AmCham Slovakia

Making the connections between work and life

Success comes at a price. Business leaders face difficult decisions regarding demands on their time on daily basis. The responsibility towards their families and their employees makes them carefully consider each minute of their day. We want to know how they like to spend their time out of work, what inspires them and motivates them.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your professional and personal life?
(MH) COVID-19 has tested our flexibility of mind. It was and still is the crash test of how to survive the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) world. We‘ve had to adapt, change, reschedule things daily, and hop into the online presence for the new normal, which is super tiring after such a long period. The downside of the pandemic was a real lack of social contact among colleagues. But, on the other hand, paradoxically, in my personal life, it gave me time and opportunity to be with my family for a long time, which was very positive. 

Were you able to identify any positive side effects or opportunities resulting from the present situation?
(MH) I see time spent with the family as a very positive effect of the situation. Also, the lesson that something beyond our control with such an impact exists and we have to learn how to accept it or deal with it, was valuable to get things into perspective. 

What is the favorite part of your day and why?
(MH) It’s time after 10PM when everything gets quiet, and I can think, not think, read or reflect on what I experienced. 

Do you have any habits or routines that help you maintain your work-life balance and work well for you?
(MH) What works for me is ten minutes of exercise daily, time with my kids, learning new things, good food, not the amount but quality, and good coffee. 

What advice would you give to your 20-something-year old self?
(MH) I would advise myself to enjoy the present moment with my closest people and stress less about the future, performance and achievements.

What are the parts of your work that still excite you and give you motivation?
(MH) International collaboration and partnership building, creating plans and strategies for the future and bringing together creative solutions with clever people. Solving problems out of the box is still a very exciting part of my work.  

If you had to make a career switch, in what other profession can you imagine yourself?
(MH) At a younger age I could imagine a career in neuroscience. But, if we talk now, I would say I might get back to architecture and teaching or consulting innovation and strategic development. 

What book do you gift or recommend the most often and why?
(MH) Coherence or 4D Leadership by Alan Watkins, because of the clear concept addressing complicated topics of personal and organizational development. 

Can you name three sources you have recently learned from or have inspired you the most (e.g. people, books, websites...)?
(MH) My daughters are an endless resource of lessons and inspiration.

Last year, I installed the app Masterclass, but in general, all TED and similar formats are super inspiring if you know what to look for.

To add one more book - Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. 

What is your biggest fear for the generation of your children? What about the biggest hope?
(MH) The biggest fear is that they might have to deal with the irreversible situation with climate change or significant global conflict or disaster. On the more local level, the fear is that we missed and wasted the potential for change and that a big part of their generation would still have to migrate somewhere else for a better life.

The biggest hope is that they could be the generation finally able to come with the planetary leadership, inclusive and coordinated globally, considering the whole world.   

Michal Hladký, Director, Creative Industry Košice