Monday, December 20, 2010

The Power of Being Grateful

The more grateful we are the more of the good things come to our direction. Even to you personally. Not just during the Christmas time when you aim to give your family or friends something back. It starts with two simple words – THANK YOU, said in silence or out loud, meant with all your heart.
I myself realized I have a bunch of things I can be grateful for. However the positive effect of transforming my mind from complaining about situations I got into, to finding something positive I can be grateful for, brought the first fruits only when I have intentionally started to practice it. Every spare time. Every night before falling asleep. It took a while but soon it started to work. I have attracted in my life more positive things, situations and people than ever before.
I have met great leaders who eventually transformed to my core clients. They have one same thing in common; they thrive to improve things for the better, not just for themselves, but for their entire companies. They have the courage to drive changes to bring their companies to be the best in class. They care about their people. They are true professionals and pleasure to work with.
THANK YOU! I would personally like to thank Jarda Rasa from ABRA Software, Renata Stastna from Axial, Bohuslav Bohunek from Trend Marketing, Dita Stejskalova from Ogilvy PR and Jarda Jira from GfK for being such a great clients!

THANK YOU ALL who read this blog which aims to inspire and provoke thoughts. I really appreciate your regular visits. I am very encouraged and grateful to see the growing viewership from all over the world. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Successful Year 2011!

P.S. Rhonda Byrne (the author of The Secret, and The Power) on Gratitude:

"Do not worry at all about negative thoughts, and do not try to control them. All you have to do is begin to think good thoughts each day. Plant as many good thoughts as you can in each day. As you begin to think good thoughts you will attract more and more good thoughts, and eventually the good thoughts will wipe out the negative thoughts altogether."

"Remember, if you are criticizing, you are not being grateful. If you are blaming, you are not being grateful. If you are complaining, you are not being grateful. If you are feeling tension, you are not being grateful. If you are rushing, you are not being grateful. If you are in a bad mood, you are not being grateful. Gratitude can transform your life. Are you allowing minor things to get in the way of your transformation and the life you deserve?"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Why Is The CEO Role Not Always Attractive?

This may surprise you. Or may be not. Depending on your personal desires.  It was definitely an eye-opener for me, when I have recently started my lecture to Top Students at the University.  “I do not want to be a CEO, I really do not want that role”, said many students in one voice. “Because it is so much stressful to lead others. Because you do not have your work-life-balance. Because being a CEO you lose yourself. You lose your comfort“.

For a second I have stopped breathing. So what do you like to do? This should be a group of future leaders, how come they do not give themselves stretched targets? How come they dismiss the opportunity without at least considering it? Why they do not want to pretend they have the CEO hat for about four hours ?
The mood in the room changed the more I have talked about the art of business strategy and creativity needed in its implementation, the more I have honestly answered their questions related to personal journey towards the CEO job. I have shared my failures and victories. I have talked about my determination, courage and perseverance, never giving up. I have stood there - in front of the students’ eyes wide open - talking about the need to stay honest and true to self, true to own values and principles, not minding to be different , with a strong need for improving the world for the better.  
The students’ desire to achieve something meaningful in life has suddenly increased. The personally built obstacles in the minds of students have been one by one dissolved.
“WOW, I do not have to be a born CEO, I can work my way towards it”. Or “I have realized as CEO I can have emotions. I can stay myself,” the other student said. “Maybe it is not a bad idea in few years to come to be a CEO, to have the chance to influence others“.
The students’ eyes started to be filled with hope and vision. They started to understand that there is no solution for them to be served on a silver plate. They have to create THEIR future. They have to start to be in charge. They have to fill in themselves the white sheet of paper I gave them in sealed envelopes.
For sure we all cannot be the CEOs, but we should have our goals, where we want to grow. We should put ourselves up on a journey of constant learning. We should allow ourselves to have our desires. We should stop blocking or sabotaging ourselves. The fact that we consistently and positively dream about something means that we have the capacity to make it happen. We should enable our personal potential to be elevated to the next level. To be able to creatively “fly in the sky”, full of new energy and comfort, achieving personal satisfaction.
And my final message to the students? Only those who search will find. Keep looking!
P.S.: “There is nothing honorable on being better than others. The grandeur lays in being better than ourselves yesterday.” Robin S. Sharma

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Invisible Hurdles of Acquisitions

You must have heard about it or you have lived through it yourself. The selected Company is a target for acquisition. Financials are calculated. Consultants and lawyers are paid huge fees. The acquisitions is completed. Now what?

The reality comes into question. The details are not thought through. Synergies from the paper do not materialize. Employees live in uncertainty for many months. Nobody is sure about the future vision, strategy or structure. Original top management is no better off, as the information embargo continues towards them as well. The conquerors do not trust the "old guard". They better exchange them. New management team comes to rule. Neglecting all the good and bad things from previous leaders. Links to customers, consumers and brands heritage are broken. Uncertainty and unclarity begins to prevail.
Why the top leaders did not properly think about the people and cultures involved? Why they did not value the experience and roots of the target company? Why only the "hard" financial risks have been considered?

