August 2023

  • Having fun at work is a good thing

    It’s important to have fun at work. Not every hour, day, or necessarily every week, even. But overall, you should be able to find opportunities to interject some fun into your work. Successfully completing challenging professional goals is difficult so being able to find humour and cultivating a culture where levity is normalized is incredibly important. Having some fun is an important aid and complement to hard work.

    Additionally, a huge amount of your time is spent working. If you’re able to find elements of fun in it, it makes your entire work experience that much more positive. While that’s not a revolutionary concept, it’s something you rarely hear spoken about as an explicit objective, despite the fact that it can be a really important feature of a healthy work culture.

    There is a key distinction between the concept of having fun with your colleagues and becoming personal friends with them. Being ‘friends’ with your colleagues is certainly not a pre-requisite to having fun and enjoying working with them. I have worked with many colleagues that I wouldn’t want to spend meaningful time with outside of work, and yet have really enjoyed the experience of working closely together with over many years. I see people rightfully be wary of how close of a relationship they develop with a boss or direct report (and occasionally peer); however, you can remain colleagues and still have a lot of fun working together and from my perspective, that’s not only ok, it’s also a wonderful thing.

  • Go above and beyond when it matters most

    Sadly, at some point in your career, you are going to have a peer, boss, or direct report face some type of tough personal challenge. What that is will vary greatly, but you will know it when it happens… it could be the passing of a family member, a natural disaster that displaces them, or a really bad illness.

    When this (unfortunately) happens, it’s important to Go Big. Go above and beyond. Demonstrate compassion when it really matters. Beyond the altruistic reasons, these are the milestone moments that people remember long into the future. When you’re down and out, those that step up and support you make a meaningful impression. And this is a case where actions speak much louder than words: approve their time off, cover them while they are gone, intercept that pesky client or sales prospect so they don’t have to think about it. It will mean something.

    My business partner, Amin, is exceptional at this and I have learned a lot observing how he handles these types of situations. To use a very minor/micro version of a personal example. In early 2021, Julia and I got COVID. This was still in the earlier period (pre-vaccine) when it was scary, and there was still a stigma around it; most people in Canada didn’t have a 1st-degree connection that had been infected. In the first 24 hours, Amin and his wife Maleka asked if they could help in anyway: we of course said no, not to bother, we would be fine. The next day, unannounced, they showed up in the backyard with a huge bag of goodies (some of our favourite foods, medicine, etc.). This really stuck with me: taking action to help goes much further than simply offering it. Demonstrating compassion through action without burdening the recipient with the need to ask is going big.

  • A reminder can be as powerful as a lesson

    When first starting at Avanti, I was really eager to brush up on my leadership skills and did a ton of reading and listening to help accelerate the learning curve. There’s a wealth of knowledge available via books and podcasts. I sought out and found many gracious folks willing to provide informal mentorship. I also joined a professional peer-group and signed up for 1-on-1 CEO coaching. Overall, I found a lot of value across a broad array of resources in approaching many situations for the first time.