A smile can change your future, and your business

Smiles release serotonin and dopamine in your brain, and that helps improve your mood

A smile can change your future, and your businessWhenever I give a presentation on the impact of body language in the workplace, I always include a section on the power of a smile. That’s because research shows that facial expressions send feedback from your face to your left frontal cortex, which in turn triggers the release of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine into…

Is your business fishing in the right pond with the right bait?

Why are you in the business you’re in?

Is your business fishing in the right pond with the right bait?My sister Catherine loves fishing and, to be honest, she’s much better at it than I am. Catherine could catch 10 fish to my one because she knows what she’s doing. Before you even go fishing, you need to know why you’re going. Typically, people go fishing because they love fish and like spending time…

Helping small businesses succeed in the digital economy

Going digital is “kind of a life-or-death situation for small businesses”

Helping small businesses succeed in the digital economyA group of students led out of the University of Alberta School of Business is helping small businesses get ahead of the pandemic-induced warp-speed retail overhaul that is pushing customers online in droves. The students are at the heart of the new Digital Economy Program (DEP), a free initiative that sees a team of U of…

How to be a fortune teller

Strategic opportunism is at the heart of innovation

How to be a fortune tellerA wise old sage hosted a dinner. Toward the end of the meal, everyone was given fortune cookies and told they were holding their future in their hands. The guests eagerly opened them to read the words of wisdom they contained. The paper slips inside each cookie were blank. “Is this a joke?” they asked.…

Annual reviews only feed corporate paranoia

The whole employee rating process is a recipe for disaster

Annual reviews only feed corporate paranoiaI was 23 when I got my first promotion to Acting Assistant Labour Relations Manager in the UK’s Health Service. My boss’s gift to me was my one and only report, Megan, 20 years old, grumpy, difficult and the department’s secretary. My first task in my new position was to deliver her end-of-year review. My…

Human capital is key to building a successful economy

Canada’s economy has transitioned from the resources under our feet to the resources between our ears

Human capital is key to building a successful economyThe first month of a new year is named January after the Roman god Janus, who had two faces – one looking backward and the other looking forward. Janus illustrates humanity’s ambition that the first month of the new year is a time to take stock of the past and make plans for the future.…

Three tips to get better results from your team this year

Setting goals gives us something to motivate and rally our team around

Three tips to get better results from your team this yearIf you’re burned out at the thought of another daunting year and trying to plan, you’re not alone. Trying to figure out what will happen and how it will affect your organization seems like a crapshoot. Yet many leaders who recognize that they need to change still fail to understand how to make the necessary…

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…

Don’t get sucked in by “expert” predictions

Forecasters with the biggest news media profiles are especially bad at predicting the future

Don’t get sucked in by “expert” predictionsYears ago, an elderly couple went to a country fair. The husband was captivated by an animated psychic promising to tell his age and what kind of person he is. He inserted a coin, and the machine sprang to life. The animatronic clairvoyant peered into her crystal ball, mumbled a few words, and pointed to…

Rethinking Strategic Planning

The current method is fatally flawed

Rethinking Strategic PlanningHow business leaders evaluate the landscape, make sense of the environment, proactively shape the opportunities they see and then decide on which course of action to take – in other words, Strategic Planning – deserves far closer attention than it has received so far. There is a strong argument to be made for a more…

These strategies will help make your business profitable

Could improve your performance by 10 per cent and double your profits

These strategies will help make your business profitableImagine slaving away for years in your own business only to find out that it isn’t worth anything. I regularly meet with business owners who ask me how much their business is worth and I have to tell them the disappointing news that it’s actually worth very little. The reason their business isn’t worth anything…

Culture drives an organization to superior results

Attitudes and beliefs equal character, while values and competencies equal competence

Culture drives an organization to superior resultsSitting just alongside the attitudes and beliefs of an organization is a companion set of attributes that round out the cultural blueprint. It is represented by: The Values: espoused and held to be important. The Competencies: nurtured to drive performance and build talent. It is a pretty simple formula – so simple that many seem…

Get emotional about a culture of safety

It’s a dangerous myth to believe there is a trade-off between safety and profitability

Get emotional about a culture of safetyIt was a small terraced house in a northern English city. The young couple did not look old enough to have a son in our apprentice programme. They gave me a cup of tea and I sat down on their sofa. There was no TV, just some chairs, a picture of their son and the…

New Year’s resolutions are out, naming the year is in

Naming the year inspires and motivates; a new year's resolution often ends in frustration

New Year’s resolutions are out, naming the year is inAs a child, I remember my parents and their friends gathering on New Year’s Eve and talking about their resolutions for the next year. Some of those resolutions might have been: quit smoking; plant a bigger garden; get the kids to school on time; drink more beer and less hard liquor; have a bigger pile…

