By Paul Parkinson, Director, Finance

With spring just about here, I read a very interesting article that translated a common tool we use in the finance area. The tool is the setting of SMART goals. The article focuses on exercise, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to share this as we’ll be getting to the warmer weather soon. The article was published by LifeWorks, ASP’s carrier for employee assistance programs and more.

SMART Goals and Exercise

Having clear, short-term goals is like having a road
map, and that can be an important part of success when developing an exercise routine. Whether you work with a health coach or prepare for a healthy change on your own, the SMART-goal model can help you think through and evaluate your plans.

What Are SMART Goals?


Smart
Is a method of goal setting that focuses on short-term, practical tasks to set you up for success. Breaking down large goals into smaller incremental goals is important for long-term achievement and sustainable behaviour change. SMART stands for:


Specific
A goal needs to be well-defined and clearly worded in a positive statement. It should be narrow enough in scope to use as a guide.


Measurable
Your goal should be specific and measurable so that you have a way to track your progress and identify when success is attained.

Action-Oriented
You are more likely to achieve your goal if it includes steps you will take. That’s why the “A” can also stand for achievable or attainable.


Realistic
Goals motivate us to grow and challenge ourselves, but they need to be realistic—and relevant. If your initial goal is realistic and relevant, it can help you move forward with more confidence in achieving other goals. If you want to begin eating healthy, start by introducing healthy foods slowly into your diet each day, rather than going on a crash diet.


Time-Bound
You’re more likely to reach a goal if it has a timeline in which to accomplish the goal. Creating a timetable makes it easier to measure your progress because it gives you a clear target and helps you stay focused.


While SMART goals are very specific by design, try to focus on their intent, and know that the actual goals might need to be modified along the way.

How to Apply SMART Goals

Your goals will ideally build on your past successes and experiences. Think about what has and hasn’t worked in the past and what might need to be different this time.

For example, if running for 30 minutes every day of the week was not sustainable for you, a new SMART goal could involve going for a 20-minute walk or run four times a week.

Here are a few examples of how SMART goals can work for someone who wants to develop an exercise routine:

  • Starting tomorrow, I will walk 20 minutes during my lunch break at work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next two weeks.
  • Starting tonight, I will ride my exercise bike for 15 minutes while watching a TV show at least every Monday and Wednesday for the next three weeks.
  • Starting tomorrow, I will attend a 30-minute online fitness class on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next four weeks.
  • Starting today, I will do 10 push-ups and 10 squats before breakfast and before dinner Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next two weeks. It’s vital to write down your goals, action steps, measurements, and time frame. You may find it helpful to keep a copy of the week’s goal with you or in a convenient place where you can refer to it easily. Focus on being consistent and patient as you wait for results. Review your goals frequently to make sure they still match your bigger plan and modify them as necessary. If your goal didn’t work out as planned, that’s OK. You can create new goals that better match your circumstances or implement a strategy to make the goal work better. If you exceed your goal or do better than expected, you can enjoy celebrating your additional success. Reward yourself for any goal you achieve, regardless of how small or large it is!

By Paul Parkinson, Director of Finance

With each change of the calendar year, it’s commonplace to remember all that has occurred the past year and to look forward for the coming year. I feel it’s important to recognize the accounting team. We had 2 new additions in 2021. Melissa Shehadeh has joined the team as an Accountant focussing on accounts receivable A/R collections and invoicing. She has started with her feet running without a chance to tie her shoes! Paige Piercy is the other addition to the team. She is part of the payroll team in processing payroll and records of employment for the over 1,800 staff. Together they join Sherrie Storimans, Giselle Lopes and Yemisi Joshua. This has been a challenging year for all members and all facets of the accounting department responsibilities. The team has risen to the challenge putting in late hours and weekends to ensure the highest satisfaction level for our customers and employees alike while always responding within our 24-hour rule. For 2022, we will continue the path to excellence and look forward to working alongside the other departments to improve system integrations and finding efficiencies which will benefit all. To all our readers, please take care of yourself, your family, and your colleagues.

To the team I say, THANK YOU! Your work ethic and autonomy has made me proud


On August 15, 2021, I reached a milestone in my career – my 10-year anniversary with ASP. What’s even more amazing is that I share this milestone with Darren Scott of the Resource Planning department as we both embarked on our career with ASP on the same day. Back then the small office was located on Brant Street in Burlington and the addition of the two of us was a 25% jump in staff. They managed to clear out a very cluttered office for me (coincidentally I still have a very cluttered office in our current location of my own doing). I had to go through three intense interviews and a personality test. I am happy that I was chosen to join the ASP Management team. My experiences from the food manufacturing business prepared me well for the strict regulatory environment and compliance with the security programs. I wasn’t prepared for the challenges unique to an employee service business. Our frontline workers are the face of ASP – not the managers, not the executive, but the staff that are in front of the customers every day. How they look – uniform clean, pressed, how they act – smiling, courteous, is key and important. The image of ASP is them. Having a tour of the various locations serviced by ASP showed me how proud the employees were to be wearing their uniform and representing ASP. They were friendly and extended a handshake welcoming me.

