Merge's Blog

Yearly Archives: 2017

Workplace change will shift priorities, so address it as a team

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a video blog about how leaders can successfully support and implement workplace change.  Three weeks ago, to be exact (Use peer pressure as a positive force in change management).  But this series has been so popular that I’m not done yet.  In addition to today, I’ll do at least one more tip before I finish up this series on effective strategies for leaders who are spearheading workplace change.  Today’s tip: Re-prioritize as a team.

Re-prioritize as a team

When workplace change occurs, by necessity, priorities will shift as well.  If you’re putting in new or different procedures or processes, then recognize that these require effort and time, and your staff members simply cannot do everything the group did before.  Involve your team in determining what can drop off the list, even if it is just temporarily.  Ask your team, as a group, to rank order all their current work deliverables and focus on those that they and you consider mission-critical.  Non-essential work can them be prioritized separately based on its relative importance and your available resources.

Do not fall into the trap of going it alone

It’s important that you do this re-prioritization as a group, because that’s how you’ll achieve buy-in to the outcomes.  You will recall that Strategy #1 was to involve your employees early on in the change process.  This is simply a continuation of that philosophy.  Continue reading

Customer Service Leadership Summit – early bird rates only until Wednesday!

I am thrilled to be sharing the mainstage platform with three exceptional thought-leaders at the Customer Service Leadership Summit in Calgary on November 15.  If you receive my regular monthly Mega Minute, then you already know about this premier event, already tracking to be a sellout.

Customer Service Leadership Summit

Act now for early bird pricing!

I will be joining my professional colleagues – customer service strategist Jeff Mowatt, cross-cultural communication expert Tina Varughese, and best-selling author Mike Kerr – to share smart practices and fresh ideas to not just attract new customers, but also turn current customers into raving fans.  Plus, there will be a bonus super-session titled “Selling the Invisible: Growing your business when your ‘product’ is actually a service”, presented by a panel of industry experts, people just like you who’ve figured this out.

If this is something you know you need, then you must act now to take advantage of early bird pricing.  If you want to save 40% off standard rates, you have to act before midnight this Wednesday October 18.  On Thursday you’ll be paying more!  More details and online registration is on the Customer Service Leadership Summit website. Continue reading

What the earth sciences can teach us about creating a positive workplace culture

As regular readers of the blog know, I often discuss what it takes to create the right workplace culture.  A recent conversation with a manager at a client organization made me realize something that I (even though I instinctively know) have never fully articulated before – that the most powerful and positive workplace cultures are created over time.  Let me explain.

colcacanyonperuColca Canyon in southern Peru is one of the deepest in the world, and at a depth of 3,270 metres (10,730 ft), it is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States.  Looking at it from above, you might think that this colossal fissure on the earth’s surface was created by an earthquake or other cataclysmic event.  It wasn’t.  The Colca Canyon was formed by thousands and thousands of years of erosion of volcanic rock along the line of a fault on the crust of the earth.  Unceasing erosion – water erosion from the Colca River that flows through the mountains of rock; and wind erosion carrying away the loose sediment exposing even more surface area to the elements – created the spectacular geological formation we see today.  The Colca Canyon wasn’t the result of sudden dramatic change, it is the outcome of thousands of small changes, over time.

Small changes, over time, produce significant results

Small changes, over time, can produce significant results; it’s a thought worth considering as a leader in your workplace.  Continue reading

Leadership training events this month in Edmonton

CPALast month, I was excited to announce that for the third year in a row, I am partnering with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta) to deliver high-quality cost-effective leadership skills training in a series of “public” programs.  What is special about these programs is that they are open to ANYONE from ANY organization.  As many of you already know, most of my leadership training events are for specific client organizations, which means that only their employees can attend.  With this partnership with CPA Alberta though, even if you work in a smaller organization that doesn’t have the budget to conduct an onsite leadership training program, you now have a cost-effective way to invest in yourself and your leaders’ competency and skill development!

The first two events in this six-month series are coming up at the end of the month in Edmonton.  So if you live in or near Edmonton AB, don’t miss this opportunity to invest in yourself and your leaders’ competency and skill development at a very reasonable cost, and a fraction of what it can cost through some commercial vendors.

Remember, this leadership training is open enrollment!

Again … you DO NOT have to be a member of CPA Alberta to register.  And if you are a member of a profession that requires continuing education credits, this is a fun, informative and relatively inexpensive way to meet your annual professional requirements.  Continue reading

Five ways to build a kick-ass personal brand

kick-ass personal brandYour personal brand is how others see you. If you want to grow your business, obtain a better job, get noticed by your peers, take your career to the next level, or meet high-quality professional colleagues, the impression others have of you will have a huge impact on your success.  But how do you build your “best” personal brand?  How do you build a brand that “kicks ass”?  And just what does “kick-ass branding” mean?

What does it take to build a kick-ass personal brand?

