January 28th, 2015

Attitude Matters … A Little Humility is a Good Thing!

Quote about nurturing relationships from Linda KaplanThe world is a fickle place, and it can be easy to find ourselves in a “comfort zone” or getting a little complacent because we have had some success.

Our world changes around us at a phenomenal pace, and what makes us successful today is not guaranteed to make us successful tomorrow.  Indeed what makes us successful today in one company is not even guaranteed to make us successful today in another company!  The business world has many stories of people who were unable to recreate their former glories after moving to another company.

The last recession cause a downturn in fortunes for many who had been riding high previously, and quite likely the current drop in oil price will have a similar affect.

This is a very practical reason why we should be a little humble, especially when things are going well.  Yes you can probably get away with a little attitude when you are having success. Yes you can probably bend the small rules, not be so good with your paperwork and perhaps even rub your colleagues the wrong way, when things are going well.  As always there is a price to everything, and the person with attitude will pay the price when their fortunes change.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; noting on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” W. W. Ziege

Here are a few things to think about:

  1. The minute you start to think that you are good, others will recognize that … and you will begin to alienate people.
  2. To be “technically” good at our job is really just expected these days.  Once that is “under control” we can aim to over achieve, but it is also important to work on all of the other aspects of our game … personal brand, communication skills, presentation skills,  and attitude.
  3. Situations change … the markets go soft, a client decides to move their business and all of a sudden your “star” might lose its shine and that is not a good position if you are also labelled as having an “attitude”.
  4. Good habits are developed over time and need to be maintained over time, so it is important to always work at being on top of your game, if you intend to get there and stay there!
  5. If you are sloppy about “the little things” then it will reduce your effectiveness. If you work at the small things it can only help!
  6. Sometimes what are “the little things” to you, are not considered the same way by others.

We all need to avoid that “comfort zone”, pay attention to the little things and work on our personal brand.  It will stand us in good stead for the long haul!

General Colin Powell’s Rules:

1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
2. Get mad, then get over it.
3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your
position falls, your ego goes with it.
4. It can be done!
5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone
else make yours.
8. Check small things.
9. Share credit.
10. Remain calm. Be kind.
11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

 

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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) VirtualRecruiter service?
________________________________________________________________

January 25th, 2015

Surviving a Downturn (in Alberta?)

oil rigsHere in Canada, where the resource sector plays such a big role in our economy there is some concern about what kind of economy we are going to see in 2015.  The price of oil is unlikely to recover quickly and the conference board is suggesting that Alberta will head into recession.

This will have people wringing their hands and concerned for their future.  The most pragmatic will already be making plans for the new realities and those who have not yet done that will either throw your hands in the air and hope for the best … or better yet will knuckle down and do what is needed!

The following is advice that I remember reading from Tom Peters at the start of the last recession … it was sobering, but reality.  It seemed like a good time to pull it out again.

I am constantly asked for “strategies/’secrets’ for surviving the recession.” I try to appear wise and informed—and parade original, sophisticated thoughts. But if you want to know what’s going through my head, read the list below:

You work longer.
You work harder.
You may well work for less; and, if so, you adapt to the untoward circumstances with a smile—even if it kills you inside.
You volunteer to do more.
You always bring a good attitude to work.
You fake it if your good attitude flags.
You literally practice your “game face” in the mirror in the morning, and in the loo mid-morning.
You shrug off shit that flows downhill in your direction—buy a shovel or a “pre-worn” raincoat on eBay.
You get there earlier.
You leave later.
You forget about “the good old days”—nostalgia is for wimps.
You buck yourself up with the thought that “this too shall pass”—but then remind yourself that it might not pass anytime soon, so you re-dedicate yourself to making the absolute best of what you have now.
You eschew all forms of personal excess.
You simplify.
You sweat the details as you never have before.
You sweat the details as you never have before.
You sweat the details as you never have before.
You raise to the sky the standards of excellence by which you evaluate your own performance.
You thank others by the truckload if good things happen—and take the heat yourself if bad things happen.
You behave kindly, but you don’t sugarcoat or hide the truth—humans are startlingly resilient.
You treat small successes as if they were Superbowl victories—and celebrate and commend accordingly.
You shrug off the losses (ignoring what’s going on inside your tummy), and get back on the horse and try again.
You avoid negative people to the extent you can—pollution kills.
You eventually read the gloom-sprayers the riot act.
You learn new tricks of your trade.
You network like a demon.
You help others with their issues.
You give new meaning to the word “thoughtful.”
You redouble, re-triple your efforts to “walk in your customer’s shoes.” (Especially if the shoes smell.)
You mind your manners—and accept others’ lack of manners in the face of their strains.
You are kind to all mankind.
You leave the blame game at the office door.
You become a paragon of accountability.
And then you pray.

