BLH-jan15 interactive - The Business Link Niagara



BLH-jan15 interactive - The Business Link Niagara
3. The power of actual
The more you know, the
stronger your negotiating
position will be.
5. Business Profile:
13. Will the world
Proven and affordable legal
solutions for Hamilton’s
small business community.
When a nation spends far
more than it earns long
term, what then?
Wallace Law
currency stand up?
“If you want to change and develop as a
better manager, how do you approach
treating your employees better?”
ost of us have been there. We have gone to work and for
the sake of a paycheque have done everything to essentially put up with an insecure manager who is incompetent,
mean-spirited, a micro-manager or worse. These managers
can make life incredibly difficult and, more than likely, they
will continually find fault in everyone else but themselves.
Other times, the pressure to perform is great because a
business, social enterprise or non-profit has to make its financial goals, or perhaps there is an important initiative…
Continued on page 6
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Ask The Expert
Fireplace/Stove Safety
More than Money
Profile: InBold Media
Medical Marijuana
Lead like a Wild Animal
Jim Shields, Adam Shields
The Rotary Club of Burlington presents
Giggles & Grub Comedy Show,
Dinner, Dance & Auction
Julie Shields
W. Elsey, E. Bowers, S. Leslie, J. Stitt, T. Graves
K. R. Shah, R. Smith, L. Standryk, D. O’Neill
R. Trinder, K. Plehwe, P. R. Roy
The Business Link Hamilton is published 12 times per
year and distributed to all businesses throughout
Hamilton via Canada Post.
hroughout the year, The Rotary Club of Burlington runs fundraising activities to
raise money for local causes such as Nelson Youth Centre, Joseph Brant Hospital,
Carpenter Hospice, Halton Down Syndrome, Breast Cancer Support, Salvation Army,
and International projects such as Wheelchairs for Central America, Water purification
in Africa, and Polio Vaccinations for developing nations.
Our next major event, “Giggles & Grub” is coming up on Saturday, March 28th at the
Burlington Convention Centre. It’s our annual comedy show, dinner, dance and auction
that is raising funds for the Halton Down Syndrome Association and other Rotary
charities. Last year, over 400 people attended the event raising more than $30,000.
For this year’s event, we have a very special comedian that will be the entertainment
for the evening. He’s the former host of his own late-night TV show and the star of
his own TV talk show on Global—the very funny Mike Bullard! This is one show you
don’t want to miss. We look forward to having you out to enjoy the entertainment,
the amazing dinner, an open bar, a live and silent auction and all the fun and games
that have made “Giggles & Grub” a fun tradition.
This event can be a great place to bring clients, recognize and thank employees or simply
enjoy a night out with friends and family. Corporate tables and sponsorship are available.
For more information on sponsorship contact [email protected] or for
tickets visit or call 905.521.5171. BL
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There are four local Rotary clubs in Burlington (Burlington, Burlington Central, Burlington Lakeshore and
Burlington North) all of which meet weekly. For more information about joining Rotary or being a guest
■ Giggles & Grub Comedy Show, Dinner, Dance & Auction with
at an upcoming meeting, please contact us at [email protected], visit us on Facebook at
Mike Bullard takes place on Saturday, March 28th at the Burlington or go to our event page at
Convention Centre.
Follow on twitter @rotaryburl
Who owns
your time?
“Dedicating all your time
to making others happy is
often a lost venture. Yes,
it feels good temporarily.
However, you end up losing
control of your time.”
any of us have been through periods in
our lives where we feel as if were spinning out of control. This control has been lost
to outside influences that require us to meet
the needs of others. Family, volunteerism
and work keep us running until we collapse
at the end of the day.
I believe the loss of control in our lives is
the biggest cause of stress. Pressure to meet
the demands of others can eat away at our
ability to perform at our best. The challenge
is getting some control back into your life.
How can you do this without feeling the guilt
associated with saying “no?”
I say the answer is really quite simple.
Don’t say “no!” Wait a minute. If you say “yes”
aren’t you still caught in the same trap? I suggest you say “yes” but with a twist. That’s a
nice way of saying “yes” but with conditions.
Conditions that you own. Here is where you
get your control back. Remember you’re not
taking control of someone else. You’re taking
control of your own time.
I find the best way is to say, “Yes, I would
love to help you out. However I’m involved in
a big project that is extremely important to
me. I’m not clear until Tuesday afternoon.”
How would that be? Keep in mind you have
not said “no.” What you have really done is
keep control of your time without the feeling
of guilt associated with saying “no.”
If you don’t have control of your time you
are not able to dedicate the time you need to
work on your goals and projects. Dedicating
all your time to making others happy is often
a lost venture. Yes, it feels good temporarily.
However, you end up losing control of your
time. Learn how to manage the “yes.”
I expect the most common term you hear
is, “I just don’t have the time.” I suggest they
don’t have the time because their time is not
their own. I hear it every day in my volunteer world. Pressure to help others and to
perform at work are crippling. Our “not so
smart phones” control our day as they take
us to a place of reacting to the needs of others. An email or text chimes in asking us to
reply. Like zombies we wait in anticipation
for this to happen. How foolish is that? Turn
the phone off. Focus on your time. You will
be happy you did. BL
Courtesy of
The power of actual
“The more you know, the stronger your
negotiating position will be.”
arely do negotiations just happen. Instead, they are planned well in advance
and you’ve got plenty of time to get ready to
participate in them and to deal with all of
the different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that you’ll encounter. What
this means for you as a negotiator is that
you need to make use of the (limited) time
that you have in order to show up well-prepared for the negotiation. Great concept, but
just exactly how are we supposed to go about
doing this?
What is actual knowledge?
There are two things that you need to know
about before you enter into your next negotiation: the issue(s) that will be negotiated
and the people who will be doing the negotiating. When you walk into the negotiation,
you want to show up with well-organized
research and facts that you’ll be able to use
to back up your position.
The people who will be doing the negotiating for the other side are almost as important as the topics that will be negotiated. As a
negotiator, you need to know their strengths,
their weaknesses, and even such seemingly
insignificant things such as where they went
to school, their marital status, and if they have
any children. Every small piece of information
that you can learn may be valuable later on
even if it seems insignificant right now.
All of this information can be considered to
be part of your actual knowledge. What you
@thebusinesslink |
are going to find is that a great deal of this
knowledge comes in the form of statistics or
averages. These may not pertain to the specific circumstance that you are negotiating
about. You need to be careful when you come
across information like this and you need to
determine if you want to adopt it.
are part of a larger organization, we have other people that we can reach out to in order to
get assistance with the current negotiation.
