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Cyclist Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in Austin, Texas, in this Jan. 14, 2013, handout photo courtesy of Harpo Studios. (George Burns/Reuters)
Cyclist Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in Austin, Texas, in this Jan. 14, 2013, handout photo courtesy of Harpo Studios. (George Burns/Reuters)


Lessons to learn from Lance Armstrong Add to ...

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Leadership takeaways from the disgraced cyclist

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, whose admission to performance-enhancing doping to Oprah Winfrey is playing far and wide, can offer many lessons to small businesses, says this piece on American Express Open Forum.

Among them is the need to be authentic, knowing that in this “highly connected digital world, the truth will come out sooner, rather than later.” If image and reality don’t match, it warns, it’s “only a matter of time” before there is a “leadership issue.”

The Open Forum piece also advises coming clean sooner rather than later; the more time goes on and the “the more adamant a liar you have been,” the harder forgiveness will be. Contrition and avoiding excuses are also part of the advice. And remembering that your actions aren’t only about you. Leaders need to “think of the big picture, not just themselves.”

You might take pity, too, on a British entrepreneur whose timing was off in hoping to capitalize on the cycling champion, whose titles and awards have been stripped, according to reports such as this one. this one and this one.

Before the scandal broke, the entrepreneur bought 10,000 DVDs of The Science of Lance Armstrong, describing the secrets of the cyclist’s success. He paid £10,000 for the DVDs for his wholesale clearance business. “The idea was to sell them in small job lots of 100 for about £3 each, so traders could go on eBay, Amazon, or car boot sales and sell them on,” he explained to the Daily Mail online.

'There was a slight amount of risk and a gamble because there was a suspicion, but he wasn't admitting to it, so I put them on the website last week.”

Now that the cat is out of the bag, he estimates he’s now lost about £30,000 in potential profit, the Mail online report says.

“It is a big loss for a small business but this is one of the few things I've managed to buy that has come back to bite me,”' the entrepreneur said in the Mail, adding he wished Mr. Armstrong had “either kept his mouth shut a bit longer or not done it in the first place."

Here’s a Forbes take on what will happen to the personal Lance Armstrong brand.

Don’t take all your meetings sitting down

What with all the time spent in front of a computer, at conference tables, on airplanes, and, in downtime, in front of a television or computer, our predominant position has become one of sitting. And not without bad health consequences: the sedentary action leads to many ailments.

So here’s an idea of how to make a change: Take more meetings standing up and moving.

It’s a suggestion in this Harvard Business Review blog by author Nilofer Merchant, who calls sitting “the smoking of our generation.”

The writer, corporate director, and speaker, who has worked for companies ranging from startups to giants, now says she averages four such meetings, and 20 to 30 miles of movement, a week. Not without some pushback: she estimates 30 per cent of those she asks to walk and talk turn her down, saying they aren’t fit enough.

But by making this change, she says she’s noticed not only physical benefits, but others as well: she says she listens better walking next to someone; offers more undivided attention,; and finds it a mood enhancer.

Next time you’ve got to talk shop, try doing it in ambulatory fashion.

Phrases to avoid on a résumé

Are you "highly qualified," a "hard worker," a "self-starter," a "team player?"

That's unfortunate if you're trying to stand out for a job, for these are among the most highly overused phrases on Canadian résumés, according to an Office Team survey, as reported on Techvibes.

It also offers some tips for how you can avoid the clichés and make yourself be more memorable.


Red Tape Awareness Week

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has kicked off the fourth annual Red Tape Awareness Week with a study finding that red tape costs Canadian small businesses more than American ones. The week, running to Jan. 25 and aimed at lobbying against the red-tape hurdles that small businesses leap, will include report card gradings of federal and provincial governments and the Canada Revenue Agency, recognition of those trying to cut red tape, as well as real tales of red-tape woes faced by small businesses. For further details, click here.

Business venture competitions open for applications

Two business venture competitions are open for applications. The annual TiEQuest competition held in Toronto and aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship, will award more than $150,000 in prizes and an opportunity to win up to $1-million in investment from sponsoring funds. Its deadline for entry is Jan. 31.

The fifth annual Venture London business competition, recognizing new businesses in the region, is also accepting applications, offering a total of $50,000 in cash, prizes and business acceleration help. There are two categories in the competition: startups in their pre-launch or early phases, and existing businesses, which have been operating for one to three years. The application deadline is Feb. 7; winners will be announced at an awards presentation in April.

Kevin O’Leary speaks in Regina

Reginans who want an up close experience with Dragons’ Den personality Kevin O’Leary will have their chance when he speaks at the awards gala of the Regina chapter of the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise on Jan. 24.


Accidental entrepreneurs find purpose, and success

They may never have dreamed of being their own boss, but many forced into starting their own business after being laid off are doing better than they ever imagined.


Young entrepreneurs caged by age

While more firms are headed by fresh-faced bosses, their youthfulness can cause them to meet with resistance, told this story, published in September, 2011.

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