Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: April 2014

In defense of Millennials …

My latest column in The Globe & Mail‘s Leadership Lab series is live on the worldwide web this morning!

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As most of you know, my last column caused quite the commotion!! In just the first two days, Four things millennials hate about you had over 50,000 hits and over 6,000 direct shares, and since then readership has continued to climb.   So … given the intense interest this subject generated last time, I decided to take another look at the same topic but from a slightly different viewpoint.

Stop griping and start appreciating millennials

is all about why we should focus on the strengths that this young generation brings to the workplace, rather than on their weaknesses. And quite frankly, all the things that irritate us most about the millennial generation were enabled by the rest of us, baby boomers and Generation-Xers, in the workplace. In other words, we created the monster that now frustrates so many of us!

So please, take a quick read through today’s column. It will take you only a few minutes, and I know that it will offer you a perspective you might never have previously considered. It will be relevant, and definitely thought-provoking! And please … pass the link along to your staff and colleagues. I’m willing to bet that they’ll each have an opinion! At minimum, it will get the conversation going. Feel free to add your thoughts to the Globe’s website (since they have a lot more readers, the dialogue is broader), or come on back to the blog to comment.  If you wish, you can also send me a tweet at @mergespeaks.

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Here is a direct link to the article in case you need to cut and paste it elsewhere: http://tgam.ca/EBsH

How to persuade and influence senior management

CFMD_OctNov2013As your skills as an exceptional leader and communicator grow, your level of interaction with your organization’s senior management will increase as well.  You’ll find yourself in situations where your ability to persuade and influence others will stand you in good stead.  For continued success, it’s important to realize that how and what you communicate needs to adapt to fit differing audiences.  Specifically, you need to adjust your message and method of delivery so that it’s relevant and meaningful for an audience of senior managers.  And this is exactly the subject of an article I was recently invited to write for the Canadian Facility Management and Design Magazine.

Selling to Senior Executives was penned as part of the magazine’s regular Management Memo column, and in it, I offer four suggestions to significantly increase the likelihood that a facility manager’s message is heard, respected and acted upon.  Continue reading

To motivate employees, tell them why!

WhyI am often asked about zero-cost or inexpensive ways to motivate employees, so periodically, I offer up ideas here on my blog.  In the past, I’ve written about how saying thank you, offering flexible working hours to employees, and thanking an employee’s spouse and family are all powerful ways to create a positive working atmosphere that fosters high productivity and performance.  Today’s idea: just as simple, yet equally powerful – tell people why! 

This may sound really obvious, but it often gets missed.  I repeatedly see managers and supervisors issuing edicts to staff without telling them “why”.  Let’s face it, you didn’t buy “because I said so” when you were three years old, so why should you as an adult?  Employees appreciate understanding the reasons behind decisions, and perhaps more importantly, it’s hugely motivating … in two ways.  First, when you take the time to explain the reasoning behind a decision, it demonstrates that you respect your staff’s intelligence and abilities.  Second, a dialogue about “why” inevitably involves your employee and thus creates greater commitment to the action and subsequent results.

Now most managers don’t withhold this information deliberately; it’s just that it takes time to do so, and everybody is busy.  In the moment, it seems far easier to just tell people what to do, right?  Wrong.  Take the time to tell people why, and you’ll find that you’ll achieve your intended outcome quicker and more easily than if you just issue orders.

Well, what do you think?  What gets in the way of telling employees why?  Is it a shortage of time, as I believe, or is it something else?

Breaking bad communication habits – early bird deadline on April 23

The word DIsconnect on metal chain links pulling apart to symbolOur latest online event – Stop the self-sabotage!  Breaking bad communication habits that are hampering your success – is coming up quickly.  In fact, the early bird deadline to register is almost here – only two more days to take advantage of significant savings – just until Wednesday April 23.

If you can’t communicate clearly and confidently, then you are seriously compromising your success as a leader and a professional!  Your inability to convey your message with clarity means that those around you are left confused and frustrated, ultimately resulting in wasted resources and damaged relationships.  Even if you consider yourself a good communicator, the odds are still high that you’re committing a few of the cardinal sins of communication without even realizing it.  Which means that all your efforts to create positive change are thwarted by existing bad habits that you simply don’t know you need to get rid of first.  It’s time to break the cycle!  This powerful training doesn’t just tell you what you SHOULD do to become more effective in what you say and the results it produces, it focuses first on what you should STOP doing so that you don’t inadvertently sabotage your efforts.  In one fast-paced, power-packed hour, you’ll learn how to recognize and eliminate the most common blunders you’re making, turning you into a better communicator and improving your leadership effectiveness almost immediately.

