March 2012

To Get a Coach or Not? Is that the Question.

The beginning of the year is usually a time when people make firm resolutions in the hope of bringing about effective change in their lives. But fostering change and growth in adult life takes time and requires ongoing support to ensure that it lasts.

The use of coaching as a major developmental practice in personal and professional life has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past twenty years. In the 90s, working with a coach was often perceived as an admission of incompetence. Today leaders and top performers seek professional coaches to help them fine-tune their competencies, and frequently use coaching as a leadership development tool. In fact coaching is even perceived as a skill leaders themselves can learn to improve their communication and relationships with their direct reports.

So what can a coach do for you?

A qualified coach will help you identify the goals and changes you want to achieve this year and provide the ongoing support required to ensure that they last. A coach will also offer valuable insight about what it will take to meet those goals. Moreover, a professional coach will present an impartial, objective view and suggest the necessary adjustments needed to see things through. Finally, a coach will ensure that your values and behaviors are aligned with the objectives you have set for yourself.

If you are eager to break new ground in 2012, both professionally and personally, enlisting the help of a professional coach could be the answer.

March 3 House of Hope Benefit Concert

The Rotary club to which I belong has a wonderful Ambassadorial Scholar in the Czech Republic this year, Rachel San Luis. Rachel is attending FAMU, participating in Rotary, learning Czech and still finds time to do wonderful charity work.

She is also a very good musician, and this Saturday, March 3rd, she and her band will be giving a performance for charity at Belushi’s / Mosaic House. It will be a delightful evening of pop, folk and jazz, in a great atmosphere

There is no admission charge, but we would like to suggest that anyone who comes donate at least 300 crowns – it’s entirely up to you. All proceeds will go toward the rehabilitation of Teen Challenge’s House of Hope, which serves disadvantaged teens in Prague. You can get more information about Teen Challenge

  • Where: Mosaic House, Odboru 4, Praha 2
  • When: Saturday, March 3
  • Time: 7:00 pm
  • Cost: 300 CZK suggested minimum donation

2012 Equilibrium Mentoring Program for Czech Women

There is compelling evidence that women can be powerful drivers of economic development. Research from the World Bank, United Nations and Goldman Sachs demonstrates that gender equality helps reduce poverty and ensure sustainable growth.

A recent paper from Goldman Sachs found that closing the gap between male and female employment rates would have huge implications for the global economy, boosting American gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 9%, Eurozone GDP by 13% and Japanese GDP by 16%. You can look at the report here.

On March 22, 2012, the British Chamber of Commerce will launch the 2012 Equilibrium mentoring program. The purpose of the program is to increase of the number of women on company boards and in top management roles by providing individual mentoring to a group of those women likely to fill these positions in the next few years.

In recent years, the British Chamber has developed a strong profile in gender diversity – presenting a range of conferences and workshops in addition to the Equilibrium program, which is supported by general partner Česká spořitelna, and media partner MF DNES.

I am proud to say that I participated in this program as a mentor in the most recent sessions, and plan to do so again. For more information, visit the British Chamber web site.

April 1 Rotary Fundraising Great Greek Dinner Event

Join Rotary Club Prague International for a fabulous cultural and culinary experience at our “Great Greek Evening” charity fundraising event.

Enjoy the feel of ancient Greece with live Greek music, dancing, singing and delicious authentic Greek food and drink. In addition to great food and fun, you will also have the opportunity to win exciting prizes in our tombola.

Proceeds from the event will go to support the Salvation Army’s efforts to provide food and emergency shelter to the homeless in the Czech Republic.

This is an event that you do not want to miss. Come help Rotary Prague International help those in dire need – together we can make a difference!

  • Where: Taverna Olympos, Kubelíkova 9, Praha 3
  • When: Sunday, April 1st
  • Time: 5-10 pm
  • Cost: 1500 CZK
  • Dress: Greek Casual (blue & white)

Calendar of Events and Activities

March 3 House of Hope Benefit Concert
April 1 Rotary Fundraising Great Greek Dinner Event

Generation Y: The Next Generation of Leaders

“Your competition can copy every advantage you’ve got, except one. That’s why the world’s best companies are realizing that no matter what business they’re in, their real business is building leaders.” – Geoff Colvin.

