A gift of curated content

With interests spanning the intersection of business strategy, marketing, communications, and organizational behaviour; branding, how to convert data into insights and actionable business strategy; market segmentation, opportunity selection and performance management; governance and corporate social responsibility; small business, social entrepreneurship and not-for-profit / for-profit-cause; community economic development; arts, education, mental health, and workplace wellness… just for starters… Exploring these topics seems to be a natural pull in my life. The content curated here unearths endless discoveries, and connections between concepts and ideas that are important to me. If you find even one item here of value, do let me know! With gratitude to all of those whose efforts made these resources available, thus this list possible, best wishes for the holiday season and the new year. G

1. Strategy
American Management Association (AMA) commissioned the Human Resource Institute (HRI) to conduct a literature review and a global survey focusing on the execution of strategy to find out what drives execution and what its primary components are. They also wanted to know if there are significant differences in how higher-performing and lower-performing organizations execute their strategies. Some of their findings: higher performers tend to be better at executing strategies; clarity is crucial to the execution of strategy; alignment practices are widely used and highly valued; speed and adaptability are differentiators; decision-making speed remains a major problem; employee engagement is a concern; leadership development seems to be a deficit in the area of execution; customer needs/demands and worker capabilities are the most important drivers of execution today; a lack of resources and the presence of government regulations are the primary barriers to strategy execution today. The report is longer the latest and greatest, but entirely relevant still. You’ll need to sign up to read it, but it’s free to do so.

2. Coaching Culture
A company’s culture can exert a powerful influence on the company’s business performance and many organizations have attempted to change their culture in order to better meet the demands for improved talent management in a more complex, diverse and global business environment. Creating a coaching culture requires new approaches to change, and the leaders surveyed in this research report identified five key strategies to achieve the desired end. Download Creating Coaching Cultures, a free CCL white paper, outlining results of a benchmark study that gives voice to 347 leaders regarding the trends for using coaching in organizations.

3. Life
In the spring of 2010, Harvard Business School’s graduating class asked professor Clay Christensen to address them on how to apply his principles and thinking to their personal lives. He shared a set of guidelines that have helped him find meaning in his own life. His thinking comes from his own deep religious faith, but the strategies are something anyone can use and are shared in this article “How Will You Measure Your Life” from HBR.

4. Work
A short little article I came across recently at Hcareers by Angela Rose entitled, “Warning Signs you May Need a New Job.”  Stuff happens, and upon reading it, you find yourself thinking, “I’m there,” then click through on the next link for a tool that is the foundation of my coaching practice because I believe the lessons in it have the power to change your life.

5. Personal Change
Written by the late Thomas Leonard, the “grandfather of personal coaching” and founder of Coach U, a virtual university that trains coaches from 30 countries (including me), The Portable Coach is on my top ten list of best books for personal change. Leonard presents 28 principles drawn from wisdom from psychology, career counselling, management consulting, and personal growth programs to provide a highly encouraging,  transformational blueprint that can help you shape your life, career, and relationships so that they are more satisfying and profitable, and fulfilling.

6. Accessibility
Through a partnership with the Government of Ontario, RGD Ontario has put together a guide entitled RGD-AccessAbility Handbook, which brings focus to the conversation of accessibility among print, web and environmental graphic designers. With more than 15% of the population in Ontario presently having some form of disability and a rapidly aging population, ensuring accessibility is crucial for improving people’s quality of life. While all design aspires to be accessible, we need to understand what impedes reading and understanding in print, web signage and what makes for more accessible spaces.

7. Mental Health
The Human Face of Mental Health and Mental Illness in Canada 2006 prepared by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, Health Canada, Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information is every bit as relevant today as when it was authored. The report was written to raise awareness and increase knowledge and understanding about mental health and mental illness in Canada

Since that time, mental health and mental illness have gained considerable attention but the reality remains that changing attitudes, beliefs and behaviours is a slow process. The paper “Mood Disorders Society of Canada (March 2009): Stigma research and anti-stigma programs: From the point of view of people who live with stigma and discrimination everyday”  is a 2009 follow-up document, outlining progress made in reducing stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and addiction, since the ’06 workshop.

8. Healthy Workplaces
Tying into number 7 above – here’s a link to a report entitled Building Mentally Healthy Workplaces, released in June 2011, indicating that  many employees remain fearful of disclosing their illness and reluctant to seek help due to due to the stigma of mental illness. I offer this up on the list because I believe many leaders are woefully unprepared to recognize how their personal values, organizational practices, and workplace culture impacts their employees.

9. Science, Creativity and Passion
Sea Change Strategies is a boutique strategic marketing and fundraising group “specializing in high intensity partnerships with remarkable causes.” They sponsored an eBook entitled “Lisa Simpson for NonProfits: What Science Can Teach You About Fundraising, Marketing and Making Social Change.”

It’s a foray into “the world of science and why it matters for non-profit communicators” and explores the question, “Why do people give, and how do we get them to give more?”, from the perspectives of science, creativity and emotion-values. Although intended for non-profit marketers there are many valuable lessons to be learned for that other sector, and an awesome little ‘values modes’ chart on page 20 from research and strategy firm, Cultural Dynamics. That chart outlines categories of the ten dominant values they believe people use to guide their lives.

I found this intensely interesting as a marketer, communicator, and coach, particularly in light of my recent immersion in an ethics course that included a significant exploration of ‘cultural competency’ in healthcare; an exploration that emphasised, for me, in addition to being a significant ethical priority in clinical practice, an emerging strategic priority in business and communications of being able to appeal to and identify with groups outside of your traditional value set. Again, you’ll need to register to access. Well worth it.

10. Corporate Social Responsibility
The revised edition of the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) Good Company Guidelines for Corporate Social Performance funded by the Province of British Columbia’s Green Economy Secretariat. Based on the premise that business makes enormous impacts on our planet’s ecosystems and social networks, the authors suggest that socially responsible business leaders need to understand, measure, and report on the social, environmental, and financial impacts of business operations. These guidelines provide a step-by-step process to support companies to develop “a new world vision for sustainable business practices”; developed for Canadian business by Canadian business, this report is at the end of their list – there are several other excellent papers [here].