September 30, 2012


Unless you work in complete isolation without any human contact, you collaborate. One of my passions is helping people become better leaders and companies to become more collaborative but what does that mean? Well it depends on the situation and the organization but the threads are leadership, communication, and teamwork which begin at the individual level.

Leadership abilities are inside each of us. That doesn't mean we all have to run Fortune 500 enterprises or even be the manager of a team. It’s about the human side of leading ourselves and those around us. And we shouldn't wait until someone becomes a manager to recognize and amplify these talents. We can show leadership in many ways and that can begin at an early age.

Cameron Harold was a terrible student. He hated school and barely squeaked by with terrible grades. His business career began when he was 6 and he has become a wildly successful speaker and entrepreneur.

Cameron says the need for entrepreneurs is as essential as for doctors and lawyers. He outlines his journey and business ideas in his talk at TEDxEdmonton.

Kneale Mann

TED | Cameron Harold

September 27, 2012

Inspirational People #4

A while back, we started a regular feature on this site highlighting people who inspire others. There are three rules. Is the information valuable to my work or life? Is the author doing actual work to back it up? Do they challenge me, make me think, and/or make me move to do something? If you have someone in mind, send me an email. I'm currently sifting through more than two dozen lists from contributors so be patient.

These inspirational people were suggested by Jennifer Johnston. If you need a bright and experienced digital marketing professional who will help your company grow, Jennifer can help so reach out to her.

April Dunford

Take an engineer, toss in marketing expertise, mix in a lot of business start-up experience, finish with a nice layer of leadership and that’s April. She remains an adviser and board member for many start-ups while consulting the likes of IBM and Siebel Systems. And she is fully immersed in the social web.

Nate Silver

As the world appears to get more complicated, the importance of mathematics and literature continue to increase. Nate is a statistician who first made a name for himself by predicting performance and development of Major League Baseball players. He applied it to the 2008 U.S. Presidential election and correctly predicted the winner of 49 of 50 states. He then established his own website and is now a regular columnist for the New York Times. Have a look at his predictions for the 2012 election.

Steven Pinker

Language is an interesting topic. There is much more going on behind the words we use including culture, intention, slang, innuendo, and euphemisms. Canadian born Pinker has been studying cognitive behavior and linguistics for years. While we struggle with the intricate art of communication, Steven studies the mind as a writer, published author of six books, and professor at Harvard. Fascinating guy.

Dave Brodbeck

Another brainiac, David specializes in cognitive psychology with a key interest in learning and memory in both humans and the animal kingdom. He is a avid researcher in behavioral ecology, animal cognition, statistical procedures, and evolutionary psychology. In his spare time he enjoys studying video game design using psychological techniques. And we thought we just did stuff.

Thanks JJ!

Kneale Mann


September 25, 2012

Read the Instructions

We live in a plug-in-play world. The gadget comes with an instructional manual but few of us take the time to read it. Our collective impatience is too strong. We want to open the box and start using it. If there’s a problem, we’ll call someone or research the answer online. But what do we do when we can’t figure out how people work?

There is no owner’s manual with human interaction and relationships. Decades of experience can only give us a guide but each person is wired and motivated differently. We can’t simply apply one rule for all yet often the business world tries to do just that.

You hear claims such as; “millennials behave this way” or “women 25-49 don’t like that” which are a generalizations. Marketing companies try and predict habits and companies attempt to guide behavior. No two people in history are identical.

Leadership is Complex

While working with enterprise teams, there are times when they seem lost or unsure what to do next. Another member of our leadership group reminded me recently to trust the process. To me, it meant trust the work we put in to build it and trust our choices in those who we include to work with us on it. This is not to suggest we don't refine the process. In fact it is exactly why we have to pay close attention to the input of others so we can create better solutions together.

If you have kids, you may have taught them how to ride a bike. At first, you put on training wheels, and then over time you raised them off the ground so your child could slowly learn how to balance. Then the day came when the training wheels were removed. You may have stood nervously as they started to pedal off without your help or the help of two extra wheels. That’s trust in them, the system, and yourself. You gave them the tools but eventually had to let them find their way.

Without investing time in people's motivation, we will never know how the gadget works.

Kneale Mann


September 21, 2012

17 Things

Effective leadership is not about creating more noise and confusion, yet we can’t seem to help it. Our lives are packed with information and most of it isn’t important.

We attend meetings that create more meetings. We check our smartphones more often than we blink. We make everything top priority. We think multi-tasking is effective.

We over think every decision. We make easy things more complicated. We spend far too much time obsessing about yesterday and tomorrow. We wear busy like a badge of honour. And we leave very little time for ourselves.

Here are few ideas to get us out of that routine.

Don’t be available all the time. Let them be right. Take a think day. Sleep in. Be flexible. Take a long lunch. Shut off the computer for an entire day. Be out of the loop. Stop following other people’s dreams. Let someone else handle it. Listen to an hour of music without doing anything else. Have cereal for dinner. Go with our gut. Stop taking advice from negative people. Skip the meeting. Don’t be so hard on ourselves. Buy the shoes.

