Tag Archives: Strategic management

Be Fearlessly Authentic

Originally posted on Practical Practice Management


If you are a manager, team leader or business owner there is one facet of your character that must stand out to those you lead and that is “authenticity.”

Your people want to know who you really are.  Many times when a person is put into a position of “leadership” they feel they must act the part (whatever that means to them).  It’s not long before their people realize that they are not being authentic and this is where problems will begin.

In the book The Go-Giver The authors teach the “Law of Authenticity.” The following is an excerpt from the chapter.

“As long as you’re trying to be someone else, or putting on some act or behavior someone else taught you, you have no possibility of truly reaching people. The most valuable thing you have to give people is yourself.”

Here are a couple of tips to practice in being authentic.

  • Realize no one is perfect, be yourself.
  • Be present when you are with others.
  • State your values and then live them out loud. “Walk the talk.”
  • Be aware when you are not being authentic and change it quickly.

Being authentic is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and to those with whom you encounter, live and work with.

“I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.”-Charles R. Swindoll

Trust Builds Great Teams

Originally posted on Practical Practice Management

rowing team

When working with others as a team there has to be an element of immediate trust by the team members for each other in order for the team to function.

Trust is something that develops over time.  It is demonstrated and earned by each team member.  Teams that work hard at building trust reap multiple benefits like:

  • Obtain greater results of reaching goals and solving problems
  • Team members have more influence with one another
  • They have more desire to make their efforts work
  • They develop a strong team bond
  • A more enjoyable workplace environment

When there is a lack of trust between team members the opposite happens and the team as a whole suffers.

The following are some actions that lead to a lack of trust between team members:

  • Not keeping your word
  • Not following instructions
  • Talking about other team members negatively
  • Have a hidden agenda of “self” not “team”
  • Blame others for mistakes made
  • Make excuses for their mistakes
  • Distort what people say
  • Use manipulative tactics

Creating a great team takes time and effort to build by each member of the team.  Taking the time to communicate about what needs to happen and what cannot happen between the team members up front is necessary.

Hard work and effort together to build trust with your team members is a positive experience for everyone.

photo credit: briancarr62_

Look For The Small Successes

Originally posted on Practical Practice Management


I recently had a conversation with an office manager who really seemed to be struggling with the “Glass-half-empty” syndrome.  I know that we all can struggle with this from time-to-time, but this manager really had a bad case of it.

He had been working hard with his staff over the past couple of years and felt that no matter what management strategies he tried he still could not produce the “Super Team” he wanted.

I asked him to tell me what successes they accomplished last year as a team.  He began to tell me that they did finish a much-needed protocol manual, which took much longer to do than he expected.  They also achieved making a Facebook page for their company and to date have 156 followers, yet he thought they could have accomplished more.

And finally, they had reached their monthly financial goals 3 months out of the year.  This was good, but not great since they had never reached them before.

When he finished, I told him that he and his team had accomplished a lot to be proud of this past year and if he continued to focus on what they did not do he would pass his negative feeling along to his team and then good luck in trying to motivate them to be successful this year.

His hard work with his team had paid off.  He was just missing it because he was looking at the wrong thing.

He was leading them down the right road, it was just a little bumpier than he expected.  I encouraged him to keep moving forward even if he and his team are moving at baby step speed.  Little accomplishments are better than none.

“Success is not a destination, but the road you are on.” ~ Unknown

From the archives: How to Leverage your Business with Temporary Staffing

Looking back at past posts of this blog, we still find value in this post from several years ago. Enjoy the read.

You don’t need another hero. You just need to hire a temporary employee!

In today’s ridiculously busy business climate, some days it may seem hard to function effectively. Looking around your office you may see pile upon pile of projects that, while a priority, never get to your top 10 list. This is your ‘a-ha’ moment.

The preconception that temporary staff are to be used for vacation relief or as an interim holding pattern while hiring for a full-time position is so last year. Granted, you can and should utilize temporary staff to keep the flow of business moving in the absence of other staff, but have you ever considered how you could leverage your business with a temporary employee?

Temporary staff can be your secret weapon for business success. You don’t need to keep them forever. In fact, keep them only as long as they are needed. The best thing about using temporary staff is that it is exactly that – temporary. Talk about a great way to leverage your business in all types of markets. Don’t add what you don’t need. Utilize this flexible staffing option for days or months. If you no longer need the temporary employee, you call the staffing agency and the assignment will end. No more buyouts and long notices to work through. All employer responsibility is included in the hourly bill rate, and you don’t need to provide severance to terminate the relationship. Easy. Efficient. Flexible. Need we say brilliant?

Smart staffing companies are trained to help you pull together a profile of an individual that gets you through projects that have never officially been staffed by an employee. More great ideas can come from having this resource. Could you imagine having more time to actually take on your key business opportunities? The bonus with a temporary employee is that you will often have access to more qualified staff than you might expect. This could be a huge asset to maximizing your business’s productivity and bottom line.

