Musings about 
Life, the Universe, and Everything * 
from Linda / LUE-42 Enterprises 

Issue #70; December 2016
Coming in DECEMBER

Human Rights Month and Write a Business Plan Month

1 World Aids Day (UN)
2 Bartender Appreciation Day
3 Intern'l Day for Persons with Disabilities (UN)
5 World Soil Day (UN)
7 Intern'l Civil Aviation Day (UN)
8 Pretend to be a Time Traveller Day
10 Human Rights Day (UN)
11 Intern'l Mountain Day (UN)
16 Chocolate Covered Anything Day
20 Games Day
23 Festivus
31 Make Up Your Mind Day

Shout Out!
A big thanks to some who made my life better in November!

David Cheoros, Judy Stelck, Laura Raboud, Alex D. Mackie, Leland Stelck, Alana Rice
Caroline MacMillan
(Vermilion Allied Arts Council)
Russ Farmer & Ruth Wong-Miller (Foote in the Door Theatre)
Harley Morison & Scott Peterson (Theatre Network)

MaryJane Alanko
Ginny Arnott-Wood
Lori Bursey
Leo Ezerins
Liz Garratt
Carrie Habinski
JT Hay
Gina Moe
Dan Panek
Hector Pothier
Louise Reinich
Donna Stonehocker
Ethel Thorne
David Vella
Gerry West
Cathy Wood
Rob Wood

"The greatest joy of life is the conviction that someone loves us because of ourselves, or rather, loves us in spite of ourselves." 
- Victor Hugo

10 Things
Food Banks Need    
   I saw this on Facebook and thought it was important. Besides the food necessities, food banks are often depots for other things.

1. Spices
2. Feminine Products
3. Chocolate
People don't need it, but think about how nice it would be
4. Toiletries
5. Canned meats and jerky
6. Crackers and tortillas
7. Baby toiletries
8. Soup packets
9. Socks
10. Canned fruit other than pineapple.

     I don't know the source of this list (sorry), so as you're putting together your holiday donation for your local food bank, you may want to check with them. And remember, cash donations are always good so the food bank can buy whatever they need.
University in UK has No Teachers (Interesting concept)
Click Here 

Who Gets the Arm Rest on an Airplane (There's actually etiquette on this)
Click Here

Why Your Dogs Paws Smell Like Corn Chips
(It's about micro-organisms)
Click Here

Simon Sinek on Millennials In the Work Place
(Good info on technology addiction)
Click Here

(A Spoof)
Click Here

LUE-42 Enterprises
Northern Sabbatical Productions (Mine)    
Increasing Productivity in Non-Profits
     Navroz Janmohamed, CPA, CA, of Manning Elliott LLP recently wrote "Five things not-for-profit organizations can do to increase productivity in their organization." While the title didn't match the content, the content was still solid so I've summarized it here.
What kind of oversight or governance should a not-for-profit organization have? A strong board accountable to the membership, stakeholders, and the community and that hires excellent management.

How important is record keeping and maintaining proper documentation?
It's a must and the type will depend on your legislation.

How should NPOs and charities go about obtaining funding?
It's important to convey how the goals of the organization and that of the funder are aligned. It's not a matter of just selling yourself. You should know who your funders are and their objectives. (I thought this point was especially good)

Are their any risks for these organizations if they mix business activities?
(This is a really important Q!) Registered charities operate exclusively for the relief of poverty, advancement of education, advancement of religion, or other purposes beneficial to the community. A not-for-profit organization is a club, society, or association that is not a charity and is organized and operated solely for social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure, or recreation, or for any other purpose except profit. Organizations need to make sure they collect and raise funds per their mandate. If an organization is thinking of doing something outside of their normal activity, seek legal and accounting advice first.

How should an organization approach compliance and keep up with new developments?
Organizations should keep up to date with all developments, whether it be accounting, auditing, financial reporting, tax or legal matters. Non-compliance could result in an organization losing its charitable or not-for-profit status.

