PETR SKONDROJANIS: I do not tie business or people to rules, I only give direction

Petr Skondrojanis is one of the most famous Czech faces of the Human Resources. He wants to teach companies how to create good company culture and respect their employees. What does he have to show for it? He has founded Cocuma, Kariérní pouť, Cultmag, Cult Talks as well as organized the talk show Culture Rocks. To manage all this, he does not sleep very much and watches countless news sources. A number of people have asked him about HR reform and company culture. We were curious about what kind of boss he is, what people he surrounds himself with, and what mistakes he has learned from the most.

What kind of people do you want around you in your work?

I always had a guiding principle that I was looking for people who are smarter than me and can teach me something. In my projects, I give a certain amount of direction, but at the same time I respect the expertise of my colleagues. For example, I will not tell my colleague how he should take pictures, because I know I am not good at it. I like people who have expertise, know their value and can enrich me.

Where do you look for such people?

These people are all around you; just go to conferences, meetups and follow people on social networks and see who Jirka Rostecký interviews in Mladý Podnikatel or who appears in Red Button, No Pitch Party and TEDx. It is essential to build a personal brand that creates a network of people who connect you. If you work on your brand, the network will grow steadily. It is a natural process. For example, at the age of fifteen, I ran away from home and was living on the street, so for me, a community is the basis for survival – whether they were squatters or people with whom I was working in a company.

What factors most defined your development?

The fact that I have always tried to overcome boundaries. According to a Gallup test, I have no potential to translate ideas I’ve come up with into reality, while Cocuma (Company Culture Market) is a completely realized project, so I’m always out of my comfort zone. If I was not aware of it, I would probably get some serious illness and break down. By knowing it, I accept the burden and benefit from it. I’m trying to create projects that get all of us out of our comfort zones. I know we’ll learn a lot from them and we’ll develop.

Skondr_cocuma

How does Cocuma work?

We are nine freelancers who still do not have an office and are not bound by any structure, so we are developing ourselves. People bring good ideas and I try to encourage them to work on our common goal. Everyone has freedom to do what they need to. My colleague Petr Vágner, who takes photos and makes videos, works for Cocuma clients, which would not happen in a normal company. I care that people understand the idea, the content and some principles that we have in our projects, but I do not need to organize the people, and I do not even want to.

When you have such freedom, what is your workflow?

We primarily work on Slack, where we have different channels according to projects. When a new profile is made on Cocuma, people get a message to stay in the picture. Once a month, I write an internal blog about what we’ve done, why we resumed cooperation with someone or why we’re hiring a new person. I try to inform people and be honest. We work agilely – we have been doing something one way; what if we tried to do it differently? People around me understand why they are in the project and what it brings them. They perceive the success of the whole project as their own.

Does it happen to you that you make mistakes when working with people?

(laughs) I am not good at cooperating with people. In some cases, I am very individualistic, and it is difficult for me to react to others’ opinions when they differ from my convictions. People around me know that my weak point is that I do not care for results, but that things are done. Besides, I’m also chaotic – I cannot manage a company, handle administrative tasks and negotiate terms. I am much better at making up visions and ideas. People around me suffer a bit, but at the same time I’m a man who respects people and likes people, and when I choose them, it’s a commitment for me.

You can continue reading this interview on the UP21 blog

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