Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Best Performing CEO's in the World

The lead article in the November 2016 issue of the Harvard Business Review is entitled, The Best Performing CEOs in the World. Although it is an interesting article in its own right (the three CEOs interviewed, Martin Sorrell, Pablo Isla and Lars Rebien Sørensen have a lot of intriguing things to say about executive pay, brand building and Millennials) the most intriguing nugget coming out of the conversation was how few of the hundred Best Performing CEOs were women. Very few. Damn few.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Do leaders get better with age?


Do leaders get better with age? It’s not an easy question to answer, so let’s start with a different but very definitely related question: 

How important is it for a leader to look smart in the eyes of subordinates? 



Thursday, 7 April 2016

Should consultants write a book?

Former Deloitte consulting partner Michael McLaughlin wrote an interesting post where he asked a question: Should business experts write a book? It's such an important question that, with his permission, I decided to re-post key excerpts from it here in my blog: 

How Do You Get Your Book Published?

Every would-be author wants to know how to get his or her book published, and business authors are no different. You have two options: find a traditional book publisher, or self-publish. There are pros and cons to both, but it gets a little tricky if you decide on #2 because there are a vast array of self-publishing options available and the publishing landscape keeps changing.


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

What’s wrong with the next generation of leaders?

The era of Bill Gates and Andy Groves and Steve Jobs has come to a close, and a new group of entrepreneurs and leaders is emerging—one as talented and driven as any previous generation I can think of. But there’s something profoundly wrong with the next generation of business leaders, as business channel CNBC has inadvertently pointed out.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Givers & Takers & Great Motivators


One of the things that most impressed me about Adam Grant’s thinking in his book Give and Take was that “givers” develop a devoted following in part because because they are such wonderful motivators. They are not the brash, hyper, rah-rah type of motivators, however, but the quietly persistent type – you know the ones. They seem to have an unshakable belief in the potential of others.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Givers & Takers & Four-Legged Treasures




Giver, Taker,
Matcher, Faker,
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggar Man, Thief


I came across Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take, only recently, and it left an indelible impression on me. He says there are three groups of people in the world: givers, takers and matchers. Actually, there’s a fourth group, which I'll get to in a moment.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Is blogging really that hard?

Well, is it? Is blogging that hard? This is actually a loaded question because there is no easy answer.


If you've never blogged, for example, it can be a little difficult to get started, either because it's a little intimidating or because of simple procrastination (my own personal experience).

Monday, 21 September 2015

Complex is easy. Simple is hard.

How you tell your story is more important than what story you tell


Whether you are the CEO of a startup or an executive trying to make a career move, the challenge is the same: You need to persuade people you do not know to get to know, like and trust you.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

How Kitchener-Waterloo Became an Innovation Hub

Its Roots Run Deep
A year ago I made the big move from Toronto to Cambridge – part of the Kitchener-Waterloo region located an hour away from Toronto. It’s a beautiful part of the world removed from the gridlocked hustle and bustle of its big city neighbour. But what’s most interesting to me is that while the Kitchener-Waterloo region, also known as the Tri-Cities region, has become a global hotspot for entrepreneurship, it has much less to do with Blackberry than you might think.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Positioning: Why startups need to know their "place"

An 'unpositioned' product is a ship without a rudder

Recently, I've been helping a startup position their new software product. It occurred to me that most of us are startups one way or the other. We're all trying to find a position to start a conversation or promote a product or a perspective. But what does the word 'position' really mean, and why do so many business startups fail to position their product or service at all?

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Intuition or metrics?



You may have noticed the last three posts have focused on one thing: how to make better decisions. Why such a focus? Because the quality of our decisions is directly responsible for the quality of our lives. Yet we frequently make decisions that are not in our best interest. Why?

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The secret to making better decisions – Part 3

“In manufacturing plants, decisions are made carefully and scientifically. But at the top of organizations, decisions—even those in which millions or billions of dollars are at stake—are often made based on politics or personality or a good PowerPoint presentation.” - Dan Heath



It's time to reach out to the people who know your organization best



Monday, 27 April 2015

The Secret to Making Better Decisions - Part 2


Despite the importance of decision-making, and despite all the research into decision-measurement that has taken place over the past three decades, studies continue to show that the majority of business decisions are simply wrong. Which begs the question:


Why aren't business executives getting better at making them?

Monday, 23 March 2015

The secret to making better decisions


Everyone wants to make good decisions. So why don't we make more of them more of the time?


The reason, of course, is that we’re human. But that’s not a very helpful answer, is it? If we want to be better decision-makers, we need to go a little deeper and try to discover the why behind the what. What’s the root cause behind so many of our poor decisions?

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A Ten-year-old Offers A Lesson In Persuasion

When I studied screenwriting a decade ago, one of the most important concepts I learned was specificity. When writing a story, push hard for the telling detail, said my teacher, the incomparable Nika Rylski. Don't say it is a late model sedan. Say it is a midnight blue Lexus with a broken right headlight. Don't tell us it's a Sunday. Let us feel the Sunday morning drizzle.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

True Leaders Aren't Afraid to Get Naked


The art of being vulnerable


Leadership isn't just about being open to employees’ thoughts and insights and ideas. It’s about giving your employees permission to be open as well. But if leaders don't open up and show their vulnerability first, it's highly unlikely employees will take the risk. As a result, leaders won't get what they really need from their employees: actionable feedback.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Forgetting to ask Why



Why do we ask WHY so often when we are growing up, yet ask it so little as we grow older? Perhaps we are no longer curious. Or perhaps we think we know all the answers. Or perhaps we’ll feel stupid. But we risk missing out on a key life lesson if we fall into that trap. 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Are CEOs Using Outdated Leadership Ideas?

[This post appeared yesterday on the APQC blog.]


Majority of respondents to an APQC study 

say today’s leadership style is outdated



CEOs are the racehorses of the business world. They move fast, they’re accustomed to finishing first, and they often wear blinders to avoid distractions and stay focused. And that may be a problem because today’s CEOs face a wider and deeper set of challenges than ever before.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

How to grow your professional services firm - Part 3


Not too long ago, buyers would do their pre-purchase research the old fashioned way – word of mouth and brochures and directories. Not anymore. The internet has completely changed how buyers go about purchasing professional services, and your firm can benefit big time.

Friday, 25 July 2014

How to grow your professional services firm - Part 2


(And why thought leadership is like barbecue sauce)




In Part 1 of this post, I suggested that maybe it was time for marketers to get back to basics. CEOs certainly feel that way, as a survey by the Fournaise Marketing Group revealed: 


Saturday, 28 June 2014

How to grow your professional services firm - Part 1

 What do financial advisers, accountants and lawyers have in common?


They all want to grow their business, yet have trouble differentiating themselves from the competition. 

What can they do to change this picture?




Monday, 26 May 2014

Why is everyone starving for content?



Most of today's customers begin their buying process by researching online -- seeking out content in order to educate themselves. Yet much of the content they find is overly promotional or poorly thought out, even as the need for higher quality content continues to grow.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Abraham Lincoln: "I don't need no ghostwriter"

Courtesy, Library of Congress

Abraham Lincoln is not known as a great writer. He is known as one of America’s greatest presidents. Yet he penned one of the most memorable pieces of writing in history: the Gettysburg Address. He loved writing and understood its power to provoke and inspire and create change.