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Author Adela Schicker: “Be brave enough to ask for feedback, and brave enough to be able to give it”

Brené Brown taught me my fifth lesson: to be brave enough to ask for feedback, and to be able to give it. To be both firm and accepting, and still be objective and kind. I had the pleasure to interview author Adela Schicker. Adela is a former model, a tech entrepreneur and a Partner at procrastination.com, […]


Brené Brown taught me my fifth lesson: to be brave enough to ask for feedback, and to be able to give it. To be both firm and accepting, and still be objective and kind.


I had the pleasure to interview author Adela Schicker. Adela is a former model, a tech entrepreneur and a Partner at procrastination.com, an international company providing self-improvement training and on-line courses in multiple languages. The company’s clients include Google, Microsoft, KPMG, Deloitte, Yelp, PwC, WeWork,T-Mobile, Siemens, L’Oreal, HP, Redbull and many others. Adela is a co-author of the book ‘The End of Procrastination’ translated into 17 languages.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It was a series of coincidences, a lot of traveling and hard work. I was raised in a family of scientists and always explored. The pivotal point for me was when I realized that a lot of us are doing our jobs without a real vision. I always focused on working as hard as I could without first understanding what I really wanted to accomplish. The moment I had a real conversation with myself about what motivates me and what my strengths and values are was the moment I started to understand what I have to do.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Our company is closely tied to our book, The End of Procrastination, so it was the moment I found an agent to publish the book in the U.S. It is now available in 17 other languages, including French, German, Russian, and Chinese, with more to come. Seeing our work become a reality and help people is priceless.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

Many companies provide training and workshops, but they lack practicality and information based on valid data. A lot of advice comes from personal practices: “this worked for us.” But all companies and people are unique. We transfer current scientific research into practice and base everything we do on three values.

The first is simplicity, because we want to ensure knowledge can be transferred simply and in an exciting way. The second, usefulness, ensures that our advice can be put to use right away, so that people have the necessary tools to improve their lives. Lastly, it’s science. There is a huge gap between what science knows and what people put into practice.

Are you working on any exciting new projects right now? How do you think they will help people?

I am working on a specific training on cross-cultural behavior and giving feedback. There are global companies with great visions and causes, but their teams have difficulty co-working and understanding each other’s backgrounds. In the past 20 years, I have lived in 11 different countries on four continents. This experience, along with behavioral science, enables me help others enjoy their work and learn from one another.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Be yourself. Honesty, authenticity, and kindness are well-received values. Finding your own leadership style is crucial to becoming a successful leader. I love Kim Scott’s book, “Radical Candor.” Scott describes the sweet spot where you can be radically honest, and care and help your employees grow. A lot of leaders, not only women, can learn how to be more forward when giving feedback and to speak more honestly with their teams.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My mother, a renowned neurologist and also the kindest and bravest person I know. During the tough communist era in Czechoslovakia, she managed to finish her medical degree while raising two young kids. She traveled alone to Japan to do her research in Tokyo while working as a ski instructor and always keeping a smile on her face.

After the regime changed, she started her own development company and grew it into a successful business. As a child, I saw her employees admiring her leadership skills. That was a new concept for me because I always thought of bosses as someone “on the top floor.”

She taught me a lot about bravery as well. She still does new things like jumping from airplanes, flying in hot air balloons, or even climbing one of the highest mountains in the Himalayas.

How have you used your success to bring good into the world?

Everything that we do is based on talking about values, meaning, and purpose with the companies and people we coach. We want to make our society more selfless and value-centric instead of money-oriented.

The things we do in life can be divided into two types of activities. The first are activities that you do just for yourself, including behaviors that ensure that your basic needs are met. We call them ego-1.0 activities.

Then there are selfless acts. These are things that you do for others, and not for yourself. We call them ego-2.0 activities. It is these acts that produce strong feelings — the emotions of meaning. Finding ways to include more of these ego-2.0 activities in your daily life and learning how to support and help others can increase your day-to-day happiness.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

My mother always told me to do what I want to do, to work hard, but be able to let go of things as well. Because of her, I become a model at 15 and was able to study around the world, and be brave enough to stand up and say: “Hey, I don’t mind that I am from a small country in Europe, I am as good as anyone else.” I want to empower others to let go of the old assumptions and boundaries we set for ourselves, so we can find our callings in life.

The second lesson is from my grandmother. She told me that the first time she felt old was at 74, which made me realize that I still have a lot of time to change the world.

The third is from my co-founder, Petr Ludwig. He helped me understand that the most significant praise and recognition is what we give ourselves. Learning how to not look for praise from others, but to instead be able to give it to yourself, and do so regularly, made me much stronger.

The fourth is from my colleague, Lukas, whose passion for critical thinking inspired me put my own into everyday practice. The World Economic Forum voted critical thinking as one of the key skills to have in 2020, and I could not agree more. It makes you a better leader and a better person.

Brené Brown taught me my fifth lesson: to be brave enough to ask for feedback, and to be able to give it. To be both firm and accepting, and still be objective and kind.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger

I want to bring more critical thinking into schools, universities, and companies; to help people work with the information they have and to deal with information overload. People should know how to find valid information and deal with fake news. The sooner in life we obtain this skill, the sooner we can start making better value-based decisions.

Can you please give us your favorite quote and share its relevance to your life?

The quote by psychologist Philip Zimbardo: “People in life do not regret what they did, but what they did not.” Not only we have the tendency to procrastinate, our biggest enemy is our own fear. Start with small steps. Work on your bravery, help others, and do the things you fear. You will see that with repetition, you can embrace almost everything. I have had the immense pleasure of meeting with Professor Zimbardo on multiple occasions. To see the extent to which he lives what he preaches inspires me every day.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

My passion for space exploration wants to say Elon Musk. But the other part of me that is always thinking about how to better help others says Michelle Obama. She is such an outstanding human being; her wisdom, authenticity, and kindness inspire me daily.

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