Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"Workplace lessons from a sailing course"/ brand advocates

Aug. 5, 2017 "Workplace lessons from a sailing course": Today I found this article by Scott Windsor in the Globe and Mail


Scott Windsor is vice-president of Meridian Credit Union.

There’s nothing like falling into Lake Ontario, your 16-foot Albacore sailboat capsized, to focus your attention on the task at hand.

Executives and senior managers are supposed to steer the organizational ship in the right direction. It’s quite a splash in the face to try to master that using an actual boat.


I’ve enjoyed many leadership development opportunities. This summer, I had one of the best. It didn’t come in a corporate setting, but when I learned to sail over five weekends.
Here are some lessons I’m taking back to work.

Get comfortable with failing

After we learned to rig the boat, the first thing our instructors J.P and Hugo made us do was tip it. They knew we would anyway at some point, so they wanted us to get it over with.
When you know what failure feels like, you lose your fear of it.

Failing is part of life and business, but the thought of it can paralyze you. It shouldn’t. Give your people room to fail. When they see that they can right the ship and learn from the experience, that’s real growth.

Learn from everyone

I’m programmed to think that the more senior members of the organization are the ones with the most knowledge to share. In your company, would you take direction from a teenager?

J.P. and Hugo were just 19, but they started sailing at age 9 and are experts at their craft.

Don’t assume what members of the team bring to the table. No matter someone’s age or experience, they have unique talents and perspectives. At work, I’m responsible for directing my team’s development. Often, I forget that I have lots to learn from them too.

Rotate the team

We used two-person sailboats, each week with a different partner. In part, we became better sailors by continually adapting to and learning with new people next to us.

In the corporate world, we can get stronger when we mix up teams. Changing the dynamic forces you to adjust. You become more flexible and open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

Learn to be both captain and crew

The skipper is perceived as the more valuable position, but all roles are important on the water. Your job as a leader is to identify, communicate and rally people around a shared goal. Each team member contributes. You wouldn’t want to take your boat out alone.

Move quickly from strategy to execution

In corporate life, I’ve spent countless hours developing, debating and reporting on strategic recommendations. You go through all the scenarios and what-ifs. Yet on the water, J.P. and Hugo had me sailing the boat on just my second lesson. This was learning-by-doing.

It reminded me to tell my team that sometimes the best strategy is to just go for it. With any endeavor, you can review the pros and cons endlessly, or you can take the plunge. You’ll either be on the road to success or learn what doesn’t work. Either way, you’re ahead that much sooner.

Remove your distractions

When taking the boat out, we couldn’t bring our phones for fear of them getting wet. So there were no calls, e-mails, texts, checking Twitter, etc. We were able to concentrate fully on one thing only – learning to sail.

In the workplace, there are many demands for our attention, and they might all seem important at the time. It’s easy to lose focus on Job No. 1. Don’t get pulled off course.

Don’t wait for the winds to die down

We weren’t supposed to sail in winds over 15 knots. On the day of my second lesson, the wind measured 20 knots, yet we went out anyway. J.P. and Hugo told us that we’d learn more in those conditions.

It was a great reminder that your toughest assignments also teach you the most. Keeping the boat up was challenging that day but incredibly instructive. If you only venture out when the winds are still, you’ll never really improve or know how to handle adversity.

On the water or at work, sometimes staying in your safe zone is the biggest risk of all.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/leadership-lab/seven-leadership-lessons-from-a-sailing-course/article35841340/

Aug. 11, 2017 "How to create brand advocates within an organization": Today I found this article by David Labistour in the Globe and Mail:


DAVID LABISTOUR Chief executive of Mountain Equipment Co-op

There’s a quote I like to share in staff meetings: “Change has never happened this fast before, and it will never be this slow again.” I see it as a nod not only to how we are growing and adapting as an organization, but a reminder of the constant progression of the retail landscape.

It’s no longer enough to just sell something; you need to create an emotional connection to build brand loyalty. Consumers are actively looking for more.

Thankfully, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is and has always been an organization focused on connection. It’s the first place I’ve worked where my job and passions truly align, and I know that is true for a lot of staff as well.

That sense of purpose not only situates us as ardent and enthusiastic experts in the activities we promote, but it fosters a propensity in staff to share that sentiment, making them inherent brand advocates. We engage staff on various levels to amplify that enthusiasm, even prior to their hiring.

Know what to look for

When we’re recruiting new staff, we look specifically for individuals who are as passionate about getting people active outside as we are. Hiring those aligned with our purpose creates an innate authenticity that consumers pick up on. They don’t need to be die-hard backcountry explorers or world-class athletes, but they need an enthusiasm for nurturing their passions and inviting others to join in.

Empower staff from Day 1

MEC has an internal “Bring It” culture that is at the core of how we operate. Bringing It means showing up, making it happen and carrying the fire – this applies to everything we do and is how we hold each other accountable. During onboarding, we hand over a signature MEC water bottle with a note introducing them to the Bring It culture and the #MECstaffer hashtag.

The latter is a publicfacing place of pride for MEC staff to share their adventures and currently has more than 22,800 open-profile contributions.

