Roy's Blog: Careers

February 13, 2017

12 ways to get the most out of your mentor

I had many mentors throughout my career, and I selected each one with a definite purpose in mind.

Getting a return on investment from your mentors doesn’t happen through serendipity; it is the result of a methodical strategy executed day-in and day-out.

These 12 “mentor moves” paid off handsomely for me over my 3 decade career.

1. Try and move the relationship with your mentor to a 2-way one where over time they benefit and are not always the giver.

2. Engage regularly. Monthly. If you’re not with them continually you’re out of their mind. Take them for lunch; THAT is something they wouldn’t expect.

3. Share your achievements; wins and losses. Offer an analysis on why you have suffered a setback along with an action plan to correct.

4. Ask for advice on specific challenges in your work that you are facing, but present your solution for their comment. Bring your suggested solution to the table not a problem with an open “What do you think?” question.

5. Ask your mentor to refer you to their connections who might be able to help you.

6. Ask them to recommend networking events and organizations given your specific career goals.

7. Use “their eyes” for your resume. Ask them to review it and be overly critical.

8. Submit any major document you have prepared for their opinion. But don’t overload them; keep it brief and capture the salient points.

9. Connect with them on LinkedIn.  Invite their contacts to connect with you but only through a customized personalized invitation.

10. Know something personal about them; send them a note on special occasions you discover about them. Hand write the note don’t send an email, text or use social media remark.

11. Discover what they need and offer to support them in any way that you can. Your contribution may be modest but it’s the gesture that matters.

12. Honour them. Talk them up with respect to all of your friends and colleagues. Put positive energy in the universe and it just may be returned.

A mentor is an asset to you.

Manage them well.

And reap the rewards as your future unfolds.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 2.13.17 at 05:35 am by Roy Osing
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January 30, 2017

How can I stand-out from the crowd? 10 steps to follow…

People always ask me how they can stand out from the crowd.

Here are 10 critical steps to take:

1. Ask yourself the question “How can I do this differently?” Just having the subject top of mind will lead you in the right direction. Ask yourself this question everyday!

2. Purge every aspect of copying from your being. This is tough because it’s almost second nature to benchmark best in class and apply best practices.
We have been conditioned to believe that we are better off when we follow the best in the herd. Nonsense. All we have done is temporarily change our position in it.

3. Look at what everyone else is doing then do the opposite. Amazing results are achieved by contrarian acts.

4. Learn to focus on the critical few things you need to be successful. It’s so tempting to chase the possibilities that are out there but the problem is that you are busy but ineffective in delivering quality results. DiFFERENT people are “mindlessly” focused on a few critical things that are not on anyone else’s radar.

5. Shed the “CRAP” that gets in the way of your ability to focus on your key priorities. Holding on to “comfy food” may satisfy your appetite but it won’t enable your quest to stand-out from the herd.

6. Hook up with weird people. If you’re going to seek stimulation from others, lean in to people who don’t follow the rules and have “off the wall” views.


7. Be the first to take on new projects. Covet opportunities to offer standard solutions to radical problems that have not been addressed before. Your solution to a new problem will carry the DiFFERENT tag.

8. Loosen up on planning; tighten up on execution. Most people think the value is in the plan; don’t go with them. Jump in to the messy inelegant world of implementation where results get delivered. DiFFERENT people get stuff done; they don’t sit around pondering possibilities.

9. Be imperfect (a lot). While others are seeking the impossible dream of perfection DiFFERENT people are achieving results. Get as much stuff as you can “just about right” and hit the ground running.

10. Recover when you make a mistake (and you will, that’s what execution artists do). Fix your mistake (because that’s what people expect) and surprise them with something they DON’T expect. You will be remembered for your risk taking and brilliance of recovery. Your mistake will quickly be forgotten.

There is no scientific formula to get you out of the herd of commonality but these 10 steps will do the job.

I know. They worked for me.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 1.30.17 at 05:02 am by Roy Osing
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January 16, 2017

Don’t MAKE the list; DO the list

Too much energy is consumed on making the list.

There is something gratifying about jotting down all the things you need to do. It quenches one’s thirst for being organized and for wanting some control over one’s life generally complicated by too many things to do with insufficient time and financial resources to do them.

When we complete the list we feel that we have accomplished something.

The longer the list, the more pleased we feel as the long list represents mastering the translation of our complicated and ever changing personal world into concrete terms.

We spend considerable time making the list and managing the list when changes are required.

Frequently we lose the list.

Occasionally we are unable the decipher items on the list due to the abbreviated language we use to “save time” making it.

And list making teaches a bad habit, namely that if you write an action plan down it will happen.