According to official data up to 70% of all mergers and acquisitions do not meet financial expectations because of people factor. Either the key employees leave and keep the knowledge to themselves or different company cultures stop them to utilize their knowledge and experience. Many top people do not manage to accept the new management style or they struggle with conflicting management objectives. The pain begins. 2+2 equals just 3.

Fortunately there are leaders who put the consumers, customers and employees first. Like Mars acquiring Wrigley or P&G acquiring Gillette. These belong to a small group of about 17% of all transactions that bring ROI back to shareholders. They can be happy not only that the stock price grows, but the brand equities are further built, customers are kept satisfied. The drivers of success of  the successful cases lay not just in their high professional know-how in business and people side. "Gillette and P&G had similar cultures and complementary core strengths in branding, innovation, scale and go-to-market capabilities, making it a terrific fit,"as P&G chief executive A.G. Lafley summarized in 2005. Last but not least they benefited also from the fact that one American Company acquired another. Americans understand their own business language.

It will be interesting now to observe the outcome of PepsiCo acquisition of Russia's Wimm-Bill-Dann Dairy and Juice Company from Dec.2nd at $ 3.8 billion.Will it belong also to the successful 17%? Yes, looking gorgeous on the paper. PepsiCo becomes the largest food-and-beverage business in Russia, and it also strengthens its position in fast growing Eastern European and Central Asian Markets. But how will American direct and transparent, quarterly results driven PepsiCo culture cope with Russian hierarchical, relationships to government based Company mentality?

The value and volume of M&A transaction is much lower nowadays during crisis, however the successful companies continue to look for their targets. Procter&Gamble's CEO Bob McDonald during his September 2010 visit of Romania proclaimed that he is interested in acquisition of Beiersdorf if the price is right (Beiersdorf market capitalization estimated at $ 14.7 - 15.3 billion). Steve Jobs's Apple has according to official declaration from this October available $ 51 billion for acquisition of another company. Knowing Steve's art of making things happen right we will learn soon about the target. He is known for his PR announcements for things to come.

Successful companies understand that if they want to keep the momentum, organic growth is not enough. If they want to further build their competencies and competitive advantage in technology, if they want to expand geographically or just capitalize on synergies, they have to keep looking for their targets. But only if they manage the people side well, they can hope to achieve the desired 2+2=5 effect.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Power of Fulfilled Promise

Promises should be kept, not only during Christmas. The biggest challenge is to keep the promises that we gave ourselves. Voluntarily. Out of our best intentions. Improving our fitness. Improving our relationships with others. Or improving the way we give back to the society, to those, who are young and deserve our development support or who may not be as lucky as we are. We have to take our leadership, our personal initiative to surpass the hurdles on the way. We have to thrive to overcome our laziness or our hesitance to expose ourselves publicly. We have to be sure we can stand for our word. At any costs. Only then we will be able to look ourselves up in the mirror and feel relieved we have done our job.

Anthony Robbins (50), the American coaching guru, as a teenager lived for a while in poverty. When some stranger came to his family and brought food and gifts for Thanksgiving, Anthony has sworn that if he ever became successful, he wanted to share his fortune with others. Nowadays Anthony always does something nice for those in the need. Especially for Thanksgiving. He keeps his promise.

Bill Gates (55), famous philantroper and owner of charitable Foundation, several years ago joined the worldwide initiative End Poverty 2015. He is so committed to deliver on his promise, that he started in 2010 together with his wife Melinda and with Warren Buffet (80) an initiative ("Giving Pledge") asking top billionaires in the World to contribute at least half their net worth to charity, in their lifetimes or at death. And they were the first role models. Bill Gates donated 30+ billion USD already. Warren Buffet plans to give to charity 99% of his fortune i.e. 44 bil. USD at death. This kind of leadership is revolutionary and unheard of. The fact that Bill means it honestly and does not use it only as a self promo campaign, the fact that the second richest man in the world is ready to share his fortune with others to tackle AIDS, tuberculosis, polio or to fund famine-resistant crops to fight hunger, creates high social buzz. He stands for his word. He started to understand the reason why he had the gift to rule the world of the Rich. Because he can now give back more than others.

We do not have to commit as much as Bill Gates or as Warren Buffet do. We do not have to wait to be 50+. It is sometimes enough if we volunteer our time to the good cause or share just small amounts from our income. NOW. Immediately.

Different people live different lives, give different promises, have different possibilities. But only true leaders create the difference. They demonstrate their determination and are ready to give back to the society, to the people around them and to their family. They show they have not forgotten their roots. They have learned that by giving others they give something warm and nice mainly to themselves. They award themselves with self fulfillment. And they become instantly much more rich.

