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Category Archives: Self-development Tools

Work-life balance is a myth, seek work-life blend instead

For years, nay decades, there’s been talk of work-life balance – that delicate equilibrium between the time you spend at work and that which you dedicate to family, social and leisure activities, and personal interests.  In fact, I too have often penned posts (such as this one) that seek to achieve just that.  But work-life balance is a myth, a non-achievable nirvana that few (if any) have realized. So it’s long past the time to let this obsolete idea go. Instead, it’s time to embrace work-life blend.

In my latest column in The Globe and Mail, I explain how the word “balance” implies that a negative – work – needs to be offset by a positive – life. But there shouldn’t be anything negative about earning a living.  Work-life blend acknowledges that trying to isolate work from life is not only impossible, but also places immense amounts of anxiety and tension on those trying to do so.

Work-life balance is a myth

work-life blend

Shifting to work-life blend doesn’t happen overnight

So what will it take to reposition from balance to blend?  That’s exactly what I address in this column which published in yesterday’s print edition of The Globe.  If you get the print version, you would have seen it on page B10.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2zIvkMH

So I’ve already heard from several readers on The Globe‘s site who are not impressed with my point of view.  They believe that my suggestion of work-life blend is just another way to further reduce “life” time.  But I’d love to hear what you think as well.  Do you agree or disagree with my perspective?  Please add your thoughts below.

Dealing with adversity – wisdom from mom!

Dealing with adversity is a subject that I often address in my blog posts.  Two that come to mind right away are A mental approach to coping with irritants and An ageless folktale about dealing with adversity.  Here is yet another thought on this subject.

Face your adversity head-on

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When you turn and face the sun, your shadow will always be behind you …

Said my mom to me on numerous occasions during both my childhood and adulthood.  Her point was that the best way to deal with a problem was to address it directly.  The unfortunate reality is that as long as I tried to keep evading the issue at hand, either by skirting around it or by avoiding it completely, the shadows would also linger, and eventually the outcome would be sub-optimal.  As usual, my mom was right.  And it turns out that my mom’s counsel is not bad advice for leaders either.

The leadership journey is fraught with minefields – unexpected setbacks, difficult clients and co-workers, or just simply situations where the best-laid plans go awry.  When things go wrong, it can be tempting to retreat, to search out cover, and get out of the line of fire.  At first glance, this may not be a bad idea, since withdrawal allows you to re-evaluate and reassess the state of affairs.  But while pausing to reflect may be appropriate for the short-term, it is definitely not a long-term solution.  Continue reading

Reverse mentoring: working one-on-one with a younger colleague can help you stay relevant

reverse mentoringI often discuss the value of one-on-one mentoring relationships with my clients as well as here on the blog (in fact, one-on-one mentoring makes up a significant portion of my professional practice).  The assumption with mentoring is often that it is a one-way effort – veteran staff mentoring younger employees.  However, there is just as much value in reverse mentoring – where senior employees benefit from a one-on-one learning relationship with someone who is much younger.  The value can come in many aspects, but the most beneficial is likely in the area of technology.

When it comes to technology, there are many tools and resources out there that you may have never heard about.  So if you are over 35 years old, it’s worth considering a reverse mentoring relationship with a younger work colleague.  Ask your younger mentor what trends they are observing and what new technologies they are trying out.  Ask them to show you how these tools work.  Tell them about the work-related challenges you are facing and see if they have solutions to offer that you may not have considered, or for that matter, even know about. Continue reading

4 steps to finding a personal brand

Last month, reporter Sarah Ovaska-Few from Financial Management magazine reached out to me for an article she was writing on what it takes to find and build a personal brand.  As regular readers of the blog know, I have spoken and written on this subject before (see Five ways to build a kick-ass brand) so I was delighted to see if I could be of value to her.

Taking time to reflect on your personal brand can help focus your career goals

Here is a link to an online copy of her article which published earlier this month:

4 steps to finding a personal brand

personal brand

In it, Sarah interviews not only yours truly, but also Dima Ghawi, an executive who went through a personal branding process.  The premise in this article is that if you refine your personal brand, it can help you weigh your career options, highlight your skills, and thus eventually focus your career goals.  Definitely worth a read if you’re thinking about where and how you want your career to grow and progress.

What are your thoughts?  What advice do you have to offer those who are seeking to define their own personal brand?  I would love to hear about your experiences and decisions.

Could artificial intelligence replace accountants (or any other profession)?

Just this past April, in my regular column in The Globe and Mail, I put forward the premise that artificial intelligence is the next frontier in the evolution of customer service.  But of course it isn’t just customer service that is being impacted by artificial intelligence (AI); just about every profession and business process is affected.  Which led to the subject of my latest column for Canadian AccountantHow to prosper in the age of accounting robots.

Professionals should embrace (rather than fear) artificial intelligence

Given the significant proliferation of artificial intelligence into the world of accounting, the question being asked by many accountants is whether the accounting profession itself is being threatened.  Could accountants be replaced by automation, just like the switchboard operator, the film projectionist and the elevator operator?  And if so, what can accountants do to not only protect their careers, but prosper in the age of the accounting robots? Continue reading

What does it take to be recognized as a high-potential employee?

