Thursday, March 25, 2010


A study of young Canadian girls ages eight to twelve found that 51% want to own their own company of one day, and more than 54% were optimistic that nothing could stand in the way of their dreams.

This is good news, but look at their ages. Will they still be thinking the same way once they are teenagers or later on when they hit the workplace?

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Women in Leadership conference put on by Rotman business students for Rotman business students. It was an impressively organized event and kudos to the students for running such an exciting, energizing and inspiring day.

One of the speakers was giving advice to the young women, and as I listened, I thought it had much relevance for all of us, no matter the age. Here are her ten tips for a successful life:

1. Think about yourself. Ask what am I built to do.
2. Focus on your strengths – hire your weaknesses
3. Recognize opportunity
4. Have negative friends? Find new ones
5. Think, speak and act positively
6. Create a strategy for your business and your life
7. Get out there and fail – it’s OK
8. Master the golden rule of networking – give
9. Build your brand
10. Find a mentor

Perhaps if our young eight to twelve year olds understand these rules, they have a good chance of realizing their dreams.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I have spent this past week interviewing for a new staff position in our office. It’s an entry level job, and we are not paying a lot, yet we received over 65 applications, and continue to receive them on a daily basis.

Says a lot about the economy I guess. We wanted someone part time, but I suspect that many of the people applying really wanted full time and would likely just take our job as a stop gap which is definitely not what I wanted. Gone are the days when someone stays a decent time, making it worthwhile to train and invest in them.

If any of you reading this are looking for a job – here’s some pointers that might help you land an interview:

1. Always, always send a cover letter
2. Check the job advertisement, and if a name is provided, address your letter
to that person
3. Avoid saying Dear Sir or Madam
4. Check for spelling mistakes or typos
5. Keep your resume short – 2 pages maximum
6. Tie your strengths and skills to those mentioned in the advertisement

These days many of us interviewing will use behavioral/experiential questions. Think of some examples ahead of time that will showcase your strengths, so that when you’re asked to demonstrate a point, you have the answer right there and are not stumped.

The good news is that we found someone who I think will be great and she starts next week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


It used to be that we complained about drowning in a sea of paper, but these days we’re more likely to be griping about being buried in our in-box. I don’t know about you, but responding to emails takes up way too much of time, and I need to get smarter in how I handle the major influx of emails I receive every day.

So I was really interested to read the article Email is making you stupid in the latest issue of Entrepreneur in which writer Joe Robinson observed that constant email interruptions make you less productive and less creative.

Here’s some of the pointers he shared on how to tame the monster.

• Turn off all sound and visual alerts that announce new email
• Discipline yourself to check email less frequently – at minimum just once
every 45 minutes and at best, just two to four times a day
• Don’t hide behind email. There are occasions when the phone or face-to-face
meetings are more effective ways to communicate.
• Just because a message can be responded to immediately, doesn’t mean you have
to do that
• Restrict your use of the “reply all” button
• Be proactive – put no reply necessary in the subject line
• Don’t send emails just to say thanks
• Use the automatic out of office option when you are working to a deadline

As Robinson says, perhaps with these strategies we will be able to climb out of the inbox.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Are you creative? An artist?

I couldn’t draw to save myself but after listening to Seth Godin last week as he talked about creativity – I reached the conclusion that maybe I can be an artist after all.

Godin, marketing guru and author of the Purple Cow and Linchpin, argues that we need to become artists, to tap into our creative side, if our businesses are to stand out in today’s sea of commerce.

The old marketing tools no longer work. We need to do something different, be different and do it first. The old factory mindset that works within rules, always doing the same old, same old just doesn’t cut it anymore. But what does?

Godin believes that “the market for something to believe in has become infinite.” Marketing has become leadership and consumers want to buy and invest in brands that stand for something. What do you stand for?

When you live in fear, and don’t want to step outside your comfort zone, then you have a lizard mind declares Godin. “Anxiety, he says, is experiencing failure in advance.” He described several trends that caught on just because they were different – like selling odd socks as a pair (would suit those of us who have sock-eaters in residence) or the Candy Store on Highway 11 where no one would expect such a broad selection of candies and where customers spend on average $60 per visit!

What can you do that makes your product or service different? Godin’s closing advice was make art, give a gift and do work that matters. Sounds good to me.