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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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by Rick Baker
On Apr 21, 2010
You are the CEO.
For some strange reason a loud voice declared "STOP THE PRESSES" and everything at your operation, all the people and all the machines, came to a screeching halt.
But, you were unscathed.
So you took some time to rest and relax. Then, after doing that for a while, you became bored and you asked yourself:
"How should I get things back on track?"
"How should I re-start the people and re-start the presses?"
"What are the right things to do?"
As you stopped to think, ideas started to come to you…
Wouldn't it be great if We Enjoy the Time We Spend at Our Workplace after we
re-start our operation.
How might we go about making sure that happens?
What if…
  • What if our workplace has a 'hassle-free' atmosphere where
    winners Share the Right Culture…that would help
  • What if our people understand one another's talents and we
    Make the Most of Our People's Strengths…that would help
  • What if we ensure stress levels are under control and we
    Maintain an Appreciation of Humour…that would help
You gave these things deep thought, creating plans for Sharing the Right Culture, Making the Most of Your People's Strengths, and Maintaining an Appreciation of Humour so you and your people will Enjoy the Time You Spend at Your Workplace.
You wrote out your plans for these things so you could share them when the time was right.
You made a commitment to yourself…these things would be in place when you re-start your people and you re-start your presses.
You decided to sleep on it and see if any more ideas came to you.
To be continued…


Entrepreneur Thinking


by Rick Baker
On Apr 20, 2010
You are the CEO.
Imagine you are at work at your plant.
Imagine your plant’s alarm sirens scream and a larger-than-life voice blares through your loudspeaker:
Imagine you look up at your large clock, the white one with the black hands, high up on the wall of your production area. The clock ever so slowly ticks one more second then it stops.
All your machines groan and screech as they halt their work…the whole place is silent.
As in one of those sci-fi movies we see advertised on TV, all your people stand frozen in time.
That is, every person but you.
You are unscathed.
You are able to walk about…in the calm, still, and eerie silence.
Once the surprise wears off your next reaction, of course, is...
“Finally…some time to rest and relax!”
You do that.
You rest. You relax.
After some time, you are refreshed and invigorated: so, the joy of all that rest and relaxation wears off.
You get really bored and you begin to think.
You wonder..."How can I get things back on track?"
How can I re-start this business of mine?"
And, recognizing you are under absolutely no pressure from anyone or anything, your mind takes it one step farther.
You don’t just ask yourself "How can I get things back on track?"
You ask yourself:
"How should I get things back on track?"
"How should I re-start the people and re-start the presses?"
“What are the right things to do?”
As you focus your thoughts and envision the future, ideas start to come to you…
To be continued…


Entrepreneur Thinking

Executive BrainSmarts

by Rick Baker
On Apr 15, 2010
I had the pleasure of visiting with Dr. Lorie Saxby last week.
Lorie co-authored Secrets from the BRAINSharpen Your Thinking, Power Your Performance, (2010).
Lorie provided an autographed copy of her book, which now has a place in my little but growing library of author-signed books.
link to Lorie’s website

Secrets from the BRAINSharpen Your Thinking, Power Your Performance provides a fresh new way to think about the behaviour and performance we experience in our workplaces.
The book has a top-notch design. It provides reader-friendly explanations of the brain and how our brains, specifically the frontal lobes of our brains, operate and influence our behaviour. Many examples of both good and not-so-good behaviour - ie, the real-life things we are all familiar with – are provided. The straightforward examples allow us to quickly grasp the authors’ points. And, I appreciated the balance between good behaviour and not-so-good behaviour.
Of most importance, Secrets from the BRAINSharpen Your Thinking, Power Your Performance provides help for those who want to perform better and/or help other people perform better.
And, isn’t that exactly what business leaders want to do!
The authors created Executive BrainSmarts. In summary, Executive BrainSmarts is a tool to help us understand and improve behaviour.
Here is an excerpt from the book…
“To this end, we have identified seven key frontal lobe executive cognitive
functions that are particularly relevant to optimal work performance and
productivity. We call these 'Executive BrainSmarts.'”
While I will list the 7 functions – focus, initiate, plan, organize, shift, monitor, and regulate - I recommend reading the entire book to understand the relationship between these functions…all of which is summarized in an excellent way in Figure 3: Executive BrainSmarts Paradigm.
I found Figure 3 so helpful I photocopied and enlarged it so I can post a copy in my office and carry a copy in my notebook.
I intend to re-read this book. It expands my thinking about ‘CHANGING FOR THE BETTER: Good Habits, Bad Habits, and New Things’. The book has triggered several ideas already and I believe more ideas will come with each reading.
More on Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things in future blogs

