Productive Engagement

Voltaire said, “I might disagree with your opinion, but I am willing to give my life for your right to express it.” I have a slight disagreement with Voltaire. I am willing to give my life for your right to hold an opinion if it is based in relevant expertise but even then, I do not agree that you have a right or an obligation to express it.

We have many opinions. In fact, we express our opinions on a variety of subjects every day just by the choices we make: the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the food we eat. These, and many others of our opinions have been formed by our life experiences, world views, and often, our privileges.

There are various levels of opinions – the most legitimate being those grounded in science and expertise. Then there are those that are based on our politics and ideas of what others should do and finally there are those that include our personal experiences, likes and dislikes. One’s subjective beliefs are more difficult to defend. The saying “everyone is entitled to their opinion” only means that we can think whatever we like but our opinion is not more deserving of respect than anyone else’s and we are under no obligation to express it. And yet, people do. Opinions are voiced every day in letters to the editor, as comments online, and in other public fora. Often these opinions are trotted out like facts and are garnished with condescension, sarcasm, and cynicism.

Many opinions are not facts; rather they are judgments and assessments and are masquerading as passive-aggressive advice. Opinions can be wrong and ill-conceived and that they are widely held and shared does not make them valid.

The quality of public and personal engagement would be elevated if we considered the following when our opinions are burning to be shared: Do I have the information and actual expertise to form an opinion? Why do I believe my opinion ought to be shared? Am I sharing it with the right people? Have they asked for my opinion? Will the sharing of or my delivery of my opinion diminish other people’s willingness or opportunity to communicate their opinions?

It is important that our privilege and fundamentalist beliefs don’t give us the false idea that our opinions are more significant than anyone else’s. Listen to opinions that differ from your own – especially those based in expertise. Leave room for others to influence discussions. There is wisdom in knowing what you don’t know. Superiority is illusory.

Denny Warner,

Executive Director

Transformative Disruption in the Workplace

Gather two or more employers together and discussion naturally turns to difficulties they are experiencing in hiring and retaining employees. Many Peninsula businesses have ‘Help Wanted’ signs in their windows. Finding staff with the appropriate skills and experience is the most commonly-expressed challenge.

This situation has arisen due to a convergence of factors: one being the low unemploymen (more…)

Building Bridges Between Institutions – Part 3

Employers report that new workers entering the workforce often do not have the skills required to fulfill the terms of their employment. In addition, much of the existing workforce requires retraining to update their skills so companies can continue to compete in the changing economy. Educational institutions and local employers would benefit from a closer working relationship. We are pleased to participate in organizing is the EduTech trade show, scheduled for the fall, which will do exactly that – provide a direct link between Peninsula employers, educators and students. (more…)

2017 Crystal Awards Nomination

Award Criteria by Category
  • Business of the Year Award: 1 - 15 Employees

    Applicants in this category must demonstrate:

    1. Continuing business success through:
      • growth (can be revenue/sales, profits, employees, products/services, customer base)
      • employee satisfaction and retention
    2. Exceptional customer service by continuously striving to exceed customer expectations, and by delivering high standards of service with creativity and innovation.
    3. An on-going commitment to quality through employee motivation, quality processes, employee education and management involvement.
  • Business of the Year Award: 16+ Employees

    Applicants in this category must demonstrate:

    1. Continuing business success through:
      • growth (can be revenue/sales, profits, employees, products/services, customer base)
      • employee satisfaction and retention
    1. Exceptional customer service by continuously striving to exceed customer expectations, and by delivering high standards of service with creativity and innovation.
    2. An on-going commitment to quality through employee motivation, quality processes, employee education and management involvement.
  • Not-for-Profit Organization of the Year

    Applicants in this category must demonstrate:

    1. The organization’s commitment to its clients
    2. How the organization has contributed to the community
    3. How the organization supports employee growth and development and contributes to their well-being, satisfaction and motivation
    4. How the organization motivates, rewards and recognizes its volunteers
  • Contribution to the Community Award

    Applicants in this category must demonstrate:

    1. How the business has ‘given back’ to the community through corporate sponsorship (i.e. cash donations, contributions of services, goods or materials, in-kind).
    2. The types of events the business has supported over the past year (i.e. community activities, festivals, events, sporting events or teams, cultural events, social initiatives)
    3. How the business provides mentorship and leadership in encouraging and facilitating community pride and spirit amongst staff while both at work and away from the work environment.
  • Green Business of the Year Award

    Applicants in this category must demonstrate:

    1. A long-term commitment to environmental sustainability through leadership and the integration of environmentally responsible practices into culture of their business
    2. Key “green” projects that have been implemented in the business and how they have been tracked and measured
    3. How the company engages stakeholders and/or clients and/or the community in activities that support environmental sustainability.
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit Award

    Applicants in this category must demonstrate:

