Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Celebrate meaningful milestones to add impetus to your change effort

Implementing change in an organization is never easy.  Let’s face it — even when the current situation is not ideal, people often prefer the comfort of what they know rather than face the discomfort of the unknown.  Which makes changing procedures or processes in your department difficult, even when your reasons for the change are sound.  In such situations, one way to add momentum to your change effort is to make sure that you identify and celebrate milestones along the way.  Continue reading

How to stay calm and composed even in the most trying situations

We’ve all had the experience of saying or doing something in the heat of the moment that we’ve regretted later. And in a professional environment, its consequences can carry serious negative repercussions to both career and business success.   Even one inappropriate emotional outburst can tarnish your reputation for years to come.  So it’s certainly worthwhile learning how to think clearly and stay focused under pressure.  In this latest issue of CGA Magazine, I offer three proven tactics to to stay composed, positive and unflappable. even in trying moments.

Keeping Your Cool Under Pressure

Give it a read and then come on back to the blog and add your tips to the list. I know we could all use the help!

Celebrate your accomplishments!

Today’s blog post is a brag moment!

Thirty days ago, unnoticed, a major milestone occurred in my leadership development practice.  In fact, I didn’t even realize it until it was mentioned to me by one of my staff members.  I wasn’t going to say anything about it to all of you, but it was pointed out to me by this very same staff member that I am constantly pushing and encouraging the leaders I work with to always celebrate their successes.  After all, we get so busy in our work lives that it’s not often that we stop and take the time to celebrate what we’ve accomplished.  And celebration of achievements is so important to both employee morale as well as future success.  Point well taken! Continue reading

What do your actions say about your character?

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832, German poet, novelist and philosopher


A client forwarded this quote and photo to me recently and not only do I agree wholeheartedly, but it reminded me of a blog I posted over two years ago titled How do you behave when others are not watching? In it, Mary Bale, a bank worker in Coventry UK, was cruel to a helpless cat and the incriminating behaviour was caught on video tape. This quote by von Goethe is saying almost the same thing. The true measure of one’s character is how you behave when those around you have less power than you. I have seen far too many people in the workplace who behave one way (better) in front of their superiors and conduct themselves differently (poorly) in front of their peers and subordinates. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: these people are not leaders. Good leaders treat ALL people with respect and professionalism, no matter what their relative status in the organization.

What have you seen, good or bad, that echoes this principle? Please share.

Leadership lessons from a mountain

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit Denali National Park in Alaska and get up-close-and-personal with Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America.  Now, spectacular mountains are nothing new to me; after all I make my home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada which is nestled in the foot of the Canadian Rockies.  But Mt. McKinley was unique not only in its height, but also because of the way it stands out amongst the other topography around it.  And given that Mt. McKinley’s peak is shrouded in cloud at least two-thirds of the time, we were especially fortunate to visit on a day when the skies were clear and the view fantastic.

Continue reading

Professional paradise: oxymoron or business imperative?

Vicki Hess is not only my professional colleague, but also a good friend.  She’s an employee engagement expert and I was thrilled when she agreed to guest on the Turning Managers Into Leaders blog because I know that her expertise will be of great value to many of you.

Professional Paradise. A lot of leaders I talk to say it must be an oxymoron. But even those who readily believe it is in fact possible to achieve a constant state of “paradise” or “bliss” at work might think that finding or creating Professional Paradise in today’s climate of rapid change is ludicrous. In fact, in today’s business and economic climate, helping employees find their own Professional Paradise is no longer an option for leaders – it’s a requirement.   So what is Professional Paradise?

When you’re in Professional Paradise you are satisfied, energized and productive. You work to your strengths, routinely perform at your peak and produce positive results. Your interactions with coworkers and customers are helpful and productive. In other words, you are engaged at work.  Perhaps you’re thinking that Professional Paradise comes from working for a particular organization or having a certain job. This is most definitely not true. Professional Paradise is a state of being – a state of mind backed up with intentional action. As a leader, you have the ability to create an environment where staff members can connect to this state of mind. Employees want to be the CPO – Chief Paradise Officer – of their job and need your help to get there.  So you may be asking, “If paradise is a personal matter, what can I do as a leader?” Here are five powerful recommendations for leaders who want to provide their staff the tools to get to and stay in Professional Paradise. They aren’t complex and you may already be doing a few of them. The key to success is consistency and execution. Continue reading

Leading the change-resistant worker – live audio event on September 19

When it comes to workplace change, some employees come on board pretty quickly, but alas just as many seem to dig in their heels and hold on with a tight grip on the past. One of your most important roles as a leader is to be an agent of change; yet your success will be limited if you can’t get all your employees on the same page and moving forward.

If you find yourself dealing with employees who are resistant, apathetic, negative and distrustful of anything new, then I can help! Join me for just one fast-paced and content-rich hour in which you’ll not only learn not only why these negative personalities behave the way they do, but perhaps more importantly, specific and practical tactics that you can use to help them rise to new challenges, to get them to progress onward to the brave new world of opportunities.

Click here to register now

Don’t wait! In “The Reluctant Employee – How to lead, train, and motivate the change-resistant worker”, I’ll teach you not only why these employees behave the way they do, but also specific and practical tactics that you can use to help them rise to the challenge and get them to move forward. And if you act by September 12, you can take advantage of early bird savings.

Here’s just some of what you’ll learn:

  • The differences between passive, active and aggressive resistance, and how to adapt your approach to each
  • Eight specific and proven actions you can take to lead and motivate the change-resistant employee
  • Three different degrees of change and how they influence the level of resistance you are likely to face from your employees
  • The well-known change response model and its insights into why and how people react negatively to change
  • How your organizational culture impacts the success of your change efforts

Join me on September 19, 2012 at 11 AM MDT. Early bird pricing in effect ONLY until this upcoming Wednesday September 12!

Click here to register, or for more information

Getting the best from your interns

Many organizations hire interns, young university or college students eager to take on a job in their area of study so that they can build up their work experience and resumes. It should be a win-win, because the organization gets a budget-friendly way to not only get some work done, but also try out new talent. But if recent conversations I’ve had are any indication, these so-called “win-win” internships don’t always go as well as either party had hoped. The companies discover that training interns is more time-consuming than they realized and not all these young people were as motivated as they’d expected. The interns feel that they just get asked to do work that no one else wants to do and so leave feeling unchallenged and unfulfilled.

This subject has come up often enough in conversations lately that I thought it would be worthwhile to lay out some specific tips on how to make the intern experience much more positive for all concerned. Here is my list of must-do’s.

  1. Create a specific job description that includes not only the no-one-else-wants-to-do-them tasks, but also responsibilities that will help your intern learn about your industry and expand their skill sets. A specific job description lets your intern know up-front that the job will be a balance of fun stuff and not-so-fun stuff!
  2. Make a list of training goals for the period that the intern will be with you. It doesn’t have to be long, but it not only establishes the expectations you have for the employee, but also shows them that you’re willing to invest in him or her.
  3. Keep an eye on your interns. Don’t forget that they’re young and inexperienced which means that they may veer off course without even knowing it. Step in to help as soon as you think they’re going in the wrong direction. Be sure to explain “why” – i.e. “I just want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your internship experience.”
  4. Remember that your interns want to learn and build up their work experience, so motivate them by doing exactly that. Give them opportunities to learn, assign them to projects that will look great on their resumes, and offer them face time with company leaders.
  5. When all is said and done, if they’ve done good work, write them great letters of recommendation, or even better, offer them a job in your company upon graduation.

What do you have to add to this list? Jump in please with your experiences and insights, as a leader in a company, or as an intern.