Common Sense in Leadership: Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 5

The Prague Leadership Institute Newsletter

Developing Leaders for the 21st Century

Dear Readers,

Pepper de CallierWelcome to the May edition of The Prague Leadership Institute's Newsletter. We have some wonderful news to share, so I'll get right to it.

PLI has been chosen by Google to be one of its Premium Partners in the Czech Republic. This is a wonderful honor and opportunity for us and we are thankful to Tatana le Moigne, Country Manager, and to Petr Kunes, who heads up Google Strategic Partnerships for EMEA, for allowing us to be part of this incredible program. Part of the reason for this will become apparent in the next 30 days when we’ll announce the launch of a new PLI initiative on YouTube, so stay tuned.

Priscilla and I are headed to London in June, where I have been asked to deliver the commencement address to the Masters in Management program at London Business School—a wonderful validation of PLI's message about the Human Element of Leadership and, no doubt, a recognition of our impressive faculty.

Speaking of faculty, this month I am thrilled to reintroduce you to one of our newest faculty members, Door Plantenga, General Manager, Heineken Slovensko. As one of the highest ranking women in Heineken worldwide, Door has earned a reputation for delivering outstanding results in a number of countries by employing a style of leadership that creates an extremely high level of employee engagement. In Door's article for this month's newsletter you will get a glimpse into what that style is and why we are so proud to have Door on our faculty.

With equal enthusiasm, I reintroduce a close friend and co-Founder of PLI, Mike Short. This month, in the second installment (click here to read the first) of his series, Mike continues his illuminating, insightful, and reflective view of a leader who has just assumed responsibility for a very challenging assignment and the intellectual, emotional, and professional vicissitudes he experiences while attempting to perform to the expectations of those around him and, equally important, to his own expectations.

Two wonderfully thought-provoking pieces by two seasoned and accomplished leaders. Thank you, Door and Mike, for your insights and observations, which I know will be so useful to all of us who have a deep interest in leadership in the 21st century.

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. Each month I will share with you the name of a book that I think will be worth your time to read. This month I would like to draw your attention to a book that will forever change the way we look at our brains—specifically our ability to change ourselves in order to address specific challenges and goals. Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves by Sharon Begley, eloquently explains, using science and personal observation, our ability to change ourselves—powerful stuff for those who are interested in personal growth.

HH Dali Lama has written the forward to this book and Dr. Daniel Goleman, the father of emotional intelligence, has contributed the preface, which gives one a sense of the quality of the book's content. If you read it, let me know what you think. PdeC

Door Plantenga

Boss or Leader

Door Plantenga
General Manager, Heineken Slovensko

Over the years I have been fascinated by the different terms that were used to describe 'people who have responsibility over (large) groups of other people'; in the sixties and seventies they were called Bosses, during my MBA studies in the eighties we called them 'Managers' and later the term 'Leaders' came into fashion; these days we start to talk about 'Guides' and 'Coaches' and no doubt in the next years and decades ahead of us we will find other suitable descriptions again.

Much more interesting is the question of how we can distinguish 'effective' and 'inspiring' humans who lead people compared to others, no matter how we call them. Effectiveness could be measured by value creation and profitability of a company.

During my career of more than 25 years, I worked in a number of different countries, The Netherlands, Botswana, Ghana, Rwanda and Slovakia and experienced many different superiors and peers. I started to keep record of what I called 'boss' behavior and 'leader' behavior. Pepper most likely would call it 20th century leadership behavior and 21st century leadership behavior!
Mike Short

The Second Day

Mike Short
Co-Founder, PLI

The results I'd seen yesterday, my first day as the new MD, kept me awake late into the night. The sales figures, the financials, the declining market share, made me very worried. Of course, the positive indicators were pointed out: "the decline is less than the overall market"; "our customer feedback results are improving"; "we've managed to cut costs to maintain our bottom line", but the underlying performance was clearly not good. This was not going to be an easy ride! With my heart in my stomach I rushed my breakfast and left for my new office.

On the way, my mind in turmoil with the task ahead, I was conscious that something else was troubling me, gnawing away at the back of my mind. "What is it" I thought to myself, but I couldn't pinpoint the problem. Then I noticed a group of schoolboys racing their bikes – shouting, laughing, challenging each other. "That's it!" I thought, "There's no energy! Where's the passion, the excitement, the drive to succeed? If there's no drive and no passion, no sense of a burning platform, how can we win?" Perhaps it was just a first impression, but I resolved to dig further. 
Prague Leadership Institute
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