Success During the First 90 Days on the Job

Victor1558 / Flickr

I started a new job just over two months ago, in leadership development with a very cool yoga-inspired athletic apparel designer.  For the past eight years, I worked in student development at business schools.  I am absolutely loving my new job and the change has been good for me.  That said, there have been some challenges through this transition.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

A new job is a big deal and taking time off between positions is a good call.  It takes time to shed the layers that accumulate at work and, while transitions are exhilarating, they can also be exhausting. So, when it comes to a new job, if you can afford to take more than a weekend to gear up for it, then you should.

Timing is everything: Be mindful when choosing the end date of your old job and your first day at your new job.  As an example, iIf I had delayed my last day at my old job by one week, I would have been eligible for an additional four weeks of health benefits at no extra cost.

Starting my new job in mid-summer has been perfect.  Cycling to work is easier.  People are smiling and excited about their annual vacations.  At the office, the flow of work is calmer and in my case, I started shortly before our annual leadership conference. As a result, it was incredible to be positioned to absorb so much of the company culture in one huge hit.  It was also so inspiring to hear from seasoned colleagues and senior executives where we are headed as a company in the coming year.

 I was even fortunate enough to participate in a small brainstorming session with our wonderful CEO.  I shared that it was a little overwhelming being new amongst such talented colleagues.  She responded with: “You know we hired you because of your experience.  You are enough just as you are.”  Since then, I’ve stopped telling people that I’m new because I realized that my start date is irrelevant and including it as a caveat detracts from my credibility.

Orientation is key: Smart companies invest in a thoughtful onboarding process. I’ve joined a smart company and have been encouraged from day one to connect with colleagues in order to understand its unique culture.  It’s such a simple way to inculcate new staff and allow for rapport to develop naturally by creating informal processes for people to connect.  When I’ve found myself in a new job where the formal onboarding is less thoughtful, I will absolutely make the time to establish ties with co-workers.  Your first weeks really are your only time to dig-in to the culture before your “real” work starts.  As a new hire, you aren’t expected to be producing or contributing right away so rather than sitting at your computer overwhelmed and trying to figure things out by searching the intranet, get out there and talk to people.  That’s definitely how I got excited about my new job.

Get to know people and just do it! woodleywonderworks / Flickr

Finally, just do it.  Similar to how getting a new job requires putting yourself out there, settling into a new job requires the same.  I’ve been in my new job long enough to have ideas about where I can help and how I can contribute.  There is a ton of stuff that I don’t know, like how our electronic filing system works, how to get web-content online, and how to complete expense reports.  But that doesn’t really matter when it comes to sharing ideas.  I’m not huge into the notion that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness that it is to get permission.  I do believe though that it’s much better to share your work than it is to keep working on it until you perceive it to be perfect.  The pace of work is faster than achieving perfection allows so I’m going to just put my thoughts down on a piece of paper and allow my colleagues to offer their opinions about how I can take the project to the next level. While there’s some vulnerability in that it definitely feels like the right thing to do.

The Elements of an Effective News Story

Photo courtesy of by Newsflash

Ever wonder why a spate of deadly car crashes makes the front page (or leads-off the news hour) while announcements about a new social enterprise that employs people with mental illness tend to get buried? It’s all connected to how “newsworthy” a story is considered by the editorial/production staff. Each day, thousands of producers and editors around the country are forced to rank what’s worth paying attention to and what they can safely ignore.

Understanding what makes news isn’t just a helpful skill for reporters or communications flacks. With the proliferation of social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook, everyone is becoming a mini-broadcaster in their own special way. Knowing what is relevant and what is “interesting” to your audience is a hallmark of successful communication.

