GOPST
Goal, Objectives, Plans, Strategies, Tactics

see SWOT - Strength, Weakness, Opportunties, Threats
atwitiger.com/ecommerce/SWOT.htm

last updated 2015 April 30
witiger.com/ecommerce/GOPST-student-assignments.htm

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For the students of Prof. W. Tim G. Richardson, Toronto, Canada
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This web page has audio and video clips - just click on the icon (like the one to the left) and you can hear Prof. Richardson's voice adding additional information to topics on the page. turn on your speakers to hear audio clips

 
.. This GOPST and SWOT unit is used in
    o MGTD06
    o MRK106
    o MRK610 and MRK 410
    o BCS555
    o BUS203
    o MGS523
    o MGD415
    o CCT224
Not all of the material in this unit will be used in each of these courses; the amount of material covered will be indicated by the actual lecture given in class by the professor. Some courses cover this topic extensively, some courses deal with it briefly.
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GOPST in "real life"

pictured is Prof. Richardson with Mike Assad (a graduate of Computer Engineering at UofT in 2001) and Jon  Voight co-founders of www.edentity.ca. holding the GOPST diagram they worked on.
WTGR met with Mike and Jon several times to discuss the details of their corporate Goal, measurable Objectives to achieve that Goal, and what Plans would be required to accomplish the Objectives. In "real life" this is a time consuming process that can take many weeks and involve a lot of research and hours of discussion, but, when concluded it can be very valuable to a company in a competitive environment since the company can focus on "doing" and not waste time "thinking about doing" since that is now laid out in the GOPST.
Edentity was on the Profit Magazine list of the 50 fastest growing companies in Canada in 2006 and 2007.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN4QWALRLNA A screen capture video showing how popular this page is on Google using various search sequences associated with the words Goal, Objectives, Plans, Strategies, Tactics
A screen capture shoing the scene in Men In Black where Will Smith uses the table to write his test on
 youtube.com/watch?v=dijVbM9DpxU
.. think about this when you lay out your GOPST diagram
- use a horizontal layout instead of a vertical layout

... the table scene is at 2:00 in the clip


 
Key Points 
for 
Understanding 
this 
Unit
GOPST - SWOT
 
click to hear audio clip By 2015, most medium and almost all large sized companies have a website. Additionally, a significant percentage of small companies have a website, or at least a splash page and some pages. What are the opportunities for a college / university student who has learned about e-business and internet marketing in 2016 ????

Well, although many companies have a website up - not many companies have a "successful" website - and by 2011 this has become painfuly obvious for many companies, large and small.

Part of the problem is the intense pressure of the competitive environment and the economic environment. We suggest these environmental pressures, combined with a lack of understanding about Goals and Objectives, means the website might not be achieving the purpose it was intended - which, raises the question, what was the purpose of the site?? did the content on the site relate to specific plans and objectives to accomplish the corporate goal(s) ??

WTGR

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Learning
Objectives
for this
Unit
GOPST - SWOT

Many people put up a website without clearly thinking how the site may fit into the corporate Goal and Objectives. 

The purpose of this unit is to educate the reader about the fundamental things you must consider to properly conceive and write G.O.P.S.T.

Secondly, it is intended that after reading this material, and doing the group exercise at the end, the student will be able to create wording for Objectives that will satisfy a Goal, and understand that it is important to write Objectives carefully so that you express things that can be measured and achieved.

The third objective of this unit is to explain the purpose of Plans and how Plans are the time related coordination of Strategies which, when executed properly, will allow people to achieve the Objective. If the Objective is not achieved, then the Plans have to be changed.

Fourth - Strategy is an over-used term and it is often applied in situations where the word "Plan" is more appropriate to use. The fourth objective of this unit is to properly explain the role of Strategies and a describe how they are created from specific action items - which we call Tactics.

Lastly, we will look at the foundations for achieving Goals - that is the proper development of good tactics ;  the actual things you do, such as ... go here, read this, phone them, type this, buy that, etc, 

Not only do I hope you understand this material for your course, but perhaps you can take some of this understanding and apply it to do some consulting and make some money. There are opportunities to advise companies how to re-do their websites in the context of a more clearly thought out GOPST and an e-SWOT after you have done this unit.

WTGR

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published by Scott Adams in April 2005
 
This funny Dilbert Cartoon hints at the real truth ... that setting the wording of a Goal is not easy and there are many different ways of chosing the wording, depending on what you are trying to achieve.