Have a consistent news stream and feedback loop

Storytelling is inherent at MEC, even outside our member-facing content streams. We have a social intranet called Mondo. It’s our digital water cooler and a fantastic connector for MEC staff from coast to coast. Everyone has a profile and can comment and like posts. The stories about races or events, workplace wins and service successes – such as a staffer lending a family a paddling map after we were out of the guidebook they needed – are the most popular. I regularly share our progress and important changes with staff here.

Feedback also happens via annual reviews and staff are invited to participate in our annual Pulse Check survey, which gives us an accurate idea of how we’re doing internally. We know from last year’s survey that 82 per cent of MEC staff would recommend the company as a great place to work.

Foster trust through proof points and inclusivity

Departmental and quarterly meetings are a regular occurrence, and we use them as an opportunity to be transparent about business and financial performance, including areas in which we need to improve (MEC members see these in our annual report). Staffers are also MEC members, so they are keen on holding the organization accountable.

Create and maintain community connections

Staff frequently partake in community events – our MEC Outdoor Nation program, annual Paddlefest and Snowfest events, gear swaps, trail building, races – connecting them with new and existing audiences while genuinely sharing their passions. Recently, some head-office staff took their Avalanche Safety Training 1 together in Whistler, B.C. They went out as a team, connected with Avalanche Canada (an MEC partner) and brought their learning back to work.

Through our paid volunteerism program, staff have also helped with search-and-rescue organizations, mapped local flora and become mentors within outdoor education programs.

Bring in staff on campaign creation

Staff are welcome to submit outdoor photos, videos and other content that may make its way onto member-facing communications (such as blog posts, ads and reusable shopping bags). They’ve even been known to show up in a few campaigns as models, too.

Recently we launched our first-ever Big Day Out activation for staff in conjunction with the debut of our Good Times Outside activity guide. Staff received a paid day off and up to $1,000 in funding to craft an unforgettable day outside.

Some of the ideas included a stand-up-paddleboard dodgeball tournament, culinary campfire challenges, photography sessions and programs introducing new Canadians to paddling. In addition to Big Day Out events, staff contributed tips, photos and insider information to the myriad activities on the evergrowing Good Times Outside site.

In those respects, as well as on social-media channels, MEC staff are natural leaders. They got the ball rolling on our #live4snow, #myhomewaters, #mecnation and #goodtimesoutside campaigns.

Build a collaborative environment

From shared areas to differing departmental layouts, the design of our buildings reinforces teamwork and plays on our love for the outdoors.

We’ve got rooftop picnic tables and tented meeting “rooms.” Our more traditional meeting room walls are transparent and covered in Bring It statements. We have a wall on the main floor covered in #MECstaffer pictures.

When we have a win, we head out for active team days at climbing gyms, public parks and ski hills.

Look forward together

Everything comes back to change happening faster than ever before. We are deeply proud of our internal culture at MEC, but we know we are far from perfect. Being more inclusive and aware is something staff have regularly highlighted as a matter of importance. It’s a well-known fact that the outdoor industry needs to make strides in showing the breadth and depth of cultures across Canada.

We want to make sure everyone feels welcome in the outdoors, and thanks to MEC staffers being great brand advocates, we’re on our way.

"Realign your organization to move forward"/ "Think globally, act locally"

Aug. 7, 2017 "Realign your organization to move forward": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:


It’s obviously helpful in organizations for everyone to be heading in the same direction, rather than working at cross purposes. It’s called alignment and we have all heard calls to attain that blessed state but might wonder exactly what it is, where it occurs and how to get there.

Atlanta-based consultant Riaz Khadem – who has a doctorate in applied math and taught at various universities, including Laval in Quebec, before moving into consulting – offers some direction by outlining seven areas in which organizations can develop alignment. You may consider it a checklist for your own workplace’s effectiveness.

  • Focus and direction: People understand and accept the company’s vision and strategy – they all share the same picture of success and how they can contribute to it in measurable terms.
  • Strategy execution: The strategic initiatives are receiving the necessary attention and energy to guarantee effective execution. There isn’t a disconnect between strategy and operations.
  • Vertical: Everybody throughout the organizational hierarchy needs to be aligned with the level above – their boss’s priorities – and ultimately the strategy.
  • Horizontal: Departmental boundaries, rivalries and entrenched, independent silos can prevent people from collaborating freely with peers across the various organizational functions.
  • Competencies: Individual skills need to match the requirements for the person’s responsibilities.
  • Values: Individual behaviour should be congruent with the core values of the company. When it’s not, scandals can occur. You need more than virtuous values; you need to underline their importance to everyone to get alignment.
  • Compensation: Does compensation link to performance or is it out of whack? Are people rewarded for seniority or position in the hierarchy rather than output? At all levels, there should be a connection to performance.
That’s a bundle, more than leaders usually contemplate when they talk about alignment.

“Most organizations are not aligned until something bad happens. Then, when something bad happens, they realize it’s important,” Dr. Khadem, author with his lawyer wife Linda Khadem of the book Total Alignment, says in an interview.

