1. What age do you feel right now and why?
I feel myself as 35 despite I will turn 44 this year. Because I tried to do a lot of sport with my young son, he keeps me in motion and motivated.
2. Which book are you reading now?
Now, I read the Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, and as you know I spent few years at Nike. Phil Knight established the company in 1972, he just wrote the book to share how he started the company , this is very inspiring and I just recommend to read it.
3. What are your top 3 favourite books and why?
Because I am very much influenced by the business, the first one will be the official biography of Steve Jobs, it is really an inspiring book, quick heavy book to read but I enjoyed it so much. The 4 agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Wisdom, by Don Miguel Ángel Rui. This is about people’s perceptions, and how sometime we judge people based on own opinion and perceptions. And this book taught me how I should treat better people. I also like very much books about Africa, I would recommend Zuzana Beranova -The last rhinoceros. She spent many years of searches in Africa.
4. What is your definition of elegance?
I will connect this about people’s behaviour. If someone is elegant, it is for me someone with nobles and certain aura. Someone with open mind and heart and good communication skills which makes this person attractive and maybe unique.
5. What are you the most passionate about?
From the sport perspective, I used to be a motorcycle racer and this is still in my heart. My family is what matters for me, my 3 kids, I love to be surrounded by my loved ones. On business side, I like very much my job, I like to be challenged, I like to do something which is not ordinary. So that’s why I spent few years abroad. Russia was not an easy going market, but I could find a balance there, the size of the business and the way we did the business there for Nike.
6. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
During my time at Levi’s I was in charge of 28 markets so I had extensive travels. But definitely Japan, a country I enjoyed so much, the politeness of the people there, their food and as well this tech aspect, their gadgets , shinkansen… And in Europe it will definitely be Lisbon in Portugal, very similar city with Prague.
7. If you could only keep 3 possessions, what would they be?
I should not say that but I will take my iPad because I like to be connected, also because I can read books with it. I can survive without the phone. The second thing I will take would be the first aid kit, just because I am very much family orientated and I want to care about people. And then, I would take some people but you ask for things… this is not easy…. So I will take the sun cream because I like the summer…
8. What is your philosophy towards your work, or role, or life?
My philosophy would be the one I used when I started to work for Rebook, when I opened the first 3 stores in Prague. At that time Rebook had a motto: life is short, play hard . But I would like to make it more: life is short, work hard and be fair. Work hard but as well enjoy life , we need the balance.
9. What do you worry about, and why?
- I would not say I am worried about many things, but obviously about health of my relatives.
10. Who has inspired you in your life and why?
I think this is connected to the books I mentioned like Steve Jobs. I like the way he established the business but of course, not everything from this knowing that sometime he used some kind of short-cuts. Allen Mask, shows me there is no finishing line. Some bosses inspired me as well in my life. I had the privilege to have few people who really inspired me. And still time to time I think what would be the steps that they would take if they are in the same shoes as me…
11. What was one of your most crucial moments in life?
I have few miles stones in my life, once you are up once down… But if I should mentioned few highlights, the first one would be when I started my own business as entrepreneur in 97 and during 7 years I built a network of stores and the second miles stone was when I sold this company to my supplier. And then each change in my job position were again significant because I always learnt something new, got new challenges. One major was my assignment in Russia, which changed my life by 180 degrees because I was during 2 years commuting between Prague and Moscow on a weekly base. And for the private life, the births of my kids and the responsibility this brought.
12. If you could witness any event of the past, present, or future, what would it be?
From the past I would like to see how I graduated at the University. Because it is really a big fog in my head about this period. I was so much focused to make it a success that I can’t remember… I want to see myself front of the exam comity and see what I said during that D day. To tell the truth, during the next 2 years after the exam I had regularly a nightmare that I didn’t succeed the final exam… and I don’t why, it was a success…
13. What are the 3 things you need, to be successful in your job, or role?
Number one is definitely the team. I need to have people who know their job, and in many cases they know the things better than me, and I like that. Second, the level of the trust is something I rely on, because without the trust there is no good cooperation among the team members. And the last one, the level of independency because it shows you your maturity in the way if somebody micro-manages you it means maybe you are not good for the position you have. Because if you want to start to make changes in the organisation, HR or business side you need to have some kind of level independency to make this transformation and changes. And this can be done within the boundaries and policy given by the company.
14. Is there a skill you would like to learn and why?
Right now, and because I work for a French company, I will say French language, because sometime it could be a big advantage although the official language we have is English.
15. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
This what my mother told me : when you work hard and grow in your career, always be nice and polite to the people you will meet because when you fall down, and this will happen, you will meet again the same people. And this something I am trying to apply to my daily life and work.
16. What does a perfect day look like to you?
For me, it will be a Sunday having one hour only for me, fixing ideas in my head. For that I will go for a run or the gym. Then, after that to have a good lunch with the family, to spend the afternoon having fun, sport and then to finish the day with a good glass of wine.
17. What cheers you up?
Definitely when I see people growing, when they are better managers, better employees, they develop skills they didn’t expect they could have or even when they were empowered to do things, they took the responsibilities and succeeded . This makes me very happy.
18. How do you define success and how do you measure it?
I think success should not be define or even evaluated by financial figures. I don’t believe this is the right approach. For me it is more on how you feel yourself, if your life is bringing you what you expected. If somebody is highly motivated to achieve the highest position in the company and sees it as the success, this good for him. If somebody sees the success by having a big family , good for him. So it is very difficult to define what success means as we are individuals and all different.
19. What part of your job would people find most surprising?
Because I work for a cosmetic company, there are areas which are still new for me. Before that I was always focusing on KPIs like price, colour, quality and so on… in this specific business I need to calibrate my nose because we are as well checking the smell to define product strategy. And this was my biggest surprise how the smell affect the results of the products we have. You can see a nice packaging , nice colour of the product but at the end the consumer decide base on the smell.
20. What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired?
I will go for a run, just with myself. But if I would be in big trouble, and the run wouldn’t help me, I will ask help to someone.
21. In which order (most important 1st) would you classify these 4 A-words: Accuracy, Acceptance, Achievement and Appreciation.
Acceptance, because you need at first to accept the challenge or the work. Accuracy, because you should make sure it will correctly be done. Achievement is the result of your work and Appreciation should come at the end as the outcome of the first 3 words.
22. How would you define leadership?
The leader is not a manager. Being a leader there is something extra, for me it is somebody people can follow and trust. For that the leader should be able to communicate a vision, and accept people at the same level and evaluate them the same way. And definitely, for my perspective I should be able to identify the leader when he is in the group. Usually there is some kind of chemistry, special feeling about the leader…