Thanks Tom!

________________________________________________________________
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) VirtualRecruiter service?
________________________________________________________________

January 23rd, 2015

CANADIAN JOB MARKET Review Fourth Quarter 2014

General Observations:

newspaper job sectionEach quarter I try to provide the reader with an understanding of the Canadian job market based on a regular set of indicators.  In addition to public market indicators I use Eagle’s experiences serving our clients across Canada.  The hope is that job seekers will gain some insight about where opportunities might be, and hiring managers will gain some value for their hiring aspirations.

Timing of course is everything, and while this is a retroactive look at the 4th quarter of 2014 I am acutely aware that 2015 has started with a bang, due to oil price dropping like a stone, the Canadian dollar dipping and large retail companies either closing shop or laying off (Target, Sony, Mexx, Holt Renfrew etc).

As of Q4 the employment situation in Canada was looking OK.  The unemployment rate had dropped to 6.6%, from 6.8% at the end of Q3, and 2014 had seen Canada add about 186,000 jobs.  Most of that gain had come in the latter six months of the year.

TSXThe TSX, like most of the markets had been fairly steady through 2014 but as the year ended it had a reading around 14,700 which was down from the 15,500 it had reached at the end of Q3. This was still better than its low point in 2014 which was around 13,700 and as I write this piece the index appears to be staying above that low.

Oil canCanada’s oil sector fell off a cliff in Q4 with the price of a barrel dropping from around $85 at the end of Q3 to less than $50.  What is worse for this sector is there is no short term sign of recovery and forecasters are pessimistic that we will ever get back to the $100+ range.  There are winners and losers with cheap oil but we can expect the Alberta economy to take a hit, and the Conference Board is predicting a recession in Alberta.

dollar splitAnother big employer in Canada is the financial sector, centered primarily in Toronto but with a healthy presence in Montreal. There are many reasons why this sector remains busy including its highly competitive nature, evolving technologies, regulatory change and volatile markets.  I expect this sector to remain busy in the short term.

The telecommunications sector is another big employer in Canada.  The demands on their infrastructure, technology advancements, retiring boomers and expansion into new markets are all drivers of their need for people in addition to the ongoing need to compete in a very competitive space.

ConstructionThe construction industry continues to be 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 will be some fallout from the drop in oil price, particularly since the oil sands are en expensive extraction method.  Time will show the extent of the impact, but if oil prices rebound a bit over the coming months the impact should be minimal.  If the price stays below $50 there will be a big impact.  There will always be demand in the home renovation market, if you have ever tried such a job you will know how hard it is to find skilled tradespeople available.

Parliament building in OttawaDespite the need for governments to contain costs we have seen a fairly steady demand in Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments.  They are huge employers, and people with the right skills are always in demand. The required downsizing is generally 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 wild card here will be the effect of lost oil revenue taxes, so this will be a space to watch.

The Canadian Staffing Index is an indicator of the strength of the largest provider of talent in any economy (the staffing industry) and an excellent barometer of the health of Canada’s economy. The index overall seems to trend down slightly from 2013 but was rebounding slowly through the first three quarters.  Q4 would suggest a slowdown of that recovery and a slip backwards.  Having said that the index is 10% higher than its reading when introduced in 2008 just before the recession.

