Lessons in leadership

What are your personal rules of leadership?

Al MacPheeAl MacPhee, MacPhee Ford
To succeed and excel in business at the same time as contributing to my community. My wife Mary and I are co-chairs of the Capital Campaign for the Bridge Centre for Arts and Technologies. Located in downtown Dartmouth, it is a soon-to-be-created learning environment for youth who do not respond well to conventional forms of education. The environment will encourage hope and innovation, creativity and excellence and provide a path for young people to re-engage in their education. Creative arts programming supplemented by technical training have proven to be exceptionally powerful methods for realizing wonderful outcomes among youth who might otherwise be on a destructive path.

Cory BellCory Bell, Lindsay Construction
To become successful within your organization, you must first possess the technical and operational skills, but more importantly, to be an effective leader you must also have the ability to help people understand your vision and embrace it. Take the time to show people how they fit into the overall plan, explain how their role is paramount to the success of the plan and then show them what success will look like when everyone fulfills their role.

Brendan PaddickBrendan Paddick, Columbus International Inc.
We have a golden rule at Columbus: “Permission to fail is part of our corporate DNA.” You have to foster a culture that embraces playing to win, as opposed to playing not to lose. Also, at Columbus, you don’t work for people, you work with people. As such, you will never see capital letters in any of our titles; not on our website, not on our business cards, not anywhere. So whether you are a csr or a ceo, we all have a job to do… together.

Next, I have always tried to recruit and hire professionals who are smarter than me and more talented at their area of expertise. Entrepreneurs should never be intimidated to seek out such individuals, because in the end they broaden your perspective, help you grow as a leader, and inevitably make you look good.

Thirdly, as Craig Dobbin once said to me, “don’t be afraid of the zeros.” Every financing, acquisition, capital investment, big or small, should be based on a detailed set of facts and a good dose of intuition. So whether you are talking about $10,000 or $100,000,000 don’t let the zeros blur your focus and discipline.

And finally, I would share with aspiring leaders the pledge that Renee, Cayla, Gary, Ian and I (my family) have made to keeping it real and always remembering where we came from. Success is a privilege, not a right.

Ian CavanaghIan Cavanagh, Ambir
I believe that there is nothing more complex in business than the human being and if you can understand “who” a person is versus just “what” they do, then you can appreciate their motivation and behavior. Once you are able to do this you are best positioned to help them be successful and the corollary is so too the business shall be. People need to be supported and to know that you care. At the same time, people also need to know that there is a business to run and to make successful and that this is an imperative as well if we are to continue to be a thriving enterprise.

Tim MooreTim Moore, Moore Executive Suites
Treat everyone at all times with dignity and respect. Motivate people. Do what you say you are going to do (be honorable). Have a strong work ethic and lead through example. Develop a sense of spirituality in your organization. Provide opportunities to those who want to grow, and create excitement in your organization.

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