CEO Blog

Category Archives: Interest

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

What Remembrance Day Means For Me

Kevin Dee in his Roayl Navy uniformThis year I think I have collected about 6 poppies so far … they adorn various suit jackets and coats.

I spent seven years in the Royal Navy, but never had to experience the terror of war.  However, most people who have spent some time in the military will have an understanding and sympathy for those who did fight.  It is not soldiers or their Generals and Admirals that start or cause wars … that would be politicians and other leaders of nations.  Remembrance Day is to remember the sacrifices of those who fought, and I like to think that we live in a far better world because of what our fathers and grandfathers did.

My dad fought in the Second World War.  He was a tank gunner who  joined up in 1939 at the age of 19.    My dad wasn’t killed (or I would not be writing this) but he represents a generation whose lives were changed by war.

Only those who have done it can know what it is like to go into battle … can you imagine what it might be like to know you could be killed at any moment?  My dad was in a tin can called a Sherman tank which was severely limited in the armor it carried … and a direct hit, even on its best armor could kill everyone inside with the shock.  When they faced the German Panzers they were out matched in size, armor, range and gun size … imagine a middleweight wrestler taking on a Sumo wrestler!

Picture of Christy Dee in his army uniformHe was trained for desert warfare, saw action in the Middle East and hot countries like Italy yet he was also sent to the jungles of Burma (today known as Myanmar) and my dad had opinions on that move!  My dad didn’t give a lot of details about the war … he liked to tell the stories of when he and his buddies got into trouble, which apparently was not rare and resulted in a demotion or two!  The following however is an indication of a part of my dad’s war, an excerpt I found about the history of the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars (the tank regiment my dad served in).

In 1942, the Regiment was sent to Burma where it covered the long retreat to India. Fierce fighting along the jungle tracks took a terrible toll, but the Regiment never failed to do all that was asked of it. and fought tooth and nail to save the Army. General Alexander said of the 7th Hussars – “Without them we should never have got the Army out of Burma ; no praise can be too high for them”.

Christy Dee Army picture circa 1940My dad and I are not the only members of family with a military connection.  My Uncle Davy was a boy sailor on the HMS Exeter in the Second World War.  The Exeter was sunk in the Java Sea in 1942, and he was captured by Japanese forces and held as a prisoner until the war ended in 1945.  We have all seen the movies about conditions in those camps and the stories I was told of his captivity were horrific … can you imagine the affect on that 17 year old boy?

My dad was young when he died, just 56 years old and my Uncle Davy was only 47 years old when he passed away.  I can’t say they died young because of their war experiences but I can say their lives were changed by those experiences, and it would surprise me if their life expectancy were not affected.  They both missed the formative years of their early careers, and certainly my dad did not get the chance to pursue the career he wanted.  They both lost friends during the war, and the psychological scars that brought, and they both saw the absolute terror of battle … which has to change a person.  Uncle Davy suffered terribly in that camp and spent many months recovering in an Australian hospital after the war, again I found a description of conditions at the camp he was held in Macassar.  He was never the same.

Today we live in the elected democratic society of our choice, that we might not have enjoyed were it not for the sacrifices of many young people in two “great” wars.  No sane person wants war, or suggests that war is anything but evil … but soldiers pay the price of political decisions, and it is soldiers that we have to thank and remember.

These are the reasons why I buy poppies and remember the soldiers, sailors and airmen together with their families who have all sacrificed … and they should never be forgotten.

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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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Get Out and Meet People

dance, love, sing, liveI was talking to a young person who moved to Toronto a year ago and was surprised to hear about her life here.  She lives with a relative, and he day consists of going to work, going home, doing chores and the going to bed … most weekends she heads out of town and back to her home town.

There is so much for a young person to do in a city like Toronto that it struck me as a lost opportunity to NOT get out and experience life.

Certainly we all make our own life decisions and my choices might not be the same as the next person, but I have to believe that we get more out of life when we engage with society.

If I were twenty-something, new to Toronto (or any city) what might I do?

1.  Join a sports team.  There are a million types of activities that look for participants at every level of capability … just getting together with others play is a good thing.  Soccer, basketball, beach volleyball, baseball, rugby, rowing, biking, dragon boat racing, badminton, hockey and a million other such opportunities.

2.  Join some kind of club.  A choir, a debating society, a book club, toastmasters, wine club, cooking club, dancing club etc.

3.  Take some “non-job related” courses.  Culinary classes, sommelier courses, carpentry, automotive maintenance, learn a language or check out the local colleges for a myriad of ideas.

4.  Get involved with a charity/not for profit.  Help out at a shelter, work with children, older people, others that need help.  Join committees that organise charitable events.

5.  Start my own network.  There are lots of ways to identify people with similar interests … it could be an alumni group, a “home town” group, a “soccer supporters” group or any such thing.

Don’t let life drift by without taking advantage of at least some of the many opportunities open to 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) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Vacation

a suitcase with travel stickers ... UK , Paris etcIt’s that time of year when lots of people are taking advantage of the nice weather, school holidays and planned time away from the office.