Day to day, it is useful to think about what is worthwhile to share on your networks. What will people inside (and outside) your organization find interesting? Whether it is through traditional media like newspapers, radio or TV, or via social media, the elements of what makes “good news” are always the same. Some (though not all) of the elements to consider include:

  • Timeliness – your news item is “news” now, not later. Make sure that you treat it like a hot potato and don’t sit on it. Share or promote as soon as possible.
  • Currency – things become particularly interesting when they happen again and again. As soon as something happens more than a couple times, you’re often looking at a trend. If you can demonstrate or predict a trend, it’ll often be of interest to people. Consider roping separate incidents or occurrences together to show how they mean much more together than apart.
  • Emotion – who does your story impact? What sort of emotion does hearing about it provoke? If your news is about a new product, consider how the product makes users feel. The more powerful the emotion, the more powerful the story.
  • Conflict – this is the life blood of most news. It’s what journalists constantly sniff for when interviewing for a story. Anytime you can find an instance where one person says one thing and another person says the opposite you have the components of a good story. Conflict is frequently the driving force in news about politics, crime and even business.
  • Impact – how many people will your story effect and how deeply? One of the reasons car crashes always get great play on the news is that not only are particular families directly impacted, but thousands of commuters trying to make their way to or from work will also feel the effects.
  • Money – anything that has a big financial figure attached to it can be molded into a news story. If you’re working for a public institution, watch out, because tax payers (and the media) feel an entitlement to the money paying for your salary and your projects. If they feel it is being misappropriated, you could be looking at headlines.
  • Fear – this sadly can be a driving force of stories and often successfully integrates emotion and conflict. Its success in attracting audiences is part of the reason for its proliferation in media down South with news organizations like Fox News.

The more of these factors you’re able to incorporate into your story, the more newsworthy it will be. Part of the reason the maxim, “it bleeds, it leads” still has resonance is these stories tend to incorporate a heady mix of fear, impact, conflict, emotion and timeliness. Ultimately, by integrating as many of these elements as you can into your news story, you’ll be able to ensure your news or stories will be particularly honed for maximum interest among your audience.

Header photo courtesy of ed100

Three Leadership Lessons from Spider-Man

Well, we’re about three days away from everyone in the world not caring about Spider-Man and the over $200 million grossing movie about my favourite superhero (see photo) [Editor's note: fair enough, The Dark Knight Rises will most likely be the greatest superhero movie ever made]. Consequently, I thought that I’d reflect on some of the things that – long ago and before it was cool – I made The Amazing Spider-Man my most favourite of comic book characters.

After seeing the 2012 film about my favourite superhero (here’s my quick review: it’s the same story arc as the Toby McGuire version and the cartoon and is just better in every way), I got to thinking about why, in addition to the facts that, first, nerds are awesome and, second, Spidey is totally protected from the terrifying Sun, the web slinger resonates so much with me.

The answer is simple: more than any other superhero, Spider-Man builds and inspires community.

Plainly put, he does so with a unique formula of leadership of kindness, humour, humility, smarts, passion, and responsibility. And below are three leadership lessons that you can take away from Spider-Man. No, this not a “new idea” and “a few people” have “already written about this” in “2010″ – this being said, my lessons get to the punchline quicker and better. And the artwork (see below) that I chose to adorn this post is adorable.

Spider-Man / John's go-to Halloween costume

Without further ado, here they are:

1. Take Responsibility. For weak leaders, this is an absolute burden. Great leaders take responsibility for their actionsespecially the screw ups and downright failures. Spider-Man leads by example and he not only owns up for the mistakes/failures/giant-lizards that “he created”, but he also solves said great problems with his great power.

2. Think Outside the Box Make Awesome Things and Show Them to People. Good leaders “think outside the box” and, consequently, find most of their creativity in outdated cliches. Great leaders inspire by the work they produce. According to Simon Sinek, great leaders relentlessly pursue the question “why?”, which is certainly at the centre of Spider-Man’s story. For example, Spider-Man’s “web shooters” are both flat-out cool and reflective of this particular leader’s elevated intelligence, not to mention his inventive entrepreneurial spirit. Also, the Spider-Man brand is so friggin’ cool that, by the end of Marvel’s most recent film, Peter Parker’s once-nemesis, Flash Thompson, is seen sportin’ some Spidey-wear! Community-building achieved and teenage-angst overcome!