Make sure that you keep your team informed
about the negotiations—all too often negotiations fail because of people on our team, not
because of the other side.
Where does knowledge come from?
Knowing that you want to gather as much
knowledge as possible is one thing, knowing
where to get that knowledge is another thing.
It turns out that there are three main sources
for the actual knowledge that we use in the
course of a negotiation:
What does all of this mean for you?
Hopefully we can all agree that in a principled
negotiation, knowledge is power. One of the
most valuable forms of knowledge is actual
knowledge—this is everything that you’ve
been able to learn about the issue to be negotiated and the people who will be doing
the negotiating.
One of the most important things that you
need to be aware of is that statistics and averages can result in misleading knowledge.
Something that is generally true may not pertain to what you are going to be negotiating.
Actual knowledge can come from any one of
a number of different sources including your
own experience, outside professionals, and
any necessary parties on your side.
Your experiences: If you have knowledge
about what is going to be negotiated, then
you should rely on your own experiences. If
there are gaps in your experience, then reach
out and contact the people and the sources
that can be used to fill in your gaps.
Outside Professionals: There is no way that
any of us can be an expert in every area. No
matter if the issue has to do with accounting,
the law, investing or something else, when
you don’t know something, you need to reach
out and get help. Don’t be bashful. We all have
to have help at times.
Use your team: It can be all too easy to get
caught up in the limitations and restrictions
that have been placed on us by the firm that
we are negotiating for. What we need to remember at the same time is that because we
The more you know, the stronger your negotiating position will be. Taking the time to
carefully gather actual knowledge will ensure
that the information that you have is accurate and useful for the negotiations that you
will be involved in. Do your homework and
make sure that you start your next negotiation well-prepared! BL
Courtesy of
JUDY MARSALES / Broker of Record
Happy New Year and happy
real estate market!
How do you get this
IT-thing right?
uying information technology is easy.
Harnessing it to its full potential is the
hard part. It’s not just what you have; it’s
what you do with it.
How will companies learn enough about
new technologies and new capabilities to get
the most out of mobile technology, big data
and cloud computing?
Better tools supposedly help create better
managers. The rationale behind getting
better information systems is so they can
provide better information. But having the
tools is no guarantee that they will transform
management practices. Executives need to
get up to speed on the capabilities of the
emerging analytical approaches to data
collection and data mining using state-ofthe-art technology.
A large segment feels similarly underinformed about the best uses of cloud
computing. Although a significant number
agree that cloud computing is likely to
replace their on-premises IT systems within
the next few years, a majority still don’t know
enough to determine whether or not cloud
computing offers better control over IT costs.
More importantly, though, are the perceived
improvement in business processes. An
increasingly mobile workforce are looking
to access all files 24/7, 365 from any location
with any device.
Companies that have yet to reach for the
cloud in some way risk finding themselves
losing out to competitors. BL
ith the New Year upon us, it is a great time
to consider what the year will look like relative to the real estate markets in our area. I do
not have a “crystal ball” to gaze into so I rely on
the statistical data generated by two very reliable
sources: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB). The real estate markets
in our area have demonstrated very positive momentum this past year statistically. We witnessed
increased average prices in 11 out of 14 areas reported. CMHC also reported a slight narrowing of
the gap between our neighboring city, Toronto,
and our region. The most dramatic statistic in
my view is the 20.3% reduction in available properties between 2013 and 2014. I would suggest that
this is one of the strongest determinants of the
increased sale prices. The market appears to be
enjoying a very stable demand. However, when
there is a shortage of available properties such
as we are currently experiencing, this imbalance
puts increasing upward pressure on sale prices.
We are in a seller’s market. Unfortunately, this
basic “supply and demand theory” is too often misunderstood. While the national forecast seems to
suggest a softening of real estate values, Hamilton and area may remain very stable as a result
of being too low for too long relative to our large
sister city to the east. My recommendations are:
a) If you are considering selling, now is the time
to talk to very knowledgeable professionals in my
office who understand the market; obtain a free,
no-obligation, “Opinion of Value” on your home
and be prepared to be on the market by February
15th. b) If you are considering a purchase, have one
of our dedicated sales representatives put you on
a list to keep you informed as to every property
being offered for sale so you can be ready to move
forward; organize your finances and understand
your options with inspections. Most important
in this market, work with professionals who will
ensure that you maximize your opportunities and
enable you to make good decisions. BL
Feel free to contact us about this and other
computer related issues.
tel: 1.877.FAST.TEC
3-23 Nihan Dr., St. Catharines, L2N 1L2
155 Hachborn Rd., Brantford, N3S 7W7
Westdale: 905.522.3300
Ancaster: 905.648.6800
Locke Street South: 905.529.3300
Wallace Law
“‘Temp’ commercial lawyer offers proven and affordable legal
solutions to Hamilton’s small business community.”
BY SCOTT LESLIE The Business Link
oira Wallace knows all about
the need to “read between the
lines.” With over 15 years experience
as a corporate in-house lawyer, Moira is now the owner of Wallace Law
Professional Corporation—a commercial law practice that provides
legal advice and consulting services
to small and medium-sized businesses in the greater Hamilton area.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Moira takes great pride in offering legal
services to the business community. She has a proven track record of
providing practical legal advice that
adds value and profitability to her
clients’ bottom-line.
“I never dreamed of opening my
own law practice,” Moira explains.
“But after a lot of research, I realized
there was a huge opportunity. I noticed smaller companies often need
business legal solutions but they just
couldn’t afford the higher costs of
most law practices. Now I can offer
them a viable alternative.”
Moira’s range of legal services
is extensive. It includes everything
from contract drafting and negotiation, mergers and acquisitions, and
public and private procurements to
employment and labour matters,
lease management and negotiation,
policy and procedure development to
regulatory compliance services and
risk management services. As a Notary Public in the Province of Ontario,
Moira can even provide notarization
for legal documents.
“I call myself the ‘Chief Loophole
Advisor,’” she says. “That’s because
I love to find or draft loopholes in
documents that will help my clients. It’s all about understanding
their businesses, and protecting their
interests. I find ways to limit their
exposure to risk so they can grow
and prosper.”
Originally, Moira attended Carleton
University in Ottawa where she obtained her B.A. in Law and Russian,
and her M.A. in Legal Studies. In order
to begin practicing law, Moira pursued her L.L.B at Windsor Law School
—and after graduation, she began articling and practicing law at Cassels
Brock & Blackwell LLP in Toronto.
