Curiosity Killed the Cat (But Satisfaction Brought It Back)

Curiosity Killed the Cat (But Satisfaction Brought It Back)

I was doing my morning reading today and I came across a few posts and thoughts the value of opposing ideas, disagreement, and controversy and it reminded me of the value of curiosity when we are going about our daily lives. Increasingly we see leaders just "speaking louder", believing that by talking louder they will convince more people to agree with their position (as radical as it might be). Friends and family get in comment wars on social media and post ideas that are clearly intended to create tension and disagreement. People are shocked by the fact that other's opinions don't align perfectly with their own.We see more people with a false consensus bias which reduces the quality of our social conversation (and makes it challenging to maintain our own curiosity). False Consensus Bias = People have a tendency to overestimate the extent to which other people think the same way that they do. The solution to the challenge is housed in the...
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How Did You Do In 2016?

How Did You Do In 2016?

As we wrap up another year and start to think about our real plans and goals in 2017 I have been doing a lot of reading of year end "best of" lists, looking forward "trendspotting" lists, and a few "remember our goals last year" lists and the last category made me really think... mainly because there have only been a couple of them. So many lists at this time of year celebrating the "best of" what happened in 2016... so many companies and prognosticators talking about "what will happen" in 2017... and almost nobody talking about how the two aligned for the past 12 months.Perhaps it isn't surprising to see that very few people actually take their "plans and goals" from the start of the year and publish their results against those "wishes and dreams" lists that they published a year ago... it would after all require us to show some humility and acknowledgement for those things that didn't go...
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Flawless Execution In Innovation

Flawless Execution In Innovation

I've had many bosses who spoke about the need for "flawless execution" in our organization. They spoke of delivering with excellence, achieving plan, and a relentless pursuit of productivity in our work. Then they spoke about how innovative we were going to be. How we were going to try new things, adapt and increase our pace, and become more agile.And when they were done you could look around the room and see confusion and fear."How can I take chances, try new things, adapt and increase pace, and be more agile while I am delivering with excellence, making no mistakes, achieving my plan, and delivering productivity?" was the thought going through everyone's mind... "Aren't those the exact opposite approaches?"...And then nothing changed.(more…)...
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Empathy Mapping – A Versatile Tool for your Toolbox

Empathy Mapping – A Versatile Tool for your Toolbox

One of my favourite tools, when I'm working on innovation, strategic planning, marketing, or even just preparing for an important meeting where a key decision is needed, is Empathy Mapping. Empathy Mapping is a way to discover new insights into people, customer segments, or personas you have developed for your new product or marketing campaign. Those insights will help you to position your new product around the value it creates. They provide you with a glimpse into a change in behaviours or approach which hinders your ability to push a project forward. New insights will help you identify new differentiating features which give you an advantage in the market.Ultimately Empathy Mapping is about understanding people better by reflecting on them and attempting to put yourself in their shoes.(more…)...
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Addressing Your Leadership Blind Spots (Yes You Have Them)

Addressing Your Leadership Blind Spots (Yes You Have Them)

We would all like to think that we are completely aware as leaders of what is happening around us and completely self-aware of how we are contributing to it but here is a harsh reality:You probably are missing a lot... you have blind spots.No matter how much time we invest in personal development, leadership development, and improving our skills as managers we all have blind spots in our leadership. We aren't seeing some important things that affect the performance of our organization, our people, and our outcomes.Those blind spots may lead you to make poor choices (as they did recently with Wells Fargo and their "incentives"), they may be contributing to a poor office culture which you as the leader don't see, or they may simply be limiting your employee's engagement in their work which leads to poor productivity, outcomes, and likely loss of some of your talented team members.The reality is that every leader has blind spots... you aren't...
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Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone

Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Neale Donald Walsch Your comfort zone is the behavioural space where your patterns and routines minimize your stress and risk with a situation. It provides you with mental security and provides you with the obvious benefits of basic happiness, reduced anxiety, and lower stress. It is also one of the most important challenges to your success and enjoyment of life. If you stay in your comfort zone you may be less stressed, but you will also be learning less, experiencing less, learning less, and growing less.The idea of "stepping out of your comfort zone" isn't just a great sound bite or quote. It actually stems from the research of Robert M Yerkes and John D Dodson in 1908 where they found that to maximize performance they needed to create a state of "relative anxiety" that they called "Optimal Anxiety". This doesn't mean putting someone into a completely uncomfortable position. It does mean extending...
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Starting a Successful New Business – What’s the Headache?

Starting a Successful New Business – What’s the Headache?

When you are thinking about starting a successful new business, one of the first questions you need to be able to answer is: "What is the headache that I'm solving for, and how bad is the headache?".You need to solve a problem for someone (your target customer) that they recognize (it is a headache) and that they care about (it is a BAD headache).For a really incredible business, you need to have a meaningful solution to their headache. Don't just find something that dulls the pain, find something that makes it go away.Finally, you need to be able to articulate how you will make the pain go away for good.Consider the following scenario (based on one of my favourite quotes from Theodore Levitt): People don't want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole. Theodore Levitt (more…)...
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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

I was thinking about my experience during my current search for my  next challenge and it dawned on my that this journey has some interesting parallels to Dorothy's experience in The Wizard of Oz. We both were surprised by a tornado that took us into an unfamiliar place, had to get our bearings and find a path that would hopefully lead us to success, met some interesting characters along the way who were helpful on the journey, and faced some unique challenges while travelling the road. Let's start from the beginning... Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. (more…)...
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The Millennial Challenge

The Millennial Challenge

Last week I was at the Niagara Economic Summit where they tackled some issues related to employment in the Niagara Region including a power talk on the topic of millennials. The millennial discussion was led by a panel of millennial speakers including Chris Sinclair, Julie Rorison, Allie Hughes, Alyssa Lai, Stephanie Harper, and Stephen Murdoch. In the discussion, the panellists spoke about the way Millennials differ from previous generations. I call this the Millennial Challenge. Gen Y differs in their work styles and their experiences and perceptions of employees and employers. The panellists also shared some strategies for other millennials to get themselves started in the work force.I have recently been doing some work supporting the start-up of a non-profit focused on helping millennials make the leap from student to productive professional. I found the discussion at the Summit fascinating given some research I've been doing in that work. It is one thing to read professional research and perspectives on...
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