CEO Blog

Category Archives: Personal Development

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

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!

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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?
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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!

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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?
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Do You Have a “Happy List”?

Happiness quote by CarnegieA “Happy List” is just a list of things that make you happy, cause you to smile or for which you are thankful.

10 thoughts on what to have on the list …

  1.  If you were born in a first world country with access to all of the amenities of a modern civilization, then really think about how many things you take for granted, for which you should be TRULY thankful!
  2. Do you have friends, family and/or nice acquaintances?
  3. Do you have good health.
  4. Do you have a good education?
  5. Do you have a job?
  6. I LOVE riding my motorbike … what do you love?
  7. I get a kick out of sunsets, nice scenery, nature etc.
  8. I love to read a good book or watch a good movie.
  9. I have access to technology and all that the internet has to offer.
  10.  I live in a free society.

“Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.” William Adams

There are SO many things to put on that list and each of the above items could create 10 others.  Let your imagination run free.

3 Reasons to create your “Happy List”

  1.  Just creating it will lift your spirits.
  2. Revisiting it when you need a boost will lift your soul when you most need it.
  3. Reading it, and adding to it, on a regular basis will make you a more positive person.

“If you start to think the problem is ‘out there,’ stop yourself. That thought is the problem.” Stephen Covey

It is an easy way to have a positive impact on your own life … just do it!

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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?
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Hard Work and Success … the Link!

Hard work quote by edisonWe know that successful people work hard.

We also know that lots of people work hard and are not particularly successful.

It is probably fair to say that lots of people think they work hard and struggle to understand why they are not successful.

It is probably also fair to say that a very few people don’t work very hard at all, but they are successful.

So … what is going on?

Here are just a few truths …

  1.  Life is not fair … get over it.
  2. There are things you can control and things you can’t control … you CAN control your work ethic.
  3. If you are working hard and not getting where you want to go, then something has to change … but it should not be your work ethic, unless you just THINK you are working hard!
  4. Most successful people also work smart!
  5. There are very few free lunches!

What could you think about?

  1.  Perhaps you are working hard, but on the wrong things?
  2.  Perhaps you are not working as hard as you could be?
  3.  Perhaps you are in the wrong job?
  4.  Can you emulate someone who is successful in your profession?
  5.  Maybe it is just a matter of time?

Work quote maya angelouSome thoughts on work ethic …

  1.  How many productive hours are you working?
  2.  How much time do you waste in a day?  Personal stuff, non-productive tasks or distractions.
  3.  Do you consider being available through email/smartphone as working hard?
  4.  Productivity should be your goal … whatever that takes.
  5.  You should work hard for yourself, not for anyone else.
  6.  Don’t kid yourself about your work ethic.

Don’t expect success if you are not willing to do the work.

Doing the work does not guarantee success.

Not doing the work all but guarantees you won’t be successful.

Not everyone is focused on career success.  Many people just want to earn a living and in that case, all that is required is to do is a fair day’s work to earn an income.  Of course it is still called work, and if you have to do it then why not do it well?

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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?
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Appreciate What You Have!

Thankfulness quote from OprahIt is easy to take things for granted!

Four examples ….

  1.  On a grand scale we take our situation for granted with our “first world” problems.

We live in an instant-everything kind of world.  Instant information, music, sports, food, entertainment, friends … you name it, you can get access to it instantaneously.

Yet more than half the world’s population, more than 3 billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day.

2.  Even living in the “first world” environment, there are “haves” and “have nots”.

We take our situation for granted working in modern companies.  We work in jobs that provide us with an ever growing list of benefits … guaranteed income levels, flexible working conditions, additional health benefits, extra time off, social events, special recognition of work achievements and on and on.

At the same time many, many people work multiple jobs to make ends meet, earn minimum wage or live hand to mouth.  Homelessness and poverty are abundant even in our rich society.

3.  At a personal level we take the people in our lives for granted.

It is often the people closest to us that we take for granted.  Our immediate family, for whom we would “walk on hot rocks”, yet we also mistreat them for trivial arguments.  We often forget to tell people how we feel about them, generating regret when the relationship sours or worse, they are no longer here!

4.  Also at a personal level we take our health for granted.

We don’t get regular check ups, we don’t work out enough, we eat poorly, and adopt poor lifestyle habits.  At some point it all catches up and again we are left with regrets.

  1.  DON”T take your life for granted, appreciate what you have!
  2.  Be PROACTIVE in driving your life to be a life with few regrets.
  3. LIVE life, enjoy life and be kind to others.

“No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.”  Marc and Angel

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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?
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Warning: Email Can Harm Your Relationships

Quote by Geroge Bernard Shaw on CommunicationIn many ways the heading of this article is similar to those warnings you see on bags of peanuts … Warning: This product may contain nut products.

We all KNOW that email is a lousy form of communication, but it is so easy.

We KNOW that it is very easy to inadvertently (or purposely) send a negative message.

We KNOW that we shouldn’t send them when we are angry.

We KNOW that we cannot convey subtle messages or body language.

We KNOW that the same message read by three different people will be interpreted three different ways.

We KNOW that a situation that is tense OR complex (even slightly complex) OR emotional OR controversial should never be addressed by an email.

SO …. TALK to people!

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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?
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Life Long Learning

learning quote from Brian HerbertWhen did you last take some training?

When did you last invest in your own career?  (Forget about what your employer does.)

Do you have a personal training plan?

Do you have a career plan?

Do you understand how your industry is being affected by technology, by regulatory change and by global competition?

Can a call centre in Africa do a part of your job … for a fraction of the cost?

Can a robot replace you … or some part of what you do?

