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May 30, 2018

All the pieces of your leadership development program are now in place. You have the right candidates, the right mentors and the carefully crafted content built out from your corporate context ready to go. The only thing left to do is execute.


Who are your leadership candidates? What type of profile do they have relative to their experience, skill sets, diversity and capabilities? Chances are that you will have some millennials in the group, and they will need considerations that are most likely different than what you have done in the past. Karie Willyerd (@Angler) recently wrote a piece for the Harvard Business Review, Millennials Want to be Coached at Work that indicated, 

”Millennials have a greater self-esteem, but also have higher levels of anxiety, and a greater need for praise.”


May 9, 2018

"Remember: Leadership Development is not an event"

John Agno

When you are deciding who within your organization will be accessing your leadership development program, you are at the jumping off point of your greatest opportunity for capacity building or, unforgivingly, your greatest opportunity to miss the boat.

The Tap

One of the approaches that is often utilized is selecting people within your organization that have already shown some leadership potential. While this is a safe strategy, it does put some pressure on your current managers to get it right. Having some criteria in place will assist getting teams on the same page prior to candidates being selected. This also speaks to the importance of Step 2, “The What,” as managers will seek out leadership candidates that match what your organization h...

February 21, 2018

You can choose to focus on endless examples of leadership theory, but will benefit most from examining the ones you have successfully applied throughout the years and understanding why they have worked.

February 6, 2018

It is nice to think that what you have worked hard to build will live on and thrive indefinitely after you are gone, but how will your expertly crafted corporate culture be sustained?

January 24, 2018

They came to feel safe. They came to give their children a better future.

They came to avoid political, religious and cultural persecution. They came because the risks

of staying were far greater that the risks of the journey.

Who are “they”?

If you are Canadian, “they” are each and every one of us.

The Syrian Refugee you see on TV is the small town industrial worker from Europe who came to Canada in the first half of the last century.

The Syrian Refugee you see on your Facebook feed is the Acadian farmer who settled in the Maritimes in the 1700’s.

The Syrian Refugee you see on Twitter is the eastern European pioneer that built western Canada from the dirt up.

The Syrian Refugee you see on TV is the African Canadian who made it to Canada via the Underground Railroad escaping slavery in the United States.


April 10, 2017

“Look at that boy wearing a dress…. %^&$# Arabs! Bring a bomb to school day.”

This comment was launched casually by a parent to another parent sitting in a car across from my school last spring as students made their way home following dismissal. As a large diverse elementary school in a large diverse city, we are seldom exposed to comments like this directly. We like to think of things like this happening in other places, in other countries, on TV, or on social media.

Diversity creates challenges, real and perceived, within our organizations and our every day lives. These challenges are continuously shared, misunderstood, projected, capitalized on and politicized throughout the mainstream and social media. Are their opportunities hidden within this steady stream of negativity?

Before you attempt to...

February 14, 2017

You have crafted a workplace environment that is rife with creative people developing fabulous ideas that will change the world. As the shelf life for the next “best thing” or the newest “best way” seems to get shorter, the opportunities presented to your organization can become increasingly fleeting. Do you have the leadership skills, the organizational structures, and the right people to move these fabulous ideas from inception to execution before they start collecting dust?

On the bumpy pathway from creative development to execution, there are many opportunities for distraction, wrong turns and detours. In order to develop that breakthrough that came from your divergent thinkers, you will need to have different skill sets in place for the next step. Convergent thinkers or teams are those that ca...

February 14, 2017

What level of risk will you tolerate to ensure creativity and innovation in your organization? Do you know? Do your employees know? How are your leadership activities influencing those levels of risk and creativity?

The message of “all failure is bad” is one that we are familiar with from both our school and work experiences. Organizations with this direct or indirect message as part of their work culture will struggle to challenge issues, problem solve and respond to changes in their business communities.

Ken Robinson (@sirkenrobinson) defines creativity as “the process of having original ideas that have value.” One of the first steps includes having the ability to spot the divergent thinkers within your organization. We all have people on our teams who respond to challenges by thinking of more tha...

February 14, 2017

Our digital world is filled and re-filled continuously with ideas around what effective leaders should do, should never do, or should be. Whatever leadership style, philosophy or approach you aspire to, the one non-negotiable requirement is that in order to be a leader, you must generate followers. The characteristics of today’s followers are shifting significantly. Are your leadership skills ready ?

The Boomers are moving on to re-invent whatever form of retirement that they see fit. The organizational structures that they are leaving behind are very similar to the ones that they worked in for years. However, the followers who will be residing within those structures are different in almost every way.

Robert Kelley’s extensive work on followership indicated that that there were several qualities th...

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Mike MacDonald - Educational Leader

Mike MacDonald has been an educational leader for twenty years in three provinces and is currently with the Calgary Board of Education.

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