The Proven Process

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’d like to invite you to my new website, aimed at helping owners and partners of small to medium size business gain more control over their business and increase its value. Accelerate to Elevate is an implementer of the EOS® process as laid out in the best-selling book Traction. EOS (the Entrepreneurial Operating System) delivers a set of tools and processes that help business leaders: Simplify Focus on what matters most Predict what’s coming Systemize what they do Increase accountability among the people who work there   There are six key drivers of any business that will help them break through the ceilings they inevitably face Click here or on the picture and then click on each heading to see each key driver’s characteristics. As an EOS Implementer, with successful businesses as clients who can attest to the value of the process I take them through, I can help you generate more traction on your key priorities and help you bring discipline and accountability to the people in your organization charged with carrying them through. Click here to get to the appointment...

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RIGHT BRAIN / LEFT BRAIN: Of two minds about our national standard for psychologically healthy and safe workplaces

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Articles, Culture Change, Workplace Respect, Workplace Safety | 0 comments

One of the great challenges for organizations trying to understand what to make of Canada’s relatively new voluntary standards for psychological health and safety is to wrap their minds around where to begin. There is absolutely no question that the emergence of Canada’s new National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the spring of 2013 was a landmark step forward. We can be proud to be citizens of a country in which government, the private sector and the not-for-profit Canadian Standards Association could come together and create such an important new framework aimed at building a safer and healthier society. However, while the architects and supporters of these new national standards have followed up with a series of how-to guides, to anyone on the outside looking in this still seems like a tough and complicated thing to take on. Before I describe what I offer up as the most efficient and effective start point, it is important to discuss the context for how this important new standard has been brought forward. It offers considerable comfort and direction on the administrative and system side of a psychologically healthier workplace because of the framework it was built upon. For those seeking to accelerate the people and culture change side toward a more positive, inspiring, healthier and safer workplace culture, the path is not clear. The new standards have been laid out in a way that makes them easier to integrate into existing OHS ramps or other systems that rely upon documentation of processes. This is particularly useful for large organizations because there’s a well-known framework for implementation. This is very much a left-brain document, organized and designed to complement and build upon existing occupational health and safety regimes that govern workplace practices in many organizations, particularly larger ones.  It contains not only the 13 recommended standards for compliance but also tightly organized information on how to plan, implement and evaluate progress. The reality is that large and well-organized institutions with mature OHS systems will be the first adopters of the new standards because they have the wherewithal to do it. Meanwhile the widespread integration of these voluntary standards across smaller businesses or other organizations unfamiliar with such advanced concepts will take much longer. Thus, while this linear connection with past Occupational Health & Safety policies and procedures is one of its strengths, it also carries with it the inherent limitations of the system we have built over the last 100 years. The limitations are these: systems, policies, rules, regulations, punishment, discipline and dogma do not move people to change to safer, healthier workplace cultures. People do this. I discovered, from the inquest into my son Sean’s death at work, that...

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Up-Stander: Kevin Vickers

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Articles, Culture Change, Up-Stander, Workplace Respect, Workplace Safety | 0 comments

This week’s Up-stander at first glance may seem obvious to many people, as millions of Canadians will instantly understand why Kevin Vickers clearly deserves this and a whole lot more recognition for what he did on Wednesday two weeks ago in our nation’s capital. I have more reasons to be grateful for what Kevin did, because of his impact on my daughter Robin, who works with him in the House of Commons. Recently, I was the keynote speaker at the Canada’s Safest Employer Awards celebration in Toronto, less than a week following the events on parliament Hill. The subject of this week’s Up-standers piece, Kevin Vickers, is embodied within the text of the speech I delivered to award winners and attendees that night. ————————————————— “It is my privilege to be with you tonight. We are here to honour great achievements created by inspiring people who have made Canada a better place to live, learn, work and play. It is their core values, your core values that bring us together, at this time, in this place. You – have embraced workplace cultures that are built on civility and respect, and on the physical and psychological protection of the people you work with. You – already understand that a life lost or damaged, or a life saved or healed, isn’t about rules and regulations. It is about people – people committed to breathe life and soul into the values that such rules are based upon. I like the way Dr. Kevin Kelloway of Saint Mary’s university puts it. Kevin says a healthy workplace is one that promotes dignity: both the dignity you and I earn through our work and the innate human dignity within every human being. And he says, dignity comes from respect for ourselves, our respect for others and the perception that others respect us. Workplaces that function in the absence of dignity and respect are far more dangerous places for our families and friends or anyone else to work in. A healthy workplace, a safer workplace, Kevin says, is one that embraces, promotes and nurtures dignity, and with it, respect. I want to tell you two, very personal stories with two very different endings that explain why I personally know this to be so true. The first story is about an unsafe, unhealthy workplace where, in the absence of dignity, respect, civility and physical and psychological protection, everything went wrong. Almost 20 years ago to the day, 19 year-old Sean was on the third day of a new job. He poured thick fluid from a large drum into smaller cans, preparing them for shipment to automobile dealers to undercoat new vehicles. What Sean did not know was that this liquid was...

