What Can a Learning Management System do for my municipality?

Municipalities have reported two (2) main pain points when it comes to managing their learning and development programs:

  1. They are tired of tracking Learning & Development on a spreadsheet and they would you like to have an LMS but they are cost-prohibitive for their municipality,
  2. Sourcing training content to populate their LMS is difficult and time-consuming, not to mention expensive

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application to help organizations manage the administration, documentation, tracking, training, reporting of their Learners. The main benefits of an LMS are to reduce the time, effort and cost of your training program while offering deeper insight into your Learner’s experience, compliance and progress.

With an LMS, you can assign training to your team to; a) grow the leaders of tomorrow (succession planning), b) for annual compliance training, c) for new hire onboarding or d) improve the job skills of employees in your organization. 

Not every municipality is the same so not everyone has the same needs when it comes to an LMS.  That’s why any LMS must offer a wide range of functionality to address individual municipal circumstances and the provider must be available to provide support and guidance along the way.

Learning Content

When organizations purchase their own LMS, the first step they need to do is upload training content into the LMS – and municipalities already know that it’s difficult and time consuming to source quality courses. But, then once they’ve found the training content they will need their IT or the LMS provider to upload it for them.  This increases costs and results in time delays in getting their training started.

A Learning Management Solution for Municipalities

muniLEARN is a collaborative learning management solution provided by muniSERV.ca, in partnership with Orion Learning. It saves municipalities money, improves  learning effectiveness, and helps them implement a safe, secure, collaborative learning solution across their municipality.

Here’s how:

muniLEARN has three components:

  • A state-of-the-art, robust, secure, subscription-based learning management system (LMS)
  • Access to a content marketplace of over 900 accredited, competency-based learning courses, programs and certification exams
  • Expertise to help you transform your learning and development program



Learning Management System – muniLEARN’s LMS comes with a full range of functionality already, but it is also customizable to suit individual needs.

Learning Content – With muniLEARN you have immediate access to our learning marketplace of over 900 accredited competency-based learning courses, programs and certification exams. We have sourced the best competency based learning courses from some of the world’s best content authors to provide you with an off-the-shelf content solution you can access directly or integrate it into your own learning programs. All of our courses are accredited by internationally recognized accreditation bodies including PMI, AXELOS, APMG International, ISSA, APM and ISTQB. We show you the accreditation agency on the accredited courses and your learners will receive certificates on successful completion of the exam.

Learning Transformation – muniLEARN has the expertise available to help guide municipalities through the transformation of their learning and development programs.

muniLEARN Pilot Program

If you’re not sure how muniLEARN will work for your municipality, we’ll give you a month to try it out!  Our muniLEARN Pilot program gives municipalities a test drive of the muniLEARN solution and the opportunity to experience using an LMS and digital learning.

Contact us today at info@muniserv.ca to learn more and discuss your learning and training needs!


Dealing with Escalated Situations in Your Workplace

Resolving workplace conflict is an expected part of the job managers and Human Resource Practitioners. Whether you work in education, healthcare, human services, business, or any field, you might deal with angry, hostile, or noncompliant behaviour every day. Your response to the defensive reaction is often the key to avoiding a physical confrontation with someone who has lost control of their behaviour.

These ten De-Escalation Tips will help you respond to challenging behaviour in the safest, most efficient way possible.

  1. Be empathetic and non-judgmental
  2. Respect personal space
  3. Use non-threatening nonverbal communication
  4. Avoid overacting
  5. Focus on feelings
  6. Ignore challenging questions
  7. Set limits
  8. Choose wisely what you insist upon
  9. Allow silence for reflection
  10. Allow time for decisions


 To help you towards more efficient conflict de-escalation and resolution, the following basic steps can be followed:

