Are you most loyal to Apple, Tim Cook or the iPhone?

loyaltyWhere do your loyalties lie? It was a question I thought to myself today as I was reading an article on whether Apple should buy Netflix. Putting the legitimacy of that question aside, if Netflix were to get purchased by Apple would I remain a Netflix customer.

If you look around any industry and pick out your favourites what or who would you pick? Alphabet or Larry Page, or is that Google or Sundar Pichai? Apple or Steve Jobs or Tim Cook or perhaps Jonathan Ive, or maybe it’s just the iPhone. Yahoo or Marissa Mayer or the board of directors. Microsoft or Satya Nadella? Continue reading “Are you most loyal to Apple, Tim Cook or the iPhone?”

How taking risks can take you to the next step?

Untitled designI’ve always believed that to get ahead or cause change you need to push the envelope. Be willing to take calculated and sometimes all out risks. Yet, too many are afraid to do just that. They’re complacent, afraid to ruffle some feathers or fear losing their job. Those are the people that prefer to go along with the lead than ask pointed questions or disagree. Or worse yet, provide alternate solutions.

Risk is not the same as anarchy. Risk is taking an idea, implementing that idea, and trying to stabilize it as fast as possible. This usually comes at the expense of a lot of hours researching and implementing. And putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation. If well executed, that risk could lead to big gains and rewards. Potentially positioning yourself or a company differently for a better outcome. Continue reading “How taking risks can take you to the next step?”

How to determine your personality profile

I sat there, facing him, arms to my side, waiting for him to finish what he had to say. I may have looked cool on the outside, but inside I was screaming. Please speak faster, I thought to myself. Get to the point already. My god. I could have gone for coffee and back already. Twice. Okay, maybe I exaggerate.

He spoke at a steady pace. He didn’t repeat himself nor say anything that wasn’t necessary. He was quite intelligent actually. Informed. Knowledgeable. Yet, I like it when people get to the point right away. Like now. He spoke some more.  Now.  He spoke, again. Now. Now. Now. Now. Continue reading “How to determine your personality profile”

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The best skills and qualities for your success

You need skills to succeed.  Skills and the right qualities. There are those skills and qualities that benefit the employer you work for.  But there are also the skills and qualities that benefit you. You are the most important beneficiary.  What’s most important is that you are aware of your own skills and qualities.  That you are aware of their power and effect within your circle of influence.  That circle will include your boss(es), peers, direct reports, personal friends, acquaintances, and family.

Below are my favourite qualities for me and the ones that I am constantly working to improve. Continue reading “The best skills and qualities for your success”

What are the best television shows to learn?

When I want to learn something new that’s career worthy, the television is not the source I usually choose.  Even YouTube, with its vast library of videos, leaves a lot to be desired when you want to learn a skill.  But I have discovered two great shows on Netflix that are great at learning.  What is good about Netflix is that you can binge watch, so you can learn a new skill surprisingly fast.

The shows I’m referring to are fast paced dramas.   I love being at a fast pace.  My brain is best engaged when things move fast.  I can think quicker, make decisions faster, react faster.  It’s like my super power.  When my brain isn’t engaged, I get bored and I can get in trouble quite easy. Continue reading “What are the best television shows to learn?”

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What do you consider to be a good leadership quality

Leadership means something different to everyone.  This was what I discovered at my latest group coaching session.  Of course, I was expecting a difference of opinion.  But the one opinion that surprised me was that some thought of leadership as a role and not a skill. The old-school leadership was your boss and his boss and his boss’ boss. And that is still true today.  But for someone in a senior leadership position who doesn’t have leadership qualities, are they still a “leader”?

For those who considered leadership in today’s definition had a different primary quality in mind. Some answers were: trust, respect and honesty. Many didn’t think that a required quality had to be taking initiative or being proactive as most didn’t like to be accountable.

The qualities I had are:

  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Honest
  • Accountable
  • Self-Motivated
  • Empathy
  • Confidence 
  • Vision
  • Servers others
  • Inspire
  • Listen
  • Aware
  • Optimism  and positive energy

What do you think? Can you be a leader without being accountable?

Hate your boss? Email tips that you need now.

Writing proper emails is important for your career if your career is important to you. Yet too few make the effort to reduce miscommunication, anger and frustration.  A well-written email will go a long way to improving your relationships in all areas of your life.

To keep my emails on par, I’ve put together five rules that I follow daily.

Never write or reply to an email when you’re emotionally charged. Writing an email when you’re angry or frustrated can get you into trouble fast.  There are two ways I go about tackling this type of situation.

1) Take a walk.  I’m lucky enough that I work in downtown Montreal above the underground mall.  So if I feel a need to write an email and feel I may be a bit emotional at the time, I go for a walk in the mall. During that walk, I think about how I should best write the email if at all.

2) Write but don’t send the email.  There are times I’m so angry I need to write the email right away. Writing is a great therapeutic exercise. But most times, once I’ve written that email I don’t feel the need to send it, so I delete it.  Which is good because although I try to be diplomatic, what comes out is usually harsh.

Never write an email in less than five minutes.  The more important the nature of the email the more time you should spend to write it.  I’ve taken anywhere from two to twenty-four hours to write critical emails. The vocabulary you use is of utmost importance. You want to be sure the message is on point.

