Youtube sask pavilion Jeph

The Worst Month of My Life

​One of the worst parts of my younger years was ironically during the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics. I say Ironically because unless you’re a close friend of mine, you’ve never heard this story. And it really wasn’t that bad looking back, while I was there I was going through utter turmoil .

My videographer friend (Riley Moynes) and I were hired to be the online video bloggers for the Saskatchewan pavilion during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics! What an unbelievable experience I said, you have to do it I said to my self, at any cost. At any cost. 

And boy did it cost a lot, but my trade off was I learned so much while being there, a once in a lifetime experience I’ll never forget.

When we agreed to do it we thought we could have a lot of fun doing Rick Mercer style interviews while producing Vice style video blogs. That’s wasn’t what we were hired to do. The Government representative flat out did not want this to come across as fun, no no, she had a much different idea. We were to report back to her with all video ideas before we were to shoot them. She’d send the ideas about to her counterparts in Saskatchewan and decision by committee made our lives pretty shitty for a while. Talk about micromanagement! I loathed it.

On top of terrible working situation I was staying in an apartment with a friend that was a bus, then train ride away to and from the Sask Pavilion. We didn’t have a fridge, 45 minute commute on a good day, a hour and a bit on a bad day. It was hell on earth. I know why people in big cities are miserable a lot of the time, it’s draining to commute so much. Every day the same, every day no more fun just shitty videos. I had to eat out every day on the same budget I was used to in Regina. I ended up using my credit card way to much. But I had no choice, it was a once in a lifetime experience, you don’t give up during those experiences. You bite your tung, you lie to yourself, you say everything will be alright. 

I got home sick. So home sick my friend Derek asked if I wanted him to fly my girlfriend out there. It was a nice gesture, I declined.

My saving grace was Riley. He talked me off the ledge several times there, one day I had my head set on leaving early, but he convinced me to stay. We Sushi’d lots, went to a couple Olympic events, and one morning we almost lost him to a riot downtown Vancouver. He edited the videos we shot every day, he was a machine, I really don’t know how he did it. He had to work way more than I did, but that’s why I’ve always looked up to him. That’s why I still look up to him, he did everything I had to do without complaining. Incredible.

Towards the end of the Olympics we started just shooting our own thing. We thought “what the hell! They can’t fire us now, right?!”. Ironically those are the videos you won’t find on Tourism’s Youtube channel. HA! My favourite video to shoot was when Riley convinced me to wear green tights, a green cape and a watermelon on my head, we were going Rider fan hunting!! By far the funnest day. We had people from all walks of life yelling at us, heckling us with most of it in good fun.

Now I look back on it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. A once in a lifetime experience that’s for sure. Most days we had a blast! We went to a curling semi final, women’s hockey game, and got busted one night for bringing a Mickey of rum into the pavilion. (beers were like $100, you can’t blame me, blame Vancouver!).

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Purple Cow

Welcome To The @StratLab Office

Marc’s first day

 if-you-want-to-go-far-go-alone

Kind of a motto around here. “If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far join us.” Stop trying to do things on your own and find an all-star team to help you.

Super Hero Office

We have a lot of “Super Hero” symbolism around the office. Jordan Mcfarlen told me a story about a time he visited Silicon Valley. He went to a place called “Draper University” and in the incubator part of Draper they had a “Hero Alley”. A place where the walls inspired you to be a hero. To be selfless, humble, hard working and to be a great teammate. We love it and our office will always have Superhero’s in it!

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are-you-hiring-strategy-lab

Are You Hiring? // Eps 56 #InTheLab

Are you hiring?the-best-companies-are-always-hiring

I get this question more and more. The answer is always YES! And then the conversation usually goes to, “well can I drop off a resume?”  and my response is always the same, “no”. I don’t want your resume because that’s not an efficient way to tell if you’re going to work well with our team.

I want to know what you bring to the table. What’s your super power? What are you REALLY good at? What could you do endlessly for hours and hours without needing a break? These are the things I need to know.