Moira would eventually move
back to the Hamilton area to work
as corporate counsel with American
Water—a water and waste water
treatment corporation where she
was responsible for the firm’s legal
affairs. By 2006, she had taken on the
position of director of legal affairs
with Wolseley Canada Inc.—a global
distributor of HVAC, plumbing, PVF
and industrial supplies.
Unfortunately, during the recession of 2008, Wolseley was forced to
make several cutbacks—and Moira
found herself out of work. Instead
of going back to the Bay Street environment, however, Moira decided
to become an entrepreneur. After
refining her business plan through
the BizSmartz Self-employment Program, Moira launched a new mobile
law practice in 2009—“Wallace Law.”
Unlike a conventional law practice, Moira operates as a temp law
service, coming directly to the client’s business to work with them,
doing any remaining work from her
@thebusinesslink |
home office. With her mobile service
and low overhead, she can offer the
experienced legal advice of a traditional law firm on-demand and at
a much more affordable price than
having an in-house legal counsel.
With her competitive rates, Moira
can provide overflow legal support to
companies that are dealing with an
over-burdened legal department or
simply a limited budget.
“I don’t want clients to feel the meter is running when they’re talking
to me,” she explains. “I’m not a typical lawyer that bills people for every
minute or piece of advice.”
Moira’s business has experienced
tremendous growth since it first
opened just six short years ago. In
recent months for instance, Moira
has added an experienced paralegal
to her staff—Carrie Wood—and their
long list of client referrals continues
to expand.
Moira’s clients have always appreciated her strong sense of commitment to their best interests. Moira
will rarely say “no” to a project or
challenge. To her, that desire to help
others in need is deeply ingrained in
her personality.
“We’re always looking out for their
best interests,” Moira says. “At the end
of the day, Carrie and I want them to
know we’re here for them.” BL
For more information, please contact
Moira Wallace BA, MA, LLB, Chief Loophole
Advisor and Notary Public at 905.575.0732,
email mo[email protected] or visit Moira’s
website at
Follow on twitter @loopholeadvisor.
■ Moira Wallace BA, MA, LLB, Chief Loophole Advisor, Notary Public and owner of Wallace Law.
It’s all about understanding their
businesses, and protecting their
interests. I find ways to limit
their exposure to risk so they can
grow and prosper.”
The management charm offensive
“Taking a genuine interest in your employees, listening to them, communicating in positive and constructive ways
and rewarding them will go a long way to keeping your turnover low.”
Continued from page 1
…that demands a lot of time and effort by staff.
When there are times of this sort of pressure,
even the best managers are human and people
sometimes lose their cool. That can be remedied with a little more patience on the part of
the manager.
However, the world has more than its fair
share of people who simply should not be managers. What if the person staring back at you
in the mirror is one of these difficult managers
and you know, somewhere deep inside, that
you need to change? What if you would like
to change your modus operandi and try to get
people to be more productive and successful
and have them spend less time worried about
where they square with you on a daily basis?
One of the best approaches to take is to do a
charm offensive. Very simply, a charm offensive is using flattery and friendliness in order
to get people to like and trust you. In turn, you
are able to influence them, and in business,
this means you can motivate them to perform
at a higher level with increased output.
That said, in my opinion, you need to be real.
People will see through someone who is not be-
ing honest. People will not trust and actually may
be even more put off by a manager who stages a
charm offensive with the ultimate goal of having
workers produce more, but there is no genuine interest in the employees. So, a charm offensive can
only really be undertaken if the manager realizes
intrinsically that he or she needs to change and
grow and when they do, because he or she will
earn the trust of the workers, they in turn will reward the manager by producing at a greater level.
If you want to change and develop as a better
manager, how do you approach treating your
employees better? Do you bring in donuts and
coffee to work?
The first thing is you need to do is to be authentic. You need to really care about the well-being
of your employees. You need to take a genuine
interest in who they are, not only as workers,
but also as human beings. In order to do this,
you should know little things about their lives,
such as birthdays, anniversaries or important life
events (i.e. marriages, children’s graduations).
Another technique to use is to ask questions.
People want to know that they are being heard.
Listening to people shows them that you care
about what they think and you respect their
thoughts and ideas.
If it is a particularly difficult period of time
because you need to make the numbers or have
a very tight schedule on an important effort,
this is the time to communicate. A manager
can choose to be confrontational and an adversary or a manager can choose an alternate
path to galvanize and motivate the team. Explain to the team the challenge and what’s at
stake, then move forward to explain how you
want to accomplish the goals or objectives in as
efficient a manner as is feasible. If possible, ask
their opinion in how to get a certain task done.
More often than not, employees know their jobs
much better than managers and can make suggestions on how they would be able to improve
productivity. All managers need to do is listen.
Create milestones toward the ultimate goal
where people are either brought up to speed on
the results to date or are rewarded for going
above and beyond in their work. Remember,
information is power and rewarding excellent
work helps keep a team’s esprit de corps high,
which in turn motivates employees to keep
pulling toward the goal.
Taking a genuine interest in your employees,
listening to them, communicating in positive
and constructive ways and rewarding them
will go a long way to keeping your turnover
low. These strategies will foster a better working environment where people actually want
to be in the office and produce a high level of
work. It will also permit you, as the manager, to receive honest feedback from the people
who are doing the job with regards to how to
improve business processes and procedures.
This, in turn, will lead to more and greater successes on the accomplishment of your
organization’s goals and the bottom line. BL
Courtesy of
Wood burning fireplace
and wood stove safety
“By being prudent in the maintenance and upkeep of
your wood burning device you can enjoy many years of
safe warm comfort!”
uring the winter months and the cool spring and fall days, there is nothing that beats
the weather like a warm and cozy fire. With a few simple precautions and maintenance
procedures, you can reduce the risk of a home fire.
Protect yourself and your family first:
■ All combustibles should be at least four feet away from the unit. This includes things such
as furniture, newspaper/magazines, clothing, etc.
■ Before starting a fire make sure the damper is fully opened and in the case of the wood
burning stoves follow all operating, maintenance, and recommendations provided by the
■ Make sure the wood you’re using is seasoned and not wet. Dryness is more important than
hard wood versus soft wood.
■ Do not burn wrapping paper, painted wood, cardboard or any kind of trash. They could
cause a chimney fire.
■ Never leave your fire unattended.
■ Disposal of ashes should be in an approved ULC listed metal container.
■ Consider installing a stovepipe thermometer on your wood stove in order to monitor flue
■ A W.E.T.T. certified inspector should clean and inspect your chimney annually. If recommendations are made, make sure to get them done.
