Paul Lyczek/ Honorary President of the Dance Vision World Foundation8 min read
The title of Honorary President of Dance Vision World is a total surprise for me! Ivo has a unique way of showing appreciation and that’s how he did it… I am gladly accepting it because I see how huge this thing is for him. Not accepting it would be simply “the wrong thing to do”.
Foundation is the hope for several people who I believe are involved in something they see as larger than themselves. Besides being a creative outlet and “good business” this vehicle has the potential to positively improve the lives of thousands.
Cooperation implies day-to-day activities… I see it more, as Ivo puts it, as The Godfather figure. I am out there somewhere like a ghost but monitor things and offer advice on a few matters occasionally. Very hands-off.
It would be wrong if I imposed rigid rules. This is a purely organic enterprise setting its own course. Any interference from my side will be rather detrimental. More than qualified people are running it so I just remain the biggest cheerleader and enjoy watching it grow.
Future plans include expanding activities and building a repertoire of projects to get Foundation’s feet wet in many places making its mark on the industry. I can’t wait for the first project to get off the ground! Due to the limitation of Polish laws governing events sponsored by certain cabinet offices, there will be some time before we venture into the “world” part of the name but it is only a matter of time.
Growing the network will be a priority by far but taking the project from the drafting board to the last curtain will be the measuring stick we track success.
1. How did you get into your profession?
2. How did you meet Iwo Pomorski?
3. What gives you the greatest professional satisfaction?
4. What, in your opinion, are the key qualities to be successful in any profession?
5. Do you have any advice for young people in your and other businesses?
6. How do you handle difficult people?
1. Pure accident! God’s finger. My truck broke down on the way to work on Sunday. I was over an hour late. If I wasn’t, I would have never met my German Brother from Another Mother, Andreas, who, a few years later, dropped on me the news that I need to start my own company so I can adequately represent them in the North American market. For a guy who never had any car trouble in his life, getting stranded on the intersection of two major highways with a ¼” hole burned in the truck’s computer was a traumatic experience! As I realized later, this was one of the extraordinary events tailored for me by The Almighty… Literally, the first job was another massage from God: My first official trip as SERVUS Lift Service, the company was not even 2 weeks old, we went to Jeep Chrysler in Toledo for 3 lifts and rebuilds right on the holiest of holy Easter weekend. What happened there was so unbelievable that I could not sleep for 3 days and wrote a long letter to the Bishop of Charleston recounting it. Still have a handwritten note from bishop Gugliemone….
2. Iwo and I are grade school friends from Boleslawiec. We grew up together for a few years living in the same neighborhood 2 doors down the street from each other. I caught up to him on FaceBook while looking up my boyhood friends from grade school. Recently I started looking for our bunch and what they are doing today and there he was! I was very surprised to see how well he polished up since he was 12 or 13 years old the last time I saw him. We re-connected just before Covid hit so I was immediately concerned as all public venues shut down with all the artists getting left out in the cold overnight. The automotive industry took it on the chin, but others feared it much worse. I had nothing to do and no place to go for 16 weeks in a row despite all the maintenance work we discussed with many of my clients.
3. Greatest satisfaction….? Making others happy… Either by forceful direct action or simply by the ghost-like, discrete intervention. Professionally, my common denominators are automotive assembly lines. They must go on. There, the goal is easy. All that is required is to make sure they move and there is a car spat out at the end of one every 1.5-8 minutes. I know I did my job when one or both things happen: The frantic calls end and we enter so-called “Mercedes silence”, or, I see a spark of appreciation in the eyes of the lowly technician or mid-level manager whose butt was just saved from the awkward line of questioning on Monday’s production meeting… Some men in many cultures are not outgoing in showing their appreciation. So, when a Bavarian-raised, German-educated, upper-level manager profusely utters “Than You” 3 times in less than 15 minutes it’s a special moment indeed! But the only certain way to know we are being sincerely appreciated is when we are the first company on the roller deck they call and another PO rolls in.
