Common Sense in Leadership: Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 6

The Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter

Developing Leaders for the 21st Century

Dear Readers,

Pepper de CallierWelcome to the June edition of our newsletter.

May was an active month for PLI. I was asked to address the top 10 HR talents in Deutsche Telekom’s Central and Eastern European Operating companies. In addition, I had the honor of delivering the keynote address to the Executive Boards of Heineken’s Central and Eastern European operating companies—150 leaders—in the incredible setting of the Rudolf Hall at the Prague Castle. In addition, we have taken the decision to rename Kava s Pepprem and move it to a new time and format. You all should have received invitations to "The Leadership Series: In-depth Discussions with the Leaders Who are Defining the Future". I want to thank all of you who have supported KsP the last two years and those who voiced a desire to have the event later in the day combined with a networking opportunity. So, in cooperation with Todd Benson’s and Markus Klos’ very capable team at Prague Connect, we are launching a dinner event, and my first panel of interviewees will be three of the most respected market-leading CEOs in their sectors: Pavel Kysilka, CEO, Ceska sporitelna, Pavel Rehak, CEO, Ceska pojistovna, and Milan Vasina, CEO of T-Mobil. We are limiting the audience to 50 people because we want to maintain a more intimate and interactive environment like we enjoyed at KsP. Please join me as we discuss the challenges facing leaders in the 21st century with three leaders who are shaping the future of their industries here in the Czech Republic.

Now, to this month’s articles. It would truly be an understatement to say that I am thrilled to introduce you to two distinguished members of PLI’s Faculty: Tom Dine and John Zogby.

I think it was about four years ago when I met Tom Dine over dinner in Prague. Tom has had, and continues to have, a truly storied career in the service of the United States, the Jewish community, and humanity in general. Most notably, for 13 years he was the head of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), then later, the longest serving President of Radio Free Europe, an organization he literally saved from extinction, redefined and gave new direction to its more than 2,000 employees in 22 countries around the world. Among others, Tom serves on the Board of Freedom House, the American Friends of the Czech Republic, and Artists for Human Rights. To be sure, Tom has had an impressive career, but I must say the thing that most impressed me about him when we met was his clear-headed, balanced, non-ideological and well-thought-through approach to the wide range of topics we discussed. I think you will find Tom’s contribution, “Thoughts on Leadership”, ample evidence of all these traits.

If you have ever been sitting in front of a television during an American Presidential election cycle, chances are you saw our next distinguished faculty member, John Zogby, being interviewed. John is best known for being the founder of the Zogby Poll. When it comes to what people are thinking, why they are thinking it, and how they are likely to act, John’s accuracy is legendary, and for that reason, his observations are considered to be the Gold Standard in more than 70 countries. Testimony to that fact is his recent book about a new generation, The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream. John’s insightful observation on the convergence of data-overload, common-sense and right-brain leadership in the 21st century is a great read.

My sincere thanks to two thought-leaders I am proud to call friends and faculty members of PLI.

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.


This month’s book recommendation:

Aside from John’s book mentioned above, I would recommend the wonderfully counter-intuitive, Employees First, Customers Second by Vineet Nayar, CEO of the global firm HCL Technologies (HCLT). It is a wonderfully thought-provoking account of Nayar’s impressive ability to align the needs of employees with the demands of customers and achieve some truly incredible results in leading the turn-around and ramp-up of HCLT. 

Tom Dine

Thoughts on Leadership

Tom Dine
Diplomatic Consultant
and Senior Advisor

The term "leadership" takes many twists and turns. There are multiple meanings and, in my half century career, I have learned that those meanings are dependent on context and circumstances, what the cause is or is not and its enthusiasms, the interplay of individuals and the kind of chemistry that is generated, pro-activity versus reactivity, and timing. Leadership can come from more than one person, but historically leadership centers around an exceptional individual with drive and determination.

In the business and military communities, leaders of the pyramid usually focus on utilizing an executive style. This connotes designated individual(s) managing. These people give clear directions, such as good planning with strategic goals and timetables, a focus on concise execution, achieving desired outcomes by a time certain. It is, however, in fact "management." In government, corporate, and non-profit bureaucracies, the word "leadership" is frequently tossed around, with a heavy stress on titles and managing end results, but ultimately it is talent at the top that stands up and is visible in crises....
John Zogby

Right Brain Leadership In a High Tech World

John Zogby
Founder of the Zogby Poll

Please don’t worry from the title. This column is not about science and not very technical at all. It is simply about how important it is for a business leader to be in touch with employees, clients, competitors, and friends. One of the greatest works in American literature and well known throughout the world is The Wizard of Oz. In Dorothy’s fantasy world she encounters two major characters: the Tin Man, who is all brain and no heart, and the Scarecrow, who is all heart and no brain. The good CEO and entrepreneur are neither. Rather, leadership requires one simple trait: being human.

Humans are a flawed species: we are mammals who think (perhaps too much, at times). But one of the things that makes us distinctive is that we can listen – not just hear or be trained to respond to commands, but to actually utilize multiple functions to process what other people are saying and to analyze, respect, integrate both diverse and common threads, and to act rationally. We humans place too much emphasis on our abilities to absorb lots of data and to analyze it. That is our left brain at work and thank God we have that capacity. But the actual reality is that it is our right brain... 
Prague Leadership Institute
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