CEO Blog

Category Archives: Personal Development

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

Personal Accountability

You are Responsible for youWe are all responsible for our own destiny.

Yes … some people have a lot more hurdles to overcome than others.  Those hurdles might include medical, environmental, mental or any other kind of challenge.

“Decide carefully, exactly what you want in life.  Then work like mad to make sure you get it.”  Hector Crawford

BUT …

We all have some innate talents.

We all have the ability to improve our talents.

We can all work hard.

We can all choose to adopt a positive attitude.

We can all work through adversity and get stronger.

We can all bring our “A” game every day.

We can all make choices that will improve our lives.

We can all decide that there are no excuses … we WILL achieve our goals.

We can all “suck it up”, accept some pain and discomfort to reach a worthwhile target.

We can all set some goals and put a plan in place to get there.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t you are right!”  Henry Ford

We just have to choose to do it … and apply the self discipline to follow through.

Choose to be a better you.  I don’t know anyone who couldn’t improve something in their lives.

“Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.”  Jim Rohn

It doesn’t matter how old you are.

It doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have.

It doesn’t matter how much success you have enjoyed to date … or not.

Everyone can be a better version of themselves … all it takes is a choice, and then the will to make that choice real!

“its not about how badly you want it!  Its about how hard you are going to work to get it!”

——————————————————————————————————————————
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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Advice for Your First Job

Kevin in Royal NavyDo you remember your first job?

I was 16 years old when I joined the Royal Navy and I had no idea what it meant to work for a living. Not that you are given much choice in the forces, you will do the job, you will do it as efficiently as you can … or you catch a whole bunch of grief. Its actually not a bad way to learn about life.

For the new grad coming into the workforce today, they come from an environment where they maybe had to get out of bed before 9am some days, they might even have had the odd day with 6 hours worth of work involved! Now, this crazy new employer wants them at the office at 8:30, wants a FULL day of work and no goofing off before 5pm. What’s up with that?

Well … it is definitely a mind shift. Hopefully it doesn’t take a few jobs before you realise that first job wasn’t really all that bad. They had a decent attitude to fun, they had some nice perks that you hadn’t realised were unique, they were willing to teach you and let you grow.

My advice to the first timer in a new job!

1. Take it seriously … do everything as well as you can.

2. Don’t be sucked into the “negative” crowd. Be yourself, and make your own decisions about your level of commitment.

3. Its very easy to stand out … do good work, care about what you do, be cheerful, put in a little extra!

4. Remember that you are going to spend a lot of time on the job, for your whole working career. You can choose to do it with a glass half full attitude or not … either way you are going to be there!

5. Don’t assume anything … ask tons of questions, but use your brain! If you are anyway smart let it come through … without making silly mistakes.

6. Remember the office is not home and your coworkers are not your family … put on your professional face, don’t bring baggage to the office.

7. Don’t look for ways to do less, to get more time off or to work the system … its obvious!

8. Look for the positive in everything!

9. Treat people well … no matter who they are!

10. Walk fast and smile!

——————————————————————————————————————————
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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Business Owner? Invest in YOU!

learning quote from Brian HerbertEagle has been working with independent contractors for more than twenty years.  One of the challenges that any business owner faces is in personal development and it is particularly tough for the owner of a one person business.  If “the business” is taking time out for training, then it is not making money  and a second issue is that the business also has to pay for training.

When I started Eagle I had a similar dilemma, how do I continue to learn about running a business and still do my day job.

“Develop a passion for learning.  If you do, you will never cease to grow.”  Anthony J D’Angelo

Here are some ideas:

Read! It seems obvious … but so few people do it! I love the Executive Book Summaries because they are an 8 page (20 minute read) synopsis of some of the greatest business books. A very affordable annual fee lets me download pdf files that I print and read when I have a few minutes between meetings or when I’m traveling! I also subscribe to Harvard Business Review which produces short, very informative and relevant documents that keep me thinking, give me ideas and help me to stay relevant.

Network! I started a small group of fellow CEOs that gathered on a monthly basis to share stories and collectively grow. There are many existing groups that provide the same experience.  Over the years I have belonged to numerous such groups .. including the group of CEOs who ride motorcycles!  If you are an independent contractor why not start your own networking group?

Online Training.   In recent years there has been an explosion of available, and free or very affordable, training online.  Sites such as Coursera and others like it have great training in a plethora of subjects.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”  John F Kennedy

My advice to any business owner, particularly the independent operator …invest a little in yourself and you differentiate from almost everyone else!

——————————————————————————————————————————
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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Business Relationships

Trust Sales quote from Zig ZiglarBusiness relationships are just like any other relationships … they need to be nurtured, they need investment and they need a level of commitment.

Clients WILL buy from people they trust, and you do not achieve trust without establishing some kind of relationship.