Here at Eagle we continue to see shortages of “in demand” skillsets, and a steady supply of candidates with skillsets in other areas.  The flow of available talent over the fourth quarter was the same as Q3 and marginally down from Q4 of 2013.  The demand from our clients was down about 10% in the fourth quarter and about the same as Q4 in 2013, suggesting a fairly normal seasonal swing.

More Specifically:

cn towerThe GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is the largest market in Canada with the most head offices and hence a big appetite for professional talent. This market accounts for approximately 60% of Eagle’s business which comes from the major industries here, which include the financial, insurance and telecommunications sectors.  There has been plenty of retail demand although recent events might change that and a fair bit of demand in the engineering space, in addition to a fairly strong construction sector. A large part of the Ontario provincial government is here too, which is another sector that demands talent. This is the city offering the most opportunities in Canada, and where I would want to be looking if I were unemployed.

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 the attraction of the low Alberta tax rate (for now).  The current oil price situation has created a ripple in this economy and many oil related companies are cutting back on investment and slowing projects.   Edmonton will also be affected by the oil price as The Alberta Government is dependent on taxes from oil revenues.   Saskatchewan is also generally a fairly hot market for talent but will feel the effect of a lower oil price.  All in all Western Canada is going to be a little slow in hiring, we may seem some downsizing and it maybe some time before it booms again. Having said that, there are always opportunities for people with great skills, and in companies with a large Boomer population approaching retirement.

LighthouseEagle’s Eastern Canada region covers Ottawa, Montreal and “the Maritimes”. Montreal continues to be relatively busy, particularly in the financial sector, the telcos and the construction industry. There will be some impact from the oil price felt particularly in Newfoundland.  This region is typically slower for job creation at the best of times, so I expect it to be even slower than normal until we see an uptick in oil prices

AT Eagle our focus in on professional staffing and the people in demand from our clients has been fairly consistent for some time. That would include Program Managers, Project Managers and Business Analysts who always seem to be 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

Summary:

magnifying glass over the word jobsThe fourth quarter had been following the predictable path demonstrated through 2014 of steady improvement in the unemployment rate and decent job creation. The huge drop in the price of oil right at the end of the year will have a ripple effect but it was harder to spot during the usual seasonal slowdown.  Our expectation is that demand in Western Canada will be down significantly, creating an opportunity for companies to pick up the usually rare “top performers” should they become available.  Companies will want to improve, but not necessarily increase the size of their teams.  There will be some downsizing, we have already seen reduced investment but I don’t anticipate huge layoffs in the short term.  If the price of oil does not improve soon we might see more drastic measures.

There will be an impact on the retail sector with the already announced layoffs due to Target and Sony exiting Canada plus the financial woes of Mexx and Holt Renfrew.  The dropping Canadian dollar will only hurt those companies that import their stock but it will be a boon to Canadian exporters.

Elsewhere the other big sectors such as Financial, Insurance, Telecommunications and Construction should not be greatly affected by the price of oil. As such I don’t anticipate a big decrease in demand in the GTA, other than a “stutter” caused as companies assess the impact on them.  There will continue to be skills shortages in our knowledge economy, partly fueled 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 at 6.6% is better than it has been for more than 5 years, and if we can avoid driving that up too much because of the oil patch then it will be a good sign for job seekers. It should also be noted that the employment rate for professionals is more like 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.

That was my quarterly look at the Canadian job market and some of its influences.
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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) VirtualRecruiter service?
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January 19th, 2015

Are You Changing With the Times? 11 Questions to Ask Yourself.

Vince Lombardi quote about winning in a complex societyOur world is constantly changing and we all need to adapt with it if we want to survive and remain relevant!

“Control your own destiny or someone else will.”  Jack Welch

If you are a salesperson, what are you doing differently to ensure that meet your targets in 2015?  You can be sure that someone out there wants to eat your lunch, how are you going to combat that?  How are you going to take market share from your competitors?

If you are a business owner or a leader of any kind you need to be aware of your environment and adapt to the inevitable changes affecting you and your business.

We are a couple of weeks into January and already there have been some big impacts on our world here in Canada.  Target announced it is shutting its Canadian operation, Sony is shutting its Canadian retail operation and Mexx is shutting down.  The conference board suggests that Alberta will go into recession based upon the price of oil and the Canadian dollar is as weak as it has been for a long time.

