Leadership is About Having a Vision

…and being able to inspire others with it. 

(It’s also about being competent and trustworthy, but if you’ve gotten this far I’m going to assume you have those under control)

It Takes a Village

Or as my sergeant used to say: “Those that plan the battle don’t battle the plan”

Urgent Doesn’t Mean Valuable

Don’t confuse deadlines with high-value work. Here’s the difference: 

The Secret Weapon of Success

It’s a simple thing that helps us re-frame, especially when things get rough.


What’s the Score?

Are you clear about the value you bring to work every day? Is everybody in your company clear about how they contribute to succcess? 

Would You Date Your Company?

What is your company’s personality? 

Highly Valued Yet Rare

Being more accountable, and helping others be accountable

Conversations That are Killing Your Business


It’s not the one you think it is…

Track and Post – Setting Goals that Get Done #5

My niece, who I’m very proud of, recently completed her last year of gymnastics competition. She had a full-ride scholarship to the University of Illinois in Chicago. After winning her senior competition (and posting a personal best score), she went on to state championships (another personal best) and regional. All while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

I tell you this because I want you to imagine how successful she would have been if her coach had – instead of daily if not minute-by-minute feedback on the gym floor – given her quarterly or yearly performance reviews? How successful she would have been if her teachers hadn’t told her what her marks on her papers were until the end of the semester?

She had big goals (win competitions, keep a high GPA), broke them down into specific, actionable milestones (get better at balance beam so I can score well in the March competition for example), and worked hard every day with feedback from her coaches to improve.

I also know that every member of the team knew where they stood every day as far as their personal best score, and their rankings in the NCAA that week, and what their best routine was.

That kind of “track and post”, where progress towards a goal is posted and visible – whether it’s a personal goal, or a team environment – actually improves your chances of success. Of course if you have a goal, you are more likely to be successful at it. Of course if you get accurate, timely feedback, you’re going to get better.

But if you do both together, both set a goal and get accurate, timely feedback, you more than double your chance of reaching that goal.

And remember, when you’re the manager, the job of providing that accurate, timely feedback falls to you.

Who Are You? Brand Values as Drivers of Business Success

Patti (my partner and sweetie) and I are speaking at PARK Fashion’s Emerging Artist and Designer Forum at Olds College Calgary campus this weekend. If you’re there, come say hello!

Have you always wanted to learn about the art and fashion industry but didn’t know who to talk to? The Emerging Artist & Designer Forum is bringing together those wanting to grow in the industry, and the professionals who have made it happen.

You won’t want to miss the presentation, “Who Are You? Brand Values as Drivers of Business Success ” by Patti Derbyshire & Bernie May of Torch Motorcycles.

In less than 18 months, Torch Motorcycles built out an aggressive operation and monster brand, entering the fashion and apparel world globally. Learn how values-driven practices lead to growth and profile. Draw a tangible line between who you are as a person, the company and people you work with, and who you attract to work with you (and more importantly who you don’t!) What story do you tell, who gets excited and eager to work with you, and what makes your creativity and passion want to burst out of your chest?

Vogue Italia, Fashion Magazine, Harpers Bazaar/Beijing, Summit and front page feature in MAKE Magazine (July 2015).

Patti Derbyshire – Patti is a catalyst, community organizer, and business leader in Calgary’s creative economy. As Chair of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, and marketing professor at Mount Royal University’s Bissett School of Business, she draws upon her eclectic professional career in broadcasting, design, cultural marketing, start-up ventures, and music industry management. Patti’s first bike was provided by her older brother, who didn’t want to drive her around all the time. She didn’t mind. She always gets a big grin on her face whenever she rides.

Bernie May – Bernie has been riding for 15 years, after he figured out that promises made to your mother when you’re twelve don’t count when you’re an adult. He has been a signals officer, programmer, and project manager. He built robotic landmine detectors, frequency-hopping encrypted radios, and command and control software delivered into active war zones. Today he shows business owners how to be better leaders. He loves building things (starting with plastic models as a kid), beautiful design, good food and music, and seeing the world in ways that let him breathe fresh air.