Tag Archives: empowering

The Lollipop Moment

My daughter is in grade seven and just made house captain. She’s thrilled by this honor. Her teachers and peers say she was chosen not for her outstanding popularity or nor her ability to influence others by extroverted behavior. Her most outstanding leadership characteristics have been demonstrated every year since Kindergarten in her ability to take her own initiative and to lead by example.  Today, she showed me this TEDx video that truly resonated with me on the theme of leadership. My daughter is totally inspired by the concept that leadership can take light in the everyday, ordinary world.

It’s in the small stuff where one can make the biggest differences.  Leadership can thereby be found in every individual. It is in the art of these small, lollipop moments that the biggest impacts on people can be made. This is a good challenge for us all to regularly have our lollipop moments by giving them naturally without premeditation or agenda.

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A Toxic Workplace

I was talking with a friend of mine recently who brought up the topic of the corporate culture in her current workplace. toxic-300x269

She said that every day she comes home from work, she just wants to “shower off her day”. For the past 2 years she has worked in an environment that does not make her happy. Why does she stay? She is a highly specialized C level employee where good jobs with her specific skill set are hard to find. She likes her job, she likes the actual day to day work that she does. But it is the work environment and culture that repels her.  Unfortunately, the CEO of the company defines the culture, and therefore little can be done to change it. Most of the employees are in their early 20’s, and sadly, they are looking up to this CEO as an example of how people should treat each other in the workplace. Needless to say, my friend is on the search for a new job, but in the meantime, she feels stuck.

Great People Make A Great Company

It is known that great people make a great team and great teams can overcome huge obstacles. Companies that work hard to find the best team members to join them and work equally hard to provide a challenging and rewarding environment to motivate and bring out the best in them are setting themselves up for success. My friend feels that the company culture is being poisoned.

When a leader of a company believes that their business is about the people, it is their duty to foster that success. Building the relationships between those people builds the business. Losing incredible talent due to poor leadership will not make a company an employer of choice.

Working Hard

I recall one time being in the passenger seat of a friend’s really nice car. We pulled up to the curb at our destination, and as my friend handed the valet the car keys, the valet asked, “Wow, what do you do to drive a nice car like that?” My friend’s answer was simple and to the point. “Work hard”.

“I learned the value of hard work by working hard.”                                     ~ Margaret Mead

“Working hard is very important. You’re not going to get anywhere without working extremely hard.”       ~ George Lucas

“I think that my biggest attribute to any success that I have had is hard work. There really is no substitute for working hard.”                    ~ Maria Bartiromo

“You really have to work hard and apply yourself and by applying yourself and working hard and being diligent, you can achieve success.”
~ Julie Benz

“The only way to get people to like working hard is to motivate them. Today, people must understand why they’re working hard. Every individual in an organization is motivated by something different.”
~ Rick Pitino

“Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
~ Conan O’Brien

Leave the Door Open

When I was little, I was taught about responsibility by owning pets. First it was goldfish, then it was lizards and salamanders that I picked up from the forest behind my house before I graduated onto hamsters, and then to dogs.

The hamsters taught me a lot about uncertainty.

See, they lived in a cage.
It looked the same day in and day out. That spinning wheel stayed in the same place every day. The cage always had two floors to it. They got food and water from the same spot.

They explored that cage every day as if it was new to them. As if that wheel was finally gonna break them free and that food finally going to taste that much better.

When I would open the cage door, to “set them free,” they ran – ran to a safe spot in their cage or that awkward place under the ladder where I couldn’t reach them. They dug into the wood chips. They hid. They flared their teeth at me. They became scared of leaving the same cage they were held captive in.

The only way they would come out was to wait. I waited until they calmed down, regained that sense of curiosity about their surroundings, and found the open door themselves. And there I would be, ready to pat and play with the happy little critters as they ran around our living room floor.

When I am introduced to new situations at work, new people, or new development distinctions, I can sometimes become that hamster – digging into my own jail and hiding in fear from what I don’t know.
The magic happens when I discover the newness “on my own.”
It resonates more with me.
I make it an adventure.
It builds up my confidence in handling the unknown.

When we want to set another person free, just leave the door open.

This guest post was written by Matt Corker –  International Operations Specialist, lululemon athletica

Matt Corker has a serious addiction to big ideas, bold goals, and strong communities. After working for the University of British Columbia in alumni and student affairs, Matt was drawn to lululemon athletica – a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company that creates components for people to live long, healthy, and fun lives. After working first in Leadership Development creating opportunities _MG_6446that empower their great staff to achieve their dreams and live a life they LOVE, he moved into a new role supporting the global goals of the company. Matt has a Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resource Management and International Business from the Sauder School of Business at UBC and his MBA from the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. He has a strong background in leadership and development and a big heart for new technologies, inspiring minds, and giving out great high fives. More information about Matt can be found at http://thatsacorker.com.

What if Money Didn’t Matter

After watching this video, think about it thoroughly and share in the comments what you would want to do with your life if money didn’t matter.

Is being the smartest person in the room getting in the way of your growth as a leader?

Mike Desjardins of ViRTUS shares some valuable advice. Enjoy the read.

Some thoughts on strategy, leadership, and corporate culture.

I can remember back to the first business I ran: I was new to a leadership role and everyday I realized how much more I didn’t know about people and how to lead. One of my key learnings was a few techniques that actually helped give me the freedom and flexibility to focus on my strengths.

It started one day when I realized that almost every customer service decision in the business had to flow through me in some way. Now of course, this helped me keep a pulse on everything that was happening with our customers but it was a trap that I slide right into. Everyone just assumed the easiest thing to do was “just check with Mike.”

Here’s what I learned: when every decision had to flow through me, no one learned and my day was filled with solving problems with no time left to focus on…

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Perseverance

The Olympics produce a lot of great stories of inspiration.  I’ll never forget the moment in Barcelona 20 years ago when British athlete Derek Redmond tore his hamstring during the 400 metre semi-finals. Not willing to give up, determined to finish the race, he continued.  His father broke through security to help Derek complete the race. Even in undoubtedly one of his son’s most difficult moments, he was there to give strength and support him, along with a standing ovation of over 65,000 fans.

This is the Olympic spirit that we love.

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