The Millennial Challenge

The Millennial Challenge

Last week I was at the Niagara Economic Summit where they tackled a number of 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 largely millennial speakers including Chris Sinclair, Julie Rorison, Allie Hughes, Alyssa Lai, Stephanie Harper, and Stephen Murdoch. In the discussion the panelist spoke about the way millennials differ from previous generations in their work styles, their own experiences as employees and employers, and some strategies for other millennials to getting themselves started in the work force. Having recently been doing some work supporting the start-up of a non-profit focused specifically on helping millennials make the leap from student to productive professional I've been doing some research on the topic myself and I found the discussion at the Summit very interesting. It is one thing to read survey data from big corporations and newspapers and to talk to professionals about their...
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Don’t Be Afraid Ask

Don’t Be Afraid Ask

Over the past couple of months as I have been looking for my next career challenge I have been lucky enough to enjoy a lot of amazing conversations, meet a lot of really interesting people, and learn a lot from both the people I am meeting as well as my own experiences going through this. One of the most important lessons I am drawing on though I learned through my last big career search: Don't Be Afraid To Ask I love meeting new people and I love great conversation, but ultimately neither of those things on their own are going to find me the right next opportunity. If I don't actually use those introductions and conversations to let people know what I'm looking for and how they can help then it is a wasted opportunity in the end. (more…)...
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Tips to be a more effective Networker

Tips to be a more effective Networker

As small business owners, one of the key sources of new business will be your network.  That means that the more effective you are at the art of networking, the more likely you are to generate quality leads and increase your business and professional footprint.  For those seeking new employment, the principles are the same but the target audience might differ.  I offer these tips not as someone who considers themselves as an expert in the art of networking, but as someone who is constantly learning and evolving - someone who is reaching for the stars and developing his networking skills to get there. First of all, I have to mention the best book that I have read on the subject and highly recommend that you go out and buy it and read it today:  Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi (click the link to go directly to Amazon.ca and buy it now). Let's get started with the tips: Yes You HAVE To Network Problem #1 for...
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It’s All In The Follow Through

It’s All In The Follow Through

It's been said many times that follow up is key to success, but I would suggest that it goes deeper than just a simple follow-up if you want to dominate in your field. Just like a good golf swing, the best hitters in baseball, and a great slapshot, the key to exceeding the expectations of your clients and colleagues is the follow through. Following up is a simple one time activity that anyone can do.  Leaving a meeting with an expected 'follow-up' date or meeting is easy (provided the meeting went well), but committing to something of real value during a meeting that would require you to 'follow through' is much less common. I had a meeting at the end of last week with a new network connection in which we both spent some time going over the types of services we provide to our customers and the types of customers we are most interested in being introduced to, and I was surprised and...
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The Power of Connected Advisors

The Power of Connected Advisors

This week I have been lucky enough to meet a number of dynamic new people that I am happy to have added to my personal and professional network, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have met them, learn about their businesses and challenges, and hopefully help them in some way to achieve a greater level of success. But it also occurred to me that it is as a result of my being open to listen to their comments, accept their criticisms, and make my own commitments to them that I am finding such early success with the launch of Key Consulting. I am surprised every day as I go out and meet with business owners and leaders how many people work as a team of one, whether as an Entrepreneur or in a career position.  Unfortunately these people never achieve the level of success that they are dreaming of and they never achieve those 'big goals' that they seem to...
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Great Tips from Mike Splinter

Great Tips from Mike Splinter

I was reading the current issue of Fortune Magazine and there is a regular section in the Technology pages called 'The Best Advice I Ever Got'.  This week I particularly enjoyed the tips that were shared by Mike Splinter, CEO of Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) in California.  In my opinion he has really hit the nail on the head in terms of some of the characteristics and key behaviours of true leaders. Mike first speaks about the best advice he ever got, from former Intel CEO Andy Grove.  Grove was giving a talk to new management hires trying to provide them with some foundation and understanding of the Intel culture.  In his talk he told them to "always assume it's your responsibility." Always assume it's your responsibility. What a great concept and an incredible underpinning for a corporate culture.  What if everyone in your business assumed that everything was their responsibility?  As a small store owner can you imagine a world where all of your employees took it upon themselves to sweep...
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What is your Unique Value Proposition? (UVP)

What is your Unique Value Proposition? (UVP)

I was sitting with one of my trusted network centers of influence on Friday discussing opportunities and business and she asked me what should have been a simple question to try to identify any connections she could make for me: "What is your unique value proposition?  What is it that you do that makes you stand apart from everyone else?" I went in to a 5 minute diatribe about people, process, structure, and start-ups and finally she stopped me.  See, the problem is that I never really identified anything that I do that sets me apart.  I forget sometimes that at the senior level, anyone that a start-up brings in can handle the people, process, and structure part (or they wouldn't be considered senior).  What she wanted to know was what I did differently that would help a start-up succeed so that they wouldn't have to call her in (she is a turnaround expert) in six months. In addition to simply identifying my...
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