 
 
E-commerce
Strategy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

E-commerce
Strategy

Rob Spiegel wrote a story in the Jan 26th, 2001, E-Commerce Times titled
"Report: 70 Percent of Retailers Lack  E-Commerce Strategy"

Rob's story was based on a new study by Deloitte and Touche that shows that while roughly one third of retailers with a Web presence consider their online store to be  "strategic," a majority have set up  Web operations with no clearly articulated strategy, and are merely "testing the waters  to gauge Internet demand." 
 www.ecommercetimes.com/perl/story/2335.html
http://www.ecommercetimes.com/perl/story/2335.html

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Key Points Many people clearly misunderstand the corporate meaning of the word strategic and confuse it with the related terms "tactics" or "plans".

Clearly, Rob's story, and other points we will discuss in this class, strongly suggests there is indeed a market for people to advise and consult to companies as "E-commerce Strategists". That is to say, they may already have a web site up and running, your job is to massage it and see that it fits the company's objectives.

WTGR

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E-commerce
Strategy
click to hear audio clip
Components of a good e-commerce strategy
First, understand how Strategy fits into the overall corporate planning framework
  • Goal
  • Objective(s)
  • Plan(s)
  • Strategy(ies) - the 4th most important component on the list
  • Tactics
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This Dilbert cartoon is not only funny, but it captures very well the tendancy for people to want to use the word "strategy" instead of more simple term.
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GOALS vs
MISSION 
STATEMENTS
Sometimes companies also have Mission Statements in addition to a Goal. One of the big differences between a Mission Statement and a Goal is that a Mission Statement is often worded in such a way that it can be used in advertising and P.R. For example - the corporate Goal might be 

"To be the largest forest products company in Canada"

 the Mission Statement might be 

"Contributing to our Environment, through Responsible Harvesting". 

They don't like to convey the image of "cutting down trees", so they use a euphemistic phrase "harvesting".

WTGR

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GOPST
explained

GOALS

Goals-- Goals are the ultimate thing you want to achieve. Usually a Goal is a single thing, but in some cases it can be two things. If there are more than three Goals - then maybe they aren't Goals, but rather Objectives. Goal are the statements that a company uses to motivate employees and statements used to judge and measure challenges that you face. 

Goals are supposed to be what you end up with , if you have achieved your objectives. Excellently worded goals should include statements indicating something that can be accomplished from Objectives that are met.

Examples: 

  • To be the largest on-line cosmetics retail site on the planet.
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GOPST
explained

GOALS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ge6ht2Bj42Y Sometimes you can explain GOPST in the context of a student's plan for the future, watch the video to see an example.
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GOPST
explained

OBJECTIVES
click to hear audio clip

Objectives--"Every successful online campaign starts with clear objectives. Each objective should be attainable and tie-in to off-line marketing activities. These objectives will drive the overall direction of any plans, and will always help you judge whether a plan is working or not by how it can achieve the objectives.

If the Goal is to be "the largest on-line cosmetics retail site on the planet", then logically speaking one would have to have measurable objectives such as

  • to be the largest cosmetics retailer for Asia
  • to be the largest cosmetics retailer for Europe
  • to be the largest cosmetics retailer for North America
- because if you were not one of these three, then you could not say you are the largest in the world

To be "the largest on-line cosmetics retail site on the planet" requires some measurable Objectives to meet that goal. Other than the "geographic" aspect noted in the three points above, the following examples could be typical Objectives, which, if accomplished, would allow you to state that you had achived your Goal
Examples: 

  • To have the largest on-line product offering of cosmetics

  • (theoretically if you have the largest product offering, you have the potential to make the largest sales, which helps fulfill the goal)
  • To have the most competitive prices for cosmetics sold on-line

  • (theoretically if you have the best prices, then you can sell the most)
    To carry  the largest brand selection of cosmetics sold on-line
    (if you carry the greatest selection, then you have no competition for people to buy elsewhere).
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It may seem like a joke, but it is not funny This Dilbert joke might seem funny, but the real truth is that many employees find it frustrating when a company establishes objectives, and it is not clear how those objectives are to be achieved.

The boss responds "... it takes to much effort for me to be clear"
Although this is said in fun, in reality, it is close to the truth. Many senior managers who are writing objectives, find it difficult to express things in clear language that everybody can understand - nevertheless it is critical to do this otherwise the objectives will not be met because people can't understand what they are about.