In almost any business relationship there will come times of stress … where the parties need to fix something, or renegotiate something or have tough conversations.  These situations are always easier if there is a good relationship and a level of trust.

Salespeople and business owners work hard to develop these business relationships and clients invest their time and energy in them too.  There are many ways that they evolve and grow, but here are some ideas:

  1.  Make promises and always deliver (over deliver if at all possible).  This does not have to be hard it could be as simple as committing to send an interesting article by the weekend and doing it the minute you get back to your desk (but never forgetting to send it)!
  2. Meet face to face.  The phone is good, email is a good way to share some stuff but face to face is how you get to know people and they get to know you.
  3. Be truly interested in the other person.
  4. Find ways to bring additional value.  Share interesting articles, data, information, market knowledge for example.
  5. Have regular contact … without wasting anyone’s time.  (Touching base is a lazy approach … you should have a valid business reason, and ideally an agenda for a to meeting!)
  6. Never waste their time.
  7. Be positive … keep your own negatives to yourself!
  8. Listen more than you talk.
  9. All large client organisations have valid governance concerns about undue influence of their buyers, so be mindful of these.
  10. It always helps a relationship to have some meetings under more informal settings.  Breakfast, lunch, coffee, drinks after work or even a game of golf (even though I hate golf) can help people get to know each other better.  (Be mindful of #9 above).

Every business relationship will hit a bump in the road at some point, and if you don’t have a relationship built on trust and credibility, beyond the terms of a contract then that bump may feel like a mountain!

“The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection.”  Robin Sharma

Invest in those business relationships!

——————————————————————————————————————————
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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Apologies

How to apologiseWe all make mistakes.

We don’t always own our mistakes.

Whether it is pride or hubris, embarrassment or just avoidance … we will avoid owning up to our mistakes.

It is a pity really, because along with mistakes comes a great opportunity to strengthen a relationship.

This applies equally at work or at home!

Some of the best client relationships come from tough situations handled well.

You will often hear that couples will tolerate arguments because the “making up” can be so good!

So if you erred … apologise, own it AND find a way to make it right!

——————————————————————————————————————————
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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

 

Nobody Has ALL the Answers!

Mark Twain on Lifelong learningWe have all met them.

“Leaders” who have all the answers.

They have the “experience” … maybe they have “credentials” … perhaps they “read a lot”.

For whatever reason, they believe that they already know the answers.

They MIGHT ask your opinion … but we know they don’t really want to hear it.

More often than not they don’t even ask your opinion.

“A man who asks is a fool for five minutes. A man who never asks is a fool for life.” Chinese proverb

Here is the deal.

The BEST leaders listen to any good ideas.

They KNOW that they always have more to learn and they WANT to learn.

They take all and any input so that they can come up with informed decisions.

They hire people that are better than them!

They are willing to share their knowledge readily, but in a constructive way.

They want their people to learn … but they also want to learn from their people.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”      Alvin Toffler

Some thoughts …

What was relevant yesterday soon becomes obsolete.

What worked yesterday may not work today

Other people also have experiences.

You are very likely NOT the smartest person in the room.

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”   Jiddu Krishnamurti

I don’t care how smart you are, how experienced you are, or how much education you have  …  you can always learn more!

——————————————————————————————————————————
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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

 

Make People Smile!

Be the reason someone smiles todayWouldn’t it be nice if someone did something to make you feel good?

It wouldn’t need to be big … they might go and get you a coffee, bring you a cup cake, tell you a joke, give you a sincere compliment … there are many ways that someone could bring a smile to your face.

Well what if YOU were that someone bringing a smile to other people?

“It costs nothing to be nice.”

What if those kind actions were contagious?

I think that we could create a “NICE Movement” … maybe a National Day of Nice Actions?

“A few nice words can help a person a lot more than you think.”

There is an awful lot of hate and negative BS in the world … let’s try to make life just a little NICER.  Be consciously NICE to strangers, co-workers, family and friends … and see how that works!

——————————————————————————————————————————
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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

 

Grit

quote Public glories or private sacrifices for successIn amongst some old movies that I watched over the holiday period was a remake of an old John Wayne movie, True Grit.

It got me thinking about the importance of grit, albeit in a slightly different way than in the “Old West”, in today’s business world.

I don’t know an entrepreneur who doesn’t have grit.

I don’t know a successful leader who doesn’t have grit.

I don’t know a successful salesperson or any professional, who doesn’t have grit.

You need grit to deal with failure, challenges, set backs, uncomfortable situations, tough negotiations, tough bosses, tough clients … and all of the realities of life .

I have often said that life is not meant to be easy … no matter how much we wish it were, the reality is “It is tough out there!”, and you need grit to survive, let along thrive.  As a consequence, it is battling through the tough situations that provides us with opportunities for growth.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”  Colin Powell

In the movie, Rooster Cogburn was willing to take on all-comers and overcome whatever hardships necessary, in order to catch his quarry.

