There’s a saying in business, “shiFt happens!”

Many people fear the word “change” for many reasons; the most common reason is that people get too comfortable. But what happens if a certain way of doing things doesn’t work any more? I’ve always learned that there are three types of people: people that watch things happen, people that make things happen and people that wonder what’s going on. People that watch things happen usually know they need to change but they are afraid or too comfortable so they watch other people go in the “mine field” first. When change management comes to mind, the first thing I thought about was a simple yet insightful business book I read “Who moved my cheese?” To give you a better insight on what I’m trying to say, here’s a video I found of the story described in the book:

When I think of change, I think of the word reinvent. Although change may be difficult for many people and organizations, it is an opportunity to be able to reinvent specific strategies and allow growth for the company. Change will help improve the company to be more efficient and productive. Can you imagine what it would be like if grocery or retail stores didn’t have any barcodes to scan or even a computer to do their inventory? It fascinates me to think of how it was done back in the day without technology! Here’s an article from the Financial Post that talks about allowing change in their strategies within the different channels in order to work better and optimize capabilities.

It is important for organizations to embrace change and allow for change to happen for the better. Change or Reinventing doesn’t only need to happen with company strategies, but with employees as well! Leaders in an organization will constantly need to elevate their skills and try their best to constantly become a better person and asset to the company. The New York Times had an article of how change benefits the company and even managers themselves when they allow for change and evaluate their flaws. Here is a link to that article.

Now we know all the why in the importance of change in an organization. Let’s talk about the how. John Kotter has a great example of the how to implement change in 8 steps. I’ve taken some explanations from the article to assist in illustrating each step:

  1. Create urgency – “Kotter suggests that for change to be successful, 75 percent of a company’s management needs to “buy into” the change” (Mind Tools)
  2. Form powerful coalition – “Convince people that change is necessary. This often takes strong leadership and visible support from key people within your organization. Managing change isn’t enough – you have to lead it” (Mind Tools)
  3. Create a vision for change – “Link concepts to an overall vision that people can grasp easily and remember” (Mind Tools)
  4. Communicate the vision – “What you do with your vision after you create it will determine your success” (Mind Tools)
  5. Remove obstacles – “Put in place the structure for change and continually check for barriers to it. Removing obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision, and it can help the change move forward” (Mind Tools)
  6. Create short-term wins – “Nothing motivates more than success. Give your company a taste of victory early in the change process. Within a short time frame (this could be a month or a year, depending on the type of change), you’ll want to have results that your staff can see” (Mind Tools)
  7. Build on the change – “Real change runs deep. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change” (Mind Tools)
  8. Anchor the changes in the corporate structure – “To make any change stick, it should become part of the core of your organization. Your corporate culture often determines what gets done, so the values behind your vision must show in day-to-day work” (Mind Tools)

Here’s an explanation of all 8 for all the readers wanting more insight about each step, what to do and how to go about it. Organizations will need a team of leaders with influence in the company to work together as a team in implementing change. Change or reinventing should not be something to be fearful of and should be accepted to become better. After all,

Change is the only thing constant. – Heraclitus, Greek philosopher (Mind Tools)

Are you afraid of change or being uncomfortable or do you love change and the surprises and new experiences brings? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to share your own experiences, I would love to read/hear about them!


Dinaaqua. (n.d). Who moved my cheese. Retrieved July 23, 2012 from

Mind Tools. (n.d.). Kotter’s 8-step change model – implementing change powerfully and successfully. Retrieved July 24, 2012 from

Osak, Mitchell. (2012). Optimizing The Channel Experience. Retrieved July 23, 2012 from

Singer, Natasha. (2012). Helping Managers Find, and Fix, Their Flaws. Retrieved July 23, 2012 from


“Move a little more to the right. Now you’re centered”

Organizational structure is important to understand because the structure helps the company identify who the major decision makers are and how tasks are organized and distributed among different departments. This is important to ensure unity, productivity and effectiveness throughout the organization and helps each individual take responsibility and stay accountable for their respective roles in the company. The organizational structure also outlines how to effectively communicate with different management levels.

