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…

Tips to becoming a strategic thinker

The good news is strategic thinking can be nurtured

Tips to becoming a strategic thinkerI once started working with a leader who suddenly found herself on the executive team. A corporate restructuring resulted in skipping a level and now she is sitting around the table asking, ‘am I strategic enough to do this job?’ Her question is not unique. Twenty years of developing leaders has taught me there are…

Tough times require tough bosses

Seven basic management skills to motivate your workers

Tough times require tough bossesFor over two decades we have been training leaders to manage people by empowering them. Leaders who were authoritarian, who behaved like a parent instead of a coach, were seen as dinosaurs at the end of their era. Times change. I remember how a conversation I had with a client, an enlightened and successful leader, unfolded:…

5 questions to ask yourself before accepting that new position

Being offered a promotion or a chance to do something new at work may be your dream come true. But is it?

5 questions to ask yourself before accepting that new positionBeing offered a promotion or a chance to do something new at work may be your dream come true. But is every opportunity a good one? Before you jump and say ‘yes’ ask yourself these five questions. Why me? Organizations re-assign people for a variety of reasons. Brent took two back-to-back ‘Acting’ roles and was…

Five ways you can practice kindness at work

By being kind, we give those around us hope and inspiration

Five ways you can practice kindness at workMindfulness is a hot trend in organizational effectiveness, with employee programs popping up in innovators like Google and stalwarts like General Mills (Why Google, Target, and General Mills Are Investing in Mindfulness, Harvard Business Review). The demonstrated benefits of mindfulness practices, such as meditation, are mounting. As good and important as mindfulness is (I am…

How to behave like a millennial, and like it

At mid-life, as we long to reshape our lives and careers, and do something more meaningful, we could learn a thing or two from millennials

How to behave like a millennial, and like itSeveral years ago, I had the sudden, blessed opportunity to step off my hamster wheel – the success-oriented, fast-paced career where I put my work first and tried to shoehorn in everything else. Balance was a see-saw – when one side went up, the other went down. It was a life of sacrifice and compromise,…

Five steps to improving your life in 2020

By focusing on simple things that improve your life, you'll become a happier person – enabling you to make a broader contribution

Five steps to improving your life in 2020I 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, to resolve to change old ways and embrace the new, is palpable. The media, with tiresome predictability, are chock-full of advice from the experts on how to make and stick to your resolutions. Forget it. Most people really don't want to change,…

A leader’s main job is to manage chaos

A leader provides his team with vision, values and guidelines critical to helping people make the best possible decisions for the company

A leader’s main job is to manage chaosA leader I met with once said something that has stuck with me. "Most people are trying to do what they believe is in the best interest of the organization. The trouble is they may not have the same point of view on what that is. And that leads to chaos." As an example, take the…

Six mistakes people make when they start a new job

25 per cent of people who move into a new job will fail. Paying attention to these six common mistakes will help make sure you are not one of them

Six mistakes people make when they start a new jobWhat happens when leaders take on new roles or responsibilities in their company? 'Onboarding' – the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating and accelerating new team members, whether they come from outside or inside the company – has focused almost exclusively on employees who join from the outside. But there is usually a lot more internal…

Banish the dreaded performance review in 3 easy steps

You don't engage your employees by handing them a report card like they are grade-school students, but by helping them paint a picture of their future

Banish the dreaded performance review in 3 easy stepsThe dreaded performance review is quite possibly the most detested human resources program ever invented. It doesn’t matter what process, form or technology is in place to accomplish this task, it is always bad. And it doesn’t work – ever. The reason I know this is because I spent a year thumbing through job descriptions…