Céline Schillinger - Author, Dare To Un-Lead and TEDx Speaker

Céline Schillinger is the author of "Dare To Un-Lead" and a TEDx speaker.

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Joe: Hello and welcome to the Essential B2B podcast brought to you by Lead Forensics. I’m your host Joe Ducarreaux. Today I’m joined by Céline Schillinger, author of Dare to Unlead and Founder and CEO of We Need Social. Céline was on the B2B Sales Playbook podcast recently and I was really excited to get to speak to her on Essential B2B. She’s a fascinating character with huge ideas so I think you’re really going to appreciate getting to know her a bit better.

So, without further ado, here is Céline Schillinger’s episode of the Essential B2B podcast.

Joe: What do you love about your industry Selene and what would you change about it?

Céline: That’s a great question Joe. My industry has changed over the years. I used to work in Pharma, big pharma as you’d call it and I loved there the sense of purpose that many people had and that I could really see in practice. What I didn’t like there was a sort of sense of entitlement, because this industry is sometimes, it feels comfortable and it feels that it breeds a sense of elite, a sense of we’re superior to the rest of you. And I hate that. But I’ve spent 17 beautiful years in that industry.

Now my industry is more consulting because I launched my own business five years ago. It’s a different world. You really need agility there because you work in networks of partners from gig to another gig. The future is not certain at all for no one. But it’s a very fulfilling change for me at least. I love that. I love being, not just being my own boss, but being freer and being able to really bring my passion into my work without following whomever else’s orders or judgement. That matters a lot to me.

Joe: For more on that, I realised as I asked this, I asked the question, what do you want to change? As it turns out, you want to change quite a lot, particularly in leadership. So for more on that, I do recommend you check out the B2B Sales Playbook podcast that Céline and I recorded as well. Because that’s a fascinating chat. Just a little cross promotion. So Céline, who inspires you?

Céline: Many people inspire me. I quote many of them in the book and I try to honour them. Some people are not here anymore, some people lived a long time ago. I would say the people who inspire me most are not necessarily the most famous or well-known thinkers, but they are people who display curiosity, who encourage to go a little bit beyond the boundaries of their familiar field, people who are willing to or open at least to taking risks, trying new things, travelling or meeting new people or going through new experiences. This is something I highly value. But more than that, I think I really look for the company of people who value human connection, who pay attention to others, basically and to the social fabric of society. The people who are on the contrary more interested in things are people I’m less interested in.

Joe: What I particularly like about your answer you’ve just given, Céline, is that quite a lot of the conversation that we had on the B2B Sales Playbook was about empowering groups of people rather than promoting a single individual. What you’ve done brilliantly in your answer there is exactly that. You said, these are the characteristics I’m inspired by, not necessarily just one person who embodies any particular thing. So that’s fantastic.

Céline: Yeah, I could have mentioned a thinker or two or 100. There’s a lot of them mentioned in the book, but that would be too reductive and simplistic and it would perpetuate the idea that we need to look up to some people who are superior to us by their brilliant thinking. I think this is a wrong kind of idea, it doesn’t serve us. I think beauty, intelligence and warmth are available all around us and this is what I find most inspiring,

Joe: What really motivates you, at the start of your day, at the start of your week, what is it that gets you going?

Céline: What really motivates me is to learn. I think I could, if I was very lucky and not in need of paid work, I would just spend my days reading and learning and watching stuff. That’s really what I adore. So I hope maybe one day I’ll be able to just learn new languages, learn new stuff, go back to university and so on. But apart from that, I love making things happen in the sense of making real stuff happen.

I speak from experience in the corporate world where sometimes meeting KPIs or following processes are mistaken for action. We lose the sense of action. We believe that being active is equal to action, but it’s not. It doesn’t produce any value, anything for customers or it just meets some internal bureaucratic culture norms and that kind of thing. Sometimes you can see what David Graeber had called bullshit jobs. Some people are just guardians of processes.

There’s nothing in their work that is connected to our satisfaction. I understand organisations are complex and we need all sorts of different jobs but losing sight of the materiality of our impact is something I find very dangerous for human sanity. So I like to really be grounded into real work. What am I doing that is really showing up, that really has the potentiality of an impact?

Joe: That’s an extremely thoughtful answer. I very much appreciate it though, Céline. That’s fantastic. That does intrigue me for my follow-up question on that one is, how do you decompress from your work then? And how important is your work and personal life balance?

Céline: I feel there’s no balance really. There’s an integration and it’s a very harmonious integration in my case. I feel very lucky. My work doesn’t feel like work. It feels like something I’m really passionate about. So, like yesterday was a Sunday and I worked and in the afternoon, but it was just something I enjoyed doing. So, there was no external pressure on that work. I decided to do that something on Sunday afternoon because I enjoyed it. I feel very privileged in that.

Now, of course, there are moments in which I do not work. I love to row. So I row on the River Saone, which is just close to my home. I have big blisters on my head because I rowed yesterday morning and it had been a while since I had rowed. I’ve been rowing for 20, 21 years now. Rowing is actually a metaphor I’m using in the book so as to illustrate unleading. So I let you go and check out if you’re interested.

Also when I work, I love to listen to music. So it’s another integration. Yeah, I love to have all my senses aroused when I’m working. It’s not just intellectual, it’s not just pure brain work. It’s really sensing and feeling and feeling connected to art and to creation. And I think this fosters my curiosity as well.

Joe: That comes up a lot on the Essential B2B podcast actually, is that people engage in those repetitive physical behaviours and that’s when they problem solve. Suddenly they’ll go, oh hang on a minute, now I’m away from the problem that I was working on and the solutions just appeared.

Céline: Yeah, yeah!

Joe: Céline, this has been really lovely chatting to you over the course of recording the Essential B2B podcast. I wonder what is one top tip that you’d like people to take away today from this chat?

Céline: That’s another great question Joe. One top tip is I would suggest to really take care of oneself. Not in a selfish way, I’m not here for anybody anymore, but in a sort of generous way. Be generous with yourself. If you need to rest, rest. If you need to go out, go out. If you need to eat that piece of chocolate, go and eat it without guilt. The world is pretty hard on us. There’s all this anxiety about politics and the environment and all that kind of thing. We are aware of the rise of mental issues, mental health issues. Let’s take good care of ourselves because if we don’t, we won’t be able to be helpful to anyone around us.

Joe: Mange du chocolat!

Céline: Avec appetite

Joe: immédiatement. Céline, thank you so much for joining me for the Essential B2B podcast.

Céline: Merci, Joe.

Joe: Well, there we go. That was Céline Schillinger on the Essential B2B podcast.Here are her key takeaways:

– Céline finds learning to be the most motivating aspect of her work.

– She loves making things happen as opposed to just meeting KPIs or following processes.

– She believes that being active is not equal to action and that some jobs can be disconnected from customer satisfaction.

– She likes to be grounded in real work that has the potential for impact.

Thank you very much Céline for joining us and thank you for listening. Remember to subscribe to the Essential B2B podcast wherever you get your podcasts and give us a five star rating where possible. Also subscribe to the B2B Sales Playbook podcast. I’ll be back next week with another Essential B2B podcast.