  • Obtain the name of the person with whom you are speaking: People respond favourably to their own name. It also makes the conversation more personal. Ask for the person’s name early in the piece and use it throughout the discussion.
  • Use Active Listening: Clarifying, paraphrasing and using open-ended questions ensure that the individual you are speaking with knows you are aware of their situation and frustrations. Resaying a person’s own words back to them demonstrates that you have understood entirely what they were trying to say.       
  • Show support and suspend judgement: Empathy needs to be shown during conflict situations. Respecting the other person’s point of view even if you do not agree entirely will be the first step to resolving the conflict. 
  • Get them to agree and say yes: Having the person agree with you on general factual points leads the conversation towards a more favourable outcome. If you can show that you have understood their point of view by making clarifying statements you generate a state where the other person must reply with an affirmative response. The sooner you can get the person to say yes then sooner the conflict will de-escalate. It always works.
  • Avoid clichés: The worst of these being “Calm Down”. Did you ever notice how people who tell you to calm down are the ones who got you mad in the first place? Saying those words during a verbal conflict usually gets the classic retort “I AM CALM” very loudly usually with an animated hand gestures as well.       
  • Show empathy: You need to show compassion and understanding and give the conflict your full attention. Do not make impulsive decisions. Take the time to work through the problem.
  • Consistency in Courtesy: The person you are dealing with first thing in the morning deserves the same level of respect, civility and patience as the individual you are dealing with at 2 in the afternoon. They warrant the same high level of service and professionalism as the first person you spoke to. You need to maintain that position of positive brand ambassador and an excellent professional service.

There are many physical aspects of being mindful of in conflict situations. It is important always to be aware of features of conflict such as your body language, your emotions, your judgement, and your initial thoughts. Keeping these in mind is essential when trying to de-escalate a problematic situation.

Monika B. Jensen is the principal of the Aviary Group, consulting company that address workplace discord.  For more information, visit www.aviarygroup.ca





Private Security Trends and the Need for more Trained Private Security Resources

The Canadian Occupation Projection System (COPS) predicts that by 2018, there will be a significant shortage of Private Investigation and Private Security professionals for the projected number of job openings in Canada.


This is due to a large number of impending retirements and the increasing demand for trained professionals in the Private Investigation and Security field. The current security climate in Canada, the privatization of public security functions and the gaps in accessible knowledge and streamlined training in the private security field, including the gaps between private and public security, are all indications that there is an imminent and urgent need to provide professional and comprehensive private investigative and security services to Canadians. This not only increases individual safety and security within municipalities but also ensure the Canada as a whole maintains its credibility and reputation as one of the safest Countries in the World.


In 2002, the Law Reform Commission of Canada opened a dialogue on the trend in the growth of private security in Canada. A continued rise in law enforcement expenditures, combined with economic downturns, have contributed to pressure being placed on police services around the world to become more effective and efficient. This has resulted in a growing trend of privatizing some functions traditionally performed by public policing to the private security industry as well as the growing cooperative efforts between public and private security. Private security plays an increasingly important role in community safety and addressing issues of crime and social disorder.


It is often assumed that privatizing and outsourcing traditional law enforcement tasks will result in reductions in the numbers of sworn police officers. This is very far from the truth, on the contrary, public and private security collaboration may in fact result in innovative initiatives that previously did not exist, and with the growing need for security actions in communities, may in fact provide law enforcement with extra resources and partners to undertake more actions without being overworked and understaffed while utilizing various community expertise.


There is a growing need for more security trained private resources and more collaboration between all security facets in Canada.  In Ontario, Private Investigators as well as Security Guards are licenced and regulated by the Ministry Of Correctional Services and Community Safety.


Anyone that acts in these rolls must have a licence. To obtain a licence, you must meet some requirements, one of them is completion of a Ministry-approved course provided by a registered provider such as Focus Investigations. A minimum 50 hour course for Private Investigator and a 40 hour course for Security Guards is mandatory.


These courses can be completed online making it easy for students to complete at the curriculum at their own pace. The process is as follows:


1. Complete Ministry training course and receive a “Completion Number”


2. Book a written exam at a SERCO Canada location that provides these tests. 


3. Upon successful completion of the exam, a candidate may now apply to the Ministry for their license. 

* For Security Guards, Emergency level first aid training is also required.


More information can be found on the licensing and industry here:



Additional training that is useful for security professionals as well as anyone working in a security related field such as:




Knowing how to take notes is important for the following reasons:


  • Notes are referenced for several reasons and potentially by several people.
  • Supervisors might want a rundown of the events you encountered the night before, clients may want to know about incidents that affected their businesses, and law enforcement may need these notes to help with an investigation which could conclude in a court case in which the notes will be used to prove or disprove an allegation.
  • It is vital that security personnel know how to take proper notes so that the facts are covered and there is no confusion that renders the reports useless.


