Free Webinar – Cultivating Collaboration

I am very excited to extend this special invitation to register for Emergenetics Canada’s Complimentary WebinarCultivating Collaboration presented by Bridgit Parise, COO and Master Associate, Emergenetics Canada.

October 24, 2019 at 1:00pmEST / 10:00amPST.

Learn how to leverage the process of divergence and convergence to realize the potential of cognitive diversity.

Effective collaboration is much more than harmonious agreement or efficiency. Collaboration requires teams to navigate ambiguity, unearth bold ideas, and embrace new ways of working – one that harnesses the power of diverse perspectives and creative thinking to push past the obvious, safe solutions to the truly innovative ones.

Register Here.

If you have questions, please contact us at 905.636.0797

Gail Green
Emergenetics Ontario
[email protected]
(905) 636-0797 – Work | (905) 749-4444 – Mobile


The Art of Story-Telling – The New Marketing?  

Everything I’ve been reading lately tells me that people love a good story and that story-telling is a way to position yourself as an authority in your field.

Anyone who know me well, knows I’d much rather tell a story than create marketing material.  Full disclosure here – marketing is not my forte and marketing to me often feels forced and unnatural.  That’s just not who I am.  I want to help people, not “sell” to them!

However, I do recognize that marketing is critically important to the growth of any business.  After all, people need to understand what you’re selling and how it can help them, if you want your business to succeed. 

So, let’s give this a try.  I thought you might be interested in knowing why I created muniSERV and why I’m so passionate about helping both municipalities and my professional members alike.

In case you didn’t already know, earlier in my career, I was a municipal Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), in small and medium-sized municipalities in Ontario.

We wanted to continually improve service delivery and operate more efficiently but with shrinking funding and legislation constantly changing, we were increasingly under pressure to find new and innovative ways to collaborate and streamline operations.   

Frustration #1

It used to drive me crazy when I needed to get 3 or more quotes in compliance with my purchasing by-law, but I didn’t know where to find companies or professionals who provided the services I needed and often couldn’t find one!  (I’m dating myself here, but the introduction of Pay Equity legislation comes to mind as an example).

I’d call a neighbouring municipality to see “who they used”, but every municipality’s needs are different, so a one-size consultancy doesn’t necessarily fit all.  We couldn’t afford the large firms but were legislated to comply the same as larger municipalities who could afford them. There was nowhere to search for more servicing options (i.e. smaller, independent consultancies, early retirees, etc.).  The result of this frustration – the development of the Find Municipal Experts & Services database.

Frustration #2

The RFP process also frustrated me (still does actually). RFP documents were time-consuming to develop, costly to advertise and opportunities for exposure were limited, with no focus on my target (posting in newspapers comes to mind). This resulted in limited and often no responses. A big waste of time and money! The result of this frustration – municipalities can post their RFPs, Bids & Tenders for free on muniSERV and our partnership with bidsandtenders gets them broader, national exposure and tracking of plan-takers capabilities, resulting in more responses and ultimately, more competitive quotes.

Frustration #3

Fortunately, in the municipalities in which I was CAO, we didn’t have too many job openings.  In fact, I am pleased to note that some of the folks I placed in positions after restructuring almost 20 years ago, are actually still working in the same municipality!  But, when we did need to post a job, the price was high, there were limited places to post it and the ROI was low, often with no one responding to the job ad.  The result of this frustration?  Working with municipalities to develop muniJOBSCanada’s only online recruitment and career platform that brings municipalities and talented people together.

Frustration #4

I’m a big believer in coaching and mentoring people to become tomorrow’s leaders.  But, sending someone away to a course was out of the question by the time you considered; the cost of the course, the travel, the accommodations, meals, and time away from the office.  The result of this frustration?  muniLEARN – that provides digital training solutions for today’s environments.

There are numerous other resources, tools and strategic partnerships we’ve developed along the way and I don’t want to go through each one here. But by now you’ve guessed it – the common theme here is that every one of them was developed out of a frustration I felt in the CAO role – and I knew I was not alone! 

CAOs are busy people. They don’t have a lot of time to research things and in smaller municipalities they often don’t have the staff resources to do this for them either.

It seemed to me to be a no-brainer that municipalities should be able to go to one platform and quickly and easily find what they need – all in one convenient location.

But that’s not the end of the story!

All of this led me to thinking though, well, then how does a new or smaller consultancy or someone with a new municipal product or innovation for municipalities, reach municipal clients?

When I first entered the consulting world, I’d often hear complaints from professionals, that they couldn’t get past the gatekeepers in municipalities and that attending municipal conferences was cost-prohibitive for them as a new consultancy or business just starting out.

Then, when CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation) became law, this further eroded their ability to reach municipalities because it eliminated their ability to send emails to them. (and honestly, with my CAO hat back on here for a minute, if I didn’t know who was emailing me, it went straight to my trash folder) 

I realized there was a real disconnect here. 

