• Friday Reflections

Friday Reflections brings Spearhead readers the benefit of the diversity of all our Associates' individual voices and interests. Each Friday we'll post a new link to an article we thought was particularly interesting or helpful, and provide commentary from a Spearhead Executive Coaching Associate on the important takeaways.

Follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates and leadership tips from our Associates.


June 23, 2017

Networking: Why You Only Need a Core Group of 10

Over the past decade, the size of someone's network has been equated with his/her success. Social media platforms have expanded opportunities to grow our networks without much effort. Networking has become big business. We've added "Serial Networkers" to our lexicon to describe people who are seen at events and online regardless of relevance, purpose, or value to others. It's time to shift networking from an activity to a strategy by focussing on quality versus quantity. A smaller powerful network is more likely to provide the connections needed to grow and share your leadership skills and place you in influential circles. In this article, Joe Guith explains the "Power of 10" and provides three categories to consider as you plan your powerful network...and perhaps as you purge.

Warm Regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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June 9, 2017

Introverts are the Secret Weapons of the Modern Office

This is a very interesting take on comparing introverts and extroverts in the work world. Some of this I agree with and some of these arguments seemed a bit forced. In the long run it would be interesting to explore some of these ideas with your teams. What do you need to do to check this out?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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May 26, 2017

12 Fears You Need to Overcome to Succeed in Business and Life

Are your fears holding you back? The author of this article suggests 'we can never outperform the limits set by our fears'. He quotes from a book by Mandie Holgate, entitled "Fight the Fear" which identifies twelve fears you need to overcome to succeed in life. Do any of these apply to you?

All the best,
Pam

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May 12, 2017

Three Leadership Lessons from La La Land

Occasionally, we get a story of integrity from an industry that is well-known for being superficial and lacking moral leadership. There have been many accounts of the Academy Award mix up in February. In this article, Scott Eblin highlights three big leadership lessons from this mishap: 1) See the Bigger Picture; 2) Take Charge; and 3) Document the Truth. In the end, everyone including the audience at home benefitted from the leadership demonstrated by Jordan Horowitz and everyone on stage that night. Leadership includes grace and humility under pressure, in crisis, and when it seems that the whole world is witness to your personal disappointment and yet you rise to share credit where credit is due.

Warm Regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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April 28, 2017

Why CEO's Don't Want Executive Coaching

This article states that CEO's don't seek coaching even though they say they want it. The article further explores the idea that possibly CEO's misunderstand what coaching can actually do for them.

Coaching explores the gap between where you are and where you want to be, but it has more to do with self awareness. Coaching hones in on increasing self awareness and empathy. This in turn leads to powerful leadership. It all has to do with the perception of the CEO. In other words it's not my role, as a coach, to tell my clients how to do their job. My role is to provide an environment that changes their perceptions, increases their self awareness and build up empathy.

How important are these skills to the executives in the business world? What do you think?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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April 14, 2017

Changing How We Work

Did you think that more flexible workplace trends were just within the tech industry? Apparently not! Take a look at this short article suggesting new approaches that might apply to your organization...

All the best,
Pam

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March 31, 2017

What it Means to Serve Others — The Mark of a Servant Leader

I enjoyed this leadership article written from a Millennial's point of view. The author, Cristopher Connors, highlights prominent 21st-century leadership concepts and attributes - Servant Leadership; Paying It Forward; and Embracing Vulnerability. If you are leading Millennials or developing Millennial leaders, this article will provide insight to understand how Millenials translate what they see and experience in their personal and professional lives.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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March 17, 2017

How to Hire the Perfect Team: 7 Strategies

This is a unique way to choose members for your team. What do you consider when hiring a team, the best if the best? Maybe a new way of looking at team building is in order. What do you think?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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March 4, 2017

7 Things Remarkably Happy People Do Often

Happiness can be a choice - especially when you take the right actions. So what actions are the right ones? Consider the ideas in this article and consider if they would work for you...

All the best,
Pam

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February 17, 2017

The "Do Something" Mindset. The Power of Practicing More.

"Action begets outcome. Outcome begets action. Rinse, lather and repeat and you have momentum." In the current "knowledge economy" many of us continue to accumulate knowledge. This article challenges us to commit our knowledge to practice in pursuit of mastery. At times, we view our practice as drudgery. On the contrary, a "Do Something" mindset creates joy in the process of achieving (not the end goal) and permission to embrace trial and error. That can unleash creativity and fun.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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February 3, 2017

Freedom and Responsibility

It seems too depressing that our current world has put us in the position of choosing freedom at the expense of someone else's slavery. Then, does responsibility really only reduce us to "objects pursuing other objects"?

Is being in a state of freedom really place us at odds of being responsible human beings? Maybe, as I believe, there is "No such thing as balance" and the desire of freedom and responsibility is all a matter of priority - what happens to be most important at that place in time. What do you think?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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January 20, 2017

7 Steps for Keeping Conflict Healthy

Even if you work alone you inevitably interact with others, and sometimes this doesn't go as smoothly as you would wish. Conflict can be a healthy part of personal and professional relationships. Here are seven steps to take to keep conflict healthy...

All the best,
Pam

...Read More



January 6, 2017

12 Ways to Turn Stress Into Productivity - Harness Difficult Situation to Work For You, Not Against You

I recently presented Katherine's keynote "How to Stand TALL When Your Workload Wants to Crush You". The topic's main takeaway is that "body follows head". In other words, a healthy positive mindset can help minimize the effects of negative energy on the body, mind, and soul. This article presents "stress" (even negative stress) as a positive opportunity. The article poses that if we give stress negative power, we miss the opportunity to use the energy to enhance our achievements. To illustrate the point, the article includes an infographic listing 8 stressful situations that you can turn into a positive - #1 Being Overwhelmed with Work.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays to each of you from all of us at Spearhead!

May you all enjoy a safe and restful holiday. As your coaches we can't help but remind you to take some downtime to play. It will rejuvenate you and help put your best foot forward for 2017!

Best regards,
Katherine, Pam, Patricia, Maureen, and Sara.



December 9, 2016

Innovation Centre Opens Up In the Heart of Vancouver's Startup Community

This is an exciting new educational direction to encourage creative thinking in our younger generation. Sir Ken Robinson suggested, in his TED talk, that we kill the creativeness in our younger generation through our education system. Is this too little too late or is it a step in the right direction? What do you think?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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November 25, 2016

10 Qualities of Authentic People

How often have you heard that is important to be authentic? What does that mean? How do you do that? The following article points out 10 qualities of authentic people. Food for thought...

All the best,
Pam

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November 11, 2016

Five Levels of Leadership

Similar to other development-stage theories (aka child-development), the 5 stages/levels of leader development presented in this article help us to aspire to an elevated stage where we are most effective in dealing with the complexities of life and work. "We live in a time of great opportunity and great peril. The next 50 years will be pivotal. We could either create a new and vital global order of planetary welfare or destroy ourselves. With their global reach, business leaders play a major role in the world's future. The evolution of ever more effective and conscious leaders is not only a business imperative as complexity escalates, but a global requirement."

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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October 28, 2016

Why "Fake It Till You Make It", is The Worst Advice Ever!

How often has someone said this to you? Did it ever work? Maybe the whole idea of faking it may have have seemed...well a bit fake. It might be time to change your approach. Here are some easy step to follow, a new way of being. What do you think?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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October 14, 2016

Leadership Is About Emotion

Stop for a moment and think about a leader who you have respected and admired. What was it about them that inspired you? This article reinforces the notion that great leaders connect on an emotional level. Take a look and see what resonates with you...

All the best,
Pam

...Read More



September 30, 2016

Five Levels of Leadership: Your structure of mind drives your level of leadership

Similar to other development-stage theories (aka child-development), the 5 stages/levels of leader development presented in this article help us to aspire to an elevated stage where we are most effective in dealing with the complexities of life and work. "We live in a time of great opportunity and great peril. The next 50 years will be pivotal. We could either create a new and vital global order of planetary welfare or destroy ourselves. With their global reach, business leaders play a major role in the world’s future. The evolution of ever more effective and conscious leaders is not only a business imperative as complexity escalates, but a global requirement."

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More



September 16, 2016

Executive Stress

Imagine how powerful an impact this would have on an executive in a leadership position. If stress can have this much effect on ones ability to make even a small decision what impact would that have on company decisions?

What does this say to other management in the company when the leader has no time to deal with stress? So stress not only affects the actual leadership role but as a role model as well.

How important does it become to deal with stress? How much does quality of life, work, career and leadership have to be damaged before you take action as an individual? Maybe with some of the guidelines in this article any leader can keep an eye open for early warning signs.

Dare to think!
Maureen

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September 2, 2016

The Employee Engagement Hoax

It's hard to attend an HR conference or visit an HR website and not hear the term "employee engagement." However, the landscape is quickly changing and new alternatives are emerging to address what some are calling the "employee engagement hoax" which stems from a perception that "employee engagement is a made-up concept that exists solely to make leaders and HR people feel as though they've really got an ear to the ground, even in cases where no such careful listening exists." Read on to learn more about the analytics disrupting this area.

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August 19, 2016

In Praise of Process

What a unique perspective on "process"! How often do we give acknowledgement to employees or colleagues based on what it took to accomplish the work that they did. We focus on the end. What would happen to the level of innovation in a company if we honored or even explored the process of ideas into tangible products? It would mean that goals are just tools and the real jewel is the process of reaching the goal. What do you think?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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August 5, 2016

Volkswagen Unions on Attack as Diesel Crisis Threatens Jobs

Is it any wonder the employees of Volkswagen start to doubt the authenticity of the company leaders, when trust with customers has been destroyed. It becomes more complicated when the workers control 50% of the seats on the advisory board, which can stop plant closures. Finally did upper management really use the diesel crisis as a reason to cut back on personnel? Will Volkswagen ever recover from this? What does this say about management leadership?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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July 22, 2016

The #1 Reason Leadership Development Fails

... see "the #1 reason leadership development programs fail, and give you 20 things to focus on to ensure yours doesn't become another casualty"

Best regards,
Katherine

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July 8, 2016

7 Reasons Adult Coloring Books are Great for Your Mental, Emotional and Intellectual Health

Have you noticed how adult colouring books have expanded on the shelves of your local book store? When clients are searching for what makes their heart sing, I encourage them to recall what made their heart sing when they were 8 or 9 years-old. What activities helped them to feel flow and ease? Today we describe that feeling as being in the moment or being mindful. One of the best ways to bring back that feeling is to pick up a colouring book. This article explains 7 reasons supporting the health benefits of colouring.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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June 24, 2016

Tesla May Disrupt Portfolio's More Than it Shakes Up the Auto Industry

People don't buy what you sell they buy what you believe, Simon Sinek stated in his TED talk: Here is perfect example of this principle in action. Tesla's tribe have driven up the market value of the company to seven times that of Fiat/Chrysler. I find it very intriguing the article compares him to Steve Jobs. One of the companies Simon Sinek often uses as an example. What do you think? Are customers placing pre-orders because people buy what you believe, not what you sell?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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June 10, 2016

