Refinery’s leadership insights are written by our experts from around the world with decades of leadership development experience. We’re always learning and always sharing. Get the real dirt.
Banking on Leadership
I’m pretty proud of the fact that I spent a good majority of my formative career years in the banking industry. Fortunately, I had some great leaders to guide me through the sometimes treacherous political waters of “big bank” hierarchies. Over the years, I worked in Marketing and Business Development, headed up Sales and Service Quality initiatives for banks, managed at one time 71 branches of a regional bank in the Western US, and led a product innovation team for a national supplier to the financial services industry. Banking is in my blood, and I have to admit, I get a little excited every time Refinery gets a chance to work with a financial institution, whether it’s a large multi-national bank or a purpose-driven regional credit union.
Questions for a New World of Leadership
Last March, as we contemplated the need to adapt our in-person programs to virtual programs, we knew it was not as simple as just taking the same content and activities and delivering them via an online platform such as Zoom. After all, Refinery is best known for our experiential activities which don’t automatically translate in the virtual world. We knew that our clients and their worlds had shifted and, in many cases, rotated 180 degrees from where they were before. So, we decided to ask ourselves (and our clients) a few key questions to better understand what leaders were needing in this new work environment: The following is a summary of what we learned.
Refinery Leadership – Does Your D and I Program Rumble Your Soul?
Many organizations today have Diversity and Inclusion programs because “it is the right thing to do”. These programs however rarely seem to be at the forefront in the day to day operations. Afterall, managers have the “real work” of ensuring the productivity and profitability of the company, right?
Problem Solving and Decision Making: Introducing the Cynefin Framework
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for many business leaders that they may not have seen before. In addition to having to adapt to new government regulations about how their companies can operate, they may be working with a remote workforce for the first time. Furthermore, there is a good chance that leaders are (or will be) working with team members who are afraid to come back to work or with clients who feel that re-openings are happening too fast – or too slow.
Refinery Leadership – Learning the Recipe of Refinery’s Secret Sauce
When Rhonda Gorman first joined the Refinery team from Calgary, Alberta in February 2019 in a business development role, she wasn’t sure if she had made the right decision or not. Of course, she knew of Refinery, but like many others that she now comes in contact with on a daily basis, she didn’t yet understand the full extent of how Refinery was different. Rhonda would learn that it would take her close to a year to really understand the ‘secret sauce’ that made Refinery Leadership such a powerful resource for business executives. We recently spoke with Rhonda to learn more about her experience with Refinery.
Effective Leadership During Times of Uncertainty
Over the past few weeks, change has occurred rapidly and drastically. As a leader, engagement with your teams might be one of the few things our employees can depend on to guide them through their days. Now more than ever, we must remember the fundamentals of effective leadership as we transition through these uncertain times.
Executive Burnout Part 1: The Truck That Finally Hit Me
I was on a call with my coach, talking about what I was going to commit to doing better or different for the next few months in my leadership. I found myself giving rote, dispassionate responses, and finally admitted that I was just exhausted. About everything.
The Year of Not Quite Living—Part Two: One Step Up, Three Stumbles Down
Food and Leadership Part 2: Making Lemons into Lemon…Bars
In my first post in this Food and Leadership series, I pointed out the similarities between food and leadership. Humanity requires both to survive, yet both can be either nurturing or poisonous, depending on who is delivering it.READ MORE
Food and Leadership P1
“Like food, leadership can be comforting, delightful, surprising, revolting. Like food, it is fuel, glue, and emblem of a community — be it a family, a nation, or a corporation. It energizes, brings us together, and represents us. Like food, leadership has a timeless essence, comes in countless forms, and fulfils basic needs.”-- Gianpiero Petriglieri, HBR, June 3, 2010READ MORE
The Year of Not Quite Living: Part Three: Fumbling Toward the Light
I was not even at the half-way point of one of the worst years of my life. Already, I had lost my job, had to move my family back to Colorado, attempt, then fail, then attempt again to find a job, get pregnant, then lose the pregnancy, try to maintain a state of normalcy for my kids, and work through a consulting gig that was putting food on our table. I was ready for that year to end. Every day was an immense struggle for me to get up, try to be a mom to my babies, a supportive wife to my husband, and a capable consultant to a client that had high expectations for me to transform their service quality levels. I was still bitter— actually, downright angry—about being fired from my executive position 6 months earlier. I still had so many unanswered questions. I was doing amazing work, or so I was told. I was getting along with everyone on the executive team, or so I thought. My team of regional managers and 71 branch managers loved working with me, or so they told me. What did I do wrong? What was wrong with me?READ MORE
How connected are you really?
What does being connected mean to you?READ MORE
What leadership looks like in times of turmoil
In the wake of the tragedy that took place on March 15th in Christchurch New Zealand, I shared something powerful and hopeful with my LinkedIn community: the above picture of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, accompanied by a comment on her display of empathy and inspiring leadership.READ MORE
Can we create work environments that are truly inclusive?
My last blog post was labelled, “How being pregnant has made me a better leader”, and the response I got to it was quite incredible. I was humbled and awed at the stories that people shared with me about their own experience. I also got the proverbial, “just wait”.READ MORE
The Year of Not Quite Living—Part One: Falling into the Pit
“Today is my one-year anniversary with Central Bank*. But, rather than getting an annual review, I got fired. Well, asked to resign, actually.READ MORE
Feedback and Meaningful Conversations Are Everything During the Talent Process
If your organization is embarking on a talent management initiative of any size or scope with an objective of ensuring a robust pipeline of high potential leaders, one of the most critical questions to ask is: Are we an organization which understands how to…READ MORE
Shedding the Corporate Armour—Part Three: Outgrowing Your Suit of Steel
Okay, let me set the record straight here. Despite my experiences of being blatantly (and sometimes subversively) mistreated, overlooked, harassed and otherwise not treated as an equal to my male counterparts at work over the years...READ MORE
Knowing How Isn’t Always Enough
Last November, I took a break and spent a (well-deserved if I do say so) vacation in Jamaica. While there, my wife and I went for a dive on one of the reefs off the coast of Negril. Despite being a proficient diver, having dove for many years in...READ MORE
How Being Pregnant has Made Me a Better Leader
To kick it off, I want to admit, I’m a little hesitant to write a blog post about being pregnant. It feels immensely personal and a little voice inside of me keeps nagging at me, “oh don’t be that woman who gets pregnant and that's all she can talk about!"READ MORE
Know the Theory, Know the Real World, KNOW YOURSELF
Stencilled on the wall of The Refinery’s head office in Vancouver, BC, are some of the team’s shared values. “Know the theory, know the real world, know yourself,” is, in my opinion, a great foundation for success in the field of leadership development.READ MORE
Shedding the Corporate Armour—Part Two: Casting the Armour
In my previous article, I examined the ways in which I used my business clothing—suits and other androgynous and stiff business attire—to gain access to a fairly male-dominated, conservative work world.READ MORE
Shedding the Corporate Armour—Part One
It was May of 1985. I had just finished my last final exam during my third year of undergrad, and had heard back from my internship coordinator that I was scheduled for my first interview for a professional internship at the Marine Bank Corporation…READ MORE
Sometimes You Just Need to Get Punched
I love this excerpt from a recent New York Times interview with Amy Schumer where she was asked: “What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?” Whether you like her comedy or not, her reference to The Professional pulls out an inherent truth…READ MORE