Typically, the most misaligned, he says in the interview, is compensation – glaringly at the top, for chief executives, but also down at the lowest levels of the organization. He suggests a more coherent approach, starting first with the bonus system, as that’s the easiest to change, and then later also with promotions and salaries. But all of the seven areas for alignment are difficult. You need to remove barriers to alignment and put systems in place to fix it.

Tools can also help, such as his vision tree, which involves outlining the many elements of your vision as branches of a tree with the indicators to measure progress as sub-branches.

Many companies, of course, have key performance indicators but often some (or many) of them are not related to the strategy or vision.

An alignment map extends that, a chart rather than a conventional geographical map, with the vision tree in the centre. On the right side are the various strategic initiatives you plan and on the left side the indicators of success.

Again, you need linkage. Strategies need measures of success. Indicators not related to strategy have to be questioned. You also want to make sure you have kept your strategic initiatives to a workable, vital few that clearly relate to customers.

From there, you move on to assign individual accountability. It’s not easy to do, but he simplifies and focuses it by recommending three one-page reports be used:
  • The Focus Report looks at the overall effort at a glance – the various initiatives and indicators, with their status. For example, if you are watching the percentage of customer returns and it was 3 per cent last month, that is recorded so you can compare next month easily. When the status can be evaluated against some agreed-upon criteria, you will also mark if your effort was good or bad.
  • The Feedback Report summarizes the results for your own responsibilities, highlighting where you have fallen below the unacceptable range in status and where you are above the satisfactory level.
  • The Management Report shows how people in your pyramid of responsibility are faring, based on the principle of management by exception. People who are performing within the acceptable range don’t show up on this report as, at this time, they aren’t an issue and you have little to address.
If you want alignment – total alignment – that may help you to achieve it.


"Effective multinational think globally, and act locally": Today I found this article by Shelley Martin in the Globe and Mail:

There was a time when large companies were, for the most part, seen in a positive light – creating jobs, driving economies forward and helping bring together a more unified and connected world. However, in recent years, this perception has changed, and in the current environment, multinationals are facing increased scrutiny.

There is a growing perception that “to be big is bad, and to be small is good.” This is being fuelled by a variety of factors, including a growing antiglobalization movement, anticorporate sentiment among millennials, increasing demands for corporate transparency (and a corresponding view that multinationals are not transparent enough) and a general interest and affinity for all things local, whether it be the 100-mile food rule or clothing and crafts made by local designers.

Today, consumers want to connect with a company and understand its philosophy and point of view. They want to know the organization behind the brand, be aware of the social and environmental impact of the services and products they consume and expect companies to be locally relevant and engaged.

If a company wants social licence to operate beyond its borders, it now needs to communicate what it stands for and, perhaps most importantly, how it’s contributing in a positive way to the communities in which it operates.

To be a successful multinational, a business must meet the demands of various stakeholders, and to do so, there are three considerations that it needs to address. Each is critical in helping the organization create goodwill and establish credibility in local markets; however, each cannot be done in isolation.

The first step for any multinational that seeks social licence across borders is to define and communicate a clear purpose that aligns actions and creates a common goal. It needs to ask itself: Why do we exist?

The answer needs to be simple and explicit. You need to be clear about what you are doing and what you will do – through facts, examples and telling stories in a meaningful and authentic way.

At Nestlé, we have recently redefined our purpose: to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future. This purpose motivates us to offer products and services that enable individuals and families to lead healthier and happy lives, develop thriving and resilient communities and champion sustainable products and consumption. Our purpose really defines who we are and why we exist.

As an organization, you then need to define the values that align with this purpose. This will ensure external and internal audiences understand how the company will behave in a country and the standards to which it will hold itself.

These values “drive” your purpose and need to be tangible and authentic to your people. You also need to provide insight on how the company will live these values.

Aligning globally helps create a unified organization and stronger sense of purpose, and adapting corporate values to local markets will increase their impact. Our values are based on respect – for ourselves, others, diversity and the future, and all our activities reflect this.

The third consideration is centred on local relevance. While there can only be one global purpose for a multinational, activation in regional markets needs to be done through a local filter. Regional needs must be considered and organizational flexibility must exist for tailoring programs; it’s not (and cannot be) a one-sizefits-all proposition.

The company must actively engage the local community and its audiences to listen, learn and adapt. If this does not happen, then the organization risks being seen as tone-deaf and loses relevance and credibility.

For example, we have a global Youth Initiative to help young people gain employment, but the partners we have and the way we execute is tailored to the Canadian work force. Global commitment but local execution. I believe that you can – and must – be both global and local, and in fact, this offers Canadians the best of both worlds.

There’s no question that multinationals are dealing with an increasingly cynical consumer mindset. That’s the reality we face. It’s incumbent on us, if we want to continue to operate in local markets, to earn trust. A well-run multinational, backed by a clear vision and actionable values tailored to local markets, will put itself in a position to succeed.

Global organizations that are committed to transparency have the scale, both globally and locally, to truly make a significant positive impact – whether it is in the quality of the products and services they produce, the jobs they create, their support of local suppliers, their contribution to community initiatives or being responsible stewards on sustainability issues
.
Being big doesn’t equate to being bad. It means you have the potential to do great things on a large scale that can enhance the communities in which you live and work.