Is your company being overtaken by disruption?

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  Henry Ford

Take control of your own destiny, because life has a way of happening:

  • have a great attitude (its all in your head);
  • have  a good work ethic (anyone can do this, but many don’t!); and
  • have great skills.

Take advantage of every training opportunity possible AND invest in yourself!

“Those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their work and to their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future.”  Brian Tracy

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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?
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What Do You Think Makes a Good Leader?

Leadership quote from DruckerThere are many books about leadership, and advice is plentiful.  I find it interesting to read the theories from people who have worked in large corporations versus those who have worked in smaller (more entrepreneurial?) companies.   There are the academics who provide their theories and the consultants who bring their ideas.  There are books from military leaders, business leaders, religious leaders and almost any walk of life.

The people that capture my attention the most are those who have significant business experience.  Those who have seen success but also experience failure.  The people who know that despite all the books in the world, there are no cookie cutters!

I have been around the block a few times, worked for large companies and small. I have worked in the lowliest of positions and been CEO of my own company for twenty years.  In reality, just like everyone else, all I have is opinion, based on that background.

I believe that many people are enamored with the prospect of leadership, but it is usually far tougher than they expect and their willingness to pay their dues is often questionable.  The type of traits that I would value in leaders might look like this:

1.  They make things happen … they make decisions, they find a way, they move towards a goal!

2.  They lead by example … they do not use the phrase, “Do as as I say, not as I do!”  They are authentic.

3.  They treat everyone equitably … they don’t play favorites, they build a team culture and they are humble.

4.  They strive for continuous improvement … they want to grow their organizations, to get better at what they do.

5.  They are empathetic … recognising that we all need an ear sometimes.

6.  They are tough … they make the tough decisions, they dole out “tough love”.

7.  They have a strong work ethic … they are productive, they don’t work less than they expect their staff to work.

8.  They are consistent … you always know where you stand with them.

9.  They listen … they are not afraid to hire strong people, and they listen to them.

10.  They are glass half full people … they motivate those around them!

If YOU want to be a leader then you should strive to be a good leader, and work on these attributes.  Good leaders are made NOT born!

“Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise.”  Woodrow Wilson

Another reality is that nobody is perfect, so the drive to be the best leader you can be is an essential characteristic of any great leader.

What do you think?

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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?
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“Why?” Is a Powerful Tool

wHY?There are certain words and phrases that really stand out in business … “Why?’ is certainly one of them.

Why, You might ask?

Right there is a perfect example of the power of this word.  When coupled with the ability AND discipline to actually listen, it will open up a treasure trove of information.

“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”   Bernard Baruch

Too many people are too busy talking to be actually learn anything!  Sad … but true.

How many salespeople have you met who just “dump” every reason why anybody ever bought their product or service … without even an attempt to understand WHY you might be interested!

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”  Voltaire

How many interviewers ask a question and then take the answer at face value?  Here is the thing,  with every ask of the question “why?” you get another layer deep and that much closer to what you really need to know.

How many times have you just accepted a decision without asking why?  It is truly amazing how many decisions are made without the decision maker really thinking through the reason for the decision.  If they asked themselves “WHY?” then just maybe they would have come up with the right answer.

“A sense of curiosity is nature’s original school of education.”  Smiley Blanton

Steven Covey’s Habit #5 is Seek First to Understand … THEN to be understood.  He knew what he was talking about … how can you provide answers if you don’t really know the question?

If there is ONE thing that you can do to enhance your career it is to be more curious, to ask the question “Why?” … a lot!

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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?
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Getting Started If You are Overwhelmed and Disorganised

Jim Rohn Start from wherever you areMany people find themselves in this situation … overwhelmed and unsure about how to dig out from under the pile!

I could talk all day about good time management practices but when you are in this position you just need some help.

“Time is what we want most, but what we spend worst.”  William Penn

  1. Make something happen.  Inertia is addictive, and the more you become paralyzed by your situation the worse it gets.  So pick something that is important and just get it done!  Focus entirely on getting that one thing done and ignore the other things on your plate.
  2. Once you have one thing off your plate … remind yourself that you did it!  You had a success.  Do NOT get overwhelmed again … pick another thing. and get that done.
  3. Choosing the things to get done can also be paralyzing … so don’t overthink it.  Remember you were getting nothing done before, so this is significant progress.
  4. Complex tasks can be tiring, and completing them one after the other can be draining.  Mix things up a bit by adding in smaller (still important tasks) in between the larger ones.

Completing work gives a sense of accomplishment, and provides a little relief to that “overwhelmed” feeling.  However, it is only by taking control of your day that you will feel in control, and relieve that stress.

“Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.”  Pandora Poikilos

So … the long term solution is to get organised!

  1. Create  a To Do List (or several To Do lists … all the tasks you NEED to do.
  2. Prioritise your work … what is important and what is urgent!
  3. Organise your calendar so that you have time set aside for the work to be done.  Create meetings with yourself so you won’t be interrupted.
  4. Delegate what you can … if possible.
  5. Ignore what you can … not everything is important.
  6. Be very focused on getting stuff done … rather than worrying about how you will get it ALL done..
  7. Use the triage method of organising  your work, just like the hospital.  The most urgent (and important) items get done first.
  8. Get help!  Whether it could be advice and guidance from your management, ideas and tips from your colleagues, or training on time management from wherever you can get it!

Life is too short to be living under such stress.  If you apply your skills in an organised manner you may well surprise yourself at how much you can achieve AND how good you feel about those achievements.

“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”  George Patton

Good time management practices could probably reduce workplace stress significantly!

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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?
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