What promises do you plan to give yourself NOW? Or for the New Year?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Freedom of Speech

Have you learnt to express yourself during your life time experiences? Are you a born speaker of your mind? Are you honest with yourself and ready to stand up for your thoughts? In the end these questions can only be answered by action.Your action. Do it or don’t do it.
This dilemma came to many of us in the Czech Republic 21 years ago. Should we express our opinions and go to Albertov (in the center of Prague) on Friday, November 17th, 1989 and later next week each day to the Wenceslas Square, when armored carriers surrounded the crowds and police was beating people and filming everybody to assure consequences could be taken? What was the risk of participating for us or for our families? Are we able to stand for our opinions at any price? No-one knew what will be the response from military forces, from secret police or communistic politicians. Many of our parents have already paid their price 21 years before (1968) and thus may not be as optimistic about the outcome. We knew we have just our strong will and naked hands, lighted candles as expression of us being innocent and set of keys to make a symbolic noise. We have had enough of the current system.
Our inexperienced youth and our strong desire to change things for the better gave us the courage to participate in demonstrations and to express ourselves. Freely after so many years of suppression and no ability to raise our voice without punishment . Only an innocent singing of national songs walking home at night with group of friends resulted in being taken over by police and being questionned whole night at the police station, released in the end with a warning to be fired from the University next time. Only an innocent question during lessons of history could cause a trouble, as I realized even myself.  Many teachers themselves were proud to be loyal communists. On the other hand – to my surprise – even some of them were secret heroes. Like the one who was teaching me the subject of Scientific Communism at the University of Economics. He encouraged us already on Wednesday Nov. 15th, two days before the outburst started, to come with candles to Albertov. He said good-bye, see you there … and do not be surprised if our Scientific Communism subject will not continue next week anymore. He definitely had more insights than many of us had at that time. And he decided to speak out his mind and influence us, the 21years-old students. He transformed himself from teacher of communistic ideas to a leader who realized he has to make up for a mistake he has done when choosing this subject for teaching. He has helped to awaken our inner voice to say we have had enough.
We have expressed the courage in the streets of Prague, but we were scared when we heard from radio (the forbidden Voice of America) that one student was killed. We have learnt only several days later, that that this was just a provocation that should manipulate the masses. But our voices started to be much lauder. We felt the power of the higher purpose. We have represented an idea, a possibility. A possibility to live a normal life, a possibility to fight for the World to be a better place even in the Czech republic.
The outcome of these November days 21years ago are well known for everybody.  We have a democracy with its pluses and minuses. The fact that we can express ourselves anywhere anytime is not anymore a perceived value. People take it for granted and focus more on other - e.g. material things.
Many years passed and some Czechs have forgotten the true status of things that we lived during the era of Communism. They complain about current system and say that it was much better then, when everybody had a job and was materially equal (not true, but verbally often articulated by the Communists). They still continue to vote the Communistic party. To my great sadness.
I wish that the Freedom of Speech and Speeches of Freedom will continue to represent a value for us - the Czech citizens. I wish everybody will appreciate the freedom we have helped to establish.
I wish that people will continue to want to make a diference in this World despite possible negative personal consequences. Because if we are not thriving to make the World a better place, we are wasting our time.

P.S. The fact that I am writing this blog on Nov. 21st, about an event happening 21 years ago, when I was 21 years old, and my father that time had a 21st anniversary of his 1968 Prague Spring participance is really only a co-incidence :-).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In Between Jobs – Pain or Pleasure?