There are many elements to consider and to look at when we think of the structure of the organization. One of the main elements that I enjoyed researching about was the difference between centralization and decentralization. Both structures are important to consider and both have their individual advantages and disadvantages. Below is a table I created for my fellow visual learners to illustrate the differences:


Centralized Structure

Decentralized Structure

Decision making
  • One individual will make decisions and provide direction
  • Small businesses usually use this structure since that one individual is typically the owner
  •  Several individuals responsible for making decisions
  • Extremely efficient in making business decisions
    • Owners set objectives for different managers
  • Utilizes individuals with a variety of expertise and knowledge for running a variety of operations
  • Broad-based management team has knowledgeable directors or managers to handle various types of business operation
  • Can suffer from negative effects of several layers of bureaucracy
  • Business owners responsible for making decisions in the company may require more time to accomplish tasks
  •  Can struggle with multiple individuals having different opinions on a particular business decision
  • Can face difficulties trying to get everyone on the same page when making decions

and here is the link to full details of where I got the information from to create this table.

In order to maintain sustainability, companies must choose to have either a centralized or decentralized structure; This however is not set in stone. A very short and brief article from the Harvard Business Review talks about CISCO, a company moving from  a centralized structure to decentralized in order to adapt to changes and cater to the company’s customers and culture. Companies need to strategically find ways to continue to participate in competition and adapt to changing trends and technologies.

In this economy, companies are definitely trying to keep up to growing trends while maintaining efficiency and attempting to cut costs. It is interesting to know that companies are really evaluating their structures in specific areas, not just in general. Along with advertising, employee wages are also one of the company’s biggest expense. An awesome article from the Financial Post talks about “the best ways to cut labor costs.” In the article, the author mentions many things to consider and strategies to help companies out with such a big expense. This came to my attention because it considered centralized and decentralized structures to assist in dealing with labor costs. It talks about considering moving from a “large, decentralized and complex organization” (Osak, 2011) to a “centralized set of policies and procedures to guide hiring practices and wage levels” (Osak, 2011).

It is really important that companies do find a structure that aligns with their mission, vision and goal as a foundation and something that they can stand one. Let’s think about buildings for a a moment…what if they didn’t have a proper structure that was strategically planned out to meet their needs? Would that building still look the same, or worse? Or would it even stand in the futre? What do you think about organizational structure? If you can build a company, what would your structure be like? Let me know in the comments below and I would love to hear about your creativity!


Gulati, Ranjay. (2009). Cisco Systems (2001): Building and sustaining a customer-centric culture. Retrieved July 9, 2012 from

Osak, Mitchell. (2011). The best way to cut labor costs. Retrieved July 9, 2012 from

Vitez, Osmond. (n.d.). Centralized vs. Decentralized Organizational Structure. Retrieved July 9, 2012 from

Simon says: “Follow The Leader”

When it comes to the leadership topic, I can’t help but to repeatedly quote one of my favourite authors and well-known leadership guru, John Maxwell. I’ve read several of his books and they never cease to motivate, educate and inspire me. In one of his books The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he states that “leadership develops daily, not in a day.” I believe that leadership is not only proven and displayed in the workplace but also in one’s daily agenda. Everyone has the potential to be a great leader and can do so by having the right attitude and by taking the first step of wanting to work at acquiring leadership skills. I also believe leadership is one of the ingredients of living a successful and significant life.

