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Curt Vossen of Richardson International on speaking the same language

People First

Richardson International eases transition through communication

With its agreement to purchase Viterra assets — including grain handling, crop input and processing facilities — Winnipeg-based Richardson International has taken its rightful place on the international stage and will soon assume the title of Canada’s largest agribusiness. Richardson is a worldwide handler and merchandiser of Canadian-grown grains and oilseeds, and its wealth of expertise in agriculture, oilseed processing and food packaging has made it a global business leader and one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies.

First 60 minutes can make your workday

Colleen Coates

Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Fortunately, this wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but is a colourful metaphor for smart time management: get the most undesirable task out of the way first thing, and the balance of your day will go much smoother. Tackling the least desirable job first may come as a bit of a surprise strategy, especially to slow starters who prefer wading into the workday one toe at a time, but it’s one way to ensure you make the most of your first 60 minutes of your day.

Three questions can change your world

Colleen Coates

Well it’s March already — two months since you made those New Year’s resolutions and maybe two months into your organization’s new fiscal year. Sadly, many of us have either already failed to follow through on what seemed like a reasonable goal (10 pounds should miraculously fall off the hips as long as chocolate does not hit the lips), or even worse, haven’t set any goals (I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m sure I’ll get there).

Top challenges for businesses in 2013

Colleen Coates

As we ring in the new year, it is often a time to pause and reflect on past successes and maybe some transgressions with hopes of improving in the coming year. I asked three of our resident wise men and women what troubled our clients the most over the past year and how they planned to reduce their woes. Our industry experts provide uniquely valuable insight to help business leaders attract and reward the people who will ensure they continue to succeed by enabling their employees to do well at every stage of their career. Here are the top three common challenges our experts saw in 2012:

Jim August of Forks North Portage Partnership on building a diverse organization

John McFerran

Jim August relishes the opportunity to promote Winnipeg whenever and wherever he can. In fact, the CEO of The Forks North Portage Partnership has been talking up his organization’s mandate to “contribute to making Winnipeg’s downtown a better place to live, work and play,” and people around the world are taking notice.

“I’m a member of The Waterfront Center (an international, non-profit urban planning organization focused on enhancing communities’ waterfront resources), and recently did a presentation to the group on our winter river trail, with its skating and its warming huts. It blew them away, mainly because most had never seen ice on a river before,” August says with a laugh. “But they were very impressed by what Winnipeg is capable of doing despite our climate.”

Don’t panic going into job search

Colleen Coates

Whether you are looking for a new job, a better job or simply any job that will help make ends meet, it’s important to come up with an effective strategy to ensure your hunt goes smoothly.

It may be tempting to throw yourself into a “no rock left unturned” frenzy of sending out resumés, filling out applications and answering online job postings. Yet, it is essential not to panic and instead clarify your career goals, focus your job search and develop a strategy for presenting yourself as the best qualified and most desirable candidate.

Compassion takes sting out of “You’re fired”

Colleen Coates

Perhaps you have heard the tale about getting a pink slip in with your paycheque as a way of finding out about your employment termination. This tale dates back to the early 1900s and I’ve yet to see an organization actually do this. However, a quick media search finds many stories where employees have been victims of deplorable actions by their employer. One such case was the U.S. convenience store chain owner who held a contest for employees to guess who would be fired next in order to win a cash prize. Another high-profile termination was that of Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz who was terminated over the telephone. Then there were the RadioShack Corp. employees who found out they were being let go when they received an email explaining that workforce reduction was being carried out and “unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated.”

The reality is losing your job can be a horrible and even devastating experience, but the good news is most employers are caring and realize terminations don’t have to be a dreadful experience, according to Eileen Kirton, regional vice-president of KWA Partners, leaders in career management services.

Ted Sherritt of FloForm on Cornering the Market

John McFerran

Floform continues to grow by knowing its product and its people

Unlike some businesses tempted to diversify as part of their growth strategy, Ted Sherritt’s company has expanded simply by staying true to the one and only product it has made since 1961 — countertops.

“Making post-form, laminate countertops is where Floform started more than 50 years ago. It was an innovative product that the founders truly pioneered and championed and it helped them dominate the industry,” says Sherritt, who took over as company president and CEO in 2000.

Judy Murphy of Safety Services Manitoba being the new leader

John McFerran

Across the province, there appears to be a renewed focus on creating healthier, safer workplaces. With this increased awareness, it is fitting that Safety Services Manitoba (SSM), the foremost safety services provider specializing in full-service programming in occupational safety, road safety and community safety, has put a renewed focus on strong leadership.

“Safety and related issues are everywhere, but at the same time, we also have a long way to go in terms of ensuring awareness and compliance,” says SSM president and CEO Judy Murphy, who joined the organization in May.

Strategic planning a map to growth

Colleen Coates

It’s been said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any route will get you there.” This is why organizations need to put such great effort into strategic planning. Without a map to sustainable growth, a business is not likely to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Saying that strategic planning is an important process is an understatement. Not only does it help to define short- and long-term goals and set the direction of the organization, it also provides a means of allocating the necessary resources and capital to achieve the desired outcomes.

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