October 24th, 2014

10 Tips For Surviving Networking Events

Mary Kay quote make people feel importantThe very idea of networking can send some people into a cold sweat. As the event approaches they are dreading it. They try to think of reasons not to go. When they do go they will seek out someone, anyone, hopefully that they know already but worst case someone just like them… and hide in a corner with them for the event.

I recently read an article that tried to change the perspective on networking, from that “meet a bunch of strangers and make small talk” type of event, to a “relationship building” event. The premise being that finding and engaging interesting people is very different than small talk with a bunch of people that are of no interest to you.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Dale Carnegie

It makes a lot of sense, and anything that can take a little of the fear out of “networking” is a good thing. Here are some thoughts I have about networking:

  1. Be interested in other people… VERY often you will be pleasantly surprised. As opposed to feigning interest, or going through the motions.
  2. Remember that everyone you know (barring family) you had to meet for the first time.
  3. Everyone at a networking event has something interesting to tell.
  4. Think about the other people… not about yourself.
  5. Ask lots of questions. Prepare a few in your head before you go. “Do you come here often?” is a little lame. “What do you like about these events?” might create more conversation.
  6. Know that everyone, even the most comfortable networkers, has that same fear to varying degrees.
  7. It does not take much to break the ice… a smile, a kind word, a thoughtful question.
  8. If you are at some kind of networking event then you already have something in common with everyone else there… it is relatively easy to have a conversation with people who something in common.
  9. Set yourself a goal to meet some number (give yourself a target) of new people when you are heading to such an event. Get others to introduce you; make sure to talk to people you sit with; find people standing on their own (they are likely feeling uncomfortable); circulate and find opportunities to talk.
  10. Take a deep breath and go for it, you might just meet your next best friend or even a future partner! The risk is small, the potential is huge!

“Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you” Rasheed Ogunlaru

Like most things in life a little preparation helps. Think about your strategy before you go (read something like these 10 tips at a minimum), think of some questions to ask people, set yourself some goals and then jump in the deep end… it really isn’t so bad!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 23rd, 2014

Feeling Low Energy? 10 Tips To Stay Sharp

The serenity prayerWe all hit those low energy periods from time to time. It might be because there is a sustained period of pressure at work, it might be because of stress at work or at home, it just might be because it has been a while since we took some time off. It could be too much business travel, long hours, hotel beds and restaurant meals. Whatever the reason, we all need to recharge the batteries from time to time.

Conventional wisdom says that we cannot be at our most productive when we are tired and stressed, so we need to find ways to look after ourselves in order to be productive. That requires taking care of both body and mind.

Here are 10 tips for you to ponder:

  1. Plan your vacation time. Don’t wait till the end of your year and cram in some time off. Try to take at least one longer vacation, a week or ten days at minimum. “A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” Earl Wilson
  2. Know what works for you to relax… sitting on a beach is heaven for some, torture for others! Some people need to climb mountains, run marathons or get in a boxing ring!
  3. Take mini breaks through the year… doing the things that make you feel good. A few long weekends sprinkled through the year, the occasional day off to do something for you.
  4. Have interests outside of work. It should be personalized and does not have to be all consuming, just something that you can focus on other than work.
  5. Look after your health. Try to be moderate in your drinking and eating, and find time to work out. “The greatest wealth is health.” Virgil
  6. Make time in the day when you can think, rather than do.
  7. Develop great time management skills… to help reduce your stress.
  8. Laugh, it is nature’s medicine! “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hanh
  9. Invest in friendships.
  10. Set goals. Having a sense of where you are going is far less stressful than going with the flow.

None of us live in a perfect world, and perhaps at this point in your life some of these things are not possible. Do what you can do to keep your energy levels up and don’t beat yourself up about things you can’t control.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 22nd, 2014

Client Meetings Are NOT Social Events

Effective Meetings quooteSalespeople are paid to generate business for their company.

A big part of establishing credibility and earning the right to be a supplier comes from a relationship that develops between the client and the supplier. People like to do business with people that they like. People do NOT like to do business with jerks.

One of the mistakes that many salespeople make is to focus too much on the relationship. They will have meetings with clients where the majority, if not all of the conversation will be about personal “stuff”. It might be a common interest or current events, it might be about family or something of interest happening in the city. Both parties will enjoy the conversation, but no business interests are advanced. This is actually a waste of time for both people … and sometimes when a client looks back on such a meeting they will be reluctant to spend more time with that salesperson, because they can’t afford to waste their productive work time.

