Should you be hiding from your new boss?

Should you be hiding from your new boss?

Here’s an interesting statistic:  According to a study done by PwC, CEO turnover at the 2500 largest companies in the world rose from 14.3 in 2014 to 16.6% in 2015 – a record high.

And it’s happened to all of us at some point.  You’re just going about your business doing your job like you do every day and in comes a new boss.

You might not know this person or it might be someone who you knew was shortlisted but workplace conversation turns quickly to “hey, what do you know about the new boss?”  

Very rarely does a new boss come in and continue the status quo. New bosses have new ideas and often want to make their mark. 

For some this is a breath of fresh air; for others it causes fear and anxiety. 

So how will you react?  How will you deal with the change coming down the pipe?

A lot depends on what type of person you are, or more to the point, what type of person you choose to be.

How to stop competition from ruining collaboration.

How to stop competition from ruining collaboration.

Imagine going to a music concert and, during the performance, each instrument section (or individual player) tried to outshine the others.  

It would be awful to watch and probably even worse to listen to. That’s because you expect this group of people to be working together to reach their outcome - not trying to outshine each other. 

Yet this is what happens in many work places.  

There is competition between departments and between people inside departments. Often, the dark side of competition also creeps in - withholding information, internal politics, and sabotaging other people’s efforts. 

How can organizations make use of the spirit of competition but try to keep out the destructive parts? If only there was a way. 

Ah, but there is.

How to be more resilient to change!

How to be more resilient to change!

If you were like me, as a kid, you faced change head on and did so pretty often. 

Every year, you’d get a new teacher, were put in a new class or sent to various lessons, played on new sports teams. In summer, you’d go to camps with new kids and group leaders.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever remember being asked, “Hey Paul, would you like to do this or that?” I just remember ending up in a lot of new situations. It just happened and I had to deal. 

We may not have realized it but, as kids, change was around every corner and yes, sometimes it was scary. But you know what? We dealt and I don’t ever remember complaining about “change”.

We had resilience. 

So now that we’re all grown up, where did our resilience go, and more importantly – how can we get it back?

When you work with people who drive you nuts.

When you work with people who drive you nuts.

You know who I’m talking about: they clip their nails at their desk, they air out their smelly feet right next to you, they lick the lid of their Tupperware container in a lunch meeting, they seem to know nothing about personal buffer zones. 

Like me I am sure you have been to more than one dinner party where you’ve heard people complaining about a colleague who simply drives them nuts. 

It’s a problem that comes back time and time again because people are people and gosh darn it we’re sensitive creatures… well except for “those guys”, right?

Sometimes, we can’t put our finger on why someone really irritates us. Sometimes, we could make a list a mile long.  

Does our tendency to find some people around us very irritating make us bad people?  No, it makes us very human. The question is, what we can do about it?

Simple secrets that will help you smile more at work

Simple secrets that will help you smile more at work

Like many of you this time of year, I recently got back from a summer holiday. 

One of the constants for our family while on holiday is eating in restaurants. And aside from enjoying a great meal, I find restaurants to be a great place to see engagement and collaboration in action all built around the biggy – customer service. 

One night, a particular place stood out for me, not just because of the great food but because of the amazing service. 

The star of the night (other than the food) was our waiter.

Supremely confident, knowledgeable, and obviously unflappable. I couldn’t help but notice how happy he was. He was laughing, smiling and carrying on, having great interactions with every table. I had to know how he got through these nights and more importantly I had to know his secret to be being so happy at work.

5 ways to become a better listener

5 ways to become a better listener

When I first started on my path to becoming a professional musician I didn’t realize that being able to listen well was going to be my survival skill.  

I didn’t realize that it didn’t matter how many notes I could play on whichever instrument. 

I didn’t realize that I could make or break a rehearsal or performance by how much I used my listening skills, thereby lengthening or shortening my career. 

Fortunately for me, I learned to listen and listen well. And when I really think of it now, over the years, I have listened more than I have played, and that’s a good thing. I'll repeat that - I have listened more than I have played. Many thanks to my teachers and colleagues for telling me ( No, yelling at me) to "LISTEN!".

How about you?  How many times have you thought about saying it to a colleague or employee: “I wish you would just listen more?”

How to get out of your own culture bubble.

How to get out of your own culture bubble.

The other night I took my kids to a large destination park and I was struck by how many different cultures there were in that one place.

I hadn’t been there for a couple of years and that night I was truly amazed at what an amazing cultural mosaic Canada has become. As I stood there looking at all the different faces around me, it made me realize I don’t know as much about the world (and its people) as I probably should.  

I’ve always had a strong interest in the different cultures that inhabit our world (especially their music) but sometimes I have trouble keeping all the details straight.

For example, I sometimes forget what religion is dominant in a certain area of the world, or I can’t recall what might have happened historically in a particular region or what the native language might be.  (I knew I shouldn’t have blown off history class in high school). 

Why does that matter, you ask?  

When you have a colleague who always plays "more cowbell".

When you have a colleague who always plays "more cowbell".

Perhaps you are familiar with the famous Will Farrell and Christopher Walken skit from Saturday Night Live where Farrell plays the cowbell along with the “band” Blue Oyster Cult. In case you‘re not, you have to see it. Just Google - "more cowbell".   

In this skit, he dominates the recording session by playing his cowbell louder than any of the other instruments (encouraged by the producer). As he does this, he annoys his band mates more and more with each take. Finally things come to a head and tempers flare, but in the end the band members resolve their differences. Farrell is allowed to continue his very over-the-top cowbell playing only because the producer wants – “more cowbell!”

This is a very funny skit, but what about in the real world? What happens when you have someone at work who is, shall we say, “insensitive” to the point of annoyance to others?  

I think we have all experienced someone like that. Often it doesn’t end so nicely.  Like in the video, this can cause a lot of tension, which usually leads to some animosity or dispute. 

Pointing out annoying behaviour to a colleague is very difficult to do. 

But it has to be done and here’s why:

3 Ways to Brainstorm for Awesome Results

3 Ways to Brainstorm for Awesome Results

I remember sitting with my bandmates in the Evergreen Club a few years ago in a planning session. (We’re an 8 member group and we play a set of beautiful instruments from Indonesia called a Gamelan, the music is exotic and wonderful).

We were trying to come up with ideas for the next couple of concert seasons. We’ve been around a long time and have done some pretty good gigs, but it still falls on us to create some kind of plan to move forward. We need to get pieces written for us, look for presenters for our current repertoire and festivals to play in. Like many of you in the corporate world, we need to brainstorm plans and solutions.  

Brainstorming is tough for any group of people and I'd like to share some things I learned from that experience as well as share some research I've been doing on better brainstorming


How to collaborate more effectively with others - My Business of Innovation Podcast Interview

How to collaborate more effectively with others - My Business of Innovation Podcast Interview

This is a special blog post featuring my interview with on the Business Innovation Podcast hosted by Michael Martino and Vince Mirabelli. This episode is about how to collaborate more effectively. I wanted to share it with you because I think this topic is so important.

If you are not familiar with the Business Innovation Podcast they refer to it as a long form conversation with guests exploring innovative ways to improve and expand your business - with lots of laughs and entertainment along the way.

In this episode I share some stories and insights about