Who Do You Influence?

influence Sep 07, 2017

Have you ever thought of yourself as a person of influence? What does it take?

Do you need to be in a leadership role to have influence? Everyone has influence. We all have an impact at home, in our job, as volunteers, in everything we do.

Often, we don’t realize the impact we have on others.

Twenty-five years ago when I was a manager of a non-profit, I coached a young man who was starting a business. He was a talented designer and wanted to start a business making images that could be attached to the spokes of a wheelchair. You see he was in a wheelchair himself and he played a lot of basketball.

He thought it would be cool for the players and their fans if the spinning wheels were more eye-catching. I coached him as he set up his business and he seemed destined for success.

Five years ago, I was about to give a presentation. Before we started, I went around the room and introduced myself. When I put my hand out to a man in a wheelchair, he gave me an enormous smile and...

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What do technology and grandparents have in common?

servant leadership Aug 24, 2017

Last week I asked several young leaders a simple question: What are the two most essential values you've learned from your grandparents?  

Everyone responded quickly and most people gave more than two values. But as I listened to their answers, a theme emerged.

The values that the young people learned from their grandparents that they cherished the most were based on two things: forming strong connections and showing leadership.

One young person told me that his grandparents attended 43 of the 45 hockey games he played while growing up. By being in the audience, his grandparents connected with him in a way that goes beyond support. They participated in his life and that's what connecting is all about.People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.


Connecting increases your influence in every situation. This is crucial whether you're trying to lead a child or a nation. In his book, “Everyone Communicates and Few Connect”, John...

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6 Tips to Keep Your Vision Alive

potential Aug 16, 2017

Flanked by a number of small boats carrying team members watching for sharks and to stand-by in case she got tired or injured, Florence Chadwick began her swim. 

This was not a normal swim or swimmer.  The swim was to navigate the dangerous channel waters between Catalina Island the California coast.   The swimmer was a 34-year-old open-water, long distance swimmer in pursuit of her vision to complete this difficult swim.

After swimming 15 hours, a thick fog set in.  Exhausted and without ability to see the shoreline, self- doubt started to take over.  After another hour, exhausted and fog hiding her destination; Chadwick quit.   

Soon after entering a rescue boat, she learned she had stopped her swim only a short distance from shore. 

Persistent, she tried again two months later. 

 Despite the equally thick coastal fog, this time she succeeded.  When asked what made the difference this second time, Chadwick said she kept...

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To Lead is to Serve

servant leadership Aug 08, 2017

“If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you.” - Unknown

Forty years ago, I was hired for my first management position at the commercial bank I'd joined two years earlier. I worked hard in that position and considered myself an effective leader. The bank promoted me to Branch Manager a few years later and soon I was part of the Western Regional Office.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized the positions I'd held did not make me a leader.

There's nothing like a struggle to open your eyes. I found myself in a leadership position, working with staff who had many years of experience and were reluctant to trust my leadership.

That's when I realized I did not understand what leadership is. I'd been assuming that my job title made me a leader and I discovered it did not.

To earn the trust of my team, I rolled up my sleeves and joined them, putting in effort and time, showing that I understood the value of the work we did together. Gradually, the way I connected...

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What Defines You?

awareness Aug 01, 2017

Have you ever wondered what enables a leader to emerge and meet the challenge of the hour? Or what would enable you to step forward and successfully meet the challenges in your life?

"Leaders develop daily, not in a day," says John C. Maxwell in his book "Leadership Gold: Lessons I’ve Learned from a Lifetime of Leading". John also says that the choices we make in critical moments help to not only form us, but to also inform others about who we are.

I believe that statement to be true.

Most days come and go. But a few days are unlike the others, and those are the days we remember. Many defining moments come as a surprise, often arising during times of crisis.

Why do these days stand out more than others? The reason is simple. On those particular days, we stopped, thought about our life, and took action.

Maybe we saw an alternative we didn't recognize before. Maybe we faced a difficult moment. Or maybe we accomplished something new. Whatever the reason on that particular day, we...

