1. Envision the future | Business and technology has fused into one system, one conversation, one strategy for one world. This is central to understanding the future. Strategic leadership is having the ability to think ahead, to study industry and to seek out what opportunities are available. Leaders have to search for future gains and advantages.
2. Be conscious and aware of your brand | Understanding and developing one’s own personal brand can build the same equity as a good business brand. To do so we have to set goals, develop a mission statement and then define a personal vision and value statement. The integrity of your brand must remain consistent and solid but the message it sends out must stay fresh and vibrant, otherwise it will not stay top of mind.
3. Innovate to create new opportunities within your industry and beyond | Entirely new industries will be formed by innovations yet to be brought to market. Innovations are about new business models, marketplace collaboration, and knowledge engineering. At least 20% of your time and your company’s resources should be devoted to innovative services or products.
4. Embrace disruptions in your industry | Disruptions are coming in the form of emerging markets, new technologies, and changing customer demographics. Embrace these changes and demand a cultural change within your own organization.
5. Understand that human capital is your most valuable resource | Hire only the best. Once you have hired, do not accept mediocrity. Hire for attitude, then train, mentor, nurture, and coach to develop skill. Make it a policy that everyone who works on your team is one of the best in their industry. Make sure your best people are highly visible and are in positions of influence. They should be where they can contribute the most. That way they will help to attract the culture of great talent you are striving for.
6. Refuse to maintain the status quo | Leaders must think critically. Challenge everything. Find better ways. Leaders must change current mindsets and current methods. The most important thing is that as leaders we must constantly strive to make our processes, products or services better and better.
7. Always keep learning | Never stop talking to other professionals. Constantly encourage feedback and dialogue with those around you. Keep reading and stay in touch with your industry. Knowledge is power. How you get that knowledge or where it comes from doesn’t matter; what matters is that you do. Keep trying. Keep learning. When you make the decision to lead a company you make a commitment to your staff, customers and suppliers. You make a promise that you will continue to grow and learn.
8. Take a vacation | There is nothing worse than a leader who is bored. We all periodically reach a point where we should be doing something other than work. Vacations help us put everything back into perspective, they help us refresh and relax. It doesn’t matter how much work you have to do, you’ll do it much better and be a more interesting person if you take a break.
9. Build on your strengths – don’t focus on your weaknesses | Build on your strengths instead of spending time working on your weaknesses. Whatever business you are in, focusing on weak areas takes energy and effort away from building on strengths. Your strengths will suffer; they will be in danger of becoming weaknesses. Trying to be well rounded, or all things to all people, doesn’t set you apart. Great strengths, and a little lopsidedness, does.
10. Analyse and make decisions | A good strategic leader holds steady. Don’t jump on new thoughts or waves until you’ve analysed the market, opportunities and trends. Thoughtfully review options. Make a decision before you become paralyzed by too much information and too much time to think about it. Have an opinion and take a stand.
11. Motivate your team | Good leadership involves building trust with your team and engaging key players. Even when different points of view exist, good leaders can bring the cause to the foreground and make a difference. Good leadership respects the rights and dignity of others. Good leaders are not self-serving. They are keenly aware of how their decisions affect others. Good leaders create a desire in others to be self-sufficient by empowering them. Good leaders motivate others and put the needs of the team ahead of their own. Great leaders don’t overshadow others – they elevate others.
12. Be your own mission statement | Who you are and how you behave every day is your company’s mission statement. You are your company. When clients deal with your company their focus is on you. When you dress professionally, deal with people openly and honestly, treat your colleagues with respect, pay your suppliers on time and contribute to your community, you are your company’s mission statement. If you are belligerent at parties, if your favourite word is not printable, if you engage in gossip or manipulative behaviour… that will be your company’s mission statement.
13. Build on your strategic plan | The starting point for a growing business is always a strategic plan. Once you have a strategic plan, stick with it. Strategic plans are meant to evolve, but not to be thrown away. Tossing it always results in repeating again and again the process of getting there. Leaders with vision will take the plan, implement it step by step and nurture and embrace its evolution.
