Your views and values show up everywhere

With increasing pace, I’ve seen more people use their voices online to stand up for what they believe is right and participate in fierce conversation and debate. I’ve also seen a shift in organizations' behaviour in response to the expectations of consumers that companies will interact online, speak up on issues, and make business decisions that are rooted in values that align with those of their customers. These trends have me thinking about the challenges individuals and organizations face in how they participate in the social and political climate of today. One particular challenge is around corporate social media policies that strive to find the right balance of influence over how employees engage online, and individuals who are asserting themselves when they feel those policies go too far. Seeing it…
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National Volunteer Week

It’s National Volunteer Week and I’m going to plug the organization I give my time to: Junior Achievement Northern Alberta. JA’s mission is “to inspire and educate young Canadians to experience free enterprise, understand business and economics, and develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills.” This speaks to me because it’s relevant, it’s something I wish I had available to me growing up, and it helps set kids up for success starting at Grade 3 and lasting through Grade 12. The experience I’ve had in my career is the perfect background when talking to students about any number of topics. I’ve taught classes about tools and technology, general business concepts, the importance of communication and leadership skills, and why personal financial management matters. And it’s easy for anyone to do: the lesson…
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On Performance Reviews and Ratings

Performance review season tends to come once or twice a year. I've had formal reviews of my performance and goals both semi-annually and annually and can honestly say I found neither approaches effective. The fundamental problem with the length of time between performance reviews is that the feedback from six or, heaven forbid, twelve months ago is in no way timely and consequently no longer relevant. Being told about something I could have done differently six months ago was beyond aggravating. How could I be expected to change my behaviour when no one told me? And, if you know me, I like to be right (or at least do things the right way); telling me sooner means I can take steps to correct my behaviour immediately instead of continuing on oblivious. The worst feeling I've ever had was when I thought everything was going really well and…
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A Vibrant, Thriving Community

My family bought in Windermere fully aware of the mix of residential and commercial spaces and I for one am very much looking forward to seeing how our community transforms in the coming years. Some of the residents in this subdivision are quite active (and vocal on social media) in their objections to businesses in the community or, at least, the types of businesses. For instance: no bars, few or no big box/chain stores, and an emphasis on local businesses and boutique-style shoppes. We've received several notices in our mailbox about proposed re-zoning and amendments to the proposals, most recently the explicit exclusion of a bar/pub-style establishment. How idyllic and narrow-minded. I posted my thoughts in the Facebook community group and also wanted to publish here since it can be hard to eliminate the noise from the messages in those groups. These are my (expanded upon)…
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Let’s Run a Pilot

At work I hear a lot about groups looking to run what they call “pilots” which essentially means moving forward with an idea rather than going through the due diligence and thoughtful analysis one would put together for an initiative/project. The result tends to be that time, money, and resources are wasted spent on creating/modifying a process or bringing new technology in-house without 1. A plan on how to support it (if IT is even told about this at all), 2. No real idea if it solves a problem or satisfies a business need, and 3. Absolutely no clue if the benefits will outweigh the costs (more likely it's the opposite). Now hold on there, Negative Ned, do you know how exciting it was when the "pilot” was running? It…
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Communication: How much, how often, and to whom?

I wrote this as a discussion starter on LinkedIn and figured I might as well put it here, with a few minor edits and expansion on ideas: With small, short-term projects involving and/or affecting a limited number of stakeholders, communication of progress and change is fairly straight-forward. If communication takes a bit of a backseat chances are you can remedy that with a quick email or phonecall. However, with large, long-term projects like a core systems replacement, communication has to be aimed at different groups with varying levels of detail and possibly at different intervals. (more…)
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Why Technology Should Not Drive Business Change

I've seen instances where a Business will look to replace its legacy systems but falls short in terms of properly articulating why this is desired. When you talk to stakeholders, the drivers that tend to emerge are that the systems are old, aren't flexible enough, and/or aren't able to be maintained for much longer. These are all valid reasons but fail to address the underlying motive behind replacing legacy systems: the Business is looking to change and can't do that given its current technical constraints. (more…)
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