Lightbulb moment!

The result of these two merging pain points; a) municipalities not being able to find consultants and services, and, b) consultants and professionals not having one location to market effectively to municipalities, is the premise of – “Connecting Canadian Municipalities and the Businesses That Serve Them.”

So, there you have it.  That’s my story.

I hope it helps you understand my passion for helping you, why I’m always working on your behalf to find new ways to do things – and why I will continue to always think outside the box! 

Please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].  I’d love to hear Your Story!

Susan Shannon is the Founder & Principal of, &


Top Business Apps: 15 Apps That Will Make You Insanely Productive

Testing out the top business apps to use as a freelancer can take a lot of time. The good news though, is that I’ve done the work for you!

After spending several years as a self-employed biz owner myself, and working with a team of 3-4 people, I’ve tested out lots of different tools and apps to help streamline our business process.

This has allowed me to be more productive, as well as earn more money in less time.

From managing financial goals, to working with clients, to balancing everything on the go, we all want to work smarter not harder.

Likewise, you have big business goals and to accomplish them you need some serious apps to be more productive. And you want tools that stop you from wasting a lot of time and money!

To that end, here are the top business apps that will make you insanely productive so you can run your biz like a boss. They can help you make your business a massive success this year!

Read the whole article here to find out these time-saving tips!

By: Carrie Smith Nicholson


3-Day Certified Client Services Specialist (CCSS©) Designation Bootcamp

The Certified Client Service Specialist (CCSS©) program offers participants  the tools, techniques, and effective customer service skills required in today’s demanding work environment. Whether you work in private, public, or not-for-profit organization you will take away up to date information needed to succeed in the work place. Our world class certified facilitators with their engaging delivery style and relevant up to date content have delivered to hundreds of participants globally.

Our programs are certified and accredited by Canadian Council of Professional Certification (CCPC Global) to ensure quality, content, and engaging delivery.

Completion of our certification process confers the right to use the title Certified Client Service Specialist and the right to use the initials CCSS© after one’s name.

This 3-course program offers the right blend of knowledge and skills to become an expert in all aspects of customer service delivery – everything from professionalism to customer service, to sales, handling difficult customers, and more. Upon completion of the program, you will be able to build a solid foundation for your career and gain and industry specific credential that is recognized by major organizations.

Accredited Courses Required

1-Day Delivering Responsive Customer Service

This program is ideal for anyone who deals with customers and wants to provide a more customized or personalized experience for them. This training will provide you with the skills to not only handle a customer’s immediate requests, but also provide information and recommendations to build the customer’s relationships through providing valuable conversations.

1-Day Managing Difficult Clients and Situations

This program is ideal for anyone who deals with difficult clients in various challenging situations and wishes to remain in control. The program will lay out strategies for turning negative situations into opportunities for building lifelong relationships.

1-Day Conflict Resolution

Have you ever been in a conflict that you wished you could have handled better? We have all experienced the stress that comes from having unresolved conflicts with our co-workers. Conflicts that are ignored or resolved badly don’t go away – they cause people to feel resentful and to avoid each other. The effects on an organization are a loss of productivity, absenteeism and high turnover.

Join us February 26 – 28, 2019!

For more information, please click here

To Register, please click here


Conflict Resolution Public Workshop

This course qualifies as one prerequisite towards CCSS© designation

Have you ever been in a conflict that you wished you could have handled better? We have all experienced the stress that comes from having unresolved conflicts with our co-workers. Conflicts that are ignored or resolved badly don’t go away – they cause people to feel resentful and to avoid each other. The effects on an organization are a loss of productivity, absenteeism and high turnover.

Conflict comes about from differences – in needs, values and motivations. Sometimes it is through these differences that we complement each other, but sometimes these differences result in conflict. Conflict is not a problem in itself – it is what we do with it that counts.

It is important that we do something because whether we like it or not, conflicts demand our energy. In fact, an unresolved conflict can call on tremendous amounts of our attention. We all know how exhausting an unresolved conflict can be. It is not always easy to fix the problem but a great energy boost can come when we do. This program teaches you the techniques for proper conflict resolution that will leave you feeling satisfied and content.

For more information, please click here  

To Register, please click here


Mental Health Problems and the Workplace

October is Mental Health Month. Recently there has been bigger mindfulness of the impact of mental health problems on individuals and the workplace. The economic impact is realized through direct treatment costs to the health care system as well as indirect costs, such as reduced or lost productivity due to absenteeism.

Mental health problems account for about half of employee absences due to illness each year in Canada for example, 3.5 days lost per employee per year are due to mental health problems. It is estimated that mental illness results in 35 million lost workdays each year in Canada.’