3. Be Nice (and Funny). There’s a reason that he’s called “Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man” – first, he’s nice to people (take some advice from Colin Powell, Wolverine and Batman?) and, second, he doesn’t take himself too seriously (Doug Guthrie says to stop being so serious all the time, Superman). Sure, his outfit protects him from the Sun and his friends from retribution, but his possibly-luge-inspired spandex uni-tard also reveals how this community-driven leader who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Being relaxed and fun (and, when appropriate, funny) puts people at ease and provides some great circumstances for building a positive sense of community.

Finally, never underestimate any leaders “spider-sense” and their ability to trust such instincts. Intuitively, Spider-Man can see things coming before they happen, and this kind of strategic thinking will serve any great leader very, very well.

So there it is. Some leadership learning that strategically and edutainingly connects to my favourite – and, unfortunately though understandably soon-to-be-forgotten, superhero, Spider-Man.

Masthead photo courtesy of msspider66′s Photostream on Flicker

Did Slash from GNR write the perfect business book for 2012?

If you remove all the drugs & debauchery from Slash’s memoirs, he may have written the world’s best handbook for building a career in today’s complicated world.

Photo by Simonlouw

Slash grew up in 20 square blocks of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. He discovered guitar as his passion and honed his skill while friends fed him, gave him places to sleep, drugs to smoke and part-time jobs. He partied at a young age and was exposed to industry: his mother dated David Bowie, he met the Rolling Stones at a house party, and a good friend of his spent years stalking Aerosmith. The SoCal music scene was so incestuous that Slash attended high school while Motley Crue smoked cigarettes outside his classroom window. The Hollywood Area was a hub of artistic and musical creativity.

People in LA joined and left bands at will to jam and develop. Artists had loads of free time to craft and pursue their ambition. While Slash forged his early identity, Tracii Guns formed LA Guns and battled for club space with Axl Rose & Izzy Stradlin’s Hollywood Rose. These bands, which merged to become the first Guns ‘N’ Roses, were revolving doors of musicians. The early ’80s was a developmental period for Slash and his future band mates. They evolved as individuals, but more importantly had constant interactions within the Hollywood music scene that developed the vital friendships that would catapult them to success.

While reading the bio, I also read Tom Rath’s Vital Friends (Gallup Press), which shaped how I interpreted Slash’s telling of events. According to Rath, a vital friend is “someone who measurably improves your life; perhaps a person at work or in your personal life who you can’t afford to live without.” Not everyone in that scene could have been successful in GNR; Tracii Guns didn’t carry the band to the same level of notoriety. More important than talent, Slash needed to find musicians as driven as he was, and crazy enough to think success was possible. He eventually found collaborators and they amplified each others’ successes. In Slash’s own words, each member of GN’R was

“Street-smart, self-sufficient and used to doing things his way only…. we became a unit that had each others’ backs as fiercely as we stood up for ourselves… we didn’t take kindly to criticism from anyone… and did nothing to court acceptance and shunned easy success.”

In my mind, GNR forged something new. When compared to the scene at the time, no other band was like them. Despite the band’s relatively short-lifespan (they had other problems), Appetite For Destruction is one of the great rock albums of all-time, up there with Who’s Next, Back In Black and Led Zeppelin IV. Back-to-front there are no bad songs.

GNR wasn’t waiting for the market dictate their fate; they were determined to force their brand into the market and gain acceptance on their terms.

This doesn’t just apply to music. The world has an insatiable appetite for the new and next best. Sometimes it’s not for marketers to decide what’s right for us; seams open up simply because someone followed a passion. The world has an iPod because Steve Jobs followed a passion. We have a self-help movement because Tony Robbins followed a passion. These innovations tapped into a core longing, one we maybe didn’t even know we had. GNR did and it exploded into commercial success.

It’s easy to understand when 4 guys get together to start a band, even if they suck. No one laughs at them for trying. But we laugh when average Joes try to create something that’s never been tried before. Why is it so weird when people follow a passion to an area other than art or music?