CEOs Reveal the Secrets to Motivating Employees to Perform at Their Peak

"A handful employees who perform at their peak is better than a dozen employees who operate at 50% efficiency." Keeping in mind that peak performance ebbs and flows depending on a variety of personal and professional challenges of individuals on the team, this article summarizes that by consciously creating positive experiences for everyone in the workplace, you are providing the conditions in which peak performance can flourish.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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May 27, 2016

Legendary Canadian Banker Cedric Ritchie Went From Teller to CEO

I think, sometimes we believe becoming a great leader is only something we can learn in an educational setting. However, Cedric Ritchie never attended a post secondary school. Being a leader seemed to be a natural extension of who he was. What are your thoughts? How can we learn to become great leaders or is it something that comes naturally and through experience?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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May 13, 2016

7 Habits of People with Remarkable Mental Toughness

Some people think that mental toughness is the ability to plow through circumstances without being affected by emotions or feelings. When it comes to success, however, those focused on peak performance know that the key is to identify, control, and manage emotions, both their own and others'. You can increase your mental toughness. This article describes how you can develop this vital trait.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC

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April 29, 2016

3 Ways Listening Can Make You a Better Leader

How are your listening skills? How important is it to you as a leader to have these skills? Sometimes in our fast-paced world, clinging to technology we can sometimes forget how powerful listening is to learning and leading. This article gives some quick tips to boost your listening skills. Sometimes the biggest hurdle is admitting we don't have all the answers. Leading is all about knowing when to admit you just don't know. How good are your listening skills? How has your skill level impacted your ability to lead?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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April 15, 2016

Cultivate These 8 Habits to Achieve Peak Performance in Life and Business

Did you know? Sleep deprivation means peak performance deprivation; lemon water increases your cognitive capacity and improves your mood; your brain needs physical activity to stay flexible; when you commit quality time to cultivate relationships, you live your dreams fully; when you believe, expect, and trust that life is rigged in your favour, your resilience strengthens your immune system; time alone and living in the moment elevates and improves the quality of peak performance; and the flow of give and receive increases your ability to live at peak performance levels and becomes contagious and inspiring for others.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC

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April 1, 2016

Lack of executive sponsorship is main roadblock to leadership development: Korn Ferry

According to the statement, the respondents indicate there is not only a general lack of active sponsorship, buy-in, and support from the top, but also express disappointment in leadership development programs, with 55 per cent of respondents ranking their return on such efforts as only "fair" to "very poor."

Beyond the need for senior executives to set the development strategy for the entire organization, the study highlights a need for top leaders to take part in their own development. A common mistake is to assume that executive development should be pared down as executives move to higher levels in the organization.

Kind regards,
Katherine Craig

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March 18, 2016

The Simple Distinction that Makes all the Difference in Productivity and Profit

This article starts off with an effective analogy equating the person at the top of the organization functioning like a big gear affecting the movement of other smaller adjacent gears causing bigger movements. What happens if the leader constantly changes direction? The teeth break off of all the gears holding the organization together. John Addison goes on to other leadership insights and behaviours that debunk the myth that the biggest obstacle to maintaining focus and reasons for the wandering attention and lack of effectiveness is the daily distractions. The best advice: Step back, take a deep breath, and set priorities every day. Then just give it your best shot. Go after it. Get something done and realize that if things don't work out the you want them to, it's not the end of the world. A simple mantra that acknowledges the facts of life.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC

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March 4, 2016

The 7 Habits of Emotionally Intelligent People

Managing ones emotions in the world we live in can be a tough job. Not only do you need to be aware of your emotions but you need to know what to do with them. Your emotional awareness impacts how you handle yourself and how you deal with others. Unless you tune in to what you are feeling it can have an impact on how you handle yourself and your employees. Sometimes it helps to have a simple checklist to run through when you start to feel overwhelmed. This article gives seven quick tips to review with yourself.

What things do you do to help you manage your emotions?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays!

On behalf of all of us at Spearhead Executive Coaching, we wish you all the best for 2016 and a peaceful holiday season.

Kind regards,
Katherine Craig



November 27, 2015

What BS in the Workplace Looks Like & How to Cut It

Darnyelle Jervey describes the BS (Bottleneck Syndrome), how we get stuck as willing participants, and the myths contributing to our struggle for the elusive balance in work and life. I don't subscribe to work/life balance. We have been sold a "bill-of-goods" if we believe we can achieve work/life balance. I subscribe to Darnyelle's argument that pursuit of establishing (and maintaining) a career to build a life is a healthy and rewarding shift. Brian Tracy's principle of "Live in the 8's" is referenced in addition to the "Secure Your Own Air Mask First" analogy for taking care of yourself so that you can care for others. If you believe it's still about time-management, there's reference to Stephen Covey's principle of prioritizing the top three things to do.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC

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November 13, 2015

One Reason Our Brains Love to Procrastinate

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? We have become a society focused on immediate reward and gratification without consideration of the long term consequence. This article gives us an explanation of why our brains respond this way. Food for thought??

All the best,
Pam

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October 30, 2015

10 Ways to Become More Resilient

Resiliency has a huge impact on a persons ability to handle stress. In this fast paced world of today being able to bounce back from stress is paramount in making good decisions. Not only does stress come from the work environment but it comes from one's personal life. Recognizing and taking steps to build resiliency is a powerful tool to have when the everyday stress of life starts to wear us down. Coaching can be a powerful tool to learn how to build resiliency. What do you think? How resilient are you?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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October 16, 2015

Conference Season is Coming Up. Are You Ready? Do You Have a Plan?

My typical MO when attending conferences is to learn and network. However, this is not specific enough to contribute to my overall business objectives and measure a return on investment. I need a plan. I need to be more specific about my intentions, how I will show up, what I will do, what are my objectives for this particular event, what benefits and return do I expect, and how I will I measure the success. The following articles provide key points to help both introverts and extroverts work the conference in style and achieve your objectives.

"How to Get the Most Out of a Conference" by Rebecca Knight
https://hbr.org/2015/07/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-conference

"What to Do Before and After Attending a Conference", by Tory Johnson
http://www.success.com/article/what-to-do-before-during-and-after-attending-a-conference

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC



October 2, 2015

Team Building Without Time Wasting

Here is a tool to help identify those issues that might be hampering your team's effectiveness. Take a look and see if these ideas will work for you!

All the best,
Pam

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September 18, 2015

Beyond Bias

It appears that bias has a huge impact on daily decisions within the work world. If they are indeed an unconscious guidance to making a decision we need to be aware of this with every choice we make. How do you feel bias impacts your work choices? What can you do to minimize the impact? When is it a good thing to rely on bias? What steps has your company taken to ensure bias doesn't lead to disaster?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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September 4, 2015

Take the "Cult" out of Culture

I recently coached and mentored a bright young women who had been quickly spring-boarded into a newly created role within her organization. She had an impressive education and basic skills that would add great value to the position. Her lack of experience was compensated by her enthusiasm for personal development, doing great work, and doing the right thing. I saw great potential for her to contribute to the organization and launch an impressive and rewarding career for herself.

Unfortunately, the culture of the organization sabotaged her progress at every level. The organization (and it's industry) has a long history of hiring clones, micro-managing, and systemically vetoing opportunities for development or advancement. My young client quickly saw the writing-on-the-wall, put up a brave fight for change, but finally succumbed to the effect of prejudices toward her education, enthusiasm, and her sense of what was the right thing to do. After much soul searching and a logical assessment, she determined that there was a significant misalignment in values and hence, resigned. The fallout consequences have been significant for her and the organization. This article reminded me of how this organization is missing out on the benefits of recognizing and acting on their prejudices to attract new gifts, knowledge, perspectives, experience, and problem-solving skills to their management team and to their organization as a whole.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC

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August 21, 2015

When life gives you lemons, well, you know what to do.

We all have disappointments in our work and our personal lives. This short article gives us a quick reminder to build on the positive and learn from setbacks...

All the best,
Pam

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August 7, 2015

The Effects of Positive and Negative Reinforcement

Is it useful to use reinforcement in the workplace? Or is it more powerful to help employees be self-motivated to improve their work? Reinforcement is quick and easy, but I believe it has the long term effect of creating an employee dependent on reinforcement.

While coaching employees to become accountable and self-motivated requires a bigger time investment, the long term benefits far outweigh the effects of reinforcement.

Who would you rather have working for you? Someone who is driven by personal forces to do the best they can do, or someone who needs to be told they're doing a good or bad job?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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July 24, 2015

The Case for the 32-Hour Workweek

"Since 2006, Ryan Carson, the CEO of Treehouse, has maintained a four-day workweek for his employees. "There's no rule that you have to work 40 hours, you have to work more to be successful," says Carson. "

The video notes that Americans now work nearly four more weeks per year than they did in 1979. This increase in work comes at a price for families and individuals as they can often struggle to balance personal and professional commitments. Would your organization consider a four day work week? What would you be willing to compromise on to have a four day week?

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July 10, 2015

7 Unconventional Behaviours of Inspiring Leaders

Are you managing or leading? Are you a conventional leader or an unconventional inspiring leader? What leadership behaviours do you admire? In this article, Ekaterina Walter presents some of the rare and unconventional behaviours that differentiate the "great" leaders. When working with leaders who are implementing standards in their organization, I am inspired and become quite excited when leaders play Devil's Advocate. They question conventional wisdom, engage curiosity, and press for better ways to make the standards work for their business (versus moulding their business to fit the standard). I admire those leaders who fully participate in the successes and challenges experienced by their team members; the "quiet" leaders who encourage autonomy and step out of the way to allow their team to develop and create; and those who not only seek, but truly value and encourage diversity at all levels. This article expands on these admirable and effective behaviours. At this pivotal time of generational shift, these once "rare" behaviours are becoming critical to business continuity and workplace satisfaction.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC

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June 26, 2015

What Employee Engagement Data Can Tell You About Change Management

"Companies facing a change in strategy, policy or operations often feel like they need to focus on forging ahead, quickly. But by stepping back and taking the time to set up a system to monitor their employee-engagement data closely, they can help guide workers through the full implementation process with less stress."

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June 12, 2015

Why You Should Stop Being a Boss and Start Being a Leader

"The way you approach being in charge--whether you're running a corporation, a civic organization, or a neighborhood bake sale--is a huge factor in the group's achievement. Think about the differences before you step up."

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May 29, 2015

Companies Need Not Hire Outside CEO's

Though this article was written by management guru Jim Collins in 1994, his message holds true today. Visionary companies are successful because of the continuity of quality leadership. He uses the great example of GE and it's history of strong visionary leaders, including Jack Welch, to remind us that visionary leaders are there within our organizations, we just need to find them and develop them. Investments in management development and long range succession planning are key to growing from within. His research supports this notion...

All the best,
Pam

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May 15, 2015

3 Ways to Build Your Executive Presence. How to Establish Your Role as an Elite Leader.

This short article takes the message of Dress for Success to a new level - Executive Presence! Elite Leader! This article reminds us of time-tested expectations for appearance and behaviour that have slowly been trivialized and dismissed in the workplace. Reframing as "mastering the intangibles and establishing an executive presence" may be more appealing than "dress code and behaviour". Executive Presence is much more than visual appearance.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC

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May 1, 2015

Leaders Make Values Visible

Marshall Goldsmith writes in this article that all the carefully chosen words in the world will not make great leaders - but actions do. He contrasts the examples of Enron and J&J; one with a slick promotional campaign and one with a less polished approach. It is a good reminder of the importance of living our values. Words on the wall don't make it happen.

