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.

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”.

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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!
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RIP Stephen Covey … He Influenced My Life!

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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!
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The Troubles Tree – A Parable

I thought I would try something a little different with today’s blog … and would like to give credit to the website Parablesite.com for this story.

A carpenter was having a tough day. It started with a flat tire that cost him an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stoney silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. After opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward, he walked me to my car. We passed the tree, and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. “Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning, I pick them up again.” “Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

Growing up I was educated in Catholic schools and often they used parables to make a point …so they are certainly not a new invention, and perhaps not even trendy.  For some people they may even seem a little “hokey”.

The interesting thing about how people learn is that we are all a little different and different styles of learning will work for different people.  If the visualisation of a parable can help to drive home a point then it seems like it could be a good tool!

This parable has a number of messages … all of which you have heard before:

1.  The extent of your “problems” is largely governed by your attitude.  (Its mostly in your head)!

2.  You can let problems overwhelm you or you can actively “put them in their place”.

3.  It is possible to have a great home life, even if things at work are not going so well … and vice-versa.  When you let one overwhelm the other then you are really just making it all worse.

4.  Very often what seems like a big problem doesn’t seem nearly so bad later.

5.  Remember what is most important to you and protect that … .you really don’t want your family to remember you as “the grouch”.

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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!

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Time to Party

I take pleasure from many things in life … I look for the good, I focus on the positive and I work hard to eliminate or at least negate the negatives.  So, having a built-in reason to celebrate makes it VERY easy!!!

Here in North America we are about to celebrate some national holidays … and like many such celebrations they have evolved over the years, people have developed their own traditions and perhaps the original intents are not as important for some.

I’m not so sure it matters … if the essence of a Canada Day celebration for you is the celebration of Canada’s independence OR just a great opportunity to party its all OK.

In Canada we will be celebrating our independence (or just celebrating) on July 1st.  South of the border the US will be celebrating their independence on July 4th.  Its a good week for celebrating!!

To all my Canadian friends … Happy Canada Day.

To my friends in the states … wait another couple of days (or zip up to Canada for the weekend) and then you too can party like Canadians!!!

Find the good things to celebrate in your life … and when people make it easy for you, then make sure you take advantage.  Its time to be with friends and family, its a time to maybe drink and eat a little more than you should, its a time to laugh and tell stories, its a time to watch some fireworks … and maybe a time to reflect a little on those who have helped build these countries!

Let’s party!!!!

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Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder 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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The Fight to End Cancer – A GREAT Example of Giving!!!

In March last year I took part in a white collar boxing event to raise funds in the fight against cancer … it is known as the Fight for the Cure and is run in Ottawa.   As a participant I actually gave blood, in addition to time and money for this cause … yet it was the organisers who really made this event happen.  In Ottawa the main organiser was Matt Whitteker, a very impressive twenty-something entrepreneur … although there were plenty of people involved.  In March of this year that same event saw MP Justin Trudeau fight Senator Patrick Brazeau, raising even more money for this great cause!

Helping out in my corner a little more than a year ago was a young lady from Toronto, Jennifer Huggins who owns and operates the Kingsway Boxing Club.  She was so impressed with the event that she saw it as a great way to give to her community … and on June 9th the First Annual Fight to End Cancer will take place at the Woodbine Race Track in Toronto.

This young entrepreneur has devoted hundreds of hours to make this happen!

She has donated her time, her gym, her contacts and equipment to ensure that there are some very interesting fights to entertain the crowd.

She engineered a partnership with the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.

She has gathered sponsors, volunteers and participants to create a BIG event!!!

She did this to GIVE back!!!

We all benefit when people like Jennifer give … we all benefit even more if we ALL give!

So be like Jennifer just a little … give a little of yourself, give some money, give some time!   

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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!
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What Are You NOT Doing … and At What Price?

As a business owner I will admit to being somewhat “driven“! 

It is a choice I have made … but I have also chosen to have other priorities in my life that I make time for.

Every now and again I am reminded of those choices.  Here are a few that I have made:

I just returned from a trip to the UK for my mother’s 90th birthday party!  I see my her every year, at least once a year, and for a significant visit.  I could never allow myself to be “too busy” for those trips!  I watched my 90 year old mom dance into a room full of people who helped her celebrate the “first 90 years”!   Tough to beat that!

I have always made time for my kids, I still see them very regularly despite them being adults now.  I coached their soccer for many years, never missing a match and only missed a very occasional practice in all those years.  I have been at every significant event in their lives, teacher interviews, sports games, graduation … you name it.  We have since adopted a family tradition of celebrating birthdays/Xmas/special days on a day that works for all of us … which works with their busy lives too, and allows them flexibility with their partner’s families! 

I have always found time for exercise … when the kids were small we started to invest in good home equipment and today we still have a good home gym that remains well used.  I have also played soccer my whole life, arranging my travel schedule to meet the team commitments.

So what is my point?

Even the busiest people can MAKE time for the things that are important to them … if it is important enough, you find a way!

There is tremendous pride in a successful career, and that takes hard work and dedication … but if you truly want to be happy you need to make time for ALL of the important things in your life. 

Don’t have regrets … live the life you want to live, the cost of not doing those important things is just not worth it.

NOTE:

Here are some ways that people will read this advice …

1.  Its more important to do the fun stuff than worry about your career … NOT my message;

2.  That’s easy for him to say, he is his own boss.  The glass half empty perspective … you always have choices, and you can be creative in meeting your goals.

