What to do when you have a values clash with your boss

Advice for resolving sticky situations

What to do when you have a values clash with your bossSo many leadership lessons lurk in the events that have plagued the political landscape in both Canada and the United States recently that it’s hard to know where to start. Leadership lessons that emerge from crises are easy pickings; they’re so obvious and it’s so easy to be self-righteous. A much tougher question is: What…

Are you taking enough pride in your work?

Here are a number of ways to increase opportunities to feel pride

Are you taking enough pride in your work?I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon is a brilliant article by Austin Murphy in the December 2018 issue of The Atlantic. Murphy articulates his career journey as a result of being in an industry disrupted by technology. What really resonated for me about his story was his transformation…

3 situations when team interventions won’t work

Before jumping into a team-building session, ask yourself if it really going to resolve the issue

3 situations when team interventions won’t workLeading a team requires a skill set that is completely different from that of managing direct reports, the people who work directly under you. I have worked for leaders who were great at galvanizing a team but ineffective one-on-one, and amazing bosses who were terrible team leads. Actually, most of the people I’ve worked for…

6 steps to fast tracking your culture building efforts

Tackling culture requires the same approach you apply to any other business problem

6 steps to fast tracking your culture building effortsI once sat with a small group of business owners who wanted to talk about culture. For each of them, culture ranks as one of their key human resource worries – how to shift their culture in a meaningful way, or maintain a culture they see as critical to success. One of the advantages –…

4 sure-fire ways to reduce productivity in your organization

And watch your business go down the drain

4 sure-fire ways to reduce productivity in your organizationA lack of productivity is a serious concern because the more it costs us to produce something, the less competitive we are in the global marketplace. And the less competitive we are leads directly to fewer jobs, diminished earning power and a lower standard of living. The usual explanations as to why we struggle with…

Five steps to improving your life

Focus on the simple things that improve your life and you will become a happier person

Five steps to improving your lifeI relish the opportunity to reflect on the year – and give thought to what I want to be different going forward, and how I will accomplish that. I gave up making actual resolutions years ago; like everyone else, my follow-through was short-lived and ended in disappointment. But I like to experiment with new habits…

Why New Year’s resolutions never stick

Change isn't difficult. What is difficult is doing things when you don't really want to

Why New Year’s resolutions never stickSo it's a new year. The pressure to look optimistically and confidently ahead, resolve to change old ways, and embrace the new is palpable. Forget it. Most people really don't want to change, and some shouldn't even try. While I hate to be the Scrooge of New Year Present, I guarantee that human nature won't…

Why you need a psychologist in the boardroom

How they can accelerate and maximize their effectiveness

Why you need a psychologist in the boardroomI was preparing to facilitate a board strategy retreat and the project sparked thoughts about bringing a psychologist into the boardroom. “Let me be clear; I don’t do strategic planning,” I stressed when I got the call. The chair assured me they weren’t looking for a strategic planning expert. They wanted someone who is really…

5 successful strategies to doing more with less

Are you feeling pressure from your boss to deliver, deliver, deliver?

5 successful strategies to doing more with lessDo you find yourself suddenly being asked to do more with less?  Did there use to be someone in the office beside you whose job responsibilities have suddenly become your responsibilities?  Are you feeling pressure from your boss to deliver, deliver, deliver? It isn’t as if you were slacking off before. Between the meetings, email,…

How to survive getting a new boss

A new boss is a new day, and a new opportunity

How to survive getting a new bossHere are six key questions you can ask yourself, along with strategies to help you keep your job when you get a new boss. Who is Evaluating Whom? One thing many people forget is that they will be tested. Of course you are evaluating and testing your new boss. But that person is also evaluating…

Ten strategies to improve your odds of a better hire

If you take your time, and trust your gut, you are more likely to find the best candidate

Ten strategies to improve your odds of a better hireHiring is rarely something managers look forward to. It often feels like an arduous process that ends in a crapshoot. But there are strategies that improve your odds of hiring well. Don’t stay inside the box. In my experience, employers do not cast a wide enough net when they recruit talent. Human resources professionals and…