All the best,
Pam

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April 17, 2015

Do You Have a Mentor and Personal Coach?

This is a great article on what the difference between coaching and mentorship is. However I think it is completely applicable to both men and women. I know many men in leadership roles or starting their own business often ask these questions. Women aren't the only ones who ask this. What do you think? Is this a line of questioning only women experience? How useful was this article for you in choosing a mentor or coach?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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April 3, 2015

Boost Health. This is not a time for cutbacks.

At the opening keynote at the Your Workplace Conference 2014 in Toronto, the organizers polled delegates for their current perception of who has responsibility for workplace health and wellness - employers, employees, or both. The majority indicated that employees are solely responsible for their own health and wellness. In other words, employees are responsible for showing up for work healthy, well, and ready to meet the expectations of the employer - even though "We know workplace stressors.....are exerting a toll on health." The smallest minority of delegates put the responsibility solely on employers. By the end of the conference, there was a noticeable shift to shared responsibility AND shared benefit. I chose to share this article with you with the hope that more leaders will begin to support proactive initiatives in health and wellness because they will understand and appreciate the connection between a healthy workplace and healthy profit.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC

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March 20, 2015

How to Give Yourself a Raise (Without the Boss Even Knowing)

As leaders we know that compensation is not necessarily a 'job satisfier' but it can certainly be a source of dissatisfaction if not perceived to be fair. In this article, Brian Whetten points out our personal responsibility to acknowledge four other important aspects of employee engagement and job satisfaction. Great reminder of what really counts...

All the best,
Pam

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March 6, 2015

Why Cold Calling Sucks

I've often read that people buy with their emotions; there are all sorts of research out there exploring this idea. It is so counter intuitive to believe that cold calling will be the answer to all sales. It might make an initial sale, but will people come back and buy again?

I think a long-term relationship built on trust is the way to go when it comes to selling. Attrition is everything.

What do you think? Is there merit in cold calling?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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February 20, 2015

Are You Ready for the Leadership Listening Challenge?

Are there questions that you don't ask? Are you giving your employees the permission to speak freely? And, are you listening? In addition to an amusing story with a great leadership learning moment, this article provides a 5-step Listening Audit followed by 5 strengths of a "listening leader". One of the most powerful gifts you can give to your team as a leader is your full presence and an environment in which people feel heard.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC

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February 6, 2015

The Success Delusion

Marshall Goldsmith, renowned author of "What Got You Here Won't Get You There", points out how we all get positive reinforcement from our past successes and we begin to think that these past successes predict our future. Unfortunately, this situation makes us resistant to change. In this article he expands on four basic beliefs about ourselves that cause this resistance and hold us back from achieving our highest potential. Interesting food for thought...

All the best,
Pam

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January 23, 2015

Will Upskilling Staff Improve My Business

Upskilling staff always gets management wondering. "Will they leave if we train them?". I don't think that is the question. I believe building your staff's skill levels is important to building trust and retention.

If they do leave, after being trained, management should be asking, "Why are they leaving?" If you pay your staff well and treat them well they will stay if you give them the skills.

What do you think? Will training leave to staff leaving?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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January 9, 2015

The Sweet Spot for Achievement

During the Your Workplace conference in Toronto this October, I was introduced to an old 1908 law in psychology that has growing relevance in today's distracted workplace. The Yerkes-Dodson Law describes the relationship between stress and performance. This article presents the three main states depicted in the Yerkes-Dodson Law: disengagement, frazzle, and flow. The article describes how each state affects a person's ability to perform at their best. As you read this article, you will gain a greater understanding and empathy for your team members who may be falling short of their optimal performance.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir, PCC

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December 26, 2014

Happy Holidays!

On behalf of all of us at Spearhead Executive Coaching, we wish you all the best for 2015 and a peaceful holiday season.

Kind regards,
Katherine Craig



December 12, 2014

Bill Simmons's Return Sets Intrigue in Motion at ESPN

I believe a conflict will arise because a person becomes aware that what they believe in isn't and never was congruent with the company they worked with. Once you know WHY you do what you do it's hard to stay connected to a company that doesn't believe what you believe.

So it's never a case of "Oh no my personal brand conflicts with the company I work with." It's more of a case of, "NOW I know what I believe, feel strongly about it and confident in that belief. I feel no longer connected to the company I work for. Time to strike out on my own."

Companies don't changed their brand over night, if at all. The things that Simmons feels conflicted over will not go away and I doubt he will stay but strike out on his own. It will be interesting to see what he does.

What do you think? Is personal brand an important influence in where you go in your career?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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November 28, 2014

The Sweet Spot for Achievement

During the Your Workplace conference in Toronto in October, I was introduced to an old 1908 law in psychology that has growing relevance in today’s distracted workplace. The Yerkes-Dodson Law describes the relationship between stress and performance. This article presents the three main states depicted in the Yerkes-Dodson Law: disengagement, frazzle, and flow. The article describes how each state affects a person’s ability to perform at their best. As you read this article, you will gain a greater understanding and empathy for your team members who may be falling short of their optimal performance.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More



November 14, 2014

How To Motivate Your Team

I don't buy into the idea that we can motivate other people. Motivation is strictly an internal drive and not something you can make happen no matter how well intentioned. To motivate means to give yourself a reason for doing something. No matter how hard you try you will never be able to provide that reason for anyone but yourself let alone an entire group of employees.

I do, however, believe that we can inspire people and that is a whole other matter. Inspiration is all about cultivating a feeling about something so that creativity and innovation can occur. What do you think? Is the use of the right word important?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More



October 31, 2014

Relax, You Have 168 Hours This Week

Ever wonder where the week went? Relaxation is a huge part of great leadership practise - how often have you missed some downtime? Here are three ways to get your relaxation time back...

Kind regards,
Katherine

...Read More



October 17, 2014

Get Over It: 5 Strategies for Pushing Past Failure

"Failure can be taken one of two ways: Either as a catalyst for learning and doing better next time, or as the ultimate defeat you never let yourself recover from...here are some of the best ways to get over it."

How do you handle failure when it happens? Perhaps these five tips will help you to learn and move on from it better in the future.

...Read More



October 10, 2014

Everything You Need to Know About Business

Michael Rovner writes: "Evangelists, brand or otherwise, know the best way to make a point, is to tell a story. This is one of those stories."

The story is a short parable with four key points, applicable to leaders in any business. See if you can identify them before the end of the article; they are powerful in their simplicity. How are they represented in your business?

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October 3, 2014

Do You Have Good Work Life Balance

I usually spend a lot of time telling people I don't believe in this work-life balance topic. This is the first article I've read that talks about it like it really is. The only thing worth looking at is your priorities. No ones life is so static that things don't change and focusing on priorities is how to get through life smoothly. What do you think?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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September 26, 2014

Why We Humblebrag About Being Busy

Do you feel like you are on the hamster wheel, trying to more and more just to keep up and achieve? This article suggests that we are wearing 'busy' like a badge of honour and it has come to be accepted as our definition of success. But is it really? I hope this article causes you to reflect on the pace of your life. Maybe becoming an Essentialist will serve you better? Food for thought...

All the best,
Pam

...Read More



September 19, 2014

Social Media's Control-Alt-Delete Moment

Who would've thought, 10 years ago, I could've now gotten a job playing around on FaceBook and Twitter. Although I realize how powerful it's become in the business world I'm still not all that comfortable or knowledgeable on all that it is capable of. Perhaps its time for me to take my fingers off my delete button and embrace social media in my business life. What do you think?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More



September 12, 2014

Leadership Is About to Get More Uncomfortable

It's no wonder CEO tenure is declining. Leaders at the CEO level are under pressure to share more than ever - personally and professionally - and then be accountable for the ramifications. And, that's the tip of the iceberg. This article presents the numerous "mega-trends" that are forcing leaders to make some big adjustments personally and professionally: Their beliefs, their behaviours, and long-time coveted, but now outdated, business concepts. If engaging employees across cultures and business roles through new mediums in the new connectivity-enabled virtual workplace is making your leadership role uncomfortable, read this article and then contact Katherine Craig regarding her presentation on this very topic.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More



September 5, 2014

How would you coach a surgeon?

Think it's tough to talk to people about paperwork? Imagine yourself having the dialog of performance improvement with a surgeon....Everyone needs to grow and develop but dealing with high performers in the operating theatre is a challenge most of us would balk at. Here's a first hand experience from the New Yorker magazine.

Kind regards,
Catherine

...Read More



August 22, 2014

Organisational Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Why is it that company's focus so much on strategy alone when there is research to show that, in order for strategy to be effective, the culture must be healthy and thriving?

It seems imperative that whenever strategy is reviewed then corporate culture should be reviewed as well.

Maybe there needs to be snacks along the way. What do you think?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More



August 15, 2014

Daily Routines of Geniuses

How do you feel about routine? Routine and structure may have suffered some unfair bashing in light of the increased value of "creativity" recently. This article reviews a book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Curry. The author of the article, Sarah Green, noticed several common elements in the lives of healthier geniuses. She presents a list of daily routines and habits that you have most likely read about before. Perhaps this added endorsement via geniuses we hold as models for creativity, will encourage each one of us to adapt these routines and habits for ourselves.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More



August 8, 2014

Building HR Credibility Through the Use of Workforce Metrics

How many of you use an HR dashboard? Many HR professionals today have never heard the term 'human resources dashboard'. Essentially it's a workforce analytics summary document and, if you're not using one, you are missing a great opportunity to influence and message to the 'C' suite. Keeping a handle on your workforce data can help you identify problem areas early, demonstrate key issues to senior leadership and, provide essential information that will keep your Board of Directors confident in your leadership support.

Here's a great youtube video that shows how to build a simple HR dashboard on Excel and provides you with some links for different templates.

Kind regards,
Catherine

...Read More



August 1, 2014

The Neurochemistry of Positive Conversations

We have heard a lot recently about the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace, especially for leaders. Did you realize there is a a scientific basis for our reaction in conversation?

Here is an interesting article which helps us to understand...sort of a new bent on 'getting more flies with honey than vinegar'!

An interesting read...
Pam Whitnack

...Read More



July 25, 2014

Why Most Change Management Initiatives Fail

Maybe there is no such thing as 'change management' maybe all there is, is empowering leaders and employees "to find solutions and responses" to situations arising in the work place. It would require a whole different approach and skill set for managers to operate this way. Is this just 'change' all dressed up as a new phrase? It's possible we just need to change how we talk about it. What are your thoughts on this?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More



July 18, 2014

Too Busy to Meditate. Take Mini-Mindful Breaks.

Neuroscience is taking "mindfulness meditation" to the boardroom. Research is now relating our fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data as well. And, we all understand the stress of incoming data. Maria Gonzalez agrees that mindful meditation is effective in specific moments of decision-making, but she presents the case for practising mindfulness all day and in all circumstances. Maria presents the concept of living mindfully or at least practising "micro meditations" throughout the day. I agree, there's no distinction between a formal practice and being mindful while you are working, driving, or going about other daily activities.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More



July 11, 2014

Effective Assessment Improves Nursing Retention

Spearhead works with individual firms to build effective competency assessment tools for leadership development. But competency assessments are important at all levels of the organization and, for all roles, whether technical or leadership. Understanding what key interpersonal and organizational culture competencies are critical to your organization can help you reduce turnover. Most turnover occurs in the first 1 to 3 years of an employee's tenure, right at the point when your organization has invested significant training and support.