Then we can get back to the busy.

Kneale Mann


September 19, 2012

Inspirational People | Simon Sinek

We recently started a feature on this site. It began with the desire to find out who inspires readers, friends, and colleagues. If someone comes to mind, send me an email

The Three Rules: Is the information valuable to my work or life? Is the author doing actual work to back it up? Do they challenge me, make me think, and/or make me move to do something?

Simon Sinek | Re:Focus

For my entire career, I subscribed to a business mantra I thought was bolted to concrete. You devise the strategy then add tactics to accomplish your ideas. Build the plan then execute what you need to do to get it done. But Simon Sinek changed it with a box of markers and an easel.

Without knowing why we do something, all the strategy in the world won't help us. Simon also challenges the concept of leadership and reminds us in order to be a leader we need to find those who believe what we believe.

Laptop Begone

While many of us pour over PowerPoint slide decks for speaking engagements, Sinek utilizes simple tools to get us to think clearer and make things better. One man, one hour, one easel, three markers, and one captivated audience.

Simon Sinek uses clear thoughts on his site, with clients, and on stage to simplify concepts which may appear complex. And he will definitely create a reaction.

What matters most is what we do about it.

Kneale Mann

Simon Sinek

September 17, 2012

The 5 C's of Business

The topic of what makes a great leader has been debated for millennia. When you think of the values a mentor has brought to you, it’s often those intangible aspects which are more difficult to define.

In business, it’s tough to be thrown into a new role when you may be good at the work but not as well versed at the people part. It’s easy to point to those who have handled leadership with grace but it’s not a skill you learn in short order. And it can certainly be a balancing act when the company continually reminds you profit is the goal.

Fear can be why strong leadership is often as rare as great customer service.

To impart knowledge or to make known.

To work and learn with another.

To act together for a common purpose or benefit.

To show awareness or regard for another's feelings.

To have a feeling of sympathy for another.

Without human elements, your bottom line may not exist.

Kneale Mann


September 13, 2012

Humans and Technology Collide

As our world shrinks and advancements make it easier for us to connect without geographic or physical boundaries, there are some drawbacks. If you’re like me, you spend a considerable amount of your time on the phone or on conference calls.

These events can take the form of audio, video, file sharing, teleconferences, telepresence, webinars, and collaborative spaces. Last week, I was on a call with more than twenty people from over a dozen countries. This is great stuff but there can be some issues to deal with when coordinating the tools.

Leadership is not an office

We must be mindful of language and culture, the mix of in-person and virtual teams, and old fashioned phone etiquette. Dave Grady succinctly outlines the real world of global communication. This video remains just as relevant as it did when it was recorded a couple of years ago. You may want to share it with your team.

Please mute your phone and enjoy.

Kneale Mann

Dave Grady

September 12, 2012

Inspirational People | Mitch Joel

We recently started a regular feature on this site. The idea came from wondering about the people who friends and readers enjoy and give them inspiration.

There were three simple rules. Is the information valuable to my work or life? Is the author doing actual work to back it up? Do they challenge me, make me think, and/or make me move to do something?
If you have someone in mind, send me an email.

Mitch Joel | Six Pixels of Separation

Anyone who knows me in a real way knows that I value Mitch’s friendship and creative mind. He is the President of a thriving digital marketing firm Twist Image. When I started to publish content on a regular basis in 2008 (over 850 posts so far), Mitch reminded me consistency is the key. And he walks the talk publishing seven fresh pieces of content every week. For free!

If you're wondering if blogging and/or podcasting can help your business, Mitch's focus has created opportunities that would not have otherwise happened.

It Takes Work

Each week, Mitch writes and publishes five new blog posts, one podcast, and a list of interesting links. Despite a demanding speaking schedule (go see him if you haven’t, he’s an outstanding speaker), working on his second book Ctrl-Alt-Del, running his agency, providing solutions for clients, and spending valuable time with his family, it’s rare when his input drops below that goal. Did I mention it was all free?

In more than a decade, he has only asked his readers for something on three occasions. Once to promote his first book – Six Pixels of Separation, second was to help raise money for the End Malaria effort, and recently to help Light The Night Walk.

Joel is an avid reader, defender of the written word, and open minded enough to take on new ideas and perspectives. And he's a funny guy!

Thanks Mitch, for sharing and inspiring.

Kneale Mann


September 11, 2012

9-11 I Will

A lot has been said and done and written since that crisp blue Tuesday morning eleven years ago. It still comes up often. We talk about lessons learned but when we pause on this anniversary the key is our global community. We're aren't black or gay or tall or skinny or white or challenged or fill in the blank. We are human.

Kneale Mann

I Will

September 8, 2012

Texting Can Save Lives

We live in a busy time. The information is non-stop. We are bombarded with content and data and images and messages and marketing pitches and stuff. Some may suspect that only younger demos participate in mobile communication and social networking and that's not true. There can be three and four generations in a company. Leadership is challenging and the way we communicate is changing constantly.

Let’s look at our own behavior...

