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Arlene Dickinson – Four Messages Leaders Need to Share With Their Team - Metronome’s Tip Top Summit 2023

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Jul 10, 2023

Arlene-Dickinson-e1653073297919“Learn the lesson in the moment!”

Arlene Dickinson is best known for her role on Dragons' Den (Canada’s version of Shark Tank) for 14 seasons. She shared her story, at six years of age, moving with her family to Canada from South Africa in vivid form, sharing the challenges they had, including her mother trading her wedding ring (a keepsake from her family) so her father could complete the drive to his job as a university teacher.

Each element of her journey provided lessons she learned and put into practice in her life. The lesson in the moment is to find the solution.

Her mother was a teacher. When I house burned down across the street from the school she taught at, she discovered the reason was due to someone not paying attention when they were cooking. At recess, she took her students to the home to show them why they need to pay attention when they cook!

Dragons DenBootstrapping herself in business, she started in sales, then decided to buy out her partners 2 ½ years later because they were constantly arguing with each other. She knew nothing about bank financing or equity, and yet discovered ways to navigate each obstacle and become successful.

Two Reasons People Do Business with Us

Dickinson’s style was more homespun than polished. Her moments of clarity, while simple, offered the commonsense insight and advice many of us fail to recognize. She shared two reasons people want to do business with us:

  1. To Help them build their dream.
  2. To Help them stop their pain.

She learned this in sales. How many times do we complicate the sales process, and fail to make the sale because we don’t understand this?

Your Team Needs to Know

Dickinson’s presentation didn’t include slides, rather she spoke simple truths which came straight from her heart.

Take for example this approach to the work-life balance myth. 

She offered four key communication messages to send to your team. They were simple, straightforward, clearly stated, to help support and engage your team:

  1. I Am Your Leader – Share what you do. Share job responsibilities so your team knows this. Tell them you don’t know all the answers, and it’s your responsibility to support them.
  2. You are Part of a Team – Make sure everyone understands they are part of the team, we win or lose together, and how important it is to support each other to reach the goals and objectives the team shares together.
  3. Why I Chose You – Make sure each team member knows why you as the leader chose them to be part of this team. Let them know why you believe in them. They will reward you with extra effort and commitment.
  4. What You Do Matters – This is the why element that many leaders fail to identify for their team. What we do matters, and unless the individual can understand and appreciate how what they do contributes to the greater cause and purpose of the organization, this discretionary effort doesn’t emerge unless team members are immersed in the great purpose of your business.

Leadership is teaching. It’s coaching your team to higher performance. Too many times it’s made to be mystical, mythical, or complicated. It’s not. As Marcus Buckingham shared in Nine Lies About Work, Leadership is not a Thing.   It’s not a formula, it’s doing 4 of 8 Conditions of High Performing Teams WEwhat makes people follow you. As Buckingham explains, “The only thing true about all leaders is they have followers. We’re focusing on the wrong things. Because all Leaders are different.”

The four key communication messages here, not surprisingly support the 4 of 8 conditions of High Performing Teams.

Dickinson’s simple, engaging formula will help you lead with clarity. It satisfies your teams’ need to feel purposeful, focused on excellence, supported, and to be confident about their future.

To create an environment where everyone is inspired to give their best, contact Positioning Systems today to schedule a free exploratory meeting.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Pie Chart SheininAccounting and financial reports are painful. Spencer shared ideas on how to put your financials in a format that can be understood and acted upon. We’ll share these simple measures in our next blog.

Building an enduring great organization requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, superior results, producing a distinctive impact on the world.

Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.

4Dx Cadence of AccountabilityA winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics, and Meeting Rhythms.   Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $500M+) businesses Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing! Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

NEXT BLOG – Paint Your Financial Picture - Spencer Sheinin - Metronome’s Tip Top Summit 2023Sheinin 1152 

Topics: leadership, leadership commitment, Leaders Are Learners, Metronome's Tip Top Business Growth Summit 2023

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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