Eight step program to surviving a bad boss

Studies consistently show that one of the top reasons people quit a job is to escape a bad boss

Eight step program to surviving a bad bossCindy, a consistently high performer, has been with her firm for 10 years. She really likes the company, her job and the people she works with. But about six months ago, she found herself with a new boss. He’s an up-and-comer; young and ambitious, but lacking in leadership savvy. Determined to prove himself, he pushes…

Five tips to recharging your motivational battery

Are you in a motivational rut? Do you loathe your job? Here's help

Five tips to recharging your motivational batteryIt isn’t a secret that many of us don’t love our jobs. At the moment, I am happily in that ‘I love my job!’ place. But I remember when, a couple of years ago, I was in the ‘I loathe my job’ place. You may be somewhere in the middle. In many respects, that is…

How to use the ‘Rule of 3’ to make better hiring decisions

Striving for three final candidates allows hiring committees to keep an open mind, test for fit and plan for imperfection

How to use the ‘Rule of 3’ to make better hiring decisionsIn The Secrets of Great CEO Selection, Ram Charan advises hiring committees to keep an open mind, test for fit and plan for imperfection. One of the organizations I'm involved with just concluded a chief executive officer selection process so this topic is fresh in my mind. I learned how important it is to enter the…

Is self-employment really for you?

If you want to thrive as your own boss, be prepared to sell yourself every day

Is self-employment really for you?Have you dreamed of being your own boss? Most of us probably have. We think about the flexibility and freedom it offers. We wonder how much more income we would retain if we simply contracted out our services. We imagine what it would be like to be our own boss. That picture of three-day weeks…

Changing behaviour starts with a look in the mirror

Radical change, or change to please someone else, rarely sticks

Changing behaviour starts with a look in the mirrorJerry started smoking when he was in Grade 5. Over the course of his life he has tried many times – once when his uncle died from lung cancer – to give it up. Then, one morning, at the age of 37, Jerry woke up feeling like an old man. He stubbed out his cigarette,…

Perfectionism is a form of theft

Attempting to make everything perfect steals time from your clients, your employer, your family and yourself

Perfectionism is a form of theftFor her entire career, Phoebe has really struggled with how to manage her time. She has a great attitude and the quality of her work is first-rate, but it seems to take her twice as long as anyone else to bring a project to completion. Recently she moved into a new role, replacing someone who…

The world needs fewer leaders and more good managers

Management is responsible for turning a leader's vision into reality

The world needs fewer leaders and more good managersBusiness and management guru Henry Mintzberg argued a few years ago that businesses are asking for trouble because of their penchant for separating "leaders" from "managers" and placing leadership in a superior role over management. We are suffering, in other words, not from a lack of leadership but from the absence of good management. Mintzberg…

Being a good leader means being a good listener

When you aren’t listening you’re missing an awful lot

Being a good leader means being a good listenerLast week, my friend was lamenting that she was away for her 16-year-old son’s first day of school and wouldn’t be there to pick him up. Obviously, her son doesn’t need his mom there. But driving him home lets her listen to him vent. It gives her insight into what he’s thinking, how he’s doing…

How to balance reassurance while managing performance

Given everything we’ve been coping with, it’s not surprising that job performance has suffered at times

How to balance reassurance while managing performanceIt has been challenging for many of us to deliver consistent, stellar performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given everything we’ve been coping with, it’s not surprising that job performance has suffered at times. Even though there are good reasons for it, it doesn’t make us feel any better about ourselves. Failing to live up to…

Are you suffering compassion fatigue?

