CEO Blog

Category Archives: Change

All blog posts by Kevin Dee, Chairman at Eagle — Canada’s premier staffing agency, related to change.

10 Tips For Dealing With Major Change!

change quote from SocratesSometimes 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 … but Avoid Confrontation. Talk about it to your trusted advisers, 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 Chairman and founder  of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

10 Reasons Clients Use Staffing Companies

Talent quote from Indra NooyiThe staffing industry continues to grow and provide value to clients across every level of government and every type of industry. Our services are used for many and varied reasons, so here are just ten reasons why we exist.

“More employers than ever are struggling to fill open jobs — 45% globally say they can’t find the skills they need, up from 40% in 2017 and the highest in over a decade.” Manpower 2018 Global Talent Shortage Survey

  1. Broad reach. The staffing industry spend their days looking for talent, talking to talent, receiving resumes from talent and building databases that track that talent. Our clients take advantage of that reach which most would have difficulty achieving themselves.
  2. Focused. We find great people for our clients … that is our core competence.  Our clients are focused on their core competence. I don’t try to build pipelines, provide telecommunication services or manage people’s money. Our clients get professionals to help them with their staffing needs.
  3. Fast. Our clients need talent now, and that is exactly what we do.
  4. Cost effective. Some people have trouble with this, but paying a staffing company is an extremely cost effective way to recruit. Your people stay focused on what your company does. A fast hire means faster productivity. The cost of the client’s time and the improved productivity of their teams makes it a no brainer from a cost perspective.
  5. Strengthen teams. Our clients use our services to proactively improve the quality of their teams. They replace poor performers with top talent… a huge win.
  6. Fill a gap. One of the most obvious uses of staffing services. A maternity leave replacement, a project that needs to be done, a short term increase in demand… all serviced by your staffing provider.
  7. Flexibility. Clients just can’t staff up with full time employees to meet all their needs.  We give them flexibility in their staffing levels, to meet short term or project demands. There are any number of reasons why a well run company wants to have this kind of flexibility.
  8. Market knowledge. Staffing companies know what people are making in the market, know who else is looking for those people, understands what their client needs to do… and brings that knowledge and expertise to the table.
  9. Anonymity. Clients sometimes need to strengthen their teams through “head hunting”. They don’t want their name associated with the calls going out into the marketplace, so they use staffing companies and search companies.
  10. Easy. Like any services industry, we need to make life easier for our clients. They give us their hiring problems and we make them go away. Easy.
  11. Industry knowledge and activism.  Employment laws are changed regularly, and this can cause issues for our clients.  We bring a deep knowledge of these issues, and actively lobby and educate regulators at every level of government to avoid harmful legislation.

“Nearly one-third of employers say the main reason they can’t fill roles is a lack of applicants. Another 20% say candidates lack the necessary experience. “ Manpower 2018 Global Talent Shortage Survey

At a time when staffing levels are being impacted by globalisation, demographic pressure, skills shortages and technological advances the staffing industry brings huge value to our clients.

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Invest in Yourself

live love laugh sing PLAY TO WINStephen Covey wrote about the Emotional Bank Account, explaining that for every relationship we have, there exists an imaginary bank account.

In order to invest in each relationship we need to make deposits in that account, and whenever we make withdrawals we are harming that relationship.

The theory being that we need to deposit more than we withdraw if we are to have a healthy relationship.

Life is like that!

There is a cost to everything, and if you make deposits in your account then you are investing in your own success.

While this will relate to money, more importantly it relates to every aspect of your life … your career, your relationships, your hobbies, your education, your success, your health and fitness, your aspirations, dreams and anything else you can think of!

The good news is that it is easy to see how you can have a positive impact on your life … make deposits into YOUR Life Bank Account!

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make.  It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.”  Robin Sharma

Here are 10 Deposits that anyone could make in their Life Bank Account:

1.  Take a course to enhance your career.  A technical course related to your profession or a soft skills course applicable to any career.  Invest in your future.

2.  Start a fitness plan, or add to your fitness plan.  Don’t go crazy, but do something that increases your activity level.

3.  Read.  Newspapers (online or paper versions); books; periodicals; magazines.  Enhance your knowledge and make yourself more interesting!

