Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: November 2009

Parallels between military and workplace leadership?

Last Thursday I got to do something that I don’t often get to do as a professional speaker – I sat in the audience and listened to someone else stand on the platform and deliver the keynote speech.  General Rick Hillier delivered the breakfast address at the Canadian Society of Association Executive’s conference in Toronto ON, and I was one of several hundred people in the audience.  His topic: leadership; which of course is a subject near and dear to my heart.

Now if you’re Canadian, you no doubt have an opinion on Canada’s presence in Afghanistan; I too have my own political views on this subject.  Continue reading

Survey deadline approaching!

Our survey deadline is 11:59 PM MST on November 30, 2009, only three days away!  This is your chance to win one of three valuable prizes, and our chance to get your input for our topics and content for our 2010 Leadership Skills Series Live audio conferences.

Click here for our quick ‘n’ easy survey

In return for your time, we’ll enter your name in a draw for three chances to win one of my Leadership Skills audio programs, either in downloadable mp3 or CD format, a $197 value. There are eight you can choose from, and you can preview them all here.

Do it now – in won’t take more than 5 minutes, we promise!  We’ll announce the winner here as well as in December’s issue of Merge’s Monthly Mega Minute.

Just get on with it!

So on Saturday I got an iPhone.  Now you should know that I’ve been putting off the decision to purchase a mobile device for a while now.  It’s not that I don’t see the value; after all being able to check email or surf the Internet instantly without having to wait to fire up my laptop plus find a wi-fi network holds great appeal, as does having an immediate GPS at my fingertips to find a client’s office when I’m running late.  It’s just that … well … it would take time to learn how to use it, and let’s face it, time is something that always seems to be in short supply in my office!  So I’d been postponing this purchase for months, until of course on Saturday.  With dogged determination and tenacious persistence, my husband, no doubt tired of my repeated grumbling, managed to steer me into the phone store.  An hour later, with some trepidation, I walked out with an iPhone in my hands.  And then, for the next 48 hours, all my anxieties and apprehensions began to come true.

Continue reading

The Piss-Off Factor (POF)

Sometimes, it’s the smallest sources of irritation that cause the greatest rash!  I’m talking metaphorically of course, because I’m referring to the workplace.  In fact, I even have a phrase to describe it – I call it the Piss-Off Factor, or POF for short.  It’s not necessarily a polite expression, but I hope you will excuse me using it, since it IS descriptive.  A POF is usually a small annoyance that left unchecked, expands and spreads, until it becomes a source of great frustration.  Let me give you a quick example – a new company rule says that employees are no longer permitted to park in the lot next to the warehouse; they must now park in the lot across the street.  No big deal — it’s just an extra 300 yards, right?  Wrong!  For some reason, it’s something as small as this that can get blown out of proportion if it’s not properly addressed, and the reasoning behind it explained.  And most times, it CAN be addressed and explained, if only you’d thought about it!

Leaders, here are two questions to ponder.

  1. What do you think your people grumble about the most when they are standing around the water cooler (of course, this is when you are not within listening distance)?
  2. What could you do now, today, to remove or reduce the source of their discontent?

What are the POFs in your workplace?  And what are you doing to reduce or remove them?  Alternatively, what’s getting in the way of removing the POFs.   Talk to me, I’m very interested!

Help us, and win a prize!

We need your help!  We’re developing the topics and content for our 2010 Leadership Skills Series Live audio conferences and in return for 5 minutes of your time, we’ll give you three chances to win!

Just complete this quick ‘n’ easy survey

In return for your time, we’ll enter your name in a draw for three chances to win one of my Leadership Skills audio programs, either in downloadable mp3 or CD format, a $197 value.  There are eight you can choose from, and you can preview them all here.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 PM MST Monday November 30, and we’ll announce the winner here as well as in December’s issue of Merge’s Monthly Mega Minute.  Do it now – in won’t take more than 5 minutes, we promise!  Click here to go to the survey.

If it’s fun, will people do it?

The hypothesis: if it’s fun, people will do it.

Experiment #1: most people know that it’s better for your health to climb the stairs rather than take the escalator or the elevator.  Yet only a few people actually follow that advice.  Is it possible to get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do.

Find out for yourself in this short video clip

Experiment #2: even though a rubbish bin may be in clear sight, many people still don’t throw their litter in the bin.  By making it fun to do, is there a way to get more people to throw their trash into the bin rather than onto the ground?

See the results here in this short video clip

Continue reading

A leadership lesson on how to concentrate

A few days ago, I was trying to develop some material for a new leadership program, but I found myself getting distracted frequently.  The phone, incoming email, competing demands and other people kept intruding, and several hours later, I was no further ahead than where I was when I first started.  Frustrated, I swung around in my office chair and looked over at the window.  And saw one of my cats!  For the next 15 minutes, I watched while she stalked a small flying insect with complete concentration.  Not even the prospect of play with her furry sister strayed her from her objective.  Nothing else existed except the prey she was hunting.  Minutes crawled by as she waited for that bug to creep out from under the curtain.  She was prepared, she was unswerving, and above all, she demonstrated intense focus.  She knew what her priority was, and she was relentless in devoting her energy to her quest.  As I contemplated returning to my work, I wondered what could give my cat such enduring single-mindedness, and I realized that I could learn a lesson from my loveable little lioness.  My four-legged friend was clear about her goal; she understood what might divert her and could not be persuaded; she applied all her energy to accomplishing her objective. Continue reading

Enter to win one of three great prizes!

Here at mergespeaks Inc., we’d like your assistance in planning our 2010 Leadership Skills Series Live audio conferences, AND we’re giving away PRIZES in return for your help!  It will take less than 5 minutes of your time!

Click here to complete the survey

For two years now, you, our clients, have helped make our quarterly learning series hugely popular, so in return for your help, we think it’s only fair that we give you three chances to win your choice of one of my Leadership Skills audio programs, either in downloadable mp3 or CD format, a $197 value. Eight to choose from, each one offers specific, practical and hands-on skills to become a better leader.  Whether it’s delegating the right way, overcoming negativity in the workplace, or having difficult conversations with employees, each one gets right to the heart of the issue and gives you what you need to know!  If you want to see what you’ll be making your prize selection from, click here.

We’ll take your responses until 11:59 PM MST Monday November 30, and then we’ll randomly draw for three winners.  We’ll announce the winners here on my blog, and also in December’s issue of Merge’s Monthly Mega Minute.

Do it now – click here – and thanks for your help!

The case for reducing jargon in the workplace

Cuniculus albus erat, qui gradu citato reveniens sollicite circumspectabat, quasi aliquid amisisset. Alicia eum sibi mussitantem audivit: “Ducissa! O Ducissa! Per meos pedes!”

Chances are you didn’t understand a word of this … unless you’re a student of Latin. (It is the beginning of the 4th chapter of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll.) You would never dream of speaking to business colleagues in a language they did not understand, but without realizing it, you might fall into jargon-laden conversations with your customers and co-workers.  As a professional and a leader, you have a responsibility to communicate clearly and effectively. So how do you overcome the lingo trap that is so easy to fall into? Read the entire article in the September/October 2009 issue of CGA Magazine here.