Last month, I told you all how excited I was to be one of the featured speakers at the Elevate Your Mind conference presented by the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) of Alberta in Edmonton at the Shaw Conference Centre on May 14, 2018.  This is an organization that I have partnered with for several years on a variety of learning events, so I am very excited that they are welcoming me back to “elevate
the skills of professionals in any stage of their career.  My session on May 14 is titled Are you a HiPo?, and I am looking forward to giving attendees specific high-energy and fast-paced ideas to get recognized as a high-potential employees in their organizations.

Registration is open now

Registration is open now, so if you’re thinking about attending, don’t delay!  This link will take you directly to the registration page.  Even though this event is organized by CPA Alberta, registration is open to anyone from any organization.  If you belong to a profession that requires ongoing professional education credits, then this may be a perfect (and fun!) way to get a head start on 2018’s requirements.  Here is a link to the Conference Agenda page, with additional links to more information.

Wondering what a HiPo is?

P.S. In case you’re wondering, HiPos are those employees who have been tagged as the Continue reading

Are you a high-potential (HiPo) employee? Don’t miss this upcoming event!

Earlier this year, my regular column for Canadian Accountant covered specific ways to get recognized as a high-potential employee.  In it, I laid out seven ways to become worthy of high-potential employee status.  Well, the topic of the high-potential employee got so much attention that I have now been invited to speak on this very subject at an upcoming conference.

Are you a HiPo?

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I am very excited to announce that I will be one of the featured speakers at the Elevate Your Mind conference presented by the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) of Alberta in Edmonton at the Shaw Conference Centre on May 14, 2018.  As our Alberta blog readers may already know, I have partnered with this exceptional organization for several years on a variety of learning events, and so I am thrilled to be working with them once again.  Elevate Your Mind is a full-day conference offering a variety of engaging and targeted speakers and sessions to “elevate” the skills of Alberta CPAs at any stage in their careers, and on May 14, I will be presenting a fast-paced high-energy session titled Are you a HiPo?

What is a HiPo? Continue reading

Want to climb the corporate ladder? Then get recognized as a high-potential employee

high-potential employeeThere are two ways to get ahead in the world of work. One, strike out on your own as an entrepreneur and create your own million dollar company. Or two, successively rise through the ranks in an established organization. Both are viable options, but if your career objective is to climb the corporate ladder, then you need to get recognized as a high-potential employee, or HiPo.

Seven ways to become worthy of high-potential employee status

If rising to the top at your place of employment and getting recognized as a high-potential employee is something you aspire to, then my latest column in Canadian Accountant lays out seven actions you need to take right now in order to become worthy of HiPo status.  Read Looking to rise in the ranks? Here are 7 things you need to do now.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic of what it takes to be recognized as a high-potential employee.  Does it even matter?  What has been your experience?  Good or bad, I’m interested.  Share your thoughts either here or on the Canadian Accountant website.

Self-discipline and restraint are admirable leadership qualities

self-disciplineA bowl of dried beans offers two possibilities.  One, you can cook them up for a satisfying protein-rich meal.  Or two, you can plant them, and watch the successful seeds produce many, many more.  Your choice will determine whether you have food now, or food later.  This situation is reminiscent of the Stanford marshmallow experiment.  The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies on delayed gratification and self-discipline in the late 1960s and early 1970s, led by psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University.  If you are interested in learning more about the marshmallow experiment, I wrote about it (in 2007) in a Mega Minute titled Marshmallows, self-discipline, and success.

Beans … now or later

Let’s go back to the beans however.  If you’re the kind of person who guards your bowl of beans so that you can consume them all yourself, then you’ll certainly have a satisfying meal.  But your triumph will likely end there.  On the other hand, if you’re the leader who is willing to exercise self-discipline and self-restraint, at least in the short-term, and one who plants those seeds far and wide, you’ll create much greater potential.  Not only will you ensure a longer-term food supply for yourself, but you’ll also nourish others and build incredible goodwill with your staff, your colleagues, and your clients.

So, are you the leader who is willing to apply self-discipline and share your resources with others – information, your expertise, and your time – in order to build long-term success?  Or are you more interested in hoarding your sources and means because you are focused on victory today?  I hope you are the former, but I’d love to hear your perspectives.  Please share your thoughts below.

Leadership literacy is essential; ignorance is unacceptable

leadership literacyLeaders have a responsibility to be literate.  And by the word “literate”, I mean knowledgeable.  Now that information is ubiquitous, available through our fingertips at the closest keyboard, twenty-four seven, there is no longer any reason to claim that you don’t know.  Ignorance is no longer an acceptable excuse.  But real leadership literacy also requires critical thinking.  It is possible to tell the difference between genuine data and pseudo-science; between real facts and false news.  It requires however that you read beyond the headlines and evaluate the sources and the author.  It is possible to appreciate and comprehend the people you work with.  But that means that you need to make the effort and take the time to get to know them.  Leadership literacy is not only essential, it is completely achievable.

5 Rules of 21st Century Leadership Literacy

With this cautionary counsel in mind, here are five rules of 21st century leadership literacy that every leader should follow: Continue reading