4.  Volunteer.  Give back, devote some time to others … you will get immeasurable pleasure from giving.

5.   Reduce and eventually drop one of your “bad habits” … it could be sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or some other habit.

6.  Invest time in the key people in your life.  Find ways to build those relationships.

7.  Capture your ideas and dreams in one place.  A book, on the computer, file folders … whatever works for you.  Read it and add to it regularly.

8.  Create a list of all of the things that you should be grateful for … the big things and the little pleasures.  Pull this out when you need a boost, but also on a regular basis to add all of the latest “good stuff”.

9.  Take control of your time, be as productive as you can possibly be … but also make sure you find time to do the things that are most important to you!

10.  Set Goals!  Goals give you a direction for your life, a roadmap to follow and a means to motivate yourself.  If you want to make just one deposit into your Life Bank Account this is it!

“Some people dream of success… while others wake up and work hard at it.” Unknown 

Once you start depositing into that Life Bank Account you will start to see the results of that investment … we need to make deposits before we have anything to withdraw!

—————————————————————————————————————————————–
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of  Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Entrepreneurial Hunger

succes comes from Hard work and determination the reasons for successI was trying to find a word that best describes the mindset of an entrepreneur and the best I could come up with was … HUNGRY.

  • If you are hungry then you are willing to go a long way to satisfy that hunger.
  • If you are hungry you will work harder.
  • If you are hungry you will be willing to take some risks.
  • If you are hungry you will be very focused on what it takes to reach your goal.

“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” Frank Lloyd Wright

As time goes by and entrepreneurs achieve some success there is a subtle change from entrepreneur to “corporate” mindset. This is often a necessary change as a company moves through its stages of growth.

  • The hunger is reduced.
  • The risk taking is reduced.
  • The total focus is reduced.
  • The work ethic is not quite where it was.

Where companies run into trouble is when that mindset continues to shift, from the focused needs of the company to an entitlement of position. From a mindset that puts the company first to a mindset that puts the executive first.

“The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.” Ingvar Kamprad

If I draw a sports comparison, winners are typically those who are the most hungry. The winners are those who are willing to train longer, learn more, continue to grow and who revel in the competition. In sports the difference between winners and losers is tiny! It might be a split second moment of magic, or slip in concentration. It might be a fraction of a second. It might be that last gasp effort because the winner trained just a little harder. In business the difference between winners and losers can be small too. Many of the great businesses of the past lost their way, just Google “What happened to the first Fortune 500 companies?”

Companies need their leaders to be focused on the needs of company above all else. Companies that can maintain that type of single-minded entrepreneurial focus will always succeed, and that mindset needs to come from the top.

“I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.” – Bill Gates,

Here, in my humble opinion, are some questions that leaders need to answer in order to know if they are slipping too far from the entrepreneurial mindset..

  1. Am I focusing my energies in the right places?
  2. Am I spending the majority of my efforts on activities that will further the business?
  3. Am I spending time with the right people?
  4. Am I making decisions based on ego or on what is right for the company?
  5. Am I willing to sacrifice to do the right thing?
  6. Am I still willing to put in the hours of an entrepreneur?
  7. Am I becoming a corporate executive with big expectations for myself … or is my focus on what it takes to drive growth and success in the business?
  8. Am I taking time away from my role to satisfy my ego … or worse, my personal needs and desires?
  9. Am I still HUNGRY for the success of this company?
  10. Am I still the right person to be doing this job?

Great leaders will always have some of that entrepreneurial spirit. They will always have that HUNGER that winners need! poster with attributes of an entrepreneur
—————————————————————————————————————————————–
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice? —————————————————————————————————————————————–

The Value of Self-Discipline

Disciple quote by Bruce HamiltonSelf-discipline seems to have become an “old fashioned” concept, and you don’t find too many people talking about self-discipline these days.

If you want to be a top athlete then you need to spend years training, building up your skills and getting stronger and better all the time. It takes self-discipline to keep pushing yourself, to get out of bed early in the mornings, to go to the gym when you feel tired and to work through pain.

If you want to be an entrepreneur you will need self-discipline to keep a positive attitude when those around you are losing faith, to keep working for peanuts when the bills are mounting, to put in long hours doing every job that needs doing instead of taking a nice pay cheque to work for someone else

If you want to be a good salesperson it takes self-discipline to pound out those calls, to get out and meet potential clients, to accept the rejection, to build new relationships and to build your “book of business”.