WTGR

.Measurable
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGRo0H-RKx0 Measurable Objectives

youtube.com/watch?v=eGRo0H-RKx0

Prof. Richardson discussing the importance of developing measurable objectives, with some amusing and interesting examples

vv

first published by Scott Adams in June 1996
 
GOPST
explained

OBJECTIVES

Objectives
Here is another example of a well worded Objective
  • By Q2 2016 we will have acquired 40% of the marketshare in Western Canada
Objectives that have time elements make it easier to make Plans since the plan will necessarly have to discuss what needs to be done in order to meet the deadline. Time elements and quantifiable amounts mean the Objective can be measured. 

You can measure if you have 40% of the marketshare - if you do get 40%, you met the Objective, if not, then you have to go back to your plans and change them to make sure you can meet this objective.

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GOPST
explained

PLANS
click to hear audio clip

Plans -- Plans are the ordered sequences of several strategies with a time element and additional information identifying supporting resources (human resources, technical resources, inventory, etc.).
Plans can include such concepts as 
  • generating leads, 
  • increasing sales, 
  • increasing store traffic, 
  • reducing customer service costs or 
  • improving brand awareness.
In the case of the cosmetics company, if one of your objectives was to "carry  the largest brand selection of cosmetics sold on-line", then you would have several plans developed to allow this to happen
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GOPST
explained

PLANS

Plans -- Remember what Plans are from your "intro to marketing course"
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GOPST
explained

OBJECTIVES
and
PLANS

- this box added
Oct 2nd 2005

Objectives and Plans and the Competition --

A significant part of being able to achieve Objectives is the degree to which you may, or may not, have competition. If there is strong competition from another company, than it would be necessary to have some Plans written to deal with this. 

It could be 
    o  plans to develop information about the competition's price, 
    o  plans to deal with some new marketing promotion activity
               the competition is using
    o  or plans that will help you discover any new models or product 
               features being launched by the competition. 

In a highly intense situation you could even have human resource plans to hire special people to help you deal with the threat from a competitor, or, hire the best people from the competition to come and work for your company.

So, getting back to Objectives, if your Objective is to have the lowest price for a product, which is part of your Goal to be the # 1 in Sales, then your Plans may includes things like cutting packing costs, or Plans to cut shipping costs, but, part of achieving the lowest price, would be some Plan to find out what the competitor's price is - otherwise you will not know if your price is in fact the lowest.

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"Strategies" - unlike the Dilbert cartoon, is more than just a kewl word to through out there to the client.
Often people do something and call it a strategy when in reality it should be called a Plan. A strategy by itself is useless, unless it is part of a plan, that has a time relate component so that you'll know when to do the particular Strategy.
 
GOPST
explained

STRATEGIES

Strategies--Strategies are the collection of various tactics (organized and structured sequences of actions).
- in terms of conventional marketing definitions, 
       Strategies are the "Target Market" + the "Marketing Mix"
       The "Target Market" is simply "who" you are selling to
       The "Marketing Mix" is your 4P's - Product, Price, Promotion, Place
        and how you mix them to suit what the company wants to achieve

Examples: 

  • Develop online giveaways to drive consumers to our product.
  • By having on-line contests with prizes given away by other companies, you associate your brand with other circumstances, thereby increasing your brand depth
  • Build links from the web sites of famous cosmetics brands and have reciprocal links.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shb2RYnJ8r0 Plans - need a time element

How Strategies and Tactics fit in to Plans
 youtube.com/watch?v=shb2RYnJ8r0

GOPST
explained

TACTICS

Tactics--"Tactics are the specifics of strategies". These are the specific ways and options you do things in order to carry out various strategies. Depending on which tactics you are able to employ (based on your access to resources) some strategies will work, some will fail. "Tactics are the who, what, when and how of the broad-stroke strategy."

