‘It’s impossible to lead people who don’t trust you’: five minutes with Slovenia’s public administration chief Peter Pogačar

By on 23/07/2022 | Updated on 23/07/2022

Peter Pogačar, the director general of the public sector directorate in Slovenia’s Ministry of Public Administration, tells GGF about civil service leaders’ resistance to change, why he’s inspired by the horizontal approach to country development, and his celebrity crush

What have you achieved in your career that you’re most proud of?

I’m most proud that I was the main author of a pension and labour market reform in which we managed to reach a broad social consensus, and which at the same time contains suitable professional solutions.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your working life?

The simple truth about managing people: it is impossible to lead people who don’t trust you.

What do you like most about working in the civil service?

That you can actually make a change and be part of the change at the same time.

And what do you dislike about it?

That many civil service leaders are still resistant to change and afraid to make a decision.

Which country’s government department or agency are you most inspired by and why?

It is not a specific country but more an establishment and that is the ‘centres of government’. The horizontal approach to country development and strategic foresight is very inspiring to me and is something to strive for.

Are there any projects or innovations in your country that might be valuable to your peers overseas?

We carried out a process of anticipatory innovation in the area of ageing and talent management in public administration. It was our first time doing this and we are happy with the solid results – alternate future scenarios of the Slovenian public administration and innovation prototypes. It is something that I would recommend to any manager that tries to find solutions for a complex challenge.

Which three famous people, alive or dead, would you most like to invite to a dinner party?

Sundzi (I would be most inspired by our deep conversations); Michael Jordan (I admire all of his achievements and persistency); and Jennifer Anniston (who wouldn’t want to have dinner with his celebrity crush).

If you weren’t a civil servant, what would you be?

A history teacher.

What is your favourite thing to do at the weekends?

I love running. I recently did the Vienna City marathon.

What is your favourite book?

I can’t decide between Niall Ferguson’s History of Civilization or Yuval Noah Harari’s A Brief History of Humankind.

About Mia Hunt

Mia is a journalist and editor with a background in covering commercial property, having been market reports and supplements editor at trade title Property Week and deputy editor of Shopping Centre magazine, now known as Retail Destination. She has also undertaken freelance work for several publications including the preview magazine of international trade show, MAPIC, and TES Global (formerly the Times Educational Supplement) and has produced a white paper on energy efficiency in business for E.ON. Between 2014 and 2016, she was a member of the Revo Customer Experience Committee and an ACE Awards judge. Mia graduated from Kingston University with a first-class degree in journalism and was part of the team that produced The River newspaper, which won Publication of the Year at the Guardian Student Media Awards in 2010.

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