If you want to be good at any career it takes self-discipline to establish good work habits, to push yourself to continually learn, to get outside your comfort zone and to not be distracted from your goal.

The problem with self-discipline is that it is hard … by its very nature it means making choices that are focused on an end goal, rather than the “easy choices”. Almost anything that you can do to better yourself or to improve your life requires some self-discipline.

“Circumstances are beyond human control, but our conduct is in our own power.” Benjamin Disraeli

Here are 10 things you could choose to do … but will require self-discipline.

  1. Give up a bad habit … like smoking. This requires HUGE self-discipline, but people do it all the time.
  2. Lose weight. Another classic that so many people want to achieve but fail because they do not stick to their guns.
  3. Learn a new skill. Could be playing guitar, juggling or learning a new language. It requires a commitment that takes self-discipline.
  4. Save up for something special for yourself, a new car, a new computer, a holiday etc. This requires self-discipline to put money away over a period of time to be able to afford that special thing.
  5. Changing career might require losing an income or taking a drop in income while you learn and work your way back up the ladder.
  6. Finding a way to pay for something for someone else … could be your children, another family member or a friend. You need to do without in order to afford their gift, and that takes self-discipline.
  7. Emigrating to start a new life. This requires self-discipline because inevitably you are walking away from what you know, and likely out of your comfort zone.
  8. It takes self-discipline to teach self-discipline to your children. You WANT to give them everything, but you know they will be better people for not being spoilt.
  9. It takes self-discipline to treat everyone with respect, even when your instinct might be to lash out at rude, selfish or inconsiderate people.
  10. It takes self-discipline to plan your life … to set goals and action plans that you can use as a roadmap to success.

“For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.” Plato

It may be old fashioned, it may be tough but I believe that someone who has self-discipline is a long way down the road to success … because they can achieve anything!
—————————————————————————————————————————————–
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Keep An Open Mind. 10 Tips About Embracing Change.

Les Brown quote about not limititing yourselfJust what does that phrase “Keep an open mind” mean anyway?

Your boss says it; your parents might say it; anyone attempting to convince you to try something new might say it.

Of course you are keeping an open mind… BUT!

If that BUT is there in your head, then you are NOT keeping an open mind.

We all have preconceived notion of life, of how things are and how they should be. For many people it is difficult to get past those preconceived notions, hence the BUT.

“Once you stop learning you start dying.” Albert Einstein

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 80 or 20.” Henry Ford

Here are some things to think about:

  1. None of us knows everything. When you think you have all the answers then you stop listening, which means you stop learning.
  2. Trying new things takes us out of our comfort zone… but that is how we grow and get better.
  3. Glass half empty people will look for all the reasons why “the new thing” won’t work.
  4. Glass half full people will look for the ways to make it work.
  5. If “the new way” never worked then our society would never have evolved… and certainly Amazon would not be testing drone deliveries, and companies would not be testing driverless cars!
  6. There is something exciting about making something new work.
  7. The big rewards come to those who innovate and change, not to those who keep doing the same old same old.
  8. Change will happen with or without you.
  9. The energy that it takes to fight change is far better spent embracing change.
  10. If you can adapt to change once, you can do it again and again. THAT is where the real fun is!

“Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their mind cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw.

Life does not stand still in any profession, in any industry or in any of our lives. Events happen, innovation happens, human interactions happen and therefore change happens. Some of that change will be BIG… but much of the change will be small, and often. You MUST be able to cope with change, to embrace change and to be part of the solution… otherwise, as the saying goes, you become a part of the problem!

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” Isaac Asimov

________________________________________________________________
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?
________________________________________________________________

Is The Grass REALLY Green Enough To Change?

Look after your own grass before coveting the other grass Change is a constant in our lives, and I am a big advocate of being the agent of change before the change happens to you!  Having said that, I also believe that it is important to have a plan for the change you implement.

This kind of rationalization can apply to almost any aspect of your life, whether it is your job, your relationships, your health & fitness and/or your mental & spiritual well-being.

