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Take a coffee break….

Posted by: in Central West, North West

Writing a weekly blog is an ongoing challenge for me; coming up with creative ideas, words of wisdom and witt to share with my readers.  I am easily distracted when I work from home when I feel it is time for a coffee break. So this time, I headed off to my local coffee shop for inspiration and a large lactose free latte.

Did you know that most of the world problems are solved around a table with a cup a coffee. Like clockwork (you can set your watch by it) people gather at their local coffee shop and sit around the same table, sit in the same chair with the same people, for some the tradition has occurred for over 35 years. Every person at the table has an opinion regarding politics or religion and some may go as far as contributing to local gossip.

There is value in “coffee shop talk”, as it is all about building relationships. In many cases those relationships have been fostered and nurtured by something as simple as sharing a cup of coffee. To know more about how you can make your coffee break better visit

So this week I have chosen to highlight relationship building, in order to better understand the self assessment competencies in the online A.S.K. Assessment ( I have to admit this is my the strongest skill area.

Relationship Building

A relationship is a connection between individuals or groups of people based on mutual understanding or a common bond. Relationships are strengthened when there is accountability to each other and a desire to work through difficult situations. Every relationship needs to be fostered and nurture. The 6 key areas are:

  • Collaboration and Team Development: The ability to teach team members collaboration skills like teamwork, loyalty, accountability, and mutual respect.
  • Inclusion and Diversity: The ability to consider diverse points of view when making decisions and taking action. The ability to be sensitive to different cultures.
  • Influencing and Advocacy: The ability to be an advocate for the organization and its members, and influence decisions that will support the organizational values and priorities.
  • Interpersonal Communication: The ability to encourage and use a broad range of communication skills, such as active listening and effectively giving and receiving feedback.
  • Dispute Resolution, Facilitation and Negotiation: The ability to understand the causes of conflict in the organization.  The
    ability to suggest alternative solutions to conflict so that everyone wins.  The ability to use various facilitation and negotiation skills to solve problems.
  • Community Engagement: To collaborate with the community to address issues that may affect the organization’s ability to accomplish its goals.

My friend Donna (NE Region) commented that “sometimes taking a simpler approach when completing the Assessment provides the clearest insight into your leadership skills”.

So, as you go through and fill out the A.S.K. Assessment, read the statements carefully,  and assess your self honestly.  The assessment can leave you feeling good about yourself, while at the same time help you with your learning plan (Thanks again Donna for the words of wisdom)

Always remember to take a coffee break, lifelong learning comes in many forms.

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Cultural Idiosyncrasies: Rural Alberta vs. Mexico

Posted by: in Central East, Central West, Uncategorized

I am blogging from Mexico and thought I would share some thoughts on cultural similarities and differences between rural Alberta and sunny Playa de Carmen. Although I am away it is hard to forget that the launch of just transpired and how exciting the implications this will have for rural Albertans in the nonprofit/voluntary sector. So let me share some observations on the idiosyncrasies that rural Alberta and Mexico share and why my excitement about the new phase of is growing.

Rural Albertans are smart and hardworking yet know how to slow the pace of life down in comparison to urban centres. Like Mexicans, many realize the value of taking time to slow down. In general, I see many Albertans, like myself, working hard to do a great job and invest in their community. In Playa, I also witness a culture of very hardworking people. That may sound surprising as Mexico is known to have a culture that is relaxed and involves siestas, time on the beach and slack work hours.

Now, don’t get me wrong, rural Alberta most definitely contains organizations that are moving along as fast or faster than their urban counter parts. And the same goes for some Mexican organizations. In general though, the pace seems slower from an outsider’s perspective. But, that does not mean that there is less work going on. In fact, the opposite may be true. Here in Play de Carmen, I see the street vendors and workers working extremely hard, albeit on their shorter work days. They are so motivated and determined to offer only the best to all of their clients and customers. On the same token, I see rural Albertans working just as hard to offer their best to their organization and community.

An advantage Alberta now has over Playa de Carmen, is that we are now able to work even smarter using the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment online via We can learn how to work smarter rather than harder by utilizing our assessed leadership skills. We can then learn how to strengthen our leadership gaps to do our job more efficiently so that we can do our job at a pace that does not burn us out. Yes, balance is the key to success in both the Mexican and Rural Alberta cultures and now we just learned how to do it even better.

If you haven’t filled out the online A.S.K. Leadership Assessment yet get started! If you would like to have an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment workshop facilitated for your board or staff give me a shout so you can get started on working more efficiently with your leadership skill set to make time for your siesta.

Victoria Poschadel | p: 780-945-6134 | e:


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Culture of Learning in Alberta

Posted by: in Central East, Central West, Uncategorized

Hanna, Ponoka, Bow Valley, Wetaskiwin, Drumheller, Killam – these are some of the places I got to visit this week for our exciting launch of the second phase of The amount of excitement and enthusiasm for the launch of the second phase was outstanding. After 6 celebrations I am most certainly excited for a bit of a break. At the same time though, I am excited and rejuvenated from all of the positive energy and enthusiasm around learning I saw from those I was able to work with.

Let me tell you a bit about the places I visited and why I see such a growing culture of learning in Alberta. First off, I had the honour to be at one of the provincial launch events in Hanna that was broadcast via ICCAN videoconferencing technology. It was exciting to watch Jann Beeston, Chair of the Rural Alberta Development Fund, give her motivational presentation on the importance of continuous learning. Everyone in attendance was also moved which was noted by the thunderous applause after her speech.

While in Wetaskiwin a great group of ladies were able to network and two different organizations were able to book A.S.K. Workshops for their board members. Those who take the initiative to assess their leadership learning priorities definitely believe in continuous learning.

While in traveling and sharing the exciting news about the launch of knowledgeconnector I also received great feedback from interagency groups in Ponoka, Bow Valley and Camrose. The local launch in Drumheller was attended by many who had already taken an ASK Leadership Assessment Workshop and you could just see the enthusiasm of the possibilities it could have for them personal, professionally and for other community groups they work with.

All in all, this week was a bit of a whirlwind but generated a ton of positive opportunities for Albertans in the nonprofit/voluntary sector to grow and spread their passion for continuous learning.

If you are also passionate about continuous learning I encourage you to book a workshop with me to identify your leadership strengths and learning priorities.

Victoria Poschadel | p: 780.945.6134 | e:

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September 19-23 | Things are going to change

Posted by: in Central West

That’s right folks. September 19-23, 2011 is launch week for the second phase of will connect Alberta’s non-profit organizations to learning and professional leadership like never before. You will be able to use the online A.S.K Assessment to determine what Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge would personally benefit you and your organization to help make you the leader you were always meant to be. Access courses, training, and other learning opportunities in Alberta’s rural communities. This will truly be the “one-stop-shop” that enables you to locate a wide range of professional development and leadership opportunities – with just a few clicks of the mouse.

In honor of the launch, the Central West region will have events throughout the week enabling you to discover how you can personally benefit from the full capabilities of To attend the provincial launch in Hanna, AB click here to view more details or click here to RSVP.

To attend one of the following events simply give me a call.

  • September 19: CiRS, Red Deer, 4728 Ross Street, Red Deer, AB 11-12pm via iCCAN – RSVP
  • September 20: Website Presentation,  10-11am, Ponoka Interagency,  5102 – 48 Avenue Ponoka, AB
  • September 20: Website Presentation, 3-4pm, Bow Valley Interagency, location TBA, Bow Valley, AB

I look forward to connecting with all of you at one of the upcoming events!!

Victoria Poschadel | p: 780.945.6134 |

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Rural Alberta Development Fund Volunteer Alberta
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