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"Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground." 

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Are Winners Born or Made?

Winning Strategy

Winning Strategy

Winning Teamship

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Volume 14, Number 4 - Fall 2015


Happy Fall!

The summer is almost over and, despite the very warm weather, I hope you were able to get some well-deserved rest. Perhaps, like me, you are ready for the fall, but also hoping for a beautiful Indian summer.

While travelling through the Czech Republic this past month, I reconnected with an old friend who surprised me when she said that she devotes part of her summer vacations to thinking about and outlining her September goals, as well as the strategies she will use to achieve them. 

“September goals?” I thought to myself. "Don’t we usually make New Year’s resolutions? And wait until December?"

But how many of us are able to keep our New Year’s resolutions anyway? 

Maybe one reason we find it so difficult to follow through on them is because we’ve chosen the wrong time of year! Four thousand years ago, the Mesopotamians celebrated the New Year in March, following the spring equinox. And Egyptians chose to kick off the New Year in September, a time that is now, for many, when a new year of schooling begins.

The concept of making resolutions is itself a paradox: If we had the discipline to see our resolutions through we wouldn’t need to make them in the first place. Moreover, making resolutions that most of us expect to break anyway is clearly irrational.

However, setting goals is quite different from making resolutions. It involves setting an objective, defining a strategy, and following a prescribed timeframe. 

The beauty of setting a “September” goal is that it can last as long as the next equinox and then be easily measured and evaluated. So why not set new goals in the fall, when most of us come back to work refreshed and relaxed after a well-deserved summer holiday? 

Setting your goals

This fall, I suggest focusing on one area of improvement over the next three months and breaking your larger objective into smaller, more manageable sections. Each week, choose a chunk of your overall goal and see it through the entire week. Then, at the beginning of each subsequent week, evaluate your results.

Because setting goals involves reviewing and revising, you may find that your objectives change quite often. Some aspects of your overall goal may become more or less important, while others may disappear and be replaced as new ones emerge. Finally, make sure to send updates to the people who will be affected by these changes. 

Setting concrete, realistic goals will sharpen the clarity of your purpose. However, the realization of any goal takes a clear strategy as well as a dedicated discipline.
So what are your goals for this fall?
Karin Genton L'Epée

The Power Breakfast Series Resumes September 16th

Since 2003 I have been hosting a popular Power Lunch series, which has attracted a diverse group of participants representing a range of professions. Participants have had the opportunity to learn, share ideas and exchange experiences, while exploring various management and business-related issues with smart and insightful people.
2014 saw the launch of the Power Breakfast series which has continued into 2015 with the Winter-Spring 2015 series focusing on Political Games in Organizations.

This fall’s Power Breakfast series is inspired by Alastair Campbell’s book, ‘Winners and How they Succeed” and will offer participants further opportunity for self-reflection and self-development on the topic of winning. 

The scheduled dates are September 16, October 15, November 19, and December 10 2015.
Location: Le Palace Hotel, Panska 12, Prague 
Time: 8:00-9:30 
Price: 700 CZK +DPH 

Join us for the District 95 Autumn Conference in Prague, November 20th & 21st

Do you want to overcome your fear of public speaking? Would you like to learn to speak in front of an audience with confidence?

Toastmasters International, a worldwide organization with a mission to promote communication and leadership skills, invites you to attend the upcoming autumn European conference.

At the conference, you will meet and network with a diverse range of interesting people while becoming acquainted with Toastmasters International on a personal level. You will be able to attend workshops on improving your speaking skills as well as seeing experienced Toastmasters from all over Europe compete at the highest level in the Humorous Speeches and Table Topics contests.

Watching the organization’s best speakers and participating in the stimulating educational workshops offered will ensure that you discover interesting, useful tips and techniques that you can put to use immediately.

For full details visit or send an email at

SANANIM 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner

The Rotary Club Prague International requests the honour of your company at SANANIM’s 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner

Date: Saturday 17th of October, 2015
Where: Zlata Praha, InterContinental Hotel, Parizska 30, Prague
Program: Welcome Drink @ 19:00 ~ Dinner & Dancing @ 20:00, Silent Auction, Free Tombola, Live Auction
Dress Code:    Black Tie

For more information please contact Naomi Sullivan-Callender at phone:+420 778 024 412
All proceeds to benefit SANANIM, a charity that is now one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the Czech Republic providing complex services in the area of prevention, treatment and re-socialization of non-alcoholic drug addictions.

