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News: Straight questions for the owner

Text: Jaroslav Drahoš | Original source photos: Lukáš Duspiva / AI modifications: Vojtěch Kaleta

First of all, thank you very much for asking me your questions. I will try to answer them all one by one, so don’t despair if yours doesn’t appear in this issue. I firmly believe it will appear in some future Finidrak.

So let’s start….

What is your idea of an ideal holiday?
I prefer, and that’s why I look for, an active holiday. I don’t like passively lying on a sun lounger by the sea or staying in holiday resorts that are the same or at least very similar all over the world. I like to get to know new countries, nature and people who live there. That’s why I usually prefer to travel with a backpack on my back. We simply buy air tickets to the desired destination and usually rent a car there. We arrange our accommodation on spot we end at and we usually don’t sleep more than two nights at the same place. I find this way of spending a holiday hugely recharging. What interests me is mainly nature, mountains, natural parks, but I also like historical monuments and modern cities. Another option is a holiday on bike or boat and ideally a combination of both.

What was your most remote destination you have cycled to and what is your “top” cycling experience?
Probably the strongest experience, which is hard to beat, was downhill bike ride the so-called “Death Route” – Death Route in Bolivia. We started our descent at 4,777m and finished in a valley. I’ve written about it in one of the previous issue of Finidrak, it was a truly incredible experience that burns itself deep into your memories. But we don’t have to go that far. Every year I meet up with friends in Jedovnice, near the Moravian Karst, where there are wonderful bike trails that can be refreshed with adrenaline trails, which is also an unforgettable experience.  Of course, as you get older and experienced some crashes, you are getting more cautious and want to get back in one piece, if possible.

Do you have any hobbies that you relax with, apart from sports? And since when have you been doing it?
Time is desperately short, but when the weather is nice, I like to spend it actively outdoors. However, when I can’t get out, my big hobby is listening to music. I like to take the time to listen to a vinyl records, which, thanks to its analogue sound, is still the best source of music. I don’t have a particular musical direction, but I don’t mind brass bands and American country music. I am a rocker in heart, but I listen to the rock music mainly in the car. On vinyl I have mainly blues, soul, jazz and also classical music. Listening to vinyl records is a ritual that allows me to stop for a moment and break away from the craziness going around us.

Is there going to be a Christmas party this year? When is the 30th anniversary party for FINIDR planned for?
There will be no Christmas party this year. We are preparing for 2024, when FINIDR will celebrate its 30th anniversary. To celebrate this anniversary we are preparing a big common garden party in June 2024. The preparation of any such event is very demanding. I believe that the chosen venue, the prepared program, and your interest above all will create worthy conditions for the celebrating our great anniversary.

Why don’t we have a printed polish and english version of Finidrak?
The preparation of our newsletter is beautiful, but also extremely demanding. I would like to thank to all team members who have been involved in the preparation of our newsletter for a long time. It takes dozens of hours that individuals spend on its preparation. This enormous effort is then rewarded with another printed issue of “Finidrak”. However, Finidrak is not just about graphics and photos, but it is also about bringing lot of important information and about life in the company.  It educates and directs readers to the areas that are important to us. That is why we decided to create an electronic version in two languages (Polish and English) along with the printed version, which contains all the information translated into these two languages. New technologies make this possible and everyone can use these nowadays. As we still want to improve, you can find QR codes with links to the complete electronic versions of the newsletter in each issue.

Are you good with modern technologies or are you struggling with it? And what do you do to improve your skills?
It is a burning question. When I started to work, messages were sent exclusively by post, large companies had so-called telefax. Much more later information, contracts and letters started to be sent by fax and first then a few years later by email. It is an incredible progress that mankind has made in the last 30 years, and not just in this area. There are a lot of things I know, a lot of things I’m learning, and a lot of things I have to learn yet. Thanks to the internet, an incredible amount of information is available at a click or two, but only some people can use it to increase their knowledge and put it into practice. This is something I think I’m good at, and I have to say that it’s much easier now than before when running around libraries, looking for available information in various places.  I’m trying to keep up with modern technologies and I also try to look for ways in which it can help us. It’s not always easy and honestly, they are rarely cheap.

What is your opinion on AI? Will it displace any of our current work positions in the future?
The development of AI is really incredible. I find the dynamics of that progress terrifying. I believe it can support and help us in many ways. I don’t think the development of AI will have any major impact on existing positions in our company. There will certainly be changes, just as there have been in recent years, perhaps they will be faster, perhaps AI will increasingly steps into areas that have been the domain of humans exclusively. It will be up to the humans decision only, whether the development of these technologies will help the mankind for the better, or whether the technology will be abused. In this case, of course, the use of artificial intelligence could do considerable damage. I hope that the catastrophic scenarios of some science fiction films do not come true.

