How a non-profit successfully achieves strategic realignment

What does it take to bring about an organization's strategic realignment? In this episode of Toughest Call, Scott Skinner, CEO of Clean Foundation, talks about how he and his team strategically repositioned their organization to heighten its impact. Scott takes us through how he initially positioned this strategic pivot for success, and then kept it on course, during execution.

Scott Skinner: We had really great, well-educated, competent people that could take on complex projects, so I saw this, I was like, I need to apply these people to their highest and best use. So that may require a pivot.

Chaz Thorne: Welcome back, or welcome to Toughest Call, a podcast for organizational leaders where we hear stories from your leadership colleagues about career-defining decisions. I'm your host, Chaz Thorne. 

In this episode, I'm talking with the CEO of Clean Foundation, Scott Skinner, about how he and his team strategically repositioned...

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How do you navigate a toxic business relationship?

How do you navigate a toxic business relationship?

Sooner or later, we all find ourselves in a partnership, team, or company where something isn’t quite gelling.

But sometimes, that situation turns from uncomfortable to toxic when there’s a conflict in values.

In her episode of the Toughest Call podcast, Dr. Dianne Tyers, the Dean of the Faculty of Open Learning and Career Development at Dalhousie University, talks about her experience confronting this situation as a partner in a consulting business. After years of cultivating clients and achieving financial success, she found herself grappling with the strain the partnership was putting on her values.

As a strategic planner, I’ve seen that organizations have no problem coming up with a list of stated values.

The challenge is that sticking to them means some very real short or medium-term pain.

Despite the enormous financial hit, Dianne stuck with her gut and her values and ended the partnership.

Though the road...

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A strategy for vetting business partnerships

How do we assess whether a partner is a good fit beyond a typical, surface-level analysis? In this episode of Toughest Call, Dr. Dianne Tyers talks about her decision to end a business partnership that would have a significant impact on her company’s revenue for several years.

Though she was an entrepreneur at the time she made this tough call, Dianne is now Dean of the Faculty of Open Learning and Career Development at Dalhousie University. She shares what she learned about the importance of ensuring you share the values of an individual or organization before you enter into a partnership.

Dianne Tyers: I got to the point where I need to be true to who I am, I need to be true to the values under which I established this organization that I'm running, and I just need to make this decision.

Chaz Thorne: Welcome back, or welcome to Toughest Call, a podcast for organizational leaders where we hear stories from your leadership colleagues...

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Align teams with your strategy using a Guiding Light

What is your organization’s Guiding Light?

In his episode of the Toughest Call podcast, Mark Bowden, a world-renowned expert on body language and communication, takes me through the process he uses with leaders to arrive at an economical, truthful, and credible statement that can align an entire organization.

Many people think this is what mission and vision statements achieve.

The unfortunate truth is that they typically fail miserably at this task.

What’s worse is the process to arrive at these ultimately useless statements is usually painful.

You spend months in and out of meetings. Maybe you’re working with expensive outside consultants and facilitators. Dozens of emails have gone back and forth. You’ve been promised the endless “wordsmithing” will be worth it. In any case, everyone seems to believe this is “very important work”. And then you have it; the perfect mission and vision statement. You send out a memo, slap it on a...

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How to engage employees in strategic planning

In this episode of Toughest Call, Mark Bowden, world-renowned body language expert and communications coach, walks us through the process he uses with leaders to guide them to present ideas effectively.

We're doing a role-play: Toughest Call host Chaz Thorne is playing the role of CEO of a fictional company called Terrific Toboggan Co. With a fresh new one page strategic plan in hand, Chaz has come to Mark seeking advice on communicating the new plan to his wider team.

Chaz Thorne: Welcome back, or welcome to Toughest Call, a podcast for organizational leaders where we hear stories from your leadership colleagues about career-defining decisions. I'm your host, Chaz Thorne.

In this very special and fun episode, I'm talking with my good friend, Mark Bowden, one of the world's top experts in body language and communication. Mark is a sought after keynote speaker and Communication Coach. His clients include politicians, presidents and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and prime...

