I would like to be a painter - main image
December 3rd, 2016 by Ida Banek

I would like to be a painter

Founding a new company usually means starting with a blank canvas. It takes a dream which can be realized through a strong vision, new resources and solid experience.  

My experience results from a rewarding and enjoyable HR career. Being lucky to spend almost 20 years of my corporate life in visionary and successful organizations, I had the unique opportunity to learn something new every day. Diversity of roles, colleagues, geographies and challenges throughout that period shaped the person I am today – both in private and the business sphere. I came to be a knowledgeable and respected professional and most of all an authentic leader.

Looking back at this period in my life with a warm feeling in my heart, there are also aspects I would have liked to work out differently. Many HR colleagues around the world will understand my mixed feelings. Over the past years, it has been extremely challenging to be a leader in a function that has earned little credibility. Titles in reputable magazines suggest that it is time to blow up HR and build something new. These articles may be best sellers, but they provide little understanding and explanation of what the simple and actionable solutions should be. When things are rosy in the organization and outstanding results are delivered at the end of a fiscal year, everyone will praise the brilliant strategy that was realized through dedicated sales teams in line with the strong leadership vision. The hard work that support functions have dedicated to sustain those results usually goes unnoted. Yet, the moment things become tough in business, when results are below the level of shareholders’ expectations, when cost savings need to be realized, when employees start losing motivation and when engagement needs to be created, the HR function is blamed. Blamed for a lack of proactive thinking, for over-resourced teams and outdated tools, inadequate for what the business really needs. Yes, the HR function over the past 10 years may partly have missed the opportunity to innovate and significantly transform itself through its core processes and capabilities. Nevertheless, I am eager to reinforce the value this function adds to organizations, its employees, and specifically the value it has brought into my life.

At times of anger for lack of resources or loss of trust in my own ability to drive the massive change within my HR teams, I did not realize how much those challenges were building the grit in me. The resilience to keep going in difficult moments and the tenacity to stay the course when pressure rose on the steepest roads. The courage to speak up and the determination to reach my and the companies’ goals however far away they may seemed. It was those tough moments that provided the most valuable outcomes in my career up to now – it’s where I gained profound business experiences, proved myself professionally and most importantly where I discovered to have grit. The passion and dedication to close assignments successfully and to follow my long-term aspirations. 

After years in corporate HR and international companies, this grit in me became hungry for a new challenge in my life. I was unhappy with the impact I was making in the corporate HR space. I also felt I was not making use of the full potential to create sustainable business value. It was not only time for an incremental change, but time for a true transformation in my professional life. It was time for me to start painting a new picture on a blank canvas, based on a vision that had time to form throughout the past years.

I am a problem solver. A person that generates new energy from challenging situations. My passion is to help people resolve their issues, support and coach them in their difficulties and to find simple and lasting solutions for their major concerns. Over the past years I realized that corporations struggle to find efficient solutions for Talent Management, where Leadership Onboarding is one among many examples. These talent challenges are universal across continents, industries and organizational set ups, but each require a fresh look and tailored approach for resolution. Luckily, the digital area has not only brought smarter tools to us to support business needs, but numerous opportunities to build a better, more innovative and socially responsible future. The grit in me is driving me to explore these exciting new routes I was not able to follow in my corporate roles. With my HR knowledge and the improvement potential in sight, I aim to create new tools, insightful contents and engaging platforms to develop emerging leaders.

When I shared the dream about launching my own company with my friends and family, everyone raised the same question: “Why, as an established HR leader with a good career, would you take such a risk?” When I shared my vision of painting on a blank canvas with them, it raised even more eyebrows. My friends know that I am literally untalented when it comes to painting. Yet, this fact only reinforces my personality and the metaphor of being a painter. I am packing myself to start the journey towards an inspiring destination. I am fully aware that the road ahead of me is steep, slippery, and curvy. But I know I will enjoy these challenges and become even grittier. 

With a powerful vision, extensive experience and very talented people in my team, I know I can rely on the grit in me to steer the brush in my fingers while creating the memorable and inspiring new painting. Life is too colorful to be kept in black and white.

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