Here's the article Click Here

Bylaw Exemptions
Are Not a Thing
     Seriously. That should be the end of the conversation. Yet sometimes it isn't, and it is especially true with condo sales.
     Let's say, for example, I've found the perfect condominium to buy but they have a bylaw prohibiting pets and I have a cat. So I ask for an exemption to the bylaws.
     Tony Gioventu, Executive Director of the Condominium Home Owners' Association says the condo board should not (cannot!) even consider this.
     Those of us in the Not-for-Profit sector know that if the board wants to propose a special resolution at the AGM to change the bylaws to allow for pets, then so be it. But they cannot make an "exemption" for me now in hopes that the bylaw change passes at the next AGM. So save your breath.
     I guess it wasn't the perfect condominium for me after all.

2 Quick Tips for Better Meetings
     On Shani Harmon and Renee Cullinan tell us how to " Stop The Spread Of Meeting-itis With 2 Simple Steps."
     They talk first about the decline in the quality of meetings since it became easier to schedule them, adding that we no longer have to justify whether a meeting is needed at all. They also speak of a decline in good meeting management and participation and offer two tips to help improve the meeting experience.   

1. At the beginning of each meeting ask, "What do we want to be different by the end of this discussion?"
This will raise the value of the meeting for everyone. And don't just talk about work...DO the work.

2. At the end of each meeting ask, "What did we conclude and what actions should we take as a result of this conversation?"
When there are 3-5 minutes remaining, asking these two questions will prompt the group to check for shared conclusions. Reconciling discrepancies helps people follow up and prevents a long wrap up email due to a rushed ending. 

Here's the article: Click Here

Heard in the Board Room (and around) 
Reader Notes
Wish I'd said that...

Books by Moi   


Understanding Bylaws: A Guide for Directors of Not-For-Profit Organizations

ISBN 978-0-9866030-0-6

 (NOTE: There is great stuff in here, but this book isn't aligned with the Federal NFP Corporations Act or the new BC Societies Act. Email me directly with your bylaws questions about NFPs registered federally or in BC)


 Exceptional Board Members, Exception Boards 

ISBN 978-0-9866030-1-3



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Spread the Word!

     November had just 30 days but my month went on and on and had so much packed into it!
     A small tour (3 performances) of the new version of Never Let the Crew See You Cry kept me and my talented crew hopping for the first couple of weeks. The tour nearly became Vermilion-only when our Edmonton venue fell through. Foote in the Door Theatre stepped up and offered to share their space, which was perfect because we could perform in front of the curtain and not touch any of their set or lighting arrangements for their big show. The arrangement truly was a blessing and I was so pleased to have my mom's story told around Remembrance Day. The written press and two TV interviews helped bring in wonderful audiences, although seeing myself on TV made me never want to leave the house again!
     But of course I would leave for Remembrance Day as I was honoured to emcee the November 11th ceremony at the Edmonton International Airport for the sixth year. The event is so well run and this year the attendance of the Leduc Scouting Association really added to it.
     Once the run of my play was done I got to go see some other plays. There are some amazing stories being performed here, and likely in your city too. Check them out, ok?
     Of course, November is CFL playoffs and Grey Cup. I am just back from Toronto and my 22nd Grey Cup in a row. That may be impressive, but it's not even close to the number of some of my friends from across the land. The Grey Cup festival is a gathering of the best of Canada (& beyond) and wow, did we see a game!
     A highlight for me is always the CFL Alumni Legends luncheon. Seeing all those former players in their old team colours and hearing their stories is a real honour for someone like me who grew up with the game. A Board meeting and an AGM were flanked by another opportunity to spend time with these warriors, where over $10,000 was raised by CFL Fans Fight Cancer in support of the Never Alone Foundation and the CFL Alumni Association.
     Work has been interesting with new clients and different opportunities emerging. This necessitates using different tools, so now I'm learning to use Basecamp. Are you familiar with this? I don't get it (yet). I was finally getting the hang of Dropbox but still struggle with Office 365. I thank the universe daily for the support people who help me with it every darn time.
     As the new year approaches I'm thinking of traveling again. I'm looking at a big trip and some smaller ones, but mostly some adventure. I've signed up for info from a few different websites and now my inbox is so full of amazing opportunities that it's difficult to get work done. Still, if you have a favourite please pass it along.
    I am sticking to my plan of removing one box of stuff I don't need every Friday. Of course, I still find treasures to distract me but I am committed! I have neither the energy nor the stomach to discuss the US election, but I can attest that the Harvey Wallbanger cake was excellent. Even before I baked it.
    I'm sure many of you are well into Christmas plans and parties and hopefully are experiencing the best feelings of the holiday season. Once again I head into the season with mixed feelings (mostly low) and wishing I'd made a plan to be anywhere else. I suppose it's not too late, but I also know from experience that if I just sit still and embrace where I am now, I'll be just fine.            

