What to do when your board members go rogue

Some board members think their position gives them extra power and privileges

What to do when your board members go rogueJenny was in tears. As the executive director of her organization, she was at her wit’s end and said she was ready to quit. She confided in me that one of the directors was going directly to one of her staff members, telling him he would be fired unless he complied with the director’s request,…

How to increase your personal business performance

Performing at our best all the time can seem like a challenge unless we move the goal posts and focus on learning, fun and clarity

How to increase your personal business performanceThere were only three days left before I had to have the program ready for my team. I had been putting off working on the project until it seemed like the last minute. I could feel the pressure building internally and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to deliver. Working to deliver…

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…

Screwed up? It’s okay to be honest

Our mistakes in judgment help us learn and hopefully grow

Screwed up? It’s okay to be honestWhen I was a brash and self-assured 21-year-old, I announced at a family dinner with my aunt and cousin that I would be a millionaire by the time I was 30. I had found investors and had just started a business. I thought I was invincible, living in the big city, and figured I could…

Second time’s the harm when it comes to lockdowns

It’s not the headlines that kill, it’s the many burdens caused by lockdowns that render small businesses unprofitable

Second time’s the harm when it comes to lockdownsAcross Canada, as COVID-19 cases surge, there’s talk of locking down again or of tightening second lockdowns. Of course, we haven’t even settled whether lockdowns were the proper solution in the first place, given the enormous collateral damage in unemployment, bankruptcies, and the physical and mental health of millions, amid a virus that overwhelmingly targets…

Hammer home business success with the right tools

Without the right tools, people and plans, your business will suffer. You’re going to have to work harder and that will affect your bottom line

Hammer home business success with the right toolsIt was almost the final straw. I was laying on the ground after falling off the roof of the house and the carpenter, John, was standing over me yelling. He was mad because his sawhorses had been broken in half because of my stupidity, while I was just wondering if I had broken anything in…

Business opportunities might be right in your front yard

When looking for opportunities to fill needs and create value, start by looking close to home

Business opportunities might be right in your front yardThere was a lot of excited yelling at our house on Saturday morning when I cut down the tree in front of the house. My morning started when my wife asked me six times in a row if I was getting a Christmas tree. I had told her all week that I was going to…

In desperate times, business owners must shift strategies

Leaders who make quick, smart decisions in times of difficulty and follow through are significantly more successful than owners who waffle

In desperate times, business owners must shift strategiesIt was an especially nice Irish day, which means it wasn’t raining. Emily, Isabel and Aisling had just been dropped off by their uncle at a train station in the middle of the country. The girls proceeded to the ticket counter, where they realized they were 10 euros short of what they needed to get…

Mentoring helps entrepreneurs navigate the unknowns

Guiding researchers and scientists to commercialize their intellectual property

Mentoring helps entrepreneurs navigate the unknownsA little more than 20 years ago, MIT developed a mentorship program that challenged notions about competition in the world of business. They called on local titans of business to volunteer to guide the school’s researchers and scientists in commercializing their intellectual property. Within a decade, this in-house service was drawing so much praise from schools around…

Synthetic modelling helping solve future problems

Synthetic modelling helping solve future problemsWhen RunWithIt Synthetics set out to apply synthetic modelling to predict the impact future disruptions might have on energy grids – such as uptake in electric vehicles, greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, energy efficiency, better battery storage, cybersecurity threats, photovoltaics and even disasters – they turned to the University of Alberta. More specifically, they turned to electrical…

Why business owners need to get serious about sales

No one just buys stuff. You need a concrete sales model based on what the product does, what its advantages are and the values it brings to the marketplace

Why business owners need to get serious about salesMy first sales experience was in high school, selling chocolate bars door to door as a fundraiser for a school club. Not much interested in the club but interested in the prizes for top sellers, I hit the pavement. Each day after school, I knocked on doors and sold chocolates to starving mothers and their…

Seven things business owners fear

To be successful, you need to determine what causes your fear and figure out whether that fear is holding you back or pushing you forward

Seven things business owners fearThe day I got married was the scariest day of my life. I walked up to the altar shaking like a leaf. At 31, I would have thought I was too old to be afraid of getting married. But I was afraid. Each month, I talk to a business owner who expresses their fears to…

Has your business been blindfolded?