Crisis Intervention


A crisis occurs when someone loses control over their behaviour. These moments are often preceded by warning signs that tells you someone’s behaviour is starting to escalate.  Security officials and any employee having to interact with the public may be faced with a situation where they are called upon to defuse a situation. By following the tips in a crisis intervention course, they often prevent a situation from becoming critical and dangerous and they are prepared and confident in any crisis they may face.


 For more information or to enrol in one of these courses, visit us at http://www.focusinvestigation.net



How do you find your perfect Training Partner

How do you find your perfect Training Partner?

by Ken Kavanagh, Founder & CEO of Orion Learning

Ask training organizations these seven questions and you could find the training that fits your expectations and needs.

Finding the right training organization to help you achieve your learning and development goals is not easy. It’s more than just hiring someone who says they have the materials that meet your needs, you need to find out about them and their material. Here’s some questions that you should ask to make sure you’re hiring the right training organization and getting the right content for your training goals:

  1. Are you accredited? Would you sign up for an online degree course with a college you knew nothing about? Nor would I! By going to an Accredited Training Organization (ATO) you’ll go to a recognized organization, on a recognized course and get a recognized qualification. The accreditation process assesses the competence and reliability of training organizations and the knowledge and skills of the trainer.
  2. What’s your track record? When you’re investing good money in training, some timely research can help ensure it’s money well spent. Find out how long an ATO has been in business. Ask for pass rates, evidence of success, testimonials and for a client portfolio; that way you’ll be sure that it has the depth and breadth of experience to understand your business.
  3. What kind of expertise do your trainers have? Just as you’d do background checks on potential employees, so you should verify the quality of an ATO’s trainers. Check who trained them, check they haven’t just passed a training course themselves (yes, it happens!), check they’ve got real-world experience and make sure support tutors can answer questions (inexperienced trainers hate them!).
  4. What kind of learning experience can you offer? Let’s face it, training can be like going through a sausage machine. So pick ATOs offering learner-centred courses designed to help you retain training and deliver change in the workplace. Look for quality materials, newsletters, downloads, video tutors, full tutor support, exam simulations so you can assess progress, mobile games, forums, blogs, social networking through sites like Twitter and Facebook as well as the chance to try the course before you buy it. People live and work in a rich, multi-media technological world and ATOs should be able to reflect that in your learning experience.
  5. How flexible is your learning delivery? Geography, time and budget can limit an individual’s or a company’s ability to go or send people on classroom courses so it’s worth hunting around for the ATO that gets this and provides a choice of delivery methods to suit you. Classroom learning should be supplemented by blended, mobile, live virtual classroom, digital learning and social learning to optimise costs, time, and of course, learning. If you’re new to digital learning, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure that your training project goes to plan.
  6. How much is it going to cost and what do I get for my money? It’s the old story: you’re on a great course and then they hit you for things you thought were included in the price. A committed ATO will go that extra mile. Our service holds your hand through creating the right set of courses for digital learning so that you capitalize on the experience and maximize your Return on Investment. They’ll take care of everything from designing your programme, and tracking and reporting learner progress, to organizing exams.
  7. What development opportunities can you offer? People and organizations want opportunities to grow. They want to develop their skills, careers or the business. A good look at an ATO will tell you if it’s a one-trick pony or if it will stay the course and grow with you. Ask yourself if its programmes complement each other and if it develops new courses and services and ways to deliver and support them.


Orion Learning, a global leader in providing accredited internationally recognized learning solutions. Our learning solutions include a robust learning management system (LMS), thousands of hours of learning content covering 16 learning categories including certification courses and examinations such as Project Management, Change Management, Financial Management, Risk Management and Service Management.

Get Certified, Get Trained and Get Started with Orion. More information on Orion solutions can be found at www.orionelearning.com



Managing Gossip in Your Workplace

By: Monika B. Jensen

Gossip is widespread in the workplace. At times, it appears as if employees have nothing better to do than gossip about each other. They chat about their organization, their coworkers, and their bosses. They often take a half truth and flip it into an entire hypothetical reality. Speculating on the team’s future, who will let go, who is seeing who and what employees are doing in their personal lives.
Employees are capable about gossiping about everything, and they do in a workplace that fails to bring about a stop to the chatting employees.