In real life we need to overcome many hurdles and challenges to achieve any measure of success.  Typically the bigger the goal, the bigger the challenges.  it will most certainly not always be plain sailing.

Yet it is within all of us to reach our goals, IF we are willing “do what it takes”, and battle through those challenges and tough times before we reach that goal.

GRIT is not a trendy thing to talk about, yet every society needs these people.

“Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun.  You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.”  Mary Lou Retton

We live in an ultra competitive global market, and it is the people willing to sacrifice, do what it takes, overcome adversity and beat out competition who build businesses, create jobs and drive the economy forward.

Every successful organisation needs grit from its employees in order to reach ambitious goals.  This can mean government organisations and non-profit organisations as well as companies.

So … even if GRIT is not trendy,  if you want to achieve any level of success in your life then you should work on developing yours!

——————————————————————————————————————————
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?
——————————————————————————————————————————

2017 Resolutions Made Easy

Goals quote by NightingaleIt took me a while to understand the power of goals and the need to have them in my life.  I expect that the reasons I resisted were similar the reasons most people resist:

  • Goal setting seems like an academic exercise:
  • I wasn’t sure how to start:
  • I wasn’t sure how to set realistic goals;
  • It all feel like work, maybe I would do it tomorrow!

I’m sure you have heard all of the good reasons why you should have goals …

  • If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there;
  • Goals help to focus your efforts;
  • Goals are like a road map for life, they guide you in your decisions.

Well hopefully I can help you to get started, and to commit to giving it a try.

This is a great time of year for goal setting. Those people who set goals last year can develop a score card, and understand what they achieved and where they fell short. This will feed into their goals for 2017.

All good stuff … but goals are for other people, right?

  • Wrong … if you really want to take charge of your life then goals are for you! Why should you do it now, when you have procrastinated every year until now? Because I am going to make it easy for you … and if you try it you will see results!The following are the steps I took to get started …Step 1. I developed categories that worked for me …
  • Health and Fitness
  • Vacation
  • Career
  • Family
  • Training/Education

Step 2. I set at least one goal for each category, several goals in some categories. Here are some examples …

Under health and fitness you might want to lose 5lb by March 2017; you might want to add weights into your workout routine at least twice a week; you might plan to reduce coffee consumption to 2 per day. Etc.

Under Vacation you should really give some thought about where you would like to go this year. It could be to enjoy the cottage at least 12 weekends, or plan a weekend getaway without the kids; or take a 2 week vacation somewhere exotic etc.

Under Career you might set a goal of mastering certain aspects of your current role by the Fall; having a career planning meeting with your boss or HR; or developing a training plan to advance your career.

The goals that you pick need to be achievable and within your control. This way you will see progress and as you do progress you can always add more goals or increase the “intensity”.

Step 3. Plan into your calendar a monthly review. At that review you will check your progress against each goal and will create action items to address them … which will go onto your “to do” list (of course you have a “to do” list!).

This is a very basic, easily managed approach to goal setting. You can obviously get much more complicated and sophisticated but this works and the most important thing is to start somewhere.

Try it … this time next year you can be sitting and reviewing how you did in all of those categories and planning for 2018! Good luck!

——————————————————————————————————————————
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?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Avoid Unintended Consequences

Drucker quote about decision makingHow many times do we see a negative impact from seemingly harmless or well-intentioned actions?

We see it from governments who implement well-intentioned legislation only to cause negative affects in the “real world”.    As just one small example, attempts to help the “underdog” will often increase costs to business owners, and for small business owners the impact will be felt in lost jobs.

We see it from companies who will have a knee-jerk reaction to a “one off” situation and bring in rules that have negative consequences.  If you implement restrictive policies because of one bad experience then you create a less welcoming environment and that will be felt when trying to compete for talent with companies that are not so restrictive.

We all do it at a personal level.  We do or say things that inadvertently cause ripples.  It might be social niceties such as inviting some people to the party and inadvertently upsetting others, or by complimenting one friend and another takes offense.

If you want to avoid unintended consequences, then you need to think “bigger picture”, and you need to be sensitive to your actions.

Some things you might consider:

  1.  Don’t make knee jerk decisions.  Take the emotion out of your decisions and let some time pass before you “act”.
  2. Get input.  Consider other people’s perspectives.
  3. Think ahead.  Try to anticipate what else you should consider;  who else you should consider and how else your decision might have impact.
  4. Have a plan that includes (a) the objective you want to achieve, (b) a plan to get to that objective and (c) any possible outcomes from your plan.

It is possible that the decision is more important than any repercussions, but in that case the consequences are not unintended … they are just consequences!

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”  Yogi Berra

Obviously we can’t anticipate everything, but TOO often we don’t even try … make an effort, thoughtfulness is always appreciated!

——————————————————————————————————————————
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?
——————————————————————————————————————————