Mining for hidden human potential: The cost of ignorance

It's time to change the view that managers will simply learn "on the job" and experience comes with "practice"

Mining for hidden human potential: The cost of ignoranceLet us ask a few simple questions to help illustrate our point. How many hours of driving school does the average teenager need before they get a licence to take your car onto the road? How many hours of flying time does a pilot need before they are fully licensed to fly an Airbus or…

New Year’s resolutions that will boost your business

If you are self-employed, you will need to hone new skills to succeed

New Year’s resolutions that will boost your businessAs 2021 morphs into 2022, more than numbers on the calendar are changing. Technology, communications, media, weather – even the way we work and earn our livings – aren’t what they used to be. It used to be jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s what we wanted for ourselves, our partners, our kids; it’s what politicians promised…

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…

Mining for hidden human potential

Accurately evaluating human potential is critical to long-term success

Mining for hidden human potentialThe mining industry has long known the importance and value of good geology and sound prospecting. It understands how operating performance is inevitably linked to the location of the ore body and the "grade" of the ore being mined. The same thinking, skill and science need to be used by every organization in order to…

The secret to high-performance organizations

We develop our bad habits in good times and our good habits in bad times

The secret to high-performance organizationsThe preponderance of environment news in the media today started me thinking of how important the "environment" is in the corporate world as well. You see, the quality of the environment (i.e. the culture) really does matter. Business leaders must take ultimate responsibility for shaping the environment within which their people live and must be…

What your Christmas tree says about your leadership style

Are you a dominant or conscientious or steady leader, or an influencer?

What your Christmas tree says about your leadership styleThanks to the women’s suffrage movement and their demands for equal work for women, I was at home last week while Margaret was slaving away at the university. Because she’s only in her 11th year at the university, she has to work until Christmas Eve. To make matters worse, Margaret was worried – as she…

10 powerful and simple body language tips

Sometimes the smallest body language change can bring powerful results

10 powerful and simple body language tipsEvidence from psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and anthropology has given nonverbal communication new credence in the workplace. One example is a study at the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging that discovered it takes the brain just 200 milliseconds to gather most of the information it needs from a facial expression to determine a person’s…

10 principles for future leaders

How to ensure you and your organizations are fit for the future

10 principles for future leadersPerhaps the biggest challenge facing leaders today is to ensure they can navigate themselves and their organizations through a complex and rapidly evolving future landscape. The reality is becoming clear: A good future-focused leader has to have a "futurist mindset." This means being capable of continuously looking over the horizon and constantly adjusting our present-day…

How a venture capitalist knows your deal is weak

The venture capitalist is actually looking for a reason not to invest in your company

How a venture capitalist knows your deal is weakIt is an industry accepted standard that venture capitalists will fund one of 100 deals. Some entrepreneurs will not be given more than a few minutes to pitch; others will get a longer meeting, while a lucky few will move into a process of successive interviews and discussions. But, in the end, only one deal…

Great leaders share similar traits

But there is no proven path to preparing for it

Great leaders share similar traitsThousands of books have been published about leadership because millions of people have fantasies of being top dog. Former presidents, prominent military leaders, CEOs, academics and consultants of every stripe have written books about what it takes to be an exceptional leader. It's worth finding out. While theories abound about what makes a great leader,…

5 facts to know before approaching venture capitalists

Learning these five facts will save you time and frustration

5 facts to know before approaching venture capitalistsEvery year hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors congregate at the base of the mountains at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta. Over the course of two days, approximately 50 IT, life science, and cleantech companies make their pitch to an audience of venture capitalists and angel investors. (This year's event is combining virtual and…

10 change management strategies backed by science

Offers insights for helping us deal with change

10 change management strategies backed by scienceI’ve been studying change leadership for over 25 years, but only recently have researchers been able to use technology like functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI) to look at the brain and see what actually happens when we’re facing a major organizational change. For example, most of our daily activities, including many of our work habits,…

What you need to know if you’re selling your business

You need to increase profitability, get the business to run without you, start planning and be creative

What you need to know if you’re selling your businessForty-one per cent of businesses in North America are owned by baby boomers between 55 and 75 years old. These people are actively thinking about retirement and how they will get their money out of the business. Research shows that, in many cases, up to 90 per cent of a business owners’ equity is tied…

How to attract the right talent to achieve financial success

Making the right connections and finding the right people will directly impact the level of success you achieve

How to attract the right talent to achieve financial successWhen examining the who, what, where, when and why of any startup, it's the who that will most directly impact the level of success that is achieved. Making the right connections and finding the right people will be entirely reflected in the management team, staff, advisory board, customer list and availability of capital. While that…
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