A certain amount of gossip is likely to occur in any place of work; employees are curious to know what is going on and like to chat about work matters. The essential point is to determine when the gossip is inappropriate. In which case, if it is not addressed, it may lead to low employee morale or a toxic work environment.

As a manager, the need to stop the gossiping occurs when it becomes disrupting to the workplace and the business of work, it is hurting employees’ feelings, it is damaging interpersonal relationships, or injuring employee motivation and morale.
Since research shows that gossip is disruptive in the workplace, what can we do to address it? Let us look at a few different approaches as a team and as an individual to addressing gossiping in the workplace.

When you deal with gossip as a team considers putting a ban on gossiping. Some workplaces have adopted an official ban on workplace gossip by having employees sign a pledge. Although extreme it may be effective. To discourage gossiping encourage employees to speak to each other about issues that are causing them problems before they bring it to their supervisors or other parties’ attention.

In the age of social media, it becomes easier to spread rumours and gossip about others. This can cause tremendous harm to the culture of the workplace. Organizations, today need to deal with social media and keep an eye on emails, personal blogs and Facebook discussions among employees. Finally confront rumours promptly. Providing factual information about layoffs, problematic situations or surplus of employees serve them better than to leave them speculating on their own. It is important to discuss the impact that gossip may have in the workplace. Talking openly the differences between active communication and gossip. In today’s workplace, verbal harassment has legal ramifications. Employers have a duty to take action against verbal harassment when they become aware of it.

So in dealing with gossip as an individual, always share information.

Be generous with the non-confidential material. This has proven to put a check on the gossip mill. Interestingly closed doors can set off alarms even if the intent is innocent.

Let people know that you may be interrupted at any time unless in a private meeting. Be sensitive about appearances.

Often rumours and gossip form around cliques in the workplace. Try to avoid forming groups and reach out to new people to keep the loop open. If all else fails, walk away. Gossip loses its momentum when there is no audience.

Find a way to tactfully suggest a more efficient channel for complaining or remove yourself from the discussion. If you start to focus on the positive qualities of your colleagues, you will automatically have nice things to say about each other.

Workplaces that have the highest levels of gossip seem to be the ones where employees are not engaging in work duties. Stay busy. If your day is full of tasks which you find thought-provoking and rewarding you will be less likely to get distracted by trivial activities.

We spend long hours at our job, make a point of cultivating relationships and activities outside your workplace. Having strong relationships outside the office provides sources of emotional support and objective advice often.

Unfortunately lurking at the extreme end of the gossip spectrum is workplace bullying. What may seem harmless rumors to some, may amount to intimidation and harassment for the targeted employees. Complications of physical and meth health issues arise and need to be addressed in the proper forum.

Finally become a role model. Do not indulge in any gossip yourself. Become a leader in this area. Do not feel the need to chat to feel connected, liked or to be informed about your team. Taking a stand to prevent random gossiping creates a better workplace for everyone.

Monika B. Jensen

Principal, Aviary Group




Building Trust in the Absence of Integrity

Building Trust in the Absence of Integrity

by Gordon White, theconflictjourney.com

I wish to introduce both a general definition of trust I have formulated and the general idea of trusting before looking at some of its variations:

trust (def): a belief in a positive attribute(s) of someone else, and a willingness to rely on that belief although the belief is not fully verifiable

Trust flows out of relationship with others. As we come to know people and have experienced their integrity in various situations, we come to rely on that integrity and therefore trust them. But, what if trust has been lost?

A closer examination of what we rely on may enable us to both better understand trust and begin to rebuild trust when it is lost. We tend to assume that confidence in someone’s integrity is required for trust, but this may not be the case to the degree we assume. It is not only integrity that we may rely on. In any particular situation we might rely as much on one of the following qualities:

  • competence
  • consideration
  • caring
  • predictability
  • vulnerability

Below I devote a short paragraph to each of these five qualities, attempting to show that they may allow us to build trust when we are unable to rely fully upon someone else’s integrity.

Trust in a bookkeeper, carpenter, or medical specialist is likely to largely be a reliance on competence and skill more than integrity of personhood. As long as a professional does his or her work for us in a satisfactory manner, we may not be overly concerned about his or her conduct in other areas of life or even how he or she is viewed by peers. In the Speed of Trust, Stephen M. R. Covey highlights the importance of competence as a basis of trust.

