Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: September 2009

Who’s leading your organization? You or your “system”?

So a few weeks ago I tried to make a purchase at Costco.com; “tried” being the operative word.

I went online, selected a gift for a friend who lives in California, paid using a credit card, and received email notification that my order was in progress.  A couple of days later, I checked online to see the order status, and imagine my surprise when I discovered that the order had been cancelled!  What?!  No notification, just cancelled!  It was late at night, so I fired off a note to Costco.com’s customer service department asking “What gives?”   Got an email back the next day with a cryptic message that my order was cancelled because the billing information I entered did not match what my credit card issuer had on file for me.  Huh? Continue reading

By 2010, Millennials will outnumber Baby Boomers

By 2010, Millennials (also known as Gen Y) will outnumber Baby Boomers!  There are 68 million Millennials in the United States and 6.5 million in Canada; roughly half of them are already in the workplace, and the rest are coming!  If you are a manager or supervisor, then it’s entirely possible that you may have all four generations — Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers and Millennials — in your department! Which means that it is critical for you to not only understand the differences between each generation, but perhaps more importantly, consciously and deliberately adapt your leadership style to communicate with, motivate, and lead a multi-generational workforce.

If you are in the Ottawa/Hull area, don’t miss this opportunity to attend a full-day workshop that addresses just this issue.  The Ottawa Chapter of the Certified General Accountants’ of Ontario is hosting Leading Multiple Generations in the Workplace on Thursday October 1, 2009.  The event is inexpensively available to non-members as well as members, so don’t miss it!  To register online, go to: https://www.cga-ontario.org/EventReg/search.aspx

Stuff happens! Why leaders need to step back and look at the big picture

Watch this four-minute clip of comedian Louis CK on the Conan O’Brien show.

The entire segment is very funny, but the statement that caught my attention was at the beginning of the clip when Louis CK says “Everything is amazing right now and nobody’s happy.”

As leaders, it’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day minutiae that makes up your work life, and just as easy to get frustrated when things don’t work out exactly the way we had hoped or intended.  When that happens, it’s easy to throw our hands up in the air and lament the processes, systems and people “we have to work with!”  Yet perhaps, it is at these very times that we should pause and celebrate the tools we have available to us today that let us accomplish incredible things at a fraction of the time and cost that they might have in the past.  Even as recently as one or two years ago!  Food for thought on a Tuesday afternoon!

$1 online webinar – Dealing with Difficult Personalities

PRACTICALLY FREE! That’s right! One dollar! I’m not kidding!

The great folks at PDNet and CGA are sponsoring this live webinar “Dealing with Difficult Personalities” on Tuesday October 6, 2009 at 9 AM Pacific Standard Time.  CGA Webcasts are normally priced at $169, but this is a special one-time price for only $1!  YOU MUST REGISTER BY MONDAY SEPTEMBER 28. SO DON’T MISS OUT! Over 2,000 people are already registered, so don’t wait!  To register, or get more information, go to http://tiny.cc/HupEG.  Don’t thank me, thank the generous folks at PDNet!

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Why leaders cannot ignore social media

This eye-opening YouTube video was recommended to me by an online colleague, and it poses the question – is social media a fad?  My take: you absolutely MUST watch this video!  It doesn’t matter whether you are a leader in a large company, a start-up entrepreneur, or somewhere in between, you owe it to yourself and the continued success of your organization to do so.  In less than five minutes, Erik Qualman will give you a perspective on social media that you may have never considered before.

So now you’ve watched the video, and you probably also know that the focus in my professional practice is turning managers into leaders.  The question just begging to be asked is: what are you doing as a leader to harness the power of social media? There is clearly a fundamental shift in the way people are communicating with one another, and it has enormous implications for how you should be recruiting, motivating and leading your people.  And if you go beyond your department and look at the long-term success of your organization, social media is changing how your clients and customers select and buy your services and products.  What are you doing to keep up with them?

I don’t know if you caught all the specific statistics in the video, but this is not just a “young people” thing — social media users are not just the Millennial generation!  This wave is coming fast and furious.  It’s not a small rapid in the river or a little wave on the beach; this is a tsunami that is coming stronger and faster than you might realize.  And it’s coming right at you!  Tell me … what are you doing as a leader in your organization to keep up with your employees  and your customers?

Seminar – Leading Multiple Generations in the Workplace

For those of you in the Ottawa ON area, the Ottawa Chapter of the Certified General Accountants’ of Ontario is hosting a full-day seminar on Leading Multiple Generations in the Workplace on Thursday October 1, 2009.  It’s open to non-members as well as members, so if this is a challenge you face as a leader, be sure to attend!  Registration link below.

Leading Multiple Generations in the Workplace.  You can’t help but notice it – the diversity in the age of people in the workplace.  From new young workers to baby boomers to individuals on the threshold of retirement, each of these demographics brings their own perspectives and impacts to your organization.  In an intriguing (and challenging) twist on the multi-generational workforce, it’s not unlikely to face a workplace (or even just a department) where you have all four generations present!  Continue reading

A leadership lesson from Aesop’s fables

There is a classic Aesop’s fable about a father whose sons were always fighting.  In order to show them the value of working together, the father had one of the sons bring him a bundle of sticks.  He gathered his sons around him, and one at a time, he asked each young man to take the bundle of sticks and try to break it.  None succeeded.  He then split open the bundle, and handed each son one or two sticks, asking them once again to try to break them.  This time, the sons did so easily.  “You see boys,” he said.  “Individually, these sticks do not have much strength, but when you combine their individual might, they form something of much greater power.  Separately, you can be broken, but together, you are stronger.” Continue reading

Terminating an employee? Four things you must do for the employees still there

So you’ve had to fire someone.  Whatever the reason, it was likely one of the toughest things you’ve ever had to do as a supervisor or manager.  So you lost some sleep, sucked it up, took a deep breath and did it.  The hard part is over now, right?  Wrong!  Unfortunately, the toughest part is taking care of those who are left behind.  Any kind of employee termination can have a negative impact on the other employees on your team unless you take positive steps to overcome it.  This means that you must take action, or run the risk of having your team weaken and falter.  What to do to get your people re-grouped, re-focused, and moving forward?  Read the entire article in the July/August 2009 issue of CGA Magazine here.