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” Zig Ziglar

The right thing for a salesperson to do is to focus the majority of a sales call on business, because that will best serve the interests of both the client and the salesperson. Yes there should be some “rapport building’ through some personal conversation but it should never dominate the meeting.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” Abraham Lincoln.

Here is how I would make sure the meeting is productive:

Have a business goal (or several goals) for EVERY client meeting. Just some examples:

    1. Get an order;
    2. Get a referral;
    3. Understand a business issue;
    4. Understand future business opportunities;
    5. Understand the process of becoming a supplier.

 Use an agenda.

    1. Keep it simple;
    2. Align it with your time constraints;
    3. Share it with the client, either ahead of time or at the meeting;
    4. Give the client input;
    5. Use it to demonstrate thoughtfulness about the meeting;
    6. Use it to demonstrate a desire to stay on time;
    7. Use it to ensure you reach your business objective;
    8. Use it to ensure no important topics are forgotten.

Experienced salespeople tend to have the agenda in their head after a while, which is deceiving to the new, junior people who think they should emulate their more experienced counterparts. Don’t take short cuts, especially if you are new to sales, new to a company or new to selling the product or service you represent. Be prepared, do the work!

Planning takes work. When clients see you come prepared then you build credibility. Building a relationship from a foundation of credibility will lead to more business. Spending whole business meetings talking about your favorite sports team is a waste of people’s time.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 20th, 2014

10 Reasons to Vote!

Municipal election 2014In a weeks time, voters across Ontario will elect their municipal candidates (Manitoba is later this week, PEI and BC vote in November).  Across Ontario there will be 2,800 council members plus 700 school board trustees elected.

These people have a big impact on all of us … as an example here are the general responsibilities of municipal government:

  • water
  • sewage,
  • waste collection,
  • public transit,
  • land use planning,
  • libraries,
  • emergency services,
  • animal control, and
  • economic development.

So if you have an opinion about any of these services, the transit system, economic development in your area, waste collection or how your municipality is dealing with developers … then you need to vote.  If you don’t like what your mayor and council are doing then vote for change.  If you think your elected representatives are doing a GREAT job you still need to vote, because someone else might not like what they are doing and vote them out!

Here are 10 reasons why YOU need to get out and vote:

  1. This is a privilege of our democracy that people in other parts of the world would love to have;
  2. This is a privilege of our democracy that our parents and grandparents fought and died to preserve;
  3. This is your chance to influence the government that affects you;
  4. If you are reading this then likely you are intelligent, we NEED intelligent people voting;
  5. If the wrong people are elected they might spend YOUR money unwisely;
  6. The wrong people elected might represent YOU and YOUR municipality in a way you do not want to be represented;
  7. Voter turnout in Canada is low, Municipal elections are the lowest (in a 2004 Calgary election voter turnout was 18%!) … don’t let a few voters decide the fate of your municipality;
  8. If you have been embarrassed by your elected officials, vote for change;
  9. If you think your elected officials could do a better job, send a message with your vote;
  10. If you want to set an example for the future generations, then demonstrate that democracy is a good thing by voting.

There are probably 100 good reasons to vote, but hopefully the 10 I mention make you think.

Understand the issues in your municipality.

Understand what the candidates offer.

Vote with your head, and be a part of Canada’s democratic process.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 17th, 2014

Canadian Job Market Review for Third Quarter 2014

Newspaper jobs sectionGeneral Observations:

At the end of the third quarter in 2014 it would be hard to suggest that this has been a banner year for Canada’s economy. There have been plenty of bumps along the way although we have thus far been lucky to avoid natural disasters such as the Alberta floods last year.

When writing this market review, I use a number of “indicators” and try to factor in Eagle’s own experiences, as one of Canada’s larger professional staffing companies. The intent is to give the reader a view “from the trenches” to support the bigger picture view from the statisticians. This may be used by job seekers to understand at a high level where the opportunities might be, and for potential employers wondering if they will be facing skills shortages.

The employment situation did improve this quarter over last, with the unemployment rate dropping to 6.8%, from 7.1% at the end of Q2. In the last 12 months Canada has added 150,000 jobs which is 78,000 more than could have been said at the end of Q2 (for the previous 12 months).