YES "Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy." 
-- Robert Tew

The Answer   


Some organizations ask me to set up a Board Charter of Expectations, which I love doing. In addition to encompassing the governance-related policies, a Charter talks about expectations of each director and of the board as a whole. Charters can help the recruitment process, as we don't want any unpleasant surprises when we join a board. Selecting a wrong director is also hard on the organization.

So I was pleased to be sent an article from Australia (, "The 10 Duties and Responsibilities that Every Director Must Understand" (Nov 10, 2016). This organization is about corporate governance but the list fits perfectly for the Not-for-Profit sector as well. I'm not going to talk about the legal duties because I've done it before and I'll likely do it again soon. For now, we're talking about personal Director standards that contribute to a well governed board. 

Each Director should recognize and agree to uphold the following standards of behavior:
1. To take personal responsibility for contributing impartially to the decisions of the Board, with no thought given to personal gain.
2. To actively seek adequate knowledge about the business of the organization.
3. To provide positive input into the development of relevant organizational policy.
4. To provide strong support for the long-term strategies of the organization.
5. To accept the need to sufficiently prepare for Board meetings and decisions, and to insist on sufficient information to enable informed debate and strategic decision making.
6. To perform the assignments delegated by the Board.
7. To delineate and state personal positions vs organizational positions on controversial matters to better enable the Board to make informed decisions for the betterment of the organization.
8. To devote sufficient time to the duties of a Director.
9. To uphold high ethical standards at the Board level.
10.To tender a resignation if unable to uphold any of the above Standards of Behavior.

Beyond the legally-based director duties, "the board is responsible for setting the tone for ethical and responsible decision-making throughout the organization. This has a trickle-down effect which impacts organizational culture and morale."

So let's do a better job of telling board members what we expect of them. A solid orientation is a good supplement to a solid policy. And let's not forget to enforce them, too! 

Here's the article Click Here 


Leadership Cop Out          

     I really enjoyed Karin Hurt's article "The Great Leadership Cop Out: Why 'That's Just Who I Am' is Derailing Your Results" (Aug 29/16; Let's Grow Leaders Blog).
     I guess it really spoke to me because I work with so many boards of professional associations, where you get ALL one kind of person (yes, they're all unique individuals but there tends to be character traits each group shares). I often hear, "I'm a (fill in the blank) so that's just how I'm wired." This article helped me see some of the dangers in that.
     No one likes to hear it, but if there's a problem in the organization the leader should look in the mirror at her/his own leadership behaviours. Hurt says her response to "That's just who I am, so let's talk about real issues" is to say, "I've got a whole list of something elses-actions that I know will improve the bottom line. But what matters most is how you're showing up as the leader." In short, Hurt says "It's just who I am" is a cop out. Her descriptions are so good and so familiar, I'm not even going to summarize this part: 
"It's just who I am... I'm direct. I say what I mean." Excellent. But imagine how much more easily your message would be received if we added in a little tact?
"It's just who I am... I'm a visionary. I don't want to get bogged down in the details."  Your vision is amazing and got the company this far. AND from what I can tell you're about to go bankrupt. You need to listen to what your team is trying to tell you.
"It's  just who I am. I'm not a people person. I have people for that sh!t." I hear you. But when you roll through the office like a hurricane tearing everything and everybody apart, you can't hire enough people to clean up the path of destruction. Your culture and productivity are suffering.

     Hurt tells these leaders, "It's not you who's driving people crazy, it's your behaviors." She believes one or two changes can make all the difference.

