Oct 13, 2011

Do You Value Play?

Part of my podcast consumption includes something most of you are very familiar with, TED talks. I normally save them up and have a TED marathon every couple of weeks. Last weekend this one peaked my interest. It is by Steve Keil titled "A Play Manifesto". Although many of his references are about his home country of Bulgaria I think his message is relevant for anyone who is trying to bring about change.

Much of the message is asking us to "Value Play". In the context of his talk "play" doesn't mean frivolous, it's more about enjoying what you do and using play to become a positive influence on others. Unfortunately many of us, including me, devalue play and get caught up in the tasks of our daily routines, seriousness ensues and becomes the norm.

Now I'm not suggesting we add in a playground behind all of our offices, although I'm sure we'd have lots of laughs if we saw our co-workers hanging on a set of monkey bars. But if we are going to spend at least 40 hrs a week somewhere shouldn't we try hard to spend a good portion of that time with a smile on our face.

One of my favorite lines "You're obviously an idiot so I'm going to make a zillion little processes for you to follow so you don't step outside the box." If this reminds you of your workplace you may want to think of ways to rediscover play. Work shouldn't make you feel miserable, find ways to do what makes you feel good and in the end share your ideas.

Plans for my next post is to explain one of the things I'm trying to do to bring "play" into my workplace. 

Jul 18, 2011

Canada Day Weekend - St. Andrew's

We spent the July 1st weekend in St. Andrew's, NB. It's a small town in the southern part of the province (about 1 hour west of Saint John) with a year round population of around 1800. But during the summer it is a busy spot. It's a beautiful little town with lots to offer.

Here are a few pics from our weekend.

Parade Day, Main street is closed for most of the day. Several thousand people downtown.

Canada Day parade, yes that is a dog in the side car

Family shot after a fun day in the sun and evening fireworks.

Tee shot on the famous 12th hole at the Algonquin golf course. Stuck it about 15ft from the pin and yes I missed the putt. Battled back from a +6 front nine to shoot +1 on the back for a 79. Beautiful golf course.

My two favorite girls, Teresa and Kennedy

This was really neat, Ministers Island is accessible from the mainland at low tide via a road across the ocean floor. The pics below are looking at the same spot on the island (or pretty close). We drove across in the evening on a dry crushed gravel/stone roadway and the 2nd pic is from the same spot the next day at high tide.  
Same thing in these shots. Teresa and Kennedy standing in the same spot, notice the dock in the background. Pretty neat to see just how much the water level actually changes during the course of a day in the Bay of Fundy

Tyler earning his keep for the weekend, cleaning golf balls. Teresa's uncle finds 1000's every year.

Great meal at Olde Tyme Pizza on Main St. This panzarotti was huge and delicious. 

Over all we had a great weekend. Big thanks to Teresa's aunt and uncle, Barb and Hughie, for having us for the weekend. Great hosts as always. Already looking forward to our next trip over. 

Jul 8, 2011

Collaborative Management Day (from 1300 kms away)

On June 9, 2011, thanks to an amazing organizing team and the Canada School of Public Service, I attended Collaborative Management Day via webcast.

My viewpoint for the day.

This was an event by public servants for public servants. The day was packed full of guest speakers talking about different ways to collaborate and many of the tools and methods that are used across departments.

To me the day was all about sharing and moving forward as a strong public service. Twitter was used by participants near and far to share thoughts, opinions and pictures about what was occurring throughout the day. This online collaboration generated over 1000 tweets using the hashtag #GOC3 over the course of the event.

It was great to see people I know on stage presenting. Like Sean Kibbee talking about internal collaborative tools (GCForums, GCPedia and GCConnex) and Blaise Hebert speaking about "Virtual Engagement". Both did an excellent job speaking about their roll and the tools that they've developed for collaboration.

One really neat moment was the debut of a YouTube video featuring Tanya SnookCollaborative Management Day - Tanya Snook it's a video that I feel every manager in the GOC should be encouraged to view. She talked about the "small wins that allow her team to make a little progress each day." She also talked about giving staff latitude and trusting your employees, something that can sometimes be a difficult stretch for some managers especially when use of social media is a necessity of the job.

This video really made me think. I think that a lot of the time we feel as though we need to swing for the fence and hit it out of the park. But if you can consistently hit singles and the odd double you can end up with long and successful career. Hitting the odd one out of the park will likely get you some votes for the Hall of Fame!!

These types of events make me proud to be a public servant. I'm hoping that at some point I'll be able to attend a future event in person. Until then I'll keep in touch via webcast and twitter and continue to collaborate from a distance.

Kudos again to the organizing team and all of the speakers for putting together such a great event.

May 25, 2011

Bluenose Half Marathon - Halifax

This past weekend my wife and I, and a group of other friends, participated in our first half marathon; the Bluenose in Halifax. It was a phenomenal event with close to 11,000 participants in the various races held during the day. There were just under 1800 running in our race.

I headed to the starting point at the base of Citadel Hill with a combination of excitement and nervousness hoping that I'd be able to just put one foot in front of the other and finish the race.

At 9:25 am the gun sounded and we were off, racing through the streets of the city. I was amazed at the energy I was able to gain from the thousands of people lining the race course, especially the kids with hands outstretched looking for a high five from the runners.

I really had no idea how long it would take me to finish but deep down I was really hoping to finish the 21km course in under 2 hrs. Coming up to the finish line and seeing the clock ticking in the 1:52's was an amazing feeling. I crossed the finish line in a time of 1:53:25.