Employees living with mental health problems may feel and behave out of character at home and work. There may be feelings of things not quite right, yet they are unable to pinpoint the problem. Their co-workers, supervisors and family members may start to notice a change in mood and behaviour.


 Signs that indicate an employee or colleague may have a mental health problem are:

·      Regular late arrivals or often absent

·      Lack of teamwork or an over-all disinterest in working with co-workers

·      Lower output

·      Increased mishaps or safety problems

·      Numerous complaints of exhaustion or unexplained pains

·      Difficulty focusing, not being decisive or forgetting things

·      Making apologies for missed deadlines or poor work

·      Decreased attention or involvement in one’s work

·      Working excessive overtime over a prolonged period

·      Expressions of outlandish or grand ideas

·      Displays of irritation or pointing the finger at others


It is important to highlight that people behaving in these ways may be just having a bad day or week or dealing with a difficult situation in their personal life that may be temporary. A pattern that continues for a more extended period, however, may point to an underlying mental health problem.


Stress is a consistent part of life and work, and it can be positive or negative. Unwarranted hurtful stress through life events, including workplace issues, can contribute to mental health problems. Work itself can be expected to generate a certain level of stress associated with meeting deadlines and expectations, the need to feel valued and the loss of control over one’s time.


There are many causes of workplace stress. One key to effective stress management is maintaining awareness of the potential stressors and readiness to address them before they become problematic. Some of the most critical sources of work-related stress are listed below.

·    Poor communication

·    Incongruity in work demands, individual ability and amount of control over working practices

·    Work overload and work underload

·    Shift work and/or night work

·    Segregation, isolation and/or unstructured support for home workers

·    Short-term contracts

·    Role conflict, uncertainty and changing roles

·    The uneven weight assigned by management to consultation, support and control

·    Lack of training for managers in communication and people skills

·    Idleness

·    Uncomfortable physical workspace

·    Introduction of new technology, if not planned and gradual

·    The culture of presenteeism, in which an employee feels the need to be seen working at all times

·    Work-life imbalance

·    Home-based stresses that support or feed off of work-based stresses


Managing workplace stress can include training for employees to raise awareness about the causes and effects of stress, as well as to learn skills for coping with stress at work and in their personal lives.


Research has shown that some job stressors are worse than others, such as jobs that continuously involve imposed deadlines over an extended period and give individuals little control over the day-to-day organization of their work (high demand/low control). These jobs can lead to more than double the rate of heart and cardiovascular problems. As well as significantly higher rates of anxiety, depression and fell of being undermined. High demand/low control jobs also lead to substantially higher alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drug use, and a significantly higher susceptibility to infectious diseases.’


Jobs that require high physical or mental effort but offer little in the way of compensation, status, financial gain or career enhancement (high effort/low reward) also affect employee stress levels. These jobs are associated with triple the rate of cardiovascular problems and significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety and conflict-related problems


The health of workers does not have to be compromised by stress. Changes to the workplace can make for a more mentally healthy workplace, especially when employees feel adequately rewarded and have greater control of their work.


Mental health problems can seriously affect someone’s ability to work. If left untreated and the mental health problem worsens, the employee may need to stop working altogether.


On the other hand, employees may try to continue to work knowing that they are not performing to their usual standards. If mental health problems are acknowledged early, and proper treatment is obtained, most people can quickly return to their regular performance at work, and much unhappiness and suffering can be avoided.


Monika B. Jensen Ph.D
TEL: 905-683-9953

FAX: 905-683-9912




World Class Customer Experience – Live Webinar Presented by Corey Atkinson

Join Corey Atkinson for CSPN’s Webinar Series. Register early!

Topic: World Class Customer Experience

Cost: FREE


Now, more than ever, we are under a microscope. The online social media world – Google Reviews, Amazon, Yelp ,etc – is waiting to pounce with bad-good-better-best experiences to be starred, told, retold, or forgotten – in the real world. In this environment, how do we avoid the embarrassing “How did that happen?!” moments and instead drive the right customer experiences that we want people to talk about and remember?

This webinar will cover the must have strategies to be able to provide world class customer experience. These insights will allow you to gauge how effective your organization is at bringing to life the customer experience you imagine.

To Register, please click here 


The Cost of Not Making a Decision

There is a cost to not making a decision and here’s my story. I was once asked by a potential customer, “Who’s your biggest competitor?”

Man waiting for decision to be made

I thought to myself, was it a local consultant? Was it a specific technology? Could it be Salesforce or Access or even Excel spreadsheets? The answer I realized was none of the above.

The answer I went with was, “The company that does not make a decision and the customer who thinks the status quo is okay for now.” That’s my biggest competitor and the answer surprised the gentleman who asked the question. You see, I had been at his location over 2 years ago, chatting with this same individual about a potential project and in the end, no decision was made. Fast-forward over 730 days and we were still talking about the same project.

