BS you can use: Change for people that don’t want to…

Just came across this interesting 5:00 minute video from the BS (Behavioral Science) Guys on how to interact with people about “changing” when they are reluctant to change. The key is to recognize it is mostly likely not an “information issue” (we all know we should exercise more and eat better — duhhh..!) but about influencing through non-threatening questions…


Tips for eating less, eating healthy

Here is another great post from blogger Eric Barker, and his blog “Barking up the Wrong Tree”.  This short read provides some great tips on how to eat less and eat better, with links to all the academic studies to back up the claims. Powerful stuff, as we head into yet another “overeating” season with the Christmas break almost upon us….



Organizational design — the formal and informal…

I just came across this gem of a thinking model for “organizational design” challenges and opportunities; this exhibit is straight out of a recent Strategy+Business article you can find here.  I think this is a great way to think through things — in business we most often tend to spend the bulk of our time on the “formal” model with structures, key performance indicators, compensation plans, and the like; we often don’t give nearly enough MAU’s (management attention units — a great term I picked up from a client some years back!) on the “informal” side, and yet that seems to be the real enabler of true high performance for organizations.

In “engineering speak” I would suggest that getting the formal side “approximately right” is necessary, but not sufficient. The “turbo-charging” comes through tackling the informal side and getting it to mesh with the business strategy and the formal design.  Definitely not a trivial task….



Seminar Bingo

Having taught at the university level for a handful of years, and now offering workshops and seminars from my own company(s), I couldn’t resist copying this from fellow blogger Jim Rose (thanks, Jim!) and re-publishing here on my blog. I’ll try to remember to post this up as my first slide at our next workshop as an “icebreaker”…




The impact of regulations…

France has enacted small business regulations that kick in for companies having greater than 50 employees… I wonder how that might impact the owner’s decision-making?

Of course, this shouldn’t come as any surprise — it is, however, very clear evidence as to how regulation impacts day-to-day decision making and overall company strategies Thanks to Jim Rose’s blog post for providing me this delightful graphic from the Economist — here is Jim’s full blog post if you want to read more details about the regulations and their impact.



Words of wisdom about Wall Street

I just came across this short little summary statement from the HBR’s “Shortlist” weekly summary (which sadly, is being discontinued).  It’s by Michael Lewis, the highly regarded author of various Wall Street oriented books, along with gems like “Moneyball”. My favorite Lewis book is “The Big Short” which is a fascinating look at the shenanigans behind the 2007-2009 financial meltdown. Lewis does indeed seem to know his stuff:

Michael Lewis knows a little something about Wall Street. And getting past the usual employee complaints about the financial sector (long hours, for one), he offers several often-hidden occupational hazards for the stellar university graduates who think they can make it in the industry while also holding on to ethics and personal responsibility. One: “Anyone who works in finance will sense, at least at first, the pressure to know more than he does.” And many of the things you have to pretend to know can’t even be known in the first place, he argues. “You will be paid a lot more to forget your uneasy feelings.” Two: Working in finance does not involve joining “a team of professionals committed to the success of your bank.” Instead, most who work on Wall Street and are successful “have no serious stake in the long-term fates of their firms.” And three: “Anyone who works in big finance will feel enormous pressure to not challenge or question existing arrangements.”

So for those embarking on a career in finance, Lewis has one last piece of advice: “Watch yourself, because no one else will.”

The full article from Michael Lewis is here. Enjoy. Or cringe. Depending on your view of where Wall Street fits into the scheme of things.



Asking for a raise (TV interview)

Just came back from a short TV interview segment on “tips on asking for a raise”. I think it went pretty well, however of course I am quite biased in that respect. I’m very interested in any feedback and suggestions people want to share with me!

Here is the interview itself : http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=416486&binId=1.1487308&playlistPageNum=

… and here are my speaking notes and thoughts I pulled together to prep for the interview itself.

Top 5 Tips for Workers who Want to Ask for a Raise

Key themes here are:  timing and affordability; external validation; internal value generation; exploring options Continue reading “Asking for a raise (TV interview)”


Gary Hamel: “Change itself has changed”

Manage Change in a Hyper-Changing World

May 1, 2014, 12:00 AM

There is so much attention being paid today on how to embrace change. But management expert Gary Hamel, the bestselling author of What Matters Now, says that leaders need to understand that change itself has changed. Grasping the evolution of change will prepare leaders to anticipate shifts and the unstoppable innovations that drive them. Continue reading “Gary Hamel: “Change itself has changed””


Dan Pink: On personal roadmaps and plans…

The following short extract is taken from Dan Pink’s recent 2014 Weinberg College convocation speech, given at Northwestern University earlier this year. It’s a great summary of the “got to have a plan” approach versus the “just gonna do it” approach that many of us struggle with throughout our professional and personal lives. For fully committed Dan Pink fans, I’ve also embedded the actual commencement speech, which clocks in at some 15 minutes…

Sometimes you have to write to figure it out…

This advice wasn’t just savvy guidance for how to write — it might be the wisest advice I know for how to live… The way to be okay, we all believe, is to have a specific plan — except may it’s not…

The smartest, most interesting, most dynamic, most impactful people … lived to figure it out. At some point in their lives, they realized that carefully crafted plans … often don’t hold up… Sometimes, the only way to discover who you are or what life you should lead is to do less planning and more living — to burst the double bubble of comfort and convention and just do stuff, even if you don’t know precisely where it’s going to lead, because you don’t know precisely where it’s going to lead.

