A Must Watch: Where To Invade Next

Michael Moore is always stirring some political pot. At times he’s not the most liked in his home soil of the United States, but one fact you can’t deny is Michael Moore, love him or hate him, doesn’t mind controversy in the search of truth. Yes he bias, what producer isn’t? Every movie of his you must watch understanding that there’s a hidden bias or else you’re going to take his movies too seriously (Sicko, Capitalism: A Love Story, Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine).

Enter: Where To Invade Next?

This is my favourite Michael Moore movie yet. It has nothing to do with war (though the title seems to make you think so). He visits various countries in Europe and talks to them about Government, Tax, Education, Health Care, Judicial system, food and much more.

Enlightening is an understatement.

Every place he visits seems to be beautiful, friendly people who work great jobs for great wages and have a very important family life. In some places the kids are never assigned homework because social connection and family time is so important to the education system. Two hour lunches with your family, 36 hour work weeks and lots of vacation time. Hard to argue with that!

One of my favourite parts was when Mr. Moore was talking to teachers in Finland (one of the best regarded countries for education worldwide) he asked “what’s the one thing you would tell me to take back and spread across the USA?”. Almost in unison they all said “get rid of the standardized test!” Hard to argue with some of the best teachers in the world.

The Documentary is on Netflix right now and I think you should watch it.

Coaching Is Just Management Sped Up

Coaching is just management sped upWhen you coach you have to take in feedback and make decisions affecting other people in real time. You say one thing in the wrong tone and your team is turned off. Trust is lost. You have to be extremely careful in how you treat them at first, once you have trust though, it’s much easier to get them to buy-in to your system.

When you manage people in a business situation it’s very similar to a sports game with some obvious differences. The decisions you make as a manager will affect how your staff (team) view you in the future. If you’re a demanding asshole most of the time, your staff doesn’t have many reason to stick their neck out for you or really do the right thing for the company.

When you’re coaching you don’t have weeks to get things done, you have minutes. Generally you coach youth or kids much younger than you, who are less mature than you. You’re forced to abide by the nobler motive, you can’t argue, name call or act childish under any circumstance for fear of losing the trust of the team.

You see managers all the time who’ve lost the trust of their team. I like to ask managers what their staff would say about them behind their backs after several cocktails. If the answer is “not good” we have work to do. You can’t manage in a bubble, people talk, your reputation precedes you. It’s all to common these days to find disengaged staff and a leader who is completely delusional. It’s sad really.

I think the business community could learn a lot from coaches, especially management. Do you want to become a better manager? How about a better leader? Try coaching a team. You think motivation in the workplace is difficult, try convincing a bunch of 10 year olds to pay attention long enough to learn about Volleyball, that’s difficult.

Coaching forces you to be a leader, you get better by default. The more you try to learn to be a better coach, the better leader you end up being.

Coaching is the one area where the athletes provide instant feedback, you can look at the faces of most athletes and tell if they are enjoying practice or loathing it. That is a skill all on it own, I’m not good at it yet, but I’m learning.

Why Using an RFP to Hire a Company is Fundamentally Flawed

Regina recycling not recycling glass

RFP=Request For Proposal. When a public institution needs to contract a company to do a job they aren’t capable of themselves, they send out a Request For Proposal (RFP). The RFP outlines what needs to be done, what tools should be used and some contain a whole lot more. A RFP is basically the project outline for any company that wants to bid on the project. Just like the recycling service in Regina, the City put out an RFP and Emterra won it.

When it comes to RFP’s the cheapest company usually wins. In business, simply going with the cheapest solution is rarely a good idea for your business.

Case in point: City of Regina hasn’t been recycling glass food containers

Turns out the “recycling” company (Emterra) the city hired doesn’t recycle glass. Doesn’t recycle glass?!?  What do you mean? Isn’t that a major portion of what we recycle?
When the city put the RFP out about recycling pickup, Emterra responded (conveniently leaving the glass part out) and quoted a cheaper price to do the job.

The city went with the cheaper option, without reading the fine print.

