Tag Archives: Motivation

Don’t be a tool – Website management gives me daja vu

Once upon a time, when management communications happened in person, a term was coined to describe the blame we attach to negative outcomes – in a single explanation. It was the fundamental attribution error. This error was identified whenever someone was not motivated to perform a task the right way.

Example: Bob didn’t load the truck. His manager assumed he did not want too.

Human behaviour was reduced to a simple view of motivation. The motivation movement grew as we bought into this world view. You may have bought a book on motivating yourself. We might have believed that we failed our diet, exercise programs, school exams, simply because we didn’t want it bad enough.

I want to make all my shots but that never happens ;)

I want to make all my shots but that never happens 😉

I am not sure if enlightenment happened but we discovered that our ability, social relationships and culture could have an equal influence on our behaviour. I fear, in our technological age, we are at it again – blaming a single thing when it is much more complicated.

When we build online communities, we conduct usability studies to test the impacts of our tools. These tests often determine the tools to be insufficient. We add functionality, fix navigation, simplify the look, make the site more logical, and add a much improved database. We do all this because the behaviour and influence we expect our sites to cultivate, did not occur.

The reasoning – if the site was constructed better it would have delivered the desired result?

Don’t make this mistake – see the kaleidoscope that is human behaviour. Use diagnostic tools and approaches that enable a balanced and layered view. Take a page out of the Balancing Act and apply it to our communications, technological or not.



Filed under Communications, Leadership

A Vancouver Legend – Lead with example and service

My memory was triggered by the book I read on my flight to Toronto. The book was the story of Mike Flynt who at age 59 returned to play his senior year of college football. Mike Flynt reminded me of a good friend of mine who passed away this summer. Mike and my friend Larry Burke had a lot in common. They were both tough as nails, loved training in the gym and had a passion for what fitness could do in people’s lives.  Mike has a great story and I encourage you to check it out. Larry’s story may not be told so this post will focus on him.Larry lifting

Larry, in his early years, was not the easiest guy to get along with, but with age and experience he became a social hub that attracted all who met him. With his personality, athletic feats and generosity he became legendary in the Vancouver weight lifting community. He was a leader even if he did not intend to be. His personal history includes being a world class weight lifter and a Canadian record holder. In 1979, he tried his hand in body building and won the Mr. Vancouver title.  During his competitive years, Larry built relationships and influenced those around him. After competing he found a passion for rafting, but his real legacy is the influence he had on those around him. He drew people together. Larry had some leadership lessons for all of us:

  1. Attitude – Aim high and work hard. He told me that small goals limit you and to enjoy life we must be the best we can be and that meant to aim for the sky.
  2. Lead by example – Larry did it first. He worked harder than others and would try anything. This was true right to the end. At 59, Larry would try new training styles and would still challenge the youngest guys in the gym.  With his effort, he gained credibility from those who did not know his story and they would follow him.
  3. He was a servant – Larry wanted to help others. He did not have a lot of material wealth, but he gave his time, skill and effort. This was without expectation. I am sure he received what he wanted, which was to share his passion for life.larry pilot

Larry’s example

He loved to raft, but could not always wait for someone to go with him. His passion meant finding a way to do what he loved. He would leave a bike at the bottom of the mountain and drive his raft to the top. On this ice cold river, Larry would pilot his raft through the rapids and at the bottom, pull his boat ashore. From there he would ride his bike to the top of the mountain, drive down and get his raft and do this all over again. He loved it and the effort was worth every trip.

The reason Larry was so passionate was not clear to me. Something in his life focused him on excellence and giving back. His love for people helped him share experiences with his friends. That included taking them rafting and camping. He built a community of people who would have not met without him. A hole is left at the gym with Larry gone, but if some of us take up his example, his leadership will continue.



Filed under Leadership

Symbols work, but few use them at work

As much as I am an optimist, I know that our business world is in a funk. Here is the thing, it is summer and my optimism grows when the sun shines in Vancouver. So if you want to gain that positive momentum back into your work place here is one trick in the leadership trade: Use symbols that support who you want to be and where you want to go. They work to focus and encourage the positive. When done well, they become a point of celebration and encourage progress.

Four great reasons to use symbols:
•    Motivational
•    Fun
•    Values re-enforcing
•    Unites

Ax Handle

Key things for successful symbol implementation:
1.    Be right for the group and the organization
2.    Have a story
3.    Leader shares the story and builds the process
4.    Award it to those that epitomize its symbolism
5.    Build a routine
6.    Look for opportunities for the team members to champion the process
7.    Select things that need to be celebrated

The video tells a story of two different approaches that football teams have used to encourage and celebrate what they wanted to be. Sports teams do this the best in my experience and that is why I use their stories. We can do this at work; it will just be a different symbol, one that is right for you and your team.
Screaming Eagles – D Line
Golden Bears – Defence

Others who have posted on symbols:


Leadership and Symbols By Robert Behn

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Those that seek to change the world

In the past two weeks, I have listened, learned and been inspired by great story tellers, minds and characters.

First up was Peter Senge – he helped me remember  to think in systems when looking at my business and others.

A week later, I had eight speakers in one day at the Power Within. Christopher Gardner (Pursuit of Happiness fame) was my favorite with a close second being Jamie Clarke (climbed Everest).

Last night, I was at the Orange Helmet awards to celebrate amateur football in British Columbia. It was encouraging to see so many dedicated coaches who are focused on impacting our kids for the better. To top off the night we heard from Rudy.

So after all that I am convinced we:

  • Can make a difference
  • Need passion
  • Need inspiration (Don’t let silly thoughts get in the way – Rudy)
  • Need commitment and of course
  • Need to act!
  • Find success in the journey

So tomorrow is Monday – will I change? I hope so.

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