■ She may look cozy but having combustibles within four feet of your fireplace or wood burning stove is a fire hazard
waiting to happen.
In between the annual inspection you should be on the lookout for:
■ Cracks in the exterior masonry or in the firebox itself.
■ Worn or damaged cords on wood stove doors.
■ Missing flue caps.
■ Discoloured or distorted rain cap.
■ Cracked, broken or missing flue tiles.
If you notice any of the above mentioned problems, discontinue use and have the unit inspected by a qualified professional that is W.E.T.T. certified.
By being prudent in the maintenance and upkeep of your wood burning device, you can
enjoy many years of safe warm comfort! BL
Tom Graves  C.I.P., C.C.I.B. is the vice-president of operations for The Mitchell & Abbott Group Insurance Brokers
Limited. For more information, please call 905.385.6383, toll free 1.800.463.5208 or direct at 905.381.4212.
Have a question? Email [email protected] or visit for further
information. Mitchell & Abbott Group Insurance Brokers is located at 2000 Garth Street, Suite 101 in Hamilton.
@thebusinesslink |
Temporary, contingent and flexible staffing demystified
Gain leverage and
flexibility in managing your
business needs.
Transitional workers: Most people opt for temporary
work as a bridge to permanent jobs. They use these
temporary jobs as an opportunity to acquire new skills
and showcase them to their potential new employers.
Long-term workers: Some of the contingent staffing
is done on a long term basis and the candidates are
generally better educated, have a higher pay ratio,
enjoy benefits and are individuals who prefer and
enjoy the freedom and independence offered by
such jobs.
nterprises today are gradually utilizing temporary staffing services to bolster their recruitment cycle. Terms like temporary staffing, contingent staffing and flexible staffing are commonplace
today when discussing options of recruiting for a job
role. Most people, however, mistake all three to mean
the same and use them interchangeably. There are in
fact differences between these three types of staffing provided by staffing agencies, especially in their
respective practical application and impact on the
business. Let us discuss these staffing services in detail
for a better understanding.
Temporary staffing
Temporary staffing is often a route companies take to
fill an immediate vacancy for a limited time period.
Traditionally this approach was adopted for non-critical business functions such as administration or other
clerical posts and with the view of filling in for a shortterm need to cover for vacation, illness, maternity, etc.
As a result, the quality and skills match of such temporary employees was not given much importance.
Flexible staffing
With time, the availability of better skilled and a
diverse workforce on the supply side and the inherent benefits of flexibility and cost on the demand
side has seen a significant shift in the nature of temporary staffing.
to clerical roles. Contingency staffing is generally on
a long-term basis, and encompasses resources with
a broad skill set including consultants, temporary
staff, freelancers or contractors that help meet more
strategic business needs. There are three board types
of contingent workers:
Contingent staffing
Contingent staffing is a concept that has evolved
from temporary staffing. It covers a broader array
of staffing services from strategic and operational
Traditional temporary workers: These are the candidates who generally work for a short period of time,
mainly for supplementing their financial needs.
Flexible staffing can be described as a combination
of the first two hiring strategies—temporary staffing
and contingency staffing. Companies that opt for
flexible staffing first analyze their dynamic business
workload before hiring. It is seen that employers
who are able to adapt in staffing requirements
according to their business requirements have an
upper hand on its competitors that do not employ
flexible staffing strategies.
To conclude, temporary staffing services can provide
you with strong leverage and flexibility in managing
your business needs. BL
Courtesy of
Hamilton Labour Ready
amilton Labour Ready was founded 23 years ago in the Hamilton
community. It specializes in providing temporary, on-demand labour to
businesses of all sizes. It’s highest priority
is to match the right worker to each job,
and providing customers with safe, temporary labour that will get the job done.
With it’s signature BeSafe program, you
know that every worker has been trained
in the highest safety standards, keeping
your work place safe.
Labour Ready customers have peace of
mind knowing that their operations will be
maintained via a reliable, flexible and effective workforce. Their services include last minute orders, early mornings and weekends, and also offer
temporary-to-permanent labour, and staffing placements.
As a TrueBlue company, Labour Ready is part of the nation’s largest industrial staffing provider. With over
130,000 customers worldwide, no matter how small or large your demand, Labour Ready has it handled.
Its experienced recruiting and staffing team works with customers to develop workforce solutions that
help businesses get results and improve productivity. Whether your business is in auto services, construction, events, hospitality, logistics, manufacturing, retail, restoration, warehousing or waste, its hardworking
people will help get the job done.
Contact Branch Managers Tim Vance or Carlos Bocas today to find out what Labour Ready can do for
your staffing needs. BL
Hamilton Labour Ready has two locations in Hamilton at 247 Centennial Parkway North #14 and 57 John Street South. For
the Centennial Parkway location, please call 905.573.2456. For the John Street location, please call 905.525.5650. For more
information, please visit
More than money
How non-financial benefits can be a game-changer
for your business.
How to
without cash
hat is the cost of losing a good employee?
Entrepreneurs know it can be high.
At Frima Studio, a fast-growing video game
maker, the challenge of attracting and keeping talent got
harder five years ago, when a pair of deep-pocketed multinational competitors opened offices nearby. “We couldn’t
compete on salary, so we decided to create an attractive
ntrepreneurs should listen to
workplace—one that was fun and inspiring,” says Nathalie
employees to learn what benMcLaughlin, Frima’s human resources director.
efits they value and work on non-fiTwice a year, Frima emulates the “Dragons’ Den” TV
nancial compensation constantly
show and invites its employees to pitch innovative projuntil it becomes part of the comects to a panel of judges. “If we judge a project to be solid
pany’s way of life, BDC’s Nathalie
enough and to have sufficient marketing potential, we
Gélinas says.
will release its creators from a few of their usual tasks so
that they can devote one day a week to the development
Here are three types of non-finanof their amazing idea. A few months later, we review the
cial compensation to consider.
state of the project and decide if it’s worth pursuing, in
which case we greenlight its production and marketing.