There are disruptors gaining traction in many industries … a couple of examples would be Uber in the taxi/limousine space and AirBnB in the hotel space.  Are there disruptors in your space?  Would you know if there were?

Skills shortages associated with the professions are a growing issue, but that may come with high unemployment in the unskilled labor market because of the attraction to offshore manufacturing.

Add to all of the above factors the uncertainty created by international terrorism and you have a market that looks very different from this time last year.

“Enterprises that do not adapt are in for a lot of trouble.” John McCallum

Here are 11 questions you might want to ask within your organization …

  1. Do you understand what internal and external factors will affect your business?
  1. Do you understand the risks AND opportunities?
  1. Are you listening to your clients? Are you asking them good questions?  Do you know how they will react?
  1. If you are in management are you listening to you staff … because they are closer to the action? Are you arming them with the right questions to ask?
  1. Do you have a game plan for 2015? How is it different than 2014/2013/2012/1998?
  1. Are you active in your industry association? Do you know what your competitors are planning?
  1. When did you last do a strategic plan?
  1. When did you last look outside your own business?
  1. When did you last do an extensive account planning exercise?
  1. Are you executing on the planning that you have done?
  1. Do you have the right people on your team, or could you benefit from “upgrading”?

If you can answer these questions well you are likely in a minority, and well positioned for the future.  If you are doing the “same old, same old” then just maybe you should act now before it is too late!

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin

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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) VirtualRecruiter service?
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January 16th, 2015

Waiting is Not a Winning Strategy

Oliver Wendel Holmes quote about time running outThere is an old saying that goes something like, “Good things come to those that wait”.

My experience, certainly in the business world, is that if you want something to happen then you had better drive that outcome!

“Don’t just stand there.  Make it happen.”  Lee Iacoca

Here are 5 reasons why waiting is a bad idea:

  1. Waiting is a passive state … it cannot affect the decision. Doing something is always a better alternative.
  2. If you are waiting for a client decision, then you can assume your competition are influencing that decision … that is what I would do!
  3. If you wait, then get the wrong decision you will never know if you could have influenced it. If you act then at least you know you did everything you could.
  4. If you are waiting, hoping that time will provide you with something of value then likely you will be disappointed. If you want something of value, develop a plan to get it … and execute on that plan.  Fate might be kind to you, but giving fate a push improves your odds.
  5. If there truly is nothing else you can be doing to affect that outcome then use the time to influence some other outcome … don’t JUST wait. If you are in sales you should be working your next deal (and the one after that).

Waiting is not just a  bad idea in business, the same applies in all aspects of our lives.

“We are always getting ready to live but never living.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here are a few thoughts about waiting …

Don’t wait for someone to come along, get out there and meet people.

Don’t wait for the right opportunity, make your own opportunity.

Don’t wait until the timing is right, find a way to make it happen.

Don’t let life pass you by because you are waiting!

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” Charles Buxton

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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) VirtualRecruiter service?
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January 11th, 2015

10 Thoughts About Measuring Success?

Mark Twain on SuccessSociety talks about success all the time … and for many people that might be the old “American Dream”.  Having a good job, a nice house, 2.5 kids and decent health, with perhaps the family dog and a white picket fence … or the 21st century equivalent.

I think it is also fair to say that success is a somewhat foggy concept for many people, who live their lives day to day hoping that “things will work out”.

The reality is that we are all different, and success might look different to each of us, so it is important to understand what that looks like.

“Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.”  Tony Hsieh

I also think that many people accept other’s ideas about what success should be.  Their parents, their peers and others around them influence what success should look like.