Changing jobs can be one of the more common changes that people undertake, and it can be a good career move, or if done without the right due diligence, it can be a disaster.  A number of years ago I made one of those “disastrous” choices and ended up staying at the new company for just three months.  I was at a vulnerable point in my current role due to a change in circumstances, and I was approached about an “exciting” opportunity.  The new job came with a great title, good “potential” income and the company looked good, on paper. As you can probably guess, things did not go so well and I chose to leave three months later. The bottom line was that their corporate culture was not a good fit and I was never going to be happy there. I had some good sales success in a short period of time and could likely have done well financially … but I was miserable.

Mistakes are easy to make as we pursue our careers but with a little care they can be avoided, but you may need the benefit of advice from someone who has been there.  Here are a few things to consider before choosing to move companies.

  1. If you have been in your current job for a while and are doing well, then you have some status with your current company. People take that for granted sometimes, and only miss it when it is no longer there.
  2. When you start at the new company, as the new kid on the block you will need to rebuild credibility.  This is not a bad thing as long as you recognize and understand this in the context of what you gain from the move.
  3. You likely understand the culture and inner workings of your current company … and along with that, all the things “bother your”.  Be cognizant of the fact that all companies will have their “foibles”; you just don’t know what they are in the new company.
  4. Most people don’t fully explore the opportunities in their current organization before they leap … remember what happens when you “ass-u-me”!

Some things to do that can help you with a job move:

  1. Develop a career      plan (it doesn’t have to be fancy, and you can add over time).  It should be a guide along your chosen      path (or paths) as far as you can envisage (it might just mean visualizing      your ideal next situation).
  2. Give everything      you can to your current job … the experience will be yours forever, the      reference will be invaluable and that is what you are paid to do.
  3. Be very clinical      in weighing up your options. The new company is on its best behavior, the “foibles”      will come later so make sure you understand what they are likely to be.  In the same way that they will check you      out, I suggest that you reference check the company!
  4. Develop a list      of criteria for your new job that will tell you if it is “good enough” to      make a move. Things to consider might include:

(a) Is the income real … or are there lots of promises? Compare it with your real income today (T4) not what you “perceive” is your income.
(b) Does the new role give you the advancement in your career you need?
(c) Does it have room for growth?
(d) Is the location going to work? An awkward commute wears thin with time!
(e) Do you like the people?
(f) Have you met enough of the people? Arrange to talk with peers.
(g) What is the culture like? Does it come through in their actions … or is it just words?
(h) Are you going to be able to be successful in this role?
(i) Have you checked references?
(j) If you had the same interview with your current company what would be different? Is it enough?
(k) Is there enough time off? Is the new employer going to be accommodating to your needs?
(l) Are the hours going to work … with your commute, your family, and your other needs?

A new job can be one of life’s most exciting times, but it can also be a disaster. Do your due diligence before going to a new job and don’t give up on the old one too early! Done the right way, you can find some greener grass … but it is definitely not always the case!

—————————————————————————————————————————————–
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?
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Technology Industry News for July 2014

Depiction of a connected worldThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for July 2013. 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 July in previous years …

Five years ago in July 2009 the economy was suffering and unemployment was high.  There was however some brisk activity on the M&A front with Ericsson paying $1.1 Billion in a fire sale auction for Nortel’s wireless carrier assets.  That was not the biggest deal of the month however as EMC agreed to pay $2.4 billion for Data Domain AND IBM paid $1.2 Billion to add to its BI capability with the acquisition of SPSS.

EMC logoFour years ago in July 2010, NTT paid $3.2 Billion for Dimension Data and Nokia Siemens paid $1.2 Billion for Motorola’s wireless network equipment unit. IBM bought data compression company Storwize and in the same space Dell bought Ocarina Networks. EMC bought data analytics company Greenplum, Google added to its semantic search capability with the purchase of Metaweb Technologies,  Adobe paid $240 Million for a Swiss web software maker, Day Software Holdings and SAS increased its presence in the US Federal market through its purchase of Vision Systems and Technology.

dell logoJuly 2011 saw continued economic concerns in Europe and a game of political chicken in the US over the US debt ceiling, meanwhile M&A news was relatively low key in the pure tech world.  Dell’s move into networking with the purchase of Force10 is possible the most significant tech deal, with Google (Punchd), Twitter (Backtype) and Adobe (EchoSign) all picking up smaller players to help move their agenda.