TSX One of the indicators that I use to gauge the state of the Canadian economy, and hence job market, is the TSX. All of the markets have been volatile for some time, with a general trend upwards. At the end of Q3, the TSX was at a high of 15,500 which was up 500 points since the end of Q2, when it was already high. Since then, however, we have seen the markets retract somewhat. As an indicator, it would suggest that companies listed on the TSX are generally healthy, which would suggest that they are hiring.

oil rigsCanada’s oil sector continues to face numerous problems. There is currently a surfeit of oil which has driven the price of a barrel down from the end of Q2 price of $108 to $85 a barrel at the end of Q3. Canada is keen to expand its market beyond the US; however, attempts to build pipelines are currently facing serious challenges both in the US and here in Canada, primarily on environmental grounds. Despite all of that, the oil patch enjoys low unemployment, good benefits and continues to be one of the better places to be looking for work.

Lots of paper moneyPerhaps a close second to the oil patch for employment opportunity is Canada’s financial sector, centered primarily in Toronto but with a healthy presence in Montreal. The highly competitive industry employs a huge number of people and seems to have an almost insatiable appetite for talent. Regulatory change, innovations in banking, technological advances and the need to address the retiring boomers are all reasons why the banks continue to hire.

Mobile antena. Communication conceptThe telecommunications sector is another very large sector that is always looking for talent. This is another very competitive environment, with a need to innovate and attract customers. The demands on their infrastructure, technology advancements, retiring boomers and expansion into new markets are all drivers of their need for people.

ConstructionThe construction industry is a great place to find work, both in the trades and in the head offices of the large companies. There are construction sites in most major cities with infrastructure projects, office towers and condo developments. There are also continued development in places like Fort MacMurray and the oil sands. To top the demand off, if you have ever tried to renovation project, small to medium sized repairs of just home alterations you will know how hard it is to find skilled tradespeople available.

Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments continue to struggle with cost containment; however, they are huge employers, and people with the right skills are always in demand. The downsizing is most often achieved through attrition and there is always work to be done. Regulatory change, policy development and general administrative needs dictate the need for a large and skilled workforce that receives competitive incomes and very attractive pensions and benefits.

The Canadian Staffing Index is an indicator of the strength of the largest provider of talent in any economy and an excellent barometer of the health of Canada’s economy. The index continues to show an economy that has tepid growth and the latest reading of 112 is down slightly from the same period last year (113) but up from Q2 reading of 108. Here at Eagle we saw a drop of 5% in candidates applying for jobs, and an equivalent drop in demand from our clients. This can be attributed to a seasonal trend accounting for the summer holiday period. We do still see shortages of “in demand” skillsets, and a steady supply of candidates with skillsets in other areas.

More Specifically:

cn towerDemand in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is always fairly high, although we experience slightly less demand during the summer months. With the largest metropolitan area, the most head offices and the financial center for Canada, the GTA generates 60% of the talent demand here at Eagle. This is the city offering the best opportunities, and the hottest sectors would be the telecommunications sector, the financial sector, the insurance industry, the retail sector and the municipal and provincial governments. We don’t service the construction industry, but it too is a hot sector in the GTA (let’s not discuss the amount of road closures!).

The Saddledome in CalgaryCalgary is the “hub” for Western Canada as the capital of the oil patch. The city has the second largest number of head offices and, when coupled with the attractive tax situation in Alberta and the low unemployment rate in the province (4.4%), it is a popular destination for companies to set up in business, and hence to find employment. Saskatchewan enjoys the lowest unemployment rate of the Canadian provinces at 3.5% so it too is a great place to be looking for work.

Parliament building in OttawaEagle’s Eastern Canada region covers Ottawa, Montreal and “the Maritimes”. Montreal continues to be fairly busy, particularly in the financial sector, the telcos and the construction industry. There is also some demand in St John’s, NFLD (population about 200,000), and in Halifax (approx. 400,000) but they are not big markets and the unemployment rate in the Eastern provinces is amongst the highest in Canada. The Federal Government in Ottawa continues to move ahead on some of its large initiatives, creating some demand, and this market is looking healthier for professionals than in some time.