It also helps being a part of a successful team. Just because if it was a successful team then you know they had to check their ego at the door.

We want team players, we want people willing to learn, people who never say those horrible words “I can’t”, people who don’t give up and people that actually care about something. Those are the people I want to work with.

It was Lorne Schnell in University who told us something I’ll never forget. “The best companies are always hiring, they may not be displaying a help wanted ad but they’re hiring, you just need to make the right pitch.” It’s not verbatim but you get his drift. If you speak in terms of the company you want to work with, what problem can you solve?

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How to identify the type of person you don't want to work with

How To Identify The Type of Person You Don’t Want To Work With // Eps 55 #inthelab


How To Identify The Type of Person You Absolutely Don’t Want To Work With?

People that make fun of others.

In the service industry you get a chance to work with all different kinds of people. Some good, some bad, and yes some are freaking ugly (to deal with). This is to help you identify someone you absolutely don’t want to work with.

Someone who talks bad about others. More specifically your competitors or their competitors. People who say mean things about other companies have no place in the business community. When you associate with people who say bad things about others, what makes you think they don’t say bad things about you behind your back?

It’s happened to us at Strategy Lab Four distinct times now. It’s a textbook mistake, I should be smarter by now.

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winning-isnt-everything

The Most Important Lesson ‘Cool Runnings’ Taught Us

“A Gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” -Irv Blitzer to Derice Bannock after Derice asked why he had cheated in the Olympics.

Winning isn’t everything.

At times it may seem like it is but coaches, captains, players, and parents all need to understand that winning isn’t the goal of team sports. Like Irv (John Candy) says, if you’re not good enough when you lose, you’ll never be good enough when you win. But we insist on focusing on the score or the team record, when’s the last time you heard someone worry about the team culture or player wellbeing? That’s because most of us don’t know how to run a team successfully. 

winning-isnt-everything

Focus on what’s more important than the win

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Pokémon a Go-Go? or Pokémon a No-No? | Eps 54 #InTheLab

A couple weeks back I got to interview Greg Moore from Look Agency here in Regina.

I love Greg’s opinion on marketing, he’s a genuine nice guy and tends to disagree with me a lot (that’s why get along so well).

Today’s topic: is Pokémon really a thing? Greg’s here to tell us why.

I love what he says about some things don’t need a goal, a monetary outcome or a defined purpose, Pokémon is such a popular thing to a wide variety of people. Sometimes it’s okay not to know why. Sometimes these fads come for a reason, we need to learn that reason and make the proper adjustments to our own organizations.

Here’s what Greg taught me: everything doesn’t have to have a defined “why”. Just because you don’t Ike something doesn’t mean others will follow. No matter how you feel about things, the crowd will always show you some truth to your idea.

As always, thanks Greg!

hr sucks and what to do about it

Why HR Sucks & What To Do About It

Why HR Sucks & What To Do About It 

Presented at the Disrupt HR event put on in May 2016 in Regina, SK. My very first Human Resources Presentation.

HR Sucks & What To Do About It

Organizational charts suck.
Company hierarchies suck.
The traditional HR part of business sucks.
No one loves dealing with peoples problems, so HR is the hardest department in any company. Think about it, they have the hardest job out of anyone!!

HR Sucks the traditional business model sucks.
But it doesn’t have to suck.
HR doesn’t have to suck.
You can do it differently.
You have to do it differently.
You don’t have to be traditional at all.
Break the rules.
Don’t have a company hierarchies.
Use the Virgin Model of company hierarchy (one visionary at the centre and everyone else a spoke in the wheel).
What if everyone is equal?

Stop trying to tell people what to do. It’s annoying. Who actually likes being told what to do? NO ONE! So why do we do it? Ego. Instead of telling people what to do, inspire them to want to do it. This is a lesson that took me 8 years of coaching volleyball to learn. You can’t tell anyone what to do….for very long. Sure you can do it once or twice to correct bad attitude or behaviour, but if you keep doing it you’re pushing your staff away.