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itTwo years ago in July 2012 the headlines included a then pregnant Marissa Mayer moving from Google to become the new CEO at Yahoo.  On the M&A front Dell bought Quest Software for $2.4 billion, Apple picked up Authentec for $356 million and Socialcam acquired Autodesk for $60 million.  Oracle was on a roll, buying (i) the assets of Skire (capital assets and facilities management software), (ii) Involver (a social marketing tools company) and (iii) Xsigo Systems (Network Virtualisation).  Vmware was also busy, picking up  Dynamic Ops (virtualisation software) and Nicira (a start-up in the networking software space).  One interesting deal saw Digg bought for $500,000 by Betaworks, when Digg had been valued at $200 million just four years ago.

Cisco logoLast year July 2013 was quiet for  M&A activity but there were some interesting deals, with the big deal involving perennial acquirer Cisco shelling out $2.7 billion for security vendor Sourcefire.  There were some other big names out shopping with EMC buying identity management company Aveska, Intel making an acquisition in Israel (a trend) of Omek a company specialised in the perceptual computing arena.  Apple bought Locationary, a Toronto company that is expected to be involved in improving Apple’s maps for iOS (remember when Apple dropped Google Maps!)  Finally, Ottawa’s Shopify bought a Toronto based design agency Jet Cooper.

Which brings us back to the present …

jobs section of a newspaperJuly 2014 had plenty of positive news including positive growth in PC sales after 8 years of decline!.  In Canada the manufacturer’s index, retail sales and projected IT hiring were all good news stories, however the unemployment rate edged up and Canada lost 9,400 jobs in June.  Most indicators coming out of the US were positive, including strong GDP growth, job growth, confidence indicators (except CEOs) and the US leading index.  There was even a positive economic outlook for Mexico … so lots of good news.

On the M&A front there was a lot of activity but no real blockbuster deals.  After a long period of struggle, and another positive sign, saw Blackberry announce an acquisition, of encryption company Blackberry devicesSecusmart GmbH.  Oracle bought cloud services company TOA Technologies; Twitter bought a startup Madbits, a company that focuses on the media space; Yahoo also bought a startup Flurry in the mobile apps space; Teradata bought a couple of smaller big data companies, Hadapt and Revelytix; Apple bought a couple of smaller books & podcast companies Booklamp and Concept.io; Qualcomm education company EmpoweredU; and finally Nokia continue to rebuild after selling its devices and handsets business to Microsoft, this time buying Panasonic’s 3G and LTE base station operations division.

Speaking of Microsoft buying Nokia’s devices and handset division, the company announced that they would be laying off 18,000 people related to that deal.  July also saw an fairly interesting partnership, with IBM and Apple combining to offer enterprise solutions … who knows maybe we’ll see Google and Amazon collaborating next?

Amazon droneTwo more interesting tidbits in July; the UK has agreed to allow self-driving cars on the roads starting next year, which could probably be the start of a few jokes.  And in another look into our future, Amazon requested permission from the FAA to test drone deliveries around Seattle … part of their desire to be able to fulfill orders within 30 minutes of being placed!  Who says that we are not living in a time of change?

That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the August 2014 industry news in just about a month’s time. 

Walk Fast and Smile.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–
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?
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Life Lessons From A Business Owner

Kevin Dee in his Royal Navy uniformToday is my birthday, and I think that birthdays are a good time to reflect on life lessons.

I started my working life as a Junior Naval Aircraft Mechanic 2nd Class in the Royal Navy. It does not get any lower in the hierarchy than that! I was 16 years old and left my home in Liverpool, caught a train to Plymouth where I began my journey to find a career that would work for me.

(And YES that is a picture of me and a picture of HMS Ark Royal where I spent some time).

We all face those kinds of decisions… what do I want to do with my life?

I knew that I had to leave school, I was not academically inclined and even though my marks were good enough to carry on I just had a burning need to get out and do something. I was very interested in car mechanics, having helped my dad over the years in keeping our old “bangers” going. The problem at the time was that in the early 1970s jobs were tough to come by (sound familiar?). So I decided to join the military, and since I did not want to be sent into harms way in Northern Ireland, which was a hot spot at the time, I chose the Navy over the Army. One problem was that they didn’t have any “car mechanic” jobs… “But we do have aircraft mechanics, what do you think about that then mate?”

And so my first career was born.