The types of people that seem to be in constant demand from our clients have been fairly consistent. We see a consistent demand for Program Managers and Project Managers while Business Analysts are also always in demand. It might just be our focus, but Change Management and Organizational Excellence resources are in relatively high demand too. Big data, analytics and mobile expertise are specializations that we are seeing more and more. On the Finance and Accounting, side we see a consistent need for financial analysts, accountants with designations and public accounting experience plus controllers as a fairly consistent talent request. Technology experts with functional expertise in Health Care is another skill set that sees plenty of demand


So far 2014 has been very similar to 2013, with the unemployment rate slowly edging down in a two steps forward, one step backward kind of way. The stock market has done quite well, but the economy has not followed, suggesting that there is still a lack of confidence which otherwise would have fuelled a boom. Government cost cutting, uncertainty in the oil patch and a general global malaise seem to restrain us here in Canada. The US economy has recovered faster this year and typically that has a positive effect on Canada’s economy so perhaps we will see a strong fourth quarter. The retirement “bubble” of baby boomers should start to be felt over the coming year, so that will create employment opportunities and advancement opportunities for job seekers.

We expect to see more skills shortages in our knowledge economy, partly fuelled by the boomers retiring, but also caused by our education system not turning out the right skill sets and the advancements in technology creating a shortage as the skills catch up.

The unemployment rate around 6.8%, (7.1% in Ontario) is better than it has been for more than 5 years, and if we can keep at the level or better, it will be a good sign for job seekers. However the employment rate for professionals is more like more 3.5% or 4%, which is very near to full employment. This means that professionals should be able to find work if they are willing to be flexible in their demands.

For those people willing to go where the work is, we see continued opportunity in the oil patch, with obvious demand in Fort McMurray and all areas related to the oil sands. The cities with higher talent demand include the GTA, Calgary, Regina, Montreal, Edmonton and to a lesser degree Winnipeg, Vancouver and Saskatoon. The industry sectors that have the most demand have not changed and include banking, insurance, construction, telecommunications and the sectors that serve those industries.

That was my quarterly look at the Canadian job market and some of its influences.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
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October 14th, 2014

Sales Conversations

Kevin on his new motorbike ... Kawasaki VaqueroI recently bought a new motorcycle, not the one I had intended to buy, but I am happy with my purchase and the fact that it was significantly less expensive than my intended purchase did not hurt.

I had intended to buy a Harley Davidson. It was an emotional decision based on the brand, my experience renting them and the fact that I could afford it. The problem began when I started to talk with the dealership. I was buying a demonstrator and had an expectation that a demonstrator would not be selling for the “list price” as a new vehicle. I had made a deposit, and when deciding to close the deal asked the question, “What are you going to do on the price, given that it’s a demo?” was given the answer “Nothing”.

I asked again, “The bike is a demonstrator with 500kms on it, surely you are not going to charge me full price?” The answer was “Yes”.

I was emotionally invested in buying the bike.

I had made a deposit.

I had sent very clear buying signals.

I ended up walking from the deal. (The bike is still for sale 3 months later).

The salesperson did not engage me in a conversation. She had no idea what I needed to close the deal. She did not try to explain their policy. She did not offer any kind of carrot.

If she had offered some discount on accessories, or clothing or service or… something, I would probably have gone ahead.

Conversations are wonderful things… you can actually understand what people are looking for, what their “hot buttons” are, when they are likely to buy, what pain points they have, why they are looking to buy, what else they might be interested in and all kinds of fairly relevant information that can help a salesperson to guide a buyer to actually buy.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

A picture of a man pulling an ass with the phrase when you assume you make an ass out of you and meYet too many salespeople ASSUME.

They will assume they know what you want and why you want it.

They will assume that if you are asking for a discount then you must NEED one.

They will assume that if you question a contract clause then it must be a problem for you.

They will assume that because one client baulked at a price, then all clients will react that way.

They will assume that because you are a senior person you won’t take time to meet with them.

They will assume ALL KINDS of things that make sense to THEM.

As salespeople we just don’t know what is important to a buyer until we have a conversation.

If the Harley salesperson had engaged me in a conversation instead of shutting me down she most likely would have got a sale.

“I was so sure that I knew what they needed and what I wanted to sell them that I never stopped long enough to find out what it was they wanted to buy.” Chris Murray

Ask questions… and listen! It is amazing what you might learn!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 10th, 2014

10 Tips For Dealing With Major Change!

change quote from SocratesI have written often about the need for planning, to have goals to aim for and a roadmap (tasks) that will get you to your goal.

Those goals can be personal or professional, they can be about you, the business that you run, a charity you are involved with or any other entity that needs to have a future.

Developing a plan is tough. You have to give it some time and energy, you need to put deep thought into the plan, you will likely need to coordinate the thoughts of multiple people to create your plan.