There’s a better way to manage in 2016 and it has nothing to do with managing at all. It has everything to do with leading. Leaders do the right thing even when no one is looking. Leaders serve others. Leaders do the hardest job possible and never look for credit. Leaders never boast, leaders care for others. Leaders build you up and give you confidence. Leaders allow you to fail because that’s how humans learn. Leaders are what we all strive to be.

pay people for what they do not the title they hold

Pay people for what they do not the title they hold.

What if we got paid for what we do not what title on the door or letters behind our names? Yes it’s much easier to hide behind a title or be lazy because you have 10 letters behind your name. But in the new world no one cares how many degrees you have. That’s not a definition of intelligence anymore. A degree simply means you have an above average memorization skill. Ones’ number of acquired University degrees tend to have an inverse relationship with ones’ social intelligence.

Use policy with caution. No great company was made because of a “policy”.
Have a strong set of values and stick to them. All successful companies have a strong set of values.

We don't need factory workers

We don’t need factory workers anymore!

Be more flexible with your people.
Be friends with your staff.
Have mental health days.
Don’t have a limit on holidays.
Talk about culture or no one else will.
HR is nothing if it’s not a mission. (thanks Hugh)
Don’t wait for someone to do it for you or your organization. Step up, take initiative and do something.

be the change you want to see in your hr department

Be the change you want to see in your HR department.

Once you understand everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.

The Most Important Thing You Need To Learn That Will Change The Way You Think

The Plasticity of your brain

Steve Jobs talked about it, the best educators understand it, and it’s a powerful fact rarely talked about. The fact of the matter is you can learn new things and change the makeup of your brain well into the later years in your life. The “plasticity” of your brain refers to its ability to change it’s makeup.

A professional violinist will have many more neurons firing around where their hands control the bow and violin in the brain. Mark McMorris’s brain would have many more neurons firing where his brain controls balance, and foot control being a world class snowboarder. A NewYork Times Journalist would have thousands of neurons firing in the parts of their brains that control writing, story telling, and reading.

Whatever your brain focuses a lot of time on, your brain will build up sufficient muscle around that particular area. Whether it be conscious or subconscious, you’re constantly making your brain smarter or dumber(if you’re not doing anything of future benefit to your brain).

Common knowledge has always been, what you’re born with is what you get! So if you were born “dumb” or didn’t have a good upbringing, you’re destined to fail. Wrong!

It’s those who realize that they can learn, practice and teach themselves many different skills and ideas that begin to truly flourish in life.

Learning doesn’t stop after highschool or university. This is how our society has been brought up. You go to school, learn, then get into the real world and work till you retire, then die board to death.

What if that’s the wrong way to think about it? What if we were meant to learn throughout our life? What if there isn’t a hard and fast “way” to do it? What if we could keep learning and adapting as we go becoming increasingly more valuable with every new experience?

You can learn anything

Yes you can’t go to the NHL after a certain point, the physical nature of the sport will hold you back. But that doesn’t mean you can’t train a coach, assistant coach, be a trainer, etc. It’s all in your mindset.

We’re great at telling ourselves “we can’t”. “That’s impossible!” a small part of our brains are extremely protective over what we can and can’t do. We love to quit before even trying, after all that is easier.

At Least I Tried

See this print at GapingVoid.com.

Start thinking the opposite. Start thinking you can do anything you want. It’s difficult at first but it’s the same idea as affirmations, the Tony Robbins’ system or “The Secret”. A positive attitude can literally move mountains.

I love the jobs quote from Steve Jobs:

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. And the minute that you understand you can poke life, when you push in something will pop out the other side. You can change it, you can mould it. That’s maybe the most important thing.” 

-Steve Jobs

Remember, anything is possible.