This is exactly the topic of my latest column for Canadian Accountant titled Five ways for CPAs to build a kick-ass personal brand.  In it, I offer five steps that anyone can take to positively influence how they are perceived by others.  Not an accountant?  Doesn’t matter – the five kick-ass tips I give here apply to anyone who is looking to take their career or business to new heights!

kick-ass personal brand

 

As you can see, authenticity is ultimately at the root of building a kick-ass personal brand.  As far as I am concerned, everything grows from the foundation of genuineness and truth.  But what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  This is what has worked for me, but I’d love to hear what you’re doing to build your personal brand.  Share your thoughts here or on the Canadian Accountant website.

Is your customer service helping you laugh all the way to the bank?

MikeKerr1Later this year in November, I will be sharing the mainstage platform with my professional colleague, friend and all-round funny guy Michael Kerr at the Customer Service Leadership Summit in Calgary.  Which is why I am thrilled that he agreed to guest on the blog again today.  Well that, and of course, because his messages are always so on-point.  Last time Mike was my guest on the blog, he wrote about the Seven messages leaders need to deliver to their customer service team.  Today, he poses the question:

Is Your Customer Service Helping You Laugh All the Way to the Bank?

One way to exceed your customers’ expectations and stand out from the herd to be heard over your competition is to look for creative ways to add a bit of fun to your customer service. Here are just a few ideas from my latest book, The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank, to help you get your creative juices flowing: Continue reading

Use peer pressure as a positive force in change management

Two weeks ago, I gave you change management strategy #12: Use your early adopters to build momentum.  This series has received a lot of positive feedback so I have decided to continue it for the next few weeks, so here today is change management tip #13: Use peer pressure to your advantage.

Use peer pressure to your advantage

When I talked previously about using your early adopters to build momentum, I explained what early adopters are: people who are not only on board the change bus, but already moving the bus forward.  These early adopters can often serve another useful purpose in change management – they can also unintentionally create peer pressure, a fact that you can use to the benefit of your change management initiative.

The reality is, whether you like it or not, messages from co-workers and peers are perceived differently by your employees than messages from you, their supervisor or manager.  You may be the nicest and most communicative person in the world, but because of your job title, because there is a reporting relationship between you and your employees, anything you say is received with a filter.  Good or bad, the message is always distorted by this filter called “you’re the boss”.   Continue reading

A Moratorium on Office E-mail?

Imagine a world in which you don’t receive any work-related e-mail except during working hours. That’s right: no beeps, bells or buzzes on your smartphone announcing the arrival of e-mail either overnight or during the weekend. None, nothing, nil, nada.

A moratorium on office e-mail?This is exactly the subject of my latest column in The Globe & Mail‘s weekend Management series which was published over the weekend. It’s titled Should Canadian businesses consider a moratorium on e-mail?, and the topic is well … self-explanatory.  In it, I outline how the Germans approach e-mail (and work-life balance in general), and pose the provocative question as to what would happen if Canadian companies adopted a similar attitude.

A favour please?

As always, I have a big favour to ask of you. Once you’ve read it, please forward a link on to others in your departments and organizations who may find it of interest.  You can do directly from The Globe‘s site using their easy links, or you can forward it here from the blog.  Continue reading

Announcing another season of “public” leadership training events in Edmonton and Calgary

CPAFor the third year in a row, I am very excited to announce our partnership with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta), delivering high-quality cost-effective leadership skills training in a series of “public” programs.  Most of my leadership training programs are for specific client organizations, which means that only their employees can attend.  However, these “public” leadership training programs are open to ANYONE from ANY organization.  Which means that if you work in a smaller organization that doesn’t have the budget to conduct an onsite leadership training program, this is your chance to invest in yourself and your leaders’ competency and skill development!

Anyone from any organization can attend these sessions!

Over the next six months, I am delivering eight full-day leadership and workplace communication programs in Edmonton and Calgary. These programs are available to anyone from any organization … you DO NOT have to be a member of CPA Alberta to register. These one-day sessions are very reasonably priced at a fraction of what it can cost through some commercial vendors, and if you register early, you can get even more savings.  Add in a continental breakfast and lunch, and the fact that you get to hang out with me for the day … how could life get any better?  🙂

Here are the dates!

Here is the list of the programs from now until the end of March 2018. Continue reading

When things are out of control, are they really?

controlSome things are entirely and wholly out of my control.  Severe weather, for example.  I cannot effect change in the weather.  Whether it’s a sweltering heatwave, a blinding snowstorm, or a stormy hurricane, I can’t make the weather calamity go away, no matter how hard I try.

But, on the other hand, there are plenty of things I can do to control how I react and respond to harsh weather.  I can seek out a cooler environment (inside an air-conditioned shopping mall for example), delay my road-trip to future date to avoid wintry driving conditions, or gather essential documents and supplies as I evacuate to safer ground.  Instead of complaining about the effects of severe weather, I can choose to take thoughtful actions to avoid, or at least, mitigate the damage.

Just because we can’t control the situation doesn’t mean we can’t influence the outcome

There are a myriad of events in our lives that are outside our sphere of control.  But that doesn’t mean that we can’t influence the final outcome.  Continue reading