Not another meeting: the three purposes of meetings

Nov 29, 2016

meetingWe have all been to bad meetings. You know the ones: no agenda, no time limit as to when the meeting is to end, too much on the agenda, a vague agenda, and finally the impromptu meeting aka “let’s get some people together and talk about it…”

I read reams of articles about many people suffering from “death by meeting.” I 100% agree that meetings can be a bad thing, like when there are too many meetings or the meetings do not have purpose or the wrong people are at the meeting. All this being said, meetings are a highly effective tool of getting work done. For many organizations work is conducted through conversations.  Think of meetings in a sporting analogy: meetings are the huddle in which the play is planned. After the huddle, the team breaks and executes the plan. Thus, a meeting can and should be a structured conversation with a purpose so when the team breaks (leaves the meeting) the play can be executed.

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The Leadership Lid…are you the lid?

Sep 17, 2016

capped-potentialMany of us have been there: you report to someone that “doesn’t get it.” The frustration in the air is palpable. The leader of the group dictates the progress, the environment and ultimately the effectiveness of the team. The leader is the lid the team bumps up against in their desire to be more.

Every organization, every department, every team, board or division has a lid to its potential and that lid is its leader. The unit will only rise as high as the leader will allow it, either knowingly or unknowingly, based on the leader’s capabilities. This principle is very self evident in professional sports: change the coach and the future of the team is changed without changing players.Continue Reading

The Leadership Gap

Jul 20, 2016

In a recent podcast called Meeting the Leadership Transition Challenge, my guest Jane Halford of Bolt Transition indicated that 40% of all leadership transitions fail within the first 18 months. While this is shocking in and of itself, there are even more alarming numbers in the workforce composition.

The vast majority of our senior leaders are in the boomer generation aged 50- 69. This group represents 27% of the Canadian population and 31% of Canada’s workforce (as of 2015).  The tipping point where the boomers are the biggest generation in the workplace has come and gone. That’s not surprising when you consider that 250,000 boomers retire annually currently and that rate is set to grow to 400,000 annually in a few years.Continue Reading

The top 3 qualities of leadership I learned from mountain climbing

Jun 2, 2016

Even before I reached the summit of Mount Everest, I had discovered many components of great leadership. Like you, I have read a book or two about leadership. I started creating lists of leadership qualities I had gathered from mentors, books and colleagues. But my profound understanding of leadership came from my experience on mountains leading teams. And as our team descended from the highest peak on earth, I became even more convinced that some qualities of leadership are far more important than others.

What makes an effective leader? When I present my Alpine Leadership Keynote talk at conferences and events, I share how climbing mountains has helped to shape the three components of great leadership that I call on the most.

The leadership skills and qualities needed to be successful in the Alpine world are the same as in the business world; the difference is the level of consequence. In the Alpine, bad leadership has the ultimate price.

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Why you need to challenge your business assumptions

Apr 30, 2016

It iusability-testings easy to get trapped in the rut of “market of one” thinking (if I like this every one else should).  To mitigate this thinking our team regularly takes one of our websites and submits it to a user testing group. This group is tasked to answer questions such as describing the purpose of the site, finding a product, requesting a quote, finding the warranty on a product; typical tasks we want our customers to be able to do easily on our website. Of course (us) the people who designed the site know how to do all of these tasks easily, but what about a first time user?  That is what we want to know. Continue Reading

Leadership doesn’t mean being out in front

Jan 20, 2016
The Hero Leader

The image of a leader is often an individual out front. Leaders lead. I agree with this. What I do not agree with is the image of the superhero leader. I believe leadership is more about soft qualities such as courage, discipline, patience, perseverance, consensus building, listening, coaching and consistency; as opposed to “hero” qualities of decisiveness, being a visionary and having an unwavering resolve. To be clear, I think the “hero” qualities are needed to be an effective leader, but without soft qualities the leader would charge off in a direction decisively, full of vision and resolve. That “leader” would most likely just be going for a walk by themselves.
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