14. Step outside of your comfort zone | The most dangerous place to stay is in your comfort zone. It is the least safe place for anyone to be. If something outside your zone grabs your attention run with it. If it gives you an opportunity to shine – do it. You never know what you may discover.
People want companies to communicate in a human like manner. They want a conversation with the organization. That is why social media has become such a powerful tool. Social media can create a sense that a company is being authentic. It enables people to interact with and also to have an affect on each other. It decentralizes authority and allows information to come from all directions, not just top down. Social media allows information to be shared at breakneck speed across all types of networks; older forms of communication can’t hold a candle to it. However, there is a downside: social media is fraught with risk.
Social media can leave your organization having to constantly deal with opposing views and values. Instead of concentrating on your own message, you may have to concentrate on disputing or disproving that of others. You may find yourselves dealing with fraudulence, a vulnerability to hacking, or worse: it’s very easy for someone to set up a Facebook page and claim that it’s you.
It’s time to find other methods to communicate. Young people have already started drifting from forms of media they made successful, particularly Facebook and Twitter, because their parents are listening. And those with jobs are concerned that their colleagues and bosses are listening. We can’t go backwards – any new form of communication must be Internet based –– but is must be a secure and safe environment in order for the conversation to continue in an authentic and transparent manner.
Ford’s life or death choice
The Ford Nation is his yesterday. The Ford family in his future. Councillor Doug Ford must — with all those who love Rob Ford as family — intervene and demand that he follow them home. Not a leave of absence, but outright resignation.
Further, as an expression of brotherly love and common political sense, Doug Ford should resign his council seat immediately and the two should leave the building, not in retreat politically but in common cause to rescue their family from humiliation and to save Rob’s life, quite specifically.
Rob Ford is a human being. And Thursday, on television, his desperation (maybe his despair) cropped up.
In his reaction to the latest video he plaintively said to the crush of reporters — referring to his own “very, very inebriated state” in the video — “I hope none of you ever get like that.” A telling, heartbreaking insight.
Rob Ford is a human being. His political life is over. Probably forever. And, for him, that is a good thing. He is obviously lacking personal insight until he finds it, resilience until he learns it and fundamental judgment as to his public role, until he sees what that is. In the moment of which I speak, the mayor was otherwise speechless. As if seeing a video of his own nightmare from the outside in. Having worked in the hot house that is city hall, having been around politicians much of my adult life, I suggest it is time for the Ford family to step in.
All members of the mayor’s blood family and those friends not associated with politics or crime must be unified in confronting this man with two realities:
One, to save his life — not his political life — but his life, he must resign outright, leave Toronto and Canada in 2014 for the sole purpose of physical and emotional renewal. He must then return thinner, calmer, happier and resolved to do good work outside elective office. This is possible, not yet plausible, but within the realm of what could happen.
Two, for this purpose, he must go to the United States for extended residential-based care at a highly discreet location and disappear from public view to escape the humiliation of the pictures of his own behaviour and the caricatures now sweeping the Internet and plaguing his family.
Urgently, Ford needs access to the expertise of clinicians who can diagnose, treat and manage the dual occurrence of drug and alcohol abuse, on the one hand, and mental distress and disorder on the other. This is a potentially lethal combination that must be disconnected, and resolved.
Common mental illness increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, perpetuates obesity and can cloud judgment. Ford must become a new man.
On Thursday, Ford literally ran out of words. Unless he leaves city hall now to get medical, psychological and physical care — a real overhaul — he may well run out of time.
As for his critics, your point has been made — by him. Now he needs love — tough love if need be — and compassion from those closest to him.
Without knowing the family, I don’t know if there is someone for this purpose. But his brother could show the kind of courage and strength Rob Ford needs by his side, by walking, with him, out of city hall — now and maybe forever.
Bill Wilkerson is the executive chairman of Mental Health International, a Canadian not-for-profit corporation that promotes mental health in the workplace, internationally, building on the pioneering work of the Global Roundtable. Wilkerson is also familiar with Toronto City Hall, having served as chief of staff for Mayor Art Eggleton through the 1980s.
