The Importance and Impact of Having your Own Personal Board of Directors

Many women I meet worry about having to network – believing that men are better at it than women. They feel they are disadvantaged and missing out because of this.


The trick to networking is not going to lots  of meetings, but identifying the key network of allies who have your back. These are trusted advisors who understand your contribution to the world of work. Some of them will be people of influence that you can consult, share concerns with and whom you can depend on to be your champions. They can put you in touch with the right people and put you forward when they hear about the right opportunities. You also want your virtual board to have a network of experts and a network of introducers.

You will come to realise that you don’t have to be alone and you don’t have to do it all yourself as many women in our surveys seemed to believe to be true. Through your virtual board, you will find the resources, encouragement and support to move beyond these...

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Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

Back in 2016, I was delivering an International Women’s Day Webinar for global recruitment firm Morgan McKinley. Watching one of the clips from the webinar, I was initially struck by the thought that, due to the Equalities Act, my response would be different in 2020.  But the fact of the matter is, if we’re talking about conflict and bias, my approach would be the same.

Let’s take a look.

Webinar participant: “I find that I am coming up against the obstacle that male leaders in the organisation presume that I will be planning to start a family soon and this is getting in the way of my progression.  How do I deal with this?”

My response:

“This is clearly unfortunate for young women who haven't had their families yet.  It comes down to understanding your manager’s unconscious bias…think about where they are at and their point of view…where are they coming from?

Often when we know that our manager or people in the...

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Critical Friends

My word, it’s tough being an itinerant chronicler of the peccadilloes of the business world. I had a blog all prepared ready to be uploaded this morning and, as is my custom, gave it to my wife to get her opinion.  I’ll spare you the painful discussion, but she didn’t like it.  

I’m always at pains to distinguish myself from glossy self-help authors, so I’ll spare you the cloying description of the mutual respect we have in our marriage which led me to bin my latest meisterwerk without a protest (but just wait till the next time she goes out without locking the back door).  Nevertheless, it was a sobering reminder that if you ask someone’s opinion, you’d better make sure you’re prepared to act on the consequences.

Inviting criticism is not for the faint hearted. Indeed, the last time I asked a client for feedback, he told me he was surprised I’d never had my crooked teeth fixed.  (Hmmm, I’m starting to...

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A Cautionary Tale

One of my mother’s great achievements during my childhood, apart from her penchant for singing obscure music hall songs, was being able to recite from memory Hilaire Belloc’s poem ‘Matilda, who told lies and got burnt to death’.  She would repeat this feat on an almost weekly basis, which accounts for my strong moral core, and my nervous tic. 

Belloc never wrote any poems set in an organisation – about time something was done about that…

Cautionary Tales For Managers (with apologies to Hilaire Belloc)

No. 1: Samantha, who refused to delegate and was ‘disappeared’


Samantha Tamsin Thornton-Briar
Was a corporate high-flier.
Hand-picked from University
Her progress through the hierarchy
Was rather quick, I have to say.
Succession planning paved the way
For her to be divisional head
(“And well deserved” - so HR said).


Now something that is clear to all
(At least to those people who scrawl
Their own notes in the...

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More Than One Label

The only thing consistent about today’s highly driven business world is that it is not consistent. Technology is replacing human beings faster than you can say “artificial intelligence.” Digital technology is constantly changing the workspace in amazing new ways. Increasing globalism has made it more likely that we will talk to someone in Saudi Arabia before lunchtime than we will the guy down the hall at the office - that is, for organizations that still have an office, given the fact that increasing numbers of company employees are working from home. With these always-increasing changes in the organizational environment, a new kind of business consultant is needed, one that is multifaceted and able to not only “think outside the box,” as the saying goes, but is willing to turn the box inside out if needed! Into this vacuum steps the polymath.


So what is a polymath, you ask? “Polymath” is a 17th-century Greek word used to describe...

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The Symbiosis of Business and Nature

This coming weekend – weather permitting – take a stroll in Nature, your favorite park, or work in your garden, and learn a few key points about business.

Clear your mind, take a deep breath of fresh air, and just observe. Watch the interactions between humans, young and old, in the outdoors. Watch the dogs, and the children, as they frolic in the park; watch people jog, run, bike and walk their pets. Carefully observe their faces and their mannerisms as they all spend time in nature.

It’s been reported in the business press that a number of progressive Silicon Valley firms such as Microsoft and the like often meet outdoors for brain-storming sessions. There is a reason for that. Being outdoors opens up the world and affords people a fresh perspective that can lead to vital new ideas.

Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity was developed as he sat outdoors beneath an apple tree and devoted his thoughts to the mysteries behind a fallen apple.

Now shift your focus to...

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The Ideal Time for You to Ask for Referrals

One of the most effective and efficient ways to increase your sales is with referrals. 

Why?  Because when someone comes to you via referral they have the majority of their buying decision made – making your sales conversations more helpful to your potential client and profitable for you.

When you are looking for ways to increase your referrals, you may overlook the important detail of when you are asking for referrals.

“When you ask” includes the timing within your sales cycle and the timing within your sales conversations. Be sure to include these critical elements when you are looking to increase the number of referrals you are getting.

Timing is important because if you ask for referrals too soon or too late, you reduce your chances of getting referrals (worst case scenario) or you make it harder for you to get referrals (best case scenario).

Have you asked for a referral too soon? 

There are signs for you to read from your clients...

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Is Your Sales Mindset Stunting Your Business Growth?

Have you ever noticed that many entrepreneurs talk passionately about growing their businesses, yet, in the same breath, they say they hate selling?

This is like saying you want to win the New York City Marathon but you hate running. Counterintuitive, isn’t it?  

Sales is the life blood of your business. Learning to appreciate it and hopefully love it is crucial to your business’ growth. 

Part of the reason sales has such a bad rap is because people often use stereotypical models as their measure.

Recently I was introduced to Amir. We engaged in a pleasant conversation when Amir asked what I did. I told him I was a sales author.

His response revealed his perception of sales.

He said, “Really? But you seem so nice.” And at the same time, he took a step back.

This is like others who lean back when they find out I’m a sales author.   You may think this kind of response is out of the norm, but it’s not.

This begs the...

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I'm A Fraud, And I'm Owning Up To It!

“I can’t believe they actually think I can do this job!” 

I asked my former boss that very question.  He was the CEO of large global multinational.  He looked at me surprised.   He smiled and said yes!  I couldn’t believe it! I thought it was just me that had silly random thoughts.

It’s called Imposter syndrome and sometimes no matter how much you have studied, trained and achieved success it rears its ugly head.

The syndrome makes you feel like you are a fraud even when you’re not.  You often spend your time worrying you will be found out and considered a fraud.

Everyone suffers from it at one time or another. Actors, Writers, Sports Figures and probably some doctors, although I like to think that it never crosses the minds of the world’s best Neurosurgeons!

This week I was quite surprised to learn that I’ve been nominated for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Of The Year Award.

My first...

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