SANANIM offer direct services for clients in their 14 facilities, all of which offer professional consultations and internships for experts and students. 

Rotary Club Prague International’s "Indian Food Helps" Campaign

For two weeks starting from October 19th, Rotary Club Prague International will launch its 5th Indian Food Helps campaign. 

People in offices and organisations all across Prague will be able to order great Indian food delivered for their lunch and know that they will be helping this great cause.
This campaign is raising funds to support the primary education of children in rural Rajasthan, India. Every lunch ordered will contribute at least 50 kč to our Indian school project. The contribution from just five lunches pays a child’s primary school fees for one year.

Those who supported this very successful campaign last year will remember the fine taste of the food offered by the Curry House, voted the best curry restaurant in Prague.

For more information please contact Gerry Tipple at

When Winning Becomes a Management Problem

Over the years, I have often heard non-Czech managing directors complain about the lack of drive and ambition from their Czech employees. In addition to their lack of ambition, Czech employees are also often blamed for their lack of initiative.

Recently, after listening to a European CEO lamenting openly about his senior team members’ lack of motivation, I couldn’t help myself and asked him when was the last time one of his managers came to see him to share one of his/her ideas. He took a few minutes to think about it and replied, "Last week, my sales director came to me with a brilliant suggestion to improve customer service." 

After giving him a chance to process his answer, I asked what he did about the idea and how he handled the sales director’s suggestion. The CEO took a few more moments to think about my question and replied, "I told him that his idea was wonderful, but if I were him I would do it in a different way to what he had recommended." 

This short exchange was a classic illustration of how a winning mindset can become a management problem when applied in the context of leading a team and motivating people. 

While trying to improve the quality of his manager’s idea, this European CEO had reduced by 30 percent his sales director commitment to executing it. He had taken away the sales director’s ownership of the idea. The CEO’s attempt to add value to the suggestion had backfired. He had actually demotivated his manager instead of supporting his creative and innovative idea. 

The CEO’s ambition and winning mindset helped him climb the corporate ladder by taking initiative and getting results. Yet when winning becomes an obsession it can be counterproductive. Regardless of the importance of the issue, this CEO always wanted to win by having the last word, even if it wasn't worth his time or if it was to his disadvantage. And unfortunately his staff had become aware of it and had stopped reaching out and communicating openly.

In this new environment, his winning style was jeopardizing his communication and relationship with his management team. To fulfill his ambition and achieve his new goals, he needed to learn the importance of making other people winners and letting them own the success of their ideas. 

Many Czech employees are eager to share their ideas with their boss, provided they have the opportunity to be listened to without having their boss adding anything to their suggestions. 
For those who have difficulty listening without interrupting, I suggest that you take a deep breath and count to five before responding. After you’ve developed the habit of doing this, you might realize that about half of what you were going to say wasn't worth saying. Even though you think you might be right, you will soon understand that you can gain a lot more by not winning every argument and by instead letting your team members keep the credit for their ideas. 

Most of the time, the people who can help you the most are the people who report to you. They're the ones who will provide solutions to organizational problems, provided you both ask for and listen to their reply. 

To go fast, focus on winning alone, to go far, focus on helping others to win. 

About Karin

Karin Genton-L’Epée is a business coach with 34 years of professional experience in the United States, France and the Czech Republic. Based in Prague since 1995, for the past 17 years she has developed a range of coaching and training programs for mid and top-level managers, focusing on leadership development, cross-cultural understanding and effective communication in a global environment. 

By providing a structured environment that supports people in clarifying who they are and what they want, Karin enables her clients to devise more effective strategies to achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Thanks to her knowledge, skills and range of international experience, Karin is in demand as a speaker at business conferences and educational institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. She is also a regular contributor to business journals and magazines. She works in English and French and can be reached at

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