Why it sucks being a coach... some days

Why It Sucks Being a Coach….. Some Days // eps 52 #inthelab

Why it sucks being a coach….. some days

At a given Volleyball tournament of 12 teams, the first three teams go home happy. One, Two or Three are a nice finish, but anything after that really sucks. So the average coach has a 25% chance of going home happy?!? That’s crazy! Now I’m obviously over exaggerating but your win loss record is only one of many things to focus on as a coach. The problem is that’s the easiest thing to single out as a parent, athlete, spectator, did you win? Why not? 

It’s not just coaching, in life we often forget what the purpose is. Is the end goal really just to win the tournament? At what cost? What are you willing to sacrifice? When will one more win be enough? In life, how much do you make? How much did you clear last year? How  Any time I hear conversations like that I feel a little worse for man kind.

The money doesn’t matter, just like the win doesn’t matter. 

Your goal is to get your team to focus not on the win but the bigger issues at stake in sport.

  1. Are you a team?
  2. Are you contributing to that team?
  3. Are you getting better every day?

These can be very hard to focus on when everyone around you wants a win.
It’s hard to focus on creating something amazing in life when everyone tells you to get a “real job”.

As long as you don’t give up you’re not a failure.

The 75% of the tournaments you leave without a medal makes the other 25% all that much sweeter. There’s a romantic side to sports that Billy Beane talked about in Moneyball and I see on coaches faces time and time again. It seems delusional how much these coaches and volunteers put in just to help the younger generation see a sport through their eyes. It’s really quite amazing to see.

Don’t give up.

I talk to amazing teachers, mentors, and coaches all the time. I feel everyone is on the brink of quitting and getting more “me” time. I crosses every volunteers mind I guarantee it. But the tittle of this post is “It Sucks Being a Coach….Sometimes” because there are these magic moments where you see kids come together, do things they never thought possible, and learn life skills in a completely different way.

This past weekend we has Nationals in Winnipeg. We didn’t do as good as I thought we should (in the tournament), but throughout the weekend I witnessed a bunch of thirteen and fourteen year olds become a team. As a team they cheered on our arch rival at Provincials, Meadow Lake in any game they watched them play in. It’s like they grew up. The crux of the boys coming together was after cheering on a girls team they all went on to the court, lined up to shake hands, and congratulated the girls team on a game well played.

I couldn’t have been more proud.

Life gets hard to teach us a lesson. As long as we don’t cave under the pressure, as long as we don’t throw in the towel, we’ll be okay. The harder the challenge the more important the lesson.

don't give up

Say Yes More

The One Thing You Need To Do To Get Further In Life // eps 47 #inthelab

Say yes MORE!

In episode 47 of #inthelab Conrad and Braedon are talking about that elusive concept called opportunity. Not everyone gets it. Not everyone is so lucky. If you are to have opportunity knock, well you know what to do, open that fricken’ door with a smile on your face and a warmth in your heart!…..Or something like that.say yes more

Conrad talks about how he never was involved at University a couple years ago. Last year at 5 Days For The homeless, Braedon reached out to Conrad to be a part of the event. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life. Conrad had a blast there, and started learning more about what Braedon did at Strategy lab. And then of course two months later Braedon is asking Conrad to come to work and try it out for a week. The rest is history.

 That moment when you have a chance to say “no” and you say “yes” instead, is the moment you start to change for the better.

The ‘Yes Man’ philosophy works.

You never know what you’re saying no to. You never know what could happen, who you could meet or what opportunity you’re passing up. Conrad attributes a lot of his current happiness due to the change of his mindset to trying to say yes more. Without that moment of saying yes to Braedon, Conrad may not be here today.

Braedon is a part of Hitchhikers Improv here in Regina. The classic art of theatre based around the concept of never stopping a scene on stage. you have to keep the scene going even if you disagree with what’s going on. Improv is great training for public speaking. Thinking on your feet, encouraging those around you, and trying to create laughter. What a great skill-set to be learning in 2016.

 

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