1. Flexibility. A flexible workplace
This program is already starting to yield impressive reis increasingly in demand. You can
sults,” explains McLaughlin.
offer flexibility in terms of time (variThe array of benefits designed to make Frima’s emable work hours) and space (opporployees’ lives easier includes flexible work hours, as well
tunities to work outside the office).
as a week of paid vacation time between the 25th of December and the New Year. The company offers employees
2. Trust. Employees like to have regaming areas and an on-site gym. Twice a month, two
sponsibility, work in a harmonious
massage therapists and a hair stylist also drop by.
environment and be trusted to make
Frima isn’t alone in turning to creative ways to provide
decisions. At the same time, you
employees with non-monetary rewards.
should hold employees accountable
“Companies in all industries—not just high-tech—invia solid performance appraisals.
creasingly see non-financial compensation as vital to
their growth,” says Nathalie Gélinas, senior vice presi3. Self-development. Entrepredent, consulting, at the Business Development Bank of
neurs should think about how to
Canada (BDC). In today’s challenging economy, it’s harder
help employees develop themselves.
than ever for many entrepreneurs to find the resources
The result will be more a productive
to draw in and retain skilled employees, she adds. At
and motivated workforce.
the same time, boomers are quitting the labour market,
leading to labour shortages in many fields. This means
businesses are increasingly competing for good workers,
but they have less money to do it with.
The good news: non-financial benefits can be inexpensive and can even boost a company’s productivity, Gélinas says. “The cost is a lot smaller than what the employer gets back. Losing an employee is very
costly. Human capital is the most important resource a business has,” she says. “The ultimate challenge
is to mobilize employees. Salary alone will never mobilize or retain talent over the long-term. Businesses
should be creative about finding ways to attract and engage talent.”
At Frima, the employee-friendly workplace became a beacon for smart, enthusiastic workers who helped
propel the company’s explosive growth. “The key to our success is our work culture,” McLaughlin says.
“We listen to employees a lot. People always talk about the customer experience. We have developed the
employee experience. It means people don’t want to leave.”
Frima also has a performance reward system that awards points that employees can exchange for services,
thus reinforcing the company’s commitment to helping employees maintain work-family balance. Perks
include tax preparation, lawn mowing, babysitting, movie/dinner combos and more. “Our office is completely
different from anything else in the area. It’s really made a difference in attracting people,” McLaughlin says.
Frima’s success shows that while pay is important, it isn’t what makes employees happy at work, Gélinas
says. Employees want flexibility, trust and the chance to develop as part of a team. She adds, “We spend a
lot of time listening to customers to serve them better. We also need to listen to employees.” BL
Good Human Resource
Management Requires Strategic
Workforce Planning
or any business to be successful it needs
people with the right training and talents
in the right field—depending on the type of
business you own or manage. But even the best
human resource management teams face the challenge of managing the supply and demand of people available for critically important job positions.
You might have the perfect mix of employees right
now, but what’s your workforce going to be like in
a few years time?
Indeed, one of the most demanding functions
of human resource managers is planning for future
change in the workforce.
While there is no doubt that Human Resource
Management (HRM) is absolutely critical for the
long-term success of any type of business, there
will be pitfalls that HR managers consciously need
to avoid.
▶ An expectation that HR should be in control of
workforce planning.
▶ An inability to see a bigger, long-term picture of
the business and its workforce.
▶ Expectations that a new HR manager or team will
be able to implement a workforce plan that will
take immediate effect throughout the company.
▶ The inability of HR people to be able to explain,
in simple terms, how their workforce plans will
translate into financial success and thus help the
business grow.
▶ The inability of workforce planners to implement
their strategies.
▶ Inadequate skills. BL
Reduce risks to business strategy and discover additional
strategic exercises by reading the rest of this article online
Divyesh Nathoo is the general manager of Twin Consulting,
Pitfalls HRM teams must avoid when planning
a long-term strategy for the workforce
These are some of the most common pitfalls that
human resource managers face:
a firm that helps businesses minimize risk and maximize
growth through compliant human resource systems.
Courtesy of
For more information please visit the Business Development Bank of Canada's website at
Follow the BDC on twitter @bdc_news.
@thebusinesslink |
InBold Media
Video marketing experts create targeted business videos campaigns
for clients across the country and around the world.
BY SCOTT LESLIE The Business Link
very budding entrepreneur wants
to run a thriving business. But in
the case of Hamilton native Waqar
Malik, he’s much more concerned
with seeing his clients succeed.
Waqar is the president, founder
and executive producer of InBold
Media—an award-winning video
production house that specializes in
such video marketing products as
corporate videos, web videos, product
videos, and T.V. commercials.
“Many production houses out there
do everything from weddings to special occasions,” Waqar explains. “We
create videos strictly for the business
world. The products we produce are
very practical and provide a good return on our clients’ investment. We
make things happen for them.”
It’s been a long and successful
road for the Mississauga entrepreneur. Having immigrated to Canada
in 2003, Waqar originally pursued a
diploma in marketing and business
management at Mohawk College
while he was busy holding down
two jobs and trying to support his
family. After graduation in 2006, he
spent the next several years climbing the corporate ladder in earnest,
working as a corporate sales executive for Rogers Wireless, a national
business development manager for
Nova International, and vice-president of sales for The Cast Production.
By 2012, however, Waqar was eager
to make a change in his career.
“With The Cast Production, we
were arranging ethnic casting for
marketing companies,” he says. “But
social media began taking off and
that ate away at our business. We
started looking at what was the next
big trend to get into—and that was
video marketing. It’s an area that has
lots of growth potential.”
Later that same year, Waqar
launched InBold Media with the help
of several of his associates from his
previous firm. InBold Media currently has four members on staff—a copy
writer, a director, a cinematographer, and an editor—in addition to
several other artists and technicians
they hire on a contract basis.
To date, Waqar’s firm has done
projects for a wide range of clients,
whether it’s telecommunication
firms, lawyers or non-profit agencies. Most of InBold Media’s clients
are located in Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville. In recent months,
however, Waqar has begun expanding worldwide through the reach of
the internet. To date, InBold Media
has done client work in the U.S., the
Middle East, and parts of Europe, in
addition to video projects across Canada in places like Ottawa, Windsor
and Vancouver.
According to Waqar, a big part of
their success is their commitment
to their clients.
“We dig in to understand our
clients and their business,” Waqar
says. “We do a lot of research and
planning and looking into things
like demographics before we even
start filming. A lot of agencies will
just come up with a creative idea and
run with it. That’s not us. We analyze a client’s business thoroughly
before we build a campaign because
we want to make sure we get their
message across.”
In addition, Waqar and his team
are always willing to lend a hand in
the community, donating free video
services to non-profits like Big Brothers Big Sisters, the United Way, and
Crime Stoppers. The resulting videos
are often worth thousands of dollars and have helped bring a greater
sense of awareness to their respective causes.
Although InBold Media currently serves a lot of small businesses,
Waqar is hoping to expand his firm
and serve more companies in the
five to 30 employee range. In order
to accomplish that feat, he and his
team are working to rebrand the
firm to reach a larger clientele with
a revamped website and new advertising campaigns.