“If you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually you will be paid to do more than you do.” Anonymous

Here are my thoughts on success …

  1. As I already mentioned, success is personal and should be specific to the individual.
  2. Success embraces all areas of your life, so it is possible to achieve success in one part of your life at the expense of another, and if you are OK with that, then that is your call.
  3. If you don’t have some kind of goals then it is difficult to know if you have achieved success.
  4. If it is important to you that others recognize your success, then you need that success to be in line with their vision of success.   The opposite applies too, if you do’t care what others think then your success goals are somewhat simplified.
  5. No level of success comes without effort.
  6. I try to achieve goals (success) in my professional life, with my health, with my relationships and in non-work activities.  If I am “successful” in my career aspirations but it costs me my health then I don’t value that “success” very highly.
  7. If I am healthy, have strong relationships, achieve my personal goals AND have career success then THAT is how I would define success.
  8. To achieve MY type of success I need to know what “healthy” looks like; what relationships are important to me and what a strong relationship looks like; what those personal goals are, and what “career success” looks like.
  9. It is possible to be very successful in the eyes of others … but not feel that way.  And vice versa!
  10. Very often your views on success move, as you achieve more.  That is a good thing!

“Whenever you see a successful person, you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.”  Vaibhav Shah

What do you think? Are you successful?  Are you heading in the right direction?  Do you make a difference?
________________________________________________________________
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!
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January 6th, 2015

Technology Industry News for December 2014

Picture of a NewspaperThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for November 2014. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Decembers …

Microsoft logoIT news in December can be slow.  Five years ago in December 2009 there were no big announcements … Microsoft had a couple of smaller (by their standards) acquisitions focused on different verticals, Opalis for the data centre business and Sentillion for the Health Care world.  Google made a small acquisition (AppJet) and IBM added database security vendor Guardium.  In December 2010 there was probably more activity than previous Decembers.  Dell made two storage acquisitions, Compellent Technologies ($820 million) and Insite one.  Siemens and Atos Origin formed a new European IT outsourcing company in a deal worth more than $1 billion.  J2 global Communications bought (Ottawa based) Protus IP Solutions ($213 million); Juniper Networks bought Altor networks for $95 million; Salesforce.com bought a software development platform Ruby from Heroku for $212 million; Earthlink paid $370 million for One Communications; BMC Software bought GridApp Systems; and L&T infotech established a significant Canadian presence through the acquisition of Citigroup’s IT outsourcing arm.  Three years ago in December 2011 Ottawa’s March Networks was snapped up by Infinova Canada for $90 million, and Toronto based Rypple was acquired by Salesforce.com!  the BIG deal was SAP’s $3.4 billion purchase of SuccessFactors, who had also announced they were buying Jobs2Web for $110 milion.  It was IBM that was the most active acquirer of the month, paying $440 million for Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseDemandTec, also picking up Emptoris in the procurement world and Irish company Curam Software in the government sector.  December 2012 saw a fair amount of M&A activity with Oracle making two acquisitions, marketing automation company Eloqua ($871 million) and Dataraker which provides analytics for utilities companies.  The big deal of the month saw Sprint pay $2.2 Billion to take full control of cellular competitor Clearwire.   Montreal based Cogeco paid $635 million for Peer 1 Networks and NCR paid $635 million for retail software and services company Retalix.  In the BYOD space Citrix bought mobile device management company Zenprise for $355 million.  Finally, Redknee added 1200 employees and 130 new clients through the purchase of Nokia Siemens Business Support Network. Last year December 2013 was a slow month however Target LogoOracle pulled off a $1.5 Billion buy of marketing software company Responsys; Akamai paid $370 million for cloud-based security solutions provider Prolexic; JDS Uniphase paid $200 million for enterprise performance management company Network Instruments;  IBM bought a “big data” file compression company Aspera and Hitachi expended its solutions capability with the purchase of Calgary based Ideaca.  In other company news Target, although not an IT company, had a major security breach involving details of 40 million debit and credit cards.

Which brings us back to the present …

sonysonyDecember 2014 was not such a slow news month, with the political and technical ramifications of “the Sony hack” causing uproar, some very positive economic indicators out of the US and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals.

sonysony_logoThe Sony hack had lots of press, political intervention, hackers, politicians, movies stars and errant executive emails.  It was almost a soap opera!  Different hacking activity on the German Chancellor’s phone last year (by an intelligence agency) might be good news for Blackberry, who received backing from the German government for voice encryption on their devices … comeback anyone?  IDC produced a report about the economic benefits of offshoring and there were a couple of reports showing the cost of cybercrime.
SAPOn the M&A front it was surprisingly active, with Microsoft making two acquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey).  SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger.

