Lessons in leadership
Authoritarianism is on the rise in democracies around the world. From the U.S. to Turkey to Japan, presidents and prime ministers are governing more like strongmen than public servants chosen at the ballot box. Canada might appear to be an exception, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shows autocratic tendencies, too. As of this writing, he and Finance Minister Bill Morneau had refused to bend to widespread criticism of their government’s proposed tax changes, which could have serious consequences for the nation’s small-business owners.
Meanwhile, businesses large and small are moving in the opposite direction, if our cover story is any sign. For “Views From the Top” (p.40), we asked six entrepreneurial executives from a cross-section of companies—a Crown corporation, a financial institution, a real estate developer, a software maker and a creator of bags and apparel—how they lead. Each of these men and women has their own style and approach, but all aim to be inclusive rather than dictatorial—and to help others develop leadership skills. “You don’t have to be that wolf-pack leader all the time,” Jamie Cormack, co-founder of Herschel Supply Co., told me. “You can let someone else take a real role and step up, and you can step back and watch that person lead.”
This may be our annual leadership issue, but it also devotes plenty of real estate to commercial and industrial property. On page 64, you’ll find Michael Mccullough’s thoughtprovoking look at how technology companies are changing Vancouver and other North American cities by snapping up office space in the downtown core. Mccullough, who recently joined Canada Wide Media Ltd. as our editorial director, shows that tech’s hunger for such prime real estate is no fad. But as new and established players ditch the suburbs for downtown—a trend driven by millennial workers’ fondness for city life—they may dilute the urban diversity they seek.
In “Industrial Disaster” (p.56), contributor Kerry Gold tackles a grave problem: Metro Vancouver’s growing shortage of industrial land. Although the deficit might be most acute in Vancouver proper, where construction cranes looming over my backyard near 25th and Cambie seem to confirm a hunch that every square foot of property is a condo development in waiting, other municipalities are also feeling the squeeze. More housing is crucial, but we also need places to make stuff— and they can’t all be software studios. Maybe the new provincial government could show some leadership here.
Nick Rockel, Editor-in-chief email@example.com / @Bcbusiness