This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview George Phipps.

George PhippsGeorge Phipps is a seasoned professional and founder of Phipps Training Services, a company dedicated to developing human capital. He is a graduate of Royal Roads University with a Masters Degree in Leadership (MA), a certified Project Manager (PMP) and a trained professional coach (ECPC). His expertise lies in the areas of coaching, professional development, group facilitation and team building. He also provides expertise in the areas of mentorship and succession planning programs, leadership development, strategic planning and project/change management. As well as being an independent consultant, George is also a registered tutor with the Department of Continuing Studies at the University of British Columbia where he teaches the Project Management Fundamentals Program.

George's objectives are to assist individuals and organizations develop professionally. He offers a wealth of business acumen as well as superior communication, team building, training/facilitation, coaching and presentation skills.

"My approach is to assist my clients to work through options and possibilities with a focus on setting SMART goals to achieve a desired outcome. I consider myself a flexible resource that can help individuals, teams and organizations 'move the ball forward' in challenging situations."

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

DISCUSSION:

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:43:
George profiles his history for the audience.

:04:01:
What measurable value can you deliver from Phipps Training Services?
"....From a coaching perspective I provide value by helping people move forward and remove some of the barriers in the way for them to be successful....In terms of team-building and facilitation I can help teams move forward. Here my IT background comes in because I've learned a lot about brainstorming techniques and setting context...."

:07:21:
What did you learn from your Masters Degree in Leadership and from your Project Managers certification? Would you recommend those kinds of accreditations and certifications to those interested in upgrades?
"....The Royal Roads experience is probably the experience that changed my life by getting me to recognize my talents and getting me back in touch with my values...."

:10:02:
Please share some tips from your career coaching experience?
"....People basically know what they need. It is not a coach's job to direct. It's a coach's job to provide a non-judgmental space, ask the right questions, communicate clearly to people and to delve deeper into the actual problem...."

:12:50:
What are some best practices for establishing mentorship programs?
"....Get commitment from the organization....Get the right stakeholders involved....Educate people about what it is to be a mentor and mentee....Establish a culture of training....Tie the mentorship program to the goals and mission of the organization...."

:15:20:
What are some lessons for people development?
"....Going back to the Erickson Principles....People are good and people do what inherently is best for them with the resources they have....Listen to people's stories in the context of what is right for them...Establish trust....Communication is key....Set clear, smart goals....You can't make people change, but you can help them get better at what they choose to change...."

:17:14:
How should organizations implement succession planning?
"....Create the urgency....Engage the correct stakeholders and start building a community around succession planning....Take a realistic look at what you need for the future....Communicate and communicate often the intent behind the succession planning...."

:20:06:
Give us a quick MBA on team building?
"....It's all about communication....Set smart goals....Set accountability...Foster trust in your team....As a team leader, walk your talk - be open and authentic...."

:23:09:
What are your best practices on change management?
"....The model that resonates with me most was John Kotter's approach to change management (8 steps).....Create the urgency....Form a powerful coalition....Create a vision for change....Communicate the vision....Remove obstacles....Create short-term wins....Build on the change....Anchor the changes in corporate culture...."

:25:29:
What are your best practices on project management?
"....Try to figure out what processes are already in existence within the organization....Have the correct stakeholders involved....Include as much detail as possible in your scope statement (this is your accountability document)....Make sure that your client knows and understands the triple constraint (time, money, work)....Do a thorough risk assessment....Spend time on your change management plan....Keep your project plan updated (not just in your head)....Have a good team....Celebrate your successes especially with your team....Document lessons learned (project manager)...."

:30:47:
What are your top lessons for effective leadership?
"....Be a good communicator....Listening is a key skill....Be authentic....Remove any ego you have within yourself and create a non-judgmental space....Be very self-aware....Lead by example...."

:36:38:
Which are your top recommended resources and why?
"....Amazon.com....the Internet....Mentors...."

:37:55:
Please share some stories (something surprising, unexpected, amazing, or humorous) from your work?
"....The thing I find surprising and amazing is the capacity of people....When I'm coaching people, it's always amazing what I learn...."

:39:45:
If you could sum up your life experiences with career tips for the computing professional, what would be your tips and the reasons behind them?
"....Never stop learning....Book entitled 'What Got You Here Won't Get You There' by Marshall Goldsmith has some good tips about not resting on your laurels....Network with people....Admit mistakes, you will always get found out....Certifications are great but you have to use the information learned - that is the only way it will get entrenched in your mind....Be passionate about what you do...."

:42:34:
What are your thoughts on computing as a recognized profession like medicine and law, with demonstrated professional development, adherence to a code of ethics, and globally respected credentials? (www.ipthree.org)
"....If we standardize professional titles that would go a long ways in helping the industry in removing some of the ambiguity around some of the terms.... If there was a more tough standardization imposed on training programs, that would be a really good way to remove some of the ambiguity around credentialing...."

:45:12:
If you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
"....'Are you passionate about what you're doing?'....'How do you handle change?'....'If I were asked what my best life would be, how would I answer that?'...."