Erez Tsalik is an innovation and thought process facilitator who works with business leaders and opinion leaders from all over the world. In this interview we talk about how leadership has changed over the course of the last few decades, which skillset is needed for today’s leaders and what it means to rethink the way we think.
1:04 – Introduction of Erez Tsalik
1:57 – Why He Does What He Does
3:20 – What Fulfills Him and Drives Him
5:09 – Turning Point: War
7:20 – What Paradigms and Dogmas Have to Be Challenged in Innovation and Leadership
12:57 – Which (R)Evolutions Needs to Take Place for a Better Future?
15:23 – Impact & Legacy
Video Excerpts From the Podcast
Turning Point War
Thinking in Teams
Transcript of the Interview with Erez Tsalik
This is an automated transcript. Please excuse any mistakes.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Welcome to Challenging ParadigmX. My name is Xerxes Voshmgir and in my podcast I’m interviewing people who challenge the status quo. Do you know what the thought process facilitator is? Meet Erez Tsalik. He’s a facilitator of thought processes and innovation processes and he works with business leaders and opinion leaders from all over the world. In this episode we will talk about how war has impacted his life in a way that he’s now facilitating processes for a better future. Why we need to rethink the way we think and how leadership has changed over the course of the last few decades and which skill set is needed in these complex times of today.
So if you’re interested in this topics, I’m sure you don’t want to miss this episode of Challenging ParadigmX. So stay tuned.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Hi Erez. Nice to have you here.
Erez Tsalik: Nice to be here.
Xerxes Voshmgir: I want to ask you a few questions. just the simple question to start off with, who are you and what do you do?
Erez Tsalik: So, my name is Erez. I’m a facilitator and account manager, in the field of innovation. I work for a company, international company based in Tel Aviv called SIT. It’s kind of a provocative name: It stands for systematic inventive thinking. Most people say we’re way how, how could that be? and most of my work is to manage or facilitate thinking processes. Especially in areas such as innovation, strategy, problem solving, et cetera. Okay, great.
Xerxes Voshmgir: So, why do you do what you do?
Erez Tsalik: I think I do it for, for three main reasons. I think the first one is, is a characteristic or is it a persona? Because in this, in, in, in this field of expertise, you have to combine two elements, a very structured, an analytical, empirical approach, and at the same time, very creative, hectic, ever-changing approach. And I think that it’s, it’s kind of a compliment a set of skills, do my personality. This is how I know myself. This is how I grew up. So that’s one reason. The second reason is because, I’m looking around in today’s world. For me, this is the most exciting field. So I’m doing this because, because of that. And the third reason is because I think that, it will play a bigger role, or will have very positive impact in, in the big picture. The world is changing in many ways, and I think that one of the areas that are overlooked, is the changes that we need to accept or embrace when it comes to the way we think about the world.
Xerxes Voshmgir: What do you feel like is a most fulfilling experience, of your life? What’s the things that really drive you.
Erez Tsalik: So I think it’s, it’s slightly two different questions. If I have to find the most fulfilling moments in my life, it will be very hard. Because when, when your life is ever changing and very eclectic and there’s so many moments like this and I just couldn’t pick one moment up. But when you ask about: What’s driving me? it’s a little easier for me to answer. I think that, that my main drivers, are curiosity. . my, my amazing love and fascination with people. It’s the thing that I love more than any, anything else in the world: People! It’s like the most complex and independent and, and authentic, creature I came across. So that’s the second driver. And the third driver is, is change. and I think for me, success, people don’t like to be told what to think. Which is understandable. Thank God for that. People hate to be told how to think. We are all convinced that the way we think is the right way to think, the only way to think and yes, we can change our mind regarding what to think, but not how to do it. So for me, a strong driver, but also a good success indicator is the ability to influence the way people think, not what they think, but how they think.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, so what’s the most scary, bold or life changing thing that you’ve done in your life?
