Common Sense in Leadership: Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 2

The Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter

Developing Leaders for the 21st Century

Dear Readers,

Pepper de CallierWelcome to our February newsletter. January has been an uncharacteristically busy month for us and I have some wonderful news to share, so let’s get to it.

I am delighted to announce that one of CEE’s top human resource professionals has accepted our invitation to join our faculty.  Her name is Anna Hudakova and she is the HR Director Zentiva International and Sanofi MCO Czech Republic and Slovakia. Anna has a great depth of senior-executive experience in a variety of extremely challenging environments and we are thrilled to have the benefit of her counsel and insights regarding the many issues relating to leadership. Welcome aboard, Anna! You will be hearing from her in future newsletters, but for now, here is a link to her background.

On the 31st of January, three of the Czech Republic’s most respected business leaders, Pavel Kavanek, CEO of CSOB, Renata Mrazova, CEO of ING Insurance CZ and SK, and Tomas Visek, Managing Partner of McKinsey & Co. CZ, came together at our Leadership Series Dinner to discuss one of the most critical challenges facing business today: Executive Development. Why is it that so much money is spent on this activity and return on investment is, in many cases, very low?  What are the key elements of a successful executive development program? The answers to these questions, along with some valuable insights, opinions and recommendations were offered to a sell-out audience in a highly interactive and spirited discussion, which I moderated.  A delicious buffet dinner and networking followed in a wonderful environment provided by the Augustine Hotel in Prague. Here are links to photos from the event and a review written by an audience member.

My sincere thanks to our panelists, to our sponsor, Anglo American University Prague, and Markus Klos, Executive Director of Prague Connect for a wonderful event. Our next event in Prague will be in May, but before then, we’re off to Bratislava, Warsaw and Berlin to launch the program with leaders in Slovakia, Poland, and Germany.

Now, to the newsletter. This month’s newsletter brings an interesting mix of information for you from two guest authors.  Kim Gagne, JD, is the Director of Public Sector Policy, Asia for Microsoft Corporation.  As one of the most senior legal professionals in Microsoft, he has an in-depth exposure to a variety of issues that impact leaders and how they do business around the globe.  In this issue, Kim writes about something that many of us are talking about in his piece, “Cloud Computing: What Leaders Need to Know”.  I know you will find his comments to be of interest.

Our next article comes from Stanislav Boledovic, Co-Founder, and the driving force behind Manageria, an NGO based in Slovakia, which focuses on developing young values-based leaders.  To me, Manageria is one of the most effective organizations of its type that I have seen in my more than 30 years of working with leaders globally. (Incidentally, he is bringing the Manageria program to Prague this year—a great opportunity for our young professionals.) Much of Manageria’s success is due to the efforts and selfless desire to help others that drives this talented young leader.  In his truly thought-provoking article, “How I Changed the Focus of My Life From Business”, Stanislav takes us inside his world and his very personal journey.  Reading this piece could be a game-changer.

I want to thank Kim and Stanislav for their wonderful and thought provoking contributions to our leadership archive which I know you will enjoy reading.

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. My book recommendation for this month is the bestseller True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George with Peter Sims. George is the former CEO of Medtronic and is currently a professor at Harvard Business School.  His down-to-earth style and common-sense approach make this a richly rewarding read.  Here’s what the New York Times had to say about this book, “This is one of the most important books on leadership to come along in years.” I agree.

If the topic of fulfillment is of interest to you, you’ll want to see our latest installment of Common Sense Wisdom: Thoughts to Live By, on our YouTube channel.

Guest Author
Stanislav Boledovič

How I Changed the Focus of My Life From Business

Stanislav Boledovič
Co-Founder, Manageria
Are you spending your leadership time on changing things  you care about the most? I was not. So I quit a well-paid management job and embarked on a wild adventure. When Pepper asked me to contribute to his newsletter with something I know that other business professionals might want to know, I guess my lessons from this adventure might be it.

But first, let me share with you a story.
I have recently met an old friend of mine, now a partner at a respected global company. He is upset with the political situation in the Czech Republic and wants to move out with his family. At that moment I had a deja vu back 15 years ago, when many Slovak leaders were doing the same thing: leaving my country, running away before corrupted political leaders and mafia, leaving me and millions of families there to deal with all this alone, without their help and experience. What a strange reaction of leaders, I thought ...
Guest Author
Kim Gagne

Cloud Computing: What Leaders Need to Know

Kim Gagne, JD
Director of Public Sector Policy, Asia, Microsoft Corporation

As corporations and governments increasingly move their information technology operations to the cloud, managers are taking on new responsibilities regarding the protection of the personal data of their customers. Leaders need to ensure that their organizations utilize cloud service providers that enable them to meet such responsibilities.

Cloud computing is the storing, processing and use of data on remotely located servers accessed over the internet. The cloud enables organizations to command computing power without having to make major capital investments. By using the cloud, companies and governments can make their services more efficient at lower cost.

For all its promise, the cloud presents a critical challenge to institutions that employ it
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