A winner of the Business Link Media Group’s 40 Under Forty Business
Achievement Awards in 2013, Waqar
says there’s a reason why their client
referrals continue to grow by leaps
and bounds.
“We go above and beyond for the
client,” he says. “They know we’re |
■ Waqar Malik is the president, founder
and executive producer of InBold Media.
Photo credit: 1023 Studio Photography
not trying to sell them something.
They say, ‘You know what it’s like to
be in my shoes.’” BL
InBold Media is located at 2244 Drew
Road in Mississauga. For more information
please call 1.855.6INBOLD or visit
Follow on twitter @inboldmedia.
IT mistakes to avoid
(and how to prevent them)
“Build a technology platform for the future—and spend
some time looking forward, so that mistakes are less
likely to happen.”
reat teams embrace mistakes and get better. The best companies don’t tiptoe
around their mistakes and they don’t play blame games. Here are some real
world examples of mistakes made by professional organizations—and who are
willing to learn from their mistakes!
There has been a tendency to treat mobile and desktop as like technologies. The truth is mobile
business is still in its relative infancy. Companies fail to recognize that people often perform business
functions differently in the field than at their desk. The clearest difference lies in the tools that go
along with the mobile workplace, such as apps for business and communication. Combine this
with the pressure to adopt quickly, and you have a recipe for disaster. Finding the right solutions
demand a tight relationship among business units, especially sales and marketing.
The adoption of social networking as a business tool has created an entirely new outlook on
business communication. There’s a tendency to assume that everyone wants a social network
inside a company. The thing to remember is that content is key. Some companies (and markets)
are clearly more tech savvy than others, able to distinguish between advantageous social networking and “wasteful” activities. Social tools are
often a better, more efficient way not only to
communicate, but also to collaborate.
Outsourcing problems rank high among
mistakes, often because the outsourcer just
did not have the skills or capability that was
promised. Companies must know not only
what to expect, but more importantly, what
they want to achieve from their vendors. Not
everything can be “black boxed. It’s important
that IT support understands their business
and the way they work. They want her to be
a part of their extended team, rather than
simply calling a 1-800 number.
Many companies struggle to get off legacy systems (such as Windows XP boxes).
Moving to the cloud has only exacerbated
these problems, trying to integrate systems
from different vendors to replace a single
legacy system. Insufficient planning and
background work will certainly lead to mistakes, and damage the bottom-line.
Tension is often caused by business units asking for more than their technology can deliver.
Much can, however, be alleviated by communicating properly and setting priorities well in
advance. Asking staff to go above and beyond for extensive periods of time is inviting burnout.
Virtualization has been the golden goose of technology ROI, but even this money machine
has its limits. By building bigger and more complex virtual environments, including private
cloud, the transition from traditional computing gets more difficult.
Just as IT really didn’t see the iPhone revolution coming, they still continue to underestimate mobile demand. It wasn’t until top execs and salespeople started bringing them in and
demanding to get corporate email on them that IT were forced to take on the security problems
iPhones created. This experience should have been brought to the tablets, but were erroneously
thinking it would be at best a niche device that would start slowly with executives. They really
weren’t ready for how soon and how many employees would crave iPads—and why tablets
make sense for work. Sales organizations are going to need the most help to get the most out
of tablets. They need content and applications fine-tuned to their specific needs, such as for
accessing inventory available for sale and providing tablet-friendly presentations.
The lessons to be learned are: Build a technology platform for the future—and spend some
time looking forward—so that mistakes are less likely to happen. BL
Tension is often
caused by
business units
asking for more than their
technology can deliver. Much
can, however, be alleviated
by communicating properly
and setting priorities well
in advance. Asking staff to
go above and beyond for
extensive periods of time is
inviting burnout.”
Jason Stitt is a partner and senior technology advisor of I/OVision located at 23 Nihan Drive, Unit 3 in
St. Catharines. For more information, please call 905.937.7658 or 1.800.FAST.TECH, email
[email protected] or visit
@thebusinesslink |
Medical marijuana in the workplace — a new reality?
“With this phenomenon, employers will need to consider the impact on their workplace policies and accommodation
requirements under human rights legislation.”
he use of medical marijuana continues to increase across Canada. With
the passing of the Marijuana
for Medical Purposes Regulations, SOR/2013119 (MMPR), Canadians who require medical
marijuana for health related reasons will no
longer require a license from Health Canada for
permitted use. A simple doctor’s prescription
will do. This is a move by practitioners to treat
marijuana similar to other narcotic drugs used
for medical purposes. With this phenomenon,
employers will need to consider the impact on
their workplace policies and accommodation
requirements under human rights legislation.
Human rights legislation provides the legislative landscape that recognizes an individual’s
inherent dignity and self-worth. Most employers
already know that the law requires accommodation of an employee with a disability to the point
of undue hardship. The use of medical marijuana
like other doctor prescribed drugs engages the
same principles of accommodation contemplated by human rights legislation aimed at ensuring
that every employee has an equal opportunity
to perform a job for which he/she is qualified.
The Employer has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation of the needs of a disabled employee to the point of undue hardship.
There are generally three factors to determine
whether the request for accommodation meets
the threshold of undue hardship: First, what is
the cost to provide the accommodation? Second,
is there any outside funding to help subsidize the
costs of accommodation? And third, and perhaps
the most important are there any associated
health and safety concerns that the accommodation may pose? To date, there is no reported case
where an employer has successfully established
undue hardship based on the health and safety risks posed by the use of medical marijuana.
Keep in mind however that we are in the early
stages of dealing with this workplace issue.
In addition to human rights considerations
employer are reminded of their statutory obligations required under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act namely to take every precaution
reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker. The use of medical marijuana in the workplace raises concerns of impairment and impact worker safety. Regardless of
a prescription for the use of medical marijuana
an employee will not have an unfettered right
of use in the workplace where they may suffer
impairment which poses a danger to their own
safety, safety of their co-workers or members
of the public. As a result, employers will be
entitled to request medical details from the
employee and his/her physician that speak to
the individual’s ability to perform the duties
and responsibilities of their position safely.
Where the documentation discloses a
meaningful impairment to the worker’s capacity to perform their work assignment, an
employer is required to engage in the accommodation process as contemplated by the
Human Rights Code/Act and the Accessibility
for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Employer Standards Regulation. Accommodation
may involve facilitating regular work breaks,
medical leaves of absence while the employee undergoes marijuana treatment and/or
modification of duties and responsibilities to
eliminate safety concerns, etc.