This is important news for a lost generation that stalled in the 2000′s. Maybe it’s time we followed the GNR formula: instead of battling it out as individuals labouring anonymously, hoping for approval, maybe we should form our own “bands” around passion and see where that leads us. Some things in this world need to be said and maybe they’re better driven home with the intensity of a Guns N’ Roses concert.

Header photo by liza31337

A Hunch about Lunch

One of the most important communities in daily life is the work community. What do I look for in a workplace community? Well, there are a few key factors, but the latest to be added to my wish list is ‘a place where people eat lunch”.

Sharing a meal is one of the most powerful ways to build community and being “a place where people eat lunch” can benefit a workplace both culturally and in terms of productivity. Unfortunately, I have been noticing a major absence of shared meals in my working life and have heard this same thing echoed among many of my peers. I’m starting to think I’m going to have to move to Europe to locate this appreciation for the mid-day meal.

North American Culture prides itself on hard work and ambition. Michael Pollan, in his book, In Defense of Food; An Eater’s Manifesto, suggests that as an effect of this ideology, North American’s view food as merely utilitarian fuel rather than something to be enjoyed for it’s own sake. He brings up several examples of the stark difference between North American attitudes to food as compared to European attitudes the most striking example given is a comparison where American and French people are shown a picture of a piece of chocolate cake and asked what word it brings to mind. The most common American reaction is “guilt” while the most common French reaction is “celebration”!

Perhaps it can be chalked up to the fact that I was raised with a European attitude towards food, but I do not believe that eating a protein bar at my desk can be classified as lunch. Nor do I believe that it can have any long-term benefits to my employer or my career. I can see some very real and lasting benefits however, in taking a ½ hour to share a meal with my co-workers.

Sharing a meal is the fastest way to establish shared experiences, which are the building blocks of community. With strong community comes creativity because two heads really are better than one (and all heads are significantly more powerful when they receive more than just caffeine as a stimulus).  Creativity can invigorate a workplace and make its entire workforce more productive and motivated in all of their working hours.

Each of these outcomes produces more powerful benefits than that extra ½ hour in front of the computer and these are just a few of the benefits to be had when you turn your work place into a place where people eat lunch. If you aren’t lucky enough to work in one of these places already, why don’t you try something new for lunch today?

The Early Entrepreneurs Experiment

This is all kinds of community-awesome.

Earlier today, Friend of The ‘Boot, Zac Whyte, shared the video below, which is a very awesome Taylor Conroy’s Destroy Normal campaign. Check it out here:

Simply put, there needs to be more of this. Later this week I’m going to be writing a post about my volunteer experience with Vancouver’s Kidsafe Writers’ Room, and part of my article will discuss the creative horsepower of kids. The Early Entrepreneurs Experiment wonderfully gets to the heart of this fact, as it showcases how kids as young as six can have a positive impact on their classmates, their neighbourhoods and people from communities that are thousands of kilometers away.

Further to this, entrepreneurial projects provide exceptional educational testing grounds – or case studies – where learners can apply concepts (math, writing, performing, building, repairing, etc.) in an integrated capacity. Through such experiential learning, students have the opportunity to use multiple academic (and life) skills all at once in the same place as part of a team. In addition to a basic understanding of our interconnected global village as well as learning how to positively and successfully engage in the business of life provides youngsters with a head-start on building the skills that will help them to not just be – but to lead – the change that they want to see in this world.

Finally, never underestimate the power of kids’ creativity. Sir Ken Robinson has taught us that schools aren’t properly designed to engage and expand it with our communities’ kids. Which is why we should invest more in our kids’ ideas before they’re crushed by a system that encourages certain kinds of thinking that will prepare people to solve the same old problems in the same old way. And this isn’t a great way to be or to lead change.

Well done, kids!

Masthead photo courtesy of Sustainable Sanitation

End of the Blackberry World? I hope not.

Photo courtesy of Fred Lum with the Globe and Mail.

