Are You an Effective Leader and Why You Should Care?

In today’s world of job automation, virtual workers, AI, machine learning, outsourcing, and “low-cost” off-shoring, one of the best ways to differentiate yourself and your businesses is to be an effective leader!

Most people know that business failure rates are quite high. Although there are probably as many reasons for business failure as there are business failures, one of the overarching reasons businesses fail is lack of proper leadership.

One does not have to look to hard to find some examples. Is it possible that Blockbuster, Sears, Bre-X Minerals, Sharper Image, Enron, and Polaroid would be in business today if they were being led by effective leaders?

So, what does effective leadership look like?

What Powerful Advice Do You Wish You Had 20 Years Ago?

Recently, I was a guest on “Ideas and Stuff”, a Calgary based podcast (episode 50). One of the questions they provided in advance for me to think about and prepare for was; “If you could go back to the day you started your business/career, what would you tell yourself?”

As it turns out, we had a great conversation during the podcast and never quite got to this question! However, the question did really get me thinking.

If I could back up my career, what do I wish I knew that would make a big difference?

As many of you know, I am an electrical engineer by education and practiced in this field for quite a few years.

As engineers, we are forced to focus on numbers, formulas, Lagrangian multipliers, and other theorems that would give most people nightmares! However, as the Dilbert stereotype so aptly illustrates, we are generally not taught the basic things about effective communication, teamwork, or leadership!

So, what would I tell myself if I could go back to the day I started my career?

Why “Excellence” is the Next Five Minutes

Is “excellence” a word that would describe everything you or your business does or produces? If not, you are in danger of becoming a commodity, being stuck in the race to the bottom, and going extinct!

In fact, Tom Peters, in his new book The Excellence Dividend, believes that a mindset of excellence is the antidote to job automation and product “Commodityville”.

Early in my career there was an incident in our office when one of the junior engineers handed a proposal to his manager for a final review before sending the proposal to the customer. The manager basically came unglued and ripped apart the junior engineer after he found a spelling mistake . . . in the client’s name!

Friend of a Friend

Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career

The book review for this week is Friend of a Friend by David Burkus.

Burkus takes the reader through the myths, science, and art of networking. He uses research and studies backed up by solid anecdotal evidence to come to his conclusions. His underlying premise is that: “we are not growing or creating a network . . . we already exist inside of a network.” The people that succeed are those who recognize this and learn to see and navigate their network the best. We can then supercharge our network by bridging the gap between multiple groups or networks of people who don’t generally connect.

My takeaway from this book is that the most successful individuals oscillate between working with a variety of teams and acting as a bridge between their primary team or elsewhere in the organization or network. Finally, remember that “YOUR FRIEND OF A FRIEND IS YOUR FUTURE!”

What Negative Value Statements Are Damaging Your Business?

A few months ago, I attended a key note by Marshall Eizenga where he explained that each of us holds value statements or value definitions in our minds. These value statements define how we think, act, react, and respond to the events around us. As such, value statements have a profound impact on our success and the success of the things (e.g., our businesses) and the people that we influence.

There is no one set of “correct” value statements. Rather, we are all products of our environments and our value statements are created throughout our life. They are a product of our experiences and our interpretations of these experiences. Each of us can experience the same thing but form completely unique value statements. These value statements can be either positive or negative.

Positive value statements can be very beneficial to us and the organizations that we lead. Negative value statements can be extremely damaging to us, our businesses, and the people that we influence.

For Example . . .