"Father John Misty is kidding around...maybe"/ "The season for romance"

Apr. 3, 2017 "Father John Misty is just kidding around … maybe": Today I found this article by Matt Williams in the Globe and Mail:


Over the phone from Los Angeles, Josh Tillman – the creator of libidinous, shamanic indie-folk rocker Father John Misty – says the sun’s out, and with no photo shoot to attend, maybe he’ll “just sit around and take selfies.” Just a few days earlier, he debuted Total Entertainment Forever, a track from his upcoming album Pure Comedy, on Saturday Night Live. The song opens with the line, “Bedding Taylor Swift every night inside the Oculus Rift.”

The Internet reacted, well … swiftly. Tillman has since acknowledged the grotesqueness of the lyric, and clarified that the point was to confront the often disturbing ways people entertain themselves. After pointing out that anger is “the real commodity right now,” and explaining the click-collecting culture of media websites, Tillman expresses sympathy for those hammering out articles about the reaction his SNL gig elicited.


“They know a song is a song, they know there’s such a thing as metaphor. They know there’s such a thing as using pop culture as a means to make a larger point,” he says. “But they have to pretend they don’t understand all that in order to create articles that serve the function that their corporate overlords have deemed is the function of their website.”

Modern entertainment has ended up a topic Tillman has been pressed on ad nauseam since last July, when he ranted about the stupidity of it before walking offstage early at the XPoNential Music Festival in New Jersey. Since the arrival of Misty’s 2012 debut, Fear Fun, the often contentious, frequently meta singer has made news mocking corporate folk tunes, labelling Ryan Adams’s 1989 Taylor Swift tribute record “a grotesque stunt,” and satirizing everything from generic pop and themusic industry to himself (he has, after all, co-written Beyoncé and Lady Gaga songs).

The idea of Father John Misty as a character, a lascivious sham-mystic nonsense identity, is a red herring – there is only Josh Tillman. But he’s been such a consistent and polarizing source of entertainment, you’d be forgiven for seeing the song-and-dance man as a sincere entertainer.

Typically clad in a breezy, slim-cut suit, Tillman slinks around stages, wades into audiences and falls to his knees with a fist in the sky when the drama of a song demands it. But, by lulling listeners with a gorgeous melody only to confront them with something such as human extinction, he believes he’s aiming for a loftier target.

With Pure Comedy, he hits it. Although it was written and recorded prior to the 2016 U.S. election, Misty’s third album is almost unnervingly prescient in its political and religious commentary, no doubt informed by Tillman’s devout Christian upbringing. It’s a behemoth of a record, not only for its 75-minute running time, but its exploration of existential questions.

On the opening title track, Tillman zooms out in his spaceship to take the listener on a tour of life on Earth, beholding the fragility of human life, bizarre religious beliefs and addiction to distraction. The point of the ride, Tillman says, is to “observe without prejudice, without emotion. Let’s just take a look at these core ironies. I think when you do that, these absurdities start to emerge, like the fact that we really do just kind of worship ourselves.”

Tillman pulls off the bait-and-switch with toe-tapping melody and soft, folk-rock grandeur, often recalling Elton John’s ambitious piano-driven pop, Randy Newman’s heavy cleverness and Neil Young’s laid-back folk. In the past, Misty records have been packed with snide barbs and scathing cultural commentary that borders on the holier-than-thou, and earned Tillman something of a reputation as a cynic. There’s some of that on Pure Comedy, too.

But irony is not Tillman’s only tool, and digging deep into his latest work reveals depths of sincerity in volumes he hasn’t previously explored. The album is incredibly personal but global in scope (Tillman calls it “a love letter to humanity”). It’s in no small part because of his reaction to the capital “A” absurdity of just being alive – a theme running rampant through Pure Comedy. Instead of confronting the meaninglessness of existence with something like nihilism, he chose another way.

“The best way you can come to terms with absurdity is to love someone, because you don’t fall in love with someone based on this checklist of ideals,” Tillman says. “That’s what a sociopath does. You fall in love with someone because of their absurdity and because of their weakness, because of their pain and their shortcomings. You start to recognize your own shortcomings in another person, and you start to realize you can be loved. We love each other for these reasons. In the same way, that’s why I think this is a very loving album. These are all things I love about humanity in a way that is beyond the rational.”

My opinion: I'm going to put that in my inspirational quotes.

Tillman knows it’s impossible to truly reproduce the small moments in life – like when he gazes at his wife over drinks on the album’s final track, In Twenty Years or So – that silence Pure Comedy’s existential anxiety. But if, as he’s said, art is about remembering your life, the Sisyphean urge to document those moments must be worth it.

“When you get those moments where you really feel there’s nothing to fear, even though tomorrow may be completely terrifying for some new reason, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Tillman says. “This world will never be able to provide a meaningful counterfeit for that. This world and all of our artists will never be able to duplicate that and mass-produce it.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/music/father-john-misty-is-just-kidding-around-maybe/article34500224/

Apr. 21, 2017 "The season for romance": Today I found this article by Joanne Richard in the Edmonton Journal:


Love is in the air - especially love at first sight.

