Throwing money at it
There are three kinds of problems:

The first can be fixed with money. There’s a defect in the plumbing and you can’t get a permit to open until you fix it. The design team needs to hire a UI expert to improve the widget before it ships. The family can’t get a good night’s sleep with three little kids sleeping in one room…

The second can’t be fixed with money. These are issues of trust or judgment. Horrific injuries or crimes against nature. An old growth forest doesn’t grow back merely because you pay the trees more.

The third, of course, are problems that appear that they can be solved with money, but can’t. They range from the mythical man-month to the relationship that uses resources as a false proxy for other things yet to be discussed. Culture, process and expectations are tempting targets, but the resources spent often make the problem worse in the long run.

If a problem can be fixed with money or other resources, and you can afford it, you should do so, quickly, efficiently and without breaking a sweat. For the other kind of problems, resist that shortcut and get to the heart of the matter instead.

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Seth Godin: Job vs. Project

Posted Friday, June 10th, 2016. Filed Under Corporate - Tips/Tools Blog | Leave a Comment

I couldn’t agree more with these words:

Your job vs. your project

Jobs are finite, specified and something we ‘get’. Doing a job makes us defensive, it limits our thinking. The goal is to do just enough, not get in trouble, meet spec. When in doubt, seek deniability.

Projects are open-ended, chosen and ours. Working on a project opens the door to possibility. Projects are about better, about new frontiers, about making change happen. When in doubt, dare.

Jobs demand meetings and the key word is ‘later’. Projects encourage ‘now.’

You can get paid for a job (or a project). Or not. The pay isn’t the point, the approach is.

Some people don’t have a project, only a job. That’s a choice, and it’s a shame. Some people work to turn their project into a job, getting them the worst of both. If all you’ve ever had is jobs (a habit that’s encouraged starting in first grade), it’s difficult to see just how easy it is to transform your work into a project.

Welcome to projectworld.

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Seth Godin: Sharpening Failure

Posted Wednesday, April 13th, 2016. Filed Under Corporate - Tips/Tools Blog | Leave a Comment

Sharpening failure
Losing the election by ten votes or by a million–which is worse?

“Missed it by that much,” is a way to amplify how we feel when we don’t succeed. So, when we miss the bus by just a few seconds, or finish a math proof just behind the competition–we can beat ourselves up about this for years.

Much rarer, it seems, is the opposite. It’s hard to find people still congratulating themselves after winning an election by just a few votes or making a plane by a step or two. Nice that it happened, but we ask what’s next, where’s the next crisis?

We have a name for someone who expects the worst in the future. Pessimism is a choice. But we don’t seem to have a name for someone who describes the past with the same negative cast.

It’s a dangerous trap, the regular reminders of how we’ve failed, but how close we’ve come to winning. It rarely leads us to prepare more, to be more adroit or dedicated. Instead, it’s a form of hiding, a way to insulate ourselves from the next, apparently inevitable failure.

The universe is not laughing at us. It doesn’t even know we exist.

Go ahead and celebrate the wins, then get back to work. Same for mourning the losses. All we can do is go forward.

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I am sharing an article from the Financial Post, written by Anwar Ali.

The article starts by saying that there has been little innovation in recruitment since companies adopted applicant-tracking systems in the late 1990s. That technology was useful as humans no longer had to sift through resume stacks.

Employers know labour markets are too competitive to rely on a hiring process that’s little more than a casting call, however often their hands are tied when it comes to implementing a system-wide overhaul.

Attrition is expensive and a time waster. On average, it costs between $33,308-$42,000 and takes 85-97 days to replace managers and executives according to a report by the Conference Board of Canada (2015).
Some HR consultants say the cost is even higher: the equivalent of a year’s worth of salary when loss of productivity is factored in.

A new start up in the industry, Clear Fit, and company’s founder Ben Baldwin says the problem with job-posting aggregators such as Monster is that they focus on volume. When employers post ads on all the popular sites, the same pool of job hunters is browsing on most of them, therefore little distinction in results they get back.

Richard Turk, chief executive of Vancouver-based Riipen, thinks the inherent flaw in recruitment starts with the resume. Recent graduates often embellish their skills on their resume to distinguish themselves from their counterparts which “gaminess” the hiring process.

You are left up to chance – deciphering what is true and what is not.

Riipen’s platform connects students to short-term projects in a professional setting so they’ll have something meaningful to show beyond their degree when school’s over. Tuck says this allows a graduate’s skills to keep pace with workplace innovation and gives employers a sneak peek at a future hire.