Building A Quality Attitude

by Rick Baker
On Apr 13, 2010
Most people know the importance of having a good, positive attitude. Many people talk about it. Some argue with the words like ‘positive mental attitude’…for example Gitomer talks about the ‘YES Attitude’.
Link to Gitomer – YES Attitude
No matter what we call it, we all know we are better off when we have it...so, I like it when people tell us how to go about developing a positive metal attitude.
I recently listened to the CD version of Nido Qubein’s ‘How to Position Yourself for Success’.
Nido Qubein presents a helpful summary for Building a Quality Attitude:
  1. have a positive mental outlook about situations, people and ourselves
  2. associate with people committed to excellence
  3. study the lives and actions of great people, read good books, etc
  4. focus on long-range goals, nothing motivates like achievement
  5. always know what you are going to do next (To Do lists help), set yourself up for easy beginnings...leave a half-completed sentence on your typewriter, lay out your clothes, do a pleasant task first thing in the morning
  6. put real meaning into your life...give everything you've got to everything you do...every minute
  7. adopt a Can Do vocabulary
More about attitude in future blogs…


Attitude: Creating Positive Attitude

7 Ways to Turn Problems into Opportunities

by Rick Baker
On Apr 8, 2010
In his book ‘How to Position Yourself for Success’, Nido Qubein provides a summary of 7 ways to turn problems into opportunities.
7 Ways to Turn Problems into Opportunities
  1. Expect Problems...and be willing to tackle them head on
  2. Plan Solutions for Problems in Advance...so you are confident when they arrive
  3. Focus on Fixing the Problem not on Fixing the Blame
  4. Make sure you understand the Problem before you start to work on fixing it; ensure you are fixing the problem and not just a symptom
  5. Formulate several possible solutions to the problem and examine them
  6. Choose a solution and act
  7. Turn you back on the problem and face your next challenge 
This meshes well with P=2S+O©.
For every Problem we should be able to come up with at least 2 Solutions. And, we should keep our eyes and ears open for great Opportunities, which often are hiding under Problems.
[a link to the first in a series of P=2S+O blogs]
Several of Nido Qubein’s thoughts about problems resonate with me.
A couple of examples:
  • We should not avoid problems. We should face them with courage and confidence [two of our Corporate Values]. And, even better we should expect problems and plan their solutions in advance. We can use the P=2S+O template to help us sort out our thoughts and create our plans. [download P=2S+O template]
  • We should think of many solutions then compare them. In the past, I have been happy to see people present to me two solutions under the P=2S+O process. I have been reluctant to press for more than 2 solutions. I’m going to give that more thought.
More on problems, solutions, & P=2S+O© in future blogs…

Networking: A letter to local business leaders

by Rick Baker
On Apr 6, 2010
A Prescription for Business Prosperity
Fellow Business Leaders,
Imagine your doctor has a finger on the pulse of your business. Your doctor says the vital signs are good enough...but…they could be better. The doctor says your business would benefit from an injection of profit-generating sales.
Now, imagine your doctor hands you a prescription that reads'
Where would you go to fill that prescription?
Your Chamber of Commerce has a suggestion that makes a lot of sense. You should go to the new University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy, Tuesday, April 13th, at 5:00 p.m
That's when the Chamber introduces its new networking event: Chamber Connections, sponsored by Rogers.
The first Rogers Chamber Connections event has an HST theme coupled with an awesome venue so the event provides 3 opportunities of value to business leaders and their people:
1. An opportunity to begin to take networking to a higher, profit-generating plane. That applies whether or not you want to lead your employees by example or have other successful 'Connectors', including Directors of your Chamber Board, help your people hone and expand their networking skills.
2. An opportunity to learn about HST. Jane Adams of KPMG will be providing a concise explanation and Jane and other experts will answer your questions so your company handles HST implementation as simply and smoothly as possible.
3. An opportunity to tour our community's new School of Pharmacy...a fine example of vibrant innovation.
More details are provided in the attached event flyer.
As a Director of The Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, I'm honoured to have the privilege of sending this note to you, introducing the inauguration of Rogers Chamber Connections.
The leaders of your Chamber and the founding committee for this event look forward to serving you at Rogers Chamber Connections.
You can register to attend this event at your Chamber’s website www.greaterkwchamber.com. Or, if you would like assistance then please contact Tara at TTurner@greaterkwchamber.com or Julie at JTedesko@greaterkwchamber.com.
Yours truly,
W.F.C. (Rick) Baker
Spirited Investors Corporation


Networking: The Joys of Connection

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