Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Building Circles now at

Building Circles blog will continue to be published Wednesday mornings.   Go to for the latest topic.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Getting all the Facts

Do you ever jump to conclusions and find out later you did not have all the facts?  This happens more often than we think.  Take a look at your daily routine and all the assumptions you make.  

It is very true about the saying "knowledge is power".   I'd like to share a story with you which I've adapted to my version for this topic.  Let's call it The Dad on the Subway.

Two random strangers were in a subway car, when a dad enters with two young children.   This man has bloodshot eyes, he looks tired and has two day old stubble.  He sits down and leans forward with his hands on his face.

His two children are running around from end-to-end in the subway car.   They are yelling loudly.   The first man is catching up on e-mails and keeps looking up from dad to the children.   He is really put out as he cannot focus on his e-mails.   He draws his own conclusion about this dad and shakes his head.

The second man is reading an e-book and keeps getting distracted with all the noise.   He also looks up at the dad and the two children.  He makes his own assumptions about this dad.

The first man gets, leaves at the next stop and heads home.  At home, his wife asks how his day was.   He replies it was the same old routine at work and shares what made him upset on the way home.   He describes the dad as an alcoholic and unemployed who is incapable of holding down a job or taking care of his kids.   He is confident with his observation because he has seen guys like this before and he knows.

The second man decides to finally get up, and approach the man.   He stands before him, clears his throat and says "Excuse me sir, it really is not my business, but do you not notice your kids are making a lot of noise.   Can you ask them to settle down a bit?"

The man removes his hands from his face and he is crying.   He looks up and says "We just came from the hospital and their mother died.   I have no idea how to tell them and what I am going to do now."  The second man sits next to him, puts his arm around his shoulder and says he is so sorry and can he help.

Go back and read the beginning when you first meet the dad. Compare your original thoughts about him to your thoughts when you found out about his wife.  Are you like the second man who is bothered by his assumptions before he found out the reason why the dad just sat there?

Here's something to really ponder:   The first man and the second man can be the same person on any given day.   See how different you are when you get all the facts?  Ask questions, seek knowledge and judge later.

Thanks to Win Harwood where I heard this story as part of her explanation of a paradigm shift in Dads Make a Difference class.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

What are your Daily Habits?

Several of you have asked about daily habits and here is a revisit to this topic from over a year ago.   Keep sending your comments and feedback. 

1.  Prioritizing Tasks

Always a challenge due to the fact every task usually feels like a top priority.   Follow a simple rule:  FIFO which means First In, First Out.  With the exception of adding a certain new task you feel is a higher priority, add it as the next task or near the top of the list.   Make this the exception to the FIFO rule.  If you fall into the trap of LIFO (Last In, First Out) each task goes to the top and nothing gets completed.

2.  Follow Through

If you commit to following up then you need to ensure this is near the top of the list.   How many times do we hear "still have not heard from them".  Consistently following up on all your promises is an excellent daily habit. 

3.  Be Pro-Active

What activities in both your professional and personal life can you be pro-active in?   Sure most mornings when it is bitterly cold out it is easier to work in the home office instead of going out to the Club to workout.   You know the end result here.   Always glad the choice was made to go out instead of procrastinating another day.   This is my version of "Just Do It".  This is the reason why "busy" people get things done!

4.  Expand your Knowledge

Be open to learning each and every day.   Daily habits to build here are to ask more questions, listen attentively, watch podcasts, read blogs and read books.  You do not have to know a lot of trivial things, however, you should be somewhat aware of newsworthy events so you can be part of daily conversation.   Adding what you learned as it applies to the topic helps moving the dialogue forward.

5.  Balance

This is the most challenging of all.  Balance work, personal and leisure time.   Create a good balance so you can feel refreshed and even rejuvenated each and every day.  OK some days the scale tips to the professional hat especially when it is so easy to work from anywhere such as the home office.  Make the time for yourself, your family and your friends to bring a daily balance to your life.

What are your Daily Habits?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

3 Ways to Embrace Change

Recently I responded to a client's e-mail by including the line:  "One thing for certain is change.  It changes hourly in our industry".

How do you embrace change?

1.  Open-Minded

It is not easy to always be open-minded, however, we must always have an open-mind.   Relying on just the past and doing things the same way will not necessarily result in future success.  Just because "we always did it that way" does not mean it is the best way.

Look at the constant change, the number of new requests and the fast pace of business.   Be open-minded to reacting to this change by adapting new ways of thinking and tweaking your current good habits. 

2.   Plunge Forward 

Take a look at the facts first and make your own conclusion to plunge forward with the changes.  More often than not, you will find yourself asking what was holding me back in the first place?

It is OK if you make mistakes along the way.   Always remember the more important thing is how you react to not being perfect.  You can also revert back in most cases if plunging forward is not successful. 

3.  Let Go

This is a tough one!   Anyone else a micro-manager and control freak?  Yes I thought so.   Let go of being so rigid and be more flexible by letting go.

I am happy to report this has been somewhat successful over the years.   Better at letting go some things than others.   Managing and coaching have taken over micro-managing.

Change is good and healthy for businesses.   It sets apart those who are leading in their respective professions.  Share how you are embracing change.

