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CEO’s Twilight in Prague

By Dennis Jones

prague-at-twilight

The news of disappointing employee engagement numbers had originally come as a shock for the new CEO, who had cut her teeth in the startup world. Back there, somehow everyone was imbued with a sense of mission. So what had gone wrong during her short-term at Krempe?

Before she could even mull the full implication of that question, let alone the answer, she’d been whisked away to Prague. Even before she had come on, Krempe had decided to invest resources into a Central European expansion with Prague as the flag ship.

Home to stable growth in the heart of Europe, the Czech Republic is a pretty certain economic bet in a world where those are few and far between. And its capital, Prague, is one of the few, truly historical, Medieval and Early Modern cities that you can only find in Europe. On her maiden trip to the new office, the CEO was simply blown away by the Gothic architecture. Well, Toto, I don’t think we’re in California any more.

Not exactly the worst backdrop to hear from a bunch of consultants that your staff is unmotivated, and that your coming onboard with energy and new ideas barely registered a blip. At least, the office Wi-Fi is good here. Unlike at headquarters, where it seemingly takes the length of time of the construction of the Charles Bridge to get online. And as for video conferencing. Forget about it. The quality couldn’t be worse. Try accomplishing anything in a short meeting with remote staff when half the time was taken up trying to get connected.

With that expectation, she’d been shocked, and relieved, that the meeting had actually started at 9 a.m. At 6 p.m. her time, she wouldn’t have been thrilled to wait an extra five to ten minutes before her staff could get the video conference bridge open.

At least, the meeting itself had been blissfully short (and surgical,) even if it left her head spinning. She wanted to head out and enjoy the city during the beautiful, twilight hours.

But alas, more work calls. Booked solid for the next two hours. And the next one, a debrief with the CFO who was out meeting investors. Another lost twilight, but at least, the office Wi-Fi was good here.