Jim Prentice is the Real Deal

I’m preparing for a presentation to my MBA class next week on the question: What should we know about ourselves to become better leaders?

As I prepare, I can’t help but be inspired by Premier Prentice as he navigates his way through the process of establishing himself as the leader of our province. While it’s only been a week since he’s been sworn in, it’s clear that when it comes to ability to lead, Mr. Prentice is the real deal.

As part of the research I conducted for this presentation, I came across an interesting study about the impact that “Authentic Leadership” has on “Psychological Ownership”. Short of getting into the heavy academic theory behind all of this, I can say that based on how my own feeling have suddenly become positive again towards the PC led government, this theory seems to resonate with me.

The study makes some general comments about authentic leadership, which it also correlates to the concept of “transformational leadership”. These include:

  • Authentic transformational leaders set personal examples, create a shared vision, take risks, promote trust and collaboration, and reward others for their accomplishments;
  • Authentic leaders are deeply aware of their values, emotions, goals, motives, strengths and weaknesses.

According to the study, psychological ownership is a natural feeling by individuals that is concerned with feelings of possession. The study goes on to say that when followers perceive leaders as authentic, they tend to display more organizational citizenship behaviours, commitment, satisfaction or performance. It also says that because open and truthful relationships are integral to authenticity it is reasonable to expect that authentic leaders fulfill the followers’ need to belong. Finally, and perhaps most encouraging for the PC Party and Caucus, the concept of “positive modelling” may result in followers identifying themselves with the leaders as a person.

So far during his short but action packed week as Alberta Premier, Mr. Prentice has certainly had this kind of impact on me and based on conversations I’ve had with many of my PC friends, I’m not alone in that feeling.

When it comes to the theory of authentic leadership, Premier Prentice seems to be the real deal. Of course it’s very early and only time will tell for sure, but so far I feel proud of my new leader and I hope the feeling not only continues, but deepens, matures and flourishes.

Thank you Mr. Prentice for bringing back that feeling of pride that was once associated with a PC led government – keep up the great work!

PP

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Meet our Friend Matt

The New Year got me thinking … we have a ton of new MLAs (can we still call them new?) sitting in the Alberta Legislature … we don’t necessarily know a lot about them … which leads to my excuse for a new series (hopefully) of blogs. A New Year featuring New MLAs.

First on the list? Our friend Matt.

Peter and I met Matt Jeneroux, Alberta’s MLA of Edmonton-Southwest, before the 2012 provincial election. He attended the nomination workshop we were hosting on behalf of the PC Party. He stood out in the room. I remember standing at the front of the room looking at those that were learning about the process and wondering who might go on to become MLAs. Matt was an excellent choice by the constituents of Edmonton-Southwest.

Since that day Peter and I have gotten to know Matt and consider him a friend. He is strategic, dedicated, hard working  … and thoughtful. Peter and I received the loveliest (“official”) letter from Matt after we got married – I must admit that the inner political geek in me was quite excited about having something like that grace our mailbox but the words written and sentiment behind it truly demonstrate the type of individual Matt is – gracious, kind-hearted, and, like I said, thoughtful! Perhaps a side of a MLA you don’t often hear about or get to see.

Matt always seems to be up to something new. Give him a follow on Twitter or check out his website. He has quite an impressive schedule. My favourite of his posts? The photos of him visiting schools and students in his constituency – making a positive impact on Alberta’s next generation. He’s quite active online – keeping Albertans posted on his goings-on, tweeting directly with those that have concerns, and sharing information not only about government but the things that matter to his community. Like this one from yesterday:

We asked Matt a few questions to start off 2014 so Albertans could get to know him better. His answers are in italics.

Why did you choose to get involved in politics?
It was a decision I made after a lot of thought & consideration. I have 2 young daughters and I want to ensure they have every opportunity to grow up in a remarkable Alberta like I was able to do. I want them and their generation to have pride in a province that is quite simply the envy of the world. I want them to be able to say, “I’m from Alberta” anywhere in the world and be proud to say it!

What did you do before you were a MLA?
I worked for the Federal Government as a Policy Advisor.

What is your favourite part about being an MLA? 
The opportunity to have a voice for our generation, specifically opportunities like being on Treasury Board. Also being the youngest government caucus member, I often get to provide a viewpoint from our generation and add insight as a single dad raising a young family. It’s a tough balance sometimes where I have to bring my two daughters to a number of meetings but I’m hopeful hard work and sacrifice will help to give us a voice at the decision making tables.

