Last week I visited Saskatoon. The Sunday afternoon flight from Toronto was priced at $2000, so I elected to take the 8:00 AM Saturday morning flight. My first reaction was, "Oh no! Two days in Saskatoon with nothing to do." I decided to bring some work with me and enjoy the trip. Frequently when I am in hotels, it occurs to me that it would be productive to book into a hotel for a couple of days and just focus on the tasks at hand. Of course I would never do this of my own volition and so this inconvenience could have been an opportunity in disguise. Here are a few highlights of how I spent the time.

When I arrived around noon on Saturday, Saskatoon was a beautiful winter wonderland. You know what it’s like when the trees are coated with glistening ice and snow. I decided to walk over to the Mendel Gallery and take in an art display. I walked along the river in the bright sunshine and saw a bridal party taking wedding photographs. Have you ever seen wedding photographs where the background is blue sky and snow covered trees? It was absolutely gorgeous and I thought about how lucky that couple is to have such unique pictures of their special day. The Optimism of Colour featuring the work of Canadian artist William Perehudoff, was a little abstract for my liking, but there was one fabulous watercolour painting of a winter snowstorm that was breath taking. I spoke with a couple of the docents at the gallery and they were both friendly and welcoming. I totally enjoyed myself.

Sunday morning, I decided to go to church. I haven’t done this for a long time, but I had the time and the inclination. At coffee afterwards, I met a few people and one of them invited me to attend an afternoon concert of the Saskatoon Symphony at a local hotel. What a wonderful surprise! The concert was charming and I made a couple of new friends.

My initial reaction seems ridiculous in hindsight. The spontaneous interruptions in our lives often turn out to be blessings when we are willing to take them in stride. Consider this the next time something unexpected happens in the middle of the project you are working on and then think creatively about how you can make it work. The world needs a lot more lemonade!


By donning the cloak of invisibility, Harry Potter became so like his surroundings that he became invisible. Wearing it allowed him access to places he otherwise wouldn’t dare to go. When we are working, there are occasions when each of us wishes we could avail ourselves of such a cloak. How often have you or a team mate muttered that you would like to have been the proverbial fly on the wall in that meeting? At other times, we’d like the option of just disappearing for awhile. These are perfect opportunities to demonstrate resilience and to build personal and professional credibility.

One of my peers recently asked me how to handle a boss who insists on micro managing. I told him that there are many answers, I could give him, but ultimately he would have to weigh the options and choose his own approach. I’ll share my thoughts with you.

When do you give your teenager the keys to your car and tell them to have a good Saturday night out with their friends? It depends on how much you trust them. When your teenager has demonstrated enough maturity, you eventually give him/her the keys and trust that all will be well. Some parents have difficulty trusting, regardless of how mature their teenagers are. They refuse to extend driving privileges or impose regulations to assuage their lack of trust.

When your manager micro manages, you need to consider his or her needs. How much of their thirst for information arises from pressure being applied from above? How much of it represents a lack of trust or inexperience in managing? Does your behaviour build or diminish trust? How much do they need to know to do their job effectively and efficiently? If you choose to ignore this situation, you are wearing the cloak.

Here are some options:

1) Gradually lessen the amount of detail you provide in your reports. Be sure to include any information that is critical to your manager’s success. If and when you are asked for more information, have it ready. Carefully examine what is typically required and then create processes that will help you prepare the information with a minimum of effort. Your ability to do this will make you more visible.

2) Find a way to have a respectful conversation with your manager. Listen more than you talk and avoid jumping to conclusions. Manage your self talk and focus on building the relationship. Consider asking some questions about how your project relates to the strategic objectives or how you can maximize the project’s value. You share a common goal and should work to find common ground.

When a manager spends excessive time dealing with details, the big picture items like strategic goals, market share, new customers, and so on are neglected. Asking the right questions is a terrific way to frame the conversation and to demonstrate that you are worthy of trust.



In keeping with this month’s theme of ‘Building Credibility", here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1) Show up for meetings on time and be prepared. If you are tasked with preparing minutes, write and circulate them immediately following the meeting. Recently, a Director commented in an onsite class about how credible and visible a certain employee has become, because he does this consistently.

2) Volunteer cheerfully to take on the minor tasks that no one wants to do.

3) Keep your word even if it hurts. This means doing everything you have committed to do. If you are over committed, learn to say, "NO!"

"The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer. Ski season is upon us!!!!"

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Communi-Kate is a free, monthly newsletter on improving bottom line results through better management of projects, programs, and portfolios. Back issues can be downloaded for free at Kathryn Pottruff is a senior business executive and President of Pottruff Consulting Inc. Working with individuals and organizations, we drive profitability by improving how projects, programs, and portfolios are managed. We work with our clients to establish processes, systems and tools that deliver value and build competitive advantage. In short, we transform paralyzing complexity into dramatic results!

Kathryn Pottruff, President Pottruff Consulting Inc.

Phone: 905-901-4266


Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
The Power of Intention

Earlier this month I began reading Jane Atkinson’s book, the Wealthy Speaker. A few short pages into it, she suggests that Dyer’s book, the Power of Intention is mandatory reading for anyone who really wants to be successful. Could it be coincidence that a copy of it is sitting on my desk? I don’t think so. I’m learning to listen to these gentle nudges and so I picked it up and began reading. It’s a thoughtful book packed with other- worldly wisdom. It’s poses deep questions like, “What’s my purpose and passion in life?” or “Why are certain people appearing in my life right now?” It has made me stop and consider the blessings in my life and the myriad things I have to be grateful for. If you are ripe for a little self reflection and growth, I strongly recommend you pick up a copy and set some intentions for your life.