Sixty Second Interview - Nicole Lipkin

What Keeps Leaders Up At Night

Nicole Lipkin is a business and organizational psychologist, consultant, and speaker, holding a doctorate in Clinical Psychology as well as an MBA.

She is the president of Equilibria Leadership Consulting, the founder of Equilibria Psychological and Consultation Services and author of What Keeps Leaders Up at Night.

Nicole is the subject of our latest 60 Second Interview.

1. How long have you been in the industry, and what is your current job title ?

I have been doing leadership/organizational consulting and coaching since 2007. However, I’ve been practicing psychology since 2002 (not including my graduate training). I currently am the CEO of Equilibria Leadership Consulting as well as the CEO of Equilibria Psychological and Consultation Services, LLC.

2. Did you have a mentor and, if so, who ?

I don’t have a mentor, unfortunately. However, I have had some 'anti-mentors' that have provided me with unintentional mentorship by helping me learn exactly what I didn’t want/don’t want to be. Sometimes the best lessons come from the worst bosses.

3. Are you by nature an optimist or a pessimist ?

I would say that I’m a realistic optimist. What I mean is that I’m not optimistic in a delusional way, but I do tend to see the possibilities and positives in situations, even when they are pretty difficult.

4. Which business leader do you most admire and why ?

Honestly, the guy I wrote about in my book. Ray Anderson, the late CEO of Interface. He was preparing to speak at a meeting when he found inspiration in Paul Hawken’s book The Ecology of Commerce. Hawken blamed business and industry for the decline of the biosphere, and suggested that only the destroyers wielded enough power to extricate the human race from its eventual demise. Hawken’s ideas so impressed Anderson that he wove them into his speech the following day, challenging himself and the company to develop a strategic commitment to sustainability that would create a new, post-industrial business model. Anderson then practiced what he had preached.

He adopted 'a cyclical model mimicking nature' with which Interface would only take from the earth what could be renewed naturally and rapidly. Proclaiming his new motto, 'take nothing, do not harm', Ray began leading as a 'recovering plunderer'. Since its founding, Interface has grown into a billion-dollar corporation, operating across four continents and selling to 110 countries. A major force in sustainability, it has won accolades from Fortune magazine as one of the Most Admired Companies in America and the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Ray Anderson died in 2011, leaving behind the lasting legacy of a better company and a better world.

His personal transformation proves that a leader can successfully evolve a myopic approach to business into a more panoramic one that promotes a much broader definition of success. Ray’s leadership, in my opinion, proves that doing the right thing (versus doing things right) wins out in the long run.

5. What's the biggest lesson you have learned in your career to date ?

That it’s incredibly difficult to manage people. No matter how great of a boss you may be, we all have the potential of slipping into temporary bad boss mode. I learned that lesson loud and clear a few years ago when trying to manage someone who I shouldn’t have hired in the first place. Instead of parting ways, I tried to make it work and in the process, I became that “bad boss,” not as bad as my anti-mentor, but bad for me. I was amazed at how quickly I fell into the trap of losing self-awareness and reflection and acting in an impulsive, thoughtless way.

6. What's your favorite business quotation or life motto ?

'What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us' – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve always loved this quote because it reminds me that although many events and situations in our lives may feel out of control, we have immense power within to choose our reactions and responses.

7. What's the best business book you've ever read ?

I’ve always liked Good to Great by Jim Collins. Although relatively old at this point, I think it’s classic point of getting the right people on the right seat of the bus resonates.

ABOUT What Keeps Leaders Up at Night : No matter how many initiatives you spearhead or how hard you think about decisions, you will make the occasional management misstep… all leaders do. In What Keeps Up at Night, Nicole examines engagement, motivation, expectation, emotions, and interpersonal and group dynamics. It will teach leaders: how to influence, persuade, engage, and motivate their employees; how to use competition to make the office an exciting and rewarding place to work; how ambition can sabotage success; why people resist change; why good teams sometimes go bad; how to properly deal with a bad day and keep your cool; and much more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nicole Lipkin is a business and organizational psychologist, consultant, and speaker, holding a doctorate in Clinical Psychology as well as an MBA. She is the president of Equilibria Leadership Consulting and the founder of Equilibria Psychological and Consultation Services.

In addition to her new book, What Keeps Leaders Up at Night, Nicole is the co-author of Y in the Workplace. Nicole has shared her expertise on NPR, NBC, CBS, Fox Business News, and other high-profile media outlets. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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