Read more in this article about how one organization improved turnover by 44% through the use of an effective and short assessment process.

Kind regards,
Catherine

...Read More



July 4, 2014

Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement. What Culture We Are Building?

This article states that in order for change to happen within a work culture the employees have to be actively engaged in their work. It also states that in order for change to happen smoothly you must begin to create a culture that is built around continuous improvement. He also suggests that it is important to have a separate team skilled at supporting change within your company or organization.

What do you think? Do the companies of the world have the time, money or energy to make this happen?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More



June 27, 2014

High Performers vs. Workaholics: 7 Subtle Differences

"...we, as a society, mistake workaholism for high performance, but they are two distinct ways of working...The BIG DIFFERENCE is how the individual feels on the inside about who they are in relationships to their work."

Read this article to understand more of the differences between high performers and workaholics - which side do you recognize more elements from in yourself? What about others from your team?

...Read More



June 20, 2014

How Women Can Build Healthy Relationships With Their Mentees

"Over the past few decades, women have accomplished incredible things in the professional world...While we've learned how to help ourselves, the true key to closing the gender gap is learning how to help one another."

Although this article approaches the topic with a focus on developing women leaders in the workforce, these are steps which anyone can take towards developing a healthy mentor/mentee relationship.

...Read More



June 13, 2014

Employee recognition: The KISS...method

"Recognition just might be the most leveragable practice leaders can engage in to drive individual and organizational results. It doesn't have to cost anything except a little honest attention to those around you. And, it doesn't have to be difficult..."

Studies show that not only is employee recognition one of the most important things managers can do, it is also rarely well done and frequently not done at all. Read more to discover some easy tips on how to deliver employee recognition better.

...Read More



June 6, 2014

What is the Difference Between Management and Leadership?

Leadership and management must go hand in hand. They are not the same thing. But they are necessarily linked, and complementary.

These twelve points highlight some critical differences between the two states of leadership and management, read the article to see how your personal work style compares. Are there are any changes you could make?

...Read More



May 30, 2014

You're Waking Up Wrong

"There is an ideal way to start your workday, and, if you own a smartphone, you're probably not doing it.

Most of us sleep with our phones either in, or very close to, our beds. Our phones are the first things we interact with in the morning, first to turn off (or snooze) the alarm. And as long our phones are in hand, the next thing to do is check email, Twitter, Facebook, text messages, and whatever other communications have rolled in during the night. It's a stressful way to start the day, but so many of us do it. We can't help it."

...Read More



May 23, 2014

Building the Emotional Intelligence of Groups

We have come to understand how important emotional intelligence is for those in leadership roles. But what about the emotional intelligence of a group or team? A team of emotionally intelligent members does not necessarily create an emotionally intelligent group. The article 'Building the Emotional Intelligence of Groups' offers some thoughts on this important topic...

All the best,
Pam

...Read More



May 16, 2014

Mindfulness: An Antidote for Workplace ADD

Take "10 minutes" in the morning.....! Daniel Goleman, author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, distinctly positions mindfulness as the antidote for the growing workplace attention deficit problem. Taking the "woo-woo" out of daily meditation, Daniel presents the benefits of adding mindfulness and concentration exercises to your leadership habits and skills AND being a role model for mindfulness in your workplace. Hurrah! Leaders are increasingly catching on to the intention and true benefits of meditation. Mindfulness meditation is not about reaching some lofty sense of Nirvana. It's about training your brain and strengthening your mind's focus. Our minds want to wander and our current lifestyles and work-life provide lots of opportunities to wander. Mindfulness meditation is the consistent "practice" of anchoring our attention. With daily practice (just 10 minutes), we can train our minds to return quickly to focus when distracted. Try the simple exercise that Daniel presents from the concentration family of meditation. Remember, there's no benefit in trying to make it perfect; only frustration. The benefits are in making it a consistent practice.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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May 9, 2014

10 Times You're Better Off Saying Nothing at All

"You know the saying that sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all?...here are 10 times when the sounds of silence are the best sounds of all." Think about these examples and how you can benefit from saying less in the next conversation you have at work.

...Read More



May 2, 2014

4 Traits That Make Up Every Great Leader

If you believe how powerful an Emotional Quotient can be you may not buy in to this list of traits. Maybe the list is a bit too general but inside each of these traits there is a link back to the emotional strength of a great leader. How does the emotion factor in to these traits?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More



April 25, 2014

Hurricane Season! How to Handle Office Hurricanes

Do you have "hurricane employees"? Are you tracking them on your "leadership radar"? This article will help you to categorize "hurricane employees" much like we categorize storms in the Atlantic. Continuing the analogy of a hurricane, the most dangerous storms start slowly and cause catastrophic damage and wholesale panic. Long arduous clean-ups are costly in both human aspects and infrastructure. The article provides insight on the early-warning signs of an approaching storm and provides tips to calm "tempestuous" behaviour in the workplace. Emotional intelligence and emotions are referenced with no surprise. If you have ever been in the path of a hurricane (the Atlantic version) you will understand the connection. Hurricanes are very low on Impulse Control and can make an unpredictable move at any time.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More



April 18, 2014

What Makes a Leader?

The basic tenet of leadership development programs is the notion that leadership skills can be developed. We know that IQ is a measure of our cognitive intelligence and though it may vary slightly over the course of our life, it really doesn't change very much. It is what we are born with. Emotional intelligence though, is about our effectiveness. Daniel Goleman first described this concept as emotional intelligence and helps us understand how important this concept is as we seek to become strong leaders. The good news is, this is an area where we can change and improve. His article 'What Makes a Leader?' provides some insight...

All the best,
Pam

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April 11, 2014

3 Traits Shared By Gen Y Leaders

It'll be interesting to see how these types of characteristics will impact the way the future business world will look. What types of things will you see happening?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More



April 4, 2014

Why Likability Matters

Have you been asked to submit a video introduction or to attend a teleconference? Research predicts that the use of personal videoconferencing is expected to grow 47% annually through 2017. Employers are tracking employee's likability on in-house social networks and chat services adding another dimension to communication in the workplace. I was surprised, but not shocked, to read that some companies take an employee's social clout into account when assessing raises and promotions. Will social networking and videoconferencing become part of performance reviews and 360 evaluations? Most certainly! The EQ realms of Empathy, Interpersonal Relationships, Emotional Expression, Impulse Control are definitely woven through the behaviours most likely to affect likability. This Wall Street Journal article focuses on why likability matters more at work - and harder to pull off - on video. The article presents a few pointers and reasons why it's time to brush up on our video skills. What EQ skill-improvement would have a positive effect on your video skills and likability? Not surprising, you can read and/or watch a video on this article.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More



March 28, 2014

Deep Smarts

As the baby boomers approach retirement, many organizations are placing greater emphasis on succession planning. 'Deep Smarts' highlights some of the risks to an organizations as experienced leaders approach retirement and some perspectives that are important to consider as you think about developing their replacement. Food for thought...

All the best,
Pam

...Read More



March 21, 2014

That Which Hunt

I do a great deal of academic editing. No, I'm not one of those 'enablers' who secretly writes the thesis for an aspiring Master's candidate. I edit academic papers for grammar, clarity, and consistency. A colleague of mine shared a great piece of advice his Doctoral advisor gave him: once you've written your paper, go on "that which hunt". That's a good rule of thumb for any written work. Proper usage of 'that' and 'which' is very simple. 'That' begins a restrictive clause. 'Which' begins a non-restrictive clause. If the meaning of the sentence would be changed by removing the clause in question, start with 'that'. If the sentence keeps its meaning without the clause, start with 'which'. If you're looking for quick grammar tips you can visit Grammar Girl's website, http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl. She's delivering an informative webcast on April 23rd - get details at http://www.ragan.com.

Cheers,
Sara

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March 14, 2014

Wooing the Millennial Worker

So what is important to this new group of employees entering the work force? With an expected wave of retirements to hit the business sector it could pose a big problem with loss of company knowledge. It's a whole new way at looking at a demographic, which is interested in mentorship, advancement and not working 24/7. How is your company gearing up for this new demographic? How important is it that you come up with a strategy to attract the millenial worker?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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March 7, 2014

5 Reasons Why Crowdfunding is so HOT in Canada

In the up and coming years this concept of raising equity and capital will become a big trend. The U.S. recently passed their JOBS act, which offers guidelines on the ethical and legal use of Equity Crowdfunding. But Canada has not moved forward on this. There are some loose guidelines throughout with each province but nothing uniform across the country.

How useful will this be to your business? What do you think Canada needs to do next to move forward on this innovative method of raising money?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More


February 28, 2014

The Focused Leader

The following article is comprehensive in linking emotional intelligence composites and sub-scales with the triad of focus on Self, Others, and the Outside World. Effective leaders learn, practice, and navigate the intricacies. The article is extremely valuable with sidebar links to reinforce the concepts and to provide real-life examples of the challenges and benefits of the triad of focus.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More


February 21, 2014

6 Ways To Fall In Love With Your Job All Over Again

"Remember when you first started your current job? Just like in the early throes of dating, you found every interaction exciting. Even the Monday morning staff meeting! Your beloved could do no wrong."

Find out how to rekindle the spark for yourself or think about how to do the same for your employees.

...Read More


February 14, 2014

41 Solar Social Business Innovations

Here's a new business concept, the "triple bottom line". This visual display of the top 41 innovative examples show that it is indeed possible to include: ecologically sound practices, social consciousness and people-focused businesses. How is your company meeting this three pronged bottom line?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More


February 7, 2014

Nice or Tough: Which Approach Engages Employees Most?

Are you a "driver" or and "enhancer"? Are your employees staying engaged because you are "nice" or because you are "tough"? You will be surprised, no matter what your dominant style! This article exposes what is really needed to make real headway in increasing employee engagement.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More


January 31, 2014

Through fire, divorce and cancer, businesses turn setbacks into success

How would you cope in these situations? Would a business or personal disaster result in your business coming apart at the seams? Or would it make you stronger? Read how these three owners dealt with the disasters that came into their lives.

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More


January 24, 2014

Try Feedforward Instead of Feedback

How often do you feel the urge to provide feedback to others about their behaviour, performance or suggestions for improvement? There is the nagging worry of damaging your relationships if your well intentioned constructive feedback is not received as you intended. Marshall Goldsmith offers us a different approach that is positive and focused on the future. I invite you to read his article 'Try Feed Forward Instead of Feedback'. He provides some helpful suggestions and valuable food for thought. Might be worth a try?