According to a new ElitesSingles survey, romance rules with single men - nearly three out of four believe in love at first sight. Women come in at 61%, with females aged 30-40 the least likely to believe in it. Overall, 84% of singles aged 18-29 believe in instant love, compared with 65% of those aged 30 plus.

"When you experience it you know it's real... and when it does happen to you, you know that it can't happen again. It's way too strong and crazy," says EliteSingles psychologist Salama Marine. "It's when you're not looking for a partner at all and you're 100% focused on your life, when you least expect it, it will happen to you."

If you believe it, it is real: 41% of men, versus 29% of women, say they have experienced instant romantic love, reports a Match.com 2014 study.

Relationship expert Nicole McCance believes in lust at first sight. "Lust, physical attraction and desire can happen at first sight. But love, which is about a deeper connection and caring, can't really happen by only observing someone and not knowing anything about them. However, lust can turn into love with time."

Turns out, the real thing isn't based on the instant chemistry, but instead on the actual amount of time people spend together, reports a University of Texas study.

So instead think love at first meeting - that's what increases the survival chances of initial love, says romantic love expert Aaron Ben-Ze'ev. "Such a meeting provides more time to get to know other characteristics of the person, like wisdom, wittiness, and a sense of humour, and to become involved in initial common activities, such as conversation."

He believes that there is love at first sight but not profound love at first sight or even in the first five hours - it needs much more time, says Ben-Ze'ev, adding that findings conflict whether love at first sight can turn into long-term profound love.

It can when what you see at first sight the real qualities of the other person. "If it is not, then love will not survive for long, as attraction is not all you need in long-term profound love," says Ben-Ze'ev, professor at the University of Haifa and president of European Philosophical Society for the Study of Emotions.

When love lightning strikes, keep these tips in mind:

Take your time to get to know the person before you give them your heart, says McCance, of nicolemccance.com.

Don't get physically intimate right away - the love hormone oxytocin that is released can have us feeling more attached to people who are wrong for us.

Stay true to yourself, she adds. When we are in a highly passionate, exciting love affair we tend to want to impress and please, sometimes letting go of the things that make us happy.

Be aware that your heart can be deceiving as at the beginning short term superficial qualities, such as physical attractiveness, get more weight, says Ben-Se'ev.

There is much effort to invest in order to turn love at first sight into long-term profound love, he adds. 

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/04/13/is-love-at-first-sight-real

My week:

Nov. 7, 2017 Pizza place job interview: Last week I did a job interview here.  They called me on a Sun.  I was at work.  I called them on Mon. and I did the interview that afternoon.  I passed my resume to them 3 months ago.

Pros:

1. It was 2 buses to get to.

2. The food is good with 50% off.

3. I can do the job.

Cons:

1. None.

My opinion: I would work there if I got hired.  However, she did say she was looking for someone to work at night and closing at like 10pm.

Server job interview: I passed my resume to them in person and was to go into interview the next day.

Pros:

1. It was 1 bus to get to.  It's about 45 min.

2. The pay was min. wage, but the tips are good.

Cons:

1. This is a mild con.  There was a split shift.  It's 10am-1pm.  Then 4:30pm-8pm.  I am allowed to stay for those 3 hrs in the back.  I can read the newspaper during those hours.

My opinion: I would work there if I got hired.  I didn't get hired.  However, she did tell me they were hiring for another position in another department.  She told me which website to apply to for that position.  I then applied to it on the website.

Real estate office: I did an interview 2 weeks ago.

Pros:

1. It was full-time.  Mon.- Fri.

2. This is the office job I was looking for.

3. I can do the job.  I am posting Kijiji ads about selling houses and not renting them.

4. The boss seemed nice.

5. I did the True Colors Personality test.  I did this one back in 2005 in the Arts and Cultural Management program at MacEwan.  I was blue.  The majority of the class was blue.

Then I did it again in 2013 in the Office job.  I was green.  The majority of the workers was orange.

I did the test at the interview, I was gold.  My second closest was green.

Here's a fun personality test:


Cons:

1. It seemed kind of hard.  After work, I will have to check my emails once an hour to see if clients have emailed the company.

2. This is a mild con.  The office was in a house.  I have been to interviews where medical offices are in a house.  I know someone who is a personal trainer, and her gym is in her basement of the house.

I guess I want things to be black and white.  A house is where you live.  Not where you work too, unless there's a home office in one part of it.

My opinion: I would work there if I got hired.  Prior to it, it was kind of hard to find the place.  I went to Google map and it told me to get off at this stop and walk 15 min.  I did.

Then I had to stop at this business that was in a house to ask for directions.  There are 2 guys there and they Google map it.  I wrote the directions of walking 2 more blocks.  I got there on time. 

Mild complaints:

Not knowing everything: I have mentioned this before where I got a job at the Fast Food place.  I did two job interviews at clothing stores to see if I would get hired or not even though I was already hired at the Fast Food place.

I can not know about the café and this Asian restaurant where I was emailed about for an interview.  I didn't attend it. 

Would I have gotten hired?

If I did get hired, would this job last longer than the Fast Food place?

I will never know, but that's fine.