1. If you're overly direct? Pause 10 seconds before you open your mouth and ask three genuinely interested open-ended questions (and really listen) before offering your opinion.
Is your team trying to tell you something you don't want to hear? Try again. Promise to really listen. And then shut up. Stay curious before responding. Ask probing questions and listen some more.

2. Does your team think you're an SOB? Pick one day and only look for what's going right, point it out, and thank people for their contribution. Notice the impact.

Our behaviours ARE changeable because they aren't who we are, they are what we are doing. Hurt adds that if you're a leader who won't change, then you give everyone on your team permission to dig their heels in and use the "that's just who I am" cop out too, and the whole team begins to accept toxic behaviors.
     So go ahead and pick just one thing to change, and prove to yourself it's possible.

Here's the article: Click Here

Arrogant CEOs         

     Lately I've been finding articles on arrogant CEOs, so I'm taking it as a sign to pass it along to my readers. In the November 19, 2016 article "When Confidence Turns Into Arrogance" David Kiger shared some interesting research and perspectives.
     I think we can agree that a confident CEO is better to work with (and better for business) than an arrogant one. Travis Bradberry ( explains, "We gravitate to confident leaders because confidence is contagious, and it helps us to believe that there are great things in store...but when your confidence loses touch with reality, you begin to think you can do things you can't and have done things you haven't. Suddenly it's all about you. This arrogance makes you lose credibility."
     Trish Squillaro ( says,
"...there is nothing healthy or compelling about an arrogant leader. Such leaders...drain employee motivation, foster high turnover rates, paralyze entire departments, and quell everyone's ideas...Executives who operate from a base of fear make nothing achievable, as teams that lack good leadership and motivation slide in productivity, creativity, and drive...A common trait of arrogant executives is the inability to remain silent and listen...The egotistical leader will continuously interrupt and correct others."

    Kiger cites some indications of an arrogant leader. Most are self-explanatory.  
- The one-upper. Confident people don't feel the need to brag.
- Not respecting competitors.
Arrogant people fail to recognize the value of the work of others.
- Tardiness.
Confident leaders are timely and quick to apologize when they're off schedule.
- Laziness. " If you believe you already know everything, then what's left to learn or do?" (
- Lack of accountability.
It's never their fault...Trust dissipates. Relationships erode.

      Kiger recommends these steps to help (by Peter Economy,
  • Own up to your slip-ups
  • Be open-minded
  • Be forgiving. Forgive first, then help with lessons from mistakes
  • Be open to feedback. We can all improve.

Here's the article Click Here 


Getting Through a Holiday Dinner    

     Recently my attention was captured by a VitalSmarts blog by Joseph Grenny called "Feasting with Unruly Relatives." With holiday dining immanent, I figured I should read this lest I encounter (or become) an unruly relative.

    These blogs have a scenario followed by Grenny's advice. I won't share the scenario because I think every family has a deal-breaker, so just substitute in your own family drama.
     On the advice side, Grenny says, "Life is about achieving intimacy with those we're connected to, family first and foremost..." So when a family member behaves (or is likely to behave) in a manner we don't like, we "toggle between an overwhelming urge to either take control of the situation or to distance ourselves from it."
And neither helps us find a way to achieve intimacy with imperfect people plus either choice makes our lives poorer and weakens our character. Who wants that? 
     Grenny suggests asking, "How can I remain close in a way that exerts positive influence on those who are the most troubled?"
     If there is a personal safety issue with your family gathering, of course you should decline the event, wish them a good holiday experience, and call on the day to further the good wishes. But if you choose to participate, Grenny says two things need to happen.

1. Motives. Change your motives. Even if the event is filled with uncertainty and awkwardness, you can have a goal (not to fix but) to improve your relationships with all of them.  

2. Boundaries.
You can't control your family, but you can control yourself. Think of the situations that may play out and how you will respond. Discuss this with key family members in advance. They don't have to agree but it's a good heads-up if you ending up acting a particular way. Honour their right to disagree with how you are going to handle it.
     Then, Grenny says, be as good as your word. Take small steps to show love and expose yourself to discomfort. He says you may find over time that you have been a positive influence or that your relationships have improved.
Here's the article Click Here

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