You, the readers have spoken: the 9 most popular blog posts of 2016

For me, writing is a selfish activity. I enjoy and am energized by the process. Putting my thoughts on paper forces me to focus my thinking. Through the process, I clarify what I believe about hiring, engaging, recognizing and retaining staff. Few articles ever end the way I expected them to when I first put pen to paper (Yes, I’m a bit of a writing Luddite. I enjoy the tactile experience of grasping a pen. Most first drafts are written long-hand, usually while sitting in a neighbourhood coffee shop). Every article goes through several revisions and is reviewed by my editor.

It’s also important that others receive value from what I publish. I appreciate readers’ responses, both the positive comments, which motivate me to continue to write, and those from readers who disagree, which stimulate my thinking. It’s also valuable to know which posts were most popular—and which were read by only a few people. That’s the value of year-end statistics with

Here are the most popular posts of 2016. How does this list of most-read articles compare to the topics that are most relevant to you?

7 Questions to Ask to Recognize Staff Appropriately

I’m gratified to see this article on the list because recognizing staff in Appropriate ways is

Thank You Note & Coffee

Source: Bigstock

an important ingredient of meaningful messages of appreciation. This post first appeared in 2013 and has been at or near the top of the most popular list every year since. When you personalize recognition, it shows that you know the recipients as individuals, understand what’s important to them and are aware of their recognition preferences. By recognizing staff in Appropriate ways, you strengthen your message of appreciation.

Top 7 Ways to Improve Hiring Interviews

The purpose of an interview is to help you identify candidates with the potential to become top performers. Implement these seven suggestions and you will soon discover you are making the right hiring decisions, more often.

Child’s plea to a NHL team a reminder that family is important

Did the letter written by 11-year-old Jordyn Leopold to the Minnesota Wild’s coaches influence the team’s general manager’s decision to obtain her father in a National Hockey League trade? I don’t know, but this story does demonstrate the importance of family. No matter the work they do, most employees will tell you that family is more important to them. They want to spend time with their partners and children, just as children told researchers that the present they crave the most is their parents’ attention (just as staff members want to know you’re paying attention to them and what they do).

7 ways to increase the impact of your messages of appreciation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere are seven steps, each of which will make your message of appreciation incrementally stronger. Spoiler alert: this article makes the case for handwritten thank-you notes, delivered through the post office.

The most dangerous question interviewers ask

This article was inspired by a conversation (an interview, actually), which I couldn’t help overhearing at my favourite coffee shop (which is one of the benefits of going there to write). I listened in amazement as the interviewer unwittingly handed control to the candidate, with a commonly asked, seemingly innocuous question.

Prepare to assess candidates by anticipating their responses to questions

Managers frequently ask questions during interviews without any thought of what they expect to hear from candidates. What would a good answer sound like? What would they expect a top performer to say? What would be unacceptable? This article challenges managers to anticipate the answers they might hear from candidates and create a rubric against which to assess the responses.

Individual stories connect people in ways facts and figures never will

Stories are powerful. Readers and listeners remember stories—they don’t remember facts and figures. This article was written after I spoke to leaders of Rotary clubs from Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia, Northwestern Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories about how they can use stories to explain what their service clubs do. While this article was written for Rotarians, its message is valid for anyone who wishes others to understand what their organization does.

7 techniques to reduce candidates’ interview-induced stress

A person draws a circle and slash over the word Stress to symbol


Being interviewed is stressful. Some argue that this is a good thing. The more stress the better; we’ll see how the candidate handles it. I don’t view it that way. My experience is that, when under stress, many people retreat into themselves and say very little. This is not what we want during interviews. It’s important that candidates talk about themselves and their experiences. This article, along with another about what to say, focuses on ways to get the candidates to feel more comfortable and to open up during the interview. In a related article, I suggest what interviewers can do to reduce the stress they may feel, since the hiring decision they are about to make could have an impact on their organization for years to come.

Devastated by images of the Fort McMurray wildfire

The wildfire that destroyed 2,600 homes in Fort McMurray hit me particularly hard. I lived in the city for 35 years, including 32 in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood where most of the homes were lost. Seeing what happened prompted me to want to support the recovery effort, making a commitment that I honoured last month.


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