The topic of texting is a hot one because it's costing lives as we check our mobile device while we’re mobile. It’s right there, we’re at a stoplight, and it takes a second to check for new messages. That’s bad, right? But what if we look at the technology from a different perspective? How can texting actually help us?

Nancy Lublin is CEO of DoSomething. She shows how teens want to help and also need help but often use their mobile devices to reach out. As you watch her talk, imagine how we could harness this for people of all ages.

Kneale Mann

TED | Nancy Lublin

September 7, 2012

Inspirational People | Jay Platt

I thought it would be cool to do an ongoing series looking at smart people doing great work, publishing useful information, and sharing their passions for all to read. This is a chance to showcase those who inspire us through their leadership.

If you have someone in mind, send me an email.

There were three simple rules. Is the information valuable to my work or life? Is the author doing actual work to back it up? Do they challenge me, make me think, and/or make me move to do something?

Jay Platt | Mr. Unstoppable

Jay enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps when he was 17. It was going to be a career of public service. But 15 years later, as he was providing leadership as a Gunnery Sergeant, he was forced to retire from his passionate work because of the diagnosis of a rare form of cancer which cost him his left eye.

Instead of giving up and accepting this terrible news, Jay got treatment and then got back to work. His goals and dreams became even stronger and he has since dedicated his life to helping others see the value of living every single moment.

He has completed 2,000 mile hikes, swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco blindfolded with his feet and hands tied, and swam the Mississippi river again blindfolded, handcuffed, and shackled, all the while raising thousands for charities and causes dear to his heart.

Jay Platt is a gifted writer and speaker. He gives back constantly. And recently he announced that he is facing another setback but his attitude remains extraordinary.

Thank-you, Jay for your inspiration and courage.

Kneale Mann

Jay Platt

September 5, 2012

How's Your Info Diet?

JP Rangaswami poses a question and a challenge to all of us. In our world where information is coming at us at warp speed, what if we looked at it as fuel and something to celebrate much like we view food.

JP is an economist and rose through the ranks in finance. He then expanded his role into the technology realm becoming a CIO. Rangaswami spends a lot of his time studying behavior and speaks at events all over the world. Like most, he loves food but he equally loves learning. He shares what the two have in common after studying both for over a quarter century.

I'll add one more as you watch JP's TEDTalk. How can we include leadership in all of this?

Kneale Mann

TED | JP Rangaswami

September 3, 2012

Where Do You Lead?

There are points throughout the year which may seem more reflective than most. Those include the end of the year and the end of summer. Year’s end is an easy watermark to measure what you may have accomplished, what you wanted to get done, and what you have set aside to reach for in the twelve months.

Summer in North American isn't officially over for a few weeks but Labour Day is often viewed as the unofficial end of the season where holidays are done and the kids go back to school. But this could have deeper meaning.


To some it’s an extra day with friends and family to enjoy nice weather and a meal outside. To others it’s the time to travel to college and begin a whole new, scary, and exciting adventure. I know at least six friends who are taking their kids this weekend and the bittersweet tears are mixed with joy and pride.

We know there are millions around the world looking for work. Whenever we can, we need to help each other because we don't always know what we need to know.


If you have a million bucks, I don’t view you as any more important than the woman who smiles every time I buy gas around the corner from my house. A CEO, school teacher, general contractor, leadership consultant, race car driver, it doesn’t matter. We all seek purpose and passion.

And while reflection may be mixed with holiday celebrations, this time of year is a good chance for us to remember something each of us can work on regardless of position or level of wealth. From running a Fortune 100 company to starting a career, we each have it within us.

We all have the ability to show up as leaders if we want.

Kneale Mann


September 1, 2012

Olympians and Business Leaders

Each day on Twitter, I like to share a comment, quote, silly post, or thoughtful mention that may make you think, laugh, or learn. The first part of last month was the last week of the 2012 Olympics so you may notice we had some extra fun with that event.

Here’s the list from August 2012

• Won gold in the 4x100 snack and sip
• Slept through the lounge relay
• Landed silver for all-around opinions
• Tested positive for chocolate
• Achieved bronze in the 400m splashing IM
• World record holder in couch coaching
• Pulled a hamstring reaching for refreshments
• Received extra marks for posturing
• Landed bronze in individual couch sitting
• Disqualified for excessive TV remote use
• Won gold in snack assembly
• Congratulations to all who gave it their all
• Today is the first day of the rest of your week
• If you have to remind people what your title is, you've already lost the room
• Be persistent
• Relationships aren't a click of a mouse, they require care and involvement
• Focusing on what you did will distract you from what you can do
• Leadership is 10% skill and 90% life
• Always stay curious
• Life happens or we make it happen. The choice is up to us
• Do you dream or do?
• What you ask someone today how they are, mean it and wait for their response
• You don't have to have all the answers
• Self-doubt is not a good business partner
• Never underestimate the power of asking for help
• Never underestimate the power of helping others
• Leadership and trust take time
• Eradicate the naysayers
• Be the visionary for your own life
• Eat the frog
• Dream big. Do big. What's the downside?

Let’s go have some fun!

Kneale Mann

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