Leadership Learning Purpose Retail Team effectiveness

How I thought through my next move

When you’ve been in retail for a while, you like the intensity it brings, the day-to-day execution combined with the long-term vision, the teamwork it requires, and the opportunities to learn and grow. That’s the thinking process behind this unexpected move.

Did you ever wake up after you had a bit too much to drink and promised yourself that you would never drink a drop of alcohol again?

Only to find yourself zipping from a glass of wine ten hours later.

Or you promised yourself never to be speeding again after a hefty speeding ticket, only to find yourself doing it again the next time you were in a rush.

For the record, I promised myself both.

Especially when I was younger.

There’s something to that song Old(er) and Wise by Alan Parsons Project.

But I’ve learned over the years to stop saying “never again.”

When I left corporate life and started working on my own, I looked forward to a new adventure, not thinking I would soon join a corporate environment again.

“Never again” was not part of my vocabulary, but I did set a few criteria that needed to be met to consider giving up my ‘freedom.’

These were my criteria:
  1. It would need to be retail.
  2. It would need to be an ambitious and growing company with a great leadership team.
  3. It would need to be based in Prague.
  4. The company would need to have an international footprint.
  5. Preferably an ownership structure that’s new to me. The dynamic of a listed company I know inside out.
  6. It would need to be a role that allowed me to continue to learn and grow.

If you know the Prague environment a little, you also know that only a handful of companies meet these criteria.

Not many internationally successful retail companies have their headquarters in Prague.

I guess you know what’s coming.

A company that meets all six criteria.

Today, Wednesday, September 1st., is the first day of a new journey.

I’m proud to be joining the Dr. Max Pharmacy chain as Group Chief HR Officer. Dr. Max is the third-largest pharmacy chain in Europe, based in Prague, Czech Republic, and operates 2300 pharmacies in 8 European countries.

I’m excited to now be one of the 16.500+ proud associates focused daily on improving the level of health care available.

In this post, I let you in on my decision-making process.

As a good friend of mine stated today over lunch when I explained my decision,

“I totally understand you made this decision. You can always go back to what you’re doing now, but opportunities like this may not present themselves that often anymore.”

A good friend of mine

He hit the nail on the head.

First, I love what I’m doing at the moment.

I’m not running away from something; I’m running towards something.

I love the variety of projects, the people I meet, the ups and downs (yes, Covid was hard for a while), the freedom, and I’m also making good money with it.

In the last few months, I worked as interim head of HR for a company in Germany. That experience already made it clear that I missed being part of a team.

But it wasn’t retail.

And it wasn’t in Prague.

When you’ve been in retail for a while, you like the intensity it brings, the day-to-day execution combined with the long-term vision, the teamwork it requires, and the opportunities to learn and grow.

That was the thinking process.

Now we just must wait and see for reality to present itself.

I know there will be things I will miss, and I trust that what comes in return will offset that.

I would have missed the writing of my stories, but I will continue to write those.

I’ll keep you posted.

Your turn: what opportunities are there for you?

Do more of what makes you happy!


One reply on “How I thought through my next move”

Dear Erikjan,

Happy to read your thoughts above. And even more happy for Dr. Max that selected you to become their CHRO.
You will bring something additional to the team and I’m sure you will do great.
Have fun and if you’re coming to Belgium (on the way to Delft to visit Anna) know that you always have a spot to stay over.
But for now have fun and all the best.

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