Steve Jobs asked in 1985 a simple question, “How can you get fired from a company you started?” About one year ago I asked myself as well: “How could I be fired as CEO from a Company, which I have re-started for growth and over-delivered results despite the economical crisis and winning all 340 employees’ motivation?” Big shock after collecting official awards for the Best Employer, for the Best Innovation and for being the Discovery of the Year and one of top most influential women in the Czech Republic just few months before.
Steve Jobs said that he understood only few years later, how the dots needed to connect themselves: "The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods in my life." Steve Jobs reinvented himself. Today he is an icon and people remember just him. Those who removed him are professionally “buried” alive.
It is too early for such breakthroughs or announcements in my case. I am happy I am mastering the journey that has surprisingly opened itself in front of me and that has led me to new highs.
First days were like shock. I thought I never want to work again, when the performance plays no role and success is disadvantage. My thoughts were going in the direction I want to live an “ordinary” life, maybe it is more fulfilling. My loving father had another view: “You cannot live an ordinary life, because you were not born for it, you are special and you have to take your skills and further develop them. Do not try to be ordinary, when you have the gifts to influence the world.” It was meaningless to argue with him. I got the message in few weeks to come.
Life went on. I have attracted great people to my life.  I have had several intensive special experiences. I got virtually introduced to Anthony Robbins and to Rhonda Byrne by a friend, managing director of a leading multinational Company, Jirka Pavlicek, who I have met by co-incidence after many years. I have also attracted to my life a great coach, Radvan Bahbouh, who helped me to deal with the death of my young sister. The pain of her five-years- struggle for life and then actual death from cancer in our presence bothered me for a long time. I started to understand the laws of the nature, the laws of this Universe. I got inspired by many clever books and by many hi-profile people I met during consulting, special occasions or in a Business club. Soon I started to feel content and happy inside. I started to smile like a kid and enjoy every small moment of each day. Those who see me playing golf that I enjoy ever since, may be surprised how naturally happy I can be with Par. That is still not so frequent for me, but improving. And I am committed.
Some people are suspicious, because my positive mind goes directly against their beliefs. People without jobs should feel miserable and depressed, some of them thought. The typical question I used to get was: “How could you be so happy, not working - you – workaholic?”
I am now only in the process of finding the pieces of my life destiny, the dots have still to be connected. I have stayed firm and decided for myself. Do I take this event as a professional funeral of myself or do I take it as a huge opportunity to finally devote my time to meaningful things? The hot high profile CEO jobs are not nowadays in high supply due to crisis, but this cannot stop me from working full time from home, as a freelance strategic consultant, speaker or writer. I love to contribute and to improve the status quo. I love to move things forward.
The road in front of me is unknown. I still try to figure out how I can impact this world in bigger scale. But I am happy and content. I feel again I am myself. I am able to smile and to find the source for laugh from small things in life. I am able to give the meaning to the message I have been sending during the previous years to everybody: “Enjoy your day!”
The pleasure is waiting, even for you, at any circumstances.  It is just up to you if you take it!
 “Your purpose is what you say it is. Your mission is the mission you give yourself. Your life will be what you create it as and no one will stay in judgment of it now or ever.” Neale Donald Walsch.
“Your inner happiness is the fuel of your success.” Dr. John Hagelin PhD

"Sometimes life's going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love." Steve Jobs

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is Vulnerability in CEO Leadership Desirable?

The more successful we become the more vulnerable we are. It comes with the higher visibility at the top. It is a great time to share our successess with the audience, but what about our failures? Are we ready for the critique? Are we ready to stand out in confidence and act decisively even when others stand still in doubt?
Being vulnerable means not to hide ourselves, go beyond our doubts and fears, beyond our comfort zone. Opening ourselves, opening our minds to others. Acting authentically. enables us to match our challenges and ambitions with the audience and find the common ground needed to do great things together.  Vulnerability inspires and guides. It shows human nature of each leader. It puts energy into giving more than expected to people.
When leaders are perceived as human and vulnerable, employees identify with those attributes and begin to see the potential for success and leadership in themselves. So do not be afraid to be perceived as vulnerable.  Show that you are a real person and you'll be amazed how a Company culture can change from one where people hide everything and focus on covering up mistakes to one where mistakes are considered to be a key step in learning and mastering the skill.  People will begin to ask for help before they bury themselves or the organization.
When employees have the unshakeable belief that their manager’s intentions are reasonable and pure, without any hidden agenda, they do not feel guarded or protective when being around. This promotes a stronger feeling of their trust. They feel secure because their vulnerabilities will not be used against them in any way.
People sometimes believe that if they admit a weakness or fear, if they acknowledge their uncertainty they’ll never be taken seriously. No one wants to be considered weak. However vulnerability and weakness are two different things. People who are weak avoid direct conflict, they are ineffective and not inspirational. They manage others by spreading rumours, fear and uncertainty. This is very different from being vulnerable. A vulnerable leader may be an extremely nice individual, but his niceness doesn’t get in his way to make tough decisions or to hold others accountable, he is more tough than anybody else when necessary.
The challenge of vulnerability comes with the first failure. Are we able at any circumstances go beyond our comfort zone, stay authentic and trusting others? Are we able to understand that ackwnowledging our weaknesses leads to success and growth?
IT TAKES STRENGTH TO ADMIT OUR VULNERABILITY. But it pays off because it builds trust and inspires performance.
Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, for Fortune Magazine: “The hardest thing about being a leader is demonstrating or showing vulnerability. And that has a lot to do with trust. ..When the leader demonstrates vulnerability and sensibility and brings people together, the team wins.” 
P.S.  Teaser for my next blog: “ In Between Jobs – Pain or Pleasure?“

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Are You Able To Cope With A Sabotage On Your Personal Brand?

That must have happened to you in the career at least once. Somebody was after your job or was so jealous about your achievements that could not help but started an intentional public attack on your reputation. They may or may not be your direct competitors. They may even be your bosses.
At first they may not seem so much after you. Everything may have started with “innocent” and sneaky comments to your colleagues or to your bosses,   “I do not know if there is any truth to it, but I have heard he has done that and that ……..” Or “He has really lost his edge. I really don’t know why they keep him around.”
These “innocent” sharks like to sabotage other people career because they are so insecure. They do not know how to compete on professional level using fair play principles. Most of the time they have “chronic” sabotage problem, as it was their only way in the past to get to the top. Not the work results, but dirty play.  And because it worked, they got reassured.
Does this sound familiar? Depressive? Do not worry if you are a target! There is always the way out! When you see the symptoms of sabotage, don’t get mentally eaten up. Do not be paranoid, but don’t be naïve either. Learn how to protect yourself. 
1.       Use the strengths of your personal brand
The best defense against any sabotage is to use your personal brand as a protection. Hold tight to your brand character, brand values. Be aware of what is going on, but do not join the play.