Port Hope is home to one of Canada’s largest environmental cleanup projects, garnering international attention, attracting skilled labour, and creating a cluster of expertise unlike anywhere else in the world. On Thursday, October 24, 2013, at the Port Hope Recreation Centre, Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce held its inaugural Trade show and Conference: Small Community → Global Impact: Economic Opportunities and the PHAI.
The conference had two goals: to educate industry and to explore the huge economic opportunities that relate to the Port Hope Project.
In order to engage young people and young professionals at the conference the Port Hope Chamber arranged the following:
- Six members of Port Hope Young Professionals assisted in various capacities, one of which was the role played by Bill Daly, Vice Chair of PHYP: he was ‘master of ceremonies’ for the day.
- 40 high school science and business students toured the tradeshow during the morning.
- Six Fleming college students were registered for the full day conference, generously sponsored by industry
- At the closing reception more Young Professionals joined in for the networking opportunity cohosted by PHYP and Conference Executive Sponsor, Tervita.
Another, and equally important, focus for the Chamber was to ‘attract and engage new entrants to the business community’. Registered at the Trade show and Conference were 120 delegates and exhibitors: 35 from Port Hope and 85 from Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta, New Jersey, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Minnesota, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Fountainbleau, France. The trade show and conference truly had an international reach.
Key note speaker, Heather Kleb, Vice President of the Canadian Nuclear Association and formerly of PHAI, impressed the delegates with her `big picture` view of the Nuclear Industry in its global context, her knowledge of the project and positive outlook for Port Hope`s economic future. Delegates were able to choose from the following breakout sessions:
- PHAI: Project Background and History
- Understanding Radiation and Radiation Safety
- Cameco: Past, Present and Future
- CNSC 101: Roles and Responsibilities of the Nuclear Regulator
- Contracting and Procurement: AECL, PWGSC, OSME, Chamber Portal
- Fleming College and the PHAI project
- Guided bus tour of the Port Hope Project cleanup sites
The highlight of the conference was the dynamic panel discussion. Panellists represented academia, industry and economic development. They discussed the spin-off opportunities that will arise from the Port Hope Area Initiative, both during and following the project. The panel consisted of Facilitator Heather Kleb, Vice President CNA; Mike Anderson, Director of Environmental Programs, Jacobs; Dr. Brian Ikeda, Associate Professor Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science, UOIT; Walter Van Veen, Port Hope Project Director, PHAI; and Dan Borowec, Director of Economic Development & Tourism, Northumberland County.
The Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce is committed to hosting an annual conference focusing on business successes and economic opportunities in and around the community. Beginning immediately we will be reviewing feedback from delegates and exhibitors and planning next year’s event.
Last week I listened to a webinar featuring Andy Paparozzi, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for the National Association of Print Leaders (NAPL), presenting the State of the Industry report 2013. Industry, in this context, refers to the PRINT industry.
The report consisted of at least 45 minutes of wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth doom and gloom evangelism. “The print industry will never be the same again! We will never get back to pre- Great Recession numbers!” Mr Paparozzi, talking about the industry to which both he and his listeners belong, continued in this negative fashion. “Between 2010 and 2013 sales in the industry have pretty much remained the same but that is still more than 21% below pre-Great Recession levels. As an industry we are not getting worse but there has not been enough progress. Conditions are not better. Business is a slow tough grind, it is uncertain and a roller coaster ride. Many organizations are revising sales down for the year. “
Mr. Paparozzi’s message was not exactly motivating. Some of my key employees were also listening to the webinar; they said it made them feel deflated and anxious. But at the same time they were a little bewildered because we at Cats Media are busy! There are times when we can’t hire fast enough. Why were they hearing so much negativity?
Mr Paparozzi went on to tell us that there are dramatic variations of performance from company to company and that the industry leaders are doing well, some with increases of up to 54%. In order to compete we have to change our mindsets. He then provided a laundry list of things we could do, such as ‘think creatively, meet more clients, listen better, be flexible and critique self’. Sorry Mr. Paparozzi but you are wrong. Those suggestions are in no way creative and are not going to get anybody very far.
