A day in Prague

The day I met the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic –

It was August 21, 2007 and I flew to Prague especially for a two-hour conversation with Andrej Babiš. It was about a position as managing director in one of his companies in the AGROFERT Group.

He did not become Prime Minister until 10 years later and remained so for four years. He was controversial, due to suspicions of subsidy fraud and because of his business with letterbox companies.

The conversation with him was initiated by a well-known German personnel consultancy. And for the preparations, I met his strategy consultant in a lobby lounge at Frankfurt Airport. Agreed distinguishing features of the consultant, whom I did not know, were his black suit, a notebook, and Agrovert advertising brochures in his hands.

It all felt strangely mysterious, but also exciting.

During my research, I found a piece of East German industrial evolutionary history. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, VEB Getreidewirtschaft Dresden became Agrochemie Handelsgesellschaft mbH before being integrated into the Czech AGROFERT Group.

A former combine („Kombinat“) has thus become part of a large corporation that is active in various areas of chemicals, agriculture and forestry and food production. The Babiš Empire.

For me, the conversation did not result in a career change, and yet I took important insights from it.

✳️ Trust your gut feeling and only do what you really want to do. The first time I came into contact with the entrepreneurial culture in a former Eastern Bloc country showed me that this is not for me.

✳️ Take every opportunity to broaden your horizons and see it as an exciting learning experience in the field of intercultural leadership and East German industrial history.

✳️ Enjoy the moment and this excellent opportunity to get to know Andrej Babiš personally. And then visit to Prague’s old town in the best August weather. Just beautiful.

Now that I have received the wonderful photos of the Pentecost trip from you, Silvia, in the WhatsApp messages, I know which destination will be entered in my travel calendar. Thank you for this inspiration.

➡️ And you? Which destination do you associate with work and pleasure?

I am Bernd Scharbert and my task as an advisor for executives and leaders is to accompany them in such a way that globally composed and intercultural teams have the opportunity to develop together as a team. If you are interested, please follow me at LinkedIn,  #Prepare4Landing or contact me directly.

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