2.       Keep your positive attitude
Get mentally beyond the saboteur’s influence to a virtual place where nobody can hurt you.
Stay enthusiastic about own job, do the best work. Never talk publicly badly about the one who was talking badly about you. Hold tight to your energy, enthusiasm and to your high ethical standards.

3.       Believe in your possibilities
The competition can be brutal. You need to avoid self-doubt otherwise there is always somebody who uses your weakness against you. Think about your life as a see of unlimited possibilities. Look for your possibilities inside yourself and outside too. You may not stay in the same company, but you may strengthen yourself and thrive in much bigger opportunity. Believe it.

4.       Create and protect your boundaries
Eliminate those “friends” or colleagues around you who seem to be threatened by your success. Personal boundaries are necessary for preserving energy and keeping yourself and your brand mentally detached from anyone else.

5.       Find support
If you get depressed from the situation, find a reference point for your soul to connect with. This could be your mentor, your friends, wife or children, your hobbies or just the nature. It doesn’t matter what you use to give you a direct line back to yourself as long as it works to return you there. You will soon discover that every time you get to the bottom, on the way back you release your stress and strengthen yourself. You empower your brand based on your living values.

6.       Apply crisis management techniques for your brand
When you are caught in circumstances beyond your control, do not hide yourself. Approach the situation upfront immediately. Straightforward, calm and honest communication is often the appropriate response to any brand crisis.

7.       Move forward with clear personal brand strategy
Do not put your life on hold, just because of this sabotage. Keep your goal in sight and continue to move toward it. Take your destiny in your hands. Prepare an outstanding personal brand strategy, that reflects the real you. Focus on what you love to do. Get noticed and remembered by people. Turn the negative situation into positive for yourself. Move on, reinvent yourself.
People who throw dirt loose THEIR ground. It is their brand that is damaged in the end. Because it was so obvious that they could not stand somebody outperforming them. They have got from the observing audience the label “insecure, not very nice and potentially dangerous”. People may be now constantly watching their back when they are around, being very careful, not much supportive. And then these publicly isolated people hardly survive on the top in the long-term.
The road to success is the high road. The commercial world is tough. Unethical competitive wars are on daily agenda. Think twice before you engage in dirty stuff.  It can have negative effect on your personal brand. It is much wiser to stay true to yourself and your ideals. And to make yourself an attractive valuable BRAND instead.
P.S. How to make yourself a VALUABLE BRAND - see my previous blog.
P.S. Stay tuned for the next week thought: "Vulnerability As An Advantage in Business"

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, quoted in the July 21, 2008 issue of Fortune: “The hardest thing about being a leader is demonstrating or showing vulnerability. And that has a lot to do with trust. ..When the leader demonstrates vulnerability and sensibility and brings people together, the team wins.” 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Are YOU an Attractive and Premium Brand?

What do people think and feel when they see you? What words come to their mind about you? Be honest with yourself. Are you aware of it? Do you understand YOUR own brand?  Have you exploited in the past the opportunity to reposition yourself, to become a brand new and up to speed with the evolving social and professional environment?
Successful charismatic people drive strong emotional responses from us. We know what to expect from them which is why we remember them. They have built themselves based on core values linked to their unique life experiences. They have discovered what resonates with their souls, they have exploited their talents that they honor and rely on. They apply the branding rules for the brand of SELF.
Successful people understand that if they do not brand themselves, someone else will. Someone else may give them a label that they dislike totally. Authenticity, clarity, differentiation and consistency are the key to any career and social success. As trusted brands earn or loose customer loyalty, you can expect the same for the brand of YOU. The audience is watching and judging: your talents, your skills, your words, your actions and your style. Trying to create links to your core values and the real you person. It is rarely in a brand’s interest to “tell it all”. Sometimes the mystery around the brand can increase the interest.  
However it pays hugely to avoid cheating and misleading the audience. As we have seen from several women politicians during the last elections. They have sold their pretty faces and withheld afterwards to give the real job to the men behind them. They may be able to do it just once.
Business or politics are talent shows. We can never play with or cheat the audience in the long-term. We cannot provoke people just to get a reaction. Otherwise we get a label – “Unreliable”. Think of it twice also when you decide to play either the bad guy or the victim in the business. What effect will it have on your future?
Branding is an on-going never ending process. There is always a chance to control how you are perceived and to change YOUR brand.You just have to keep asking two questions: does your brand deliver on the expectations of your target audience and is this in line with your true SELF? The more these two answers match, the more strong is YOUR brand.
Because nothing is more positive, than if your brand is able to attract exactly those opportunities, that you want. Because your brand is able to inspire others.To differentiate yourself in whatever field you have chosen. To make you somebody people are attracted to.