On one thing, however, he is right: we do need to change our mindset but not the way he suggested. In my opinion the print industry is a dinosaur. In fact I don’t even believe that there is a print industry left. It’s gone! Print is no longer an industry it is simply a service. It is one component of a total package. It is definitely profitable in the right context and still sought after by the right clients for all the right reasons. But it is just a small part of the big picture and the big picture is MARKETING. We have to be marketing service providers, not printers. That is how we must change our mindset.
If you have yet to change the culture in your organization then you should put a sign saying ‘We are not Printers!’ at the front of your building for every employee and client to see. Eventually the message will get through. And if you are worried that this sign may make you lose sales then your mindset definitely needs work!
Everyone wants to increase the number of hits on their websites. The easier it is for a visitor to find your website the better your chances for a sale or a connection. The result of a sale is obvious; a connection improves your chances for positive interaction. An accessible website is becoming the cornerstone of successful marketing strategies. In order to achieve that success it is critical to understand how search engines work so you can build your search engine results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be hugely complex requiring the assistance of an expert, or it can be very simple; it all depends on the complexity of your organization and website. If you own a small business it’s a given that you must have a web presence; you owe it to yourself to make it effective.
Here are a few basic SEO rules for small business owners:
Monitor your results: check google analytics every month and know what your results are. Take a look at how you are doing from a hits perspective. Know what words are being used to find your site. Know what geographic area you are pulling hits from. If you don’t monitor the results every month you won’t be able to monitor the success of your strategy.
Place keywords in your site: use key words in title tags, page headers, in the actual content and as image names. If you aren’t sure what your key words should be, check out your competitors’ websites and see what they are saying. Refrain from using the same word over and over; use a synonym if you can’t think of something else. Overdoing the key words will backfire and you will get labelled as a spammer. Keep it simple.
Use text in your website: search engines can only search text, not photos or images – just text. Visitors like to look at pretty pictures so if you want to improve your SEO add captions to your gallery of products or photos; make sure you tag your images with key words. Also, a caution to franchise owners, or those of you who purchase industry specific web content: content duplication is not well received by search engines; search engines look for fresh content.
Avoid Flash: it may look pretty but it handles text poorly and does nothing to improve your SEO. Flash is not searchable if you only have a small website. Don’t waste your money on it.
Content needs to be fresh: blogging is a great way to keep the content fresh and updated regularly. It’s also a great way to keep your audience engaged, support your brand and make your company stand out from the competition. Make sure your titles are under 70 characters long and use words pertaining to the content. If the title is too ‘clever’ it won’t help build SEO.
Social Media: distribute links to your fresh content across social media platforms. Tweet and re tweet, create regular updates for Facebook and join LinkedIn groups. Send out your fresh content, when it makes sense, to attract new visitors from other platforms and link back to your site.
Link to others: reciprocal links are an easy way to direct traffic to your site. Ask if you can include a link on the websites of the organizations you belong to and other well-respected sites. Be reciprocal; link those sites back and everyone wins.
Market your website: building a website isn’t enough. You have to market it and direct people to it. Put your domain on your business card, email signature, newspaper ads, rack cards, brochures and all your marketing and advertising materials. If you send out eNewsletters include a link back to the pertinent section of your website. Use every opportunity to direct people to your website.
Keep SEO top of mind. Following these simple guidelines will help improve your results each month. It’s an opportunity to get the best bang for your website buck!
The Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce Conference and Trade Show is the first annual showcase of businesses in our catchment area. The theme of our 2013 Conference and Trade Show is:
Small Community → Global Impact:
Economic Opportunities and the PHAI
The Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) represents the Government of Canada’s commitment to the cleanup and local, long-term, safe management of historic low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope. As part of the Port Hope Project implementation phase, the waste will be excavated and relocated to the new Port Hope long-term waste management facility.
Today’s society and economy is dependant on the sharing of information and the development of opportunities. At the Port Hope & District Chamber of Commerce we work closely with the Municipality, the PHAI and other groups, to create, and sustain, a positive business climate in our community. This year’s conference will showcase the work we are doing relating to the Port Hope Area Initiative.
The PHCC’s inaugural event will highlight how the Port Hope Project will generate opportunities to form new and creative partnerships. It will offer Chamber members and others the tools to grow through interaction with other businesses, and a chance to combine the strengths of local organizations to best serve our community.