Several years ago I got a Blackberry as a gift from a friend. I’ve been hooked ever since. I like the streamlined push email notification. I like the rugged business simplicity of it all. I the way it looks and the fact that it’s not too fancy. Finally, I like how its made by a Canadian company that’s funded a whole slew of enterprises around Waterloo in lower Ontario. When I recently got a new job and had the option of getting an iPhone or Blackberry, I chose the Blackberry. When it comes to sending and receiving email (a key function of my day to day job) – it’s still unbeatable.

I would know, as I’ve also got an iPhone. While sleek and great for digital media, when you get down to the core function of talk, text and email it just can’t compete. Ultimately, that’s the key thing for me in a business environment, not the latest Eat Street App. And don’t even get me started on the number of dropped calls my iPhone has made.

For a long time I only one voice among many when it came to praising the little handheld device. Blackberry was the darling of just about everyone. But these days its been tough times for Blackberry maker Research in Motion. After controversy around its security in the developing world, posting poor sales in successive quarters, the disappointing reception of its new operating system QNX and a recent global Smartphone outage, the stock price of RIM has dropped from over $60 a share in February last year to $23 per share. Many investors are calling for the replacement of the co-CEOs. Many businesses and organizations that make up the RIM ecosystem in Southern Ontario are in trouble.

But despite these challenges, all is not lost. As a recent Globe and Mail article recently pointed out, the business community still likes and uses Blackberries (even if we don’t hear about it that often). While many are using both an iPhone and Blackberry, the common factor seems to be an acknowledgement that when it comes to business needs and functions, Blackberry is still the best, no matter what the iWorld will have us believe.

While RIM has been knocked down to competing for #3 spot in the consumer SmartPhone world and is no longer the unrivaled Goliath when it came to mobile that they once were, they still have a niche. It’s worth remembering this and considering it the next time you need to purchase a new mobile device for work. Fancy gadgets and App-packed platforms are great, but not always best for getting the job done.

Pirate Communities: Business and Governance

Blackbeard knew branding: I think we get the message, yes?

[Editor's note: Sunday, September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day...I'm just saying.]

Last week two dear friends sent me two different articles about pirate prominence. The first was from Gumbooteer, Stewart Burgess (his pen name is s||A), and it discusses the rise of pirates-as-kingmakers in Somalia. The second article was sent to me by Director of UBC Career Services, Howie Outerbridge – actually, he sent it to my boss and apologized for encouraging me; the article that Howie sent, after all, was entitled “What Business Executives Can Learn From Pirates.” It’s always nice when my senseless rants about pirate communities being benchmarks for progressive ideologies are affirmed by those smarter and better looking than myself.

To summarize, pirates are leaders in governance and business. Here’s why…

Business + Pirates = Awesome

According to, well, me, pirate ships have historically been bastions of democratic principles, where the

interests of many were, naturally, aligned with the overall goals of the organization. Fazil Mihlar’s recent article in up-and-coming “newspaper,” the Vancouver Sun acknowledges what Kurt Heinrich has known since we began chatting about pirates: “since the pirate crew (shareholders/ employees) collectively owned the ship, they had to keep the captain (CEO/management) in check.” Mihlar – with Peter Leeson’s popular Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates as his muse – smartly delves into health care (in addition to democracy, pirate ships were also the first place to see health care benefits and compensation practiced) and corporate branding.

“Awesome” + Community = Governance?

NEWS FLASH: Somalia is in turmoil! The American-backed central government is on the ropes, with a few different warlords vying for power and an Al Queda supported Shabab militant group close to toppling the regime. Jeffrey Gettleman’s article points out the unfortunate situation of Somalia’s government: “Squished between the two, we have to become friends with the pirates,” Mr. Noor said. “Actually, this is a great

Seriously, this is an alleged picture of Mohamed Garfanji

opportunity.” There sure is a great opportunity: for the pirates to take both sides! After all, the most nefarious dude in the Gulf of Aden, Mohamed Garfanji, isn’t you’re typical pirate.  Remember the name, as his clever consolidation of power by creating a grassroots following of local (the community in the pirate enclave of Hobyo), regional (coastal communities pissed off at international fishers and polluters that have decimated Somalia’s coastline) and national (a central government that is teetering on the brink of destruction and needs people-power, firepower and cash) might just see the purple-rain-coated buccaneer become the next leader of Somalia. Like Mitch Albom says, “build a little community of those you love and who love you.” And then give that community millions of dollars and anti-aircraft guns and try your hand at governance in the worst place on Earth!