Toronto-based Kira Talent goes even further back on a career timeline, with a tool designed to give universities more control over enrolment. They achieve this by having prospective students respond to a questionnaire with a recorded video. Emilie Cushman, co-founder of Kira Talent, said the technology, which corporations can also use, lets a school scour the world to fine-tune the composition of its classrooms. She says this reflects positively on a university because, in theory, it will churn out more employable graduates. They might overspend on time and money to find the best possible cohorts coming into their school and know that when the students graduate they will find/get the best jobs.

Recoup’s strategy is that it posts banner ads online where prospective talent is likely to spend time. Their feeling is the best candidates are already employed.

——–

I agree that the tools used for hiring are outdated. I love what Riipen is doing – creating hands-on opportunities for the youth to apply their technical and soft skill/life skills. This is crucial part of learning – taking risks even failing! That is where innovation comes from.

I would go further and make all post-secondary school programs co-op or have a paid internship component. This is where the person really gets to learn. I wrote a 14 page letter to Justin Trudeau outlining the need to create an earning and learning framework like they do in Switzerland.

It is my belief that hiring for fit begins from the inside out. It starts with a company defining their core values and behaviours, mission, vision, purpose and Y. Once you know who you are THEN AND ONLY THEN can you hire for fit. The biggest problem today is that we hire for the job description. By 2025 one-third of all simple jobs will be replaced by robots – algorithms. In my research 50% of all the jobs we know today will disappear. We need critical thinkers. People jobs will have a dimension of complexity to it otherwise you can write and algorithm. We need to plan for this.

There is also a leadership gap in Canada and many companies around the world. We need to consider that. We should not be looking to only hire for the job… rather the potential. I believe that hands-on experience is critical, both for the prospective worker and employer.

My work in this area continues. I am reaching out to forward thinking people and visionaries that understand this. I want to be part of the tribe that shifts paradigms in our education system and Corporate Canada.

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I attended a great event last night sponsored by a number of corporations that support the work FoodShare organization does. I love how Pattison, one of the sponsors puts it: FoodShare’s Recipe for Change [is about] bringing the gap between school food programs and a future of healthy eating. While going into schools is a big part of their education (I looked them up online and was very impressed with their work) they also look to educating about gardens and more.

The event last night hosted 30 chefs from across Toronto along with local winemakers and beer providers (pair up the amazing food) who offered healthy samples to try. I love food and tried everything. Of course there are things that I liked more but nothing that I didn’t like. One of the schools that FoodShare works with – Culinary students Eastdale Collegiate – created cocktail tartlets filled with curried chicken chutney and cranberries. I loved them. There is nothing like giving our youth the hands-on experience to teach, guide and instil in them they are part of our change in this world! It’s about them so let them be part of the solution of making healthy good choices.

To learn more about food share go to
*www.foodshare.net
* connect with them on your favourite social platforms @foodshareTO
* They cater… delight your guests with Field to Table Catering: foodshare.net/program/catering.

While this organization exists in Toronto, learn from them and take it into your own communities. Obesity and disease is on the rise with youth so let’s make this a priority to teach, guide and instil in them the love of healthy choices. Perhaps it is the youth that will teach their older counterparts/parents!

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Seth Godin: Intuition

Posted Friday, February 26th, 2016. Filed Under Corporate - Tips/Tools Blog | Leave a Comment

Used wisely intuition is a great guide to go by. Many don’t know how or choose not to listen to their intuition or gut. It is one of our senses and one that is valuable.

Intuition
That’s what people call successful decision making that happens without a narrative.

Intuition isn’t guessing. It’s sophisticated pattern matching, honed over time.

Don’t dismiss intuition merely because it’s difficult to understand. You can get better at it by practicing.

Posted by Seth Godin on February 26, 2016

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Are you a circle in a square world?

Posted Friday, February 19th, 2016. Filed Under Corporate - Tips/Tools Blog | Leave a Comment

I re-entered the workforce last year after being home with my children for nearly 15 years. For all those parents (not just mothers) that chose to stay home with their children I applaud you for you have done the hardest job of all – more than any CEO or president: you are shaping the minds of tomorrow; creating the leaders of tomorrow; all to say in a volatile, fast-paced, global world.

In 2009 I created an empowerment website which I’ve expanded to three (Voice of Youth and Kidz2kidz) now three websites read worldwide. I researched, wrote and self-published a book geared to the millennial youth: We’re not Gonna Take It A youth’s toolbag of essential life skills for transitioning from high school to post-secondary education to the workplace. I created in 2010 Kidz2kidz with my sons and a few families which collects gently used sports and leisure equipment for kids and families less fortunate. I have been asked to be a speaker a dozen times… and the when I put my resume together last year, one, I heard back from almost NONE of the jobs I applied for and was told that I would be lucky to earn $25K/year and/or second HR professionals/Head hunters said I lacked the skills needed for today.