3.  Now I can use this to tell my boss I need more “Work Life balance” …  NOT my message.  You are responsible for YOU … find a way to make your life what you want it to be.

PS.  This does not happen overnight … it takes a lot of work, a willingness to do what it takes to meet your ends and a positive attitude. 

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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!
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A Remote Work Experiment

As we all know the Winters in Canada can be long and brutally cold … in years past my wife and I have taken a warm weather break in the February/March time frame, heading south to the Caribbean, Mexico or Florida.  It was a welcome break, especially for a guy who is definitely not a Winter person.

This year we are experimenting with a different approach to Winter and have chosen to work remotely from a warm destination for six weeks, and perhaps start a new tradition!  I thought it might be interesting to talk about why we can do it, how we are doing it and perhaps add some lessons learned for the future.

How Are We Able to Do it?

Clearly this is not something that just anyone can do … our special circumstances mean that we can.  We own our own business, we have an excellent management team in place that operates the business on a day to day basis, a large portion of our daily activities are on the phone or computer and there is no requirement for us to be face to face with people for most of our meetings.  In fact, we generally operate our National business out of Ottawa or Toronto, and where we are has little affect on our ability to do our job.

Making it work.

Clearly the biggest factor for us was technology … we needed to have a good/reliable internet and phone connections.   With the good internet connection comes the ability to Skype, of which we are taking full advantage.

We have a regularly scheduled courier bringing physical mail to us here, and we will need to figure out how to send stuff back if needed,  We also have the ability to scan documents so there may not be a need for couriers back to Canada.

With those issues solved we felt we need somewhere big enough that we could both work, comfortably and with some privacy.  To achieve that we rented a nice house for the six weeks, and given we want to enjoy our time here we have a pool and the beach is across the road 🙂

We picked up some supplies here … a relatively cheap printer and paper (we elected not to bring those down with us).  We are still considering getting a local Florida mobile phone, but have not done so yet.

Some Lessons …

The biggest thing, like in most things in life, is attitude … it would be easy to “slack off”, not put in the hours and treat this more like a vacation.  We are still refining the routine that will work best for us, but we have set up little “office areas”, and we are disciplined about our work.  We have goals for the six weeks, we have a couple of larger projects to get done in addition to our normal routine work, so we have forced ourselves to “get it done”.  Being business owners we have lots of motivation, but I can see that this would probably be tough for many people … there are definitely lots of potential distractions.

On a smaller note, establishing a routine that feel right can be tougher than you would expect.  Coming here felt like coming on vacation, so it has needed some mental discipline to keep focused on the fact that we need to work … and we have lots to get done!

We chose to drive down from Canada to Florida, and while the early travel was through some nasty weather, all in all it was a good decision.  We were able to bring more “stuff” … and our dog, who actually prefers the cooler weather!

Early Thoughts …

As yet I have no regrets, I feel like I am productive and I am enjoying nice weather.  Of course when I heard about Canadian temperatures in the -50C range I was sold!

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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!
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Happy Holidays

This is Eagle’s Holiday Card this year … and hopefully it demonstrates what this season should be all about.  Giving!

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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!

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10 Rules on How to Enjoy Your Life!

Kevin’s 10 rules about how to REALLY enjoy your life …

1.  Accept that your life is in your hands.

Don’t expect other people to solve your problems, make life easy for you or hand you “stuff” on a silver platter!  Your parents, the government, the union, your boss or any other individual or organization … they are not there to make your life easier.  That is your job!

2.  Do NOT be envious of other people’s lives.

Don’t look at the person next to you and envy their possessions, their looks, their wealth or anything else about them.  Worrying about whether your work colleague might make a few dollars more than you is a sure fire way to become disappointed!  Focus on your life, what can you do better, how can you improve, how can you get where you want to go!

3.  Be consciously thankful!

Identify all of the things for which you could be grateful … and recognise how lucky you are!  If you are reading this then you are better off than most of the world’s population already!

4.  Give to others.

It could be money, time, goods, or all of the above.  Giving is a sure fire way to make yourself feel better.

5.  Push yourself.

Muscles grow when you work them, the brain grows when you work it, you grow as a person when you push yourself.  Life should never be TOO easy, you NEED a little stress in your life!

6.  Be good to yourself.

Reward your successes.  Don’t be hard on your failings … they are learning experiences.  Treat yourself every now and then … but remember a treat is only a treat if it is an occasional thing!

7.  Don’t expect life to be fair.

Things happen in life … deal with them!   Adversity brings out the best in us, and overcoming adversity is very rewarding.

8.  Cultivate friends, work on your relationships.

Steven Covey talked about the emotional bank account.  We have such an account with everyone in our lives.  We make deposits to those bank accounts when we invest in our relationships … take time to get together, buy a present, compliment, “be there” for a friend.  We make withdrawals when we neglect or abuse those relationships … ignore our friends, miss those special occasions, perhaps get angry with someone.  If we consciously try to work at building up the deposits then we will have strong relationships … and those are important to have in your life.

9.  Make lists.

Things to do; things to see; goals; BIG goals; Life goals; career goals; relationship goals; health goals.  If you have lists then you can work at reaching those goals … and you won’t have regrets for things you might have done!

10.  Don’t be a Victim.

Accept ALL of the above, decide here and now that YOU are responsible for YOU, and take responsibility for making the best of what you have! 

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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!

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