Milena Lopušina, Founder of Mind Laboratory

The Most Successful Learn Constantly

The training courses and workshops of MIND LABoratory are based on the NLP [neuro-linguistic programming] methodology and other knowhow from psychology, management and HR. Educating young people is based on their preparation for a job, a career and life, while businesspeople are provided with powerful tools that help them do their jobs to the highest level

Our employers prefer to invest in formal education, financing studies and the like, rather than in the training, instructing and personal development of employees. On the other hand, employees didn’t care much about training either, but things are slowly changing for the better.

Did MIND LABoratory – as an agency for education, consulting and management – emerge out of your personal desire and need for training and education?

Mind Laboratory Logo– MIND LABoratory is indeed a product of my desire to constantly improve. I believe deeply that knowledge is the greatest wealth and that the learning process never ends. The training courses that I organise are the best opportunity to share the knowledge that I’ve gained, but also to upgrade it. I’m convinced that we can learn something new from everyone and that during these training courses I am both a student and a teacher.

A person should devote themselves to that which they genuinely love, to invest their entire self and to be the best at that. This is achieved through constant work on self, a willingness to accept our weaknesses and to work in order to overcome them.

You created the agency as an accomplished person, because at that time you already had both a formal education and enviable work experience. What were you lacking? What do both young people and experienced businesspeople lack today?

– Today, from this perspective, I consider that at the beginning of my career I lacked flexibility in work and the ability to better manage my emotions, so – like most businesspeople today – I had to deal with the work burnout syndrome.

I wouldn’t want to generalise, but young people mainly lack motivation and interest in further learning, with a certain amount of fear and a lack of confidence present. I also often encounter the problem of focusing. A very small percentage of young people know what they want and few of them have clear goals.

A complete person possesses emotional intelligence in synergy with formal education and knowhow

On the whole, businesspeople lack empathy, on the one hand, while on the other hand they are quite unfamiliar with how to organise their time and manage stress.

Unfortunately, there is also only a small percentage of people dedicated to continuous improvement in the business world. An insignificant number of companies invest in their employees, while the majority treat such allocations as a cost or don’t even consider this possibility.

Is it true that a college diploma is of little value today without self-confidence, a good performance, social intelligence and soft skils?

– I really believe that knowledge is power and in no way would I undermine the value and importance of a university degree. Business success is impacted 15% by intelligence and 85% by optimism, the support of other people and clearly set goals. If someone lacks self-awareness, self-confidence, empathy, a capacity to make decisions and communication skills, that person is incomplete. Alongside this, we should in now way overlook tireless learning – as one of the basic characteristics of successful people.

You spent years working in the hospitality industry, as part of middle, senior and top management. What are the problems facing the workforce in that industry? How much do hotel owners and managers invest in employees? How interested employees are themselves in additional education and training?

– The biggest problem in the hotel industry is a shortage of workers. Due to a shortfall of service staff, they resort to recruiting non-professional and incompetent people. Statistics show only only around seven per cent of hoteliers invest in their employees, which – you will agree – is a very small percentage. On the other hand, as I know from experience, many employees regularly attended training courses that are organised for them, but they generally only see that as another work obligation.

Milena Lopušina

The general conclusion is that employees rarely opt for education on their own initiative, and another problem is the large fluctuation of staff, which impacts negatively on teamwork and produces poorer results. Of course, we should also mention the generally unsatisfactory working conditions in the hotel industry (low wages, high levels of stress, overtime requirements etc.).

Thanks to the natural shift of generations, we are also slowly becoming aware of the importance of continuous, lifelong learning. In which industries is this idea most easily “received”?

– Probably in science generally. Technology and its rapid innovations are becoming ever more widely applied in all industries… I wouldn’t single out anything in particular. On the whole, major global companies are bringing this trend to our country. Domestic firms recognise the importance, but are reluctant to allocate funds for these purposes. I see the reason for that in relations between the general culture, awareness and economic opportunities in the country and the surrounding area.

Investing in knowledge and the development of skills of employees is seen in our country as an expense, and not as an investment. Is that also changing? How willing are we to learn about communication, interpersonal relationships, teamwork, conflicts resolution methods etc.?

– Things are changing, but quite slowly. Practises to date have shown that employers prefer to invest in formal education through retraining, financing studies etc., rather than in non-formal forms of education. There is a neglecting of the fact that people spend a third of their day at work and that it is very important that they utilise their time in a high quality way and without stress.

And it is precisely healthy communication and good interpersonal relationships that contribute to better teamwork and better business results. It’s not enough to just bring people together, but rather it is necessary to work on empowering them individually and as a team.

It is necessary to encourage employees to think in the most diverse ways in order to find the most creative solutions to a particular problem or to improve some production process. This is achieved precisely through constant work, an insistence on high-quality communication and a pleasant working environment. Research shows that employees cite the most common reasons for leaving a job as the lack of possibilities for advancement and poor interpersonal relationships. All of this testifies to the importance of the aforementioned topics.

To what extent are training courses and workshops adapted to clients and their specific needs? Do you always cover the same topics and do you use the same tools and methodology? Educating young people on a personal front is one thing, while educating and developing businesspeople is another, is it not?

– Training courses and workshops are fully adapted to clients and their specific needs. Every client is approached with special care and each client is unique. Training courses and workshops are based on NLP methodology and other knowledge from psychology, management and HR. Education of the youth is based on their preparation for a job, career and life. The idea is for them to gain additional knowledge that will help them find their way through the proper setting of goals and the development of business and organisational skills.

In today’s competitive environment, it is essential for businesspeople to have powerful tools that will help them do their jobs to the highest possible level. This education is directed towards improving work outcomes through the increasing of productivity while optimising resources, changing models of behaviour that aren’t useful and focusing on solutions. 

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