In the midst of the pandemic, a great deal of pressure has fallen on managers. Here are some tips to help deal with the increased stress

Are you suffering compassion fatigue?Lucy is a manager who oversees a large team of sales reps. Like many other organizations, hers quickly made the transition to work-from-home. It was a new experience for a team used to working from their downtown office. Lucy used to be able to monitor her team with regular walk-arounds and check-ins. She had a…

Want the best advice on coping in a pandemic? Listen to yourself

Your intuition works by drawing your attention to something your analytical brain can’t see. And it has your best interests at heart

Want the best advice on coping in a pandemic? Listen to yourselfAt the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts rushed to provide advice and offer expertise on how to respond in the face of crisis. Much of it was very helpful – and overwhelming in its sheer volume. That has subsided significantly. Perhaps consultants got busy with other things or ran out of things to say.…

5 sure-fire ways to destroy organizational excellence

Building and sustaining organizational excellence requires exceptional people dedicated to the task

5 sure-fire ways to destroy organizational excellenceA blog from a couple of years back by marketing guru and all-round provocative thinker Seth Godin entitled The fruitless search for extraordinary people willing to take ordinary jobs took me back to a boardroom conversation about executive pay. Every company has a ‘compensation philosophy’ that it uses to guide how it sets the pay…

How working from home could be bad for your career

Working from home could enhance your work-life balance, but negatively impact your development and career trajectory

How working from home could be bad for your careerAs we approach three months working in pandemic lockdown, many organizations are toying with the idea of making remote work a more permanent fixture. The potential advantages are obvious: financial savings from reduced office space, reduced commuting time for employees, the ability to hire from outside the region. For many organizations, the experiment with virtual…

Why mission matters now more than ever

Encouraging everyone to look at what they’re doing through a mission lens can help your entire organization

Why mission matters now more than everI often find inspiration for my column from something I’ve read or heard. This month’s column was inspired by a podcast with Tobi Lütke, co-founder and CEO of Shopify. Shopify has been on a tear lately, overtaking even RBC to become Canada’s most valuable company. As a very small shareholder, I couldn’t be happier for…

Finding opportunity in the middle of pandemic

How COVID-19 is allowing us to challenge our assumptions about preparedness, speed of execution and what’s important

Finding opportunity in the middle of pandemicTo quote Albert Einstein, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” As difficult as this pandemic is, it’s also exposing a wealth of opportunities. As businesses, leaders and individuals, we’re being confronted with the opportunity to challenge our assumptions on all fronts. There are some positive lessons to be learned through this COVID-19 crisis, and…

How to keep it together when everything is falling apart

In the face of the coronavirus, keep perspective. Focus on what matters and what you can control. Strive for a sense of well-being. And stay busy

How to keep it together when everything is falling apartI remember writing about personal and leadership resilience during the financial crisis. I guess the good news is, until now, we haven’t had an event so universally significant and impactful to test us. But here we are again. Unlike the financial crisis, where it was (just) about money, this time it will be – at…

How to say ‘yes’ to pro bono work and feel good about it

Calling it ’knowledge philanthropy’ rather than ‘pro bono’ makes me feel like I am giving, rather than giving something away

How to say ‘yes’ to pro bono work and feel good about itAs an entrepreneur I get a lot of requests to give away expertise ‘for a good cause’. Many times I have to say no. However, I have started to intentionally incorporated knowledge philanthropy into my lifestyle portfolio (not my business portfolio). Here are some of the lessons I learned around how I say ‘YES!’ to…

The power of a good question

A really good question is fuel for our reflection, awareness and insight. We like to solve our own problems and good questions invite us to do that

The power of a good questionQuestions are one of the most powerful tools we have in our arsenals as leaders, professionals, parents and humans. One of my favourite stories about the power of a question comes from an interview. My final interview for a job I really wanted was with the CEO of the company. After peppering me with questions,…

Success strategies for working through chronic stress

How do you deal with stress?

Success strategies for working through chronic stress"Every day is a new day." At no time in recent memory has this phrase been more poignant. The situation has gone from one of sudden, unexpected crisis to that of chronic, daily stress. It is emotionally and psychologically exhausting. In the workplace, the pressure to make good decisions and produce good results has never…