Most people in business agree that a company’s success depends on its biggest asset – people. This is especially true in our expanding global economy. The difference between success and failure may not be the most innovative product, or the cheapest price. It may very well be the best leadership. So it’s now critical that companies turn their attention to grooming their next generation of leaders.

Today, that means turning attention to Generation Y, people born approximately between 1980 and 2000. To prepare members of this up-and-coming generation for the challenges of leadership, it is important to know who they are as well as understand their view of the world. Not only does this new workforce see things differently, but it also works in a different way, and has much different expectations about work than the generations that preceded it.

Who Is Generation Y and What Do They Want?

Young and talented, members of Generation Y operate with a completely different perspective than that of the Baby Boomer generation that has been in charge for the past 50 years. They grew up as their parents’ center of attention. As a result, they are very self-confident, often to the point of cockiness.

Growing up with the Internet, they have high technical literacy and expect technology to play a part in all aspects of their lives, whether it’s computers and the Internet or mobile phones and MP3 players. The time they have spent with digital technology has also programmed their brains to react to speed, interactivity and a variety of stimuli – they are multi-taskers. They also look to technology to overcome their lack of skills and experience when working with people of older generations.

Generation Y works best in a horizontal organizational structure and in a supportive environment surrounded by positive people. They welcome challenging options for growth and opportunities to work on tasks and projects they can learn from. They look for positions where they can make a valuable contribution, especially by experimenting with new applications and tools and by suggesting ways that can contribute to an organization.

Members of Generation Y acknowledge and respect positions and titles, and seek out managers they learn from. They are partial to trying a variety of jobs and experimenting in their careers and, as a result, are keen to learn about other roles in the company. Overall they want well-defined goals that lead to clear outcomes and rewards, such as promotion and better pay.

They look for a sense of purpose and meaning in the work that they do, but they will also go to great lengths to balance their professional responsibilities with their personal lives. They are not prepared to give up their hobbies and personal activities because of a job, so they also expect flexibility in their schedules, and to have the opportunity to enjoy life to the fullest.

Grooming Generation Y

Loyalty to the individual is the number one reason Generation Y employees stay at a job, and dissatisfaction with a manager is the number one reason why they leave. For this younger generation, it is no longer enough to hire the right person and to show them the way – managers must be the right boss to win the respect and loyalty of their Generation Y employees.

Earning loyalty: Their loyalty and respect must be earned in the same way, and should never be taken for granted solely on the basis of age and experience. Nevertheless, they can be very committed to their work, the team they work with, and their boss.

Listening: These young adults are used to receiving a lot of attention from their parents. As a result, they expect their ideas and opinions to be taken into consideration regardless of their lack of experience.

Don’t expect them to pay their dues: When a Baby Boomer or Gen Xer complains about being unsatisfied with management or position, he or she also believes, to a certain extent, that dissatisfaction is a part of any job. But someone belonging to Generation Y doesn’t waste time complaining. Instead, he or she dusts off the resume and starts looking for what another company may have to offer.

Giving feedback: This generation expects immediate and ongoing feedback and is equally comfortable giving feedback and suggestions to others.

Offering challenges and structure: When creating an environment for members of Generation Y, it is wise to provide a lot of challenges, but also the structure to facilitate their achievement. This means breaking goals down into steps, as well as offering all the resources and information needed to meet the challenge.

Mentoring: Members of Generation Y have one thing in common – they are new to professional life. As a result, they are definitely in need of mentoring, no matter how smart and confident they are. And they’ll respond well to the personal attention. Because they appreciate structure and stability, mentoring these employees should be a more formal process, with set meetings and a more authoritative attitude on the part of the mentor. A mentoring program not only builds your future leaders, it can also earn managers some points in building loyalty.

Are You Ready for Generation Y?

I am convinced that we can all be inspired by what Generation Y has to offer, in terms of its energy, ideas and its unconventional way of thinking. I am often impressed with their positive attitude and confidence, their ease in interacting with a diverse and multi-cultural group of colleagues, and their desire to enjoy what they do.

And to develop and build the foundation for the next generation of leaders I strongly believe that Baby Boomers, and even some members of the Generation X, need to embrace and rise to the challenge that Generation Y is now offering us. We better be prepared for them, as they are determined to take on the world to reach their goals, with or without our help.

This article is adapted from one written for the Prague Leaders Magazine.