If it feels right then it probably is.

This is a very simple message one of my mentors once gave me when dealing with a particularly challenging management issue.

There are many different styles of leadership.  It may be the case that different circumstances require different approaches – a restaurant manager leading a team in a fast paced retail environment may require a different approach than the managing partner of an accounting firm.

My friend Martin Ertl who was the UBC Alumni Association board chair, co-founder of Navarik and is now founder and CEO of Contractual.ly shared this link on three ways to help people get things done: http://ow.ly/3JSUg .

(1) The bully with the heart of gold.

(2) Creating scarce prizes.

(3) Open the door.

I’ve used method one (in my first business, a 325 seat restaurant) and method three (in my second business, a computer services firm and in various volunteer leadership roles).

I feel best and it feels most natural when I just open the door.  Setting the overall goal and direction, fostering the organization’s culture, bringing really good people around the table, getting them into the right positions, providing them resources and support and then just letting them go and do great things.

I find it works best with professionals, self-motivated and driven people and it works best when those around the table are more skilled than me in their particular areas of expertise.  It also works best when the job at hand requires more than one person!

If you’re leading an organization, starting a new company or manage a team this is worth a quick read.


I have been helping UBC with the formation and launch of an exciting new program called entrepreneurship@UBC.

Along with the Sauder School of Business, the Faculty of Applied Science and the Faculty of Science, UBC’s UILO has been an integral part of the thinking behind what student entrepreneurs might need.

Enter a new and innovative program launching out of the UILO called “Start-up Services Voucher”.  If you’re a student, faculty, staff or a recent alumn (three years or less) you can receive up to $5000 worth of in-kind services including:

  • market assessments
  • IP assessments
  • business planning
  • grant writing, and;
  • company in a box resources.

Visit http://www.entrepreneurship.ubc.ca/2011/uilo-start-up-services-voucher to learn more!


January 9, 2011

Why does bureaucracy have to run in hand with an organization’s growth? Why can’t nimble decision making and entrepreneurial speed remain with companies as they mature?

See this piece on the slowing down of the uber-entrepreneurial Google.


The shortage of family doctors is no secret in British Columbia.  As a consequence of this shortage, many British Columbian’s resort to walk-in clinics for their simpler medical checkups.  The problem with these clinics is that they are often so busy that patients are sometimes waiting hours.

Enter Clinicbook.ca.  Robin, Winnie and Joel are building a tool giving patients the opportunity to see wait times in real time.  Additionally, their building the “Open Table” for dentists – looking for a new dentist, just visit Clinicbook to find them and book your first appointment.  All done online.

Check out this vignette to learn more!