Imagine if you could

My Favourite Business Book of All Time

Maverick written by Ricardo Semler in Brazil published in 1993. A transformational business book from start to finish. Completely counter what you’d come to expect from a Ricardo Semler MaverickBrazilian industrial tycoon. I think Mr. Semler is one of the most thought-provoking, honest, most humble leaders I’ve ever come across.

Semco, a heavy duty industrial manufacturer has no rules to live by. You pick your own hours, pick your own pay, pick your own vacation times, heck you even vote on your own managers regularly! Twice a year you fill out a 30 question questionnaire about your management and division you work in.

No one has a long term contact. No one is employed longer than 6 months. Everyone’s salary is openly known by anyone who cares to know.

Semco is the most democratic company I’ve ever read about, and they did it in a 1980’s Brazilian economy. Not the beacon of sought after economies you once thought, on the contrary, Brazil was avoid by many businesses because of the government, high inflation rates, and a fast growing unpredictable future. It’s astounding what Ricardo and Semco accomplished during this period in Brazil.

How did they get it so right?

Ricardo lucked out in a sense, his father build a multi-million dollar company. He became of age and realized it would never last in its current state. Plus the fact that second generation wealth is squandered 70% of the time, Ricardo had to make a gamble.

He was courageous in his decisions but the theme throughout his career and the book was that he cared (and still cares) dearly about people. It’s so refreshing to see in someone like him in a leadership role, putting people before profits.

Telling, forcing, commanding, never works. Inspiring, helping, listening, always does.

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Why You Won't See Any Blouses or Ties at the Stratlab Office

Dress Code? Nah. Why You Won’t See Any Blouses or Ties at the Stratlab Office 

In Ricardo Semler’s Maverick he tells the story about the first few times he came in on a weekend. The first thing he noticed “people dress differently when they come in on the weekend, why is that?”. They did it to be more comfortable. But don’t we want everyone to be comfortable when they are working all week long?

The dress code era at Semco was ended.

The executive dealt with the obvious backlash. “What if someone doesn’t want to do business with us because of the way someone is dressed in a meeting?” Ricardo’s answer; “if someone doesn’t want to do business with us because of the way one of our employees ‘looks’ then that’s probably someone we shouldn’t be doing business with”. Wow, that’s leadership.

Isn’t that simple? Why do you try to make your staff conform? Because you’ve always done that? That’s not a good reason why. Ask your staff, what they think, you may stumble upon a smart way to make your company culture better.

The original dress code disobeyer

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what are you looking for a job a career or a calling

What Are You Looking For; a Job, Career or a Calling?

From John Mackey’s Conscious Capitalism he sums up what the vast majority of people are looking for when it coming to work.

A job, a career, or a calling.

a job

A Job

We’ve all had a job. We’ve all hated a job. 

A job is what we first want when we’re young. Mostly for means to an ends. We want cash money. We treat the job as such, we don’t get too attached, we try to do just a good enough job not to get fired. There are many people in this world that simply work at a job. It’s not fulfilling, they don’t love the organization they work for, and when another “job” comes along that seems similar but pays better, they’re gone fast than you can say “do you want fries with that?”

a career

A Career

A career is a little different. Like a longer, well-paid boring job.

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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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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.

The Most Underrated Part of Your Business: Your HR Strategy

Coda Family PageWe never talk about our human resource strategy, HR’s never really top of mind, and we don’t attend many board meetings on specific outcomes of next years’ HR strategy. Why is that? HR has a bad wrap stemming from University, everyone joked about the crazy HR lady at companies. You know, the lady that had been there for 30 years and still hugged you on occasion but recognized it was “wrong” in the workplace?

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