So, whether you’re teaching Business 101 or planning Phase 3 of your Tea Party Revolution, remember that you can always learn from Pirate Communities!

- JCH

Grow or Die!

Celebrating 35 Years

The East End Food Co-op (EEFC) is Vancouver’s oldest – and only – consumer-owned grocery store. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the store, too. Honestly, it’s probably the second best part of my neighbourhood, which is located at the Northern end of Commercial Drive – the best part of my ‘hood are the people who live across the hall from me. For the bast two years, I’ve been a member of the EEFC’s board of directors – we do our best to represent the needs of the Co-op’s membership. These needs, wants and ideas range from providing a healthy range of local products, building relationships with ethical vendors, offering a selection of fair trade products amongst our non-local items (like delicious, delicious coffee), and personalized orders.

And, as a member, you get to have a say in what we do and how we do it.

As written about before on this blog, co-operatives are a thing to celebrate. Whether your business is mountain equipment, food in Toronto or professional hockey, it is a refreshing thing to have your shareholders be the very consumers of your product(s) and/or service(s). According to Harvard’s Henry Mintzberg, the future of business will look more like these examples of co-operative, community-minded models than, you know, the non-accountable shareholder and profits-before-people models we have now.

Recent findings show that 99.2% of people on Earth agree with this necessary, from-business-to-community transformation. Unfortunately, we’re quite far away from such a thing.

The Need to Grow or Die

Our world is a chaotic one. Times have been better for the EEFC, not to mention pretty much every other small, community-minded grocery store on Commercial Drive and beyond. Many things have added to our business being in a tough spot. The recession. The Olympics. Opportunistic multi-national food conglomerates. Fuel prices. Razor-thin-operational margins. Pirates. All of these compounding factors have impacted – or are impacting – the EEFC in a negative way.

Like I said, we your help. We need to grow our business or die trying. If you’re a member, you’ve got a stake in this campaign – heck, you’re one of the many owners! So, over the summer, I encourage you to spread like wildfire these Ten Amazing Rumours About the East End Food Co-op:

  1. Member Appreciation Days: Are you a member? Awesome! Do you want to be a member? Awesomer! You get 10% off everything in the store on Wednesdays and Thursdays all summer long!
  2. Doug Smith is a Rock Star: Doug is the EEFC’s fearless leader who also plays a mean bass – if you’d like to know more about Doug’s rockin’ ways, please email me today for exclusive video footage!
  3. Organic, Fair Trade Bananas! What?! Such things exist? Yes. They do. Stop by and check ‘em out.
  4. Great deals. Check out the Manager’s Specials today!
  5. Stop supporting Corporate Socialism. Ridiculous subsidies to agro-business and petroleum-based supply chains have rigged the food-delivery game against local initiatives like the EEFC. Nobody (except Kurt and Monsanto) likes socialism, so reward good, local, sustainable free enterprise by shopping at the EEFC.
  6. The EEFC supports its community. Buy a re-usable cloth bag and a portion of the money goes to a local charity or special cause, like the Stone Soup Film Festival!
  7. BOD Hugs! That’s right, folks. Free hugs. Just track down an EEFC Board Member and let us know what kind of hug suits you best.
  8. Kraft Dinner. Sorry, Rumour 5, but the EEFC listens to its members. Even if those members want Kraft Dinner.
  9. Shopping Carts. The carts are so amazing and agile that a few were taken from the store! Not cool, a-holes. Kinda cool, possibly senile seniors who mistook the carts for their walkers.
  10. Celebrity Appearances. Every now and again some local/international celebrities show up to the Co-op. Thing is, the only way to see them is to make sure you’re in the store every day. Will Trevor Linden stop by and give out free hugs with the Board Members? Yes!*

So there it is. Some 100% absolutely mostly true rumours that you must spread about the East End Food Co-op. We’ve got the best food for the best price from the best people in Vancouver. And we can’t wait to see you again or meet you for the first time!

