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I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Track your time, talent, and energy to succeed"/ job contract question

Mar. 13, 2017 "Track your time, talent and energy to succeed": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

For the past 50 years, executives have focused on using financial capital wisely, since it was the most precious resource a company had. But today, according to two Bain & Company consultants, that’s no longer true. Financial capital is abundant and cheap. And that’s likely to continue for at least two decades, due to demographics; notably more and more people shifting from the heavy-spending years when they have children to the savings decades that follow.

Instead, the consultants argue – after a study looking at the differences between top companies and less successful ones – three other resources demand attention: Time, talent and energy. Managing those well, instead of squandering them as we are inclined to do, is the key to success.

“Companies have rigorous methods developed for managing financial resources. Investments have to exceed predetermined hurdle rates [for what the return will be]. The investment is tracked. But time, talent and energy are not tracked with the same rigour,” Michael Mankins, who with fellow Bain partner Eric Garton wrote the book Time, Talent, Energy, says in an interview.

Time is the most obviously and frequently squandered, Mr. Mankins says in the interview. It’s scarce and critical. But we misuse it. He notes that Andy Grove, former chairman and chief executive officer of Intel, says we would never allow an employee to walk away with a piece of office equipment but they routinely walk off with their colleague’s time.

And the pressure expands exponentially, in an era of greater telecommunications, as we connect with more people who connect us to more people. Then there are meetings, which also seem to mushroom. “You need to invest time as carefully as money,” he insists.

Monday morning, look at the meetings in your calendar for the week and see how many you have set up that have too many people attending. Pare that down to the essential folks for the decisions being taken. His other quick tip: Eliminate “reply to all” on e-mail, either technically, by stripping it from computers, or through a cultural change you should model. Each reply to all tugs at people’s time.

More broadly, follow in the footsteps of Alan Mulally, who, when he became CEO of Ford, found that the top executives came to head office every month for a week of meetings. He told them he had no idea if that was needed but insisted they would add no more meetings unless they subtracted some. The consultants call that a fixed time budget: Establish one now, based on the existing meetings, and begin reducing.

Beyond that, organizational complexity is a drag on people’s time. Simplify. “If you think your work force is not as productive as it should be it’s not their fault. It’s your organization. You have practices and structures that are too complex and involve too many people. It’s an outcome of growth, and you must change it,” Mr. Mankins says.

The key with talent, their study found, was deployment. There was hardly any difference in the number of star players between the top companies, where those A players composed 16 per cent of staff, and the regular companies, where they were 14 per cent of staff. The difference was they were deployed in the best companies on strategically important tasks rather than evenly across the firm’s functions. The consultants urge you to be more thoughtful, assigning these “difference makers” to roles where they truly can make a difference, as Apple, Google, Tesla and other top companies do.

You also, obviously, want to improve your ability to find these A players and the best way to do that, the consultants found, is to have A players handle the hiring – not outside consultants and not B players, who may be challenged by the top talent they scout.

Finally, focus on increasing the discretionary energy that people bring to their work. Engaged employees are 75-per-cent more productive than satisfied employees. But even more significantly, inspired employees are 125-per-cent more productive than satisfied employees. So you don’t just want to engage employees; you want to inspire them.

And that will occur when their personal mission and ambition is aligned with the company’s mission and ambition. Toms Shoes has inspired employees because, for every pair they sell, the company gives a pair to somebody in need. You may not have such a gambit at hand but you can try to help employees see their personal link to corporate goals, give them more autonomy and manage humanely.

Time, talent and energy are the key to success, the consultants argue. Find out where your company falls short and then improve.

"I have tasks beyond the end of my contract. Should I keep working?": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:


My six-month contract ends in one week. I have not been offered a renewal, yet my supervisor is talking about work duties beyond the expiration date as if my employment continues indefinitely. I reminded her recently of the end date. She replied that everyone will soon have a performance review “except for a few employees who are not eligible.” Should I just keep working for the same pay after the Friday deadline, with no benefits?


Chris Jones
Associate, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, McLeod Law LLP

This appears to be a fixed-term employment contract rather than a contract for services as you would see between a company and an independent contractor or consultant. The distinction can be important as the rights of employees and independent contractors are different.

Most employment contracts are for an indefinite term and continue until one side terminates it. Unless an employer has just cause to terminate the contract, the employer will be required to provide advance working notice or pay in lieu of notice.

A fixed-term employment contract lasts for a specified amount of time. When the end point of the fixed term contract is reached, employment is automatically terminated without either the employer or the employee needing to do anything further.

The short answer is that you are not obligated to work after the expiration date. However, it may be in your best interest to continue working. If the employment relationship continues past the expiration date, and there is no agreement on a “new” expiration date, the courts have consistently held that the relationship ceases to be for a fixed term and, instead, continues under an employment contract for an indefinite term. That will be the case whether there is an offer of renewal or not.

Keep in mind that the parties can always agree to change the terms of an employment relationship. It sounds as if your supervisor wants to keep you on as an employee. The upcoming expiration date of the contract could be used as an opportunity to renegotiate employment terms.


Bruce Sandy
Principal, Pathfinder Coaching and Consulting, Vancouver

Your supervisor is obviously satisfied with your work and wants to keep you in your position. Does your supervisor know that you may not be satisfied with your current compensation and lack of benefits?

Get clear on what you want and how you want to be viewed. Regardless of whether you stay or go, you want to get a positive reference and maintain a positive relationship with this client organization.

You have an implied and continuing contract until either your employer or you choose to end it. If you want to continue to work with this client organization, do not end your contract abruptly unless another client organizaton wants to hire you right away. If this is the case, then you need to let your current employer know.

If you want either increased compensation or full-time employment status, then continue to work, set up a meeting with your supervisor and indicate that you would like to continue under contract with increased compensation, or as an employee with appropriate compensation and benefits.


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