Common Sense in Leadership: Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 9

The Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter

Developing Leaders for the 21st Century

Dear Readers,

Pepper de CallierWelcome to the September edition of The Prague Leadership Institute’s newsletter.

I hope this finds you having had a wonderful summer with family and friends.  It’s been a busy summer writing, creating and presenting workshops and having a film crew follow me around filming our weekly series for YouTube, but it’s all been great fun.  Here’s a link to our latest installment.

Now, on to our guest contributors this month, Miroslava Durankova and Martin Burda.  It would be difficult to come up with a better example of two ends of the career spectrum than we have this month.  For the past four years I have been advising an exceptional group of young people in Slovakia.  The group’s name is Manageria and they comprise some of the most talented and dedicated young leaders-to-be I have ever worked with. Miroslava is an excellent example of the cohort that will become the leaders of tomorrow.  In her contribution to our Young Leaders series, she displays a maturity beyond her years in a discussion of how expectations of others have been instrumental in bringing out the best in her.  On the other end of the leadership spectrum is a man for whom I have a great deal of respect, not only as a professional, but as a person.  In 1998, Martin was the portfolio manager of the best performing off-shore bond fund in the world, and today he is Chairman and CEO of Investment Company of Ceska sporitelna, the oldest asset management company in the Czech Republic, with 5 billion Euros under management.  Not the stereotypical financial executive, Martin makes the 27 kilometer daily commute from his home to his office on a bicycle.  Perhaps it was while commuting that he developed his thinking on the matrix organization, which he so eloquently and insightfully shares with us in this month’s issue.

Thank you Miroslava and Martin for your wonderful contributions!

Each month two members of The Prague Leadership Institute’s faculty, or invited guest authors, share their thoughts on a wide variety of leadership-related topics.  To all of them go our sincere thanks for taking the time, and having the generosity of spirit, to share their wealth of experience.

Thank you, too, for taking the time to read our newsletter and for your support.

P.S. This month’s book recommendation is As A Man Thinketh by James Allen.  I first read this forty years ago and picked it up again recently.  It was like being reunited with an old friend after a long absence.  The small size of this book belies its powerful impact on one’s self-awareness.

Young Leaders Series
Miroslava Duranková

I Learned the Most from Leaders Who Expected the Most

Miroslava Duranková
Junior Manager, leader of Student Board and HR team at Manageria

In a recent conversation with a mentor, we discussed some of the key abilities that a good leader should possess. One ability that stuck in my mind—an ability I hadn't given any special attention to before—is the ability of a leader to also be a good follower.

In order to achieve this we need a student who is willing to listen and to have the desire to learn—basically, a sense of humility in their approach to people and things. Secondly, a willing teacher is very important—someone who has something worth learning and is willing to impart that knowledge to the student, or follower. This person should not only be worthy to follow, full of optimism and patience, but should also have expectations of the student. To me, this aspect of expectations, is something of great importance and is underestimated by many
Guest Author
Martin Burda

Leading in The Matrix

Martin Burda
CEO, Investment Company of Ceska sporitelna

In the Hollywood blockbuster, computer hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) is contacted by underground freedom fighters who explain that reality, as he understands it, is actually a complex computer simulation called the Matrix. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) mentors Neo as the only savior of humanity from machines. For Neo, though, it is hard at first to distinguish reality from simulation: "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself" (Morpheus).

Quite in the same way as Neo, many of us have to deal with leadership within the Matrix every day. Most, if not all, multinational enterprises use some sort of matrix organizational structure. It often involves managing cross-country teams in order to achieve the goals. In theory, on paper, matrix organization makes perfect sense ...
Prague Leadership Institute
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