Think of it this way: I would not be on site having a meeting if the status quo was all right. Being in sales, you know that you are not going to win every sale. It is a strange logic that goes like this – if I am not going to win the deal, then at least tell me someone else has won the deal and let me know a decision has been made. When I hear silence or worse, the common phrase, “We have not made a decision at this time,” this tells me this company is going to try to ride it out for another year or 2 and stick with the status quo, while at the same time, crossing their fingers that the existing software workflow or hardware does not break down.

What Causes the Status Quo Customer Response?

  • Budget is lacking
  • Workflow is not defined
  • Timeline is too tight
  • Decision makers are unaware of the problem
  • Fear of change from user base
  • Influencers & stakeholders are not involved in the decision-making process

How Technology Companies Help Mitigate the Status Quo from Pushing Back Decisions With Projects

image of a laptop, an ipad and an iphone

Budget is lacking: The budget to any project needs to be defined at the first meeting. When I ask customers about a budget, it is not about trying to build a project to take up all funds. The reason we ask that question is to understand if there is enough funding for all stages of this project – ex. Does this project need to be built in phases & are we the right fit for this customer? Bottom line budget also needs to be defined and if it is not, then how serious can this customer be about fixing the issue(s)?

Workflow is not defined: In order to provide an accurate and complete estimate, a comprehensive understanding of workflow needs to be submitted to the consultant early in the estimate process. If a complete workflow is not finalized, then this can lead to either too high of an estimate due to unknowns or too low of an estimate as not all required functionality is listed.

How do we help with defining workflow? At CoreSolutions, we overcome this workflow challenge by:

  1. Providing a template that helps capture basic workflow, reporting, & layout information in a “Project Discovery Document.”
  2. Offering a service that helps define and build the workflow called the Business Requirements Definition (BRD). This is a billable service that comes in more than one type. For really complicated workflows, we will have a customer go through the BRD process.

Timeline is too tight: Timeline refers to when a project needs to begin or when it needs to reach final completion. The usual answer I hear is, “I need this yesterday.” Sometimes the time to define the workload or build the solution will take too long. Some companies have measurable busy cycles. Implementing a new project during the busiest time of the year will not lead to a successful implementation or adoption rate. In order to get past the timeline being the reason for not making a decision, some companies will work with the developer to determine the best time to have a new application implemented and tested.

Decision makers are unaware of the problem: Decision makers need be on the same page. This is sales 101 – the decision makers need to be in attendance at major meetings. But decision makers need to also understand the timelines involved, such as the commitment of time required by staff to build workflow and to test the different phases of applications. Successful solutions typically have decisions makers in the loop, so that they have an overall understanding of the project scope – including time, workflow and user defined needs.

Fear of change from user base: Change can be scary, especially if it is perceived that this is a change for the sake of change. Generally, to become more efficient, new systems will require different layouts, screens, reports or workflows. Fear by the user base can be overcome in a few ways:

  1. The customer can nominate a few power users of the system who will test, deploy and have input on many of the new functions. In particular, screen layout and report creation.
  2. Through hands-on training that can be provided for users either remotely or onsite.
  3. By creating a User’s Guide with the customer’s guidance.
image of a team making a decision

Influencers and stakeholders are not involved in the decision-making process: Inclusion of stakeholders and influencers is key to a project’s success. The bigger the project, the greater the odds that more than one department, process or manager will be involved. In medium to large scale projects, sometimes it’s only the people inputting data that have issues and want a new process in place. Their own colleagues or superiors may not know that an issue exists. One of the main reasons why defining workflow is so important is that this will determine whose departments will need input in a new application and potential new or modified process(es).

The Pitfalls of Sticking with the Status Quo

Maintaining the status quo isn’t always the best business decision. Oftentimes, it’s an emotional bias for the present set of circumstances (See – Status Quo Bias). Although you may avoid the challenge of having to retrain your staff in the present moment, the fact of the matter is that in the world of software, you’re bound to face the, “It’s time to upgrade your software,” scenario. If you don’t believe me, then you’re likely still running Windows 95 on your machine.

So what are the negative repercussions of sticking with the status quo? Well, here are a few:

  • You won’t be future-proofing your organization for forthcoming technological changes
  • Your clients & staff will view your company as a technology dinosaur – who wants their business to be viewed as lagging behind in anything?
  • You’ll have to add new features & additional functionality to your system as the years progress – in terms of development dollars & technical upkeep, this will cost more in the long run
  • Your time & your IT staff’s time spent managing the day-to-day operations of your software will skyrocket

Ready to Move Forward? Need Help Defining Your Project?

Let us assist you! At CoreSolutions, we’re determined to take you Beyond Software™ to make your next project a success! Whether you’re replacing old software or looking to purchase new software, we can help walk you through the process!

The first step is to complete a project profile form on our website & we’ll connect with you to learn more about how we can serve you best.