Sound familiar to our children graduating from maybe their second degree, master or PhD program.

I have honed my life skills: leadership, communication, decision-making, financial literacy and team player to name a few YET because I did not have all of the i’s dotted and t’s crossed I was bypassed.

I am a visionary and forward thinking person who is entrepreneurial in spirit. I see exactly what is coming down the pipeline for our children and it is scary.

We hire for a job (description) rather than for skills and potential. It has been frustrating because I feel like a circle that exists in a square world. The good thing is that I am finding more and more ‘circles’ who think like me. I want to reassure those people who feel, think and BE (act) differently to continue to

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Seth Godin

Posted Friday, January 29th, 2016. Filed Under Corporate - Tips/Tools Blog | Leave a Comment

I know this is my second post of Seth Godin today… I truly love his work.
This short article is powerful and makes so much sense especially if you want to change paradigms and/or systems.

Challenging takes courage and the willingness to fail and learn. I say understand your

The mythical 10x marketer
She’s not a myth.

Some marketers generate ten times (or a hundred times) as much value as a typical marketing person. How come?

The 10x marketer understands that the job isn’t to do marketing the way the person before you did it, or the way your boss asked you to do it. Strategic marketing comes from questioning the tactics, understanding who you are seeking to change and being willing to re-imagine the story your organization tells. Don’t play the game, change the game.
The 10x marketer doesn’t fold in the face of internal opposition.
These two points are essential and easily overlooked. If you are merely doing your job and also working hard to soothe all constituencies, it’s almost certain that your efforts (no matter how well-intentioned or skilled) will not create ten times as much value as a typical marketer would.

This means that an organization that isn’t getting 10x marketing needs to begin by blaming itself (for not asking the right question and for not supporting someone who answers the other question). 10x marketers are made, not born, and half the battle is creating a platform where one can work.

Beyond that, the 10x marketer embraces two apparently contradictory paths:

Persistence in the face of apathy. Important marketing ideas are nearly always met with skepticism or hostility, from co-workers, from critics and from the market. Showing up, again and again, with confidence and generosity, is the best response.
The willingness to quit what isn’t working. Sometimes the marketer faces a dip that must be survived, but the 10x marketer is also engaged enough to know the difference between that dip and a dead end that has no hope.
Not every project needs a 10x marketer. If you sell a commodity (or something you treat like a commodity) it’ll almost never happen. But if 10x is what you’re hoping for, learn to dance.

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“But what will I tell the others?”
Seven urgent words that are rarely uttered.

The profound question that clueless marketers almost never consider.

The words we imagine we’ll tell the boss, the neighbors, our spouse after we make a change or take an action… this drives the choices that constitute our culture, it’s the secret thread that runs through just about everything we do.

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There is a thought/belief: the longer you work, the more time you have to do everything in.

Is this true? Does it really work and/or make sense?

In practice, working longer hours means having less time to refocus and recharge, which leads to more stress and lower energy.

Is there a better, smarter way to get things done.

One man decided to test this. Chris Bailey did an experiment to test the theory. For four weeks he alternated between working 90 hours one week, and 20 the next to see how working both extreme hours and shorter hours affected how much got done every day.
During one week he came to the conclusion that his productivity level during a one-90 hour week was only slightly more than the 20 hour week he worked.

This perplexed him. What he came to understand upon further investigation is that when he invested more time in his work during the 90 hour week, the work became less urgent; on a minute-by-minute basis, he invested less energy and focus into everything intended to get done. Conversely, when he had limited time in the 20-hour week, he expended significantly more energy and focus over a shorter period of time so he could get everything done he had to do.

He deduced: By controlling how much time you spend on a task, you control how much energy and attention you spend on it. The second interesting awareness was that even though on paper he accomplished about the same in both long and short weeks, he felt twice as productive working longer hours. Even though he wasn’t spending his attention or energy wisely, he FELT productive.

Interesting. Another awareness: Busyness does not translate into productivity if it does not lead you to accomplish anything.

If this is true than really what we need to do is shift our belief system. Everyone thinks that Europe is in trouble because they take a siesta or don’t work the hours that we do in North America. But is that true?

For Chris he wanted to find his ‘sweet spot’ of how many hours he needed to work to be and FEEL productive. The answer is 46-hours a week, which was enough time to get everything done, while taking needed breaks to recharge his energy levels and attention over the course of the day.

Studies show that the required hours work/week is less: 35-40 hours and anything more productivity will begin to plummet.

In the short run working longer hours to meet a deadline or because you have a lot of work is ok for a short period. However for the long run this is counterproductive.

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