Maybe you currently don’t have an executive assistant, or don’t need one on a full-time basis. A temporary executive assistant might be your perfect solution when you have one too many projects on the go, and things start to fall behind. Getting the right person in – for even a few weeks – can make all the difference and get you or your team back on track.

Consider a temporary employee with a specific skill set when only required for a unique project. The injection of new staff, even on a temporary basis, can bring new life to a team and in particular allow the full-time staff to get back to their top work priorities. And anytime you can regenerate your team’s productivity, you have a major win!

Have you ever been in a situation where the staffing company has provided such a great fit that you hire them on as a result of the temporary assignment? In many situations, hiring a temporary employee is indeed a great way to get to know how they function in your business environment before you make the commitment to bring them on in a permanent capacity. Many temporary staff are open to full-time work when the work environment is right. You will very often find a person doing a role that is not of their full-time interest or calling, but their flexibility and adaptability is a very good indicator of how they would fit into your corporate culture.

At the end of the day, a great fit within your corporate culture really makes the difference to the bottom line. With small yet important investments into your team mix, temporary staffing can produce returns on value in terms of productivity that are certain to be high. Perhaps, after all, you really will find some super-heroes in disguise.


From the archives: The Importance of Cultural Fit – Part II

Cultural Fit Part II –  How to hire the “Perfect” Candidate

A lot of people will wish you luck in finding the perfect candidate – they will say that you need it. Not true! Employers can make their own luck by carefully selecting the right person and merging him/her with your existing team.

Like any successful business practice, a little bit of process and planning will yield huge dividends.

Start with the Details

First, you must be able to describe the position in a detailed and accurate way.  To do this, systematically evaluate why previous employees have left. Were there technical gaps? Relationships that never gelled?  Examine performance reviews for the entire team, and look for recurring themes of strength or weakness. Use this information to draw up a new, fully detailed job description that focuses equally on technical expertise and behavioural characteristics. Yes, you may want to skip this step! Persevere – this information will allow you to exactly pinpoint the person you’re looking for.

Build a Common Vision

If this is a complex role, ensure senior managers involved in the hiring process generally agree on what a “perfect” candidate looks like in terms of experience and personality. Schedule a brief meeting, and separate the criteria into “must have” and “helpful to have”. You may be surprised to hear how members of the same team view the role differently! This meeting will provide clarity once you begin the interview process, and will save valuable time and effort.

What Do You Need to Know From Your Candidates?

Select the right interview questions to screen for desired behaviours. To do this, go through the information you learned in step one, and ask for specific examples of how the candidate has dealt with similar challenges in the past. This is called Behavioural Interviewing Techniques, and it brings a great deal of clarity about a candidate’s experience and their way of thinking. Truly, it explains how they “get things done,” which is a combination of internal motivators, external motivators and communication style. If you follow this process, the top 1-2 candidates should stick out by a mile.

Mentor Success!

Congratulations, you’ve chosen an amazing person for your organization and your work is done. Well, almost! Research shows the on-boarding process ultimately determines whether a person succeeds or fails.  An employee handbook is no longer sufficient.  During the first ninety days, your new employee must quickly learn the unspoken and unwritten rules about how the organization operates – ie. your culture. How quickly they learn this determines their success, and this is particularly true for senior management and executive roles. As a direct manager, you are responsible for ensure they understand your culture and communicate in an appropriate style. Many managers believe the new employee should have to “prove themselves” or “establish their value to the team.” However, we believe that current market conditions, changes in business direction and competitor threats will give your new team member ample opportunity to contribute to your organization! Most importantly, ensuring your new hire feels welcomed and respected means you’ll avoid having to go back to step one.

Your ability to mentor your new hire will allow them to shine, and effectively contribute to your organization!

photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik

Healthy corporate culture lets strategy execute. Amen.

Positive corporate cultures naturally grow empowered employees. They typically breed positive experiences that transcend beyond the borders of a company. These employees self manage the vision of the company by treating their role in the organization as a critical component to the company’s success. While in most cases these employees are not shareholders or owners but rather stakeholders that  act as if they were real owners of the company. When company’s have outstanding corporate culture it really shows on the outside. And the most wonderful thing occurs when employees feel a part of the vision of the company – they are more energized and they also build more cohesive teams.

It’s hard to crack the code of what mix actually makes for a healthy culture. What I do know is that companies with a culture for excellence tend to have a natural selection process for moving out those individuals that don’t fit in the jet stream. In business, a good healthy culture facilitates an easy execution of corporate strategy as companies benefit from the consistency of shared values to the greater good.

Many business leaders of companies with excellent cultures speak of their teams in terms of ‘rowing in the same direction’. It’s an easy visual and quite an agreeable one.  Anything less is dysfunctional and inefficient. From my time on a high performing rowing team in University I can wholeheartedly agree with this wisdom. Give a team vision, strategy and most importantly a real sense of purpose and then all you need to do is have them set their sights on the finish line. And like all top level athletes, they practice and reflect.  As teammates in corporations we too need to follow this rigorous training to stay healthy and to reach our finish lines.

photo credit: Kristian Vinkenes