We all know this is delusional thinking. The list is never completed the way it was originally conceived yet we continue to pour our energy into making the list knowing (hopefully) that it is a draft at best.

It’s time to change the list dynamic from MAKING the list to DOING the list. I know it’s called a To Do list, but it’s realły a statement of intent: “(I intend)To Do” is the common interpretation of what the list means however the “Do” action piece normalły gets short shrift.

It’s time to rid ourselves of good intentions; cut back on the time spent on creating the list and increase the time spent on DOING it.

The list is an imperfect “creature” anyway; it will never be 100% complete. Tomorrow something will come up that will render the list or a portion of it irrelevant. And the list will have to be revised.

Here are some quick-hit suggestions to DO the list.

1. Think short term. What absolutely must get done in the next 7 days? If you think beyond the next week you allow intentions to guide the list, you waste time and DO nothing.

2. Limit the list to not more than 3 things. You can’t DO more and if you think you can, you are falling victim to intentions.

3. Allocate the 3 DO items to the 7 days you have available. Space them out; don’t cram them in to one or two days where time constraints could impair your ability to execute.

4. Don’t allocate the full 7 days to your DO items. Leave some spare time to deal with temporary unexpected events (which will always happen) that distract you from your list.

5. Stay focused and avoid multitasking. “Get-one-done; move-on-to-the-next” is the formula for DO. Some argue that sequential action is unimaginative; perhaps, but it gets things done.

6. When an item on the list is done, strike it off but don’t replace it with anything. This could jeopardize the remaining item(s). You are on a 7-day DO cycle; new items will be listed at the start of the next cycle.

7. Develop the next list at the end of the 6th day. Carry over incomplete tasks if they are still a high priority. Incorporate what you have learned from DOING in the current cycle.

Apply this template to your career and your job where success is measured by what you DO, not by your intentions.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 1.16.17 at 04:16 am by Roy Osing
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November 21, 2016

33 leadership principles I didn’t learn at school

My math studies taught me the theory of differential equations, linear algebra and micro economics, but for the most part the educational content sat on my cognitive shelf aging as my career progressed.


In retrospect, my years of academic toiling netted out to learning how to solve problems created when intentions and results don’t match.

But I needed more. My education should have prepared me to better provide the value my organization required to succeed in a complicated and intensely competitive environment.

I had to learn many practical things in the heat of the moment.

School is proficient at teaching us to conform to accepted academic dogma.

If you master book wisdom, you are rewarded with a first class mark and the expectation you will land a plum job and a rewarding career.

Well, it doesn’t guarantee anything.

Business success is not about how well you master the content of your chosen degree.

It’s not about how effectively you memorize course material.

It’s not about mastering case studies and learning how organizations were successful in the past.

I was never exposed to these 33 principles in school, yet they have stood the test of time as being critical to organization success and survival.

1. There is no right answer in business, just degrees of wrongness.
2. What works for one organization or person doesn’t necessarily work for another.
3. The perfect business strategy is a myth.
4. Fast imperfection is a competitive advantage.
5. Plan ‘A’ never works; Plan ‘B’ might.
6. Leadership is more about listening than directing.
7. Success = (doing) (lots of) (imperfect) (stuff) (fast).
8. If a person gives you goosebumps when telling a story, hire them.
9. Be good at anticipating but GREAT at responding.
10. Effective selling is the result of serving.
11. Execution, NOT the plan, determines who wins and who looses.
12. The ‘average’ customer doesn’t exist.
13. Corollary: Mass markets don’t either.
14. ‘Let’s head west’ is a valid strategy.
15. Competitive advantage comes from being the ONLY ones that you do.
16. Low price = low value.
17. If you have to talk about price, you have no value to offer.
18. Benchmarking best in class adds ZERO strategic value.


19. Corollary: The fast follower achieves ZERO faster.
20. Growing shareholder value is a meaningless objective.
21. Internal policies belong in the warehouse, NEVER exposed to customers.
22. People can’t be trained to provide caring service. You can train them to smile but that’s all.
23. Corollary: Don’t trust anyone who grins you.
24. Never ask a lawyer’s opinion on how to respond to a customer complaint.
25. Entitlement is a four letter word.
26. ‘All things remaining equal’ is Keynesian crap.
27. Linear regression is a trend line to nowhere.
28. Standout leaders encourage imperfection.
29. Without the HOW, the WHAT is a dream.
30. Great communication has a fog factor of ‘0’; KISS!
31. The more mistakes you make, the more successes you have.
32. People can’t do more than 3 things well at the same time.
33. BE DiFFERENT or be dead

It’s about time our graduates arrived on the steps of business with PRACTICAL skills; treat this as your ‘learn on the run’ list of practices to guide you.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 11.21.16 at 05:41 am by Roy Osing
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