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6 ways to identify what motivates your leadership style

What motivates you to lead?

Not something superficial like making money, but the motivation that strikes a chord with you when your work and what truly drives you are in alignment.

In conversations I have been having with leaders, many have admitted to being exhausted or feeling burnt out at the moment. For some, this is because of the added pressures of being in charge through a pandemic. Others are finding themselves less motivated to stay with their current positions or to participate in their present organization.

Alan Stein Jr. is an author, corporate keynote speaker, and expert on high-performance. In his episode of the Toughest Call podcast, Alan talks about his shift from being an elite basketball trainer helping young men achieve their NBA dreams, to helping corporations tap into the elements of peak performance.

To achieve this pivot, Alan focused on what really excited him in his work: having the opportunity to inspire and motivate others to achieve their best.

How do...

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The North Star approach to impactful leadership

The “North Star” approach to impactful leadership follows the same path that elite athletes take to perform at a world-class level. In this episode of the Toughest Call podcast, Alan Stein Jr., keynote speaker and performance coach with over a decade of working with the NBA’s highest-performing athletes, shares how he used the North Star approach to pivot out of personal and professional burnout. Additionally, he talks about how he used his North Star to match the skills he acquired as an elite basketball trainer to identify a problem he could solve for corporations as a keynote speaker.

Alan Stein Jr.: When I continually do that type of introspection, for me the North Star is about fulfilment, it's about experiencing true joy. It's about having a sense of inner peace. It's about doing work that I love, and that I feel is making a contribution to others. And I'm doing it with people that I truly care about.

Chaz Thorne: Welcome back, or welcome to the...

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Focus7 framework: A clear process for organizations to achieve growth goals

How do you know when it’s time to accelerate your organization’s growth?

Making the “go/no-go” decision whether to expand is something many leaders struggle with.

Though there are some extremely inspiring stories of organizations achieving amazing growth, there are many more where poorly timed or thought-out moves resulted in significant losses.

Suzie Yorke is the Founder of Love Good Fats, a snacks company that experienced unprecedented success very soon after launch. In her episode of the Toughest Call podcast, Suzie talks about the thought process she went through when she was presented with a huge growth opportunity while still a relatively new company.

If you’re facing a similar tough call on how to grow your organization, there is an excellent book that may help you with your own thought process.

Fewer, Bigger, Bolder: From Mindless Expansion to Focused Growth” is written by Sanjay Khosla and Mohanbir Sawhney. I met them both while...

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An emerging brand’s strategy for achieving rapid growth

A challenging decision organizational leaders can face is when to grow, and by how much. In this episode of the Toughest Call podcast, Suzie Yorke, Founder of Love Good Fats, talks about her decision to “go big” in launching her products across the United States with a major retailer. Additionally, she talks about the expansion process that took place while making the leap from an emerging brand in the natural goods channel to a CPG brand working with big retailers.

Suzie Yorke: On paper we could scale to over 100 million bars, no problem. But then the timing of it when you had two large banners coming on the same month is a different conversation than if you can scale over a year.

Chaz Thorne: Welcome back, or welcome to Toughest Call, a podcast for organizational leaders where we hear stories from your leadership colleagues about career defining decisions. I'm your host, Chaz Thorne.

In this episode, I'm talking with Suzie Yorke about her decision to go big...

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How to prepare a strategic plan for a successful career change

The COVID pandemic has caused many to rethink their relationship with their careers and much ink has been spilled about the Great Resignation. In this episode of Toughest Call, Rishad Tobaccowala, futurist, and author of “Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data,” talks about his strategy for leaving an already successful career decades in the making to achieve something completely different.

Rishad Tobaccowala: Rishad, every career has a midnight hour. The smart people leave at five to 12.

Chaz Thorne: Welcome back, or welcome to, Toughest Call, a podcast for organizational leaders where we hear stories from your leadership colleagues about career-defining decisions. I'm your host, Chaz Thorne. 

In this episode, I'm talking with Rishad Tobaccowala about how he prepared for an exit from an already successful career to something completely different. Rishad, a futurist and keynote speaker who advises global businesses, is the author of...

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