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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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Planning a career move? Three key tips for a successful strategy

Whether you’re switching jobs, changing careers, or transitioning into retirement, a few guiding principles can make all the difference in your success.

In the latest episode of The Toughest Call podcast, Rishad Tobaccowala, futurist, and author of "Restoring the Soul of Business," shares how he approached his shift into something completely different.

In this video analysis, Chaz Thorne discusses Rishad's guiding principles for a successful career move.

After 30 plus years of building a career as a leader within Publicis, the third-largest global communications group, Rishad decided it was time for him to take on a new challenge.

With the decision to leave already made, he then switched to HOW he would leave and broke that process down into three guiding principles:

  1. Consult people you trust
  2. Make an elegant exit
  3. Practice patience with yourself

Consult people you trust

Consult people in your professional network about your plans for the future. They may have done...

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Toughest Call Ep. 109 – Doing the impossible - TRANSCRIPT

Lori Nikkel  00:08

And we knew that we had to scale instead of three years in minutes, and scaling wasn't just not two people event scaling the whole business.


Chaz Thorne  00:17

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 Lori Nikkel about her decision to hasten the pace of international expansion to meet the growing demand for food during the pandemic. Lori is the CEO of Second Harvest, a charity that recovers fresh unsold food to protect the environment and provide immediate hunger relief. How many times in your career Have you been told something you wanted to attempt was impossible. Though this may turn out to be true. It's also a position often taken by the overly risk averse to stifle innovation and maintain the status quo. Lori talks about how she leaned on the power have...

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The Difference between Possible and Impossible often comes down to one thing…


How many times in your career have you been told that something is impossible to do?

While accepting that “fact” might be relatively easy when there’s not much on the line, what happens when the stakes are monumental?  

That’s exactly the situation Lori Nikkel faced when COVID created a massive wave of families turning to food banks. As the CEO of a food rescue organization called Second Harvest, Lori knew she was at a very pivotal moment.

She had two choices: put the brakes on her three-year national expansion plans and wait for the pandemic to end; or hit the gas and complete the expansion in a matter of weeks.


Seeing an opportunity amid the crisis

To make that tough choice, all Lori had to do was take a hard look at two of the biggest casualties of the lockdowns: the collapse of the restaurant industry, and the collapse of the job market.

In other words, a massive amount of food was about to be wasted at a time when the need for food...

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Trying to achieve the impossible? Four Quick Tips from Someone who’s Done it.

During your career, you’ll likely be told that certain things are simply impossible.


Sometimes we accept that notion as fact.


But other times, we dig in our heels to prove the world wrong.


For Lori Nikkel, her opportunity to do the impossible came when COVID lockdowns swept the country. As the CEO of Toronto-based food rescue organization, Second Harvest, she knew that mass restaurant closures would mean millions of tons of food diverted to landfills at a time when the need for food for vulnerable Canadians was exploding.


Although Lori already had a three-year plan to expand Second Harvest nationally, it was clear that the need for that expansion was NOW.


So, instead of sticking to the three-year plan, she decided the only real choice was the impossible one: to condense that plan to a matter of weeks.


Getting there wasn’t easy. But in the end, Lori and her team crossed the finish line and kept millions of families fed during...

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