1.  Some thoughts for those taking time off …

i.  There are definite health benefits to recharging the batteries … take full advantage of your break.

ii.  There are also mental health benefits to taking vacation.  This study focused on women but I can only assume it applies to men too.

iii.  We are all different, take the right type of vacation for you … if lying on the beach is your thing then do it, if you like active vacations then do that!

iv.  If staying in touch with the office brings you peace of mind (like me) then do it, in a controlled manner.  If you need the total break then do that … just make sure you set everybody’s expectation accordingly.

v.  Be in the moment … too often we start to think about the “impending end of the vacation” when we are only half way into it!  Enjoy every minute!

For those staying behind.

i.  Your turn will come  … so cover for your colleagues the way you will want them to cover for you.

ii.  If you are in sales do not fall into that standard trap, believing that no business is done during the summer!

iii.  Plan your days and work the plan!

iv.  Keep your eye on the ball!

The sunny days are great mood boosters, more vitamin D, patio meals, smiling faces and that intangible “high” that comes at this time of year … take advantage of the energy and join all those SMILERS!

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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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The Importance of The Arts

silouette of a ballerina with the Toronto skyline behind. By Jen GranthamAs a business owner writing a business blog I focus much of my writing about the practical aspects of our world … success in business, selling, time management, staying healthy so you can be successful and sometimes I focus on “my own” staffing industry.

I also talk about creativity and the need to differentiate yourself from your competition, whether that be another company or an individual competitor for a job.

“We need people who think with the creative side of their brains—people who have played in a band, who have painted…it enhances symbiotic thinking capabilities, not always thinking in the same paradigm, learning how to kick-start a new idea, or how to get a job done better, less expensively.” … Annette Byrd, GlaxoSmithKline

So, one thought I might plant with this blog entry is that the arts encourage the use of our creative side.  By embracing the arts we think differently, and that is a valuable commodity in today’s business world.

Beyond the impact for business, think just for a moment about how the arts affect your life.

Do you go to the theatre?

Do you listen to music?

Do you like to dance?

Do you enjoy movies?

Do you have paintings on your wall at home, at the office or in places you visit regularly?

man covered in soap in the shower singing aloudDo you get joy from sitting listening to your favorite band while driving in the car, sitting reading a book or just relaxing in your favorite chair with a set of ear phones?

Do you ever wander around an art gallery wondering at the talent that captured these images?

Have you ever been to Rome (or another city steeped in history) and wondered at the detail in the statues everywhere, or maybe visited the Trevi fountain, the Vatican or one of the great churches?  Have paintings, statues and other artifacts made you wonder about life in those times?

Have you ever gone to a local bar and listened to some of the up and coming bands?

I spend a lot of “blog space” talking about business … but in my life the arts are also important.

They make me smile.

They make me think.

They make me a better person.

Don’t forget the importance of the arts!

Oh by the way, don’t forget their value in bringing creativity to the business environment!

“It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.” … Steve Jobs (introducing the iPad 2 in 2011)
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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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Every Day Should be a Valentines Day of Sorts!

Today is Valentines day and around the world people are sending messages and buying gifts for the special people in their lives.

There is no truth to the urban myth that Valentine’s Day was created by Hallmark (or any other card manufacturer) … but there is a good deal of common sense in that explanation.

So YES, do something special for the special people in your life … buy a card, buy a gift, have a romantic dinner or go on a special date.

However … remember that this is just one day in the year and it would be a good thing for your various relationships to show appreciation throughout the year.

Thoughts for the day:

1.  Create monthly reminders in your calendar right now … so that on the 14th of every month you are reminded to “do something for that special someone”.

2.  Create a list of the important people in your life … not just your spouse/partner and find a way to let them know they are important to you … you could set up a schedule for them too!

3.  Sign up for one of those online card companies … JibJab is a hilarious one … and start sending cards that make people laugh.

4.  Every month give an amount (small or large depending on your capability) to a charity, on behalf of one of your special people.

5.  Remember that everyone around you has “stuff to deal with in their lives” … and go a little easier on them in recognition of that fact!

The more you give the more you get … particularly with relationships!

Here are some ideas that don’t cost too much:

Send a handwritten card.

Send a letter … maybe include a photo!  (Who gets letters anymore … its now an event!)

Buy someone a coffee and take it to them.

Send a joke.

Send a picture by email … maybe an old one of you both together?

Remember their birthday, anniversary, special day of any kind.

Cook them dinner … or take them for a meal.  It could be a “chip wagon lunch” … your treat!

Find a special picture and have it printed on canvas … CanvasPop are a great Canadian company.

Buy them a book … a real one with paper pages and everything!  Write a note in the front!

Do anything YOU would appreciate if someone else was doing it 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) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Last Day of Kevuary

A light hearted post because it is the middle of Winter, the economy continues to limp along and there is enough “serious stuff” going on in the world.

Each year I give up alcohol for four weeks, in fact two years ago I gave it up for longer, as preparation for a charity boxing match I volunteered for … The Fight for the Cure!  However the “norm” is four weeks without alcohol, and it usually starts around the beginning of the year, lasting four weeks … that I have called Kevuary for the last five years (my own ficticious month).

