“Make an impact that matters”
Despite the freezing weather and melancholic mood, so typical for the Czech winter period, Diana Rádl Rogerová never ceases to smile. Cuban blood in her veins explains that only to an extent. What counts much more is her personal determination and her attitude that she does not allow her energy to be sucked out. She destroys the myth about people in audit not being fun to be around and she claims that audit has to be sexy even for the clients. She shares openly the fact that she does not want to have the position of Managing Partner in Deloitte forever because she is always interested in trying out new things. As part of her childhood dreams, she tried ballet, and during adult years she was pursuing singing. Currently, she is looking forward to start playing piano and dreams about playing a grand piano in public premises one day. On the top of her demanding work, she is also raising a son. Even though she has most likely given a dozen of interviews, after assuming her new role, she did not forget to thank me and mentioned she had enjoyed talking to me.
You have been appointed to the position of Managing Partner in Deloitte after working for Deloitte for almost 21 years. How has the company changed over the two decades and how have you personally changed?
Well, speaking of such a long employment history in one company, I tend to remind myself of experts claiming that after so many years spent in one company, a person is not suitable to join a labour market again. (Particularly when I carry out interviews or when I read articles.)
On the other hand, the company itself has changed significantly. When I joined Deloitte in 1996, it had 50 employees, now we have 900. I like to tell my son, who is used to playing on IPad since early childhood, that in the beginning we had no computers. Audit and taxes represented the main specializations in that era. Today, we are mainly consultancy driven. It is the very specialization on consulting that allows us to create an environment where everyone can find and develop their own talent. This is also the reason why I have stayed in one company for so long. There are not many companies allowing employees to try various spectre of activities and have the opportunity to change tasks or even industries. Gradually, I have gained experience in finances, real-estate, audit, be it on the level of the Czech Republic or even the regional one. There is an enormous extent and level of the knowledge present in the company. That is what keeps me here. I am still with the same company but I’ve done so many different things over the time. By the same token, I cannot imagine being on the position of Office Managing Partner forever. I believe that such positions should rotate due to the fact that each person brings a new drive and innovation. I love changes and trying out new things. The other thing that keeps me here is the environment that allows to make mistakes. Our inner position in the company equals to us wanting to achieve A levels; however, in order to get there, we sometimes need to make mistakes. I also had the opportunity to work for a client when I was seconded from Deloitte to join “Všeobecná Úvěrová Banka/ Bank of Intessa”- I regard the opportunity to get a client’s perspective quite essential and therefore I support such opportunities for my colleagues as well.
Deloitte is known for a friendly atmosphere…What else makes you different?
Friendly atmosphere is most appreciated and also mentioned by colleagues who have been at Deloitte for a while. My principle is not to slander our competition. Therefore, I never claim that my services are better than theirs, since I am not a client who can make such a statement. I am not interested in comparing myself to competition, I am interested in bringing different services. And it is the use of technologies that makes us different. With the technologies one should not only understand consultancy work with regard to projects implementation. We have also begun to use technologies in audit and tax, so clients are having more fun dealing with the mundane tasks. One would not be interested in mere invoices cross-checking for a longer period of time. Our group of partners invests a lot of time and energy into thinking how to make such work more “sexy” and how to bring additional value to our clients. I am proud to say that some of our technological tools developed in Prague will be introduced on a global level. We try to have a mind-set that would be based on a difference with regard to the use of innovation and technologies. Our Global CEO Punit Renjen claims that it is not our sub-brand Deloitte Digital that matters but the reality that we want to become “Digital Deloitte”. The world is changing and so are we. Therefore, we want to become an undisputed leader with respect to the use of technologies. Since we are discussing changes, I would like to mention the speed that has been steadily increasing due to which we need not only young people and their drive, but also general knowledge and calmness of senior partners. I am myself inspired while talking to our French senior partner Frederic Maziere who is willing to share his career journey with me. It not only interests me but also fills me with energy. I have the overall tendency to look at the bright side and not to have my energy sucked.
Let us now look at the bright side of the upcoming generation of the workforce, the generation Y or the so called Millennials. It seems that they are quite an enigma to many – to HR experts, managers, training and development professionals and in fact, to all of us as parents.
