The Power of Persistence:
Staying Focused and Persistent Means a More Conscious Leader, More Productive Employees

The field has changed over time, but the fundamentals haven’t. “Humans are humans. You are stewarding human capital, and that doesn’t change. The tools and techniques do,” she says.

She’s been an empathetic, accessible manager, which means in every job she’s had, from Vice President of Human Resources at Goodrich to Senior Human Resources Business Partner with IBM and finally her current perch at America’s original disruptive ice cream maker, people have come to her with their problems and conflicts. “I get great satisfaction when I help or inspire someone to develop individually and when I influence the larger system and help it grow and thrive,” she says.

Goetschius was particularly moved by the experience at her second job as a human resources business partner at Unisys in Pueblo, Colorado. There, she worked with a group of employees with no prior experience in the high-tech industry and molded them into productive, self-managed work teams. “It was a fabulous job and I learned so much,” she says. It happened again at Ben & Jerry’s, where she’s been deeply affected by a whole company, from people on the board to people on the manufacturing line, that has renewed its commitment to a core company value of “linked prosperity.”


The value is emblematic of Ben & Jerry’s grassroots decision making, embodied in self-managed teams. “It’s a model here and we build on that strength,” she says. The model persisted after Unilever acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, when, to Unilever’s credit, it agreed to safeguard the company’s widely admired social mission and business model. The founder-based, entrepreneurial organization and the multinational corporation learned from each other. “Unilever brought certain processes that were essential for us to scale. We brought an entrepreneurial spirit and a social mission to Unilever. We have a very engaged workforce; people are very passionate and committed to the mission and to our success.

These are connected, open people who function with a lot of autonomy, and turnover is quite low. It’s weird and wonderful. And a good place to work,” Goetschius says.

Both experiences—at Unisys and Ben & Jerry’s—were instances of what she calls “seed planting. You grow many seeds and then turn them over to someone else to cultivate and harvest. I really enjoy growing teams and communities that are productive and performing, and I must say I believe more in strength-based organizations than in efficiency. It’s a more appreciative, more expanding way of interacting with employees and the systems impacting employees. It brings it all back down to the individual and effective processes and can be leveraged. You could call it an unlocking of energy and potential.”

Throughout her career, Goetschius has consistently “worked on” herself to develop professionally. “There’s always potential for growth, whether in my personal life or at work,” she says. “I’ve done a lot of leadership assessments and coaching, and I always have things I can work on to improve…and things I didn’t realize I did so well—I’ve been told I can be a bit hard on myself.”

Early in 2016, forward-thinking Ben & Jerry CEO Jostein Solheim presented Geotschius with the opportunity to sample an innovative leadership tool developed by Lisa Arie, founder of the elite leadership learning center Vista Caballo in remote southwest Colorado. Called The StillPoint Experience, the neuroscience-based tool combines a series of initial, thought-provoking questions participants answer online with a 21-day follow-up period that encourages each participant’s own brain mechanics to turn new realizations into new behavior. Goetschius eventually went through StillPoint three times, each time reaping fresh insights into her thinking and behavior as a leader.

“After going through the process once, I was surprised that a short 10-minute self-diagnostic would surface such meaningful insights for behavioral changes. Plus, I was surprised it revealed that I needed to work on persistence—my perception had been that I was already quite persistent,” Goetchius says.

“Lisa reminded me that I was surprised because I might be using only one aspect of persistence, or I may be using persistence in only one area of my life, like work, or I could be identifying myself by my role or title. Once I looked through that lens, I understood what she was saying about developing an ability to see the whole picture. It was an instant shift in perspective, and once I started working with the strategies, my behavior and approaches changed immediately.”


The StillPoint Experience recommended several strategies to help Goetschius develop her persistence. She chose to practice a minute or two of reflection every day. “I was taken aback by the patterns I saw doing this, and I saw how small the changes could be to make a bigger impact. It led to new behavior and new belief systems, including changing my perception of self-care and becoming much more intentional about how I was going to spend my energy for the day. It led me to be more present, listen more openly and to not take work back onto myself. I felt less guilt and internal agitation, which grew out of me always wanting to feel I was helping. I became less accessible, which is a good thing.

“People then solved problems on their own, recognizing that they’re quite capable of doing so. I don’t want to change the company’s open-office concept, but tweaking those behaviors, not completely changing them, means I can be more impactful by promoting autonomy and helping employees realize their potential. The StillPoint Experience helped me work through this,” she says.

After the online segment, Goetchius spoke on the phone with Lisa periodically over the subsequent, 21-day action-plan period. “That was lovely, and I now have a notebook filled with sticky tape where there were aha moments,” she says.

Lisa helped me navigate my revelations by illuminating, for instance, that “I don’t need a lot of structure, but my team does. So I’ve been more specific in instructions since this is more effective for them. This means they’re more productive and there’s less distraction for me,” Goetschius says.

Goetschius puts in long hours and sometimes takes on too much, but Lisa and The StillPoint Experience have helped her find a place of balance where she says no more often. “I save energy when I’m more confident in who I am and show up focused, able to see the whole picture in more intentional ways. [I’ve learned that] being more persistent is self-care and team care, actually, since the result is more structure, planning and conscious contributions. Lisa also helped me realize the power of working in bursts when finishing bigger projects,” she says.

In two more forays into The StillPoint Experience, Goetschius examined her ability to think with more curiosity and self-inquiry. In the end, StillPoint led her to see deeper patterns that affected her behavior so she could change them. “There were two or three thought patterns that kept coming up through the entire StillPoint Experience that got me to the reasons for behavioral patterns: self-care, confidence in my decisions, and seeing myself a little bit more clearly as a person.

Being clear about intentions and acting upon them is strength, Goetschius says. “If you’re clear about intentions, you can be more impactful—it takes a lot of self-inquiry to understand your intentions.”

“The process showed me that I may not realize how others perceive me, and with this tool I’ve gotten more inquisitive about how people see me. I’ve also gotten more insight into how I see myself and how I can contribute more to Ben & Jerry’s. I’ve found that curiosity has led me to the discovery that my assumptions are not always right. It’s given me the chance to see the whole picture, which is what I’m working on now. Not the big picture, but the whole picture. The goal is to better express myself, to fully contribute, to understand all the facets of my purpose and create an organization that’s thriving and growing. I’m getting there. I am. After 21 days of working on my skill at self-inquiry, I’ve also gone off on a retreat and spent some time on this. There was synergy with Lisa’s work and a sense of renewal.”

For Goetschius, there is much to recommend about The StillPoint Experience. “The process is clear and simple, you can do it remotely and you get to insights that actually change behavior quite quickly. I initially pushed back on some things—a very human response. But now they make sense because I realize I’ve changed brain pathways. I’ve changed habits. I became unstuck.”

Looking back at her months of going through The StillPoint Experience, Goetschius says the process made her “more intentional as a person and in my work. I’m more focused and I’m taking better care of myself. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But now I have a better idea, and that’s a good thing.”