With the opening of today’s Winter Olympics it’s a busy day in the city, and with all of the great things we’ve been hearing about the Opening Ceremonies, I might even be persuaded to take a break from the Xbox to watch them on TV. Later this weekend we’ll be taking a look at Mass Effect 2, Dante’s Inferno, Army of Two: 40th Day and Assassin’s Creed 2: Discovery for the DS. In the meantime, here’s a bit of the game play that’s been going on in the cave. I didn’t know that Mordin could sing. Interesting. Must investigate.
For today’s article, I would like to draw attention to a study of leadership in the Canadian workplace which was done by Edmonton’s Psychometrics Canada. An assessment publisher and consultant for the development and selection of people in business, government and education. There is a quick form to fill in prior to viewing the complete study, but I feel that the information which this study contains is worth the time.
In many cases strong leadership has resulted in dramatic effects on work engagement, team performance and innovation. However, the report also shows that poor leadership has negative effects on employee morale, project success and working relationships. I feel that in today’s business climate, good leadership is important not only in the success of a company, but also in the development of employees and their quest for career and creative satisfaction.
The study, which involved a poll of 517 human resources (HR) professionals across Canada, confirms that leadership is seen as an important area of organizational functioning and development. The majority (63.2%) see leaders as having a lot of influence over their organizations’ success, with only 2.5% reporting that leaders have very little influence. The most common effects of good leadership are increased motivation (85.5%), improved working relationships (85.1%), higher team performance (80.7%), better solutions to problems (68.9%), and major innovations (41.6%).
Leadership does have its downside, however. When not properly used, leadership can have negative effects. HR professionals have witnessed good people quitting and a lack of morale (91.7%), employees’ skills not being utilized (87.2%), feuding staff members (68.3%), and failed projects (60%). Three-quarters (76%) have also witnessed a disconnection between the organization’s goals and its employees’ work.
“These figures should be a strong alert to organizations that poor leadership could be causing them major problems,” said Shawn Bakker, psychologist at Psychometrics Canada. “Our results show that leadership is influential, and organizations with effective leadership in place are realizing a wide range of benefits including increased financial performance and improved work relationships.”
When asked to rate the importance of various leadership skills to success, 90% of respondents reported that communication is critically important, followed by dealing with change (52.6%), managing people (48.2%), setting goals (37.5%), solving problems (30.3%), and project management (12%).
The study also uncovered a serious gap between the ratings of importance for these skills and leaders’ current level of effectiveness. Only 27.8% of respondents rated leaders’ communication skills as effective, even though nine out of 10 see communication as a critical skill. Twenty-four per cent of respondents indicated that the leaders they know are not effective when it comes to dealing with change.
“What surprised me from our research was that, even with the understanding that leadership is key for organizational success, the leaders themselves were not actively pursuing their own development — despite the opportunities available,” said Mark Fitzsimmons, president of Psychometrics Canada.
Respondents cited a number of obstacles that get in the way of today’s leaders developing their skills. These include leaders not seeing the need for improvement (67.5%), not having enough time (63.1%), lacking support from superiors (50.1%), and having inadequate training budgets (41.6%).
Recommendations for Leaders
Recommendations for leaders to be more effective included talking less and listening more (81.4%), providing clear expectations (78.1%), having more informal interaction with staff (75.6%), clearly communicating how the organization plans to manage change (89.4%), assigning tasks to staff based on their skills rather than office politics (71.4%), holding people accountable (67.7%), giving employees more responsibility (64.6%), overcoming resistance to change (48%), and deferring to people with greater expertise (63.1%).
Halifax – Innovacorp have announced Tether as the provincial winner of the I-3 Technology Start-Up competition, awarding the company a $100,000 seed investment from Innovacorp to build on its early business success.
“Innovation leading to a robust knowledge-based economy is critically important to Nova Scotia’s prosperity,” said Premier Darrell Dexter. “Innovacorp’s I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition once again highlights the innovative and competitive entrepreneurial spirit that exists across Nova Scotia.”
Tim Burke and Stephen Hankinson have developed a simple and inexpensive way for laptop users to connect to the internet through smartphones, including the BlackBerry. For users who do not have free wired or WiFi access, but need to connect their laptops to the internet in an airport or a taxi, for example, Tether enables users to quickly connect through their smartphones, for a one-time fee, without incurring any additional charges. Tether has attracted worldwide media attention, including coverage in The New York Times, and has already been sold to thousands of users.
“This competition has both challenged and helped our company to improve our business approach,” said Tim Burke of Tether. “The cash, seed investment, and in-kind services we have won, combined with the exposure and credibility of being named first out of over 100 submissions, will propel our business forward.”
The provincial I-3 Technology Start-Up competition was launched on Sept. 9. In the weeks after the launch, Innovacorp received 133 formal submissions from entrepreneurs across Nova Scotia.
I-3 stands for idea, innovation and implementation, the early steps in the commercialization process. The competition identifies and supports high-potential early stage knowledge-based companies and encourages entrepreneurial activity across the province.
“Tether has a solid plan for future growth, a clear understanding of its target market, proprietary technology, and financial and operational feasibility,” said Dan MacDonald, president and CEO of Innovacorp. “We look forward to playing a key role in the bright future of this company and many others.”
The I-3 competition allows Innovacorp and its 29 partners to improve the business-building assistance they provide to knowledge-based companies in Nova Scotia.
In total, $800,000 in cash, seed investment, and in-kind business-building services was awarded to the 10 winners. In addition to the $100,000 seed investment given to the provincial winner, the first-place zone winners each received $100,000 in cash and in-kind business building services and the second-place winners won a $40,000 package.
Tether was selected as the provincial I-3 winner from among the five zone winners:
Zone 1 (Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough counties): LST Energy, Jim Trussler, Gus Swanson and Philip Landry, Pictou
Zone 2 (Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth counties):
Xona Games, Matthew and Jason Doucette, Yarmouth
Zone 3 (Digby, Annapolis, Kings and Hants counties):
Clare Machine Works Ltd., Vince Stuart, Meteghan Centre
Zone 4 (Halifax Regional Municipality):
Tether, Tim Burke and Stephen Hankinson, Halifax
Zone 5 (Victoria, Cape Breton, Inverness and Richmond counties):
Health Tech Outcomes, Corrine McIsaac, New Waterford
Innovacorp’s High Performance Incubation (HPi) business model, recognized internationally as a best-practice technology commercialization approach, incorporates incubation infrastructure, business mentoring, and seed and venture capital investment. Every day, Innovacorp staff provides hands-on business guidance, tailored to meet the unique and evolving needs of high-potential early stage technology companies.