When it comes to success in any area of your life, continuous improvement is part of the job. While intentions are great, it’s the actions you take that decide your outcomes. George Sheehan said: Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be. Alexandra Sock, Founder and Group CEO of Sock Consulting Group; believes that we need to be content and happy with our life no matter where we are on the path to success. Alexandra has more than 25 years of global leadership and executive coaching.
Taking a leap of faith
“I never thought of founding my own company,” exclaims Alexandra. She started her career as a recruiter within Jenewein&Partner in Vienna. There she met one of her biggest mentors, Jean Francois Jenewein. He very soon saw Alexandra’s dedication to solving difficult situations and her ability to find solutions or at least options for stuck states and challenging situations and he let her handle all kinds of difficult search projects. He also very soon gave her the feedback that she is at her best, if she had all the freedom to do what she thinks is the best solution and to be led with a long leash. Jean offered Alexandra exactly this kind of leadership. With him, she outgrew herself and when he decided to put his company under the umbrella of Amrop Hever and only offered recruiting services anymore, he recommended her to found her own company and throw herself onto the market of consulting and coaching, which she did. With her clients from the search projects, Alexandra had a great start inher own company.
Challenges are an excellent opportunity for growth
Alexandra founded her company in 1999, at the age of 26. Being very young when she started out as a consultant for CEOs and senior leaders, she faced a lot of challenges. In the beginning, nobody in Austria took her seriously and, in every meeting and interaction, she was tested way more than her older male colleagues. She took every challenge – which for her very often were opportunities that called out to her.
She strongly believes that challenges are opportunities to plunge into. She states that her kind of success tip would be to believe in yourself, give every situation your best shot, and go all in and go to the end. We need to trust and understand that everybody has the best of intentions at their heart and everybody wants to be successful at the end of the day. The only thing that makes interactions and situations difficult is that very often we do not see the good intentions of others, or we do not always fully trust that others show their full potential. “I am a firm believer in the capabilities of others and if you trust them and create a safe and growing environment, nothing can go astray,” she says.
Recognition Alexandra received as a leader
Alexandra claims her career started in a great environment. She had very encouraging parents, very able and dedicated teachers, great friends, and great bosses all through her corporate life. She always received valuable critical feedback and therefore could always become more and more self-aware and more self-reflection. “I have been gifted with a lot of opportunities to get to know the motives and intentions of others and therefore adapt my behavior accordingly,” she says.
She has been rewarded with a lot of interesting and challenging projects in all the jobs she held before founding her own company. Being a project manager in the European Union, Alexandra was rewarded with projects that were only given to senior staff members before. Within Unilever, she was rewarded with a lot of international projects which were not allowed before. Within Jenewein and Partners, she was rewarded with new customer projects and with a fast-track record in career development, and more and more senior titles which also meant more and more impactful project ownerships.
“The best recognition in my daily business as a leader is long-lasting partnerships, customers that stay with us for various topics and loyal team members that have been with us for as long as we exist and still are highly motivated to give their best every day,” she states.
Responsibilities as CEO at Sock Consulting
Internally, as the CEO of the sock consulting group, Alexandra takes care of the strategy and the growth of the company. She is also responsible for the development of her teams. She takes a lot of time for 1:1 and feedback sessions and also discusses a lot about how to make the life of my team members better, easier, and more impactful for their customers. Alexandra has also created new programs and new designs for workshops together with her colleagues and her team members.
Externally, she is coaching CEOs and senior leaders all over the world and works with great leadership teams to have the biggest impact on their teams in their respective environments. Alexandra describes herself as a ‘dedicated multiplier’ who is 300% focused on energy to make her environment successful.
Plans for the future of Sock Consulting
Their plan now is to make emotional intelligence an everyday habit for leaders and to offer practical little tools to integrate emotions into the still very rational world of leaders. At the same time, they are growing their business in growing new target groups – they are now aiming to work for youngsters entering the professional world for the first time and doing vision quests and tiny habits training to help them find their place in their environments and grow their impact from the first day onwards.
Sock Consulting has a very good partnership in Europe, the US, Singapore, Levante, and EMEA. They are now expanding their business to LATAM and JAPAC. They have started online toolboxes on emotional intelligence and while now enlarging this product to create unconscious bias online toolboxes and inclusive leadership toolboxes – very concise enugget training for everyday learning with immediate practical impact.
Balance in personal and professional life
“How to maintain balance and stay motivated is a very easy question for me as I believe I only have one life and every aspect of your life comes together like a puzzle,” says Alexandra. She started out alone, then grew her business by working with a great network of partners, then hired an accountant, then CFO, then an IT manager, and a graphics designer – then she had her first child, her daughter Vivienne, and after 2 years she had her son Raffael. She states that all of a sudden, she felt like she had a family empire – with her parents and her parents-in-law traveling with her and taking care of the children as she worked in the most beautiful places all over the world.
Alexandra believes that we are all at our best when we can create a balance in all our areas of life And if you love what you do, you do not need to have clear private life vs. business life. But if you like the clean cuts, they have this in their company. Every team member decided that for themselves. They have transparent deadlines and everybody knows what needs to be done till when and she does not care when her team members carry out their responsibilities. “I fully trust them that they dedicate all their potential and capabilities to making our clients happy and satisfied and help them grow and develop,” she says.
“I see myself as a multiplier – the more I create a frame where everybody can grow the better the results will be I have been working with part-time mums for the past 10 years and it worked out great for our clients, for me as a CEO, and for them and their families,” explains Alexandra. One of her assistants is based in India and this worked fine as she starts her working day at 2 pm their time and the handover is very smooth and her dedication to the business is as high as if she would be sitting in the office with them. Being understandable and giving freedom to organize private and business life as flexibly and openly as possible they have been super successful even before the pandemic.
Alexandra’s biggest tip for motivation she thinks is – to walk the talk and be motivated yourself and be passionate and love what you do. She is deeply convinced she has the best job in the World. “Being a role model is easy for me and this energy multiplies with my team and with our customers,” she exclaims.
Her message to aspiring business leaders: Be 100% present in the here and now and stay focused on creating an impact in every interaction. Frequently ask yourself – How can I make the best out of this situation? How can I act as a multiplier or leverage the environment?