Erez Tsalik: Wow. I remember, I like poetry and I remember reading a poem many years ago, and I’m, I’m going to try and translate it to English. I’m sorry for losing the aesthetic side of it. but, but, it says that if you, if you are drafted, if you are called to fight a war for your country, then you’re a patriot. Then if you are called again. Then you’re unlucky, and if you called on a third time, then you must be stupid. Okay? If you find yourself in the third war – and for me, I think that the lowest moments of my life are the hardest moments of my life was realizing that I’m, I’m taking part in a war regardless to the political situation, regardless to the, you know. Anything, just the fact that you’re taking part in a situation when there two, two groups of people trying to hurt each other. It’s the lowest that mankind can get to in my experience. and I think if I need to, to, point at something that was not only the lowest point in my life, but also, also probably the one that has the bigger, the biggest impact on changing my life was that for me now, life is all about creating opportunities for people to be kind to each other. Okay. They call us the human race, not that like for a reason. So humanity and, and, and for me now is the, like the most important thing. So I, I describe it as, you know, the most, maybe horrific or lowest moment in my life, but I have to say that I benefit from the outcomes and I’m making sure that people around me will, will benefit too.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Beautiful! Thank you for sharing that. In your field of expertise what, what are the paradigms, the dogmas that have to be challenged?
Erez Tsalik: The field that I’m, that I’m spending the last almost 20 years in is a field that is all about ongoing, changing paradigms and breaking fixedness. Okay. So in that sense. It’s an ongoing thing. I think that personally would I see as a, as a big change to, to drive. And, and at least in these years, I’m very passionate about, is rethinking the way – again and I mentioned it earlier – rethinking the way we think. I think that, to be even more specific, I think that if you look at decision making processes in management roles through history. So up until the fifties or the sixties, to be a manager, you needed to know what your, you know, what your team is knowing and you needed to have a little more experience. But during the 60s and the 70s, we realized that this is not enough to be a good manager. you need, you need to know what they know. You need to have more experience, but you also need a little bit to understand management. Yes. Okay. comes 90s and 2000s, even that is not enough to be a good manager you need to know how to manage. You need to know what your team know. You need to have experience, but you also need to know how this relates to other parts of your organization and other parts of the, of the business, and you need to develop some soft skills, which is still good and I’m looking around me now, and it’s not enough. When I look at the conversations or the relationships that I have with my clients who are usually business leaders or opinion leaders in their fields. If up until 10 years ago, it was more about: “Hey, let’s talk about this problem, or let’s talk about this opportunity.” What I get from them now is a call for help in, in helping them to think together. I think that one thing that changed tremendously in the last 20, 30 years is the complexity. .The world is becoming more and more complex. If the 2000s were very romantic, new age was all about: “Let’s make things simple.” It was kind got a counter reaction to complexity. I think that we don’t give decision makers, we don’t give leaders, not only business leaders, social leaders, political, leaders. We don’t give leaders the tools, the skills to make decisions when you have to consider hundreds of different, attributes that play the part making decisions or making choices 20 years ago had to take less elements into considerations than today. We need to learn how to make decisions in high complexity situations. And more importantly, we need to learn how to think together with others. The last 20 years were all about collaborations. Collaboration mean how to work with others but it wasn’t about sharing cognitive skills. I need to predict something to the future is this: People who will learn and be able to perform well, thinking together with others. And I’m not talking about brainstorming. I’ll tell you what I think, and you tell me what you think. It’s a whole different language. People that will learn how to think in teams will probably do a lot better than people that will still, you know, use the team to get inspiration and get knowledge and get data make decisions alone. So that was, sorry it was a long answer. What I think that is really important in my field now is providing decision makers, whether they’re young or old, whether it’s big or small with an additional skillset that helps them to think with others.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, so in a way you can say the paradigm would be that leadership is coined towards one person and that now leadership needs to get distributed within the group of people within the team, whoever the group is.
Erez Tsalik: Yes, without compromising on accountability, responsibility, single point of contact, as many elements from the, you know, the old world – it’s like the last 20 years. It’s funny to call it the old world – but in many elements, management elements that you need to maintain, it’s not going to be, business is not going to act like a democracy and you get, you know, the board will vote on it. Some, some points. You need to have someone who will take responsibility. You will need to have one leader, but that leader will need to have thinking buddies. This will help her or him to make right decisions in very complex situations.
