T he A mbassadors Czech people see success as something that should not be appreciated because there is something wrong with it. It goes far beyond the Communist times, as the case of prominent opera singer from early 20th century Ema Destinnová, famous in Berlin, Paris and New York and rejected in National Theatre in Prague, shows. There are so many great leaders who have a positive impact in their respective areas of work and who achieved success in an honest and virtuous way. I see them as a source of inspiration and by interviewing them, I hope this will bring a change to how we appreciate talent and success of others. Authentic leaders speak not only about successes, but also failures. We only learn when we are outside the comfort zone and no one has learned walking, riding a bike or skiing without falling. We are back to the point that the most important change happens on an individual level and subsequently we can experience transformation on the organisational or even national level. This is what you do in Atairu - you try to give people courage to be authentic leaders. What does it mean? We have a vision of achieving positive impact on transformation of society through a new approach to leadership. I have been with Atairu for two years and I’ve had the opportunity to work with over 150 managers in leading positions who made a big difference in their companies by implementing in their teams what they have discovered. So far, we have worked more with 350 leaders across the region of Central and Eastern Europe. Just recently I discussed my work with a former university colleague and she was intrigued by my positive perception of the today’s situation. It is because I can sense more than the negative news we get through the media daily. I see many competent people in top positions with very strong values and desire for change. These people work hard on themselves and want to leave a positive footprint in whatever they do. At what point do people in top positions arrive at the need to undergo such personal transformation? It takes quite a lot of time
ATAIRU team – from left: Aneta Lopotová, Eva Štefanková, Radka Dohnalová, Linda Štucbartová, and Markéta Langášová.
D iplomatic P assports
Lenka Čábelová´s mission is to create and tell stories that change people’s lives by touching our minds and hearts. She likes to see the bigger picture and, as if making a puzzle from a hundred pieces, she turns words into a strong corporate message and fragmented activities into integrated communications projects. As a professional, she acts as the ambassador of the vision of the company and connects people and organisations around the theme to achieve synergies and make an impact. In her role as the Communications and CSR Manager at Microsoft Czech Republic, Lenka creates and tells stories about how new technologies increase flexibility and mobility and how freedom to get things done from anywhere helps improve business results as well as better integrate work and life. She joined Atairu Authentic Leadership Transformation programme a year ago. and readiness to admit and appreciate weaknesses and imperfections, and these people are usually very busy and very successful. What drives them to it? I see two key factors. The first one being sustainability. Yes, they are successful but they often have worked all their life very long hours and with extreme intensity. They understand that they cannot live like this for another 15 or 20 years. The second reason is the need for a different kind of fulfilment. It is like climbing a high mountain. You are on the top and what next? Maybe there is another mountain nearby but is this the challenge you need? Would it bring a new value to you if you tried to get there? Maybe there is more value and satisfaction in enjoying the view from the top for a while, in accepting the journey as a goal, in helping others learn to climb or even in asking why I have gotten here and whether mountains are indeed the right place for me to be in… Diversity is still a challenging concept in Czech society. How do you perceive it? It is very fragmented and polarizing. Not many people understand that diversity is not only a question of a gender, but of all natural differences in society. Nowadays, we have four generations at workplace, this is a new situation. Just one example from the biggest private company in the Czech Republic - ŠKODA AUTO, illustrating what today´s reality looks like: people are employed there from 16 years (apprentices) to 65, there are more than 40 nationalities and also people with different physical abilities. Such
diversity has been unprecedented at a work place. Organisations in the Czech Republic tend to work on each element separately and in waves. There was a wave of doing gender diversity, then age management, etc. But we need to think of it as a whole. When we exercise, we train all parts of the body together, right? Would you spend a year working on just your belly and the next year focusing on legs and then on your back, etc.? This would cost a lot of effort but definitely not lead to a healthy body and good feeling. You cannot split a human being into categories and work on one part only. You are not a different person at work and at home. We always need to see the full picture, as individuals as well as in organisations, to get the best results. Diversity is enriching, leads to prosperity and innovative outcomes. In order to appreciate it, we should not be afraid to embrace the unknown and differences. And to do so, we must be sure of ourselves, strengths and values. Then we know what to stand for and the outside (unknown) element might not seem threatening anymore. That is why for me diversity is only one of the key elements of authentic leadership and the approach of leadership from within can hope us to deal with current crises. Do you think that it may change with a new generation of leaders? I have a big hope in the new generation that is just entering the market. They are interested in what impact their actions have on society and they have experience from abroad. I keep my fingers crossed for them to succeed in making our future more connected to what is happening in the world and consequently the Czech Republic being less provincial. Sometimes I am sad that my friends from other countries often tell me that in terms of spirit, Prague feels like a large village. That is why I try to pay attention to subjects that are global in nature, surround myself with personalities that have a global outlook. And this brings me back to Talent Dynamics and the talent of each individual. The more certain we are about ourselves and our purpose, the more opportunities for collaboration arise. We do not see others as a threat but as the complementary ones providing skills we do not have. By Lenka Čábelová, external collaborator of Czech & Slovak Leaders magazine
CZECH&SLOVAK LEADERS I/2016
Interview with Július Kriváň - When Traditional Industry Paves Way of Modern Times