Nov. 9, 2017 Charities: I was looking for a job and I found this:

WINGS - Women In Need Growing Stronger:

WINGS offers a second-stage shelter and affordable housing for women with children who have experienced family violence.


At WINGS, we address the social, psychological, and health issues affecting women and children, extending our programs inclusively to clients of all races, cultural, and religious backgrounds. 

             
                   We are proud to be part of a continuum of support to women and children leaving family violence. Together, through ongoing collaboration with the family violence prevention sector, we aim to reduce and eliminate family violence.
WINGS is a non-profit organization.
CRA # – 119 300 549 RR0 001





Find furniture outlet:

Find is more than a second hand thrift shop.

It is a social enterprise that works with community agencies to provide furniture to people moving out of homelessness.

Low-cost, high-quality previously used furniture and household items are also for sale to the public. That DIY project you’ve been searching for, a sofa for your first apartment, or a unique gift can all be found at Find.

by community members, for community members.

All retail proceeds stay in Edmonton to support programs for people moving out of homelessness through Housing First.

Since opening its doors to the Edmonton community, Find has furnished more than 3,600 residences of participants in Housing First.

shop. donate. find. 

http://www.findedmonton.com/

Emperor Paper Industries: I did a job interview there a few weeks ago.  I don't usually do this, as in identify where I did a job interview at.  This doesn't really matter because at the interview, the boss said I wasn't getting hired.

Pros:

1. It was 2 buses to get to.

2. It was for an office career I was looking for.

Cons:

1. It seemed really hard to be an executive assistant for him.

The boss was straight with me that he did own Grey's Paper Recycling.  He was also working on 4 companies of his in total.  

Tracy: Don't you think you're doing too much?  Do you remember Target?  They opened so many stores in Canada and they had to close down after 2 years.  They were doing too much.

He says he's been in business for years.  He knows how to work in business.

Job articles: I've been reading the business section of the newspapers like the Edmonton Journal and the Globe and Mail since 2010.  The articles are written by business people, entrepreneurs, CEOs, college graduates in business, and are well- researched.

You can go on my blog since Jan. 2015 where I post job articles constantly.

http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/ipos/company/emperor-paper-industries-ltd-1027570-84142

Grey's Paper Recycling:

http://edmontonsun.com/2017/07/17/former-greys-paper-recycling-plants-assets-up-for-auction-sites-future-remains-unclear/wcm/8105ffbe-ab0c-42bd-a760-0741169e93b6

Curated store: This was in City Centre mall.  I was there a couple of weeks ago.  Now it's been replaced by Calendar Club.

Nov. 10, 2017: Curated sold home décor, candles, and gifts.

Dairy Queen: The one on 104 st and Whyte has closed down.

Nov. 14, 2017 The highlight of the week: Last week I did 3 job interviews.

I also finished watching the show The Disappearance.  There are 6 episodes.  I watched 4 of them last week:

"During a treasure hunt, on his 10th birthday, Anthony Sullivan inexplicably disappears. During the subsequent investigation long-buried familial secrets are uncovered with devastating consequences."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6643540/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Practical innovation/ constructive feedback

Aug. 2, 2017 "Practical innovation can give your company an edge": Today I found this article by Mojdeh Poul in the Globe and Mail:


It may be the most overused word in today’s business lexicon – a favourite of chief executives, boards, investors and governments who see it as key to economic growth and competitiveness. And a lack of it puts companies at a major disadvantage in a rapidly changing business environment.

That word, of course, is innovation.

While true innovation must be a priority for Canadian businesses and the people who lead them, it’s not a simple undertaking. As someone who leads the Canadian arm of a company that’s been adapting and innovating for 115 years, I know it can be done. More important, I see the impact it has across all aspects of our business, each and every day.

But I also know how challenging it can be for some companies, especially large ones, to be agile enough to foster and apply innovative ideas.

Define “innovation”

For me, innovation means value creation – for our customers, for the company and for shareholders. When you innovate a solution that is capable of uniquely addressing an unmet need, you create the value that gives your company a competitive advantage.

At 3M, science is key to our innovation. We work in collaborative ways with our customers and suppliers to turn great ideas into practical solutions.

Keep customers front and centre

You don’t have to be a science based company to be innovative, but you do need to focus on practical innovation and engage your customers early in the process to ensure you are developing solutions that add value.

Successful innovation meets a need and therefore has a market, and the best way to make sure that happens is to keep your customers front and centre in everything you do.

Be disruptive

True innovation requires a deep understanding of the ecosystem you operate within and applying technologies, processes or partnerships in unique ways to create solutions no one else has thought of or implemented before.

Early collaboration with your customers, suppliers and other key stakeholders makes it easier to drive innovation throughout the entire process – from research and development to production, and from new product solutions to disruptive business models.

Protect your R&D investment

Research and development (R&D) is at the heart of innovation. It is critical for business leaders to protect their company’s investments in R&D regardless of performance challenges faced in the market or within their company.

Cutting R&D spending when times are tough might provide a shortterm boost to the bottom line but will almost certainly lead to long-term declines in competitiveness, growth and profitability.