4. Make yourself useful. Challenge yourself. Daily. Think. Practice empathy. World needs it more than anything else right now. It’s not easy. Analyze every and even the smallest mistake you make sure you never repeat it. Do every job, starting with the dirtiest and least thankful, but learn how to manage them. Managing people is a lot more difficult than equipment. Machinery tends to listen and do what it is told. People do not. Build a team that will jump out the window and into the fire with you. You can conquer the planet with them. Under Promise and Over Deliver (UPOD). Maintain honesty with customers and don’t be afraid to say “NO”. Plenty of times my “no was better for the customer than a “yes” from others or spoken at the wrong time. Never shy of carrying other people’s toolboxes. You will make many friends that way and one day they will reciprocate when they can! Treat the lowliest of working people as you would a CEO. The cleaning staff at Fremont deserves the same respect as Elon Musk or the Subway restaurant staff at Flint as Marry Barra. Knowing people’s names is the start of good long relationships and says a lot about a manager. Whatever you do, be the solution and never a problem. Do not add to a long list of problems your boss and your customer already have.
5. Some say, “find your passion”. That is a rather simplistic way, but it works for some people. Lots of times following where the crowd is headed is precisely the wrong direction and walking the opposite way is the only correct long-term choice. Then find a mentor, and build a network. Never disrespect the young. They will grow up and join the ranks of decision-makers in the most surprising places. By definition, Passion, it is something that makes you greater than yourself… It’s like love… Once you know what it is you will never work again! The trick is to find a way to get compensated for it. Whatever you choose you must be better at it than your most able, skilled friends and your toughest competitor. In both cases, you will see two things happen: You will garner undisputed respect as a professional in their eyes; one team will want you because they love what you do and the other will try to buy you, so you don’t compete with them. Either way, it’s an opportunity for you to name your price and have some level of control of your destiny. Generally, though, do not choose “making money” as life’s primary goal. There is never enough money to be made. Dollars and cents are merely side effects of your passion. Expertise, education, experience, all kinds of denied pleasant moments, and the long hard hours it took to gain this experience in the pursuit thereof are what you will be compensated with. Focusing on money is generally a distraction from the main job of maintaining customer satisfaction. Delegation of responsibilities is a difficult task to learn especially if one is a control freak or on the obsessive-perfectionist side. Running a business is many hats at all at once. These are full-time jobs with their own pitfalls to navigate so do yourself a favor: Hire the best in the business to do automated annual tasks with heavy liability such as taxes, accounting, and human resources…. Do your business commitment BEFORE starting a family. It is a sacrifice you can make yourself but consider not making sacrifices when you have a young spouse or children. They are more important than taking a business risk. When children are grown, and you have the full support of your spouse then you are free to try being your own boss….
6. I love difficult people…. I seek them out. Many years ago, I worked in a hospital as a maintenance guy. It was perhaps the most satisfying job I ever had. A cost center called Restorative Care came up for grabs as the previous mechanical guy medically retired so I jumped at that opportunity. It was a building exclusively covered by me. The rest of our 60 guys on my team were on the main campus so there was a lot of opportunity for me to screw up but also bask in all the glory. One of the board of directors had her office there so there was always a watchful eye present. A few years into the job there was a commotion at my door, it was a roaming committee delivering customer satisfaction survey rewards to the most improved departments in the hospital…. They showed up with a trophy and a recognition in writing to the “most improved department” with the highest improvement score in the last quarter…. I only did my job and inadvertently registered on the radar of that committee with the highest improvement numbers the maintenance department ever received in the history of this hospital beginning in 1926…. Everyone saw it as a success. I saw it as a problem. I made the other guys unintentionally look bad. “The Big House” across the street never got recognition. Ever.
Working in the hospital allowed me to develop and hone a set of skills that serve me well to this day. My company’s name “SERVUS”, is a Latin word, meaning “I am at your service”. Its genesis originated then without me even knowing I will need it 20 years later. Human nature is scientifically predictable. Except for labor and delivery where the outcome is 98% happiness, most people do not want to be there. Disease and frailty are not qualities one wants to display so the natural reaction is anger, frustration, and emotional pain. When you walk into a room full of people in physical and emotional pain you learn fast how to read them. When you place yourself in a situation that is already bad, the best you can do is to move it a notch up in a positive direction rather than completely resolve it. I polished my skills there unbeknownst to me how important that will be later…. The member of the Board of Directors, Anita, was perhaps the most respected hospital employee in my eyes, as was Mr. Sherberger of the House Services with whom I had many educational conversations. Both straight shooters with tremendous leadership skills and experience all come across as “difficult” to others.