Teresa finished the race in a time of 2:15:02 which was 5 minutes quicker than what she was hoping.

Here are a couple of pictures from the event.

Crowd before the start of the race.

Me and Teresa after the race.

We both seem to have caught the running bug and spent this evening scouting out our next event. Plans right now are to run the PEI half marathon this October but we will likely run in several 10K races over the summer.

Apr 17, 2011

Cuba - April 2011

We recently returned from a family trip to Cuba. It was a true family affair, my wife's parents and grandparents travelled with us so we had four generations in the sunny south.

We stayed at the Blau Costa Verde resort about an hour outside of Holguin, Cuba. We couldn't have asked for better weather. It was 32-34 C everyday, we had a total of about 10 minutes of rain one evening around 6 pm.

The toughest decision of the day was usually whether we were going to the beach or the pool. Most days we did  a bit of both. We also did a couple of excursions, the highlight was swimming with the dolphins.

 Teresa and Kennedy at the beach.
Heading out for a catamaran ride and some snorkeling. 
 Up close and personal with one of the dolphins.
Tyler has a great time feeding the fish.
There were several reefs near the beach so no shortage of tropical fish.

It was a great trip and was awesome for the kids to get to spend time with their grandparents and great grandparents. They already want to know when they'll get to go again. Planning for a possible Florida trip in March 2013. 

Mar 20, 2011

Most Sunday Afternoons

Most Sunday afternoons during the winter you'll find me at the rink. I do the website stat updates for our local Tier II Junior A hockey team, the Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League. This year the Caps celebrated their 30th year. As with many small cities in Canada, the local hockey team is the lifeblood of the community. The Capitals have enjoyed significant success over their 30 year history, including a National Championship, the Royal Bank Cup, in 1997 and a return to the championship tournament again in 2009.

Several former Capitals have also gone on to play in the NHL, including current Leaf Darryl Boyce, former Canadien, Ranger and Hurricane Darren Langdon, and former Washington Capital and Senator Kent Paynter. Many players have also gone on to play professional hockey in the minors.

The Caps have also been coached by former NHL'ers or those that have gone on to coach at a higher level. Doug MacLean, Stanley Cup finalist with Florida, President and GM in Columbus; Dave Cameron, player with the Rockies/Devils and current coach of the St. Mike's Majors in the OHL; Gerard Gallant, former NHL player in Detroit and Tampa Bay, coach in Columbus and current head coach of the Saint John Sea Dog's in the QMJHL, and Forbie Kennedy, former NHL tough guy, have all stood behind the Caps bench. Current head coach, Gordie Dwyer, also played in the NHL with the Lightning, Rangers and Canadiens.

My view from the press box
This is a compilation of photos from the Caps first round series win (4-0) over Miramichi by Roger LeBlanc (atomic1973 on YouTube).

The Caps are currently tied a one game a piece in the league semi-final against the Woodstock Slammers.

It's a great way to spend an afternoon or evening and I'm looking forward to the remainder of, what Caps fans hope, is a long playoff run.

Feb 27, 2011

Social Media in the Workplace

I recently attended a session organized by HRANS (Human Resources Association of Nova Scotia), PEI chapter. The speaker was Detry Carragher of Streamline Consulting, her presentation revolved around the power of social media and ensuring that companies develop policies to handle the variety of different questions that the use of social media in the workplace can bring. My main take-away from the session was a video that was developed by @equalman, based on the book "Socialnomics" by Erik Qualman.

If you're having trouble convincing others who think you don't need to use the tools that are out there and that they are just a fad. Don't worry, you are not alone. I've been preaching the benefits of both internal and external tools we have available to anyone that will listen. 

Get any doubters to give you 5 minutes of their time and show them this video. It's packed full of information and stats presented in a very compact and convincing manner that will hopefully change their mind. Some take more convincing than others but if you can get one or two key people in your corner they can help make the path alot clearer.

Feb 16, 2011


Maybe it's the weather, or maybe it's just me but I've been feeling deflated lately.

Kids got a new hamster recently and I see him run and run on that wheel and I say, crap that's me. Spinning my wheels but not moving anywhere.

Luckily I was found myself getting air back in the tires, jumping off the wheel and moving forward during a trip to Ottawa last week. I was able to connect with some great old and new friends at an event organized by the W2P community in Ottawa. It was great to hear Nick Charney, Ryan Androsoff and Hannah McKinnon speak with passion about Gov 2.0.

(Plus on a non-work related issue we went to a great concert, Goo Goo Dolls, with a group of friends this weekend too).

It's great how something as simple as connecting with friends can give you that kick that you were needing.

Part of my New Years resolution is to try and post more often, so the 5 people that read this can look for more in a couple of weeks.

Jan 13, 2011


As a new year begins alot of us take time to reflect on the what we have (or have not) accomplished over the past year. 2010 was an interesting year for me, I've been able to connect with people outside of my own government department and collaborate with different organizations both within Canada and the US, something that only a few short years ago would have been virtually impossible.

The video below by Simon Sinek has made the rounds on various blogs and twitter over the past year. I've watched it many times and I feel like I get something different out of it each time I watch it. It has made me think differently about my work, how I interact with co-workers and clients. If we are able to explain "why" we do what we do I feel we can have a much greater impact as public servants and employees.   

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.