Merge's Blog

Category Archives: Leadership Tools

Leadership training programs in Alberta – get your 2018 professional development points before you run out of time!

CPAFor the fourth year in a row, I am so pleased to be partnering with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta) to deliver high-quality cost-effective leadership training in a series of ten “public” programs until March 2019.  The first two sessions happened in October, but I now have three more events coming up in December in Edmonton and Calgary.  If you belong to a professional association that requires you to complete a specified number of professional development credits annually, then these one-day programs will most definitely qualify (and may be one of your last chances to get your 2018 requirement met).

You don’t have to be a member of CPA Alberta to attend

Even if you aren’t a member of the CPA Alberta, these are “public” programs which means that they are open 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 a light lunch, and the fact that we get to spend the day together … how could life get any better?

Here are the dates!

Edmonton:

Calgary:

Click on any program link above for further information or to register directly at the CPA Alberta site. You will need to create a secure account on their system in order to register; it’s a quick and easy process.

Let me know if you register for any of these events. That way I know to watch for you there!

Leadership lessons from ants!

As regular readers of the blog know, I am continually inspired by the lessons in leadership that come to us from the animal kingdom.  In the past, I’ve written about bald eagles, sea otters, goldfish, and penguins, among many others.  Today’s leadership lessons come to us from ants!

Ants don’t admit defeat

Have you ever watched an ant carry what appears to be a gargantuan load?  Science indicates that ants can actually carry ten to fifteen times their body weight.  And they do – repeatedly – in order to provide for themselves and their nestmates.  Which got me thinking … if ants aren’t daunted by the sheer magnitude of what they sometimes have to carry, is there a lesson there for us as leaders?

In the workplace, we are often faced with what seem to be insurmountable obstacles in our leadership roles – looming deadlines, challenging employees, missed opportunities, apparently unattainable targets – which could, if we let them, cause us to give up and admit defeat.  Continue reading

Maximize introvert power by tapping into their strengths

Extroversion versus introversion.  Despite numerous studies and anecdotal situations that show otherwise, people still continue to assume that somehow extroverts are more successful in the workplace than introverts.  As I have blogged about in the past, that is simply not true.  Introvert power comes from tapping into what makes introverts different from extroverts, and not by taking on more extrovert traits.  In fact, in the past I have blogged about how introverts lead, and how introverts network.

Which is why I was delighted when my professional colleague Dave Byrnes agreed to guest on the blog today.  Dave is known as The Introverted Networker, and not surprisingly, he helps introverts use sales and networking to succeed in their business and careers.  Today he writes about how leaders (extroverts or introverts) can help their introverted employees maximize their introvert power and productivity.

Convert Your Introverts for Greater Productivity

There has been a lot of press about the power of introverts and their differences from extroverts in recent times. While better understanding is great as a leader, you may be asking yourself how this affects the bottom line.

How can you turn these insights into increased productivity from your introverts and improve job satisfaction so they stick around longer? Continue reading

Five ways to make flexible working work

The proliferation of flexible work continues.  Whether the flexibility is related to hours (such as flexi-time, compressed weeks, or part-time work) or workstyles (telecommuting, flexible workspaces, or job sharing), it is something that more employees want.  Flexible working arrangements are viewed as attractive because they represent freedom – to be productive, stay motivated, and save time.

All of which also benefits employers, but not every organization has come around to appreciating the advantages.  Ironically, if your organization isn’t open to the idea of flexible work, you are putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting, hiring and keeping the best and the brightest.  Which means it’s worth your while to at least explore the possibility. In my latest column in The Globe and Mail, I offer five must-dos to help you make flexible working a reasonable alternative in your organization.

Five ways to make “flexible working” actually work

Flexible working

If you get the print edition of The Globe, you’ll find today’s column on page B12.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2RjIGoI

So I’d love to hear about your experiences with flexible working.  Is it an option that is offered in your organization?  Is it working well?  What are some of the challenges?  What do your employees think about it?  Please add your thoughts below.

We’re back! Another series of “public” leadership training programs in Alberta

CPAI am so pleased to announce that for the fourth year, we are 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.  Many of you who follow the blog already know that 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!

Starting later this month, and until March of next year, I am delivering ten 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 a light 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!

I have two programs coming up at the end of this month in Edmonton:

And then, here are the remaining eight programs scheduled until March 2019. Continue reading

The sorites paradox – a leadership dilemma

The sorites paradox: if individual grains of sand are removed one at a time from a hypothetical heap of sand, what is the point at which the heap can no longer be considered a heap?  At first glance, you may think that this is merely a philosophical question, but the metaphor has great applicability if you carry it into the workplace.  Consider this: if minor seemingly harmless problems or changes go unnoticed and do not individually attract attention, is there a possibility that eventually the sum total of these issues over time will result in a major setback?  And what if the significant outcome is one that, if it would have happened all at once, would have been regarded as negative, undesirable or objectionable?