Suppose you know that your boss is sometimes dishonest and lacks integrity in other ways. It may be enough for you to know that he or she shows consideration for you and will consult with you over decisions. You can trust that you will be considered even when you don’t think he or she has much overall integrity.

On the other hand, you may have a sibling you find to be inconsiderate (the opposite of the boss). However, at a more fundamental level, you may know through acts of affection that you are loved by this sibling. You know that he or she cares about you and would not intentionally set out to hurt you. You can rely on caring but not on consideration (in the form of forethought or action infused with wisdom).

In Getting Together, Fisher and Brown presented a version of trust that divides trust into predictability and caring. They point out that in the Cold War, the USA and USSR, although not caring about the well-being of the other, had a form of trust based on predictability. As long as each remained predictable to the other, the tension between them remained in balance. Unpredictable behaviour provoked alarm. Legal settlements and less formal agreements often create some predictability over future behaviours. In an antagonistic relationship, if we have assurances about how each of us will predictably behave, we can then set out on a road to building deeper forms of trust.

In the Five Dysfunctions of Team, Patrick Lencioni has promoted vulnerability-based trust as essential on high-performing teams. One key behaviour is the willingness to be open about one’s weaknesses and errors, and to bring them into team conversation so they can be addressed and compensated for. Another needed practice is the willingness to engage in conflict over proposals with the willingness to consider other viewpoints. Being vulnerable with others is an important avenue to building trust.

There are at least three benefits that come from examining what we rely on in a relationship where trust is an important factor:

Firstly, if trust has been broken, we may be able to find one of these five qualities in the other person at a time when we think he or she is lacking in integrity. If we can rely on one of those qualities, we can begin to rebuild trust.

Secondly, if we know what quality we are relying upon, we may be able to find ways of increasing mutual trust, for example, by demonstrating greater predictability or competence to each other.

Thirdly, if we discover that we are relying largely on a quality other than integrity, it indicates that we may not have much evidence of integrity (because we didn’t need to experience integrity in order to trust). In this case we should not be surprised when we encounter lack of integrity. And, in some situations, we should probably be prepared for lack of integrity to show itself.

Gordon White is the principal of Gordon White Consulting in Victoria, B.C. He is a mediator and organizational development consultant who offers team development programs and negotiation training in one- and three-day formats. He also teaches a course in Conflict Analysis and Management at Royal Roads University. Gordon is currently creating an online conflict management course for large organizations. He blogs regularly at theconflictjourney.com. You can follow him on Twitter @valueconflict, and reach him at gcwhite@telus.net or (250) 389-6231. This post, which originally appeared at The Conflict Journey on March 11, 2016, has been edited for style and is used by permission.

National Education Consulting Inc.

Phone: (250) 370-0041     Toll Free: (888) 990-7267



Living Wage Policies in the Supply Chain: It’s Not a Zero-Sum Game

Living Wage Policies in the Supply Chain: It’s Not a Zero-Sum Game

by Larry Berglund, SCMP, MBA, FSCMA

Presentations Plus Training & Consulting Inc.

“If we pay contractors who work for our municipality a living wage, it will cost the taxpayers more money.” This is an urban myth.

What is a living wage?

According to the Canadian Living Wage Framework (CLWF), the hourly living wage rate is based on the cost at which a household can meet its expenses once government transfers have been added and government deductions from wages and taxes have been deducted.

A living wage is defined using several criteria including:

  • A healthy family of two adults and two children
  • One child in full-time daycare; one in before- and after-school care
  • The hours worked between the two parents is 35–40 hours per week
  • One parent taking evening courses to improve their employment opportunities
  • Groceries
  • Rent
  • Transit passes

A living wage excludes:

  • Credit card, loan, or other debt obligations
  • Retirement savings
  • Owning a home
  • Saving for the children’s future education
  • Cost of elder care

AND excludes:

  • Any costs “beyond the minimal required for recreational, entertainment or holidays”
  • Any costs “beyond the minimal for emergency or hard times”

Canadian municipalities that have introduced the living wage policy having varying rates according to the cost of living in the various locales.

