190 Attwell Drive, Suite 650, Toronto ON M9W 6H8 | Tel: 416.498.1550 | Fax: 416.498.1029 | info@osborne-group.com

Changes that prove why elections DO matter

Posted by on Jul 18, 2018 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

During the run-up to the recent provincial election, there was much written about whether elections matter and whether it really makes a difference which party forms our government. The events of this past week demonstrate that it does in fact matter greatly and the impact of the change is immediate and far-reaching. It is no surprise to anyone that I am not an unbiased bystander in the drama unfolding in Ontario as the new conservative government flexes its muscles and assumes the reins of power. And it is not my intentîon to write a partisan political blog. However, as a business owner, I do want to make the point that a change in government is always a risky event – especially when the values of the new regime are so different from the outgoing one. Whether you are a not for profit that relies on government funding to provide your services to clients, or a company working hard to be successful in whatever sector you operate, the government of the day plays a crucial role in your ability to achieve your organizational goals. Substantive changes in policy direction create both threats and opportunities for business. This fact has been demonstrated in the past few weeks in a number of sectors. On the threat side, consider the fulfillment of a campaign promise to terminate the CEO of Hydro One which set in motion a number of events. This, of course, includes the entire Board of Directors and created a loss in the value of the company of nearly half a billion dollars at market close yesterday. On the other hand, an opportunity has been created by the new Government’s decision to allow the sale of beer and wine in corner stores, providing the convenience store industry with an entree into a brand new market previously closed to them. The cancellation of cap and trade signals to the relatively new Green energy sector (that this government is not particularly supportive of) means that they will need to refocus on markets outside of Ontario for growth and future success. The cancellation of rebates on electric vehicles and home energy efficiency retrofits will send automakers and small builders and contractors scrambling. Only time will tell whether the opportunities will offset the threats and whether business leaders in Ontario are astute enough to manage through what may be rocky times ahead. This comes from the uncertainty surrounding trade talks with our major export market and is amped up by the policy changes coming out of Queen’s...

Read More

Reflecting on Bernie Sanders’ Trip to Toronto to Discuss Canadian Healthcare

Posted by on Nov 24, 2017 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

I recently had the privilege of hearing Senator Bernie Sanders speak to a very engaged Toronto audience. Senator Sanders was in Toronto to get a first-hand look at what our universal healthcare system looks like. He toured three Toronto hospitals and had numerous conversations with healthcare providers and patients about the benefits of our publicly funded system. He also heard real-life examples that he can use to debunk some of the myths that are circulated in the US by those who oppose single payer, government funded, universal access healthcare. One such myth is the notion that the Canadian health care system does not support innovation despite many examples of groundbreaking work being done right here, just like the recent in-utero surgery done to prevent spina bifida in a newborn. Bernie considers the fight for universal healthcare in the US as a human rights movement, much like those launched decades ago for civil rights for Afro-Americans, the gay rights movement, or the fight for women’s rights. Sadly, none of these is quite over yet… but you get the idea. When asked by a student in the audience what Canadians can do to support the healthcare rights movement, Senator Sanders replied that we need to “get loud and blow our horns about what you have here in Canada… talk about what has been accomplished here”. By doing so we can bust some of those myths heard when talking to American family members, friends or colleagues. Societal change takes a groundswell – just ask some of those high-flying Hollywood celebrities and power brokers who have been taking advantage of more vulnerable people for years. Visit Osborne-group.com for other Principals’ ideas and opinions on a range of topics. The Osborne Group provides interim executive management, consulting and project support across all sectors and over a broad scope of service...

