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Leadership: It’s all in your head

by CoachKevin | July 6th, 2015

Here’s the truest thing about leadership I can ever tell you: business is a mind game.

I’m not talking about outsmarting your competitors or creating the cleverest business plan in the history of time.

I’m talking the stories kicking around in your noggin. Stories that go unseen by the world. Stories that are mostly unconscious even to you.

These stories may sound like, ‘I’m not the kind of person who could create a $200 million company from scratch.’ Or, ‘I can’t ever trust people – at the end of the day everyone disappoints me.’ Or a million other thoughts that torture you, limit you and generally make life less than fantastic.

If you don’t think you have any troubling stories bouncing around in your brain, you’re not looking hard enough. Or you’re a Buddhist monk. I suspect it’s the former.

Leadership begins and ends between the ears. So the first step to advancing as…

A CEO’s Friend or Foe? Shiny Penny Syndrome

by CoachKevin | June 23rd, 2015

Let’s talk about shiny pennies…those sparkling, distracting, potentially earth-shattering ideas that the idea guru in your company is always having.

CEOs tend to handle these in one of two ways:

1) Allow the idea guru to run rampant through the company, corralling resources whenever an idea sparks. This leads to confusion and detours. On the plus side it definitely makes life exciting.

2) Contain the idea guru. Keep faithfully to plan, and politely appease (aka relentlessly frustrate) your idea guru by not taking shiny penny ideas seriously.

Neither of these paths will lead you to your greatest success.

I recently met Matt Kuttler at a conference and this is a man who knows how to handle shiny pennies. He’s founded and sold two successful companies and now advises leadership teams.

Matt had a business partner, Dave, who was a consummate idea guy…shiny pennies flew left, right and center. Matt, a pragmatic finance and operations mind, needed…

Be Honest…Is Leadership Really a Priority for You?

by CoachKevin | June 17th, 2015

It seems so obvious that the best way to grow a company is to grow the leaders that run it. I bet if you asked 10 CEOs, 8 or 9 would consider this an obvious truth.

But sadly if you looked at how those 8 or 9 execs spend their time every day, it would not be consistent with this belief. You’d probably find they spend precious little time helping their people grow.

We know it but don’t do it. Why?

I’ll pose two questions to you

  • How much time do you spend in a given week helping your people become stronger leaders?
  • How much time do you spend stretching and growing your own leadership skills?

Coach Kevin’s Challenge

  1. What is the top thing you could do this week to stretch yourself as a leader? What would catapult you to your next level? Take action.
  2. Pick someone on your team. What is the number one way you…

Staring Death in the Eye

by CoachKevin | June 10th, 2015

Nothing is quite as clarifying as staring death straight in the eye.

Every time someone I know becomes seriously ill or passes away, I get crystal-clear on how well I’m living my life. And what I need to change to live it better.

And so this article from the Daily Mirror struck me. It’s insight from a palliative nurse who shared the 5 most common regrets she hears from her dying patients.

The top 5 regrets in order are:

1)      I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not what others expect of me

2)      I wish I hadn’t worked so hard

3)      I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings

4)      I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends

5)      I wish I’d let myself be happier.

I challenge you to the full article and ask yourself what single thing you would change in your life so…

Banish Standard Performance Reviews

by CoachKevin | June 3rd, 2015

Harvard Business Review published a fantastic piece called, Reinventing Performance Reviews, that I consider a must-read for CEOs everywhere.

It’s about Deloitte’s initiative to banish the typical performance review in favour of something ‘…squarely focused on fuelling performance in the future rather than assessing it in the past.’


Deloitte is tossing some old standards out the window. No more annual reviews. No more 360 peer reviews.

They’re going simple and lean.

Here’s an example. They’ve developed a rapid method to get leaders to identify their most valuable. For each employee, immediate team leaders ask themselves:

1)      Given what I know about this person’s performance and if it were my own money, would I award this person the highest compensation and bonus?

2)      Given what I know about this person’s performance and if it were my own money, would I always want this person on my team?

3)      Is this person at risk for low performance?