Create a sense of urgency

Today, our world is changing at a rapid pace. We are in the midst of an unprecedented cycle of new disruptive technologies and business models that are profoundly altering the way we live and work.

Leaders need to drive a sense of urgency around the need for continuous innovation and be ambitious in tackling the most challenging problem of their customers or markets.

Play to your strengths

The impact is always the greatest when you build on your core competencies. Prioritize and align your innovation efforts to your core capabilities and most attractive market opportunities.

Leverage your unique strengths, including the diversity of your work force, your operational and organizational capabilities and your brand equity, to name a few.

Tolerate risk

The best innovation happens when you create an environment where employees feel comfortable taking some risks, but this must be done responsibly and with accountability to the business.

The best ideas are somewhere between pure creativity and realism.
If you want your organization to be truly innovative, it’s time to stop talking and start doing.

https://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-globe-and-mail-bc-edition/20170802/282144996427329

Aug. 4, 2017 "Tips for providing employees with effective, constructive feedback": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:



Say the word “feedback” and most people assume that it is about negative behaviour – something that needs to be corrected.

Consultants Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman have pointed out that most leaders “vastly underestimate the power and necessity of positive reinforcement.” Research shows positive feedback increases employees’ sense that they’re learning and growing at their jobs, makes them feel valued and leads to increased confidence and competence.

Mr. Zenger told Leah Fessler of Quartz that managers shy away from giving positive feedback because they fear it will create close relationships with employees they may need to fire in the future. Or it may be viewed as meaningless bafflegab designed to win favour.

The formula to apply for positive feedback is to be specific, discuss the impact of the other person’s behaviour and show your gratitude. General compliments tend not to be long-lasting.

Mr. Zenger recommends singling out the specific behaviour or trait you observed and when you observed it. Always end with “thank you.”

Make sure to communicate why you’re praising someone – how the individual’s behaviour positively affects the performance of the organization or team. That moves it from the individual to the collective.

“It’s always nice to be told you’re talented. But for the purposes of getting good work done, you’re far more likely to be motivated by knowing that, because you buckled down and met a tough deadline, you saved the company from losing a big client,” Ms. Fessler reports.

Psychologist Markus van Alphen notes on the Lead Change blog that, at its core, feedback is about behaviour that can be modified.

“It is different from criticism, in that the person receiving the feedback is actually able to do something with it. Feedback, in its simplest form, is nothing other than giving someone a tip, a suggestion how to handle something differently.

In its most complicated form, it is an observation on the effects of certain behaviour and a suggestion as to what alternative behaviour would be preferred,” he observes.

Steve Peacher/ "Am I entitled to severance on top of my contract buyout?"

Jul. 31, 2017 The Ladder: Steve Peacher: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:



Steve Peacher, 53, is president of Sun Life Investment Management, the third-party institutional-investment-management arm of Sun Life Financial.

My father had majored in accounting, and it’s a practical major in terms of moving into the investing world. When you major in accounting, most of the people you’re going to school with every day are angling to become accountants. But I really just wasn’t excited about going to work for one of the big accounting firms as an auditor. At the time, the jobs that seemed the most interesting were the jobs at investment banks.


I grew up in Wheaton, about 30 minutes outside of Chicago. Wheaton is one of those typical all-American, Midwestern towns. It was a great place to grow up and sports were central to our lives.

I got an offer to work at Dean Witter Reynolds, this was 1986. What was important to me was that they had a small investment-banking office in Boston. I was interested in moving up to Boston because my wife, who wasn’t then my wife, was up there.

I worked for a guy who was demanding, but he would also give me a lot of responsibility early on because the office was small and there was no one else to do it. I think what I learned from that is that if you give people an opportunity, people will rise to it.

At the beginning of 1990, I had answered an ad in the Wall Street Journal. Putnam Investments was looking for a high-yield bond analyst. It turned out to be great timing for me that was not by design, totally by luck. Drexel [Burnham Lambert] had just gone bankrupt and Mike Milken was under indictment and people wondered if that market was going to go away. But that ended up being the bottom of that market.

In 1999, I ended up running our high-yield bond group. I had gone from analyst to director of research, been a portfolio manager, then was running the group. It gave me experience in analyzing companies, managing money, managing people.

Between 2000 and 2005, Putnam Investments had gone through a couple of tough times. None of this I was directly involved in, but it impacted the firm. In 2005, I was contacted about a role in Boston to run the fixed-income department at Columbia Management. It felt like a good time to make a change.

I went through the heart of the financial crisis there at Columbia. I had a nice office in the corner but I took one of the spots in the middle of the trading desk. It was just a way to get things done, be in the middle of things, be very visible and be able to have impromptu conversations.

By the summer of 2009, we were close to striking a deal with Ameriprise to buy Columbia Management from Bank of America. And just at that time, I got a phone call about the role of chief investment officer at Sun Life.

I had always been managing or been working with teams that managed other people’s money, but the prospect of being inside a financial institution where you are managing money on the balance sheet across a broad array of asset classes was also interesting to me.