In the workplace, the sorites paradox is often referred to by a variety of synonyms – creeping normality, the broken window theory, the boiling frog syndrome, and even death by a thousand cuts.  But no matter what you call the phenomenon, all versions lead to a Continue reading

Radio interview – preventing the boomer brain drain

boomer brain drainBracing for the boomer brain drain was the title of my regular column for The Globe and Mail that published on August 6.  In it, I outlined five strategies to retain crucial institutional knowledge (and prevent corporate amnesia).

It got a fair amount of interest and positive feedback, including a call from the folks at the More than Money radio show on 770 Newstalk CHQR.  Dave Popowich and Faisal Karmali host this weekly radio program that focuses on planning for retirement, lifestyle and everything in between.  They were interested in advice I could offer on how people contemplating retirement could pass on their knowledge before departing their organizations.

Transferring knowledge wealth at retirement

Here is the link to my segment in the podcast of their show on August 18; the entire segment lasts about 10 minutes.

https://omny.fm/shows/more-than-money/mtm-aug-17-seg-4

What advice do you have to offer to add to what I shared on the show?  Are you contemplating retirement and find yourself in a similar situation?  Or have you experienced a situation where this “ boomer brain drain” was not recognized, and key people left the organization with critical information about processes and relationships?  Please share your perspectives by adding a comment below.

Periods of vulnerability can present both threats and opportunities

vulnerabilityRecently I had a conversation with a scientist friend who told me how biologists use information about animal life cycles to accomplish diametrically opposite objectives – in some cases to purge populations, and in others to conserve them.  The secret: determining in which stage of its life cycle is the animal most vulnerable.  And it’s at these points of vulnerability that either the worst or the best is the easiest to accomplish.  It is when the animals are at greatest risk that it takes the least effort to destroy them, or conversely, to protect them.  He gave me two examples to illustrate his point.

The Bertha armyworm

The Bertha armyworm is a significant insect pest of canola in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the interior of British Columbia.  Like many insects, it goes through a four stage life cycle – egg, larva, pupa and finally, the adult moth stage.  However, their vulnerability is greatest at the larval stage.  As eggs, they are not susceptible to pesticides; as pupae, they are buried in the ground and therefore well protected; as adults, they are widely dispersed and therefore difficult to control.  Because scientists know that the insect’s defences are the weakest when at the larval stage, substantial and successful control efforts are targeted at this point in the life cycle.  Continue reading

Bracing for the boomer brain drain

As the last of the Boomers move through their 50’s and beyond, those who elect to take early retirement often take decades of tacit knowledge with them.  This boomer brain drain – the loss of undocumented, intuitive experiential information about people, business processes and informal procedures can leave huge gaps in an organization’s cumulative intelligence.

The boomer brain drain can cripple your company

This corporate amnesia can cripple a company, so if you’re a leader, it’s up to you to actively identify and work to mitigate this possibility.  And the time to do it is now, well in advance, and not just in the months and weeks before a key employee is due to leave.  In my latest column for The Globe and Mail, I offer five strategies to brace for the boomer brain drain, and retain crucial institutional knowledge.

Bracing for the boomer brain drain

Bracing for the boomer brain drain

Continue reading

Great service recovery from the Delta Burnaby!

When it comes to keeping your customers and clients happy, things don’t always go according to plan.  Stuff happens … deliveries are delayed, products don’t work exactly as intended, and your service falls short in one or more areas.  So, no matter how hard you try, the unfortunate truth is that things will go wrong!  Which is why I’ve always said that it’s not bad customer service that makes or breaks an organization, it’s the quality (or lack) of thdeltacardeir service recovery that makes the difference.  It’s how your staff react and respond to a customer’s problem or complaint that will decide whether you now have a disgruntled customer (who will likely tell many more via social media) or a raving enthusiastic fan.  I have blogged in the pdeltafruitplateast about how some companies don’t understand this fundamental reality of service recovery, most recently when writing about the Royal Bank.

But in today’s blog post, I want to go in the other direction – I want to tell you about an organization, and more specifically, one of their employees, who gets it!   Samantha Scott is the Guest Services Manager at the Delta Hotel in Burnaby BC, my hotel of choice when I work in the Vancouver area.  And something happened last week that reinforced why I choose to stay at this hotel, again and over again.

Is there a gym above me?

At about 9 PM on Tuesday night, an endless racket began in the room above me.  It sounded like my room was placed directly beneath a gym – I could hear furniture moving, what I thought were weights being dropped, and what seemed like an endless skipping rope, thumping against the floor.  Eventually, shortly after 10 PM, I called the front desk, and Samantha answered the phone. Continue reading