Tales from the Trail: Building Effective Teams

Tales from the Trail: Building Effective Teams

Question: How do I know if my team is effective? Part 3 A real-life example unfolded recently with the New England Patriots and their uncommon number of Superbowl wins. As they sought their sixth consecutive title, they are a clear example of an organization that has...

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A Haircut, Turtles and Billboards – Lessons in Moral Leadership

A Haircut, Turtles and Billboards – Lessons in Moral Leadership

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” (anonymous)              As I reflect upon the past week, I’m struck by the validity of the age-old adage: ‘We learn as we go.’ It seems no matter where we...

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Tales from the Trail: A Conversation on Governance

Tales from the Trail: A Conversation on Governance

PART 3: Question: How can the principles of sound governance be applied equally to large corporations or small non-profit organizations, to also help them achieve success?   It’s fascinating to me to reflect on the governance models that are in place in an...

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A Leader’s Creed

A Leader’s Creed

Recently, I was struck by the notion that anyone who aspires to lead others should have to formally articulate their leadership beliefs in order to ensure clarity and conviction. Often we anoint individuals to leadership positions without any of us, including the leader, fully understanding what aims will guide their leadership actions.

I was struck by the impact of conviction many years ago when I watched the iconic baseball movie Bull Durham. When the character Crash Davis passionately divulged his mantra to Annie, I knew that any aspiring leader should be required to emphatically state their leadership creed in this way.

Crash stated most convincingly: “I believe in the sweet spot, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve. I believe in the soul, the hanging curveball, high fibre … good scotch … that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent overrated crap, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. Good night.”…

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Featured Article: Journal for Post Secondary Leaders

Featured Article: Journal for Post Secondary Leaders

At The Chair Academy’s 2016 International Conference in San Antonio, I was humbled to receive the Paul A. Elsner International Excellence in Leadership Award. It felt almost unfair to have spent 30 years in the college system, throughout which I had shared so many enriching experiences with fellow administrators and academics, and yet become a part of the Paul A. Elsner fraternity so far into my career. To get mentioned in the same breath as the award’s past recipients was, for me, truly an honor. My affinity for leadership, the passion I have for it, and the respect I have for all higher education practitioners means that to be a member of that group is truly an honor.

As such, I’m honored to be asked and I’m thrilled to share, with Leadership’s many readers throughout the world, my thoughts regarding “Leading Effective Teams.” In doing so, I plan to set the stage initially by offering my leadership philosophy, which I profile by articulating my belief in the three primary roles of a leader as it applies to leading effective teams. Later, I’ll unpack each of these roles by diving deeper into the specific responsibilities of each. Ultimately, it is my intention, in the latter part of the article, to outline a number of recommendations which I believe will benefit administrators and academics alike, as they move onward in their respective leadership journeys….

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Leadership Lessons from the Cup

Leadership Lessons from the Cup

The 105th Grey Cup that was played in snow-covered conditions in our nation’s capital is in the books. If you were not in attendance, nor a part of the 4.3 million television viewing audience, suffice it to say the Toronto Argonauts prevailed 27-24 in a soul-crushing game, which was dominated statistically by the Calgary Stampeders.

For the underdog Argos their astonishing victory capped off a ‘revival-of-sorts’ season. Coming off a dismal 5-13 – 2016 season, club ownership installed two proven leaders, in head coach, Mark Trestman and general manager, Jim Popp, late in the off-season. Almost immediately, things began to take shape. Trestman promptly called his quarterback, Ricky Ray, a future Hall-of-Famer who was questioning his future, and expressed his confidence in his quarterback’s leadership abilities.

For the favourite Stamps their shocking defeat for the second consecutive year punctuated the reality that, for one reason or another, they cannot get the job done. The team can’t finish, or as one television broadcaster postulated during the post-game, “It all comes down to execution, and Calgary has a problem finishing the deal.” It was ominously tell-tale when, following the game, head coach Dickenson defended his dismayed quarterback saying, “I don’t know exactly what happened, but the ball didn’t go where he wanted it to go.”…

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Capture the Spirit…

Capture the Spirit…

By mid-November in central Alberta the sun doesn’t rise until after long after 8:00 a.m. By then, as a cottage resident you’ve likely witnessed some snow, raked your share of leaves, put your boat to bed, taken your dock out, listened to the honking cries of Canada Geese, and shivered a little to sub-zero temperatures in the morning.

By mid-November in central Alberta the sun doesn’t rise until after long after 8:00 a.m. By then, as a cottage resident you’ve likely witnessed some snow, raked your share of leaves, put your boat to bed, taken your dock out, listened to the honking cries of Canada Geese, and shivered a little to sub-zero temperatures in the morning.  If you committed, in a mildly mindless moment, to a meeting at ten a.m. in downtown Calgary, you’ll find yourself leaving home in the pitch dark. And, if you somehow packed a few other commitments into your day, chances are you’ll be returning in darkness, as well.

About an hour and a half into my drive south, and aided by a travel cup of McCafé, I found myself passing by Red Deer. On my left, my eye was drawn to an impressive new structure named the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Instantly, like a door thrown open by a mighty gust of autumn wind, memories from another time blow through my consciousness…

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Possibly, Just Maybe…

Possibly, Just Maybe…

As summer ‘17 bids farewell and a chill in the morning air hasten the leaves downward journey, I find myself reflecting on the past quartile and it’s precious learning moments. Like the countless Canada Geese, who now gather on the lake in preparation for their flight southward, there have been many such moments.

However, one particular reflection stands out, as does the lone pelican I spy from my cottage office, who patrols the bountiful fishing hole off the edge of our dock. He surely has learned well from his family, because this pickerel-rich environment serves up, one more time, a tasty morsel to satisfy his appetite and reinforce his confidence…

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