Are you failing as a leader?

Here's what you can do about it

Are you failing as a leader?If you’ve ever been in a leadership position, you’ve probably gone through a time when you didn’t feel very effective. Perhaps you were sitting at your desk wondering what to do next. Maybe you felt overwhelmed with the tasks at hand and wanted to give up. This might have happened when you had staff who…

What to do about bad leaders

Four questions to ask to ensure your leaders know what they are doing

What to do about bad leadersThe world is full of bad leaders. Luckily for the rest of us, they are pretty easy to spot and tend to have limited impact because they generally do not have much influence or staying power. The real concern should be with leaders who are not bad – they just aren't very good. These are…

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…

Canadian government grants your business might qualify for

Many business owners are struggling to survive. These grants could help

Canadian government grants your business might qualify forWith the changes in the economy, many business owners are struggling to get a foothold on what they need to do to ensure their business is stable now and into the future. As a business coach, I’ve seen some tremendous transformations when businesses have had the opportunity to hire outside help to guide them towards…

What to do if your start-up is suffering Founderitis

Founderitis rips a blade across the throat of opportunity and buries potential in the soft sand of ego

What to do if your start-up is suffering FounderitisThink of entrepreneurs as explorers. To survive and thrive, they have to confront an ever-changing world and wrestle with the future. If they don't, they die. They often do not and cannot know the exact course they must take to successfully realize their vision, but they have the courage to leave shore anyway. You gotta…

Five ways to keep your sales campaign from falling short

Don't stumble on the road to success

Five ways to keep your sales campaign from falling shortMike and James had a big plan to sell more of their widgets. The widgets they built were wonderful. They had numerous testimonials that these widgets changed people's lives. Mike wanted to grow this aspect of their business and James agreed. They came up with a plan, built the brochures and sales materials, started down…

Beware of the revolving-door venture capitalist

What happens when your great VC buddy who helped you through so much is gone?

Beware of the revolving-door venture capitalistA start-up that takes its fundraising seriously has to allow its CEO to tackle the project full-time for up to a year. The founders have studied the due diligence requirements ahead of the process, and they approach the investment community in an orderly and structured fashion. The founders and CEO work hard to listen to…

Why I served roadkilll to my investors

When we slow down, look for options and are creative in our thinking, we save money, time and energy

Why I served roadkilll to my investorsIt was my lucky day when Emile told me he had some roadkill in his freezer that he would trade for a couple cases of beer. Not so lucky for the cow that had been hit by the semi on the highway, I guess. Emile told me he had lots of steaks in the boxes…

Three things you only learn as an entrepreneur

It’s up to you to bring in clients. The buck stops with you if your employees fail to perform

Three things you only learn as an entrepreneurStarting your own business teaches you things you’ll never learn in a job. Here are three of them: Where the money comes from As an employee, you can expect your paycheque to arrive every week or two without fail, even if you’re sick or on vacation. At one level, you realize the money comes from…

The necessary perils of entrepreneurship

Real value does not come from the idea alone. Great ideas without execution are empty roadside soda cans

The necessary perils of entrepreneurshipThere were nearly 900 people seated at round tables alternating small talk with bites of chicken. The ballroom was glamorous, the chicken was dry and few paid attention to the joke-telling emcee. "My wife says that if I don't give up golf, she's going to leave me. I'm really going to miss her! Har har!…

Why vaccine passports are bad news for small business

The cost of monitoring for passports is something that small businesses neither want nor can afford

Why vaccine passports are bad news for small businessRequiring vaccine passports is bad news for small businesses that have already faced the brunt of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns. This new requirement that people wishing to be served at establishments like gyms, restaurants, bars, airlines, tourist attractions and concerts must give proof of vaccination is a troubling development for businesses are already struggling. The…

Assertive women perceived negatively in business

To groom women for top positions, offer them the coaching, mentoring, and career opportunities that develop leadership potential

Assertive women perceived negatively in businessAs a speaker at business conferences, I've addressed organizations around the world, and I've seen the genuine commitment that many companies have made to develop the leadership abilities of female employees and to create workplace environments with family-friendly policies and flexible work arrangements – all in hopes of attracting, retaining and grooming women for top…

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…

Five things retailers must do to survive

Those who can adapt will thrive

Five things retailers must do to surviveI recently facilitated a meeting of a group of more than 100 retailers. Seventy per cent of them were either fearful or concerned about the future of their stores. And so they should be. Retailing is changing – you would have to be blind not to see that. When I started in retailing in the…

Why companies can’t be honest with their employees

Doublespeak protects a company's image

Why companies can’t be honest with their employeesYou're summoned to your boss's office and told that you've been "selected out." Strange words. What do they mean? "Selected" sounds positive. But "out"? That's clearly a negative and confusing word. Together, both words are perplexing. An optimist may interpret it as sort of a promotion. A skeptic is worried. The term "selected out" is…

Hoarding information a collaboration killer

Collaboration is also intrinsically inspiring because it has an emotional payoff. People like being part of a winning team

Hoarding information a collaboration killerSome years ago, when I was speaking to a group of executives about change leadership, the topic of collaboration came up. On a whim I asked, "How many of you are totally comfortable sharing information with others in your organization?" I was astonished when, out of an audience of about 200, only three hands went…

How burned out are you and what can be done about it?

