The Science of People


Three Changes to Empower Silicon Valley’s Women in Leadership

I’ve been in the heart of Silicon Valley in marketing, sales and product leadership roles for two decades. During this time, I have had the good fortune to meet and be inspired by many talented women including (by way of WillowCreekGLS) Sheryl Sandberg. In her recent talk to this group, she reiterated the sad fact that women make up only 5% of CEO’s globally despite better than average performance demonstrated by women at the top.

A recent study showed the annualized return for female-led firms was 25%, compared with just 11% for the broader market. Yet, In the US we’ve reached an all-time high of Fortune 500 companies led by female CEOs – a grand total of 32. So what gives?

There are three (addressable) reasons women are so poorly represented at the top of the organizational pyramid:

  1. Political Will.
  2. Institutional Support.
  3. Confidence and a desire to Lean In to leadership roles.

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Excellence in Talent Management

Congratulations to our partner, Optimum Talent, for being recognized by the HR community and Canadian HR Reporter as one of Canada’s best talent management consulting companies.

Optimum Talent was a Readers’ Choice Award winner in an annual competition “designed to highlight extraordinary firms – the ones our readers think are the very best at what they do,” said Todd Humber, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Canadian HR Reporter. In 2017, more than 30,000 ballots were cast for Readers’ Choice designation across 51 different categories.

Optimum Talent drives excellence in executive development, team alignment, women in leadership and other core services using SuccessFinder.

Rexall Adds Science—and Success—to its Talent Management Programs with SuccessFinder

Is great Talent Management an art or a science?

The HR team at Rexall Pharmacy Group, Ltd. is finding that behavioral science is a game-changer for up-levelling their talent programs and counsel for their 8,600 person retail-based organization.

“Hiring is often done based on conversation and a gut feel,” says Frank Monteleone, Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development at Rexall. “With SuccessFinder, we are adding science to our decision-making. Now, when we are on the fence about a candidate, we can pinpoint what that ‘feeling about a candidate that you couldn’t but into words’ was based on.

“Better yet, our managers really like having insight on new hires’ behaviors to get a better idea on how to manage the individual for success.”

In fact, SuccessFinder has not only helped with ensuring better hires across the 450 Rexall retail pharmacies, but it is leading to better promotions, and reducing turnover.

For example, Rexall is using it:

  • At the candidate level for best fit hiring
  • At the new hire level for onboarding and development
  • At the manager level for team analysis and alignment
  • And at the business level for assessing talent composition and leadership pipeline

“SuccessFinder has caught on like wildfire. People won’t make hiring decisions without the assessment in their hands,” adds Monteleone. “The information is relevant, accurate and meaningful: people are blown away by the amount of information they get back and how right it is.

“I believe, and always have, that behavior is the most important aspect of hiring. You can teach a skill, but you can’t teach the behavior about how to make the most of that skill. SuccessFinder brings behaviors to light and quantifies them for us against what is crucial to our organization.”

Want to learn more? Check out Rexall’s Case study here.




We’re Growing!

SuccessFinder is growing!

It’s been half a year since our launch and we’ve moved to accommodate our growth.

If you are in Montreal, come see us in our new office at 2170 Rene-Levesque Blvd, Suite 202!

If you want to know more about what leading companies are doing with our tool to predict career success based on behavioral DNA, check out what our customers are saying in this video . Or contact us directly:

We’d love to share more on the innovative hiring, succession and leadership development programs our customers are building based on SuccessFinder.



Behavior and the $1M Hiring Risk

In the highly-regulated nuclear energy sector, it takes many years of rigorous, training to become licensed for the ultimate safety management role of Shift Supervisor. And that training, including simulation exercises to test systems-thinking, problem-solving, team engagement, and decision-making that could impact hundreds of thousands of lives, doesn’t come cheap either. Typically, it is about a million dollars.

So, the scrutiny in selecting and grooming the very best people for this role is literally a bet-your-business choice.

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Great Women in Leadership Event This Week!

Such a great dialogue at Brandon Hall Group’s Women in Leadership Summit in DelRay Beach this week! We were proud to be sponsors of this inaugural event.

If you want to learn more about some of the topics shared there like leadership gravitas, barriers to success/how to overcome them, and navigating tough questions at work, check out our women in leadership page with lots of resources.

Thanks to all that shared their perspective this week and a special shout out to all the women that joined us as our guests for a great 2 days!


Susan Van Klink shares ideas on Tough Conversations for women at BHG Women’s Leadership Summit.


Behavioral Insight: The Key to Taking Tough out of Tough Conversations

In business, we’re taught to know our competitors and keep our opponents closer than our friends to excel. I lost track of the number of executive planning meetings where The Art of War, an ancient Chinese Military treatise by Sun Tsu, was prescribed as preparation to perform well on the business battlefields.

But, whether they be market competitors or allies or even colleagues, can we really know our business associates well enough to fine tune our strategies and execute our most challenging and crucial plans with—or despite—them? Is there a great way to take the TOUGH out of tough conversations?

Certainly, great preparation helps, so does a clear vision about your mission. But is it possible, practical or even wise to try and engage in a tough conversation in a more productive and maybe less adversarial way?

Next week, I will be on a panel about this topic of tough conversations at Brandon Hall Group’s Women in Leadership Summit, so I’ve been giving this some thought. I think it all depends on behavior.

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CEO Perspective: Creating an Inclusive Leadership Culture

What I’ve Learned About Promoting vs. Squandering Potential


A 2016 Credit Suisse study showed that public companies whose management teams had at least 15% females, delivered 50% better growth than companies with less than 10% females in the C-suite. Yet, there is a leak in the female leadership pipeline: today, women make up 59% of college graduates, 39% of managers, and just 6% of CEOs.

So what can CEO’s and business leaders do to stop squandering the potential of their businesses and their female leaders? Plenty.

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Certified for Success!

Congrats to the Spring 2017 class of SuccessFinder certified practitioners!

Our sold out, week-long training in Toronto last week was filled with animated and engaging discussion throughout the lessons and labs, as organizational development, HR and career counselors learned how to leverage insights from the SuccessFinder assessment to fine tune career strategies.

Click here  for more information on our certification and competency model training as well as our onsite workshops. Or contact us at:



Sports and the Valuable Lessons in Leadership

Almost twenty years ago, I had the privilege of attending a talk given by Ken Dryden, president of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club at the time, where he shared his perspective on leadership. One concept that has stayed with me since that event was his theory of “the right best player.” He said there are two types of superstars:

  •  Those who have all the skills, talents and abilities to excel but whose innate behaviors lead to team dysfunction, even destruction; and
  • Those who have all the same superstar talents but bring natural behaviors to bear that bring out the best in rest of the team.

As a result of that talk, throughout the rest of my career, I have looked for and hired the “right best players” — people who will bring their incredible talents to their role AND make the team (and ultimately the company) better for it. This philosophy has served me very well as a leader.

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We have a number of partners who can help you understand and implement SuccessFinder in your organization. Or, if you are looking for individual coaching, we have a network of certified practitioners we can put you in touch with. Just let us know the kind of need you have and your location and we’ll help.

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