All the best,
Pam

...Read More


January 17, 2014

Emotional Agility

Most of us familiar with the benefits of agility when it comes to physical functioning. What about emotional agility? The following article supports the importance of emotional agility with particular focus on effective leaders. The article quotes studies demonstrating that strategies for "suppressing" or "fixing" thoughts and emotions are not effective. Alternatively, effective leaders approach their inner experiences in a mindful, values-driven, and productive way.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More


January 10, 2014

How Leaders Can Identify their Blind Spots

Personally I think the higher up one goes in the corporate ladder, the harder it is to ask for help. Asking your colleagues, straight out, can be a fairly vulnerable place to put yourself in. Colleagues may not be willing to point-blank tell you what they think of you. It would be much easier to participate in the EQ 360. It's anonymous and the opinions would be more varied because it not only looks at peers but direct reports and other people an executive may be dealing with. Would you go to a colleague and ask for this type of feedback?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More


January 3, 2014

Can You Really Improve Your Emotional Intelligence?

Can you really improve your emotional intelligence? There's a wealth of information showing that a high emotional quotient is a key to success in work, relationships and personal happiness. But, can we really enhance our EQ? This HBR article gives five key points describing how working on your EQ does pay off.

Regards,
Barbara

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December 27, 2013

The Price of Incivility

It has been said, the higher your position in an organization, the more the damage inflicted by your bad habits. This article describes the link between a lack of respect for others, poor employee morale, and your bottom line as well. You, as a leader, set the tone, so it is important to be aware of your own behaviour and the example you set for others. Consider ‘The Price of Incivility’ as you chart the course for your organization...

Food for thought...

All the best,
Pam

...Read More


December 20, 2013

Unleash Your Superbrain!

Who hasn't experienced a brain-cramp when being introduced to a person or group or when trying to remember important points in a presentation (without notes). The following article provides some good memory tips and a great testimonial for investigating memory-enhancement training. I met someone a few years ago who demonstrated the power of mnemonics and who used the PIE method to recall the name of every person he met in a group of 8. In this article, I was particularly intrigued with the "Whole-Brain Note-Taking" tip. A great tip for making "meaningful" and "actionable" notes.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More


December 13, 2013

Change Your Company with Better HR Analytics

"The good news is that Big Data is making a difference in places and ways you might not expect, particularly in human resources. Companies are analyzing their employee data with workforce analytics to answer a variety of critical questions: Why does one sales person outperform his peers? What is the impact of learning programs on company results? How long does it take for new employees to be productive? Why do certain leaders succeed and others fail?"

...Read More


December 6, 2013

Beware of Overusing the "metaphorical red pen"

As the boss, when exactly is it useful to debate a decision or step in and change the direction of a project? Is there a fine line between making suggestions and telling your direct reports what to do?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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November 29, 2013

A Call for True Machiavellian Leadership by Theodore Kinni

Now for something to challenge long-time accepted perceptions. The very word "Machiavellian" conjures up a huge negative connotation. Even those who have not read "The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli, sense the bad, the evil, and the tyranny when the word is spoken. The following short article by Theodore Kinni invites us to re-examine the concepts presented in what has been characterized as a "handbook for tyrants". There is an invitation to review the book "Redeeming The Prince: The Meaning of of Machiavelli's Masterpiece" by Maurizio Viroli to open our minds to Machiavelli's true message. The article will get you thinking about our struggle between ethics, innovation, power, profit, and the pursuit of doing something great.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More


November 22, 2013

Identify Your Organization’s Future Leaders

How do you pinpoint who among your current employees has the potential to develop into future leaders? This article suggests that the biggest indicator of potential leadership is the ability to manage yourself and understand others around you. In other words, emotional intelligence. Four questions will help you identify your top candidates.

Regards,
Barbara

...Read More


November 15, 2013

Three Questions about Nursing and Healthcare Emotional Intelligence ("HEQ")

What does the health care profession need to have in place for this assessment tool to be use to it's full potential? I believe it's a mistake to have the HR department administer this type of assessment and not provide coaching, or some support, to follow through. How would you effectively use this type of tool in the hiring process? Is it cost effective? Or is the initial cost worth the pain and financial loss a company may go through in hiring the 'wrong' person?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More


November 8, 2013

How to Evaluate Your Own Emotional Intelligence

How's your emotional intelligence? This article by Daniel Goleman, one of the leading proponents of EQ, shares 9 simple questions that will give you a quick check in on your mix of strengths and limits with EQ.

Regards,
Barbara

...Read More


November 1, 2013

3 Steps to Become a "Customer Company"

I think it's more than being a 'customer company'. I think what you believe in, is what will power the global economy. Once you are clear on that you will build your own following. Then and only then will those three steps hold true. You can be nice to your customers all you want, but if you don't believe in anything they will not follow you anywhere.

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More


October 25, 2013

8 Common Ego Traps

What could be holding you back in your leadership? Most of us wonder this from time to time, especially during periods of rapid, demanding change. This insightful article offers eight common 'ego traps' that snag leaders and ways to recognize if you've fallen into one, from the book EGO vs. EQ: How Top Leaders Beat 8 Ego Traps with Emotional Intelligence.

Regards,
Barbara

...Read More


October 18, 2013

After the performance review, then what?

Some managers see the annual performance review as a necessary evil. The employees being reviewed sometimes see it as even worse and, for many of them, it’s the year’s most stressful workplace event. It shouldn't be this way.

You can make the performance review a powerful tool for improving the workforce’s productivity and furthering the careers of the employees being reviewed. The key to doing this is to put as much attention on planning the future as you do on evaluating the past.

Here are some keys to planning a development program for employees you review to help them build on strengths and correct weaknesses identified in the review.

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October 11, 2013

The Rise of Compassionate Management (Finally)

Is there really something to, this idea of compassionate management or is it just a passing trend? How useful would it be to run a company this way? If compassionate people are often overlooked because a company "needs a job to get done" at all costs, how will it ever be possible to make this shift?

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More


October 4, 2013

The Board's Role in Succession Planning

What role does the Board play in succession planning? Do they need to be involved? How should they be involved? Here's the view from Intel, one of the world's largest corporations on how they handle succession planning with the participation of their Board.

Kind regards,
Catherine

...Read More


September 27, 2013

Stop Micromanaging and Learn to Delegate and Trust

Are you receiving feedback that you are micromanaging and spending too much time and effort in the weeds? The good (or not so good) news is that you are not alone. As leaders take on new challenges and greater responsibilities, they are still very much invested in getting things done on time and right the first time. Their intentions are good, but the way they go about getting there can cripple a team and sabotage their career. The following article provides valuable tips and strategies for delegating wholeheartedly and with trust that your team will keep you out of the weeds.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More


September 20, 2013

Rent out Your Empty Desk

I'm always looking for unique stories and this one won't let you down. If you are a smaller sized company and need space this article is for you. If you are a larger company with extra space this article is for you as well. Here's how you can utilize office space to maximize your companies real estate assets. Now that is innovation at it's best.

Dare to think!
Maureen

...Read More


September 13, 2013

Introversion, Extroversion, Whatever....

Do you feel that the terms 'Extrovert' and 'Introvert' are too pat? That we aren't labels and can't be summed up? Then the 'Free Trait' theory of personality is for you. Canadian psychologist Dr. Brian Little believes we have many different sides to our preferences in life and, that we exert choices to act in different ways to achieve our goals. So even the quiet and introverted can act as extroverts to achieve their dreams and, (believe it or not!) extroverts can be quiet.

Kind regards,
Catherine

...Read More


September 6, 2013

Which Behaviours Must Leaders Avoid?

While we are focusing on developing new and positive leadership behaviours, are we aware of the lingering behaviours from the old "command and control" style of leadership? Are these negative behaviours sabotaging our objectives? The following article reveals three behaviours that are still hanging around the workplace: incongruence; interrupting/interrogating; and inconsistency. These behaviours create a toxic environment in which employees shut down and/or develop the same behaviours as they strive to fit the organization.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

...Read More


August 30, 2013

What Inspiring Leaders Do

"What do top executives want from their leaders? IBM recently asked this question of 1,700 CEOs in 64 countries. The three leadership traits that most mattered were the ability to focus intensely on customer needs, the ability to collaborate with colleagues - and the ability to inspire."

HBR 360 feedback data also shows that inspiration is a factor that subordinates most want to see in their leaders, so why do so many leaders fail to know how to achieve this?

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August 23, 2013

Bunnies in the Box

So how are good at you are keeping your bunnies in the box? What might be wrong with a vision that one would get bored of saying it? Maybe nothing is wrong. What is your opinion on this?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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August 16, 2013

What's an 'Ambivert' and how do I get one?

We've all heard of introverts and extroverts. Have you been tested? Ever feel the test doesn't really answer the real you? Sort of some and sort of the other? You could be an 'ambivert'. Ambiverts are the mix and there are more of you than was once realized. Today we know that ambiverts can provide the kind of situational leadership that makes for true success in an organization. Even more interesting, studies show they make better sales people than extroverts, a result that has surprised many and overturned conventional business thinking.

Kind regards,
Catherine

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August 9, 2013

Why Middle Managers and Culture Matter

What does "culture" mean to you in the workplace? Why is "culture" important? This article challenges the out-dated unappreciative view that "culture" is a synonym for "soft skills" or something that only human resources is responsible for building and tracking. This article provides examples demonstrating the value and the impact of developing, implementing, and measuring key aspects of a healthy, profitable culture. "It's the DNA of the company," Ryan Etis says. "It's how you work, what you value - there's what a company does, right, and there’s what a company's trying to accomplish, and there's also the method by which you go about getting there. And I think culture informs all of those things."

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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August 2, 2013

Every Leader Should Get a 360-Degree Performance Review

Jim Yong Kim believes that in order to become better and effective leaders, they should all be involved in further developing their skills as a leader. Initially it can be overwhelming to review all the information that comes out of this type of assessment but each piece of information can be used to create a plan of growth. We've offered this type of assessment for some time but recently trained to use the EQ 360 by Multi Health Systems. What a great tool! What is you opinion of this type of learning tool?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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July 26, 2013

The Power of Quiet

Studies show a third to a half of us are introverts. As leaders we need to ensure we make the most of their strengths and, to recognize that their ability to focus provides measurable business results right to the C suite. Introverts are often overlooked in succession planning but studies have shown that introvert CEOs are among the most successful. Don't overlook your quiet team members in succession planning, they were born to lead!

Read more at Canadian Business through the link below or take this bestseller on your summer vacation: 'Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking' by Susan Cain.

Kind regards,
Catherine

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July 19, 2013

The Three-and-a-Half-Day Job

Holding out for the perfect job is a brilliant avoidance strategy when jobs are thin on the ground. Check out some thoughts from John Lees on the three and one-half day job and why it might be perfect for you. Who wouldn't want it?

I'm just sayin'...
Katherine

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July 12, 2013

Being A Leader Means Learning To Talk Like One

"Effective leadership requires verbal discipline. Leaders need to care about and practice the quality, specificity, and power of their language. Not enough of them do." Read this article to better understand how leadership language is different and how to avoid bland, casual, or vague language for better results in your organization.

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July 5, 2013

Just in Time for Greeting Your Summer Intern

Your summer intern is here. Now what? The following article provides eight strategies for providing a stimulating and supportive environment for summer interns ensuring their "personal and professional best" comes to work every day. The first day of work can be intimidating even for the most confident new employee. So much to learn. So many people to meet and names to remember. The fear around being accepted in a new environment. A hearty welcome followed by a simple well-designed orientation goes a long way in making new employees (especially new workers) feel welcome and part of a great workplace. This great workplace could launch an exciting career. A few of the strategies reminded me of my excitement around the first day of school when I was a kid: new desk, new books, new friends - all orchestrated by a great new teacher.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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June 28, 2013

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Great Leader? Take the Test

Take this test and see if you have what it takes to be a great leader. Better yet, to keep you honest, have your co-workers answer the questions for you. Would you use these results to ask for a promotion?