Examples: 

  • Establish ongoing monthly contests giving away sample product to 10 lucky winners. 
  • To enter, consumers must complete a data sheet, providing demographic information.
  • Winners will be announced in the product category of the Web site to ensure consumers see our product line.
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GOPST in e-commerce

some
examples

Simeon K, a student in MGD415 at UTSC in Jan 2008 

sent in an email in which he discusses an article in ecommercetimes.com that notes the GOPST terms we discuss in class

Simeon said
"Good day professor Richardson

This morning I read an article in ecommercetimes.com about "Pleasing Customers, Securing Transactions: Having E-Tail Both Ways". I will try to summarize it ... It looks a little odd for online retailers to meet both challenges successfully but if somehow this is done, it will result in higher customer satisfaction, cleaner final reports and better risk control. According to Ecommercetimes.com, it will be up to retailer's executives to provide the performance metrics [like customer (speed), assurance (accuracy) and confidence (security and accreditations)] to the risk management.

The interesting thing about the article is that it gives a good example of GOPST. As the article states, the ultimate goal is repeating customers and growing sales. The objectives, leading to the achievement of the goal are improving customer satisfaction and enhancing security for a better protection of transaction information. The plans to achieve these objectives would include: enhancing the easiness of managing customers' accounts, shortening the process of verification of customers' information, reducing delays resulting from the time it takes to navigate through implemented safeguards, reducing chargeback costs and ensuring the accuracy of the financial results and others . As we discussed in class, they have to be measurable, so that efficient risk management metrics are established (as mentioned before)."

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GOPST in e-commerce

some
examples

the article Simeon refers to is at
http://ecommercetimes.com/story/Pleasing-Customers-Securing-Transactions-Having-E-Tail-Both-Ways-61303.html
(handed out in MGD415 Jan 22 2008)

WTGR responds
"thanks Simeon, yes that is a good example. I particularly like the idea of "Setting Up Efficient Risk Management Metrics", one of the big problems companies having doing GOPST, is they don't put in place the required circumstances to find out of the Objectives are going to be met... cause...... if not, then you change your plans to do something different to meet the Objectives"

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GOPST related to SWOT How does GOPST relate to SWOT?

If you develop a GOPST, it seems obvious that you don't just want to create Goals for the sake of a theoretical exercise, you must want to actually accomplish those Goals through meeting Objectives which come from carrying out Plans.

For those Plans to work, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses so when you are developing Strategies to achieve the Plans, those Strategies will take into account the things you are good at, and can do.

So before you can define the specific Tactics which will be used to carry out the Strategy, a SWOT analysis must be done.

see  witiger.com/ecommerce/SWOT.htm

WTGR

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GOPST - 
Does witiger know what he is talking about?

Searching Google with the words
Goal 
Objective 
Plans 
Strategies 
Tactics
yields 
52,000 results (2004) 
4 million results (2006), with 
97 million results (2015)
www.witiger.com/ecommerce/GOPST~SWOT.htm ranking # 1 !! 
(in Feb 2004) 
(also in Oct 2006
(also in Sept 2010)

click to see the larger view
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IN
CLASS
ACTIVITY.
click to hear audio clip For some classes doing this witiger unit on GOPST/SWOT, (CCT224, MGTD06, MRK619, BCS555, MGD415 ) after studying GOPST and SWOT in class, we will break up into groups, and each group will write a GOPST for an imaginary situation. 
The purpose of this exercise is to understand, by doing, what GOPST is - most people make a mistake in differentiating between Goals and Objectives - do not make that mistake.

If your group produces a GOPST which makes sense, you will earn class participation marks.

The main purpose of this exercise is that you will understand that 

  • many companies have poorly conceived goals and objectives
  • if the goals and objectives are not clear, a website will not help
You should then make sure that you have a section on GOPST in your Team Project 
(MRK 410, BCS 555, MGTD06) and clearly explain what is the Goal of what you are doing and what are the measurable Objectives that you can accomplish to reach that Goal.

1. Pick someone to write down the thoughts of the group
2. put everybody's name on the paper, spell the last name clearly
3. write down one single Goal
4. write down 2, or 3 or 4 Objectives
5. write down some Plans to achieve those Objectives
6. when you are done, hand it up to the front so the professor can read it out in class

WTGR

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IN
CLASS
ACTIVITY.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97PmI7b0lZA After you do the first part of the activity in class (being in groups, creating the GOPST), Professor Richardson will then "take up" each page from each group and give feedback right in class.

Have a look at the video to see what are some of the things he looks for.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97PmI7b0lZA

Keeps these points in mind when you are in your group discussion, trying to craft some Objectives and Plans for your Goal.