Executing on your plan is even tougher… because developing a plan is the “sexy” part, execution requires a discipline, routine, stamina and a willingness to keep pushing towards the goal. It can also be very rewarding, as you knock off those milestones along the way, tick off the “To DO” items that you complete and celebrate the small successes you can feel the positive momentum. You know you are moving in the right direction and that, even with the inevitable bumps along the way, you are moving inexorably towards that goal.

Sometimes plans change!

It could be external factors such as economic conditions, regulatory change, market changes or competitive situations. It could as easily be internal factors such as company changes, management changes, new better opportunities arising or staff changes.

Whatever the cause, it is likely to have a big impact on you. You developed a plan, you were working your plan, you have had some success and now the plan needs to change. It is quite likely you will experience the 5 stages of grief, although obviously not to the same extent. However denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are all likely to be felt!

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” Steve Maraboli,

So what do you do…

  1. You have to get to acceptance as soon as possible.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Any large change can feel tough initially, even if the change is ultimately for the good.
  3. Vent. Talk about it to your trusted advisors, family and friends. Let some of the emotion go so that you can move on to what comes next.
  4. Self talk. Change brings opportunity, good lessons will have been learned along the path and anything you achieved, and experience gained, can be harnessed for the future. Whether the change is due to personal failure, situation change or other factors there is now a new opportunity to pursue.
  5. Understand the change. Listen, ask questions, REALLY understand and under no circumstances be the “naysayer”, sometimes called the “devil’s advocate”. At this stage let other people do that.
  6. Understand how you can contribute to the change. How can you be involved? What will you learn? How will you be viewed? What can you do to maximize the situation?
  7. Begin the planning process again. If it is your project then it is a project plan. If it is someone else’s project that you are a part of, then bring value to them.
  8. Give the new plan a chance. Don’t make hasty decisions. Do not be emotional. Focus on the positives and plan for success.
  9. Re-evaluate. Once things have settled down and execution against the new plan is happening, take stock of the situation. In the cold light of day are you on board with the new plan? Can this work for you? Can you bring value? Will you learn?
  10. Commit. Whatever you decide to do, do it well!

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Andy Warhol.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 9th, 2014

10 Company Culture Tips for Leaders

Jack Welch quote on cultureMost companies would like to think everyone is aligned with the mission, vision and goals of the company.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Henry Ford

The simplicity of Ford’s quote is powerful, and it is a true statement. The tough part is to actually get everyone on the same page!

Culture is driven from the top, and needs to be embraced throughout the organization. Yet people have their own ideas about what they like or dislike, what they will “buy in to” and what they feel is being rammed down their throats.

This individuality is both a blessing and a curse.

You don’t want to have people working for you that fundamentally don’t agree with your culture, your philosophies or your way of doing business.

You also don’t want a bunch of “followers” who mindlessly do what they are told.

The only way that I know to tackle this conundrum is to create a culture that works for the kind of people you want to attract. People that fit your culture will feel comfortable working there and those that don’t fit likely won’t last very long. Over time you develop ways to hire that will better eliminate those that don’t fit, reducing the number of hiring mistakes.

“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” Simon Sinek

This is of course a simplistic 30,000 foot view because of course the reality is much more difficult.

Culture should be a conscious choice, not just a byproduct of local leaders and influential hires. The slightly longer version (maybe the 10,000 foot version) of how to achieve that would include:

  • Decide what values are important to your company… and communicate them regularly.
  • Understand what your company does, and does NOT do… and communicate it, regularly.
  • Have a direction for the company that is clear… THIS is where we are going! AND communicate it regularly.
  • Make sure that your business direction and values are aligned.
  • Make sure that any business decisions support your values and business direction.
  • Do not be swayed from your company objectives unless it is through a conscious strategic decision, certainly not a local ad-hoc business call!
  • Hire people that can buy into the company culture.
  • Do not hang onto people that are not a fit… the longer they are there, the more they damage your culture.
  • Communicate your values, vision and mission with passion… demonstrating how important it is.
  • Most importantly… LIVE those values.

Leaders have a responsibility to their company and to the people who work there, to embody the values of the corporation. Leaders who expect people to “Do what I say, not what I do” are fooling themselves if they think anyone buys that act in 2014!

“No company, large or small, can succeed over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” Jack Welch

If you can have a company where everyone is pulling in the same direction, then you can achieve anything!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company) Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 8th, 2014

Accountability Is A Huge Differentiator

Quote about creating your own destinyPeople who are accountable accept responsibility without excuse.