Xerxes Voshmgir:Okay. Yeah. I see what you’re saying. So, the next question, perhaps you have answered it already to some extent is, which evolutions or revolutions needs to take place for a better future?
Erez Tsalik: So when, when I think better future, at least now between us, I don’t necessarily think about better economics or better technology about mankind. And I think that for me, we need to find more ways and new ways to bridge gaps. it’s not that we have, you know, the marketing department and the sales department that, you know: “Go get them and it’s all about making tons of money.“ And we have the, the, the social corporate social responsibility team who is usually much smaller that do their own bit. We need to fuse thing together. It’s all about fusion. You can’t say: “Okay, I’m talking to millennials, so I need to have some, some conscious icons or tokens on my proposition, it’s a change of, of perception so I think in terms of, it’s more of evolution than revolution because it will think that by now we understand what needs to be done and what we’re missing is how to do it. And we try to implement new approach, new concepts using old. old systems. Okay. So we have, we have the new “what” and what we’re lacking now is the new „how”. And, and I’m optimistic because I know that when you look at evolution, normally people are good at it. Okay? You make a lot of mistakes. We follow trends we tend to admire. We tend to, to create gurus. You know, everybody talks about Steve Jobs, but no one can be Steve Jobs and maybe it’s a good thing. So we create idols and we tried to follow them. And I think that the change that I want to see is moving away from creating idols and symbols and focusing more on local and regional cultures. And creating change through culture and not through strategy.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Thank you very much. So, you’re a person who does a lot of impact. So what would you like your legacy to be?
Erez Tsalik: I don’t know. I’m not sure. I don’t, I’m not sure. I don’t want to, I did. I want to have a legacy, to be very honest. I’m so involved and so excited with the presence that, that I, I don’t think too much about the future, at least personally. I don’t think too much about my future. and it’s not important for me to be remembered. It’s important for me, to go to bed every night knowing that I did something useful and I did something kind every day. Okay. So I don’t really know how to answer that question.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, so maybe let’s look at it from a distant perspective. What I mean is, so from today’s perspective, when you imagine yourself being, let’s say, a hundred years old so, when you look back what are the things that you would like, not necessarily as a person to be remembered, but when we talk about impacts, what would be the ideal impact, even if no one in the world knows you, but what would have been the ideal impact that you leave behind?
Erez Tsalik: So, my two biggest dreams, One: And it’s something that I started to work towards and it’s, it’s complicated, but I’m honored it I’m looking for, you know, opportunities and partners to, to turn it into something that will grow. I want to create an offering. I want to compliment each academic Institute or each training facility with a curriculum that trained people to think, to have these thinking skills that are required for the near future, for the next 10, 20 years. . so I want to create the curriculum for that, which is something I’ve been developing for the last few years, and I’m like I’m ready for the big jump. The other thing is I have this dream, to, to establish – and this is, it sounds like it’s about size, but it’s not the size it’s the impact – I would like to create the world’s biggest center for activism. I think that activism is something that nowadays perceived as, you know, some marginal, activities usually by extremist usually usually provokive and controversial for me it’s a leverage that could inspire generations, so I want to do it right. I don’t want to do it as something small and reactive, but something proactive and something that can actually initiate big changes in our societies.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, thank you for your openness. it was the final question and a very beautiful interview. I really enjoyed it and enjoyed talking to you.
Erez Tsalik: Same here!
Xerxes Voshmgir: Yeah. Have a good day then.
Erez Tsalik: Thank you! Same you! Take care!
Xerxes Voshmgir: Thank you for staying tuned for this edition of Challenging ParadigmX. This week with Erez Tsalik, I hope you liked this episode, and if you did, feel free to share it so Erez’ message gets spread even further. Also, please hit subscribe. And if you like this podcast, you can support it through Patrion. If you have any questions or comments, please write into the comments section. So I’m looking forward to next week’s edition of Challenging ParadigmX. I hope you will be back and I wish you a good week. Ciao.
Erez Tsalik’s Contact, Work and Sites:
TEDx Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/erez_tsalik_the_advantage_of_thinking_inside_the_box