The 2013 PHCC Conference has two goals: to explore questions that relate to the Port Hope Project and to educate. With the assistance of renowned speakers and presenters from inside and outside the community, this conference will clarify concerns and help residents and business owners access the information they need. It will introduce them to opportunities they didn’t know existed.
Who will attend?
The 2013 Port Hope Chamber of Commerce Conference and Trade Show participants and delegates will include:
• business professionals working in and with the nuclear and waste management industry
• business owners who would like to profile their products or services
• contractors who would like to work with the Port Hope Project
• residents who are interested in education and information about the PHAI
• young professionals interested in gaining exposure to the project and networking with industry experts
Take this opportunity to support Port Hope’s business community by becoming a sponsor or exhibitor at the 2013 Conference and Trade Show. Join us on October 24, 2013!
Call us at 905.885.5519 or email email@example.com , or visit us at www.porthopechamber.com.
Personal branding is a very effective form of marketing. Each one of us has our own brand; it’s the way we market ourselves to others, consciously or not. Understanding and developing one’s own personal brand can build the same equity as a good business brand. To do so we have to set goals, develop a mission statement and then define a personal vision and value statement. Personal branding allows us to share our passions and talk about our dreams.
Personal brands must not be allowed to stagnate. A strong brand must always be active in order to be relevant to today’s issues. As a business professional it’s important to always be aware of how your activities affect the health and growth of your brand. Are you active in your community? Do you adhere to the rules of the road? Are you shopping downtown and supporting local merchants? Do you greet your neighbours when you see them on the street? Do you nurture your staff? Are you supportive of clients by constantly seeking ways to make their lives easier?
The integrity of your brand must be consistent and solid but the message it sends out must stay fresh and vibrant, otherwise it will not stay top of mind. Your brand becomes meaningful when it is embraced by people who can relate to your values. So being relevant means understanding what is important to your clients or community. It also means always staying in touch so you are constantly aware of shifting priorities. This will allow you to offer messaging with a perspective that continues to reflect the values that initially drew people to your brand. Values should remain the same, consistent and solid. No brand should change with each passing trend if it means that the brand does not stay true to its owner.
Remember that it is people who will follow your brand. People are your clients. Corporations or associations may endorse you but those endorsements start with one interested person paying attention. It’s important not to be seduced by other audiences; personal brands need to stay relevant to people. Give your audience a fresh way of viewing the values that give meaning to your brand. Give them a new and creative angle that will grab their attention. At the same time, your voice must remain consistent.
One way to strengthen your brand is to get your clients or community involved with it. Give them opportunities to interact with you. Organize seminars or other learning experiences, or simply create an opportunity to connect online or meet for coffee. Ideally it has to be something your clients or community want to share with others. It is also imperative to reach your clients the way they want to be reached. Be present where they want to be, whether that’s on social media or traditional print. Create a personal marketing kit that tells the world who you are and what makes you unique. Your kit can include your business card, your blog or website, LinkedIn profile or Facebook page. For those of you searching for new employment it can also include your resume. Your personal brand describes what you do, how you look and what makes you smile.
In the July/August 2013 issue of Monocle magazine I read a superb piece titled ‘Urban Regeneration’. “Neighbourhoods Need Stewards.” The article begins, “The places that we love are curated, cared for and cultivated over many years, so when they suffer it takes thought to regenerate them.” The author then takes us on a journey through Covent Garden, London, but the key points are relevant to many communities around the globe, large or small. Port Hope, Ontario, like other small Ontario communities, needs regeneration and, as a result, is going through a Downtown Revitalization project.
Let’s use Monocle’s thought process as we walk through downtown Port Hope’s Heritage Business District. Port Hope has a stunning downtown, rich in heritage both natural and architectural. The Ganaraska River, which meanders its way through town, offers some of the best trout and salmon fishing in the province. Tree lined streets boast well-preserved 19th Century buildings adorned with flags. Trains, connecting Montreal and Toronto, roll over viaducts that span the river. Rattling as they go, the trains have a strangely comforting rhythm to them.