What is the number 1 issue you are passionate about in our constituency? 
A few issues have really stood out for me. As of recently, being able to speak about and provide insight on our changing interprovincial and international relations has been quite interesting. I have a very forward thinking constituency with a lot of young families who are passionate about Alberta’s place in the world. I’ve been able to bring a proactive and forward thinking discussion about our future to the table on a variety of topics which I’ve had the luxury of chatting with my constituents about again and again!

Oh, and of course the continued growth pressures and the high demands for increased infrastructure i.e. New Schools

And, any New Year resolutions?
Hopefully avoid the stigma of overweight & unhealthy politicians and continue to go to the gym often… even if it means at 11:30pm after evening sittings!

Good luck in 2014 Matt! We’re watching (especially that 2014 resolution) and looking forward to all you’ll accomplish as government’s youngest member (which is an accomplishment in itself) … thanks for representing your constituents, our generation, and most of all for your friendship.

– CP

PC Government deserves a ZERO for not doing their job

Sometimes, it’s difficult to be a PC supporter.  Reading stories about rampant corruption within our healthcare system are hard to stomach, especially considering the sub-par care my mother received in her dying days only a few years ago.  It took 3 months of doctor appointments (in her last 6 months of life) to get a diagnosis in our monopolistic system, yet when we flew to the US and paid for a diagnosis in a private clinic we got the diagnosis in 1 day.  After she was diagnosed here in Canada, our shitty healthcare system failed to provide her with homecare; somebody forgot to order it for her.  She died in emergency because there wasn’t enough space in the hospital for her.  It was a horrendous experience that left me very upset.

But I didn’t blame the PC government for that.  I understand that MLAs don’t run the healthcare system and I don’t think it’s a good idea for them to.  The healthcare system should be run by health professionals, which for the most part, it is in Alberta.

It is the job of MLAs and Ministers to broadly oversee the system and to make adjustments when those who run the system day to day make mistakes.  This is why Premier Redford took decisive action when the Merali story broke and why she is implementing more transparency in the way government officials report expenses.

The no zero policy story, which concluded yesterday with the firing of a high school teacher with 30+ years of experience is something I can’t believe our elected officials would allow to happen.  The Redford Government deserves a zero for not stepping in to stop this.

I agree that our Education Minister should not get involved in the day to day decisions made within our education system.  We have Trustees, Superintendents and other education professionals who are better suited to run our system at the local level.

But firing a teacher for giving HIGH SCHOOL students who don’t complete assignments zeros is far more offensive and egregious than any story of corruption or misuse of public dollars.  And the fact that Alberta’s Education Minister is not planning to step in to correct this is shocking and unacceptable.

The no zero issue is about far more than a teacher who isn’t following policies or a local firing decision as the Minister has suggested. It’s about teaching values and principles.  In a province where small business is the backbone of our economy and where our big businesses are global leaders, the values we teach with a no zeros policy is unacceptable.  Failing is one of the most important components of success and teaching our future leaders about consequences is one of the best ways we can prepare them for the competitive and cruel world.

Like I previously said, it’s the job of MLAs and Ministers to broadly oversee the system and to make adjustments when those who run the system day to day make mistakes.  A man lost his income because he would not follow the offensive no zero policy and the PC Government needs to make this right, just like they did recently regarding the expense claims of health officials.

Otherwise Albertans might decide to teach them that there are, in fact, consequences for not doing their work.

PP

Alberta Student Ministerial Internship Program – Guest Blog

Our good friend, John Hampson, has certainly left his mark on the new Alison Redford government by pitching the idea of the Alberta Student Ministerial Internship Program and seeing it come to fruition. John is a twenty-something working as Special Assistant to the Premier – and if his successful pitch story is an example of things to come in Redford’s government we can be confident that #changefromwithin is not just a pipe dream.

I’ve been so proud of all John has accomplished in his young life – and look forward to where he will go next. He wrote the blog below at our request – why did we request it? Well – Peter noticed a whole lot of young people wandering the Legislature halls during his last visit up to Edmonton and John had the answers as to why they were all there.

I hope to see more examples like this program in the near future. Hoping all the interns have a fabulous summer too!

Thanks for this guest blog John!
CR

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Alberta Student Ministerial Internship Program

Only six months into my career with the Government of Alberta, it’s become resoundingly clear that we are living in exponential times! This sentiment echoes true when we take a look at the generational shifts that exist within our provincial government administration. Four generations currently work side by side; Matures, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. This includes people born in 1930 all the way to 2000!