Has your business been blindfolded?It was all fun and games, with a class of kids having an outdoor adventure while playing a game of trust when the accident happened. The game involved one child leading the other, who was blindfolded, around the campground, letting the blindfolded one try to figure out what they were encountering while avoiding danger. Unfortunately,…

Pricing mistakes every business makes

Setting a pricing policy and regularly reviewing those prices and strategies allows you to price for profit and success

Pricing mistakes every business makesHave you ever bought something and thought that there’s something not right about the price? Maybe it seemed too cheap or you felt you were getting ripped off. Pricing is tricky and a stressor for many business people. Are we too high and scaring away customers? Our competitors are priced lower than us, should we…

The one simple skill all leaders must harness

Taking a breath allows us to be more resilient when chaos looms

The one simple skill all leaders must harnessThe circle on the screen kept spinning. I stared, slowly feeling my heart rate rise as my mind raced with anxious thoughts: “How do I undo this update? What if I’ve been hacked? I’m not a tech genius!” With deadlines looming in the morning, 9:30 p.m. was not the time for my laptop to stop…

Anyone can learn to sell

Some people are extraordinary salespeople. But it's not because they have an innate knack

Anyone can learn to sellHow many times have you heard someone say, "He's a born salesman"? Or, "She has a gift for sales"? Unquestionably, some people are extraordinary salespeople. But it's not because they have an innate knack, or because there is a genetic component behind the skill. It's simply because they worked hard at honing their skill. At…

Building a better collaboration strategy

Create mini-cultures to make your group feel safe, valued, important and needed

Building a better collaboration strategyI once spoke on “The Power of Collaborative Leadership" to business audiences in The United Arab Emirates, Scotland, England, The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and four states of the U.S. Audience members represented industries including engineering, manufacturing, retailing, construction, shipping, technology, energy, utilities, printing, pharmaceuticals and consulting – plus a range of government agencies. After my…

How to create customer service that works

It’s all about making a connection with your customers and building a relationship by giving them what they need in that moment

How to create customer service that worksI recently gave a customer service session to the employees of a store called Great White Toys. Having seen in the news that Toys ‘R’ Us has filed for bankruptcy protection and that many other retailers are also in trouble as a result of online competition, I was surprised to hear from store owner Cameron…

Why leaders should watch their body language

Leaders must understand how nonverbal skills can help them develop positive business relationships

Why leaders should watch their body languageMany executives in my audiences are initially skeptical about hearing a speaker on "body language" because they suspect that the topic might be interesting, but not very practical. By the end of my program, they know better. Here's what they learn ... 1) Science has validated the impact of body language Body language is the…

Create a map to lead you to your online customers

Map out your strategy, use a scheduling platform to post content and build an ideal customer avatar

Create a map to lead you to your online customersMost business people I meet stall out with their social media efforts about six months in if they haven’t seen the results they were hoping for. It feels like you’re posting to no one and it’s not working. You don’t have as much engagement as you had hoped and now you wonder if you should…

Are leaders born or raised?

Being born with talent, riches or a good name doesn’t make you a great leader. Leadership skills can be learned if you open your mind

Are leaders born or raised?Think about the best leader you’ve ever worked for or been associated with. If you considered the qualities that make that person so fantastic as a leader, what would you say those qualities are? It might be a coach or a team member. It might be your first boss or your current boss. It could…

Turning a difficult year into a year of business innovation

Businesses that adapted during the pandemic while allowing their people to be people are now better equipped to respond rather than react

Turning a difficult year into a year of business innovationIn conversation recently with women business leaders, authors, mental health advocates and corporate management leaders across Canada, there was a common thread: 2020 was a hard year. It was also a year of innovation. A year of seeing business being done differently. From transitioning from already-booked in-person galas to online events to learning how to…

Why a monthly report card is essential for business

Look at your income statement and your balance sheet closely every month. Consider the questions those figures raise and then seek out the necessary answers

Why a monthly report card is essential for businessI enjoy reading my kids’ report cards and making them sweat like I did when my mom and dad went through my report card. The truth is, their report cards are, for the most part, better than mine. The comments from the teachers are certainly much nicer. But why tell my kids that? If you’re…

Five ways you might be discouraging your staff

Motivated employees are the lifeblood of every great business. Understanding what you can do to motivate your workers is essential

Five ways you might be discouraging your staffIt’s true that people don’t quit a job, they quit a boss. A great boss can change the dynamics of an organization and inspire people to create a culture where work doesn’t feel like a chore. Motivated staff are key to having an operation that’s well functioning and takes care of customers in a way…

Happiness rooted in relationships, not possessions

The cost of isolation and fear caused by our response to the pandemic might be much higher and even more deadly than the illness

Happiness rooted in relationships, not possessionsI feel old. For the second time in a month, I’ve pulled a muscle in my back. It’s left me sore, stiff and walking like an old man. Yet I’m truly blessed that my life has been filled with good health – with the exception of injuries and concussions derived from my life of activity,…
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