This forced me to change the way I think as the product we sell isn’t fixed, but a pliable dynamic person who is impacted by everything from the weather, their drive to commute or anything that is happening in their personal life positive or negative. The importance on employee satisfaction has been a high priority for the management team and is reflective of the focus and dedication they have in understanding the need to maintain frontline staff that are engaged and happy in their role – they’re what is important. Even through a pandemic and the fear of the unknown, the team has done their best in understanding and communicating with the employees and still focus on employee satisfaction. This has always been the case and remains so with even more emphasis given to it. As the goals remain the same, other things have changed. The market focus was in the GTA and a small operation in Calgary. There was a staff compliment of just over 500 staff. We now have 2,000 staff, sales have more than tripled, our service offering includes canine explosive detection and school crossing guards, our geography includes Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. We moved from our main headquarters on Brant Street to Appleby Line in Burlington and have moved to a second larger office in North York to replace the small downtown St. Mary Street Toronto location. And we continue to grow. The people factor remains the core driver in our everyday interactions with employees, customers, vendors, and peers. I am very proud of the people of ASP that I have had the opportunity to meet and hope to meet many more. I want to thank the accounting team of Sherrie, Gisselle, Yemisi, Melissa and Paige who work tirelessly to ensure the employee is put first and making my job easier, to the remaining office staff for letting me be part of your lives, my supporting and loving wife of 30 years for tolerating when work calls and to Dean Lovric our President and CEO for adopting me into the ASP family 10 years ago. I am honoured to be part of this wonderful extended family. It has been a fun ride like no other in my career.

“Having a tour of the various locations serviced by ASP showed me how proud the employees were to be wearing their uniform and representing ASP.”


By Paul Parkinson, Director, Finance

Being a manager is a demanding job. Meeting organizational goals and resolving unexpected problems while juggling the demands of senior leaders and the needs of the team can mean bouncing from one activity to another and feeling like having achieved very little. Being an effective manager means working smarter—and inspiring your entire team to work smarter.

Setting the example

There are several techniques that may help you better manage your time. Try the following:

Apply the 80/20 principle

The 80/20 principle states that approximately 80 percent of our results come from just 20 percent of our efforts. The key to better utilizing our time—and increasing our effectiveness—is to focus more on the 20 percent of our work that actually produces results. These are likely to be complex, demanding, time-consuming tasks, but they are what should be at the top of our daily to-do list.

Schedule meetings in blocks

Meetings are usually interspersed throughout your day and invariably go over schedule – making it difficult for you to focus on that important 20 percent. If you are calling the meetings, schedule them in blocks so that one begins right after another. This also helps meetings to start and end on time.

Schedule specific times to return calls and emails each day

Use your voicemail to say you will return calls at a certain time or by the end of the business day. This way you won’t be constantly interrupted.

Schedule quiet time

You need time to focus on those priority tasks that, as stated, are often complex and challenging. At the same time, you want to have an open-door policy for your staff. Let your team know that when your door is closed, you’re working on something that requires your full concentration and would appreciate not being interrupted unless the matter is urgent. Also let people know that when your door is open, they are welcome to bring questions and concerns to you.

Delegate

You’ll have more time to concentrate on pressing matters if you delegate certain tasks. You’ll also demonstrate that you value people’s abilities and are ready to help them develop their skills.

Leading – not just managing

Great leaders are not only knowledgeable and capable— they’re perceived as being fair and trustworthy. They set the standard for others to follow.

Be accountable

Admit when you’re wrong and be gracious when proved wrong. Also, understand when other people make mistakes. Managers who are more concerned with what is right rather than being right are less likely to have team members who shift blame and hide their errors.

Take time to communicate clearly

You don’t want your staff repeatedly asking for clarification or spending hours trying to figure out what you want. Spend a little extra time upfront conveying information and listening to any questions or concerns.

Involve staff

Ask your team for ideas to streamline processes, improve resources and reduce workloads (attending lengthy meetings that do not involve your department). You’ll get a better understanding of the challenges staff face while empowering them.

Resolve conflicts quickly and effectively

Conflicts, disagreements and misunderstandings waste time and undermine productivity. There are many talents, abilities and personality traits that make a great team leader but superior time management skills are perhaps one of the most important. A manager who is able to manage his or her own time—and the time of their teams—gets things done without placing unnecessary pressure on others. That means a more productive, engaged and happier team.

Published by Lifeworks Just one of the many perks that come with your benefit package. This and so much more.