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Leading for Tomorrow #GOA #AET #yam #yegit #tc

On Monday June 6, 2011 I had an opportunity to speak to the Department wide Leadership team from the AdvancedEducation and Technology ministry at the Province of Alberta.  I was welcomed by the Honourable Minister Greg Weadick, and shared the panel with Peter Watsonwho is currently the Deputy Minister ofAlberta Energy.   I also want to thank and recognize Annette Trimbee, Deputy Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, she and her leadership team are doing awesome and amazing things as they develop leaders at AET.

It was a real honour to be at the event and to share insights from my own personal leadership journey.  I took the opportunity to challenge the 70+ leaders in the room, to be change, not only in AET, but to show up as change across the government of Alberta.  At the event I promised the team that I would make my notes and any relevant resources available via my blog, so here they are.

Notes from the event !


My leadership journey and leadership philosophy.

In IT – Public/Private for 28 Years

Have had many great mentors & Leaders

Have watched many people who thought they were leaders crash and burn

Leadership is Not about Control – or Dictating Direction – The days of command and control are long gone.

Leadership is about letting go, building capacity, supporting those leaders with you ( with title and without a title) – Being purposeful and genuine – holding people to account – recognizing peoples success and asking permission to give advise.

Getting to a point where you have nothing to lose – if you can lose something then you are not prepared to take risks !

Trying new things – listening to the people around you – Have great advisors around you.   People who challenge you and people who you can challenge- “Always give permission to pull me back”

Daniel Pink in his book – DRIVE says people are looking for 3 things, Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose – AS a leader you can create an environment where everyone can be successful – Even in Government – Let me rephrase that – ESPECIALLY in Government

My Leadership philosophy is one of Co-Creation – providing clarity and direction as to where I believe we need to go, then drawing the leaders around me to design and build it together – no more tada – more like aha.


1.   To what do you attribute the success you have had in leadership positions?

As a leader i started to be “successful” when I realized that there was more that I did not know, then what I actually knew.  When I stopped believing that as the leader I always had to have an answer.  Sometimes its okay to say “I don’t know”.  Working for great leaders who saw the leadership potential in me, who mentored me, coached me, Gave me opportunities.

2.   What advice do you have for leaders as they lead through change and prepare the next generation of leaders for tomorrow?

Leading thru change requires connection with a greater outcome than the change itself – IT Transformation , Have F&F – Desire F&F for all 350 people in IT at the city.

On preparing leaders – makes space for them to lead ( give them real opportunities) support them, then get out of their way.  Be available but not close, and be ready when they show up at your door to support you !

3.   What do you envision leadership in the public sector will require 20 years from now?

IN 2031 the world will be a very different place, the next generation beyond the current next generation will be the up and coming leaders.  I believe organizations will have less structure and more fluidity, teams and their leaders emerging for a purpose and an outcome then morphing to meet the next need.

4.    What development or learning best prepared you for leadership roles?

Well for my current leadership role my previous role in another organization prepared me.  Lots of character building, one year I reported to 7 different ppl.   Your real character emerges when you are in difficult situations.  Also looking back on what I DID NOT DO, has shaped me, even in my current role, if I had a do over I would change some things.

5.  Looking back, what do you now wish you had known before pursuing leadership roles?

Three things

1) Hold your self to account and hold those around you to account.

2)  Make the tough decisions – Everyone benefits

3)  Be vulnerable and transparent – People can tell

How would you have better prepared for your leadership roles?

Read more, listened more, asked more questions


6.   What is the most common mistake you see made by new leaders?  What is your advice to leaders to overcome this?


Most common mistake – Still trying to be a Friend

Advice – Listen Generously – Speak  last – Seek first to understand before you are understood

What final piece of advice do you have for leaders to promote better leadership practice?

1) Be real, Genuine and available

2) Respond to emails in person

3) Recognize the work of people around you

4) Be unique – “Thank You “ and Welcome Cards



Open as a Way of Being

Putting Open to the Test

Drive, Daniel Pink

The leader who had no title, Robin Sharma

Good to great, Jim Collins

Leading out loud, Terry Pearce

Execution, Bossidy/Charan

Leading Change, John Kotter

The Heart of Change, John Kotter