- JCH

*No! …this probably won’t happen…but it could!

Lululemon’s Kool-Aid is Tasty!

There is an old Hindu saying that you can’t spell culture without cult. I think it was from the Thuggee cult, made popular by the third best Indiana Jones movie, Temple of Doom. Or maybe I just made it up. Whatever the case, the point is that Lululemon is pretty awesome.

HISTORICAL FACT: a few months ago I started doing Yoga, which I wrote about, and which also involves a lot of people wearing Lululemon everything…

Fast-forward to last week, when I organized a trip to Lululemon’s Store Support Centre for 15 of my students – who may or may not attend a local top 100 global business school – and it goes without saying that visiting the world’s leader in the creation of black-stretchy-pants was incredibly edutaining. Here’s a creative interpretation of how it started:

Hostess Chloe: “What have you heard about Lululemon’s corporate culture?”

Awesome Student: “It’s cultish.”

Hostess Chloe: “Yes, we hear that a lot.”

John [to himself]: “Where am I?!”

The talent that Lululemon rolled out – and the four women who spoke to our group reflected the exceptional talent within the organization – simply oozed the company’s core values, which are nicely outlined in this article’s quotable graphic, as well as right here.

Personally, I really like their “fun” value: When I die, I want to die like my grandmother who died peacefully in her sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in her car. This being said, a blogger named, I kid you not, Yoga Dork had little praise to offer for Lululemon’s latest prank, a pretty wicked April Fools joke involving their new e-commerce site.

Thing is, at least half of you who checked out the link to their values tuned out because it got a little weird. And that’s okay. Whether Lululemon hires people, designs products or sells black stretchy pants, they’re looking for fit with their culture. By the way, if you’re thirsty I have some delicious Kool-Aid for you to drink…

Going through the company’s values, our hostesses simultaneously made me feel ridiculous for wearing a suit (they were attired in, you guessed it, various shades of stretchy material), inspired by how a shared vision can motivate people in unique ways, and, most importantly, they made me very skeptical of what the company was selling (metaphirically and physically). So, I did the only thing there was to do, I went home, put on the super-comfy Lululemon pants that my special lady highly recommended I purchase and started learning more about Vancouver’s coolest company.

Sure, analysts and experts and “the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business” claim that the company’s stock is soaring because of a combination of style, values and being in possession of an outstanding, nichey product. Added JMP Securities analyst Kristine Koerber in an interview with the news agency: “It is one of the few growth stories in retail left. Who’s growing sales 55 per cent and putting up close to 30 per cent comparable same store sales?” Okay, fair enough, Lululemon will be a billion dollar company soon.

But what about all the good stuff that this humble blog values, such as corporate social responsibility and the environment? Well, as it turns out, according to cool-things-guru Don Tapscott and his blog, Wikinomics, Lululemon is a collaborative, visionary leader when it comes to CSR initiatives. Media juggernaut, the St. Catherine’s Standard, begs to differ, uncovering (two years ago) that Lululemon lied about the organic content of its clothing. Look. Global business is a dirty bus- um, you get the picture. Check out Lululemon’s site and judge for yourself. If you have an opinion, be sure to engage with their bloggers or share you ideas with one of their many store “ambassadors” and or Attraction Ninjas.

One of my students said it best: “it was amazing to see a company actually do everything that we’re taught in school about what it takes to inspire people and get the most out of them.” She’d be a great fit for the black-stretchy-pants community, by the way.

I’m not saying I’m personally ready to drink the kool-aid, but I’m not not ready, either – because it tastes really, really good. Besides, I’ve already got some wicked fitting pants, right?

- JCH