What was your summer job when you were a teenager?
I did a number of part-time jobs on high school and college. Of course, money was a big motivation, but the fact that I learned something new and met interesting people was also important. On high school, it was mainly work in the forest and in the forest plantation. At the same time I helped at the butcher’s shop to process and cut meat. I learned how to cut beef and pork cheeks. Cutting the meat and preparing it for further processing or for sale. The experience of selling Christmas carps was also interesting. At university  I went to Vítkovice and worked mainly on night shifts in the hot traffic. Cutting red-hot stainless ingots was a great experience and a great life lesson, when several pairs of shoes were damaged. It was also quite strange at the time that after graduating from university and starting work, I earned significantly less on my main job than a temp at school.

How important is the teamwork in achieving the goals of our strategy?
Teamwork plays a key role in delivering our strategy. Our success is based on our people and teamwork. Team spirit and mutual respect between team members are important. The qualities that make a team great are:

1. communication

2. trust

3. team’s responsibility, that creates and support individual responsibility

4. care

5. pride

Each team member can contribute to the successful accomplishment of the goals and to the improvement of the above points. However, leaders at all levels of the company play the key role.

If the leader has such a major influence on the team’s performance, what should they be like and what should they do to make the team better?
It is not easy to define what means to be a good boss.  At the same time, it has to be said that we all are different, and everyone is comfortable with something different, prefers different ways of communication and leading. We are one team and if we want to succeed, we must pull together.

 If I try to define a good boss, I would picked out these five points that I think every “boss” should have in order to be able to lead his team and make his team successful.

1. He has natural authority – what is said, is done. He demands the same from the others. If someone makes a mistake, he can understand it. He doesn’t tolerate slackers. He always treats people with respect, and they are happy to pay him back.

2. He provides people with space – the basis of his character is a healthy self-confidence. But this is supported by his knowledge and constant improving of his working skill. He trusts not only himself, but also he relies on skilled people in his team. He doesn’t think he has a patent on intelligence. He doesn’t push his own opinion through only but gives people freedom and space to express their opinions too. He knows that this is how new ideas and improvements are created.

3. He knows how to praise and appreciate – if the praise is appropriate, he is happy to show it, but at the same time he is not over-acting, because he knows that people would see through such “comedy” anyway.

4. He plays fair, and he doesn’t play backstage games. He is honest with you. He is straight in his opinions and his arguments are always factual. You’ll never hear from him fake talk like, “Well, you know, I don’t like it either, but the top management approved it, so what can we do.” If he feels injustice, he has the courage to stand up for his people immediately. Nice is also that he treats all people in the same way.

5. He can admit his own mistake – a good boss always knows that he can make a mistake (like everyone else!)  or mess something up accidentally. Then he or she has no problem coming back to the people and apologize.

Who is responsible for implementing our strategy?
It is each of us, the whole Finidr team. No one can rid of himself of this responsibility. That’s why there are a lot of steps to make our strategy more accessible and understandable. The important thing for us is to be able to put it into practice. Of course, much of the responsibility lies and will always lie with the individual leaders. But the successful implementation of our strategy is job for the whole team same as for each person. Here I would like to pick up on an extremely important definition of approach to life and all the things happening in it. The definition says: “Everyone is responsible for what they do in live, but then they are equally responsible for what they are not doing.”

What does it mean?
Especially the second part of the sentence is not understandable for lot of people or they just simply don’t want to understand. In daily life, an example that no one can question is that helping in a car accident where we are the first on the scene, we must help. If we decide not to it is crime and your act is punishable by law. Also, in our plant there are many things and activities that are not right and if it is not in your power to improve or repair them, you must at least be sure that your leader is aware of it. If he doesn’t want to listen than come to me. It’s in our common interest. I know it’s not easy, and sometimes it means finding the courage to step out of your comfort zone, but, please, do it anyway. It will help to all of us. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, once said a beautiful quote related to responsibility, “If you could kick the man who is responsible for most of your troubles in the ass, you wouldn’t sit down for a month.” I think this quote is not only very convincing, but also explains almost everything.


Your further questions don’t hesitate to send to: redakce@finidr.cz

All pictures in this article were created by using artificial intelligence.