4)     …

Mental Wellness At Work

by CoachKevin | May 27th, 2015

7 million Canadians cope with mental health issues. That’s 1 in 5 Canadians. Canadian companies pay $20 billion per year on mental health disability claims.

Now, take these stats and think about what they add up to globally…

Your workplace is not exempt from this reality. Look around your office and really see these humans that surround you everyday. Some of them are probably struggling with mental health challenges that are mostly or entirely invisible to you.

As a business leader, you’re in a powerful position to help. You can start by letting go of any stigma associated with mental health that may lurk in the shadows of your mind. Next, you can foster a workplace where it’s safe and accepted to talk about and take care of mental wellness.

You can do this by:

  1. Promoting the importance of mental health wellness. Bring in experts. Incorporate mental wellness into your corporate health and wellness…

You’re a Leader. Stop Doing Everything.

by CoachKevin | May 20th, 2015

Ok congratulations, you’ve succeeded thus far in life because you know how to get important stuff done. Tremendous. This is a vital characteristic for building an amazing business.

But to make it as a business leader, you need to shift from SuperHero to Leader of SuperHeros. Seem like a subtle distinction? It’s not.

It requires releasing the addiction to being validated for your personal heroic efforts, and switching your focus to helping others get the accolades.

This is a psychological shift that challenges many executives.

A great doer knows what needs to be done, figures out how to do it, and does it beautifully.

A great leader figures out what needs to be done, challenges and trusts others to figure out how to do it, and monitors the follow-through.

So, how do you make this shift? It starts by observing yourself and making note of the ‘doer’ habits you need to change. Next, it requires…

Creating a Kick-Ass Exec Team

by CoachKevin | May 13th, 2015

In 20 years of coaching, this is one of my favourite techniques for creating a spectacularly-strong exec team full of A+ players.

It’s a tried and true system for keeping tabs on the progress of your execs without consuming huge amounts of your time.

I call it the Coaching Triad.

Once a quarter, schedule a 20 to 30-minute meeting with each of your execs and their coach – all three of you must attend the meeting for this to work.

Follow this exact agenda for these meetings:

1)      The exec shares for 7 to 10 minutes about where they’re making progress and where they need improvement.

2)      You share for 7 to 10 minutes about where you see the exec making progress and where you see a need to improve.

3)      For the remaining 7 to 10 minutes, the coach offers any needed commentary and clarifies the areas where the executive needs to grow. The coach…

Mastering your Monkey Mind

by CoachKevin | May 4th, 2015

A calm mind can find better solutions, make better decisions and be more creative.

Great. But how do you get a calm mind into today’s high octane, information-laden, stressed-out world?

First you need to understand the ‘monkey mind’.

Your mind is constantly bombarded with stimuli. It’s full of questions, problems, lists, ideas and solutions…all scrambled together.

This is called the ‘monkey’ state of mind. It’s a lot of noise and clutter. Almost nothing is clear.

When you are feeling like your brain is overloaded and you’re struggling to solve problems, you know your monkey mind has taken charge.

There are simple things you can do to clear the clutter and reassert your calm mind – your master mind.

For some people, meditation is the thing. For others, an intense workout does the trick. For me, it’s writing.

When you are in your ‘master mind’ state, fireworks of ideas and solutions start to fly. So, it’s worth taking…

Pick Your Horse

by CoachKevin | April 28th, 2015

So many exciting things to do, so little time.

As CEO, you have to select priorities for the whole company. You can’t be whisked away by shiny new objects, tempting though they may be.

Often I visit companies and I’m told about the ’27 big priorities’ they’ve outlined for the year. Some have managed to shave their lists down to 5 or 10 big things.

The news I have for you today is this: 27 is too many. Ten is too many. Two is too many.

Pick one horse for the year. Pick one metric that will measure the success of that horse. Then, base all planning and decisions around that.

This degree of focus is what creates business momentum and team cohesion. It may sound impossible. But I’ve seen many, many companies pivot to become this focused. And without question, they come out stronger and better.

I’ve created a video that talks about…

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