Emergenetics International is thrilled to have Kosta Christofi as part of our great speaker lineup for the 2017 Brain Summit in Vancouver, Canada! Kosta has 32 years working for Blue Chip companies across the UK. He has worked with leaders at all corporate levels, from front-line colleagues to senior and board- level executives, helping them to tap into and release the potential they all have to be more effective and happier in their professional lives.
His most recent Leadership Development Program won the Learning and Performance Institute Global Award for People Development Program of the Year in 2016. He first encountered Emergenetics when it was introduced to the senior leaders of Santander. He instantly connected with it and has been instrumental in making it the psychometric tool of choice across the whole organization.
Let’s get to know Kosta better in advance of the 2017 Emergenetics Brain Summit.
Q: How did you get involved with Emergenetics?
A: A colleague had discovered Emergenetics and introduced it to a senior leader, who liked it and shared it with her peers. As the tool gained traction I wanted to expand it into our leadership development at all levels of seniority, and the chance came up for me to shape the strategy and implementation of this: as word of mouth spread, demand grew and I now find myself giving around 90% of my time and energy to Emergenetics…and loving every moment of it!
Q: Since you became an associate in September 2016 you have been steadily “emergineering” Santander at the rate of about two workshops a month. What has the response been from your colleagues?
A: The response from colleagues has been consistently positive, to the extent that I have not needed to advertise through our normal channels: leaders and colleagues can see the value not only in the initial Meeting Of The Minds experience, but also in revisiting, refocusing and applying their new awareness to specific challenges and opportunities they face: the philosophy of Emergineering is truly alive!
Q: What is your favorite Emergenetics activity or exercise? Have you modified any of them based on the team you’re working with and how?
A: I like the “Holiday” activity linked to the Thinking Attributes: it is always animated and helps to embed the understanding with some humour and energy. I am always amused by people’s reactions to how others approach their holidays and it is a great way to illustrate how we all approach the same activity in such different ways but with equal success. Sometimes I also run an additional activity which involves taking one service offered by the team and identifying how they would communicate it out to a large audience, making sure to engage all four Thinking Attributes: this can really open eyes to how to do this.
The Emergenetics UK Team have been fantastic partners in the way they have supported, nurtured and encouraged my conceptual approach, and helped me apply the structured thinking required to make it happen.
Q: What do you mean by the phrase “emerging ethics?” What are the implications for your work at impact Santander?
A: This is about the world in general: trust in many established bodies has been eroded over recent years, and the focus now has to be on being “trustworthy” rather than simply “trusted”: Emergenetics helps people to be more authentic and recognize how others might view our actions and behaviours: if you like, it is “Emergenethics” in action and is all about how we recognize our own approach to life and how we value diversity and honesty in others
Q: You describe change and technology progressing at Santander at an unprecedented rate. How does Emergenetics help you manage these changes?
A: Across all organisations, technology is advancing fast, and Emergenetics helps to focus our minds on the fact that although methods of communication may change, basic human needs continue, we are still communicating person to person and this needs to be factored in to all the ways we interact with each other and with our customers
Q: One of your passions is the dramatic arts. If “all the world’s a stage,” are there any acting techniques that you’ve applied to the working environment?
A: I always aim to bring acting techniques into the way I present and facilitate: vocal projection, body language, facial expression: whenever I am on my feet I consider it a performance, I owe it to the audience to be as engaging as I can be to keep their attention and deliver the messages. Drama skills are so important in this arena, and I am fortunate to have had some very powerful training to help me along.
Q: What are you reading/listening to right now for personal/professional development?
A: I always keep a close eye on current affairs, to understand the macro- environment and what it means for our customers and our colleagues. Publications by the World Economic Forum are useful for understanding the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its implications on us all. I also keep an eye on Human Resources and Learning publications and articles, online and in the more traditional magazine formats: there is so much going on around us, we cannot afford to lose track of it.
Q: Who has inspired you over the course of your career?
A: I am fortunate to have had some great colleagues over the years, who have all inspired me in different ways: the key approaches they all have in common is their ability to focus on people, a sense of self- awareness and an embracing of diversity; valuing me for my strengths and empowering me to work to those strengths to delight those I work with.
Q: How would you describe the term Emergineering? What is an Emergineer?
A: Emergineering is a philosophy, a way of being: it means that the Emergenetics experience does not end with Meeting of the Minds; indeed it BEGINS with Meeting of the Minds and opens the door for people to face challenges and opportunities through a common, shared lens, a collective language and a bonding experience.
An Emergineer is someone who understands it not only intellectually but also emotionally: who walks the walk and demonstrates the personal power that comes with this knowledge, inspiring those around them to do likewise; someone who promotes the Meeting of the Minds as just the exciting start of the journey for the fortunate recipients…