Entrepreneurs demonstrate their accountability by overcoming the many obstacles in their path on the journey to success… whether they are ultimately successful or not. If they are not successful, they will no doubt accept responsibility, learn from it and try again!

“Accountability breeds response-ability.” Stephen R. Covey

Leaders who are accountable find a way to “make it happen”.

They are big on answers, not so big on excuses.

The dog does not eat their homework.

The economy is not an excuse for them.

People “not answering their calls” is not an excuse for them.

The plan was too ambitious is not an excuse for them.

They don’t blame their employees, but they do hold their employees accountable.

They are not always successful in their goal, but they always accept responsibility for their results… without excuse.

They have a plan, they work their plan, they adjust their plan and they know they are going to be successful… because they are willing to do what it takes.

“When you’re in business you know what needs to be done. You have your goals in front of you and 99 percent of the time you know how to do it. Accountability is usually the missing piece.” Jason Mickey)

There are people who TALK about being accountable… but it is very transparent that it is just talk.

There are people who will work hard, not succeed and not accept that their failure is their own.

There are people that will be super smart, not work very hard and bemoan the fact that they were not successful.

There are people who will be successful because of circumstance, but when the going gets tough they will have excuses.

Those people who have that inbuilt drive to achieve their goals will be successful in their careers, even if they have bumps along the way.

People are not born accountable. They learn to be accountable. They understand that accountability is a huge differentiator for them.

Leaders who are not accountable will not last. They will reveal their true nature with their excuses, and their inability to deal with adversity.

“You don’t choose the day you enter the world and you don’t chose the day you leave. It’s what you do in between that makes all the difference.” Anita Septimus

The best thing that you can do for yourself is to take accountability for your own destiny. Nobody is responsible for YOU, but YOU! Not your employer, your boss, your parents or the government.

Take responsibility, be accountable to yourself… and the rest will take care of itself.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!

Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!

Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 6th, 2014

Ten Tips for Leaders Making Tough Decisions

Douglas McArthur quote about leadershipAny Leader needs to make tough decisions. CEOs tend to have the unique additional challenge of making such decisions as the final decision maker. It is a subtle, yet sometimes daunting, difference.

At any other level within an organization there is someone else to challenge/stop/change or just agree with the tough calls. The buck stops with the CEO which means she/he is ultimately responsible for all company decisions.

Experienced CEOs will generally get the calls right and know that, because they are not infallible, there will sometimes be mistakes. He/she knows that ultimately making a decision is always better than a “no decision” and most mistakes can be fixed if necessary.

Some leaders run into trouble, by making poor decisions, or by avoiding making decisions. In my experience there are a number of reasons for this:

  • They are unwilling to get/listen to the right input before making a decision.
  • They think they have all the answers themselves.
  • They become paralyzed by the amount of input to the situation requiring a decision.
  • They lack confidence in their ability to make the right call.
  • They are worried about upsetting some people with their decision.

If the leader having a problem is not the CEO, then the problem can be solved quickly by a decision made by a more senior executive.

If the leader having a problem is the CEO, the impact on the organization is significant. CEOs MUST be willing to make tough calls, and be seen to act on decisions. The majority of those decisions should be sound decisions. This builds confidence and trust, which in turn creates a healthy leadership team.

“Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.” General George Patton

Here are some thoughts on my experiences as a CEO making tough calls.

  1. Get all of the input that you need, from whatever source. NOT just from your executive team.
  2. Truly listen. Some leaders “listen to talk”, you must “listen to understand”.
  3. Understand that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
  4. Be sensitive to those who will not like your decision.
  5. When it is a big decision, give yourself enough time, but don’t go beyond the “right amount of time”. If you have all the facts, and nothing is going to change, it is time to make your call.
  6. Make sure you are making a business decision and not an emotional decision.
  7. When the decision is complex I like to get outside of the office to think it through. My ideal is to get on my motorbike and let everything else go, it is amazing how often this brings clarity!
  8. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Listen before and explain after!
  9. Some people will need more time to understand and absorb your decision, if possible take the time to explain it to them.
  10. Know your own weaknesses, and get the right advisors to help you with those. I am not a detail guy, but I have detail people I trust implicitly.

“Inability to make decisions is one of the principal reasons executives fail. Deficiency in decision-making ranks much higher than lack of specific knowledge or technical know-how as an indicator of leadership failure.” John C. Maxwell

Tough decisions will define you as a leader, do not shy away from them!


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