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Succeed. These few letters on paper fire up anyone working in the business world. And each one of us wants to see the fruits of their labor visible in numbers at the end of the year. Then again, how do you measure the success of business leaders? Can success really be measured (only) in profit, capital returns, market position, share values if they are quoted on the stock exchange, and other financial indicators? Or do we need something else to identify whether we are on the right track?

If you want to be able to boost and consolidate your achievements over the long term, you need to get back to the basics and ask: Why or for whom are we here, and who will lead the company to success or help us maintain our position? The answer in both cases is really simple – people: our associates and our customers. If we can convert this answer easily into numbers or indicators, for instance NPS (net promoter score) and an organizational vitality score, then a new question arises: How can you achieve the satisfaction of both groups of people so that these indicator scores are not just good, but a real identifier of success?

In this case too, it’s good to start with the basics. The things that indicate how cultured we are as individuals. In other words, a sincere morning greeting. And mindfulness for other people. With persevering but understandable and patient sharing of planned objectives and an explanation of how to achieve them. With guidelines to help colleagues who feel unsure in carrying out day-to-day duties or one-off assignments. With cooperation and support for ideas and activities of the staff team. With firmness and decisiveness when you need to stand with colleagues and customers, and with flexibility and responsiveness when changes arise that demand adaptation.

If you can be relaxed and genuine in this, it won’t undermine your professionalism. Moreover, this will in fact even enhance it, and will help propagate the shaping of an open, development-oriented and agile culture across the entire company. For leadership begins by example – of those highest up – and this then trickles down through the entire organization. Based on the example of the highest members of the organization, other employees are ready to offer colleagues and customers at least the same respectful, friendly and open approach that seeks the best solutions, and to present in the same way the company’s service or product. Only then can we see at the same time the flourishing of other activities intended to build a working environment that offers employees all the essential tools for dealing successfully with various challenges.

The fact that this is a tried and tested formula, which is established in different markets even in unstable and challenging times, when there is constant change and we are faced with a global pandemic, is confirmed for me by my more than 20 years of experience working with the biggest financial and insurance group in the Adriatic region, a group with more than 120 years of history. Only healthy and satisfied employees for whom the company cares responsibly at all levels, including through appropriate interpersonal communication, will give their full dedication to getting the best results. At the end of the year, their efforts can be seen in all segments – including the financial indicators.

So at the beginning of 2022 I wish above all for you to lead by example, in a way that genuinely reflects your own sense of interpersonal culture and thereby promotes the development of the company’s culture in which the employees will feel respected and have a sense of their own worth that will bring out their dedication to new successes going forward.


Mateja Geržina, Executive Director for HR, Zavarovalnica Triglav