What's at home, counts.
Last week I visited Prague for the first time, experiencing the wonderful cultural aspects of the Czech Republic; most notably the architecture, food and its people. Under communist rule for over 40 years until after the Velvet Revolution (November 17, 1989), this historically noble city embraces it’s past to highlight cultural values and create a compelling reason to visit.
At ISCG we speak to organizations all the time about the impact a workplace has in supporting and influencing corporate culture to attract and retain employees and enhance customer experiences. It was with this mindset that I experienced Prague, a culture-driven city that delights visitors and celebrates its community and history while embracing the future.
Prague’s historical city center of 3.34 square miles is listed as a UNESCO World Cultural & National Heritage site due to its numerous architectural interests. Striking buildings with consistent red tile roofs and green copper spires anchor the majestic Prague Castle along the Vltava River. This beautiful city served as a model of urban development for much of Central and Eastern Europe, and although wars, fires and floods devastated certain areas, most has been preserved. As the former Capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Prague Castle complex is the largest in the world, with beautiful gardens, palaces and courtyards for local dog walkers and interested tourist to enjoy together. Thankfully, Prague does not have the classic Soviet bloc look that so many ex-Iron Curtain cities have which helps support the “fairytale” brand.
Communism greatly limited the cuisine options in Prague because not much was readily available, and restaurants had to follow a strict communist cookbook. Vegetarian options focused on fried cheese, cabbage and potatoes. When markets opened, so did Italian restaurants because it was inexpensive and provided new flavors and delicious options. Today chefs are embracing traditional Czech cuisine that attract “foodies” from around the world. Check out Taste of Prague to learn about fabulous chlebicek, an open-faced sandwich, or the steak tartare and sausage at specialty butcher shops. Of course, they remain proud of their Czeck beer culture, claiming over 800 pubs in which they drink more beer per capita than any other country. Pilsner Urquell remains a staple, prominent even in breakfast cafes and is cheaper than soda!
Prague is one of the cleanest and safest European cities, which infers that the inhabitants take pride in their heritage and preservation of their home. We found everyone extremely friendly and focused on an awesome customer experience. Embracing their pre- WWII roots, and dismissing the cold attitudes under communist rule, Prague people are welcoming and creative with egalitarian principles.
Are you struggling with wanderlust? Traveling the world can provide real life examples of how easily people can adapt and even welcome change. People have the great ability to embrace and appreciate history while making way for new and exciting traditions and the Czech are a great example of that. Don’t be scared to invoke change in your own life; be it taking a big step, experiencing a workplace culture shift, or traveling the world.
I’ll leave you with this phrase I learned last week: “Co je doma, to se počítá”, which translates to “What's at home, counts”. No matter if you are a multinational company or a mom-and-pop small business; what’s at home counts. Your values, brand and culture are all on display at home – what does yours say about you?