There are a few reasons why I do this:

  • It is a good way to make sure alcohol is a “nice to have” rather than a “must have”.
  • It helps with my annual post holiday season weight loss.
  • It is a demonstration that I still have some willpower!

Today is the last day of Kevuary!  Tomorrow I can enjoy a glass of wine, maybe even a scotch!
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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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Happy Holidays and May 2013 Be a Great Year for You!

As mentioned in earlier blog entries I believe this time of year should be a lot more GIVING than RECEIVING!

This is Eagle’s Holiday Card for 2012 …

 

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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?
________________________________________________________________


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Gratitude

This is a great time of year to be thankful for all the good things in our life.  It doesn’t matter what religion you are, if you live here in Canada most people tend to get a little more time off, 2012 is coming to an end and we live in one of the best countries in the world.

Gratitude has a way of bringing us back down to earth, and that in itself is a good exercise.  It doesn’t matter who you are, the good things in your life are not there just because of you.  So be grateful!

I started my business 16 years ago and it has by all measures been a pretty successful run.  I must be amazing!   Whoaaaaa!!!!!   Actually I was in the right place at the right time, I have partners that have been on this ride with me for 16 years, I have had great people working here over those 16 years; I live in a country that allows entrepreneurship to thrive; we could not be successful without the clients, suppliers and professionals that we work with.   So … yes I am grateful, for the opportunity, for the support, for the people, for this country!

I am 57 years old and still in good shape.  I have had an interesting and varied life … different careers, living in different countries, with many and varied experiences.  I could not have enjoyed any of this without my health, without the opportunities afforded to those living in the “first world” cultures.  So … yes I am grateful, for all of those things!

I could go on about the million and one things in my life for which I am grateful … the ability to be able to play soccer for more than 50 years, the fast toys in my life, the friends, the family, the places I have lived!   I AM grateful for all of it.

What is my message?

1.  Find the things in your life to be thankful for.

2.  Don’t EVER think YOU did it alone … it doesn’t matter if you are Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, The Queen of England or Wayne Rooney!   We are all a product of many inputs, our place of birth, our families, our heritage, the accidents that did not happen to us, the disease that did not affect us … so ALWAYS be thankful!

3.  When you have that list of things to be thankful for, keep it handy.  The next time you feel sorry for yourself or just a little blue, pull it out and remind yourself of just how lucky you are!

4.  None of this takes away from one of my favorite sayings … The harder I work, the luckier I am!

5.  Go build on your luck … and be thankful that you can!

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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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Eastwooding isn’t ALL bad … Try it Sometime!

So one of my favorite actors, Clint Eastwood, caused a furore with at the Republican convention with his “conversation with a chair”.  In the chair sat an imaginary Barack Obama, whom Clint interviewed on behalf of the Republican party … and for many, the ploy failed to impress and the term Eastwooding was born!  Reputedly Barack Obama tweeted later that, “this chair is taken”.

It was an attempt at getting a message across that did not resonate so well with the audience … but don’t write off Eastwooding just yet.

Early in my computing career I was a programmer at at bank, and coded using IBM assembler.  One of the “tricks of the trade” that we used to “debug” code was remarkably similar to Eastwooding.  We would “walk through” the code line by line explaining to a partner, what it was doing.  It quickly became clear that 99 times out of 100 the programmer would recognise his own errors by going through that process, so in effect the partner was not REALLY needed!  So … we developed a process for “walk throughs” with an “imaginary partner” … and it was remarkably effective!

So, maybe Eastwooding is not such a great way to get a political message across, but it could be a great way to “debug code”, or perhaps “walk through” a business plan, or prepare for a speech, or verify the content of a tough email.  Just take Obama’s chair and talk to it about your problem!

Thanks Clint, I think you “made my day”!

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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?
________________________________________________________________


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Nostalgia, History or a Story?

I am a forward thinking kind of person.  I like to think I learn my lessons in life, but I don’t look backwards too often.

There are way too many issues caused because of “history”.  You only have to look at territorial disputes between countries … yes country A held that territory before country B, but if you go back further you often find country C, D, E etc all held it at various points in time. 

Maybe if Greece were to reclaim all the territory they held at the height of their power they might not have any economic problems! (Tongue in cheek comment … but you get my point).  Same goes for the Romans, or maybe even the British Empire!

However here we are in 2012 and if everyone accepted today’s realities and moved forward there would be far fewer issues in the world.

There are however some positive reasons to revisit history … and they centre around happy memories.

Last night I went to the theatre to watch Backbeat which is about the formative years of “The Beatles”.  Set in the early sixties when I was a very young boy, the Liverpool (Scouse) accents made me smile … because I grew up in Liverpool.  Some of the expressions were priceless, bringing back memories of my youth. 

It was a nice evening out!

So … like most things in life, we can have a positive OR negative view of history, and it is entirely within our control.

As I get older I realise that the positive memories are something to cherish, the not so positive (or even painful) memories I ignore.

Winston Churchill is credited with saying, “History is written by the victors”.  A quote that suggests you might like the history, or not … and that its validity might well be questionable!

I say, “Today is more important than history.  Live your life looking forwards”.

________________________________________________________________
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?
________________________________________________________________


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