Common Sense in Leadership: Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 8

The Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter

Developing Leaders for the 21st Century

Dear Readers,

Pepper de Callier
Welcome to our newsletter.  I hope this is turning out to be a wonderful autumn for you and your families, as it is here in Prague.
In the months ahead, I have been asked to deliver keynote addresses to two global conferences and to conduct a day-long workshop for a global gathering of high-potentials, so I am happy to say that our message of the Human Element of Leadership continues to reach an expanding audience. We have also finished shooting the next 10 videos for YouTube. A new one will be launched every Monday, but here’s a sneak preview.
I am very happy to introduce you to our newest faculty member, Martin Burda. Formerly, Martin was the Chairman and CEO of the Investment Company of Ceska sportitelna, where he oversaw more than $7 billion in assets. Earlier in his career, Martin earned the distinction of being the Portfolio Manager of the Best Performing Offshore Bond Fund in the world. Today, as you may recall from his contribution to last month’s newsletter, he has launched his own investment advisory company, Capitalinked. I have known Martin for several years and have admired his values-driven approach to life and business, so it is with a great deal of pride that we welcome you aboard, Martin.
Beginning with the next edition of the newsletter, we will be sharing some very special articles with you.  I have asked our faculty, and a few others, to write a piece about a book, a poem, a legal document, or a person that changed their lives—something, or someone—that gave them clarity at an important time in their lives and inspired them to act in some way that brought them closer to who they wanted to be. These articles, from some very accomplished leaders, will, I know, be insightful and inspiring to us all. Thanks to all of you who have graciously agreed to contribute to this special project.
Now, to this month’s articles.  First, a distinguished faculty member, serial entrepreneur, former rock star (really), and accomplished leader, Jim Cusumano, shares his thoughts on a topic that has taken on a whole new meaning in the 21st century: balance.  In a humorous, insightful, and well-crafted piece, Jim explores life purpose and explains why it’s actually easier to live a happy life than an unhappy one.

Our Guest Contributor this month is Melissa Venable, Ph.D. Melissa is an educational writer, instructional designer, online instructor and chat moderator on career development issues. She also teaches at the University of South Florida. Well, I think you get the idea—this is one busy individual. In a very down-to-earth, common-sense article she shares her thoughts on a creative approach to career planning. I came across this piece at and thought some of our readers might find it very useful.  Many thanks to Karla Gonzalez, at, for permission to re-publish Melissa’s article.
Many thanks to you both, Jim Cusumano and Melissa Venable, for your informative and thought-provoking pieces!
Each month a member 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 comes from a man who is the youngest tenured professor at the Wharton Business School, Adam Grant.  In his book, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Grant offers new, and counter-intuitive insights into what behavior fuels consistent, sustainable success. To give you a feeling for this book, here’s an excerpt from a jacket quote from one of my favorite thinkers and bestselling authors today, Daniel Pink: “Give and Take is a truly exhilarating book…[it] will shatter your assumptions about how the world works…”
It’s a well-researched and well-written book that gave me some new perspectives on life and on success—an enjoyable read.

PLI Faculty Member
James A. Cusumano

BALANCE: The Business-Life Connection

James A. Cusumano
Executive, entrepreneur, technologist
It is often called the Ultimate Question. We all seek long-term personal fulfillment in both our personal and professional lives. And in doing so, we come face-to-face with this question, a question that has confronted humanity since the dawn of time, a question each and every one us must answer. But first, a very telling story.
A bright, young Prague executive had made it to a top position at a leading multinational technology company. Shortly before his 35th birthday, he found himself suffering intensely from overwork, stress and exhaustion, so he decided to take a holiday in a remote seaside village on the island of Sicily. One afternoon as he basked in the warmth of the Sicilian sun and gazed out over the tranquil turquoise Mediterranean, he suddenly found himself in casual conversation with a local fisherman.....
Guest Contributor
Melissa Venable

A Creative Approach to Career Development

Melissa Venable
Education Writer / Instructor

Being creative isn’t just for artists, authors, and musicians. All of us can, and should, think about our careers creatively – working with the raw materials at hand to make something unique. In the context of career development, these raw materials might include your education and training accomplishments, past working experiences, interests and hobbies, volunteer service, as well as skills and abilities.
While there are contradictory reports about how frequently we tend to change jobs or even careers over the span of our working lives, it’s safe to say that working for the same employer for 20 years is not as common as it might have been for our parents or grandparents. The economy and jobs market fluctuations force us to think outside the box, as it were, at a range of possible career directions, which include emerging fields and job titles we may not have considered before...
Prague Leadership Institute
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