VOCL 045 – An Interview with Roy Osing

Twitter Episode Focus: An interview with Roy Osing, a Vancouver leader and author of the “BE DiFFERENT or Be Dead” book series. The interview is just under 43 minutes in length. I’m also hosting a contest – listen to the end of the podcast for details! VOCL Main Interview Guest Bio (Margaret Narration):  “Roy Osing […]

Written By chris

On March 9, 2015

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Episode Focus: An interview with Roy Osing, a Vancouver leader and author of the “BE DiFFERENT or Be Dead” book series.

  • The interview is just under 43 minutes in length.
  • I’m also hosting a contest – listen to the end of the podcast for details!

VOCL Main Interview

Guest Bio (Margaret Narration):  “Roy Osing is the former Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer of TELUS Corp.  Over his 30-plus year career, he successfully built and led many businesses ranging from start-ups to intensively competitive internet enterprises to mature regulated monopolies.

He is the author of the “BE DiFFERENT or be dead” Book Series, which presents his career learnings on how to create organizations that stand-out from their competition and are cherished by their customers.

Roy is actively “spreading his word” through his blog, keynote speaking, workshops, mentoring, coaching and advising small to medium businesses and not-for-profit organizations.”

He is one of 50 leadership experts in Canada invited as a contributing columnist for the Globe and Mail Careers Leadership Lab Series. In addition, he writes monthly columns for Business in Vancouver, Ten Thousand Coffees and Talent Culture on a range of subjects including marketing, sales, customer service, workplace culture, career development, and innovation.”

Executive Summary of Answers:

What is a leadership-related quote that motives or inspires you?  Gerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) – “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”

Seth Godin (author, Linchpin) – “You don’t become indispensable merely because you are different. But the only way to become indispensable is to be different. That’s because if you’re the same, so are plenty of other people.”

Why does that motivate you?  Moves people from superlatives such as ‘better’ and ‘best’ into the ‘only’ – being unique in the marketplace.

How do you use that quote in your work and everyday life? Permeates everything that I do in helping businesses figure out a way that they can be unique and stand out in a ‘faceless herd.’

If you were to mentor someone taking on their first real leadership role, what advice would you give (personal experience or otherwise)?

  • Asking them to ask themselves the ‘magic question’ (available in eBook “Be Different You”) – “Whenever facing a change, what am I going to do differently now that I’m in this new role?”
  • Start to think about leadership as being there to serve people, not to ‘command and control’ them.

Who have been the influential leaders in your life and why?

  • Tom Peters (author – In Search of Excellence) – created a practical book about how leaders can make a difference.  Helped me learn not what to do, but rather how to do it.
  • Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group) – built a culture around serving people and applying it to various businesses.
  • Tony Hsieh (Zappos) – built his business around the concept of ‘delivering happiness’, an attitude that permeates throughout the business.
  • All three have one thing in common – the ability to execute.

If you could pick any Canadian to be your mentor, who would it be and why?  Darren Entwistle – eventually became CEO and is now the Executive Chairman of Telus.  Made sure that everyone executed in the company executed according to the strategy that he owned.  He was also very focused.  He was able to take a concept and a strategy and translate it into various functions.   

What do you think are the three most important attributes that a leader can possess?  Serving people (current leaders 3 out of 10), execution, focus.

If you could pick only one, which would it be? Serving people.

Special quote:  Results happen through execution, not through the plan.  The plan is a theoretical set of possibilities that come to life through brilliant execution.

Where do you turn to for leadership knowledge?  Books? Seminars? Something else?  Please provide a specific example.  Globe and Mail – Leadership Lab Series, Sir Richard Branson interviews.

What do you think of the state of leadership in Canada (any area, not just politics) today – strengths, weaknesses?  We have to demand more and different responsibilities and characteristics, we have to force them out of traditional concepts and into becoming unique and remarkable.  Currently working on a book – The Weekly Calendar for Leaders – and having them approach a different aspect every day.

Imagine you are the host of VOCL – who’s a Canadian leader that you would like to interview and why?

What are you working on right now?

How can people get a hold of you?



Twitter – https://twitter.com/royosing

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/107269170741006229439/posts

Slideshare –  http://www.slideshare.net/RoyOsing

“Old school leadership is out” – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/leadership-lab/old-school-leadership-is-out/article15398192/

“Don’t just be a great leader, be a stand-out leader” – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/leadership-lab/dont-just-be-a-great-leader-be-a-stand-out-leader/article16370265/

That was a great interview with Roy – I’d like to thank him for his time and insights.

VOCL Listener Feedback

Julian Bolster (Episode 40) – “Where do you turn to for leadership knowledge?”

  • Books:
    • The Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz
    • Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan
    • Multipliers by Liz Wiseman, Greg McKeown
    • Strengths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath, Barry Conchie
    • The Three Levels of Leadership by James Scoullier
  • Tribe: (The original link is no longer available)

VOCL Closing Thoughts / Future Episodes / Call to Action

What’s been happening

    • VOCL will be taking a little bit of a back seat over the next few weeks – I’m going to be moving!
    • For some reason, I’ve been getting over a hundred email subscribers from Yahoo.com over the past few weeks, but with some very weird emails.  I have a feeling that they are mostly robots (even though there’s a double opt-in process).  I may need to cull some of those email addresses so that I don’t end up paying for sending email to robots.
    • What’s your #1 leadership challenge?  Will help me tailor future episodes.

Takeaways and introspection

  • Roy had a key message about the need to be different.  How are you different – what makes you ‘you’?  I know that there’s a thought that if you want to be successful, you should emulate successful people.  But what if that emulation simply makes you a copy?  What if that emulation takes you away from who you are as a person?
  • Roy also had a message about the need to execute.  I’m reminded of two quotes:
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower – “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”
    • Gen. George S. Patton – “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
    • The two may seem different, but I think they dovetail nicely.  You can’t simply execute thoughtless action – well, you can, but I’d hate to see the results.  You can, however, think about all of the variables at play within the time that you have allotted.  At that point, however, you need to execute – to take action.  During the execution phase, however, you may notice that you need to adjust or ‘pivot’.  If you have thought about the variables during the planning process, you are going to be in a much better position to contemplate the new information and go back to the executing process in a quick and efficient manner.  Hmmm, this gives me an idea for a future post…

I’m Chris Hache, asking you to be VOCL for a better Canada


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