Any decision to terminate an employee without engaging the accommodation process would
most likely result in a violation of the applicable
human rights legislation and result in considerable liability. It is most important for employers
to understand that their obligation to accommodate employees using medical marijuana is the
same as for employees using prescription med-
ications. There is a positive duty to inquire and
engage in dialogue with employees who require
accommodations. Understand the accommodations and implement the accommodations
unless to do so would cause undue hardship.
With the use of medical marijuana on the
rise, employers should review their current
workplace policies regarding the use of prescription medications in the workplace together with
their drug and alcohol policies. Policies should
define “impairment” and “under the influence.”
Set out effectively and precisely the employee’s
entitlements and obligations with regard to the
use of prescription drugs including medical marijuana in the workplace. Care should be given in
expressly identifying reporting obligations and
obligations to cooperate in the “joint” accommodation process. For more information about medical marijuana in the workplace, continue reading
at BL
For this or any other question regarding Labour
and Employment issues affecting your company,
please reach out to Leanne Standryk, Partner,
Lancaster Brooks & Welch, 905.646.1177 or email
[email protected] |
Will the world currency
stand up?
“What happens when a nation owes more currency than
their ideas can support? When a nation spends far more
than it earns long term, what then?”
urrency’s function
Barter showed up as the first value exchange. I’ll trade you grain for eggs.
But eggs spoil. Grain gets very hard to store. The world needed something to
represent value. Something a little more numbers oriented.
History of currencies
Currency comes from the Latin word “currens” meaning flowing. You flow your goods to me
and I’ll flow my currency back to you. Gold long held the prime spot for currency. It didn’t spoil
and held its value. Weighing gold dust got a little tricky. Then coins came along. They could
be given numerical denotation. The Chinese invented paper money in 806 AD. That made it
lighter and easy to carry.
For a while oil reigned as world currency. Until the bubble burst recently!
The idea currency
Coins and paper hold no value. They simply stand for value. They have numbers on them that
represent value. What currency will take over now? Yes, I know plastic…bank cards. They
denote numbers of dollars, yuan, yen, euros, etc. But what real currency really trumps them
all? Americans have always thought big and acted big. Big ideas. Big ventures! Their currency
has really been big ideas and big ventures.
When we buy stock shares like Apple, we buy their big ideas and the big ventures. Steve Jobs
and crew created value in Apple. He did it with creative concepts—ideas that he “turned into
gold”—i.e. value. Apple knows how to roll the ideas out into the marketplace. The U.S. dollar
has no gold backing. It has held up with ideas.
Currency and fiscal responsibility
What happens when a nation owes more currency than their ideas can support? When a
nation spends far more than it earns long term, what then? Current U.S. Government debt
totals $18-trillion, not to mention $137-trillion in unfunded liabilities. How long will other nations want their economies resting on an American dollar? Will we soon see a world currency
independent of the U.S.?
under an advertised blanket…
on an advertised mattress…
and pulls off advertised pajamas…
bathes in an advertised shower…
washes with advertised soap…
shaves with an advertised razor…
brushes with an advertised toothbrush…
uses an advertised toothpaste…
puts on advertised clothes…
drinks a cup of advertised coffee…
drives in an advertised car…
Refuses to advertise their business
because they say advertising doesn’t pay.
The United States just watched China take over as the world’s largest economy in 2014. North
America better come up with some big ideas and maybe some new commodities. BL
Dennis O’Neill, The Business Growth Coach is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake. For more information on
how to grow your business, please call 905.641.8777, email [email protected] or visit
905.646.9366 | | @thebusinesslink
@thebusinesslink |
It never used to be this way
f you felt like watching a
film, you travelled to a blue
and gold video store and walked
around the perimeter for half an
hour before settling on Hollwood’s latest hit covered with “Be Kind and Rewind” stickers. This
would be followed by late fees designed for forgetful minds.
If portable music was your thing, consider the
Walkman featuring the ever efficient fast forward
and rewind buttons. Finding the beginning of your
desired track was a “fun” little game in itself.
If you wanted information on a given topic,
you visited your local library, wandered through
aisles and aisles of books until you found your
source. Sometimes you found what you needed.
Other times someone beat you to it and a return
trip three weeks later might bring more success.
Their modern counterparts like on-demand
video, streaming audio and well, Google are
all more efficient, offer more variety and are
simply better. Technology has advanced beyond anyone’s imagination but it’s not the only
thing advancing.
Communication is evolving.
Ask virtually any small business owner the
following question: Where do your sales come
from? The answer is almost always the same—
word of mouth. Despite all that technology has
brought us, there is still nothing more valuable
than a personal recommendation from a known
and trusted source. Time after time, job after
job, year after year of providing quality products
at reasonable rates with friendly service will
without fail bring success. Word spreads and is
still undoubtedly the best formula for success.
The word of mouth of today and yesterday are
two vastly different things. Enter social media.
We post, update, comment, watch, read and
learn. It certainly has plenty of negatives that
we’ll save for another time but when measured
against a collaboration of an individual’s daily
real life conversations, they can only connect
with a limited amount of people. Social media
has no such limits; this has become the new
word of mouth. It does not overtake human
interaction, but adds to it. This is where the
conversation starts and we need to be an active part in it.
Four years ago, I read a book called “Rework”
based on the experiences of a company called
37signals. The words have stuck with me ever
since, notably one excerpt based on the concept
of building an audience. For the full story you’ll
have to buy the book. In the meantime, here is
the part I loved most.
“All companies have customers. Lucky
companies have fans. But the most fortunate
companies have audiences. An audience can
be your secret weapon.”
By building an audience, you are directing
your marketing to people who actually care
about your service. You build that audience by
offering interesting, helpful information that
people return to see what you have to say. Your
fans return to see what you have to say as opposed to you reaching out to them.
Here are a few ideas to help you start your
following. It varies depending on your industry
but here are a few examples.
If you are a landscaper, construction or artist.
Post snapshots of your latest projects; perhaps
on larger projects show the progress of your
work. Your work is valuable. Inspire others to
see that too.
For just about anyone.
Don’t be discouraged by a lack of comments.
Your viewers may not comment, but that
doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. After all,
do you comment on everything you read?
Daily posts may be too frequent depending
on your following, but ensure that you are posting at least once a week. Stale accounts are
viewed as a negative.
Lastly, the biggest mistake you can make
on social media is to make everything about
you. Follow other local companies, connect
with people, comment on their posts, and ask
questions to build a conversation. Recognize
suppliers, employees, clients and anyone connected to the success of your company.
