HRMA Conference: WHY LEADERS FAIL: Igniting Followership

March 18th, 2016


HRMA Conference 2016

When: Tuesday, April 26th @ 1:45pm
Where: Vancouver Convention Centre West
What: WHY LEADERS FAIL: Igniting Followership – The Untapped Organizational Resource
Sandra Reder (Vertical Bridge)
Debra Finlayson (VerticalBridge)
DESCRIPTION: Statistics show that organizations spend a lot of time, effort and money on leadership development, but that they ultimately may not be getting the results and outcomes they are looking for. Statistics also show that the younger generation of workers is looking for an employer who supports and develops them in their careers.
Imagine if your organization obtained complete harmony between Leaders and Followers where key Followers not only supported their leaders, but made them better leaders. Is there a gold mine of unrealized productivity lying hidden in your organization?

What is Followership and why should we care?

March 17th, 2016

followership example

Leadership is co-produced!

By Debra Finlayson, Followership Consultant

Are ineffective followers actually responsible for World War II?

Ira Chaleff, author of ‘The Courageous Follower”, opined in his classic book on Followership “If we’d had effective followers surrounding Hitler, he would not have risen to power”. And while you or I may have lessor challenges than preventing the rise of the Third Reich, the success of our organizations is still impacted not just by the quality of our leaders, but by the quality of our followers, and not just any followers.  It turns out that the type of people who could have prevented Hitler’s rise to power are the same type of people who hold the potential to unleash huge gains in productivity for your organization. They’re called “Exemplary Followers” and knowing they exist brings you half-way toward harnessing their power for positive change. Read more

View from the Bridge: The Key to Giving Effective Feedback

March 03rd, 2016

View from the Bridge header

February is the month of romance and love and most of us celebrate this with our someone special. What many employers don’t realize is that they have teams that also require attention and support, not just in February but throughout the year. Read more

Surrey Board of Trade: Mentoring Program To Be Launched in 2016

February 12th, 2016

SBOT Debra Finlayson

Credit: The following is an excerpt from the SBOT’s BUSINESS in SURREY (February & March 2016)

The Surrey Board of Trade works hard to advocate on behalf of the needs of our members and the business community of Surrey. Our 400 hard-working volunteers review issues and challenges that affect businesses and the economic potential of Surrey. Our teams, along with staff, proactively research and identify critical concerns and develop policy positions and advocacy statements.

Our best volunteers are our members. Let us know what concerns you have and consider joining one of the advocacy teams. Read on to find one that fits your knowledge and passion.

Human Resources

Chair: Debra Finlayson

Human capital, workplace development and labour legislation is vital to our new Global Economy. The Surrey Board of Trade recognizes their centrally positioned location within a high labour growth region and believes that providing sound workforce development and integration is a necessary economic strategy for businesses in Surrey. The Mentoring Action Group (MAG), a team within the HRAT, is developing a Mentoring Program to be launched in [May of] 2016 based on enhancing Essential Skills (ES) as a direct response to the ‘job ready’ appeals of local and member businesses. Contact



View from the Bridge: Why do leaders fail?

February 12th, 2016

 View from the Bridge header

Happy belated New Years to you!

The Vertical Bridge team is anticipating an exciting year. One of the goals we set in late 2015 was to assert ourselves as experts in the emerging discipline of Followership. It’s a compelling concept that takes a more holistic look at your organization’s performance. For decades, a big emphasis in HR was on developing leaders and while no one would argue the leadership concept is wrong, Followership contends that it is an incomplete paradigm. Followership asserts that both followers and leaders in an organization “co-produce” leadership. This magic alchemy is what can unleash the gains in productivity that everyone seeks.
Read more

Are you ready to have your best year ever???

January 26th, 2016

2016 Planning & Goal Setting Tips

Author: Laurie Caldi, CHRP, HR Consultant

This past holiday season, I kept hearing John Lennon ask, “And what have you done?  Another year older, and a new one just begun.”  So it feels like the perfect time to talk about what we want to accomplish as we turn the calendar to 2016.

It helps to think of the end results first.  Goal setting is usually a mandatory (though often dreaded) process in the workplace, but what about all the other aspirations we have both personally and professionally?  If you want to look back on 2016 as a year full of accomplishments and personal bests, give the following approach a try.

A former boss once shared her annual ritual with me and I’ve carried on the tradition ever since.  Book an overnight retreat for yourself or for you and your partner.  Find somewhere quiet away from all of the day-to-day interruptions. The purpose?  To get away from life’s busy distractions and focus on writing down all of your goals for the coming year.  Remember, if you’re doing this with a partner, a great partnership is more than just companionship, it’s about challenging one another and helping to bring out the best in each other.  Think about goals for all aspects of your life – fitness goals, trips you want to take, roles you covet, how you want to give back, professional aspirations, new skills to acquire, saving targets, etc.   Don’t impose any boundaries, just anything and everything you want to achieve.

Once you’ve “brain dumped” all of your ideas, make them SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound).  I know, I know we’ve overdosed on “SMART” goals, but like Maslow’s needs, tell us enough times and it eventually sticks! J  It’s important to add a column for timing and add the month or quarter for each goal, and gradually, it starts to shape how the coming year can unfold for you.

Remember: you start by focusing on the end game.  It’s not unlike a process my teacher once guided me through in high school, when he asked us to write our own eulogy.  What do you want to achieve and what do you want to be known for?  Time is fleeting and how much of it any of us have is the big unknown.  What will you do with your time?

So, instead of making resolutions (that usually fizzle before Cupid shoots his arrow), take some time and steal away to build this year’s goals.  It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we set our minds to it.  The key is allowing ourselves the space and focus to imagine what you truly want to achieve.  A year is the perfect span of time to really make a dent in new quests and adventures, and hopefully you’ll have some fun doing it. Then, 365 days later, get ready to review your progress next year end at a similar reenergizing getaway.

Happy planning!

View from the Bridge: Christmas is NOT about Starbuck’s red cups

December 10th, 2015


Each year as we head into the holiday season, fresh controversy stirs up over the meaning of Christmas and how we acknowledge it. This year’s lightning rod was Starbucks’ red cups and the absence of snowflakes!

Whatever your personal beliefs, be they spiritual or your opinions on Starbucks’ cup designs, it is important as an employer not to unintentionally exclude people during your holiday celebrations. Read more