Port Hope has demonstrated a knack for giving relevance to its past by mixing historic character with fresh ideas. For example the Port Hope Public Library is a beautifully renovated and expanded modern facility that respects the architectural legacy of the original 1912 Carnegie Library. It offers services ranging from the traditional loan of books to high tech Internet workstations to lending out fishing equipment to kids. It is a pleasant mix of old and new.
The Heritage Business District is defined and confined. It is walkable and accessible; a short stroll will take you almost everywhere. The downtown is minutes away from Lake Ontario, connected by a series of streets, walkways and riverside trails. The outdoor experience is not only interesting and refreshing but also makes things human. Strolling slows things down and allows you to take in more of the beauty of the architecture and the businesses that make this community unique.
The retail mix on Walton, John and Ontario Streets is interesting and quite strong. It has always been somewhat of a destination but today it needs some national brands to make it more attractive to Port Hopers. If we do a better job of inviting our own community downtown, we will have the formula to attract visitors from just about anywhere. Downtown also needs more hustle and bustle in the summer time with relaxed bylaws to allow street side patios. We need the streets to come alive. We have a park and a band shell and a playground but no town square or piazza where seniors and young mothers alike can sit in the shade. The fountain hasn’t worked in living memory. Lents Lane could be lovely but falls flat. We are not sharing our little hidden courtyards and walkways between neighbourhoods, primarily because no one ever asked us to. We need to give ourselves more of an outside chance at being more liveable.
The second floors in our downtown buildings are undergoing a much needed renaissance, with building owners renovating to upgrade their properties and expand office and living space. Investment in our downtown is key; small details can lift a neighbourhood. Upgrading infrastructure is a good value decision but not an immediate money maker.
We need to come alive in the evenings and on Sundays. We are quick to roll up the street at 5pm; many merchants are not open more than a few hours on Sunday and some not at all. A downtown that thrives when people are off work adds enormously to its quality of life. An example of thriving would be the events on Saturday of this weekend, thanks to the efforts of local community groups; downtown Port Hope was an exciting place. Thanks to Herb Jung and his coordination of an art exhibit and a walking theatre, Critical Mass for Before I Die installation and the Farmers Market’s 10th Annual Arts Festival our streets really did come alive – it was fabulous.
While Downtown Revitalization will address physical improvements it is designed to go far beyond a simple facelift. ‘It embraces a plan for long-term sustainability that also includes leadership and management, economic development, and ongoing marketing/promotion of the downtown core’. We have a wonderful community; let’s make it a great one: exciting and dynamic, with the emphasis on people.
One of our largest clients recently asked us to take on the print work they had been outsourcing to another supplier. Very tempting. We already had a good relationship with the client and the opportunity to do more with them was very appealing. After due consideration we accepted the proposal. One of the conditions of the agreement was that we were to compensate the other supplier for inventory and intellectual property. We did so. The printer sold off his equipment, ended his lease and closed the doors. We took over his email address and his phone and fax numbers. We took it on because it sounded like a great opportunity and indeed we are confident that it will prove to be so. However the transition has been exceptionally difficult.
The supplier we replaced was a very traditional printer. He communicated primarily through phone calls and faxes. His print process was one or two colour on small presses; he had a cumbersome assortment of products based on his print process ability. Our challenge was to not only streamline the assortment but also to change the mindset of our client’s members. Instead of scrolling through reams and reams of products we reduced the assortment to a fraction of the ammount. We are building a web portal to enable each member to keep files and a history of purchases. We have introduced online ordering and instead of faxing we email digital proofs. Almost all our work is custom and print on demand.
We knew that the benefit to Cats Media would be the additional business and new relationships formed but we had to satisfy ourselves that the following questions would have positive answers: Does this opportunity align well with our strategic plan and mission statement? Is there real benefit from this opportunity? Will we learn or experience something awesome? And finally, will we make money or be in a better financial position because of this opportunity?
This experience is proving to be very exciting! We are helping our client take the leap that fundamentally changes their industry, their processes and the way they do business. Technology will take our services to the client, not the client to our services. It takes strong leadership to take those leaps and strong leaders who are committed to making a difference. Insisting that change happens is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary.