Peer mentors can provide a bigger boost than traditional mentors. Pity that few organizations bother to tap this hidden power

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Image: iStock

Management thinkers are not used to looking to the education or health-care systems for inspiration to improve organizations. If they did, they might appreciate a simple yet effective tool: peer mentorship.

Peer mentorship is what’s left when traditional mentorship is shorn of power dynamics. Peer mentoring refers to a one-on-one relationship between people of similar tenure, status, or age in which the more experienced person acts as an adviser for the less experienced peer. Imagine an upper-year Indigenous student role…


Companies with strong environmental, social, and governance metrics often do better in tough times. This pandemic may be different

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The Covid-19 pandemic has been miserable for business across the board, buzz-sawing through corporate plans and industry assumptions. But it also accelerated trends rumbling in the economy’s background. The virtual workplace, for better or worse, is here to stay. And, if you believe a growing chorus of market analysts, so too is sustainable investing.

During the pandemic’s first wave, J.P. Morgan polled investors from 50 global institutions (representing US$13 trillion in assets under management) on how they expected the pandemic to…


Dense friend networks and tight community ties give start-ups better access to bank loans and other formal investments

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Social capital is like a trump card that improves any hand you’re dealt. Having a dense network of family, friends and colleagues — or living in a trusting community in which members volunteer and look out for one another — is good for your mental and physical health and career development.

It’s even good for business. Research has shown that firms located in U.S. counties with high levels of social capital receive lower-cost bank loans, enjoy lower audit fees and report higher…


Why greenwashers and their ilk need some time in the rinse cycle

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Have we ever lived in a greener, more socially aware and public health-loving era of corporate activity?

The greenwashers tell me that bottled water is the most environmentally responsible product in the world. The coronawashers suggest I focus on the 2,700 ventilator parts that an arms manufacturer produced rather than on their main line of business. The wokewashers are proud to support Black Lives Matter, though their management ranks look awfully monochromatic. The pinkwashers say I can join the fight against breast cancer by buying their fried chicken dinner. …


Congestion pricing and car bans are great for the environment. But are they deadly for local businesses?

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In the late 1800s, big urban centres such as London and New York City were powered by horses, tens of thousands of them plodding on any given day. There were horse-drawn carts and drays, horse-drawn carriages, horse-drawn buses, even horse-drawn streetcars on rails (or “horsecars”). All those horses generated more than power: in New York City, residents had to deal with millions of pounds of horse manure each day, and London was no better. …


The wall of denial has been breached. Now is the time for fierce workplace conversations

diverse collection of people and colours
diverse collection of people and colours

Before George Floyd, before COVID-19, before Zoom and Teams became de facto workplaces, some of Canada’s top corporate diversity and inclusion (D&I) leaders came together to discuss the challenges of advancing their mission. It was October 2019.

The attendees identified six challenges facing their work. Two related to attitudes and behaviour: the perception that diversity and inclusion issues don’t exist, and the imperative of converting fear into empathy. Two had systemic dimensions: de-biasing recruitment policies and processes, and the persistent lack of role models. …


Sometimes you need to put the Gantt chart aside and use soft skills to get everyone on the same page

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Photo by Diggity Marketing on Unsplash

IT project failure is the business version of a highway crash: irresistible to watch yet a chilling reality check. After all, it could just as easily be you in that wreck.

Epic IT crashes, of course, get all the ink — fiascos such as the FBI’s Virtual Case File are stupefying in all their glory. Yet let’s not forget that fewer than half of all information systems development projects reach their final destination. Inadequate controls, unclear schedules and milestones, faulty…


Leaderless teams sputter when there’s an even mix of “learners” and “performers”

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Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

In the early 1950s, as Britain was recovering from the Second World War, coal miners in South Yorkshire began experimenting with new ways of extracting ore. Up until then, the scientific management principles of Taylorism ruled: like a cog in a vast machine, each miner performed only one of a number of essential functions involved in extracting coal. With management support, the miners reorganized themselves into self-managing teams that performed all the necessary jobs. …


An inspired social enterprise takes a fierce do-it-yourself approach that taps local strengths in novel ways

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The Fogo Island Inn

Fogo Island squats like a rock east of the island of Newfoundland, 25 kilometres (16 miles) long and 14 kilometres (9 miles) wide. Its tundra-like barrens, bogs, and wind-swept forests of balsam fir and black spruce make for a moody home for 2,300 souls who live in 11 small outport communities.

Fogo Island’s history has always been tied to cod, seal, and other fisheries. As a result, its people, drawn over the millennia from England and Ireland, have learned to be resilient. The island’s…


Winning equation: resilience + proactivity = 129 percent better chance of business survival

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There are certain things we know about first-time entrepreneurs based on intuition and evidence. Example: Faced with steep learning curves and pinched financial and human resources, newbie entrepreneurs dig deep into their emotional and psychological stores to get their enterprises off the ground. At least half will not succeed. The other half will find a way to cope with background stress and grinding uncertainty.

Those entrepreneurs that prevail are said to be resilient. They can bounce back from negative emotional experiences and adapt to changing circumstances. But…

Alan Morantz

I write about new management ideas. And other stuff. Author of Where Is Here: Canada’s Maps and the Stories They Tell.

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