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After
the
CLASS
ACTIVITY.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVVz0_Jzw90 Sometimes when we do this exercise the students may be given time to work on creating the GOPST as a homework exercise.
 youtube.com/watch?v=MVVz0_Jzw90
If you click on the screen capture to the left you can see how one group of Seneca students in April 2009, created an explanation of GOPST based on the premise of becoming a "Human Barbie" - its "just jokes" but they get the message across about the proper sequence of a Goal, with "measurable" Objectives and Plans to achieve those Objectives.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk9BuasmqY0 Creating the GOPST Human Barbie was so much fun we did a "Bloopers" reel which you can see in the video to the left..

 youtube.com/watch?v=Jk9BuasmqY0

..
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After
the
CLASS
ACTIVITY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT8QnLf8664 Click on the screen capture to the left to see a video on YouTube showing the results of some GOPST projects in Jan 2009 in MGD415 at UTM. 

Prof. Richardson provides comments about what he liked in each example.

This gives you a good example of how imaginative some groups can be in visually illustrating their Goal, measurable Objectives and Plans. 

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After
the
CLASS
ACTIVITY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvO34n-iAU0 Click on the screen capture to the left to see a video on YouTube showing the result of one group doing a GOPST focused on 

"How to become a modern day ninja".

Crazy, but they get the message across

BTW - that is NOT a real Ninja, if you want a good example, go here
 youtube.com/watch?v=nCsIklUii_Y
 

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After
the
CLASS
ACTIVITY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHApb5aU1pM Click on the screen capture to the left to see a video on YouTube showing the result of one group doing a GOPST focused on "Being a Good Citizen".

Good use of humour, sarcasm and music

Another good example of how imaginative some groups can be.

BTW - that is NOT a real Jamaican accent, if you want a good example, go here
 youtube.com/watch?v=LazIYNwN5Tk

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GOPST in CCT224 at University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus
An example of a student group that used used the "teaching of a majic trick" as their GOPST and demonstrated that in a sequence of 3 YouTube videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNAGNxZ6H58&list=UUAtk_NQTEd9jP4hEI6lPUHA&index=9&feature=plcp . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU6NTnfsS4w . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfcYosTRXhg&feature=youtu.be
UTM student Rayn in CCT224 is an accomplished majician and the GOPST of his group involved 3 parts. Part 1 was showing the prof a trick in class. Part 2 was having that trick taught to someone else in the group who had no majic background. The clip above shows Rayn teaching his "student" Part 3 was when that person took the newly learned majic skill and was able to do it with the prof.

GOPST Sept 2012 in CCT224 at University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68dsUxMY5f8
sum'pin in a Pizza Box Break-up recovery kit
(like, get over it, at least you didn't have 3 kids and a house to sell... just saying)
to survive a Zombie apocalypse
(for ppl that watch way too much TV and ignore the real world)
To "improve the UTM student experience"
(prize for the biggest impact, and most difficult for the prof to carry back to his office... but if you are going for "memorable", you win)
a YouTube video about being healthy
some other pics didn't turn out, and there are some other groups that did YouTube videos

witiger.com/ecommerce/GOPST-student-assignments.htm MGD415 student assignments/videos in Jan 2010
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GOPST
where it comes from?
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In the tradition of many business expressions, slang and phrases coming from some military circumstances - eg. 2i/c; go-no-go; ramping up; "chain of command"; sit-rep, "red team";  FNG; etc.
In 1989-91 Tim Richardson was doing some contract work for GCI in Ottawa. GCI (Government Consultants International) was a high powered lobbying firm in the late 1980's - early 1990's.
One of the leading figures at GCI was Ramsey Withers,  wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramsey_Muir_Witherswho served previously as Chief of Defense Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces (1980-83), and held the rank of a "4 star" General.
(BTW we use maple leaves, not stars, in Canada)
Richardson reported directly to General Withers for a number of special projects and it was during this time that Withers provided the background on GOPST.

In 1990 General Withers explained that most situations involving some supervision of some activity involving a lot of variables would follow a sequence he termed GOPST - Goal, Objectives, Plans, Strategies and Tactics. In conversation by phone w Richardson in 2012, General Withers commented that he was interested that this GOPST formula was being used in a civilian context as it is common among people studying management to regularly use the first three steps in the same sequence Goals-Objectives-Plans.

In 2012 General Withers consults a few days a week at Hillwatch Inc., a government relations firm in Ottawa and also serves as a guide at the Canadian War Museum.
 
 
 
 
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