At Sun Life, we own [MFS Institutional Advisors], which is a big, long-standing investment manager. In 2012, the board asked the question: Asset management is one of our four [strategy] pillars – does that just mean we are going to own MFS? I went back to the board nine months later, and said, “I think Sun Life has the opportunity to develop a third-party institutional asset manager by taking the strategies that we use to manage our own money and offering it to other institutions.” The board liked that idea and we started to pursue that in late 2013.

At that point, I was wearing two hats. I was the chief investment officer and, at the same time, I was driving this new business. As that got off the ground, we made some acquisitions. By the end of 2015, CEO Dean Connor and I decided that I just couldn’t wear both of those hats. So we hired a new chief investment officer.

Investment firms are almost like sports teams. That’s about having good people, but it’s also about the culture they’ve worked in and built up over time. Our goal has been to not disrupt the culture at the firms that we bought but to try to bring some benefits to them as we launch new products, give them new resources.

Their clients don’t want to see that their teams are disrupted. So it’s been important to me to make sure that doesn’t happen. Two years later, we’ve had almost 100-per-cent client retention, almost 100-per-cent employee retention.

Physical fitness continues to be an important part of my life and I try to squeeze in fairly intense workouts when I can.

As told to Patrick Brethour. This interview was edited and condensed.



"Am I entitled to severance on top of my contract buyout?": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:

THE QUESTION

I am a 63-year-old executive director for a non-profit. The board and I discussed an organizational change that would mean hiring a new chief executive officer.

In talks, I believed I would ride out to the end of my contract and then transition to a lower position. Instead, I have been told to be a consultant to the new CEO and that a new position will likely not be created for me. I told the vice-chair of the board that I felt consulting was outside my contract.


She agreed and I am now awaiting a buy-out offer.

Am I entitled to severance on top of the contract payout? My expectation was that I would continue to be employed until I was 65. Can I expect further compensation, or does the end of my contract negate this?

THE FIRST ANSWER

Eileen Dooley
Vice-president, VF Career Management, Calgary

When a new CEO arrives, chances are they do not want you hanging around – and for good reason. Although your knowledge of the role is valuable and could be helpful to an incoming CEO, the reality is the new person likely wants to start off with a clean slate, regardless of the agreement you made with the board.

I worked with an organization where the overlap between executive directors was two years. It’s uncomfortable for the incoming ED as the outgoing one is always hanging around. Plus, for staff, there’s confusion about who to go to for information and decisions.

Talk to a lawyer and get your severance and exit strategy in place. Work in a career transition program so you can get assistance and leave on good terms to move toward a new, fresh role.

THE SECOND ANSWER

George Cottrelle
Partner, Keel Cottrelle LLP, Toronto

Assuming your employment agreement is clearly worded, terminating your employment on completion of the term would not result in any additional entitlement. In most provinces, the notice requirements of the applicable employment legislation would apply to your fixed-term contract, and were likely complied with.

A written agreement can be verbally amended. If there was an agreement to extend your employment past the termination date for an indefinite period, which your employer then breached, this could give rise to additional rights. The employer may dispute that there was an agreement to extend your employment, on any basis, past the termination date, notwithstanding its express representations.

Your employer constructively dismissed your employment prior to completion of the term, after you had agreed to an early transition, relying on the promise of continued employment. We assume you anticipate the buy-out package will be based on your compensation to the end of the contract term, but not beyond.

If you can substantiate the employer’s representations of transitioning your position, and continuing your employment beyond the term, then you may be entitled to some additional compensation. This amount would not be based on your expectation to work to 65, as there were no discussions with your employer in that regard.


Paul Champ1
1 day ago

There are so many variables here regarding the terms of the contract. I seriously doubt its a true fixed-term contract, and if it is, the fixed-term clause could likely be challenged if its been renewed more than once.

Big picture, the organization clearly wants a smooth transition at the ED position. Given that there are practically always grounds to challenge restrictive fixed-term or termination provisions in employment contracts, for a departing ED there is likely lots of room for amicably negotiating a reasonable exit package. Consult an experienced employment lawyer for advice and guidance.

openwater2010
1 day ago

One consideration in BC is whether you worked on the Employer's Premises or not.
My wife had an IT support contract where they told her to come in to the office to monitor the monthly billing runs, and for to bill time for a goofy team building session. Korkin Commission happened, and she was told not to bother coming in any more for those, to make her a bona fide contractor.

Several Indendent Contractors I worked with were told to take their Korbin Employee offers or be terminated. They all said No Thanks. Years later they were still there but subcontacting through IBM Global as part of IBM's BC Subcontracting Quota.

jojo ba
24 hours ago

Depending upon the jurisdiction generally the terms of your engagement/removal are governed by the contract. If your contract had expired and you have continued beyond the expiry date an argument could be made that the contract is open-ended entitling you to a negotiated payout. If the contract has not expired then you are entitle to a payout of the remaining unexpired term.

You would only be allowed severance if the contract called for it.
Usually the CEO gets removed from his duties by the board when they have lost faith in your abilities so I doubt you will see any consulting so I would gather up your contract, review it in detail to see your entitlement, then talk to a lawyer for a quick review. If you do not have a compete clause then consider starting up your own non-profit and tapping the donors you are close to. You may do some good or your former organization might sweeten the deal for a "No Compete" clause.