Read More

It’s Just Not Rational

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

I recently read an article that sets out 5 reasons why having women in leadership benefits an entire company. The writer’s argument goes something like this: if having more women in your workforce means better problem solving and profitability; if female leaders are more trusted, more collaborative, and make terrific mentors; and if millennial women are more educated than men, then why are there still large gender gaps in the percentage of women at all levels from entry level positions to top executive and governance roles. To strengthen this argument, consider the disparity in pay: full time employed women earn on average 19% less than their male counterparts. My question is, what exactly is going on? Clearly, there is no rational explanation for this disconnect. Back in the 1990s, the reason given was that there were not enough women in the pipeline and they had not yet advanced to senior levels. 2014 data tells us that 32% of senior management roles are filled by women, which seems like a pretty healthy pipeline. 47% of SMEs in Canada are totally or partially owned by women with average EBITA that is approaching parity. Surely there is a pool of talent here that could be drawn from to move the percentage of women on corporate boards above 20% in Canada. These numbers tell me that  the explanation must be irrational. There are lots of theories that take this tack. One suggests that no one objects to women in leadership roles anymore, they just prefer men. Another posits that deeply engrained gender norms in our society penalize women who defy them because the actions that leaders take are not what is expected from a woman. As one researcher put it, having  woman fulfills a leadership role may elicit negative reactions while she receives positive evaluation for her fulfillment of this role at the same time. How crazy-making is that? I see no easy answer to this dilemma, but I would encourage business and organizational leaders to consider the final argument put forward in the articles mentioned above. A 2016 survey of nearly 22,000 publicly traded companies in 91 countries confirmed what numerous studies over the last decade have found: more female leaders in top management positions correlates with increased profitability. What is business going to do about maximizing the benefits of this under-tapped resource? And, perhaps more importantly, when? By Jane Rounthwaite Executive Management & Coaching Visit Osborne-group.com for other Principals’ ideas and opinions on a range of topics. The Osborne Group provides interim executive management, consulting and project support across all sectors and over a broad scope of service...

Read More

Just How Firm Does the Handshake Need to be??

Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

This may seem like a trivial subject for a business blog but first impressions are very important. The experts say we make up our mind about whether we like a person in somewhere between 3 to 10 seconds. This is exactly the time in an encounter when a first handshake is happening so it is actually a pretty critical business issue. I shake hands with a lot of people in my professional and volunteer life so am quite an expert in how firm a handshake needs to be to convey the impression of a confident, appealing person. There is some science to what makes a handshake a pleasant experience. The optimal business handshake strikes a balance between a forceful grip and a limp noodle. Neither extreme is pleasant – I start many meetings with an aching hand as a result of an encounter with a bone crusher. Or looking for a tissue when the offered hand is both limp and damp! There is an easy way to test where your handshake falls on this continuum that has a self correcting mechanism built right in. Shake your own hand and assess how it feels. Cool and dry? Firm, but not painful? Now try it on someone near and dear to you – a spouse, a friend, an adult child perhaps.  The goal is a great handshake that makes people want to do it again, not keep their hand in their pocket when you’re leaving – probably without the job or the order. Jane Rounthwaite Executive Management & Coaching &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;&lt;br /&gt;<br /> &amp;lt;div style=”display:inline;”&amp;gt;&lt;br /&gt;<br /> &amp;lt;img height=”1″ width=”1″ style=”border-style:none;” alt=”” src=”//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/940422155/?value=0&amp;amp;amp;guid=ON&amp;amp;amp;script=0″/&amp;gt;&lt;br /&gt;<br /> &amp;lt;/div&amp;gt;&lt;br /&gt;<br />...

Read More

Are Canadian Entrepreneurs Ambitious Enough?

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

There is a lot of energy and public money being put into helping entrepreneurs get started in business. Innovation hubs like MaRS in Toronto and Communitech in Waterloo are focused on helping young entrepreneurs take their great ideas to market with courses, mentoring programs, and financing assistance. The universities are all about incubating start-ups that will build businesses based on the amazing research that is happening in their labs. But what happens after these companies are successfully launched? Where do they want to take their new enterprises? A blue ribbon business panel at a recent event at the Munk School of Global Affairs answered this question in a very disturbing way. They suggested that the ambition of most young entrepreneurs in Canada is somewhat limited and self-serving. Their goal is to get their companies to a point where they can be sold to another larger enterprise. Very few dream of scaling up their business to anchor a town or a community (like Blackberry did) or think about making a global success of their business over the long term. The collective long term result of this desire to sell at the earliest opportunity is the loss of control of our economic well-being in Canada. Once that promising business has been bought out, the purchaser is now pulling the levers of our economy – they can chose to close the company, move the jobs somewhere cheaper, or squash the threatening innovation. Surely we can expect more from the entrepreneurs who we supported with taxpayer dollars through their start-up. How do we support the building of sustainable Canadian companies which can compete in the global economy, are known for being adept and imaginative in their approaches to their markets, and are also proud to be good corporate citizens at home? May 5 is Startup Canada Day on the Hill in Ottawa. Entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders will come together for a dialogue to contribute recommendations to support startup and small business entrepreneurs and maybe some answers to the questions above. Jane Rounthwaite Executive Management & Coaching &lt;/p&gt;<br /> &lt;div style=”display:inline;”&gt;<br /> &lt;img height=”1″ width=”1″ style=”border-style:none;” alt=”” src=”//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/940422155/?value=0&amp;amp;guid=ON&amp;amp;script=0″/&gt;<br /> &lt;/div&gt;<br />...

Read More