This might sound risky — and you know what? It is. It’s really risky. But the greater risk is to choose false certainty over genuine ambiguity. The greater risk is to fear failure more than mediocrity. The greater risk is to pursue a path only because it’s the first path you decided to pursue.



“Data shows” UFO sightings increase with drink, interrupted sleep

I came across this gem in the latest copy of the online version of the Economist magazine (which is one of my favorite reads!). Here is a link to the full article.

From the article:  “It turns out that aliens are considerate. They seldom disturb earthlings during working or sleeping hours. Rather, they tend to arrive in the evening, especially on Fridays, when folks are sitting on the front porch nursing their fourth beer, the better to appreciate flashing lights in the heavens (see chart). The state aliens like best is Washington—a finding that pre-dates the legalisation of pot there.”

Wonderful stuff!


What? Am I a failure…?

Having just clocked in with another birthday, I was amused and just a little frightened at this infographic. I have absolutely no idea about the accuracy of these charts (how would you go about plotting these things out, I wonder…?) however here is what I take away from it, as it applies to me at my current age:

  • could I be a failure?  Well, apparently I’m getting up there…
  • could I be awesome? Not yet, but much hope for me in the next 25 years
  • could I be high? Apparently not.
  • could I be a loser? Good chance.. wait a minute, is that the same as being a failure?
  • could I be important? Diminishing daily… if I can get to be 100 things will turn around!
  • could I be an entrepreneur?  Falling off quickly…
  • could I be depressed?  Every chance of that, it seems.
  • could I be misunderstood? Apparently, not much chance of that.
  • could I be a liar? Yes. No wait, no. What was the question again?
  • could I have all the answers? Come back when I’m 100 and I’ll tell you.

Continue reading “What? Am I a failure…?”


REPRINT: 10 most important work skills for 2020

Quite candidly, I usually stay away from these types of “top 10 skills you need for the future” because generally I find them quite one-dimensional and often even quite simplistic. However, I am  impressed with this one (presented in an infographic format)  and I think it does a very reasonable job of pointing out some broad drivers of change (they identify 6) and then linking those to their “10 important work skills”.  The work skills Continue reading “REPRINT: 10 most important work skills for 2020”


“Top 5 resume tips” from a reluctant observer

I’ve been asked to appear on one of the local morning TV shows early next week and talk to the “top 5 resume tips” for students seeking summer employment. So far, so good.

Only, I’m not a big fan of “resume focus” because I fear that this is too often done to the exclusion of understanding what’s really going on behind the scenes — in other words, how the hiring process REALLY WORKS. People inherently believe that the job application is a “matching game” (which is of course the way companies and job boards promote it) and so applicants play the game by embedding the “action words” from the job listing directly into Continue reading ““Top 5 resume tips” from a reluctant observer”

10 Resolutions for Living in 2015 (and beyond)

A good friend of mine just shared with me these “top 10 resolutions” for guiding one’s life — they had been shared with him through an executive mentoring group he is a member of. I thought them insightful enough to capture and forward on; they resonate very much with where my head is these days, and the personal self-development journey I have been on for the past several years. Hope you find them beneficial for your own journey…

1.       Resolve to stay brutally optimistic. See the opportunity in every difficulty and anticipate the most favorable outcome out of every situation. We can get better or we can get bitter; it all depends on the lessons we draw from each experience.
2.       Resolve to identify the most powerful benefit you offer to the people around you and then deliver it. “The purpose of life,” said George Bernard Shaw “is a life of purpose.” What’s yours? Where are you investing your personal energy: self-preservation or adding value to others?
3.       Resolve to pump-up your personal vitality. In the game of life, it’s not about who’s right, it’s about who’s left. The real currency of the new century is not cash – it’s the ability to keep going every day of every week of every month of the year with vigor and verve. All you are to the people around you is a source of energy, and you cannot give what you don’t have. Resolve to enhance your physical, emotional and mental vitality.
4.       Resolve to be habitually generous. The more you give of yourself the more you attract from others. People have a deep-rooted drive to give back. So resolve to search for ways to be generous to others.
5.       Resolve to build bridges, not burn them. Use the language of conciliation, not the language of confrontation. Avoid the temptation to vent your negativity on others. Instead, use words that express your joie de vivre and connection with others.  Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can scar for life:  it is humans, not elephants, who never forget.
6.       Resolve to be a global citizen, fully open to the cultures and influences of others. There is a direct correlation between personal well-being and openness to other peoples’ ideas and cultures. If someone has a different point of view, they’re probably right as well. Welcome different opinions. Champion plurality.
7.       Resolve to take control of your destiny. Don’t be so busy trying to make a living that you forget to make a life. Decide who you want to be and what you want to achieve and then stride boldly toward your vision. The most precious human commodity is confidence.
8.       Resolve to increase your human connectedness. The person with the best connections wins. The wider your network the more opportunities you generate. It’s all about trust. Invest your time broadening your sphere of influence. When you are with others, make every encounter a pleasurable one. When you listen, truly listen – and burn your fear of rejection.
9.       Resolve to increase your creativity by letting go of the familiar. Nothing is as far away as yesterday. Try to see the world through fresh eyes every day. You are a genius at something. Discover what it is and then develop it to the maximum.
10.   Resolve to be you because others are already taken. We are at your best when we’re being authentic. We’re at our best when we’re being positively spontaneous, because that’s when all our energy is being invested in the task at hand or with the person in front of us.