This generation is truly different. I do not think that it is the values that are different, it is rather the life style. My Cuban ancestry confirms to me that it is their lifestyle that is better. You often hear that there is a different attitude in Spain or Latin America but it is not true. People work a lot in these countries, however differently. I have nicknamed this generation as a Latin generation and I respect the fact that they need to manage time so they can do other things than just work. I believe that most of us want that as well; however, we are not used to sharing it openly. That is the essential difference. New generation is not afraid to ask. The disadvantage is that they often ask for many things at the same time. But that is our fault since we are the ones raising them. We give them a lot, too much. And we commit one more mistake, we are being protectionist. Therefore, young people demand independence on one hand, however, they also demand being led and supported on the other hand. In reality, independence is not possible without responsibility. This statement only brings me to my previous claim that the young ones are just mirroring the way they were raised.
So what elements do you perceive as essential for the efficient leadership managing various generations?
I see three factors. The first one, flexibility, was already mentioned. The second one is the trend encompassed by the English term well-being. Such trend is not only about a permanent smile but about satisfaction at work, the feeling of belonging somewhere. Deloitte fulfils all the conditions. We have never created any hierarchy, people communicate freely, we have never paid attention to differences between an assistant and a partner of the company. Naturally, our responsibilities differ. The third factor is represented by the environment that allows people do develop and to fulfil their potential. For me, people always come first. Whenever you take care about relations, the results in terms of figures will follow. Allow me my personal remark with regard to diversity and different leadership style as to men vs. women. I personally feel that women have bigger tendency to connect to the company and to bring about the culture change. Men are more efficient with regard to dramatic changes or crises. Currently, in Deloitte, we mainly need to connect in order to be more flexible and use the synergies. Simply, each period needs a different leadership. This is also linked to the fact that we should not consider a step aside or leaving a position a failure or a negative trend. On the contrary, even faster rotations on the position of Office Managing Partner will be beneficiary, since every newcomer will bring a new vision and energy.
You have mentioned personal well-being, so how do you walk the talk?
I stick to two basic rules. Whatever I truly want, I manage. Everything is about priorities. The second rule is that nothing has to be perfect. I know that I want to accomplish excellent work but I also know that not hammering out the last unsubstantial detail will not bring the world down. Perhaps others will even not notice such a minor omission. I am not a fan of perfectionism. I enjoy doing sports, skiing, running, biking. Every weekend I go to the mountains in Harrachov, downhill skiing and cross-country skiing. I run four times per week, last year I was running almost everyday. I am supported at home. I still believe that two-career marriage is possible but respect and true division of household chores must be at the heart of it. I successfully managed to find a husband who understands all of the above. Despite the fact that he has his own career and business, we share household duties and also child care equally. Many men in the Czech Republic are quite indolent so they offer their wives to stay at home to take care of children and the household. Even though I love my job, I would quit should my family suffer. Such perception gives me the oversight and makes me calm.
What about men? Do you find that they are also concerned?
I believe I am lucky being surrounded by nice people. I know many men who deal with such issues seriously. In Deloitte, we have two partners who took a half a year sabbatical leave to take care of their family. As the saying goes, “birds of a feather, flock together”. Either I have attracted them or they have attracted me. This brings us back to the issue of flexible working schemes not only for women but for all those who need it. The fact that I do not see any differences in Deloitte, does not mean that I do not perceive some stereotypes harming women in a Czech society as a whole. It is partly due to the culture and partly due to the fact that women are reluctant to ask for many things, particularly support of any kind. They rather perform tasks on their own than asking for help. But even this is changing, to some extent thanks to foreigners who come to live here. The world is changing, and so are we.
Your motto is: “Make an impact that matters”. In Deloitte, you support women, charity, design…Is there a common denominator to all these activities?
Our aim is that people perceive that it is not only the world of business that matters. The role of business is to support other projects. In case you are successful, help others be successful too. It is not about different worlds, but communicating vessels. It leads us to the concept of creative out of the box thinking, when you do not think about yourself but also about others.
The above mentioned projects are fulfilling, give us energy and we have fun while contributing. It is beautiful to support arts or charity. We do not mention it publicly, because we support charity in order to give it support and not to talk about it. Values that you support are translated into business directly, for example in the form of ethical business. The support of art is directly linked to innovation that I have already spoken about. Art is always innovative, since it gives you chance to view the world differently.
We meet at the beginning of 2017…What do you wish others?
Satisfaction. It is a simple answer, as long as you are satisfied, everything is possible.
By Linda Štucbartová