CEO Blog

Category Archives: Personal Development

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

Selling Internally

Leadership quote by Ken BlanchardAs a young salesperson I was often reminded that is was important to sell “internally” just as much as I sold “externally’.  There were lots of examples why, but generally they involved getting people onside with my sales situations.

  • I had to convince proposal writers to put in that extra effort so my proposals were the best they could be;
  • I had to work with contracts professionals to address potential contractual concerns;
  • I had to convince management that we had a good chance of winning, so that we would invest the effort in a bid;
  • I had to convince technical management to put effort into the solution; and
  • I would need to convince management that we could make money at the bid price.

I could have just expected everyone to “do their job”.

I could have just focused on the external client … and hoped we won.

By working closely with all of my “internal clients”, by influencing their decisions,  I improved our chances of success, and they helped me to better understand the sales situation.  They pushed me as much as I pushed them.

This doesn’t just apply to sales.

If you are in management and not working hard to sell your fellow managers on your business ideas, investment strategies, hiring plans, sales plans etc. then you are missing an opportunity to help your own, and your fellow manager’s success.  If they support you then your success is more assured … and of course vice versa, you need to support them.

If you are a partner in a business and are not selling your fellow partners on your activities then you are not building the relationship that you ultimately need with your partners.  You need their support and they need yours!

Worse still is the toxic environment where people work to undermine their fellow employee, manager, partner etc.  Is there anything worse?  Nobody needs a colleague actively trying to undermine them!  When it happens at the management levels and above, everyone knows it … and it breeds a toxic environment throughout the company.

“The strength of the team is each individual member.  The strength of each member is the team. “  Phil Jackson

The best companies have a TEAM culture, their people push each other but in a supportive way.  They celebrate each other’s success and “have each other’s back”.

Internal selling  (or influencing) is one way to demonstrate leadership and combat the “political” environment that a toxic culture generates.

What kind of environment are you creating?

What kind of environment would you prefer as a place of work?

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”  Helen Keller

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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 Your Job!

Sharma quote Productivity versus busynessThere are many duties associated with most jobs … but inevitably there are “core” parts to your role.  It is critical that you (a) understand what they are; and (b) focus your attention on them!

“Every job is a self-portrait  of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with EXCELLENCE.”

If we use the staffing world as an example, there are two primary roles in most staffing companies (some companies combine them into one role) the salesperson and the recruiter.

If you are a salesperson then you will have a million “things to do” … planning, networking, customer service, prospecting, negotiating, presenting, entertaining and on and on.  However at the end of the day if you are not “closing business” then you are not meeting the most important  part of your job.

If you are a recruiter then you too, have a million things on your “To Do” list.  You will be understanding job roles, searching for candidates, interviewing, reviewing resumes, handling crises for your candidates, networking, and on and on.  However if you are not getting candidates accepted by your clients then you are not fulfilling the most important aspect of your role.

Some advice:

  1.  Understand what is MOST important in your role and focus your energies there!
  2. Do NOT make yourself busy with all of those OTHER tasks , and yes they need to be done, but you are not fooling anyone by hiding from the tough parts of the job!

“The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.”  Oscar Wilde

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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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Don’t Be a Luddite

John Maxwell quote about changeDuring the industrial revolution the Luddites opposed change and fought against the notion that machines would be used to get around labour laws.

The term Luddite today is used to describe anyone who opposes automation and new technologies.

We are on the cusp of another breakthrough, similar in impact to the industrial evolution or the information technology age, and along with all of the benefits, it will spawn the next generation of Luddites.

This evolution will see Artificial Intelligence in many forms, impact our lives.

  • Jobs will be lost in the same way that typing pools were replaced by word processing technology.
  • The Internet of Things will come with the smarts to effect our daily lives in ways we can only begin to understand.
  • Robots and robotics will also advance with AI smarts to preform more complex tasks than previously thought possible.

We will continue to be impacted by the effects of globalisation, including the offshoring of jobs, the access to goods produced in low cost environments and the ability of entrepreneurs to enter foreign markets easily and quickly through the internet.