Finding a leader who’s not burnt out by COVID-related uncertainty is like finding a unicorn

How burned out are you and what can be done about it?If you’re in a leadership position and feeling burned out, you’re not alone. It seems weekly leaders tell me they’re fatigued, exhausted or burned out. I’m not surprised. In fact, as we prepare for the seemingly endless next waves of COVID-19, finding a leader who’s not tired of the uncertainty is like finding a unicorn…

Don’t blame the food industry labour shortage on COVID-19 alone

We need more economic participation and educators need to value the food industry as a viable career path

Don’t blame the food industry labour shortage on COVID-19 alone“We’re hiring” signs are everywhere, particularly in the food industry. Some people blame overly-generous employment insurance programs that keep many highly capable individuals in their homes. Others point to a younger generation not willing to work, or they blame a fear of COVID-19. Rumours of ageism have also emerged to explain why we’re seeing more…

Painful lessons in effective leadership

The mad and the bad have no place in any organization

Painful lessons in effective leadershipI had just joined a factory in England’s industrial heartland and my new Managing Director – let’s call him Neil – was five foot two, 240 pounds of explosive malevolence. He was an ex-purchasing director whose winning formula was to squeeze his miserable suppliers into penury, and he was honing his approach with his new…

How to keep meetings positive and focused on the outcome

Strategies you can use to avoid the swamp of unproductive meetings

How to keep meetings positive and focused on the outcomeDo your days feel like one unproductive meeting after another … and another? Have you noticed how often people get bogged down in the same issues you talked about the last time you got together? You ask yourself: “Why are we going over the same ground again and again?” Somewhere between the positive intentions that people start with and a…

Are you standing on the edge of the cliff with your business?

It’s time to take the plunge

Are you standing on the edge of the cliff with your business?Christopher O’Byrne stood on the edge of the cliff, looked down, considered jumping and then stepped back. He repeated the process over and over. He would walk away and then back. His mind told him to jump, but his body just wouldn’t do it. Christopher knew he couldn’t take the internal dialogue or the taunts…

Why you can’t fake your feelings

If you try to fake how you really feel, your audience won’t buy it

Why you can’t fake your feelingsI was once asked by a Senior Vice President of Human Resources to work with a leader whose micro-management was limiting her team’s effectiveness. When I met with the client (let’s call her Judith), she was effusive with her praise – going on and on about how much she had heard about me and how…

How unforgettable leaders inspire loyalty

Inspiring loyalty takes leaders with insight into the human heart and sensitivity toward the hopes and aspirations of others

How unforgettable leaders inspire loyaltyThink loyalty is dead? Think again. Loyalty may not look like it did 25 years ago – when companies offered career-long employment and workers unquestioningly followed orders – but loyalty is far from deceased. Loyalty is an intrinsic human characteristic based on emotional attachment that can be tapped, nurtured and developed. Inspiring loyalty takes leaders…

Emerging from the swamp of dysfunctional business relationships

Anyone who tells you that they have a magic bullet, silver or otherwise, for complex and systemic problems belongs in a travelling fair

Emerging from the swamp of dysfunctional business relationshipsAs I looked round the room at my executive team, the acid in my stomach got worse. Dave, our Operations VP, was convinced that Erica from Finance was out to get him: ‘you watch what happens at the end of the quarter, she squirrels the provisions away and makes me look bad, she wants to…

Taking family dysfunction out of the family business

The invigorating power, money and control involved in running a business can cause evil decisions

Taking family dysfunction out of the family businessIn early 2000, I had to fire my wife from our startup business. The business was struggling and my wife was involved in running one of the departments part-time, between looking after our kids and working as a counsellor. Sales in the department and the store as a whole weren’t going as expected and we…

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…

Tips for terminating employees with dignity

Most managers handle the uncomfortable task of terminating employees badly

Tips for terminating employees with dignityMost managers, regardless of level, handle the uncomfortable task of terminating employees badly. The biggest mistake managers make is terminating them in a harsh, unkind and insensitive way. The manner in which employees are fired often fuels lawsuits. Right or wrong, if employees feel that they are being unfairly treated, they perceive it as grounds…

Five things you should know about selling your business

Selling a business is no easy walk in the park – there’s considerable hard work to prepare your business for new ownership

Five things you should know about selling your businessAfter a couple of years of pandemic stress, business owners are pondering their next steps. You might be an owner who has decided perhaps you’ve benefited from the crisis, had some great years and are ready to move on. Maybe you’ve realized you don’t want to deal with the stress of lockdowns and crisis management…

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…
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