"The four most important words in any organization: 'what do you think?'"
Dave Wheeler

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 351

Estimated reading time:  2:15 minutes


Good morning from sunny Saskatoon. I’ve been moderating and facilitating at the national credit union conference here, and having a wonderful time reconnecting with long time colleagues and making new connections.


Our work has been inspiring and provocative, and in the shadow of a collective disbelief here in Canada as the city of Fort McMurray has been devastated by wildfires. Famous as the epicentre of Canada’s oil sands production, Ft. Mac is home to some 88,000 people, all of whom have been evacuated. Coming on the heels of the drop in oil prices last year, this is a tough blow to the many families who have now lost homes.


In the midst of such catastrophic news, there are calls to leadership from every corner. Heaven forbid you ever find yourself in such awful situations, but if you do, keep three things in mind as a leader.


  1. A first question to ask yourself is, “who do I want to be in this situation?” Exploring this question will engage the thinking part of your brain and mitigate the power of the emotional triggers going on around you.
  2. Get connected; collective effort is always more effective in challenging times. As tempted as you may be to “be a hero”, the real power is in the group working and learning together through the challenges. You may have the final say, but always be connected with others who can engage and explore alternatives with you.
  3. It is vital that you find at least a few minutes of quiet time every few hours. Go inside yourself and check; am I being who I want to be here? Am I working with others or trying to be the hero? What do I want to have happen here, what are the goals and are we working towards them?


Using these three ideas will help you lead people in the midst of very challenging times.



Please keep the people of Fort McMurray in your thoughts and prayers.