Kathrin O’Sullivan: Listening in the High-stake Tech World for Effective Collaboration

Kathrin O’Sullivan is an experienced organization development consultant, executive coach and speaker with twenty years of experience in the tech industry including Google and Oracle. She is based in Silicon Valley and works internationally.

Kathrin believes that in service of creating a world where everyone can thrive. She says we need smart leaders who are curious, grounded, open, and passionate about what they do. In times where command and control approaches do more harm than good, effective leadership requires presence, deep listening, truth telling, and compassionate, wise action. Despite the “always on” pressure of their daily reality, the most powerful and effective leaders cultivate time for silence and introspection in order to sharpen their intellect and access their intuition. This allows authentic and effective leadership which inspires everyone to give their best, even in times of uncertainty and constant change.

In this episode, Kathrin provides lots of  very insightful and practical information on listening in the tech world and in high-take environments. She also reveals the power of listening for values and understanding the emotions that go with it. Kathrin gives us different perspectives on how listening impacts critical discussions and yields optimal results in the solution process, with people engagement and in relationship building.

“We can choose to listen in different ways. When we choose consciously how we want to do that, then we’re already present.”

   – Kathrin O’Sullivan 


For more ideas, tools, and resources that will help you master the art of listening, subscribe to listening ALCHEMY here.


02:04 –Kathrin details how working in sales made her realize the importance of listening
03:34 –Different levels of listening training she experienced in the business world
05:05 –How listening intently to another person will lead to a meaningful discussion and results in practical solution thinking
07:00 –Defining who are you as a listener, what may prevent you from listening well and keeping an open mind
08:12 –Other ways of listening and how these impacts the engagement with other people
16:32 –The benefits of doing the five-minute guided breathing exercise in a meeting at Google.
18:12 –The critical attention a problem needs if it keeps resurfacing
20:02 –Talking about assumptions and how to look at these from a different perspective
24:38 –The power of listening to values and emotions
29:51 -Building a relationship where people feel heard and valued
31:15 –Getting to the conflict stage when not listening
32:23 –The vulnerability that is required to listen
40:19 -Using internal tools in human technology
45:58 -Kathrin’s plans in the future

Connect with Kathrin O’Sullivan

Connect with Raquel Ark

If you enjoyed today’s podcast, please leave a review on iTunes here and share with the people you think might find this helpful. Thanks, so much for supporting more high-quality, effective listening beyond what we typically consider! Enjoy listening

Get your chance for an Exclusive Virtual Listening Party. Join our Podcast Giveaway

Raquel Ark
Raquel Ark
I am a communicator, coach, facilitator devoted to sharing ideas, tools and resources that help you master the art of listening. Listening is the doorway to understanding, the bridge to connections and the foundation of trust.