All of the indicators coming from the US were very positive, including jobs data, confidence indicators and GDP results.  The Canadian indicators were not as positive, although they could certainly have been worse.  Of course all of these indicators happened before oil dropped below $50, so we will see what effect that has in the coming months!

So ends 2014, it was a year that continued the tepid economic recovery here in Canada but seemed to spark a big recovery in the US.  Typically that will affect the Canadian economy positively, so fingers crossed as we move forward!  I am certainly pumped about the possibilities for 2015 … may it be a great one for you!

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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?
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December 17th, 2014

Drive Your Life! Set Some Goals For 2015.

Goals quote from Jim RohnThe holiday break is of course a great time to spend with family, to indulge a little and recharge the batteries.  It is also a good time to take a few minutes and think about how 2014 worked out for you, and what you might want to achieve in 2015.

If you set some goals in 2014 how did you do against those goals?   What could you do differently in 2015?

If you did not have goals then how do you feel about 2014?  Was it everything that you could have wanted?

I used to think that setting goals was too much hassle and to be honest when I did not meet a goal (which was often) then I would be hard on myself.  Why would I put myself through that guilt and hassle if I didn’t need to?

After a few years I realized that (a) I achieved more if I actually set out with goals; (b) I was able to reconcile myself that even if I missed a goal, it was better than not having had one in the first place!

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”  Zig Ziglar

If I look back at 2014 I missed some pretty big goals!  I also hit some smaller goals, which I feel pretty good about.  The missed goals I can learn from and in 2015 I will reframe those goals and achieve them!

I think it is important to have goals in multiple aspects of my life not just work goals, so I tend to have five broad categories in which I set goals for myself.

  • Health and Fitness
  • Vacation
  • Career
  • Family
  • Training/Education

“An average person with average talent, ambition and education, can outstrip the most brilliant genius in our society, if that person has clear, focused goals.” Brian Tracy

If you are new to goal setting then here is an easy way to get started:

  1. Pick a number of areas in your life to set goals.  If you like my list then feels free to copy.
  2. Set one goal in each category.
  3. If you have BIG goals … e.g. want to be CEO of IBM, then pick a goal along that path.  In this case you might want to sign up for an MBA program for instance.
  4. Keep the goal fairly simple to measure, and achievable.  E.g.  One of my failings has been a weight target.  Heading into 2015 I will adjust that up to a more achievable level.
  5. Write them down.  You could have a special GOALS journal, a piece of paper pinned to your desk, an electronic list on your PDA … whatever works for you.
  6. For each goal there should be a target and a date.  Enter the appropriate dates into your calendar so that you have a reminder.
  7. Set up weekly or monthly checkpoints … you might weigh yourself each week, or if you are learning a language you could check off the classes as you attend.
  8. When you achieve your goal you can (a) pick a different goal altogether; or (b) Improve on that goal you just achieved.  In my case when I hit my revised weight I will then target a lower weight, perhaps even my original goal … this might be the year!
  9. A goal is part of your motivation … but you need a plan to reach that goal.  What will it take to become CEO of IBM?  What will it take for me to lose weight?
  10. Reward yourself for meeting goals.  Don’t overdo it but it is good to celebrate success when you tick off the goals!

“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.” Viktor Frankl

Goals, together with a plan to reach those goals can transform your life!  I don’t exaggerate here, because most people go through life on cruise control rather than driving their own destiny.  Once you realise how much you can influence your life by actually taking charge you will understand the power of goal setting!

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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?
________________________________________________________________

December 16th, 2014

Do You Have A Smartphone Addiction?

Quote about focus from John Di LemmeSome days it seems like the whole world is addicted to their smartphones!

You can’t walk one city block without encountering someone, and more often many people, trying to text and walk, usually badly.

Despite mass awareness, legislative change and police clamp downs you cannot commute home without passing people with their phones in their hand.  These people are willing to risk their lives, other people’s lives and at a minimum the property damage of a car accident rather than put the smartphone away.

