CLASSICAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

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The world of work is in turmoil:

– vocations have been turned into jobs where self-fulfillment is impossible
– the interaction between people at work has become highly mechanical
– even when the general tone is nice and professional, people are treated disrespectfully by default – this is not a surprise in a zero-sum game
– trust is a rarity
– toxic, ill-willed behavior has become a given in many places
– although ethics and “quantitative values” are mutually exclusive categories, people who are judged based on KPI’s get to decide what’s ethical
– authenticity is in short supply: in fact, it’s hardly possible at all

The majority of leadership development programs have emerged from this very milieu, teaching people, quite paradoxically, how to strive in such an environment while maintaining it. Both good intentioned managers and corporate criminals (caught and uncaught), as well as career politicians have successfully graduated from these, forming an increasingly undifferentiated mass of decision makers.

We invite you to a journey on an alternative path that challenges the very fundamentals of work and business, and gives you tools, opportunities and perhaps even courage for making fundamental change.

Whatever domain of life you are active in, your views, thinking, behavior and acts determine how you’re perceived and respected in your organization. The rest are technicalities that you’ve probably learned to master already.

In this journey we shall rely on real principles, not on their business versions; let’s face it: there are no such things as business ethics, business leadership, business philosophy, business thinking, business relationships or professional behavior for that matter. Business, modelled after a machine and infused by scientism, knows nothing of people.

The curriculum we offer is inspired by a relentless pursuit of the truth, and is based on Western and Far Eastern Traditions, drawing on the works of Pythagoras, Stoic philosophers, Lao-Tsu, Confucius, Miyamoto Musashi, and others – not on the opinions and experiences of business celebrities.

We have carefully compiled a total of 18 topics, covering three principles and how they are reflected in 11 personal and 4 social practices that are indispensable for leadership and, just as importantly, for “followership”, which is not any less as honorable.

The program is open to all. It consists of maximum 10 sessions in small groups of up to 6 people.
Length: maximum 10 months, sessions are held minimum once a month.
Locations: Prague.

It is also ideal as a supplementary corporate leadership development program in your own office: based on interests and desired outcomes, select topics may be assembled for individuals and teams to develop authentic leadership and to transform teams into authentic communities.

Price: €175 / person / session. Free for unemployed managers!

To register or to request information on the modules, please contact: lakovari@prakhsis.com

 

Silos & slabs module

Author: Henry Mintzberg

You know about silos, those vertical cylinders that keep people apart from each other in organizations—producers from engineers, doctors from nurses, staff in the Quebec Division from those in Alberta. In fact you have probably heard more than enough about these silos. 

Well, how about slabs? You know them too, if not by that name. In one Czech company, people talked about the executives on the top floor of their small building as some kind of inner sanctum, isolated from everyone else.

Women have long complained about the “glass ceilings” that keep them from advancing up the hierarchy. This is one kind of slab; many others, often literally made of concrete, serve as horizontal barriers to the free flow of information up the hierarchy (if not down).[1] 

I developed a CoachingOurselves topic called “Silos and Slabs in Organizations”. Once, when I used it with the senior management of a bank, they concluded that silos were the problem, not slabs. “You might want to ask some people on a slab or two below you,” I suggested.

We need silos for the sake of specialization in our organizations, just not ones with impenetrable walls. To use another metaphor, it’s not seamlessness we need in our organizations but good seams: tailored connections between the silos. But do we need slabs between levels of authority? For example, must the CEO, COO, CFO, and CLO, etc. all sit in their own place?

A cardinal rule of management development programs is that different levels of managers must not be mixed. Keep the CEOs with CEOs, middle managers with middle managers, and so on. Why? For the sake of status? Executives already spend much of their time with peers; they need to tap into the thinking of other kinds of managers. How about a little mingling, all you C_ Os? You might get an earful from someone in another organization who can open up to you.

Or how about coming down from your tower, and putting your desk next to people with a different perspective on your own organization? Kao, a Japanese manufacturer of personal care and other products, became famous for running its meetings in open spaces and allowing anyone going by to join: a foreman at the executive committee, an executive at a factory meeting. Semco, a Brazilian company, reported keeping two seats at board of directors meetings open for workers.

It’s easy to bust the slabs when you realize that they are mere figments of our lack of imagination.


[1] Years ago, the Sears retail chain moved out of the Sears Tower, then the tallest building in the world. The CEO said that “We had become a vertical culture.”  It is quite interesting how people will happily walk long distances horizontally before they climb even one flight of stairs.

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