In this video, John makes a lot of good points about leadership. He addresses that leadership is about serving others and adding value to other people. In this video he also addresses one of the laws of leadership, “the law of the picture – people do what people see. It’s all about their example” (Maxwell). He also brings up an interesting statistic of how the greatest leadership is by example:

  • 89% of what we learn, we learn visually
  • 10% through the ears
  • 1% through other senses
Watching this video reminded me of the monkey see, monkey do. It also reminded me of younger kids doing what their parents do, not what they say. When I was younger, I always remembered my mom putting make-up on  and when I asked her if I can put some on too, she always reminded me that it was for grown-ups only and that I had to wait. My mom being the “leader” in my eyes as a child, I wanted to be like her and she looked “more beautiful” with it on. Being the curious little girl I was, I had to try it one day…and let’s just say I definitely did not look “more beautiful.”
In another one of John’s leadership books, I’ve learned that an organization or a group is as effective as the leadership portrayed. Management and Leadership are different but they complement each other. Here‘s an interesting article I found from the globe and mail that summarizes a study that was done. In summary,
Teams need management skills and visionary leadership skills but the issue is where is it coming from. It’s not necessary for the leader to provide management if the team can manage itself. But if the leader doesn’t have a vision, the team is not going to do well at all. We have gone overboard in valuing leadership and devaluing management. We need both. And if you can provide both, the focus should be on which behaviour is required at a particular time.(Stoner)
In this Wall Street Journal article, it talks about the differences between management and leadership, and how they are linked together. Because of the tough economy and the way technology is rising, the author states that

In the new economy, where value comes increasingly from the knowledge of people, and where workers are no longer undifferentiated cogs in an industrial machine, management and leadership are not easily separated. People look to their managers, not just to assign them a task, but to define for them a purpose. And managers must organize workers, not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results.

In this day and age, I believe that companies are seeking leadership through the tough economic times in order to be more productive. In the same article, it states that “one does not ‘manage’ people,the task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of every individual.” (Drucker)

 I am coincidentally reading The 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell and he talks about the different levels, with level 5 being the most uncommon and most difficult. The key work in this level is “respect”  and in order “to reach Level 5, a leader needs to be developing leaders – and not just leaders but Level 4 leaders – for many years. Most people leading groups won’t have a Level 5 leader in them” (Maxwell). Here is a link to John Maxwell’s blog that describe each one and below is what they look like:

It’s interesting to evaluate which level you are at and which level you want to achieve. Although it will take a lot of self-discipline and motivation, I believe it will be worth the success? What level do you guys want to achieve? Let me know in the comments below!


Harper Business. (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2012 from

John Maxwell On Leadership. (March 5, 2012). Retrieved June 25, 2012 from

John C. Maxwell: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. (August 6, 2009). Retrieved June 25, 2012 from

Maxwell, John C. (2007). 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.

Maxwell, John C. (2011). What are the 5 Levels of Leadership?. Retrieved June 25, 2012 from

Schachter, Harvey. (2012). The Management vs. Leadership Debate. Retrieved June 25, 2012 from

“I heard it through the grapevine”

Is it just me or do you always think of the “telephone” game when communication in the workplace comes to mind? Often times, word spreads like a wild fire and next thing you know, the last person who hears the news interprets it a completely different way. This reminds me of the workplace since we spend the best hours of the day at work and before you know it, we are somehow “gossiping” while we communicate with other co-workers without even knowing it. Of course, the information passed along may only be as good as the source.

I read an article recently stating that almost 15% of work emails are considered “gossip”  – “messages that contain information about a person or persons not among the recipients” (Gilbert). This may be useful because the firm may find out more about their employees such as them running late or feeling sick, but may also be negative because negative information about the company may be talked about and spread outside of management team.

Effective communication within the organization is not just downward (flow of communication from superiors to subordinates) or upward (flow of communication from subordinate to their superiors), but laterally as well. Although downward communication can give management feedback on how employees are performing and upward communication allows management to know how employees are feeling, communication should not just flow in this way. A lateral flow of communicating (being able to communicate with peers at the same level and management at different levels) is important to encourage team building and openness within the workplace. I remember how scary it was to approach and communicate with my manager when i worked in retail. It always seems as if managers are always “scary” or “intimidating” at first. Is this just me again? Nonetheless, at least that feeling of intimidation lasted for a good two months or so until I’ve learned to open up and build a good relationship with them. With a lateral flow of communication, it will minimize the “telephone game” effect of how information is passed out. Getting information directly from anyone within the organization (whether they are in management or a peer) will enable everyone to build better relationships and be more productive in working together. I believe that it is also an effective way to communicate using various channels, especially with the way technology is moving lately, electronic communication can be effective as well. Everyone is getting more busy so it is faster and more convenient. Here is another great article from time magazine explaining how to use electronic channels as an effective way to communicate.