Still not persuaded why should you bother to build a brand for yourself? 
Than try this one: Big Brands = Big Money!
P.S. Stay tuned for the next week blog on “Sabotages On Our Reputation, How To Protect the Brand Of SELF.”
P.S. I am happy to offer coaching to help people find the right tools to strengthen their OWN brand and to make themselves more attractive for the external world.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Last Steps Matter Most …

You have observed it many times around you during the elections or in the companies. People have seen themselves as winners of a position well before they have got it. They have promised their companions share on the future fruits of power. They have started to behave in their natural (arrogant) way being so sure they do not have to pretend anymore. They have overestimated their previous success and influence. They have seen things as they wanted them to be, not as they were.
The more sure they were about themselves the more harsh was the next day awakening into failure. They felt as victims of conspiracy. They felt it is not fair to them. Why it has to happen to them, when they have already lived their dream of a conqueror.
Life is in fact not so much about the fairness, rightness or the end goal achievement. Rather about perseverance and lessons learnt on the way forward. About focus on joy and adventure along the way. Having honorable target and honorable way to achieve it.
After initial success there are mostly no shortcuts. Rather a bumpy road with many curves. We are always under the test of our intentions, desire and courage. The moment of truth comes in a way of examination of what we have learnt on our way. Just before the dream is fulfilled. The life wants to give us a chance to master the new skills we have learnt. To better understand them.
Many people give it up right during this test. Right after the first signs of failure or any other setbacks. They become bitter and skeptical. They do not want to put anymore the energy into their dreams. They are afraid to overcome obstacles. They may be afraid of another failure. They may loose their confidence. Or they may be unclear if they deserve the success at all. The fear of suffering is mostly worse, than the suffering itself.
There are no fulfilled dreams without passing a road full of expectation, joy and pain  – all of that mastered with courage until the last minute. Don´t be afraid to desire more from your life. There is a bonus for you in the end. You will be much more rich because you have exploited things and areas that many others never will.
P.Coelho: "Do not forget that your heart is where your dream is. You have to make the dream reality, so that everything what you have discovered along the way starts to make sense."


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tough New Beginnings…

     Starting with something fresh new is very easy when we are children. We are exploring the adventures of life by practicing all over again the trivial skills, like learning to walk, learning to write. We are focused just on ourselves, being explorative, intuitive and creative. We are having happy smile on our face, not minding any setbacks.

     As we grow older the fresh new beginnings become more and more complicated, because we make them more complicated. We create stretched targets and strategies for winning. We accept only victories. We are afraid of setbacks. We process thoughts how to learn the new tasks quickly and efficiently as much as possible. We have a detailed plan. We push a lot. Despite the fact that these tools may be very useful at work, they are not always efficient in the real life.

     Take golf for example. Golf is a game most of us started to play as grown ups. Golf is typical example of a game of mindset. Pushing with enormous energy will not serve us good for learning. The success lays in psychology, more than in the mechanics. The more we are in balance with ourselves, the better we play.  Yes, we have to have a goal in mind, but the rest we need to put in hand of a good trainer and to our relaxed body, that is able to produce the natural swing. We just have to find the trace in our brain.
     There are no shortcuts to success. We can have our natural talent. But the skill has to be developed. The road to success is full of setbacks. When it seems impossible, when it seems like nothing is going to work, we are usually just a few millimeters away from making it happen. Millimeters? Because the propensity of the golf club may be just a millimeter away from the most effective shot.
     We just cannot give up. We have to go on. Find “our swing”. We have to remind ourselves of the smoothness and happy adventure code of our childhood learning. There is nothing like negative experience, only the opportunity to grow and discover the art of self control. The opportunity to discover ourselves.

     If we have the courage for a fresh start, we are given an opportunity to earn more personal strength and to discover bigger depth in our life meaning. We are given an opportunity for extending the boarders of our life.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Because We Always Have A Choice