Dare to think!
Maureen

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June 21, 2013

8 Ways To Be A Memorable Boss

Memorable bosses possess qualities that may not always show up on paper but do always show up where it matters most: in the hearts and minds of the people they lead.

Read this article for eight key ways to make sure that you are a memorable boss for the right reasons.

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June 14, 2013

Workplace Wellness

Too often our focus in leadership development is task related but wellness and, the ability to maintain it through workplace pressures, is a key leadership competency. One which we as leaders can share and model. Employers hope their employees maintain a positive, healthful life not only at home, but in the workplace. Read this article for free information and resources on how to implement a wellness program.

Kind regards,
Catherine

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June 7, 2013

Define Your Organization's Habits to Work More Efficiently

Do you love standards and compliance or would you rather be creative and disrupt the status quo? If you are either way or even somewhere in between, you will enjoy this article. While recognizing that we need to document processes and "standard work", there is a case for identifying was is a "must", a "should", and a "maybe" so that we can benefit from structure when necessary and latitude when appropriate. I am passionate about setting standards and then raising the bar. However, I appreciate that raising the bar often comes from giving employees latitude to break old redundant habits that can jeopardize improvement.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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May 31, 2013

5 Things to Look for in a Co-Founder

Got a great idea for starting your own business? After strategizing on how you want it to look did you find yourself thinking, "How am I going to swing this on my own?". You may just need a co-founder to make it work. Here's a great article on what to look for in a co-founder.

Dare to Think!
Maureen

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May 24, 2013

Your Company Culture Will Eat Your Strategy for Breakfast

"...The real keys to breakthrough results are rooted in your company culture, not your tactics and strategy. This article outlines a powerful mental framework to help understand change efforts within organizations. Use it yourself or with clients to explore what they want to achieve, why they want to achieve it, and how invested they are in the outcome."

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May 17, 2013

An Exercise in Changing Yourself

Are you looking for a way to empower yourself in following through on making a change? A remarkably effective approach is to focus on the benefits this change will bring. It might sound simplistic, but it is surprisingly effective. If you haven't tried this, I invite you to read this article for inspiring examples of the impact that comes from focusing on real, life-altering benefits. Then, experiment with it yourself.

Regards,
Barbara

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May 10, 2013

Just One Thing: See Progress

There's lots of disturbing news out there. How can we protect ourselves from the deluge of negative input? In this article Rick Hanson encourages us to take a look at the progress we have made personally and collectively. Even little improvements make a difference. "If you don't recognize what's improving in your own life, then you feel stagnant, or declining. This breeds what researchers call 'learned helplessness' - a dangerously slippery slope." I was delighted to share this article with family, friends, and community. I took up the challenge and have found that when I consciously examine my day or week on what was good, it's like a booster shot protecting myself from the impact of negative input and thereby preserving my health - mind and body.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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May 3, 2013

The Basics on Bitcoin: 11 Things to Know About This Suddenly 'Hot' Digital Commodity

So how much Bitcoin do you have in your bank? This is a trick question. Bitcoin's are not controlled by any country, central bank or agency therefore you can't deposit them in a conventional bank. However it does have value. Three weeks ago each Bitcoin was worth less than $50 each. Today its worth $140. So what do you need to know about this four year old currency? Check out this article.

Dare to Think!
Maureen

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April 26, 2013

Welcome to HR

Too small to succession plan? No tools or support? There is an organization and help for you! The HR Council of Canada supports not for profit and voluntary organizations with human resources planning and support. Check out this site for a free introduction to the basics of succession planning and other human resources topics. Don't forget that Spearhead Executive Coaching is happy to help you implement your plans!

Kind regards,
Catherine

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April 19, 2013

Five Problems that Need More than a Technology Fix

Don't you just love business technology? Great tools, great apps, and amazing software that just makes every task so much more fun with potential to prevent or at least fix problems! Alas, there are some business problems that cannot be fixed with technology. If fact, I believe that many would argue that technology may even create problems and/or hinder solutions in these five signs of trouble.

Warm Regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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April 12, 2013

Why Doing Awesome Work Means Making Yourself Vulnerable

In this constantly changing workplace, your primary job as a leader is to cultivate engagement on your team, bring out their potential and foster innovative thinking. But to do this takes a level of emotion intelligence rarely discussed. In this article, Brene Brown shares about a core ingredient to successful leadership today.

Regards,
Barbara

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April 5, 2013

How to Handle a Workplace Bully

What happens to high school bullies? Do they grow up or do they just get smarter at being a bully? You don't have to put up with being bullied. Check this article for steps to follow if you find yourself being victimized by a workplace bully.

Dare to think,
Maureen Miller

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March 29, 2013

Change is in the air!

As leaders, managing change is part of our daily work. There are a variety of change management frameworks in use to assist us in being successful. The ten approaches outlined in this article are useful additions to any model, with links to further resources. The author challenges us to use all 10 approaches - how could taking up the challenge influence your next change initiative? Will you be the first follower?

Warm regards,
Cindy

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March 22, 2013

Your Employees Are Not Mind Readers

I enjoyed reading this blog because I have seen so many beautifully worded Quality and Mission Statements that look so good on the lobby wall, but are not communicated to the very people who are charged with the responsibility to live the mission and deliver on the promises. In this blog, Douglas R. Conant, retired President and CEO of Campbell Soup Company shares his experience and five major points that he believes give those statements of commitment meaning on a daily basis throughout the entire organization.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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March 15, 2013

What Do You Tell Your Successor?

It's hard to let go of the reins when you are moving on from a successful career opportunity. Harder still to know what to share and what not. Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, one of the preeminent business idea leaders of our time has some thoughts in this article on how to ensure a seamless transition.

Kind regards,
Catherine

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March 8, 2013

Change Your Questions; Change Your Life

What one skill, if you developed it, would revolutionize your leadership? Asking powerful questions. Becoming more aware of and selective about the types of questions you ask - both of yourself and others - is one of the very best and most empowering tools you have for creating constructive change. This article will show you how to stop asking questions that lead to frustration and disengagement, and start asking questions that unlock potential, reveal new possibilities and lead to breakthrough results.

Regards,
Barbara

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March 1, 2013

Improve Your Focus

I am always interested in ways to avoid the lure of my email and focus on larger projects or personal connection during the day. This short article links some purposeful thinking to better brain chemistry that can support your focus. I particularly liked the suggestions to try - one for personal improvement, and one to try with your team! What would be the strength in combining the two approaches in the coming week?

Warm regards,
Cindy

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February 22, 2013

Students Rush to Web Classes

Education is a right not a privilege. There are some new companies on the block partnering with big name University's to offer on-line courses for free. Some people believe that the model being used is not sustainable and new companies like: Coursera, Udacity and Udemy will fail. What are your thoughts? Maybe you have a better idea for a model.

Dare to think,
Maureen Miller

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February 15, 2013

The Essence of Leadership - Interview with Mike Howard, Chief Security Officer at Microsoft

Every now and then, I encounter someone who is a "bark-and-shout commander". When I recover from the initial shock, I wonder "How does he/she manage to lead effectively?" The command-and-control leadership style is giving way to a more intelligent lead-by-influence leadership style - albeit still slowly in some organizations. Mike Howard has made the transition and has learned that even in high security lock-down environments, leading with the heart creates trust and builds relationship which helps people and the organization flourish in the direction of the aligned vision. He cites emotional intelligence as being very helpful in his own development as a leader. The description of his journey from a young intelligence officer through to his current role within Microsoft provides intriguing insight in leadership transition.

Warm Regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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February 8, 2013

Effective Succession Planning in the Public Service

Many people believe it is difficult or impossible to undertake succession planning in the public service environment. Requirements for equity and competition can seem insurmountable barriers. The key is to maintain a pool of candidates rather than to focus on just a few possible individuals. Watson Wyatt undertook a study of successful methods and practices in the public service environment. Have a look at how actual organizations solved the same challenges you face today.

Kind Regards,
Catherine

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February 1, 2013

Khan Academy "Learn almost anything for free."

In the course of writing for clients in diverse fields ranging from natural resources to human resources, I've done my fair share of 'Googling' to gain the appropriate vocabulary and/or understanding of the topic at hand. Someone introduced me to an excellent site, originally designed for students and teachers, where you can "Learn almost anything for free." If you're an HR manager taking your skills to a new sector, preparing for a meeting with professionals from different disciplines, or simply curious about the world around you, this site is a goldmine.

Cheers,
Sara

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January 25, 2013

How to Make Change That Lasts

January, a fresh start to a new year. I love the opportunity January gives to hit the reset button on life, and make changes that will make a real difference. But as seasoned leaders, we know this takes more than simply declaring a New Year's resolution. This article shares a pivotal strategy that will equip you to make changes that last.

Regards,
Barbara

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January 18, 2013

7 Unusual Things Great Bosses Do

It can be difficult to get feedback from your employees about what you can do differently to make them more effective. Any of the seven ways to give to your employees, outlined in this article, could be effective - what can you both gain by sharing the article, and asking them what they would like you to do more of?

Warm regards,
Cindy

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January 11, 2013

10 Leadership Rules That Are No Longer Relevant

You might not feel it day-to-day, but business management is in a major transition. The old days of command-and-control leadership are fading in favor of what might be better termed a trust-and-track method, in which people are not just told what to do, but why they are doing it." Read this article for a discussion on some of the traditional leadership practices that you can update to keep your team performing at a high level.

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January 4, 2013

How to Handle an Office Bully

What happens to high school bullies? Do they grow up or do they just get smarter at being a bully? You don't have to put up with being bullied. Check this article for steps to follow if you find yourself being victimized by a workplace bully.

Dare to think,
Maureen Miller

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December 28, 2012

Get set for the New Year

Aside from the Spearhead book, Power Tools for Leadership Success (recommended reading), here are twelve of the best other business books from the past year to help you get productive and create healthy habits for starting 2013 on the right foot.

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December 21, 2012

Mindfulness Helps You Become a Better Leader

Effective leaders take time to retreat from the demands and pressures of the daily operations to clarify their vision, stay healthy, and boost their happiness. In addition to the benefits of clear vision, health, and happiness, this article explores how mindfulness contributes to grounding your career and leadership on your core beliefs, values, and principles. As you face new challenges and greater leadership responsibilities, mindfulness will keep you present, in control, and unshakable. A good model for your team.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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December 14, 2012

Don't Trust Companies Who Put Customers First

So are employees and customers both equally valuable? Is one group of people more important than the other? Perhaps if you respect your employees first, a by-product of that will mean better treatment of customers. What are your thoughts? Make sure to read all the comments for a full range of opinions on this topic.

Dare to think,
Maureen Miller

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December 7, 2012

Why Succession Planning Can't Wait

The recent disaster of Hurricane Sandy and the challenges that those impacted are suffering have brought disaster planning to mind for many of us. One of the critical risk management tools business has for crisis management is succession planning. Like all disaster preparation, it's not something to delay. None of us knows when crisis might occur. Take a look at this article which discusses how succession can help organizations weather the big one.