It is important to be attentive on how we communicate within the organization or the receiver may not receive the message in its fullness – depending on the clarity and articulation of how it is conveyed (selective perception).

To all my fellow visual learners out there, here is an awesome video I found on organizational communication in a lot more detail and animation. I definitely learned a lot and gained some insight:


Georgia Institute of Technology. (2012). Have you heard? Nearly 15 percent of work email is gossip. Retrieved June 11, 2012 from

Management Study Guide. Communication Flows in an Organization. Retrieved June 11, 2012 from

TIME WORLD – Bill Gates’ New Rules. (1999). From Business @ The Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System, by Bill Gates. Copyright 1999 by William H. Gates, III. Published by Warner Books, USA. Retrieved June 12, 2012 from,8599,2040466,00.html

What is effective communication?. (2012). What is effective Communication? Retrieved June 11, 2012 from

Motivation – The “Driver”

It is pretty interesting to dig deeper into what motivates employees in the workplace. It is also interesting how we deal with this everyday of our lives without even thinking about it. Motivation is very important in the workplace because it is what drives employees to accomplish tasks and excel expectations. David McClelland’s need theory claims that there are three driving motivators: achievement, affilitation or power. He claims that

“these needs are found to varying degrees in all workers and managers, and this mix of motivational needs characterizes a person’s or manager’s style and behaviour, both in terms of being motivated, and in the management and motivation others.”

There are 2 types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is being motivated to do something because you enjoy doing it without expecting any external rewards; Extrinsic motivation is the opposite, where this type will engage an individual to do something because of external rewards such as some form of award (monetary or not) or praise. The first example I can think of when intrinsic/extrinsic motivation comes to mind is how different my mom and I are when it comes to cleaning the house. My mom finds such joy in cleaning that it is almost a stress-reliever for her; you don’t even need to ask her to do it! Her day will be considered “successful” because she has a spotless house and she will not be able to sleep peacefully until it is up to her standards. On the other hand, my mom claims that it’s almost like pulling teeth when it comes to asking me to clean the house when she is at work. It has come down to her adding on to my weekly allowance when I as younger or treating me out for ice cream or something sweet (which I always gave into). I am definitely extrinsically motivated when it comes to cleaning. But going back to the world of business, this article outlines some extrinsic factors of motivation in our world today. It also states that

“An organization is nothing but the people who work in it. No individual can accomplish great things alone. Happy employees translate into successful organizations.”

All of these factors are important to think about especially in our economy today. Are employees getting less and less motivated in the workplace today because of our struggling economy? CNN came out with a great article recently that caught my attention relating to motivation and the economy. As we all know, many people are getting laid off and those jobs are going to the employees that are still in the company, adding on to their pile of work – causing “employee burnout.” Many commission incentives (in retail at least) have been taken away and those companies have to intrinsically motivate their employees in order to keep up with this economy. A previous retail job eliminated the commission incentive and replaced it with points and more hours when sales goals were met. Many of my coworkers were not happy with this, but as this article states that

“No one wants to complain for fear of losing their job”

What do you think? Is motivation correlated to the economy today? I’d love to get your feedback!


P.S. here an article on Forbes I found interesting.

David C McClelland’s Motivational Needs Theory. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Levesque, C., Copeland, K J., & Pattie, M D. (2010). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. Rochester, NY: Elsevier


Pillai, Maya. (2010). Employee Expectations in the Modern Era. Retrieved May 28, 2012 from

Stern, G. (2012). Employee burnout: Around the corner? Already here?. Retrieved May 28, 2012 from

Ready, K. (2012). What Employees Secretly want. Retrieved May 28, 2012 from