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Does Today Matter?

awareness Jul 27, 2017

Have you ever wondered if what you do today really affects your success tomorrow? If you have a good day, does that make it more likely that the next day will also be good? And anyway, what makes one day good while another is not?

Everyone wants to have a good day, but according to John Maxwell, few of us know what a good day looks like. In his book, "Today Matters", he explains that very few people understand how the way they live today will impact what happens to them tomorrow. Why is that?

Well, there are a lot of misconceptions that can lead us astray. Here are few of the common misconceptions that are outlined in John Maxwell's book:

  • We believe success is impossible, so we criticize it.
  • We believe successes is mystical, so we search for it.
  • We believe success comes from luck, so we hope for it.
  • We believe success is productivity, so we work for it.
  • We believe success comes from opportunity, so we wait for it.
  • We believe success comes from leverage, so we power up for it.
  • We...
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Finding Those Wow-Worthy Moves

truth Jul 21, 2017

“True leadership lies in guiding others to success.” - Bill Owens

In their book titled The Real-Life MBA”, Suzy and Jack Welch boil leadership down to its two essential components – truth and trust.

Based on years of leadership experience, they worked out an organizing principle we can all benefit from using. “Truth-and-trust leadership … is an overarching approach – an organizing principle – that drives everything leaders do every day, whether they are in staff meetings, performance evaluations, strategy sessions or budget reviews, or everything else in between.”

Truth seeking in leadership means being open and honest. It means never settling for suppositions or unsupported claims. Leaders consistently seek truth through the:

  • Strategy Process: They deep-dive into information about their competitors, their market share, and their strengths and weaknesses. This depth of truth seeking is as important for non-profit...
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Leaders: Are You Leading Change?

change Jul 14, 2017

It is said that a diplomat avoids unnecessary conflict and that while a leader doesn’t seek conflict, they do challenge norms and rock the boat when necessary.  For many of our businesses and non-profit organizations it’s time for leaders to challenge and to rock the boat. 

Rapid technological changes, globalization of markets and competition, and slower economic growth combined with changes in consumer, investor and employee behaviour requires businesses, small and large, rural or urban to adapt; or die. 

For many of these very reasons, non-profits are also required to adapt. Maintaining pace with technology, adjusting to changes in the way employees and volunteers are recruited and retained requires new and different leadership responses. 

Non-profits must respond to government and societal demands for increased accountability and demonstration of meaningful outcomes.  For many organizations, the failure to change or adapt often results in them...

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No Time for Learning?

potential Jun 29, 2017

James is at the dinner table with his wife, Cheryl. She can see he's distressed and asks if he's okay. The answer is larger than she expected. As far as she knew, James was happy in his job.

“Cheryl, I don’t know what’s wrong. I’ve worked long and hard for the company. I’ve been loyal and I've given my all. In the past, I was rewarded for my performance, but they’ve passed me over for a promotion again. Guess I better find another company that appreciates my experience and effort.’”

Only three years ago, James was excited about his future. He'd been promoted to a manager position at the manufacturing company where he works. They'd valued his university degree, but they'd valued his 10 years of experience even more.

James was ready for the learning curve his new role demanded. Never afraid of work, he committed countless hours to management courses and self-study. After all, he'd never held a leadership position before. He knew he had...

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Who Me …. Distracted?

awareness Jun 23, 2017

According to the dictionary, a “distraction” is anything that divides your attention or prevents you from concentrating.

When is the last time you were unable to concentrate on what was happening at work or at home?

Our lives are filled with things competing for our attention. The phone rings. New messages appear in your email. You go to the internet for a specific piece of information and end up reading something completely different.

A co-worker walks into your office for a quick chat. A friend invites you to go for coffee.

We all deal with dozens of distractions every day of our lives. Some of them are welcome, like having lunch with a friend. But if we allow ourselves to give way to every distraction that crosses our path, we lose focus on our goals. Interruptions take us away from important priorities and hamper our productivity.

Learning how to minimize the distractions in your life can dramatically increase your productivity and effectiveness. It starts with...

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