Click here to register now

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

Dealing with dysfunctional workplace behavior

CPA_Mag_Apr2014In the newest issue of CPA Magazine*, writer Deanne Gage pens an interesting article on anti-patterns – undesirable and dysfunctional workplace behavior that manifests over and over again – and she sought out Merge’s expertise for advice on how to overcome several common situations.  For strategies to deal with cookie lickers, mushroom managers, credit grabbers, and hammerheads (or if you just even want to know what these terms mean!), read the article: Continue reading

Millennials in the workplace – more radio interviews

radioMy latest column in The Globe & Mail‘s Leadership Lab series, “Four things millennials hate about you“, continues to get a lot of interest.  Total views have exceeded 60,000 and direct “shares” have climbed above 6,000.  And the topic has become one that has captured the attention of several radio stations.  In addition to the interview I did with Gary Doyle, popular talk show host at 570 News Radio in Kitchener/Waterloo, I’ve now also been John Moore’s guest on Moore in the Morning on 1010 Newstalk Toronto, and on Talk to the Hand with Ed Hand on 1310 News Ottawa.  Two more interviews that have been taped but not aired yet are with Chris dela Torre on CBC Radio’s Alberta Morning and with Paul Ladd at WBC in Nashville TN.  The link below will take you to the archive page for these interviews, and we’ll add more as they air.

Radio interviews about “Four things millennials hate about you”

I must say that I am thrilled about the interest this topic has generated.  It means that people are talking to one another; and more dialogue means that there is a desire to better understand the differences between generations, which is a good thing!!

Please … share your experiences about leading and working in multi-generational workplaces.  We have so much that we can learn from each other.

Breaking bad communication habits – live online event on April 30

Unsuccessful Businessman Using A MegaphoneThere aren’t many things you can do that will hurt your professional and leadership success more than being an ineffective communicator. Bad communication habits prevent you from conveying your message with clarity and that means that those around you are left confused and frustrated, ultimately resulting in wasted resources and damaged relationships.  Even if you consider yourself a good communicator, the odds are still high that you’re committing a few of the cardinal sins of communication without even realizing it.  Which means that all your efforts to create positive change are thwarted by existing bad habits that you simply don’t know you need to get rid of first.  It’s time to break the cycle!

On April 30, I’ll be leading a live online event “Stop the self-sabotage!  Breaking communication habits that are hampering your success”.  In this powerful training, I’ll teach you what you SHOULD do to become more effective in what you say BUT I’ll focus first on what you should STOP doing so that you don’t inadvertently sabotage your efforts.  In one fast-paced, power-packed hour, you’ll learn how to recognize and eliminate the most common blunders you’re making, turning you into a better communicator and improving your leadership effectiveness almost immediately.

Click here to register now

Don’t wait! If you act by April 23, you can take advantage of early bird savings. Here’s just some of what you’ll learn: Continue reading

Is persistence and tenacity always a good thing?

Persistence and tenacity in action …

SpiderWebEvery morning as the sun rose, the spider that lived in the large azalea bush on the side of the garden path began the intricate and painstaking task of spinning a web. First he produced a fine thread to drift on a faint breeze across the narrow path towards the other side. When the thread caught on a leaf of the rhododendron bush on the opposite edge of the pathway, the spider felt the change in vibration and reeled it in to tighten the strand. Then he carefully walked along it and strengthened it with a second filament, and a third, and a fourth, and several more, until the thread was strong enough to support the rest of the web. Next he made the Y-shaped netting to create the first three radials and continued to add more radials and cross threads until the web was about 20 times his size. The result: something that was not only beautiful but also a means of survival (that’s how spiders catch their prey). But there was one major problem with this particular web – the spider was building it directly on the garden path, spanning from one side of the path to the other. So every time someone walked down that path, which was at least twice a day, the web was broken.

Yet as I watched, for eight days in a row, every morning, as the sun rose, the spider began, once again, the intricate and painstaking task of spinning a web. Continue reading

Millennials in the workplace – 570 News radio interview

On Monday, I posted a link to my latest column in The Globe & Mail‘s Leadership Lab series. Provocatively titled “Four things millennials hate about you“, it addressed the fact that just as Boomers and Gen Xers shake their heads at the attitudes and actions of Millennials, so do Millennials question and ponder about some of the things company veterans say and do. Well to say that it got a reaction would be a gross understatement. When all was said and done, the article garnered over 50,000 views with over 4,000 direct “shares” in social media. Many of the comments were positive, as the points I made resonated with readers across the country, but there were negative comments as well, most annoyed because they felt that the article perpetuated stereotypes.

570NewsThe viral storm caught the eye of Gary Doyle, popular talk show host at 570 News Radio in Kitchener/Waterloo and he invited me to be his guest on his show yesterday morning. Here is a link to an archived version of my conversation with him. It’s just over 13 minutes long so you probably want to get another cup of coffee first; but if you are leading (or work in) a multi-generational workplace, then I think you’ll get value from listening in. Continue reading