“A texting driver will take an EXTRA 70 feet to stop at 70 mph.” Car and Driver Study

Go to any busy restaurant and you will see a number of people on their devices and even more people with their devices sitting just waiting to be picked up at the hint of an email, text or call!  Don’t these people want to talk to their fellow diners?

Go to the average work meeting and ask people to switch off their mobile phones and you will be met with awe and dismay.  Too often you will spot meeting “participants” on their device, responding to “important” emails or more likely texting another meeting “participant” instead of engaging in the meeting.

“Multitasking often leads to messing two things up simultaneously.”  Farhan Thawar

When did we all become so important that we cannot be “offline” for a couple of hours?

As an addiction, the smartphone is particularly dangerous because not only does it pander to our need to be in touch with our friends and family 24/7 but it also gives us access to the internet 24/7.  We need never again have to wait minutes to hear the news, or a sports score … our smartphone delivers it to us AND even tells us when it arrives!

None of this is rational.

If we made rational decisions then we would schedule time to check our email, as it fits in with our work.

We might keep in contact with friends and family, but periodically at lunch or maybe during an afternoon break.

We would not need to know about the news “as it happens” because we would be focused on the task at hand, which most days of the week is our job.

In meetings we would put the thing away, provide constructive input to the meeting and address anything else after the meeting.

We might employ hands free technology in our cars to talk while driving.  However our eyes would be on the road and our hands guiding the vehicle … not texting our friends.

“A drunk driver is 4 times more likely to have an accident.  A sober driver texting is 8 times more likely to have an accident.”  Insurance Company Statistics

A rational choice would be to drive our day, to be as productive as possible and to use the smartphone as a tool.

Instead … we let our smartphones interrupt our lives, impact our productivity, hurt our relationships and possibly kill us, and others.

Does this make sense to anyone?

________________________________________________________________
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?
________________________________________________________________

December 15th, 2014

5 Reasons Salespeople Should Finish Strong!

Finish StrongWhen I was much younger I used to be a sprinter, and my distance was the 220 yard sprint, although I also ran the 100 yard race.  These days of course, those races would be 200 and 100 metre races.

One of my lasting memories of this sport was my coach shouting, “Finish strong”, whether it was during training or while competing.

I have also been a soccer player for most of my life and it seems to have always been a popular phrase during training sessions.

The driving force for this sentiment is that races, and soccer games, are not over until everyone is done or the referee has blown the whistle.  It is therefore critical that participants compete “through” the finish, and not “anticipate” the finish by easing up as the end approaches.  A large number of races and games are won and lost right at that time!  How many times have you seen a runner “pipped” at the post, or a game decided by a final play?

“Are you going to Finish Strong?”  Nick Vujicic (of “No arms, no Legs no Worries” fame)

In the business world this same mentality applies to the sales profession, most particularly at this time of year.  There is a strong motivation to ease up on the activity levels, to perhaps “cruise” through the final two weeks.  We will tell ourselves that the clients are easing up, that they are not going to make spending decisions during late December or that they are more focused on things other than work.

We make excuses to focus on “busy work” or perhaps some personal activities.

We might socialize a little more with our more popular clients, which is not a bad thing as long as nothing is slipping as a result!

Just like those races and soccer games, it is very easy to lose because others are working hard when you are easing up!

I would suggest that this time of year, more than most, is a time for salespeople to work harder than ever.   Here are five reasons why you need to Finish Strong!

  • SOME of your clients might slow down, but that means you have a better chance of getting their attention.
  • Some of your clients will have year end budget that they need to use.
  • Some of your clients will be planning for next year, and you can understand their needs early.
  • Some of your clients will have extra time, and this you can get face time easier than at other times.
  • For many of your clients it will be business as usual, so don’t miss your opportunities.

 “It’s supposed to be hard!  If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it.  It is the hard that makes it great.”  Jimmy Dugan

 Don’t get caught out, push through to the very end … and then enjoy a little time off!

________________________________________________________________
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?
________________________________________________________________

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