    1. Personal efforts to establish or expand the business
    2. An innovative product or a valuable new service, or one which has adapted and improved a current product or service to keep pace with the times and the needs of its clients
    3. A commitment to continuous improvement and growth
  • New Business Award

    Applicants in this category must demonstrate:

    1. Being in business for two years or less
    2. Significant growth and a plan for continued growth
    3. A commitment to providing a high quality product or service
    4. Excellent customer service
  • Employer of the Year Award

    Applicants in this category must demonstrate:

    1. A workplace culture reflecting the importance of work/life balance
    2. A commitment to providing a healthy and safe work environment
    3. A commitment to providing on-going training and/or professional development opportunities
    4. A positive workplace culture encouraging respect and engaged employees
  • New Product or Service (Existing Business) Award

    Applicants in this category must demonstrate:

    1. The development or introduction of a new product or service between January and December 2016
    2. The innovative nature of the new product or service
    3. The usefulness of the new product or service
    4. The actual or potential benefit of the new product or service
  • Outstanding Customer Service Award

    Applicants in this category must demonstrate:

    1. How their customer service strategy contributes to an exceptional customer experience with positive reviews or recognition
    2. How their customer service strategy encourages customer loyalty
    3. How their customer service strategy has resulted in a more motivated and engaged staff
    4. How their customer service strategy has improved operational excellence

Nominate Your Choice Now!

Thank you for your nominations. Nominations are now being reviewed. Sept 8th, 2017

It Takes a Region to Raise an Economy – Part 2 of 3

Last month I discussed the strategy of growing the economy by attracting more people to live in an area and suggested the most desirable groups to target based on their ability and willingness to contribute to the overall health of a community are baby boomers, entrepreneurial immigrants and millennials. Now we will look at how the quality of place matters in attracting newcomers. (more…)

Economic Growth through Population Growth Part I in a series

There was a significant shift between the old and new economies that occurred between the 1990’s and 2000’s. The old economy is filled with success stories of companies whose road to prosperity began initially by identifying an inexpensive place to do business in a community with preferential zoning and taxation policies and ideally, an established industrial park. People followed the jobs. Manufacturing businesses, largely dependent upon fossil fuels, were responsible for much of the economic growth. (more…)

Cheers to our Volunteers

In honour of National Volunteer Week which was celebrated the last week of April, I wish to acknowledge our new Board of Directors:

Doug Walker, President (Cambium Leadership)
Gordon Benn, Vice President (Pearlman Lindholm)
Sheila Henn, Treasurer (Paterson Henn Chartered Professional Accountants)
Tara Keeping, Secretary (Tiger Lily Events)
John Treleaven, Past President (The Treleaven Consulting Group) (more…)

Shut Up and Listen!

Many years ago I had the privilege to work on a community economic development project with Ernesto Sirolli. Lessons from that project and from his book Ripples from the Zambezi: Passion Entrepreneurship and the Rebirth of Local Economies, have long resonated. His lifelong passion for empowering entrepreneurs is inspirational and instructional when considering how we provide aid or assistance to countries or to people in our own communities. (more…)

The Importance of Community Relations

We wrapped up another successful Tour of Industry at the end of January. The Tour is important for many reasons, one of which is because it strengthens the relationship between businesses and the community.

The business/community relationship is not one-sided. The most obvious benefit for the community is that businesses create jobs. The business and employee tax revenue funds essential government programs such as health, education and infrastructure. We would not enjoy a healthy community absent thriving businesses. The kinds of businesses that locate in our area help establish our community identity and sense of place.

It is difficult to measure the ROI of community investment but businesses that expend their time and financial resources for this purpose stand to reap many benefits when they make it a core focus of their overall business philosophy. Companies who have made this investment report the networking has assisted them to find new markets, customers, and potential investors, they have had an easier time attracting employees and retention rates are higher, their customers view them as being more trustworthy, honest and stable and they experience increased familiarity with their brand. Perhaps most importantly, over time, this investment will increase revenue. With respect to the businesses on the Saanich Peninsula operating internationally, your community members may not be purchasing your product but they will be interested in your opinions, perspectives and expertise and you will benefit from community feedback and support. Competitors can imitate your product or service but they cannot replicate your community.

How can you invest in your community? I have a few suggestions: take out or renew your Chamber membership, sponsor an event, establish an employee volunteer program, participate in our Tour of Industry, nominate your business for a Crystal Award for Business Excellence, support a local charity or share your expertise with new entrepreneurs. Being a good community member is not something that can be done sporadically but rather is something that needs to be done consistently and visibly.

Denny Warner,

Executive Director

Submit Your Questions For the Mayors Breakfast

We are looking for your questions to be asked at the Saanich Peninsula Mayors  Breakfast. The Event is held on March 2nd, 2017 starting 7:30 am  at the Oceans Cafe inside the Institute of Ocean Sciences.

What would you like to hear the Mayors talk about?