Edit, edit, edit. Once you’ve written your email, re-read it. If you didn’t change anything, then you’re not reading it correctly.  And if you still haven’t changed anything after reading it, then have someone else review it.  There’s nothing wrong with someone reviewing your emails. It shows you care about your message.

Never put more than two recipients in the TO field.  Otherwise, you may as well be chasing cats.  Too many times I’ve written emails addressed to five or more people and get no responses.  It’s because everyone assumes someone else will respond.  And what are the chances they’re they’ll get picked on for not replying. So I always choose two people at most, everyone else goes in the CC field.

Always be constructive, supportive and positive. I’ve never liked receiving angry and negative emails.  And I bet you haven’t either. They ruin your day and don’t really help you in any way. They just point out how much of a horrible person you are and that you should probably go hide. So do the person at the receiving end of your email a favour and be gentle. You want to be supportive if they’ve messed up. If something broke, offer a solution and be willing to help implement it.

The SUBJECT field should be meaningful yet benign. Also, it should never include sensitive information. Nor should it be the first sentence of the email. I dislike receiving emails only for it to make no sense at all. Then I realize after staring at it for a few minutes that a key piece of the information was in the subject line.

Why you absolutely want group coaching for your career?

Careers are one of the toughest obstacle courses in life.  If you’re not pushing yourself to grow and improve you’re going to get far.  Worse, if you’re not self-aware, you’ll have no idea that your career is idling. And the skills you need to advance in your career are often the ones you’re not aware you are missing. This is why soft skills are so important.  If you don’t realize that they’re a skill you can actually improve, then you won’t make the attempt.

Last year, I started a series of group coaching sessions.  Some of my reports had gotten feedback of having poor communication skills.  For those who don’t know that is. Well, a coach is a private teacher who gives someone lessons in a particular subject. In this case, however, we have ten to twelve individuals involved in a single group. We meet every two weeks on a Monday to discuss and work on a particular topic.

Each group session follows a simple formula:

First, I start with a presentation to introduce the particular soft skill.  The presentation is usually a PowerPoint presentation.  I’m a big fan of, so I try to make my presentations just as engaging.

Then I provide an explanation of how to use the skill. Or in some cases, an overview if the skill topic is broad. This usually also involves questions and discussions which, after all, is the point.  We want everyone in the group to engage in the discussion.

Finally, we do the workshop where I give the group one or more scenarios to work with.  Everyone spends a few minutes to write their solution on a provided index card. And when everyone is ready every member provides their solution and we discuss.

Since then I’ve learned three things:

1. My co-workers and direct reports have taught me a lot.  There’s always more than one way to do anything.  Soft skills are no exception. As long as you’re comfortable and it gets you the result you want is what counts.

2. Their motivation, self-worth, and engagement improve.  For those who are looking to contribute something meaningful, this is a great place to do it. They feel respected and heard.

3. I’m required to stay ahead of the curve. Like everyone in the group, I don’t know everything.  So every two weeks, I’m off doing research for the next session.  The next session’s topic is usually based on the direction the previous session went. So I started with communication, then did self-awareness and moved on from there.

My goal for group coaching is to give each member just enough so that they learn something.  But are also willing to go out and learn on their own. The reason I do the sessions on a Monday is so that everyone can put into practice that week what they’d just learned.

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The best online tools you need to be an awesome writer

Communication is the number one skill to have in any situation. Whatever skill you think is more important. If you can’t effectively express yourself then your better skill is worthless. Yet not a lot of people seem to be able to express themselves.  And most think that if you can enunciate your words then that’s enough. Just because you can speak doesn’t mean people understand what you. 

Another wonderful thing about communication.  If you have good intentions whatever the situation.  But you can’t express yourself. You’d be surprised at how bad your work and personal relationships can be.  If people don’t respect you, communication could be the culprit. So of course, for me, communication is the skill I work on the most simply because I do it so often.
I use tools like Evernote, Outlook, Google Docs and GMail quite regularly. But ninety percent of the time, all my writing goes through these two online tools I’m about to mention.  One of the tools is a web app.  The other is a Chrome extension.  So really, I’m getting one amazing tool. Of course, these tools won’t solve all your issues, but they’re a good start.
These two tools are:
Hemmingway is a great tool to manage your writing.  It catches excessively long, runaway sentences.  Helps you eliminate the use of the passive voice.  It kills the overuse of adverbs.  And analyzes the complexity of sentences.
Grammarly is the extension that helps you manage your horrible, horrible grammar. I use Grammarly extensively with Hemmingway. But because it’s an extension, it can validate your, um, amazing writing almost anywhere you type.
You’ll find a lot of other online tools, but these are the simplest and easiest to use.

Twenty creative ways of using Evernote

I have been using Evernote for a number of years now; it’s one of the most useful and versatile products I have ever used.  I’m always finding new ways of using the tool.  So when I saw these amazing new tips, I had to share the article.

So much to do, so little time. 

I imagine many marketers might feel this way, what with all the wonderful hats we all get to wear. One of my favorite fixes for helping stay organized is Evernote

There are so many ways to use the app and since we talk a lot about productivity here on the Buffer blog, I wanted to share 20 ways you can use Evernote for your productivity and marketing. read more…

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