RFP’s suck. It’s a race to the bottom. It’s undercutting everyone else to get a job, that’s not right nor is it sustainable. Even if you do win the RFP, you have no budget room whatsoever, you have a slim chance at making this project successful, you’re forced to cut corners to make it work. Sadly it is the public entities that use RFP’s that pay the price.

That’s exactly what Emterra did, they didn’t exactly come out and say they weren’t going to recycle glass but with how little they’re getting paid per bin pickup there’s a reason they can’t process glass. And from the cities response you KNOW they didn’t catch it, if anything it sounds like it was directly the city’s fault.

Lets stop using RFP’s they aren’t helping anyone.

** I am making an assumption here that Emterra mischievously left the glass recycling out to create the cost savings. I recognize that they may have found it in hindsight and been an honest mistake. But if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s probably not a chicken!!!

No One’s Listening, Get Over It

No one's listening, get over it

If you’re not selling as much as you think you should be, or your business isn’t doing as good as it should be, stop trying to tell more people about yourself. Stop trying to yell louder than everyone else, stop trying to make more commercials about yourself. No one cares about your business.

Your business isn’t growing, not because people don’t know about your company, your business isn’t growing because you’re not willing to sacrifice what really matters to make your organization what it could be.

If you think all you need to do is tell more people about what you’re doing you’re missing the point. If you have to tell people about what you’re selling it’s not going to scale and you aren’t going to experience the growth you want. If you can change your product or service to make it SO incredibly valuable that other people want to share it without you there, you’ve done it.

The new marketing is changing your service offering based on the feedback received from customers and employees to cater to them more effectively over time.

No one’s listening, get over it. Start creating a better message.

Stop trying to shout louder than your competition and start creating something worth shouting about.

Stop Blaming Other People

I'm sorryWhen you blame someone else for something, no matter what it is, you’re protecting yourself from being wrong or at fault.

When you say you’re sorry and take ownership of the situation, the common misconception is that it makes you look weak or powerless. When actually, saying you’re sorry humanizes you and makes you more likeable.

It’s easy to blame others, it’s hard to blame ourselves.

Understanding this is imperative to you making it in this world. It’s a scary place out there and you need to have thick skin if you want to make it. You have to own up to your mistakes. Take responsibility for when things go wrong, don’t point out where others messed up, shut up and fix it yourself. If you get the reputation as the person who takes responsibility, who gets things done, and isn’t afraid of being wrong, you’re grooming yourself to be a leader.

When you blame others for something, it gives you nothing to do about it. Once you blame yourself, you now have something to work on. In the book Bounce it talks about how world class athletes sometimes feel lost when they win, because they have nothing they need to work on. The most successful athletes in the world are the ones constantly working to make something better.

Get in the habit of taking the blame, point the finger at yourself and don’t being afraid to fix a situation. People look up to others who get shit done. Especially in the world we live in, we all need to strive to take the blame more often.

It starts by not blaming others.

Why I Think My Sister Is Brilliant

Amy and MeI had an enlightening conversation with my sister the other day. She works for a company in Calgary. She really understands the industry (realizing this after many probing questions of course) she’s worked her way up to a point where she’s quite valuable in the company, and she still doesn’t know how smart she is.

She isn’t lazy, hates being board, and understands that a stressful, hectic, growing company is much better to be working for than a stale, easy to do job, at a company going no where. The way she thinks is simply refreshing. A great person to have on the team. She truly wants to see her company grow and has a pretty good handle on how to go about doing that.

The best part? She doesn’t have a University degree. Nor do I think she needs one, I think she’s brilliant.

School was never her thing, so she couldn’t pay attention in class and learn, just like many kids back in the day and even more so today. She probably would be diagnosed with a mild version of attention deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But she’s so intelligent in how she thinks. She understands how actions affect other people, she’s self-aware, and really has the companies best interests in mind.

She’s a women in a industry dominated by men, has been told but popular education that her grades just aren’t good enough and still she’s excelling at her job in an enormous way. That’s awesome.