HMS-Ark-RoyalI spent seven years in the Royal Navy and at 23 years old had to make a choice between continuing in that career, or choosing something different. Some influences on my decision at the time were (a) most of the aircraft mechanic jobs available would be in Northern Scotland or the Middle East; (b) there was much talk about world oil shortages, and who knew if airplanes would still be around 20 years later; and (c) a random aptitude test I took to see whether I would be a candidate to work with computers!

I chose my second career in the computer world as a programmer… and went back to college for a two year course, feeling very old amongst a class of 18 year olds. My attitude to learning was however now very different… I worked hard, finished top of the class and didn’t look back.

After two years as a programmer working for Barclay’s Bank my experience won me a job in Canada.

Here I progressed through various roles, moved into sales, then management and eventually had the opportunity to own my own company. So came my third (sales) and fourth (entrepreneur) career perhaps?

Today that company has offices across Canada and generates about $140 million in revenues.

What are some of my life lessons?

  1. We don’t all find the perfect career out of the gate.
  2. Anything we do adds to our life experiences and we can always build on that. I have no regrets about my decisions along the way.
  3. It doesn’t matter what you do… just do something.
  4. At different times in your life you will be given opportunities… make a choice, live with it and do the best you can!
  5. If you work hard you will get ahead… even this dumb kid from Liverpool!
  6. You choose to enjoy life or not… it is all in your control.
  7. Attitude is huge! Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem!
  8. Never stop learning!
  9. It is never too late! I was 42 years old when we started this company!
  10. Give generously to others… it feels good, it defines you as a person and it WILL come back in ways you can’t imagine.

________________________________________________________________

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?
________________________________________________________________

10 Tips For LifeLong Learning

Lifelong learning quote Denis WaitleyIt is a fact that our world is changing at an incredible pace … and the only hope that we have of remaining relevant throughout our career is to always be learning.

“Once you stop learning you start dying” Albert Einstein.

The speed of change in my lifetime alone is astonishing … I grew up in a home that had no telephone, I remember our TV had a 26 inch screen and three channels. We had a car, but it was pretty beat up and my dad spent most weekends doing something or other to keep it going. My first mobile phone was a Radio Shack transportable (great if you like to lift weights) which I bought when I had my first sales job. My first computer programming job was on an IBM mainframe that had significantly less memory and main storage than the iphone I carry in my pocket. I was one of those enraptured kids who followed the Apollo program and watched the first landing on the moon.

I’m not THAT old!

“Education is not preparation for life, learning is life itself.”  John Dewey.

The pace of change is certainly not slowing down. We are affected by technological innovations, medical discoveries, changes in demographics and even global events and global competition.

So what can YOU do to keep up?

  1. Create your own “Lifelong Learning Plan” … focused on all the things you can do for you!  Use the following 9 tips to fill out that plan.
  2. Read!  You need to cultivate this habit, set aside time and read content that will be useful to you.  Read newspaper articles that keep you abreast of world trends, read about innovations in the world, read about what others are doing.
  3. Get mentors/advisors/collaborators.  People that can guide you, help you and impart their experience and knowledge.  This is not easy … and YOU need to do all the work.  Be prepared with what you want to know, with relevant questions and with a desire to learn.
  4. Set aside time for further education … your local college, university, any institution that offers training.  Online sources like Coursera offer free, but valuable training opportunities.
  5. Revisit old training materials.  When you completed that last course you likely only retained some relatively small percentage of the content.  Go back and revisit it, improve the return on that investment!
  6. Borrow training materials from colleagues.  If they liked it, and are willing to lend you the material it is a good way to get cheap training.
  7. Find online content that is relevant to you.  Use RSS feeds, follow blogs, get on Twitter and follow interesting people.
  8. Get involved outside your job area, in social committees, health and safety committees etc.  You will meet and learn from colleagues with different skills than yourself.
  9. Get involved with charities and not for profits.  You will learn from people who work in totally different worlds than you.
  10. Take advantage of any company sponsored training that you can.  Understand the possibilities and maximize them.  However … remember this is an investment in you, so don’t ONLY do the training if someone else is paying.  Invest in yourself!

The more you learn the more interesting you will become.  It cannot hurt your career, and can only enhance your employability and your value to your employer.  In our changing world I think this is critical for anyone!

—————————————————————————————————————————————–
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
—————————————————————————————————————————————–