There are times in life, when we are on top of happiness, on top of the world.  We collect winning awards for our job achievements, we are winning in sport, or passionately in love, or just enjoying time with our kids and friends. Smiling to everybody. Celebrating life.
As everything in this world wants to be in balance, naturally this happy phase is eventually transformed into time, when we have to deal with many challenges (Murphy’s law) at the same time. We are faced to restructure our inner believes, to find extra strength. We are at the crossroads.
   In the words of Bagger Vance (The Legend of Bagger Vance),  the down time may be quite provoking to start to move on, to rediscover the inner self: “Inside each and everyone of us is one true authentic swing… Something we were born with…Something that’s ours and ours alone… Something that cannot be taught to or learned… Over time the world can rob us of that swing. It gets buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas. Some folks even forget what their swing was like“.
   Some have to find themselves, their inner piece and harmony, by their own recipes. Others maybe lucky to be helped by mysterious caddies, like Judah in the film “The legend of Bagger Vance”. Judah’s caddy appeared mysteriously and encouraged Judah to return to golf, and when playing a championship, not to give up the most difficult shot, not to give up on himself.
   Bagger Vance coaching was about a “Game that cannot be won, only played. Because we always have a choice. We can stop. Or start. Walking. Right back where we have always been.”
   We are seldom alone. We have to look around and open up to help from friends or family, or even strangers. There is an urgency for us to come out of shadows.  Time to choose.  Time to give it everything. NOW! The next happy phase, on much deeper level, may be waiting for us in the most unlikely places … and at times when we need it most.
   All the big achievers have something great in common. They have never lost hope. They have never stopped pursuing their mission of life. Thus they have managed to change the world for the better!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Is Your Territory?

     If it was OK before for individuals to define themselves by their rank within a hierarchy, they are lost now, as the hierarchy is too big. According to Steven Pressfield, the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance, in his book The War of Art, stated that we have entered a period of Mass Society. The only option nowadays is to define ourselves through our connections to a territory. Only then we will know where we stand and thus we will find security. And the world will start to make sense to us.
In the hierarchical arrangements, very popular in Companies, large or small regardless, we compete against all others seeking to elevate self by advancing against those above, while defending own place against those beneath. We evaluate own happiness or success or achievement by our own rank within the hierarchy. Feeling most satisfied when being high and most miserable when being low. The personal crisis may start for somebody when he changes or looses his job, retires, gets ill. Some may think they have lost themselves. Feeling they are nobody. Instead of a state of depression they are being offered a wonderful gift – the chance to start to understand the principles of the Universe. They are being offered the chance to define their own connection to a territory.
If you are in doubt about your approach, imagine that you are all alone on the planet where a hierarchical orientation makes no sense. There is no one to impress. Are you still ready to pursue that activity? Stevie Wonder’s territory is the piano. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s the gym. What is yours?
It takes more effort to define THE territory, than to play the hierarchical game. A territory can only be claimed by work. A territory does not give, it only gives back. It returns exactly what you put in. A territory sustains us without any external input. Our role is to put in effort and love. The territory absorbs this and gives it back to us in the form of well-being.
The artists felt the need for territory thinking well before us, the business people. How long it will take this idea to penetrate the business world? Will it affect soon the approach of Companies and Brands to Positioning Statements? The Approach To Human Resources and Leadership Art?
Our job in this lifetime, as Pressfield well stated, is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it. We must operate territorially. Do our work for our own sake. And give ourselves courage and positive kick-off, e.g. by the words of Goethe: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

“They Can Try To Punish You, But NOONE Can Take Your Smile,…”

Heda Cechova
          …said Heda Cechova in a documentary film describing her life of a moderator star from the 50th and 60th and of a forbidden person afterwards due to her attitudes to communism.
I agree totally. I think we need to realize the value of a smile whenever things do not go right for us. It takes a lot of courage and internal strength. It takes a lot of self belief. Integrity is more important than instant fame or money. Giving up and going with the flow, as many do, is not the right option if we want to value ourselves. Our approach to short-term set-backs is what matters, as it can actually bring personal satisfaction and make us stronger. And as a paradox – to madness of the people who enjoy silencing others – this positive response sometimes drives immortality. Because the context changes. Like in the case of Heda Cechova, when the communist system has been broken to pieces, she was able to shine again. She will be always remembered for her approach to difficult situations, for the grace with which she used to handle life.
For somebody it could be suppression due to political reasons, for others it could happen at work environment or at home. For someone the challenge is related to health. If you decide to take this not easy, but in the end more fulfilling way, do not forget it helps to visualize the examples of people who have already taken this journey before you.

I personally could build my own strengths from family examples. My grandfather (died at 32) or my sister (died at 19). My grandfather was in a concentration camp due to his courage and approach to life, died in pain from lung infection, without support, but refusing to go to gas. My sister at the age of 14 diagnosed with uncurable cancer. She was the most positive and smiling person in this world until the end. 
Never forget that smile is contagious. Smile is powerful. Smile is catchy. We should never let others take smile from us.

Smile is contagious...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Positive Czech Service Culture Exists; It Just Takes Time To Find Examples…

One professional magazine was doing recently a survey about the level of customer service in the Czech Republic. Each of the participants was providing absurd negative stories from own life. Stories that were full of total exhaustion from the situation. Stories, that showed how some service providers lied or applied the power over the customer just because of their own interests.

It seemed that we all share the same experiences, just the people playing key roles change. Does it really have to be so?

I have a picture of few very interesting positive people who represent for me heroes in the area of customer service The good news is they live here with us. They did not disappear!

