Building up the future one brick at a time.

Cecilia’s career took of from a crisis, which she has been good enough to turn into a chrysalis and re-inventing herself as a Executive Coach and Innovation Consultant.

When I am invited to talk about my book, I always end up telling Cecilia’s story. She was the manager of one of the most successfull companies of the 21th century, Kodak, which, abruptly stopped innovating and thus, sadly failed. Therefore she, mother of four, found yourself unemployed in your late thirties. Nevertheless, this dangerous and unstable situation gave her the chance to discover a new talent: being a successful entrepreneur. These changes have turned her into the highly skilled professional she is today.

Interview

Would you tell me more about the transition between being a an employee to an entrepreneur? How much did your attitude count throughout these changes in both the personal and working spheres?

The last months before leaving the company were rather exhausting, highly confusing and uncomfortable. I was leaving my stable job and I had no idea on whether or not I would find a new one soon. I had to leave a workplace where I had learned how to use my talents (hence, my comfort zone), and, at the same time, I had to leave my colleagues and all long-term businesses relationships. Yet, after a while I had the feeling i’d left a cage -though a gold one. I guess my spirit of research helped me during this transition. I had the feeling I needed to taste diverse working modes in order to discover parts of me I did not know. Furthermore, I did not fear mistakes neither other people’s thoughts on me (“What do you care about what other people think?” The celebrated scientists Richard Feyman titles one of his book).

During the 2016 “Woman of the Year Award” Thank You Speech at Billboard Music Awards Madonna stated that in life, there is no real safety except for self-belief. How much does believing in yourself matter within the workspace?

I guess it is pivotal to see life as an extraordinary opportunity to improve ourselves and learn as much as we can with no fears. Only through this mindset will we be capable of doing great things based on each one’s specific talent.

I guess it is pivotal to see life as an extraordinary opportunity to improve ourselves and learn as much as we can with no fears.

— Cecilia Spanu

One of the things I like the most about you, it is your never-stop attitude to studying, learning and reinventing yourself and work. How much does curiosity about professional training matter in the workspace? In Italy, only 8,3% of working people attend professional courses. Thus, how do we stimulate workers’ will (and actually, need) to adopt a never-ending learning attitude?

I thing I am extremely lucky since the learning process is one of my core values and, it is also something which gives me more energy. To stimulate the desire to never stop learning, I guess everyone needs to find their favourite learning style, such as training courses, self-learning books, fieldwork…

One of your cult quotes, which perfectly sums up your working approach, it is from Narnia’s Chronicles, and states “ Keep your eyes open, the secret will come out for itself”. I also used it within my book as your story’s final quote, yet, honestly speaking, I did not get its meaning perfectly. Would you explain it to me better?

There are some moments in life (or maybe this might work for any moment in life) where, although you work as much as you can to analyse, rationalise and decodify your future, you can’t get the big picture. Therefore, I came up with the idea that you might see you future as a big puzzle, with no box, whose pieces you are able to discover day by day if you just keep your eyes wide open and are aware of what surrounds you. At the very start they might seem quite random pieces, with no rational linkages or comparable forms or colours. Then, day by day you will find some pieces which do work together and you will start seeing single images and, later on, you will be able to connect them in order to have a single big picture. You will just need to step back a little in order to see it in its greatness and fullness! There’s a mistery, a secret within life, which will come up by itself if you justkeep your eyes wide open; although, you won’t be able to see all pieces of your puzzle.

I came up with the idea that you might see you future as a big puzzle, with no box, whose pieces you are able to discover day by day if you just keep your eyes wide open and are aware of what surrounds you.

— Cecilia Spanu

A few quick questions

Is it better to hit a target no one manages to hit or to hit a target no one else is able to see?

To hit a target that no one else sees, since, at the right moment, the one and only arrow will be yours.

If you found a working time machine, and you could have one trip only, where would you like to live? In past or future times?

In the future. In about 10 years time, to see how my sons’ lives, now in the range of 15-23 years old, went by.

During a dinner, when people ask you what you do for living, what’s your answer in a few words?

I am an Executive Coach, I help people and organisations innovate and transform.

What drives you to work more? Making profit and being successful (making money) or whether your job gives meaning to your life and might positively impact the world (making meaning)?

Well, money helps you doing great things, but what gives me the strength to do what I do is the Emotional Inteligence Model, which is my Noble Objective.

Being a business coach means dealing a lot with managers and professionals, so, what is the word you hear the most?

Having to instead of wanting to.

Finally, which is the tip you feel you give the most?

It is that in any professional situation, we are 100% responsible, and hence we can think and act through different modes to reach our main objectives.