We are experiencing a huge change in the way we work.  The retiring boomers leave a big gap to fill and there are not enough people in Western countries to fill those gaps.  Skilled talent is in demand (the #1 concern of CEOs worldwide) and progressive countries are finding ways to attract this talent.  There is a growth in self employment, evidenced with the gig economy and the many enabling technologies that make this possible.  People work from home, and jobs are shared more often than ever.

“It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.”  W Edward Deming

So … how are we to respond in an era of such change?

Here are some thoughts:

  1.  Change is inevitable.  Fighting change is like trying to hold back the tide.  Embrace change and find a way to make it work for you.
  2. The industrial revolution ultimately resulted in more jobs, a better standard of living and better work conditions.
  3. Factors that will work in favor of job opportunity include:
    • the impact of demographics that will create job shortages,
    • the new economy jobs requiring more tech skills and
    • the opening of global markets that any company can now access.
  4. The way to protect yourself in this new world is not to fight change, but rather to invest in your skills.  Get “in demand” skills which might include any profession or trade and develop great soft skills, or better yet get involved with emerging technologies.
  5. In a world where we will see more and more shortages of talent, companies will hire for attitude first, and skills second.  Do you have a positive attitude and strong work ethic?  Find experience that will prove these assets!
  6. Companies need to be profitable in order to survive, so make sure that you are important to your employer.  Just putting in time will not make you a “keeper”.

With change comes opportunity.  I believe that this amount of change is going to create a ton of opportunity.

I also believe that it will not fall in our lap … and it will be easy to be left behind.

So … invest in yourself and learn new skills.

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.”  Charles Kettering

Do NOT become the modern day Luddite, but rather focus on the opportunities.

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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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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International Day of Pink – Today

Day of PinkToday Eagle is encouraging all of our staff to wear pink in support of the International Day of Pink. We will be wearing T-shirts, ties, socks, hairbands — whatever pink items that we have!  I have my pink shirt on, and some pink in my socks!
The International Day of Pink
The International Day of Pink was started in Nova Scotia when two straight high school students saw a gay student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. The two students intervened, but wanted to do more to prevent homophobic and transphobic bullying. They decided to purchase pink shirts, and a few days later got everyone at school to arrive wearing pink, standing in solidarity. The result was that an entire school took a stand and began working together to prevent homophobic and transphobic bullying.
Anyone can bully, anyone can be victimized by bullying, but together we can stop it.
There are always things that we can do to improve our world and our community … this is just one more small thing.  Show your support, it is how society evolves.
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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 Plan?

Goals quote by NightingaleGoals can make a big difference in your life.

If you have no real plan for your life then here are a few thoughts for you.

1. If you don’t know where you are going, then you might not like where you end up.
2. If you have trouble defining where that end point should be, or what it looks like, then pick a point along the way! e.g. If you don’t know what your career will look like in 10 years, then decide where you would like to be in a year.
3. Aim big. If you shoot for the stars you might not get there, but you will go a long way towards them. If you aim for the roof, you might not even get there!

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”   Bruce Lee

4. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! So … plan your strategy for success in small bits, it will make it easier to achieve.
5. Review your plans regularly, make sure you are tracking to plan and adjust accordingly.
6. Get help! Find a mentor/mentors, people that will help you.
7. Treat your life seriously … you only get one shot! So, make sure you do what you want with it … and make sure you enjoy it!
8. Fact: Hard work and good planning will get you a LONG way! If you apply some smarts to that formula you will rock the world!

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”  Nelson Mandela

9. Its not all about you! Sometimes you get more by giving. You will need to figure this out for yourselves, but my advice is to “give” as much as you can.
10. Every day is the start of the rest of your life, if you are late starting on your journey that’s OK. Just start!

“I do know that when I am 60, I should be attempting to achieve different personal goals than those which had priority at age 20.”  Warren Buffett

Goals don’t have to be hard … but you really should have some.

“To live a fulfilled life, we need to keep creating the “what is next”, of our lives. Without dreams and goals there is no living, only merely existing, and that is not why we are here.”  Mark Twain

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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?
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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!”

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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?
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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.

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”  Stephen Covey

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!

“The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”  Vince Lombardi

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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?
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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!

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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?
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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!

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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?
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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!

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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?
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