STEP NINE: We Learn to Solve Sustainably – In Conversation with Roland Slot


STEP NINE: We Learn to Solve Sustainably – In Conversation with Roland Slot

In a series of conversations with fellow transformers, leaders and influencers, we want to introduce you to the Ten Steps of Transformation. You’re getting a sneak peek into how The Heart Revolution can be your companion through transformation: helping you transforming your work and organization, by transforming yourself. You can always start with the latest,  or catch-up from Step One.


For “Step Nine: We Learn to Solve Sustainably”, I’m joined by Roland Slot, former McKinsey partner, co-found of Aberkyn Change Leadership Partner, and founder of Breathe – Conscious Ownership.

Step Nine: We Learn to Solve Sustainably

What is Step Nine?

Organizations must calibrate and accept current reality to make a change. When we start wanting it differently than it is, the organization becomes stuck or the transformation stops flowing. Instead, face your current reality, zoom out and look at your business from a different perspective. Taking in all the input you have understood by listening deeply to relevant stakeholders.

Most of our challenges are at their root self-imposed and internally created. As we learn to change our mindset, solving problems sustainably becomes much easier. When we are willing to let go of behaviors, assumptions, mindsets, and habits that no longer serve us, we learn to turn previous business challenges into opportunities.

Do you find yourself doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome?


Roland did me the honor of being one of the beta readers of my book, The Heart Revolution, and much of his feedback contributed to the book being what it is today. At the time he also provided me this piece of feedback to the book that still touches me every time I read it:

“This book should be mandatory for anyone involved in a business or company transformation. May it find its way to many, many souls who are longing for this message.”

Of course it is lovely to get such praise, but its profound meaning to me is really because I know how seriously Roland is about the topic. He is deeply committed to his own personal transformation because he has experienced the difference it makes also for his teams, colleagues, peers, and the organizations – and the impact that is made.


In fact, when I ask him what advice he would like to share with the community after 20+ years of working on transformation, he chooses to plant this seed of inspiration:

“The biggest gift I can give to the world, that other business leaders can give to the world, is to put my personal and spiritual development as the number one priority in my life.”

Because that is what it takes to be able to approach challenges with an open mind, and an open heart. To not be attached to solutions that no longer serve us in solving the challenges that we keep bumping into repeatedly, or challenges that we have never seen before.



As well as having an open mind and heart, Roland emphasizes the importance of also honoring the past and acknowledging the present – in the process of moving forward into the future. He observes that many often forget to honor the past because of such a strong desire to move forward, taking the moment to also laugh at himself sharing that his gravitation towards the future is so strong that even his handwriting slants forward!


But throughout the years he has learnt the following:

  • Honor the past – the work can only really be done in an organization when those that came before are fully acknowledged, that we wouldn’t be here if it were not for them
  • Be with the present – while it might not always be comfortable, be present with the moment and try to sync up to what is and not reject or ignore it


And what happens is that the future magically opens into a field of flow. Flow where the future is co-created “together with people…. together with society” where all entities have its place. This allows us to tap into the potential of collective wisdom, where more voices and perspectives are leveraged to find the solutions to challenges that previously felt unsolvable.


That itself is also a shift in leadership that Roland has surrendered to – where he says that he deliberately chooses to let go of being an expert leader that needs to find all the solutions and do it all himself as an expert leader – “doing it as the small ‘I’” – and instead helps those around him unfold the solutions. He believes that this is the mastery of leadership, and one that requires that he works on himself each day. As he says:


“We have the responsibility to operate in another way.”


It is clear to me in this conversation with Roland, that while we talk with much lightness and laughter, he is so conscious of the role and responsibility that we as individuals hold for our world, as leaders for our people, and as businesses to society. As he puts it:

“People are looking at businesses to really heal society and our planet. We can no longer deny that role.”

I wholeheartedly agree with him. We each own our ripple, and determine the impact that ripple creates to those around us both near and far. And that calls on us to work on ourselves and also face in to the past and present, even when it feels inconvenient or uncomfortable. It’s what allows us to move forward into opportunities and possibilities with flow.


What in your past do you honor as you progress into the future?


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