed to see how these “seeds of change” have taken root and flourished. For example, one middle manager in a 5,000 people technology company managed to create and deploy a company-wide learning program where her peers developed coaching skills they could use in their teams. An NGO in the field of education completely transformed their mentoring process to support their network of teachers. Another manager in a telco company had such outstanding business results with her team that she was invited to design a development program for 20 other teams that transformed a whole business division.
Most unexpectedly for me, this coach training program resulted in collaborations across sectors and organisations, as a community of like-minded leaders was slowly built around it. Leaders from public and private sectors started joint mentoring programs across organisations. Cross-company, world benefiting business projects were born that would not otherwise have existed.
About four years into the program we had an all alumni meeting where we shared case-studies of change entirely created and led internally. Over 100 graduates attended and most brought friends who wanted to better understand the idea of inside-out organisational transformation. I was deeply inspired to imagine a world where more leaders are awake, confident, wise and highly conscious of their capacity to instil positive change within whole systems.
Who are some of your heroes and why?
My heroes are people who are able to own their imperfections — their shadow side. Those who are courageously authentic and show up, even when it’s hard. I have been lucky to meet such people and be inspired by their wisdom – not because they were amazingly intelligent and talented (although they were), but because they allowed the world to see they were human and flawed too.
Also, my heroes are people who can be “un-dissappointable”. I know this is not a word, but I wish it was. When I was mentored by someone who, I felt, trusted me unconditionally and whom, whatever mistakes I might have made, I felt I could never disappoint, it gave me courage to transcend my limitations; to completely get out of my comfort zone and try things I had never tried before.
I actively look for such people all around me and I make it a point to surround myself with heroes that I can learn from every day.
Want to know more? You can read Alis’s bio here. You can also catch her at the upcoming Atlassian Summit 2020, where she’ll be presenting a keynote into how Vertical Development supports leaders in today’s disruptive environment