Like my hairdresser – she called me one Sunday just to let me know there is a director job opening. Or my dentist who did not want me to pay for the check-up and tooth cleaning because I did not have cavities (even though she does not co-operate with any insurance company).

Or a caretaker from a pension in Horska Kvilda in Sumava – she not only offered advices for trips in the surrounding, she offered home made food for the dinner, that was not part of the offering. She smiled all the time and always thought how she could make our stay even more joyful.

Or the Czech shop assistant from a fashion shop in Munich – she called me that she is going on maternity leave and that one of her colleagues will take care about me during her absence, fitting the goods and sending afterwards by courier for free from Munich to Prague to be perceived as normal standard.

These people have the same things in common. They care so much about you. They go extra mile. They listen and try to help. They smile, live at present and try to enjoy every minute of today despite of bad weather or other negative conditions. They share their joy with others. They keep unwritten promises and take responsibility if things do not go right. They put your benefit first and their profit only comes as second. They leave a very pleasant warm feeling after they are gone.

I admire them. I think they deserve increased visibility, and many more clones …

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Own Business Web Pages Just in Two+1 Weeks? Bellow 500$? Possible!

Spending 20 years in the big corporations co-operating with professional web designers and advertising agencies, I would never believe it myself. Of course the Company pages are always more complex, deeper, sophisticated. In their corporate standards a web pages project takes months, half-a-year, a year. Back and force with designers. Weeks fly easily. Though not when you take the hat of creator, decision maker and web master at the same time.

I was lucky enough to find a really supportive friend by coincidence. She is the established American Author, Photographer, Speaker -  Jennifer Lyn King (  I will be always grateful for her offer to spend with me few hours to show me the technical site of the web pages so that I could be able to create such pages on my own. She is inspirational person, thus no surprise that her answer how I can pay her back was simple in line with her positive thinking. “You just pass the knowledge further”.  Thank you Jennifer! This blog is my first attempt.
I was lucky enough to find a really supportive friend by coincidence. She is the established American Author. I will be always grateful for her offer to spend with me few hours to show me the technical site of the web pages so that I could be able to create such pages on my own. She is inspirational person, thus no surprise that her answer how I can pay her back was simple in line with her positive thinking. “You just pass the knowledge further”. Thank you Jennifer! This blog is my first attempt.

To find the “so called” friend, who is jealous and wants to put people down to increase his own self confidence should be no problem. I am sure you do not have to wait long and he/she approaches you with ”important topics” himself. Why he/she helps you to be successful? He amplifies your positive motivation. You will even more realize that you really want to do your web pages, you will put even more positive passion into creating them and you will put even bigger heart and urgency into what you are doing. Can you imagine their faces when you are finished, ready and successful?

Vision and mission of your pages is a must before you decide to create them. You have to put your heart and your personality into creating that. There has to be a bigger “something”, why you publish these pages. This vision helps you to structure the web pages flow, determines the keywords and most importantly – differentiates you from other similar businesses. If you do not have so many years of marketing experience, I would recommend you to look for a support from somebody, who can help you to formulate your thinking. Pages should not be just technically correct, but they should give look and feel about your business, about yourself.

Watch out – for just a little investment (120 USD annual fee incl. “.com” address”) plus small investment into the high resolution photos (from 25 USD for 5 pictures) from databank and if you really want to have it high professional, than also into logo (from 250 USD) - the attention towards you and your small business increases! Need an example? Just check the

Are you now ready for your own? for setting up a web page for setting up a blog  resp. for logo for high resolution photos

P.S. Just a clarification note :-). You are never ready with your web pages. They need your regular care and attention, not just with regards to design. Only attractive high frequency pages are full of news and regular updates.

Learning From The Legend: Perseverance And Passion Drive Fame

Mr. Jiri Suchy is the Czech legend. Film and stage actor, music writer. Owner and co-founder of the theater Semafor in Prague. Young in his heart, seasoned in age (79). Full of passion for life. Full of humor. Full of life time experiences. Full of set-backs in his early career. Mr. Suchy loves to share everything openly and with learnt self-confidence even in the artificial surrounding with Business people.

Warmth is the feeling he leaves behind. Honest and inspirational in description of his life path. As a youngster desperately wanting to become a stage actor, not minding being fired from several theaters for his lack of acting skills. Being shy and defensive, but continued to dream. Dreaming of his vision to own a theater. For becoming famous. For being able to entertain masses of people. Sharp contrast to his that time skills and feedback he continuously obtained from his close relatives and friends, from his professional peers and theater critiques. He listened but did not mind to go on. Put a full passion into his dream. Took the shame for several years of negative experience positively. Practiced hard. Kept faith. Became stronger. Clarified for himself his life values and desires. Became even more assured the battle is worth fighting. And several years later, when he had slightly nostalgic day and persuaded self the time is right to give up on his dream and only at that time his dream unfolded itself. The RIGHT AND BIG opportunity appeared.

The Legend started to shine. And will shine for ever now.