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Culture vs. Strategy

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014 in Articles, Culture Change | 0 comments

Peter Drucker is attributed with saying – Culture eats strategy for breakfast. It was a simple phrase that stirred the pot, creating heated debates, particularly among people who make a living consulting on strategy.  Some of this stems from the critics’ view that such a statement is absolute, as though Drucker was saying the only choice is to focus on one or the other and that culture comes first. One argument is that culture doesn’t matter much for a failing company losing most of its market share.  When that happens, not enough employees are left to have a culture anyway. Think back to Blackberry’s precipitous decline several years ago as an example of such a scenario, notwithstanding its recent and new strategy and product launch designed to bring it back up the competitive ladder. I would never argue that great strategy isn’t a critical factor for success. But once a potentially winning strategy is set and products are out there, then it is all about execution and team performance. It is the organization’s people (and the culture in which they work) that are now on the front lines, duking it out in the trenches. This is what team performance must be geared up to deliver: smart, inspired, tirelessly energetic marketing, selling, customer service, distribution, delivery, meeting targets, goals, quotas and technical performance standards, with continuous improvement in every area. There is no time for distraction. The high performing team is one with every person in it committed and engaged. Success requires clarity and aligned focus on outcomes. Is the team trained up and fired up to the task – or not?  And the chances of that answer being a yes are a whole lot higher if the culture is one with a common language of mutual respect and shared ownership of outcomes. Drucker’s proposition, that culture eats strategy for breakfast, was aimed at the other end of the scale, where any strategy, no matter how viable it may seem to be, is vulnerable to the failings of a dysfunctional culture. This can include organizations pre-occupied with an inward focus, or preoccupied with activities not outcomes, or driven by rules and procedures without engaging employees in their purpose.  In these or any other organizations where respect, accountability and communication are seen as distractions and not critical to success, strategy is not eaten by culture in a single serving. It is an all day breakfast. — Paul Kells Business Accelerator, Culture Change Expert, Respect and Safety Specialist “Reach new standards for safe and positive workplace cultures”

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Up-Stander: Leslie Dunning

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander | 0 comments

Leslie Dunning, of Calgary Alberta, retired from Canadian Red Cross (CRC) in June this year after serving as a volunteer and then employee for forty-four years. It is not the length of time that matters most but rather that she spent every minute of it with passion and compassion as her guiding compass. Many others deserve credit for the contributions they have made to both prevent violence and abuse and provide relief and healing to those who have suffered from it. At the same time, Leslie Dunning is the person who took the point as the CRC leader to champion the cause, which was sometimes perceived as an afterthought amid the vast array of CRC capabilities. She defended it, fought for it, and unrelentingly sought funds to help the deploy people and resources in the field of violence and abuse prevention, at first to simply survive, then to thrive. She is this month’s Up-Stander. Until recently and even now most people embrace Canadian Red Cross for its amazing capacity for emergency response in Canada and around the world. For others, because so many of us have taken its first aid and water safety programs, this is the area that immediately comes to mind. But now, awareness has been rapidly spreading around CRC’s leadership role in violence and abuse prevention, most notably in the areas of bullying at school, sport and in workplaces. Visionaries such as Judi Fairholm and others among her CRC colleagues were the first to recognize that abuse and violence were often part of the fallout for disadvantaged Canadians. Among those most affected were aboriginal communities, the elderly and young people impacted by discrimination against race, religion, sexual orientation or any other characteristics that put them out of sync in their immediate surroundings. These same Canadian Red Cross workers were also the first to raise the ongoing abuse and violence that accompanied disaster relief in far off places in the world. Abusers exploited the powerlessness of victims who were thirsty or starving, or homeless and orphaned. The CRC was the first Red Cross Society in the world to engage in these issues and systemically tackle with programs that provided relief and caring for those who have suffered from violence and abuse and then created evidence-based interventions to prevent it from happening to others. They have been doing it now for over twenty-five years, much of that spent flying underneath the radar of many Canadians. Leslie Dunning understood what matters about all this, every bit of it, as soon as she saw it. So she took it on, head-on. She put it under her wing in a number of executive positions, most particularly as CRC Director General Western...

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