Whether or not we agree, our customers are
using social media, that doesn’t seem to be
changing any time soon. It’s a new concept for
all of us. One day we’ll look back and wonder
how did we ever live without it?” BL
Ryan is the creative director at Symetric Productions Inc.,
a media company specializing in web design. It is proud
to offer their new social media marketing packages
If you are in a trade, professional or consultant.
Don’t be afraid to give away information and
post the solution to a problem. Suddenly, you
are now viewed as an expert and when problems become too difficult, you’ll be their first
phone call. Even better, posting them on a blog
and linking through social media will help improve your SEO.
called Stunt Double. For more information contact Joe at
905.933.4910 ext. 222 or
Follow Symetric Productions Inc. on twitter @spcan.
1 Jason Fried and David Heinermeier Hansson, Rework (Random
House, 2010) pp.170-171 |
spine stays flexible all its life; a great role model for any corporation to rethink and reevaluate what hinders them to move faster. We all
know about the necessity for speed in highly
competitive global marketplaces and also that
the level of speed increases everywhere, be it in
the media, social developments or the spread
of diseases in a connected world. But the question is: How well are we equipped as leaders, as
companies, as people? Do we carry extra bulk
and how can we get rid of it?
The wisdom of the elephants
The leaders of elephant herds can often be
seen doing nothing, as if they are frozen from
one second to another. To the human eyes, it is
unclear as to what is taking place, but it could
potentially be our biggest leadership take-away
from Africa. In those regular moments of stillness, the lead cow uses her senses to the fullest.
She becomes aware of the position and movement of the group, its surroundings and gets in
touch with each individual group member on an
energetic level. What a powerful leadership tool!
Transferring this observation for your personal
use in the corporate world you could regularly,
(e.g. at the beginning of every meeting), refrain
from any activity for a couple of seconds, focus
on the group, the energy in the room and your
own physical condition. You will undoubtedly
find out it makes a BIG difference!
Lead like a wild animal
Big 5 Leadership—Learning from Africa’s most fascinating animals.
omination and submission, survival of
the fittest, constant adaption to change—
the wilderness and the corporate world have
many similarities. The more detailed the look
into each world, its routines, rules and ways of
communication, the more obvious it becomes
how beneficial it would be if the corporate
world could learn from nature. In some areas, such as product engineering, it is already
happening, but in the area of personal development of leadership and teamwork skills this
opportunity is still sadly missed.
Of course in most corporate areas there is
no space for wilderness experiences, although
it is highly recommended to regularly step out
your personal comfort zone in order to reassess
personal or corporate strategies, and open up
for growth and leadership experience that no
MBA program can ever deliver.
Experiencing Africa’s fascinating nature and
of course its majestic Big 5, the human observer—usually accompanied by one or two experienced rangers—will be fascinated to find out the
following five leadership skills that we could all
easily transfer into our corporate world.
The art of teamwork
Lions, the so-called kings of the bush are
not only a universal symbol for power and
strength, they are masters in an area where
every manager depends on: the quality of its
team and the results of their work. And lions
are masters of teamwork on all levels. Territories are held by several males in so-called coalitions. Working as a team makes it easier for
them to fight against intruders, control larger
territories, dispossess older lions or secure female territories, the basis for their survival.
Female teamwork is best displayed during
hunting and it is clearly defined by the individual strengths of the team member. Whoever
has the chance to witness their breathtaking,
intelligent and efficient attacks will never
again forget it. But also the diverse teamwork
plays a vital role for Africa’s largest carnivore. While females do most of the hunting
and share family responsibilities within the
whole group, males will assist with big kills
and protect their territory against intruders.
For lions, the intra and inter-gender teamwork
secures long-term survival and success. Bringing this example into your corporate area you
ask yourself: Where can the teamwork in my
company be optimized and is everybody aware
of the benefits of an increased level of partnership with colleagues and the focus towards
the outside-of-the-pride-enemy instead of the
inside-of-the-company different department
or colleague?
Focus—the power of targeting
Another fascinating and impressive quali-
@thebusinesslink |
ty often observed in the bush is the outstanding
ability of animals to focus on their prey. Be it
a lion, leopard, cheetah or bateleur eagle, their
ability to focus sharply on one and only one
target is worth thinking about as a human. In
the corporate world—but also in the private
area—multi-tasking is the standard. We listen to the radio while we drive the car, read
our emails while we are in meetings. Africa’s
predators narrow down their sight and energy
to the most important thing in that second,
securing food for their survival. Observing this
behavior, it should be no surprise that many
Asian meditation techniques teach methods to
remain in the moment, which gives you maximum effectiveness. The western hemisphere
managers can learn both from Africa and Asia
and in that process not only reduce the ratio of
burnout and stress but also increase the productivity and results of the whole company.
The prerequisites of speed
The fastest land mammal is the cheetah.
Within 90 seconds they are in full speed of up
to 70 miles/hour and every detail of their body,
(e.g. their long legs, small heads with streamlined ears, large lungs) are perfectly designed
for it. Their entire body is built for speed. They
don’t carry any extra bulk…in opposite to us
corporate people and organizations. The older we get, the more weight we usually carry
and our spine gets less flexible. The cheetah’s
Leopards—The hidden champions
of flexibility
Leopards are not only among the most beautiful
animals of Africa, they are also the ultimate opportunists, adapting themselves to every change
in habitat that might happen. Leopards are flexible in every way imaginable. They are excellent
runners and climbers, with the ability to attack
from the ground and from trees, and hunt at
night or during the day. One leopard was found
in an abandoned football stadium living with
two cubs eating garbage and chasing pets from
the neighborhood. So a leopard-based take-away
for every corporate person is: How flexible and
adaptable are we as leaders, and how do our
organizations adjust to change?
Now, not everybody has to go to Africa to rethink his or her leadership qualities, although
regularly stepping out of one’s comfort zone
is something recommended to anybody, especially to leaders loaded up with daily tasks
and routines. Let’s not forget: Routines kill creativity. And creativity is something we urgently
need to re-inject into our corporate lives in order to remain successful in a changing marketplace. So whether you use a tent in Africa or
an igloo in the Arctic for a short time: Beyond
your desk and your comfort zone is what life
and leadership is about and that you can and
should reimport into your daily life. BL
Kerstin Plehwe is a bestselling author and international
speaker based in Berlin, Germany who helps people
and organizations to be courageous, excellent and
innovative. For more than 15 years, she has advised
global players as well as top executives and politicians.
Kerstin´s out of comfort zone experience was to
become a Ranger in South Africa´s Kruger Park. She
is available to speak on topics such as leadership,
diversity, change and personal excellence. For more
information please visit