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Canada’s Time of Opportunity or Peril?

- February 27, 2012 10:51 am

When it comes to Canada, and the great base of employee talent that exists in this country, I’m an unabashed optimist.

Despite the serious challenges we face as a nation around our generally poor labour productivity and weak innovation, my belief is that Canada as a country possess the key ingredient that can turn this scenario completely around – Canadians themselves. They are the best workers anywhere.

That was a key message I delivered to the Empire Club of Canada during a speech I recently gave at the Sheraton hotel in Toronto on Feb. 23. It was entitled: World in Transition – A Time of Opportunity or Peril.

Cisco Canada is a great example of a Canadian company that has achieved success through the power and tremendous talents of our people. They’re the key reason why Cisco Canada has grown in excess of 20 per cent in the past two fiscal quarters and why our Canadian operation currently ranks second only to the United States and ahead of all other Cisco country operations in achieving the greatest volume of sales bookings.

I believe most companies in Canada could likewise achieve significantly greater success by empowering workers to be at their productive best. Among other things, it’s a matter of having the business management courage to deconstruct and reconstruct business processes by using the technology that’s available to every business today. And it also means understanding how people, especially those of younger generations, seek to work today – and allowing them to do just that by giving them the right tools and understanding the concept of work/life blending. I explain it all in my speech.

I’ve spoken at length all across Canada about the need to make labour productivity improvement and innovation top priorities for Canadian business and governments. But with each passing day there’s a great urgency to get moving. With our world in the midst of dramatic and transformational change, the time to act is now.

I’m optimistic that my message to the Empire Club was loud and clear.

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