Kind regards,
Catherine

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November 30, 2012

Getting 360 Degree Review Right

Quoting the authors, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, "for leaders to get an accurate picture of their own effectiveness, they need feedback from their manager, peers, direct reports, and others in the organization." One of the most valuable tools for accessing feedback on your effectiveness is the 360-degree feedback process. This article provides key elements that make a difference in the overall effectiveness of the 360-degree feedback.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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November 23, 2012

Empowering Your Employees

This article resonates very strongly with what I believe in. I can lead a horse to water but can I really make them drink? I guess the question is how to satisfy their thirst. What steps, as a manager or executive, should I take to encourage my employees to satisfy their thirst? How does a manager or executive empower their employees to take this step? What are the benefits for everyone involved?

Dare to think,
Maureen Miller

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November 16, 2012

Need to improve your presentation skills?

Are your presentations up to par? Are you able to get your point across clearly and concisely? Here are some pointers for those that may be new at the game or for those who want to refocus.

Kind regards,
Katherine Craig

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November 9, 2012

Recruiting in tough times

Every organization has times where the budget is constrained and yet business operations must go on. A key challenges in times of fiscal restraint is recruiting. One of the top international experts on business workforce planning, recruitment and succession planning is Dr. John Sullivan, a professor at San Francisco State. In this article he provides his tips on how to recruit 'on the cheap'.

Kind regards,
Catherine

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November 2, 2012

Why it's Time for Quiet, Introverted Leaders

I am a big fan of quiet leadership! I have met and worked with many powerful extroverted leaders and in the former "command-and-control" workplace, these leaders appeared to be very effective. Fast forward to the 21st Century workplace. In recent years, I have witnessed an appreciation for leaders who listen, gather feedback, take time to look at the options, and bring calm and stability to their teams. These are the quiet leaders and most likely the introverted leaders. This article speaks to the shift in perception of what predicts effective leadership. Recent research concludes that when social skills such as emotional intelligence were measured, "extraversion no longer predicted leadership". Neuroscience research reveals that effective leaders need to focus on mentoring, empowering, and developing people - behaviours that are more consistent with introverts than extraverts. This article refers to the effectiveness of "quiet strength" and cites several books and articles that provide examples of quiet introverted leaders and their ability to lead effectively.

Warm regards,
Patricia A. Muir

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October 26, 2012

Marketing Should Lead

There is a paradigm that suggests the sales department operates on a one-to-one basis. Each customer is dealt with as an individual and the sales department brings in the money. Everyone should answer to them. However, there is a school of thought that suggests that maybe it's the Marketing Department that everyone should answer to. Read these ideas and see if it changes your mind.

Dare to think,
Maureen Miller

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October 19, 2012

Increase your team's motivation 5-Fold

This result reveals an inconvenient truth about human nature: When we choose for ourselves, we are far more committed to the outcome - by a factor of five to one. Conventional approaches to change management underestimate this impact. This makes so much sense...

Kind regards,
Katherine Craig

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October 12, 2012

As chocolate is to peanut butter, strategy is to tactics

"...the proper balance of thinking strategically while acting tactically is vital: it helps team members connect and improve their day-to-day activities with the larger goals and vision for the project, department, or company."

Read this article to learn some new management techniques for helping your team make a stronger connection between their tactical activities and the organization's broader strategic goals and take their performance to the next level.

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October 5, 2012

Because sometimes you have to manage your manager

Do disagreements with your boss more resemble a battle than an exchange of mutually respected ideas? Your boss is not likely to change on their own, read this article to find out how to deal with three types of "bad bosses" so you can get back to working more effectively.

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September 28, 2012

Open up new ways of thinking by taking a break!

How do you decide if it's been a successful day or week? Many times it is the number of projects that have progressed or been successfully completed, the number of emails you cleared from your in box, the number of crisis that were solved. And moving from one issue to the next through the day leaves little time for even a break, let alone some time for introspection or meditation. A number of blogs I have explored this week talk about the importance of some down time for the brain, and how not focusing on an external task or problem can actually use different parts of the brain to produce new solutions. This article directly links having that down time to some key leadership skills. How could building in some down time influence your leadership, and change your definition of a successful day?

Warm regards,
Cindy

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September 21, 2012

How To Better Anticipate - And Deal With - With Resistance To Change

"Just like tornadoes and other forms of rough weather, resistance comes with its own set of early warning signs." Read this article by Rodger Dean Duncan to get tips on how to recognize, and deal with, signs of resistance to change and then apply his to-do list the next time you're asked to implement change within your organization.

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September 14, 2012

10 Ways To Create An Open Culture

How can an "Open" culture boost the creative output of a company? How can this "Open" culture increase sales and the satisfaction of staff? Avoid the bumps of the learning curve and follow Chris Hirst, of Grey London, as he outlines the 10 steps that led to major changes in his company.

Dare to think,
Maureen Miller

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September 7, 2012

Why People Don't Reach Their Goals

"Getting halfway through something - a book, workout program, or project at work - and losing motivation is an experience everybody can identify with...Being alert to these stall points can help managers keep teams motivated, and help everybody prevent the accumulation of half finished goals."

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August 31, 2012

6 Signs of a Natural Leader

Sometimes the behaviours of natural leaders can be initially mis-interpreted or overlooked instead of nurtured and guided to greater individual and team success. As a manager, watch for the following signals to recognize leadership potential among your team.

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August 24, 2012

Why Innovative People Fail

Innovative leaders - Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates often get all the glory. But in reality, all "idea monkeys" need a "ringleader" in their corner to ensure that their great ideas actually get executed. So what is the secret to success? According to Mike Maddock, it's about blending leadership "yin and yang". Has your company found the right mix?

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August 17, 2012

How I Finally Went Cold Turkey From Working on Vacation

"Twenty years ago, it took effort to stay connected with the office on vacation, but technology has decimated that barrier. Here are the three most effective tactics you can use to recreate that divide and get a true break."

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August 10, 2012

3 reasons innovative ideas aren't enough (and what to do about it)

"Good ideas aren't enough to make great leaders...If you've ever sat there looking at the dry husk of your stupendous, innovative, amazing idea, wondering what went wrong, rest assured you're not alone...take a fresh look at the process and realize that great leaders who achieve meaning, success and joy in their careers master the process of packaging and pitching innovative ideas through the inevitable - and necessary - gauntlet of criticism and competition."

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August 3, 2012

The Flight From Conversation

I open this reflection with a question - how much of your day is spent reading and responding to emails? When you think about the individuals you contact electronically every day, how many of them have you had a conversation with (telephone does count)? There are benefits to electronic communication - and many email responses don't require a conversation. This article identifies some of the hazards of relying on electronic communication without a balance of conversation - in person or not. How many conversations can you initiate this week instead of an electronic communication, and how will they enhance your leadership?

Warm Regards,
Cindy

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July 27, 2012

Identify Gaps in Your Workforce Supply to Plan Better

Workforce planning is a critical piece of business planning often omitted by business leaders. Strategic plans cover capital projects, financing, and key contacts but assume labour force skills and availability.

The Province of Alberta has prepared a short synopsis of the key points to consider in workforce planning. Without the labour, the work won't be done. Be talent-smart and plan for your team development!

Kind Regards,
Catherine

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July 20, 2012

How to Counter Resistance to Change

When communicating a change, it's important to provide the vision, get people onside by identifying common values or outcomes, and identify what you need from them. This short article also suggests that you need to give them control, and "surface any disagreements". On a first read, I thought this was surfacing disagreements to the change, however, on a second read, it seems to be surfacing disagreements to how to implement the change. In either case, although there can be some risk in actively seeking disagreement, what could be some strengths to this approach in your next change initiative?

Warm Regards,
Cindy

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July 13, 2012

10 Tips to Increase Your Creativity

Given the sheer volume of original writing I have to produce in a work cycle, I’m constantly on the lookout for "brain-dam breakers" to get me past the ever-present threat of writer’s block. I came across this interesting article about "creativity" from the International Association of Business Communicators. The author, Suzanne Scardino Salvo, challenges the notion that some people are "born creative" and others are not. She asserts that creativity is a learned skill requiring daily effort, not unlike the pursuit of strong leadership skills, and she provides some unique suggestions for honing that skill at work, and in everyday life.

Cheers,
Sara

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July 6, 2012

Conflict Keeps Teams at the Top of Their Game

"Managers often worry about conflict in their teams, afraid that any sign of trouble will undermine performance. A typical response to conflict is to ignore it - to avoid getting to the root of the problem and hope that it will somehow go away...It may be a nice way to handle conflict, but it isn't particularly effective. Instead, managers need to know how to create teams that feel psychologically safe enough for conflicting opinions to be aired and the benefits of diversity exploited."

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June 29, 2012

Keep Calm and Lead

As we head into summer, it's the perfect time to read Katherine Craig's new book: Power Tools for Leadership Success. Packed with powerful and effective tools that you need to build and refine your leadership skills at all career levels, the book is an easy and enjoyable read that will help transform you into the leader you admire.

The book is available through Amazon.ca, but follow the link below to read more reviews of Katherine's work and find out how effective the tools have already been for other leaders like yourself.

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June 22, 2012

Top Trends in Talent Management

What's new? The top ten trends in talent management for 2012 include remote work, balancing talent development with recruiting and forward looking metrics. CEO's rate talent management as a top priority area where they need to focus. Find out more from the Electronic Recruiting Exchange, a major forum for the top recruiting practices in industry.

Kind regards,
Catherine

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June 15, 2012

Be a Better Leader by Asking Better Questions

"In embracing their role as 'the great answer provider', managers are doling out fish, not creating a team of fishermen. As a result, employees learn that having a recommendation is often preferred over exploratory dialogue. As employees advance in their career, they become adept at solving problems. Their ability to apply a question-asking approach, however, wanes."

"...coaches and therapists tend to ask questions rather than provide answers - helping the person in need shape his or her own solutions is more effective. By asking the right questions, the person seeking advice is positioned to generate answers and develop solutions that stick."

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June 8, 2012

Writer's Tip: The Proof is in the Proofing

Most business communication is a quick exchange of information, but occasionally you'll find yourself generating a lengthy report that took months to research and write. By the time you're ready to submit, you’ve read the words on those pages so many times you've practically memorized them. Proofing can be a challenge at this point: you're no longer really 'seeing' the sentences word-for-word because you're anticipating the content. Silly mistakes can creep in, but there's a way to avoid them: read your document backwards. This is a sure-fire method for picking up duplicate words, instances where spell check has substituted a word that "looked" like the right word but actually wasn't, and other inconsistencies you might miss reading front to back.

Cheers,
Sara


June 1, 2012

Succession Planning in Healthcare

Are you an executive in healthcare? This report may be of interest to you. It presents the results of a study of succession planning practices in US hospitals. The study shows us the importance of succession planning and the accompanying leadership development that supports it and notes fewer than 50% of hospitals had effective programs in place. Find out what some of the strongest predictors of effectiveness are for preparing successors in a senior leadership role.

Kind regards,
Catherine

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May 25, 2012

Power Tools for Leadership Success

The new book by Katherine Craig, Power Tools for Leadership Success, is now available!