Table 1

Sample Living Wage Rates by Province and Capital City – per CLWF 2017 


General Minimum Hourly Wage

Hourly Living Wage by Capital City













Nova Scotia




There are approximately 65 Living Wage Communities in Canada – and growing. There are hundreds of private sector employers which participate in living wage programs. Why?

It makes good business sense to do so. It’s argued that raising any wage rate increases production costs and the price of selling those goods must therefore increase and your competitors will eat your lunch: higher wages lead to layoffs. But the research shows otherwise. UBC economics professor David Green says that while the latter may apply to teenagers working part time, once you get over the 20-year old age limit employment isn’t really affected. The higher wages contribute to employee job satisfaction and provide those workers with greater economic stability. Every employer faces an affordability factor; however, higher wages do support staff attraction and retention. This leads to lowering the costs associated with hiring and training.

Families receiving a living wage stay within their communities and support local products and services through the redistribution of revenues. These individuals also see an improvement in their self-esteem and in general health – less sick time and medical visits – which in turn saves social costs. Living wage earners, while still considered as lower-income earners, spend more of their increase on essential needs when they receive a higher wage. All the evidence shows that minimum wages, certainly in urban areas, do not meet the cost of living.

Innovation within a living wage business philosophy also considers access to professional development courses, access to in-training staff, or no-cost services for community partners. These ideas can be quantified into a living wage calculation.

Living wage organizations:

The City of New Westminster was the first city to implement a living wage policy for its contractors. In 2011, the city enacted an ordinance for all its contractors to be paid a living wage rate. The living wage criteria is a part of their competitive bid process and is closely monitored for compliance. Living wage rates are adjusted where a contractor is paying some form of economic benefits to its employees. Living wage rates are adjusted annually.

Vancity credit union reviewed its contracts with approximately 1200 contractors across 45 industry sectors. They targeted strategic annual contracts over $250,000 and contracts that typically involved lower wage earners where contracts had lower annual spending thresholds. The latter included personnel agencies, janitorial services, catering, and security services. The financial cost to the bottom line for Vancity to implement its living wage policy was about 1% of its budget. Vancity is one of Canada’s largest living wage employers.

City of Vancouver

In 2017, the City of Vancouver implemented its Living Wage policy aimed at contracts $250,000 per year for ongoing service requirements. The minimum number of hours for these contracts is 120 hours per year per contract. Social enterprises are exempt from their living wage policy.

Living wage criticisms:

Living wage programs are not without their detractors. It is relatively easy to assess the difference in out-of-pocket costs between free market hourly rates, minimum wage, and living wage rates. It appears that the taxpayers – or members of a financial cooperative, for example – are absorbing the difference and do not enjoy a corresponding benefit.

Arguably from a total cost of ownership perspective, it may be more difficult to measure the social benefits between these three wage rates. Putting a cost to building a strong community is as difficult as placing a price tag on improved performance, better employee morale, improved customer service, improved health rates, increased self-esteem, reduced rates of absenteeism, increased staff retention rates, or increased support for local goods and services.

Bottom line – building a healthy and wealthy community is being done by private and public sector organizations through the living wage programs across Canada.

Thanks to Maya Maute, SCMP, Director, Procurement & Contract Management, Vancity credit union for her contributions to this article.

Larry has been in the supply chain management field as an author, manager, business trainer, academia, and consultant for many years. Larry has worked in both the private and public sectors. Recently he has been co-facilitating NECI eSeminars, classroom sessions, and online modules. His new book, Good Planets are Hard to Buy is now available on Amazon.com

Readers are cautioned not to rely upon this article as legal advice nor as an exhaustive discussion of the topic or case. For any particular legal problem, seek advice directly from your lawyer or in-house counsel. All dates, contact information and website addresses were current at the time of original publication

National Education Consulting Inc.

Phone: (250) 370-0041     Toll Free: (888) 990-7267



The Five Key Facets of High Performance Leadership


High Performance Leadership (HPL) is in great demand. Are you ready to become a high performing leader?
Many people in leadership positions struggle with understanding what makes a good or even great leader. While billions of dollars are spent annually on leadership development, high performance leadership is still in short supply.