Accept Change as a daily habit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Being Arrested for a Good Cause

My "clean-streak" is over.  When someone asks "Have you ever been arrested?" now my answer is yes.

It started as a typical monthly team discussion on Friday morning where we gather to share information as a group.....when we were interrupted by a superhero announcing a bunch of charges for my arrest.

I was surprised!  OK I do admit, I was not very happy about it at the time.  The good news is since it was so early, I was able to resume the monthly team discussion and on good faith was told to drive over to the jail cell and turn myself in.  The AlphaKORians had a good laugh as we attempted to resume the discussion.

Once the day started to unfold and I headed over to the Jailhouse (aka Devonshire Mall), I was embracing the idea and decided to make the best of it.   I had cancelled all my meetings.   I missed one in my calendar who arrived to find out my demise.   They pledged $40 for the cause!

I was the first one to arrive and was offered coffee and muffins.   Hmmmm I was thinking, butter me up and then pay for it at the trial.   The judge, Kenny, came over to chat.   We shared our stories and found out he was a retired police officer involved with the Crime Stoppers for a number of years.

The trial.  There was the Prosecutor whose opening remarks were all shot down by the Judge.   He felt no pity for me being a hard working family man with two teenage daughters.   My Defense Attorney demanded a different client since I am a Habs fan and she is a Leafs fan.   Needless to say this was not off to a good start.

The Judge, it turns out, was also a Leafs fan.  He asked an interesting question:  "I have one last question.   Frank, now be very careful how you answer.   Who is your favourite team?".

My response  "LaSalle Stompers 2000 Girls Soccer Team".


Judge Kenny replied "Well you certainly are a shifty one" and he set my fine at $550 which 50 higher just for that answer!

My other charges included having an "iron-clad fist" because I am such a nice guy, talking about the Internet like it is a person and building my own internet out of Lego bricks.  I know what you are thinking and let's give them credit for being creative and keeping it light. 

In the cell, it was time to get the word out by using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  Some pictures were posted and a few cries for help/support went out.  I had some support to bail me out and some chose to throw the book at me.

I even had some visitors!   Carmela, Haley, Brandy and Mazen stopped by to laugh at me and try to give me some support.  They did support me and want to thank them for that. 

After 2.5 hours, I had raised over $600 and it was time to head for lunch and get on with the rest of the day. 

I want to thank the Crime Stoppers for organizing such an event to give one an experience you would least expect.  I want to thank everyone who donated to bail me out or to throw the book at me.

It was all in fun and makes for a good story when you tell people "Did you ever hear the story when I got arrested?" 

Here is the official alleged charges list:


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Co-Op Experience

This week we welcome Guest Blogger Nathan Bellaire, student at Tecumseh Vista Academy Secondary School.

February I had my interview at AlphaKOR and it went really well.  I knew I would be going here for co-op but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  My first impression was everyone was very nice and friendly, and the building was fantastic!

Next year I will be starting college for mobile app development, and although that is the sort of thing I was initially expecting to do at AlphaKOR, my current lack of schooling in that subject matter made me a better candidate to work with Brandy in the marketing department. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it has turned out to be a really good experience so far.  After a little over two months here I can say that I have been really enjoying working in the marketing department and I have learned a lot so far.

Throughout the time I have spent here, my primary project has been to create a user guide for KareHR, AlphaKOR’s time and attendance software.  My first objective was to learn and understand the software enough to be able to write a user guide for it.  I have been working on the user guide on and off as other smaller projects came through that needed to be worked on as well.  I am currently finishing up the user guide for KareHR and just making some small revisions to it. 

After the user guide is complete, I’m not sure what will come next.  I have a passion for computers and everything tech related whether it be hands on or software related.  Whatever AlphaKOR has in store for me next, I am eager to find out what it is.

I’m sure it will continue to be a wonderful learning experience and I will enjoy the rest of my time here.

Nathan Bellaire, Guest Blogger
Student, Tecumseh Vista Academy Secondary School

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Does Anything Hold You Back?

Do you stop and think about what is holding you back?  

Look at the other side of this question to determine what motivates you.  Focus on these and work on the other things that prevent you from moving forward.

We have talked about removing the nay-sayers and negative energy around you.  Really think about this.  If you find this holds you back, do something about it.  You can ignore, forge ahead or you can get pushed down

Move forward!  Sure we get caught up and get drawn into the dance.  Learn to recognize when you are and move to the positive side. 

What fears do you have that hold you back?   Face these head on and deal with them.   You will find you are strong enough to deal with them and you do have the ability to get past them. 

Think about your challenges and how you address them.  Is some sort of fear getting in the way of resolving challenges?  What excuses do you allow to hold you back?  Excuses are just excuses by the way and most of the time they are not valid. 

When I think about excuses, it comes down to myself holding me back.  This morning, it was easy to shut off the alarm and sleep a little longer.  I told myself I am too sore and too tired to go to the gym.  So I read my messages and almost let myself get in the way! 

After sitting around making more excuses, I stopped, got up, filled my water bottle and out the door to the gym I went.  Don't let yourself get in the way and hold you back.  Channel that energy to help you move forward.  I am glad I did and always feel energized after the gym.  Now I'm ready for the next challenge. 

What is holding You back?