Quick and concise, it's the ultimate resource for leaders, no matter where they are in their professional journey. Whether you're up-and-coming, or trying to reenergize your team, you'll find powerful tools you need to build your leadership skills.

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May 18, 2012

Moving from managing to leading: Developing your leadership presence

Your leadership presence may not be what you think it is. It's not about what you do, it’s about how others feel when they interact with you. Of course, your actions strongly affect how they feel, but the point is that the measure of your success is in how others feel. When people who can help promote you - or give you the big contract - interact with you, how do they feel? Are they energized? Excited? Motivated? If the answer is no, you’ve got work to do.

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May 11, 2012

How to Get Involved Without Micromanaging People

A challenge for any manager - how to support your staff to achieve success, without managing the issue yourself, or come across as micro-managing! This article suggests a format for involving yourself without micromanaging - I am not sure they have hit the mark! What techniques do your staff say you use successfully to avoid micromanagement?

Warm regards,
Cindy

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May 4, 2012

The Power of Introverts

Susan Cain offers some compelling reasons to balance team brainstorming with opportunities for quiet individual reflection in this TED video. How do you build in opportunities for all members of your team to contribute - whether they have a preference for introversion or extroversion?

Warm regards,
Cindy

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April 27, 2012

Collaboration through Connecting and Cross-pollination

When done well, teams that collaborate can benefit from a larger pool of resources, knowledge and learning. When done inefficiently, however, collaboration can be a chaotic and inefficient mess. To counteract this, some companies are establishing "organizational hubs" that are successfully disseminating information in timely and effective ways.

Just my thoughts for the day.,
Antoine Quenneville

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April 20, 2012

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time

Multi-tasking has become a habit for me - checking email while on a teleconference, having lunch at my desk, or skimming the web while having breakfast. This article gave me pause for thought - how is it serving me or my organization to divide my focus and thoughtfulness? And what is the impact on my energy level, concentration, and sense of accomplishment? I challenge you to resist the pull of multitasking for a week, and evaluate how it changes your contribution to meetings, projects, and conversations with your team!

Warm Regards,
Cindy

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April 13, 2012

Work: A leading cause of stress among adults

"Workplace stress isn't always negative. Positive workplace stress is called a challenge. Employers challenge individuals to help them grow and create success. Positive workplace stress can help employees reach deadlines, become well-rounded and increase productivity, but it is the negative stressors that make the workplace a hazardous environment."

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April 6, 2012

Customer Loyalty Is Not An Accident

Jeffrey F. Rayport shares with us an anecdote illustrating the powerful effect going above and beyond can have. Kindness costs nothing, or little, and can reap many benefits. Few organizations put it in their mission statements however.

Just my thoughts for the day.
Antoine Quenneville, M.A.

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March 30, 2012

What Your Boss Needs to Know About Engagement

Although the Gallup statistics can be disheartening, workplaces have a renewed focus on engaging their employees. As leaders, our role is key in connecting individual's daily work to the larger vision. This article gives some further quick tips for "nourishing" that engaged employee! How will you incorporate these into your daily interactions with your team?

Warm Regards,
Cindy

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March 23, 2012

A Leader's Worst Addiction

"...leaders know they need to make radical changes - they have seen the numbers; the writing is on the wall- but they don't know where to begin, while the people around them keep telling them everything is going to be okay...they do indeed have a real problem which Marshall Goldsmith would describe as 'what got me here, won’t get me there.'"

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March 16, 2012

The Proof is in the Proofing

Most business communication is a quick exchange of information, but occasionally you'll find yourself generating a lengthy report that took months to research and write. By the time you're ready to submit, you've read the words on those pages so many times you've practically memorized them. Proofing can be a challenge at this point: you're no longer really 'seeing' the sentences word-for-word because you're anticipating the content. Silly mistakes can creep in, but there's a way to avoid them: read your document backwards. This is a sure-fire method for picking up duplicate words, instances where spell check has substituted a word that "looked" like the right word but actually wasn't, and other inconsistencies you might miss reading front to back.

Cheers,
Sara


March 9, 2012

What Good Bosses Do With Bad Apples

The lesson here isn't so much about these specific subtraction stories, even if they are instructive. Rather, it is about the subtraction mind-set, that every boss ought to keep searching for things to remove and simplify--and ways to make life less frustrating and annoying. Great bosses live the motto "When in doubt, take it out."
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March 2, 2012

The Danger of Being Colour Blind

In an effort to treat everyone as equals, leaders often forget that employees are not all the same. Cultural, linguistic, religious and ethnic differences have tremendous implications for employee relations and the efficiency of a management structure. Being colour blind may not be the virtue it was once presumed to be. Being culture sensitive and aware is the latest challenge for leaders. Investing a little time and energy in learning about the nuances of management style of "other cultured" employees may pay off in big dividends and avoid big problems.

Just my thoughts for the day.
Antoine Quenneville, M.A.

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February 24, 2012

Change Management in the Organization

If strategic change leadership is one of the principle roles of the senior executive, then transformative change to better the organization is the hallmark of a truly effective CEO and executive team. Some ideas from McKinsey, one of the most famous global consulting firms in the world, echo the principles of extension education theory in suggesting leaders choose agents of change throughout their organization to achieve momentum and accelerate change.

Kind regards,
Catherine Cottingham

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February 17, 2012

Listening Is A Key Skill

Whether it is conflict management, or Fierce Conversations, listening is a key skill. This article distills the key points in listening, with that valuable reminder that listening is not preparing your response! Borrowing from the article, how do YOU listen in a way that transforms conversations and relationships? (emphasis, of course, is mine!)

Warm regards,
Cindy

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February 10, 2012

Emotions & Authenticity

"How dramatic an influence do emotions have in the workplace? A pretty big one as it turns out, and that is OK."

The emotional impact of being passionate about your job or a project can swing both ways; recognizing this is important, but sometimes overlooked.

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February 3, 2012

When Annoying Your Customers is a Best Practice

January 19, 2012, Wikipedia goes dark for 24 hours. Beyond the protest, what are the implications? What does being "a good corporate citizen" mean, or are you just annoying your clients by banging your political drum? Has the separation of Church and State, translated to the corporate arena as separation of Business and Ethics? With the Occupy Movement in the public eye, perhaps there is support for changing this trend. Causing your clients some inconvenience to get a message across isn’t always a bad idea. I for one will never look at Wikipedia in quite the same way again.

Just my thoughts for the day.
Antoine Quenneville, M.A.

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January 27, 2012

Succession Planning for Nursing Leadership

Canadians highly value our health care system and rely on the efficient care and support it provides. However, as with the majority of governmental industries in Canada, it is heavily populated with a baby boomer demographic. Succession planning to ensure effective, economical and timely transition of the leadership is a critical risk management responsibility our provincial governments face. Some key ideas about the way forward in this paper from the Canadian Nursing Association.

Kind Regards,
Cat Cottingham

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January 20, 2012

Four Myths About Mentoring

"When people think of mentoring, they often think of an older executive counseling a young upstart...The traditional mentor-mentee relationship is not necessarily a thing of the past, but it's no longer the standard. Now, there are many ways to get the information and guidance you need."

No matter your age or experience, it helps to have the benefit of advice from an outside perspective. This HBR article explores four common myths associated with mentoring, highlighting some key principles of the mentoring relationship that are demonstrated through several short case studies.

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January 13, 2012

How Leaders Spark and Sustain Change

This article offers a series of metaphors to guide your personal leadership development - with each metaphor are some coaching questions to assist you in reflecting on how the metaphor applies to your own leadership style. The visual aspect of the metaphor makes it easy to connect to the concepts!

Warm Regards,
Cindy

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January 6, 2012

Pick Up That Phone!

Has technology caused us to lose the human touch? Have the conveniences of mass communication created more confusion and chaos rather than efficiency? Tone of voice, inflection and live responses can speak volumes more than printed words on a screen.

Just my thoughts for the day.
Antoine Quenneville, M.A.

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December 30, 2011

Going Old School

As a freelance writer, I confess I don't spend much time building my skills as a leader, per se, but everybody needs sound people skills; this book, in all its Old School glory, is a timeless blueprint for getting along with others. The first edition dates back to 1937, and much of the language reveals its era, but the messages are still relevant today. With references and anecdotes criss-crossing cultures, countries and decades, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, 1981) is as much a study in history as it is a study in interpersonal relationships.

Cheers,
Sara

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December 23, 2011

Self Control

Self control - do you consider it one of your leadership strengths? This article has me considering self control in a new light - a resource that requires energy and can be depleted when over used! What difference will this make in your leadership if you shift your perspective on self control?

Warm Regards,
Cindy

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December 16, 2011

Money Isn't Everything

Salary isn't the only motivation for a candidate to join a firm but you need to be clear about what your firm offers besides dollars. This article is a great summary of the key things you should be thinking about.

Kind Regards,
Cat Cottingham

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December 9, 2011

Knowledge Hoarding

Ever get the feeling that your team isn't working as a team? You may have a case of knowledge hoarding in your midst.

Just my thoughts for the day.
Antoine Quenneville, M.A.

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December 2, 2011

Trying Something New

It is always easy to use familiar strategies and leadership styles - we can be confident in the results they will get! What are you missing when you don't try something new? This short TED video gives some examples of what we can gain when we try something new - and a realistic time frame to give it a chance!

Warm Regards,
Cindy

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November 25, 2011

Eschew Obfuscation

This little witicism has lived on in our family for years. Coming from a long line of Word Nerds, I've been an avid student of the English language and, I confess, a little militant about its use. Ever since I learned the meaning of the tongue-in-cheek phrase above it's served as a mantra for my methods: avoid making things unnecessarily complex or dense. In a business environment where time is precious and word-count counts, learning to distill your words is a valuable skill, one that will be appreciated by your colleauges and customers. When writing a briefing, memo or marketing proposal, remember that "more words don't equal more meaning" and take a moment to trim the fat from your phrases. Follow the link below for quick tips on how to trim.

Cheers,
Sara

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November 18, 2011

Resume Tips From A Top Recruiter

How long has it been since you reviewed your resume style? Do you know what top recruiters are looking for? As an experienced recruitment professional, I have seen a lot of resumes and most of them could be improved. This article summarizes the key points simply and well. Take a moment to review it. It could change your life. Without an effective resume that gets you into the interview, you don't get the job!

Kind Regards,
Cat Cottingham

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November 11, 2011

My advisors didn't tell ME!

When leaders do not get the information they need, their ability to lead effectively is undermined. But, is it because of incompetent or weak willed teams that bosses are left out of the loop and don't receive crucial - often negative - information? Or, is there something that bosses themselves do that discourages their employees and direct reports from delivering bad news? I think there is much that bosses can do to create a welcoming atmosphere to better promote open communication; the good, the bad and the controversial. For some suggestion, check out Robert I. Sutton's article on the MUM effect.

Just my thoughts for the day,
Antoine Quenneville, M.A.

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November 4, 2011

Covey on Trust

Trust is often promoted as a key to effective or great leadership. Many of the leaders I work with are exploring how they can build trust with their teams in a virtual leadership environment. This article by Stephen Covey provides 13 behaviours of high trust leaders. Which of these behaviours have you integrated into your leadership practice? Which behaviours can you focus on in the coming months to enhance trust with your team?

Warm Regards,
Cindy Kozak Campbell

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