Organizations have responded to the demand for high performance leadership with a steady stream of education and training resources, which seem to be plentiful, (for example, at the time of writing, Amazon.com had over 9,000 references on leadership), yet most attempts at building high performance leadership are either far too complex or too simplistic to be of any practical use to leaders who need to make things happen. So what does work?

High Performance Leadership

While successful organizations focus on three imperatives: aligning strategy & people; developing world class leaders; and building world class teams, when we look at what successful leaders personally do to succeed, we find that they concentrate on building their capacity around what we call the five key facets of high performance leadership , using the acronym FACET:

Focus – Authenticity – Courage – Empathy – Timing


Effective leaders stay focused on the outcomes they wish to create, and don\’t get too married to the methods used to achieve them. They provide this \’outcomes focus\’ for their organization by emphasizing the mission, vision, values and strategic goals of their organization and at the same time building the capacity of their organizations to achieve them.

This capacity building emphasizes the need to be flexible, creative and innovative and avoid becoming fossilized through the adoption of bureaucratic structures, policies and processes. It also means letting go of lines of business, products and programs that don\’t support the focus.


Leaders who are authentic attract followers, even leaders who are viewed as being highly driven and often difficult to work with day in and day out. Simply put, they are viewed as always being themselves and therefore followers know what to expect from them and can rely on them, in good times and bad. They know themselves intimately, and they understand the effect they have on others.

Authenticity provides the leader with the currency to obtain \’buy-in\’ from key stakeholders, because authenticity builds and maintains trust. Authenticity is the bedrock upon which the other four facets are built.


The challenges facing leaders today are immense, and require great courage to overcome. Leaders are constantly being challenged by others, be it their own team, customers, the public or stakeholders. Standing firm in the face of criticism, yet having the courage to admit when they are wrong, are hallmarks of courageous leaders.

They have the courage to face reality and lead change in order to achieve whatever they are focused upon. Courageous leaders know when to let go and let others take the initiative, which entails…


Effective leaders know how to listen empathetically, thus legitimizing others\’ input. By doing so, they promote consensus building, and build strong teams. They coach others to do the same, and so create a culture of inclusiveness and collaboration. They tend to be great listeners who capitalize on the ideas of others, and provide recognition for these ideas, yet they don\’t get bogged down in overly complicated dialogue. They never let themselves get caught in endless dialogue, because they are continuously refocusing.

While they create learning organizations that place a high value on dialogue and continuous feedback, they know when to make decisions and take action, which brings us on to the fifth facet…


The one facet that can make or break a leader is in knowing when to make, and not make, critical decisions. All of the other facets must be viewed as subservient to getting the timing of critical decisions and actions right. There is a need to be focused, authentic, courageous and empathetic, but get the timing wrong on critical decisions and everything else will fall apart.

Great leaders move with appropriate speed. They don\’t believe that everything must be done immediately…they know how to prioritize, and how to get their team to prioritize. As well, they engage in timely follow-through to ensure actions that are committed to happen in a well coordinated and timely way.

Is it that simple?

Is that all it takes to be a great leader? These facets of high performance leadership are not exhaustive. Just as one would look at the facets of a diamond, upon closer observation other qualities become observable.

Any person can aspire to being a great leader by embracing these five key facets. To get started, if you are in a leadership role, regardless of your position in your organization, start by asking yourself the following key questions:

Key Questions

1. How focused am I? How much of my time do I spend communicating and inspiring people about our mission, vision and strategic goals? How much focus do I create in my organization? How married am I/my organization to methods that have outlived their usefulness?

2. Am I viewed as authentic? Do people see and hear the real me? Do I wear a mask at work, and remove it when I leave each evening?

3. How courageous am I?  When my values, vision and goals are challenged do I buckle? Do I stand firm and only change my position when I know that I am wrong?

4. How empathetic am I? Too much/too little? Do I create enough opportunities for open and candid dialogue? Do I ever find myself getting bogged down in consensus building, or leading my team to false consensus? Is there a feeling of inclusiveness, collaboration and engagement amongst the members of my organization, and with other stakeholders, including customers?

5. Do I make and execute decisions in a timely fashion? Do I demand well coordinated and timely execution of strategy from others?