At any given moment approximately 25% of the Alberta Public Service could retire.  Some may see this as cause for concern, I do not. I see this as a tremendous opportunity for Generation Y to step up to plate and think seriously about a career in the Alberta Public Service. That’s what we’re hoping to accomplish with the Alberta Student Ministerial Internship Program (ASMIP). This is a new and unique program that provides post-secondary students with the opportunity to learn about government, develop workplace skills and gain career-related experience, all while working at the Alberta Legislature within Ministerial Offices.

Recognizing the power of mentorship and the emergent need to excite our generation about the incredibly rewarding career paths offered through the Alberta Public Service, Premier Redford’s Office developed this initiative in January and moved quickly to roll out the program in time for a summer launch. The response to the competition was overwhelming. Over 350 students applied. From that, we were able to place 26 exceptional interns into Ministerial Offices with duties ranging from coordinating aspects of their Minister’s schedule, briefing their Minister on relevant issues and attending community events with their Minister. Additionally, Interns participate in an intensive learning and development seminar series, which entails weekly sessions with visionary leaders from the Alberta Public Service, further providing Interns with an even greater understanding of what the Government of Alberta is all about.

At the end of the day, we’re so excited about this incredible learning opportunity for students and the amazing potential for us to inspire the next generation of Alberta leaders to look to the public service as they plan their career path!

John Hampson

Top Ten Reasons to Amend the Alberta Labour Code

The Alberta Labour Relations Code was written in 1988 and has remained virtually untouched since that time.  Over the coming months, I will be writing a new blog series titled “Top Ten Reasons to Amend the Alberta Labour Code” in an effort to initiate an online discussion about the need to update this antiquated (cold-war era) legislation.

Much has happened in the world since 1988, including significant labour legislation changes in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, as well as Europe, the USA and most developed countries throughout the world.  The time has come to update this 23 year old piece of legislation in Alberta.

The governments of British Columbia and Saskatchewan have responded with labour code changes that made their workforces more nimble, fair and competitive.  As a result, these provinces have created a labour relations environment that is more conducive to attracting investment to their provinces.

In response to these changing circumstances in western Canada and around the world, a group of construction leaders formed a coalition to find ways to combat Alberta’s increasingly uncompetitive construction sector.  The group is called the Construction Competitiveness Coalition and its participants operate in both union and non-union environments.  Most of their recommendations are based on labour code changes that have already taken place in other provinces and jurisdictions around the world.  I will write a detailed blog about each of the recommendations in the coming months.

The opportunities for Alberta to become more competitive through Labour Code amendments generally fall into three (3) categories:

  • Creating economic advantages though cost and schedule certainty;
  • Creating bargaining structures for today’s workplaces; and
  • Improving fairness for employees and employers.

The top ten reasons to amend the Alberta Labour Code are:

Recommendation 1:   Amend Division 8 to address potential issues under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Recommendation 2:   Adopt legislation similar to that in British Columbia, which allows for the continuation of collective agreements in situations where a union becomes the bargaining agent for a workforce and there is an existing collective agreement in place for that workforce.

Recommendation 3:   Amend the Alberta Labour Code to allow contractors to complete existing work under the labour obligations that existed prior to certification.

Recommendation 4:   Amend the Alberta Labour Code to allow for certificates in the construction industry that cover all of the employees working for an employer.

Recommendation 5:   Amend the Alberta Labour Code to put into law a provision that allows for early renewal of collective agreements when all parties are in agreement and employees consent.

Recommendation 6:   Maintain the current approach to the “build up principle” in construction.

Recommendation 7:   Amend the Alberta Labour Code to prohibit unions from fining workers for the crime of working with an employer not affiliated with the union.

Recommendation 8:   Amend the Alberta Labour Code to prohibit unions from using union dues to support activities other than fulfilling the union’s obligations under the Code unless the union obtains prior consent of the employee.

Recommendation 9:   Improve Alberta Labour Code provisions that address market enhancement recovery fund (“MERFs”), which are illegal bid subsidy schemes.

Recommendation 10: Amend the Alberta Labour Code to clarify limits on the use of picket lines.

If you are still reading, you must be wondering what much of this means!  These are complicated but critically important matters.  Many of these policy recommendations have been implemented throughout the country and around the world and despite fierce opposition from union leadership, they have resulted in better, more competitive workplaces and happier workers.

I look forward to diving into each of these recommendations over the coming months and engaging in this important dialogue.

PP