The Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter
Developing Leaders for the 21st Century
This month's newsletter is as interesting a juxtaposition of perspectives as it is of the insights offered by two distinguished members of the Prague Leadership Institute's Faculty.
Eliška Hašková Coolidge, a former Special Assistant to five United States Presidents and Assistant Chief of Protocol for the United States, shares her thoughts on leadership with an eloquent piece on the critical importance of example—not only in the world of business, but in a civil society, beginning with our young people.
A driving force behind its inception and a co-Founder of the Prague Leadership Institute, Mike Short, former CEO of Plzeňský Prazdroj, and now a senior executive with global responsibilities at its parent, SAB Miller, offers his views on a different stage in the life of the leadership cycle: a leader's first day as a CEO. In Mike's trademark style of open, direct and transparent communication he describes, what will be to many readers, a trip down memory lane and to others a wonderful insight into what the future holds for them.
Eliška and Mike, these thought-pieces are a wonderful example of the depth, experience and wisdom of our faculty members, and I am grateful for your generosity in sharing your thoughts.
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.
Leadership by Example
Eliška Hašková Coolidge
A rich and varied personal and academic life and thirty years of inspiring U.S. Government service have taught me that the most successful leadership is leadership by example.
Children learn from their parents and teachers, and working adults from their superiors.
We become better and more productive citizens when we have had the good fortune of positive role models in our lives. Finding examples worthy of emulation has sadly become one of the weakest links in world leadership today. Character has all but taken leave of our society.
Where are the strong leaders whose integrity was worthy of our admiration? Why does conflict consistently triumph over compromise? Why do hatred and envy so often prevail over generosity of spirit and mutual respect? Why is democracy constantly being defined as equality when even its illustrious father, Alexis de Tocqueville warned that such a definition would spell its end? How do we get back on track?
The First Day
Prague Leadership Institute
So, it's your first day in your new role as a Subsidiary CEO. You flew in yesterday, found your hotel, agonised over what to wear. You checked out how to get to the office and now the day has come. You've met a couple of the Directors on a few occasions. You know a bit about their backgrounds from a few hours with your predecessor and from his hastily assembled introductory pack – an onerous deck to occupy your evenings for weeks to come.
You called ahead and asked your new PA for a 9am meeting with the ExCom members. "Let's start with introductions. Not in the Boardroom, but in a less formal setting. Make it a bit casual, maybe over a coffee and a few snacks".
You walk in – everyone is curious – who is this guy? He's wearing a tie – does that mean I have to? Is he up to the job? Am I going to like him? Will he appreciate me; will he really get to see what I've done over the years?" "I wonder what he's been told about me."
You're thinking – am I creating the right impression? They really liked their last boss – am I going to fill those shoes?