What can you do to create a high-performance leadership culture? Asking these questions in a candid way will open up many possibilities for you, your organization or your clients…if you have the courage to do it. Building and sustaining a high-performance leadership culture takes time, patience and a clear focus on the vital few characteristics that leaders can develop naturally and authentically.

Listening to what people expect from you as a leader, and then responding empathically, in a timely fashion, will move you dramatically towards mastering these five key facets of high performance leadership.

Above all, you need to TAKE ACTION.

About the Author

Brian Ward is CEO of Affinity Consulting and Training, an independent consulting and training organization based in Edmonton, Alberta. He is also the founder of www.Management4M.com, an online training resource for new and first-time supervisors and managers.




Interpersonal Skills: Effectively communicating, building rapport and relating well with all kinds of people.

No matter how hard you work or how many brilliant ideas you may have, if you can’t connect with the people who work around you, your professional life will suffer. How you are perceived by your manager and coworkers plays a large role in things as minor as your day-to-day happiness at the office and as major as the future of your career.


Increasing your sociability and being relaxed and available for others will take you a long way in being accepted as a valuable, approachable resource. In order to have good Interpersonal Skills, you must learn how to present yourself as polite, knowledgeable and assertive.


Having strong Interpersonal Skills increases productivity in the organization. In informal situations, it allows communication to be easy and comfortable. People with good Interpersonal Skills can generally control the feelings that emerge in difficult situations and respond appropriately, instead of being overwhelmed by emotion. This capacity involves strong gut intuition and success in using it without being prejudiced or biased.


People who have good Interpersonal Skills are sensitive to other people, and they don’t prejudge others either positively or negatively. Rather, they perceive each person individually and base their opinions and assessments of that individual on sensitive, realistic observations and instincts about that person.


A person who doesn’t have intuitive Interpersonal Skills can still make good judgments concerning others, but more data and time to make these decisions is usually required. Without this supportive data, decisions may feel rushed.


Poor Interpersonal Skills can lead to overestimating or underestimating others, misunderstanding what you hear from others, and perceiving yourself as a bad judge of character.


To receive a brief email with 3 tips for developing Interpersonal Skills, send us an email at bff@prismgroup.ca no later than May 4th.

Source: TTI SI

Submitted by: Sophie Mathewson, PCC – Prism Group Int’l – sophie@prismgroup.ca

Prism Group Int’l is a central Ontario-based boutique consulting and coaching firm specializing in supporting progressive organizations and leaders in creating respectful, emotionally-intelligent working environments with the right people in the right jobs, who build constructive working relationships and are focused on producing the desired results.


Brain Food Friday – Personal Accountability Trumps Other Competencies

If you hire for one skill and one skill alone, please let it be this: personal accountability. Personal accountability is the most important trait someone can bring to the job.

To understand why this competency is so important, let’s examine the negative state first. People without personal accountability are most at risk to quickly and irreparably fall into a victim’s mindset, particularly if the person’s sense of self is not well developed.

Once stuck in that negative loop of self-pity thinking, it is very difficult for the mind to re-wire.

Someone without personal accountability will never be able to see anything that occurs as their fault. They may even become belligerent about things going wrong. They see errors and wrongdoings as the result of other people’s shortcomings or because the world is against them.

In a work environment, this lack of personal accountability can have a very harmful effect on the people around them, causing co-workers to become distracted, disengage from their work, or isolate themselves.

Now the positive example: The person who has highly developed personal accountability believes failures are a temporary state of being. They are adept at picking themselves back up after mistakes or downturns, reworking their thinking or behaviour, and moving on in a positive direction.

People who have developed personal accountability will do what it takes to do the job. Personal accountability should always be in the top 7 skills sought in job candidates.

Bottom line: If you are hiring and you are not looking for personal accountability as a skill, you will run into problems — sooner or later.

Source: TTI SI

Submitted by: Sophie Mathewson, PCC – Prism Group Int’l – sophie@prismgroup.ca

If you would like one month of complimentary access to our Personal Accountability e-learning module, please send me an email with the words “Personal Accountability” in the subject line and I will gladly send you a link to the video tutorial and PDF workbook.


Prism Group Int’l is a central Ontario-based boutique consulting and coaching firm specializing in supporting progressive organizations and leaders in creating respectful, emotionally-intelligent working environments with the right people in the right jobs, who build constructive working relationships and are focused on producing the desired results.