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Welcome to Merge's Monthly Mega Minute – a bite-sized, yet substantial and practical, nugget of information that you can use immediately to enhance your professional and personal success.

Man only truly respects what he pays for. True or false?

You have likely heard of (and perhaps even used) the Michelin Red Guide, the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide, which awards Michelin stars for excellence to only a select few esablishments. Restaurants in Europe vie to get one, two or even three Michelin stars, as it can have a dramatic effect on the success of their business. You may not however know that this now world-famous guide started life as a mere marketing ploy. In 1900, when there were less than 3,000 cars in France, brothers André and Édouard Michelin published the first edition of the guide for French motorists as a way to boost people's interest in cars. You see, the two brothers owned a tire manufacturing company, and they hoped that by getting people to drive more and thus buy more cars, it would also increase the demand for tires. The very first Michelin Guide contained a variety of useful information for motorists, including maps, instructions for repairing and changing tires, and lists of car mechanics, hotels and petrol stations. During the last century, the Guide slowly morphed into what is so well-known and recognized today. Interesting fact: when the guide was first published, the brothers had nearly 35,000 copies printed, and gave them away free of charge. This continued (with a short gap during World War I) until 1920, when the story goes that André Michelin was visiting a tire merchant and noticed that copies of the book were being used to prop up a workbench. He immediately made the decision to start charging for the guide. He is said to have declared that "Man only truly respects what he pays for".

I think that in some aspects, he's absolutely right. In my leadership consulting practice, when I offer advice and recommendations to my clients, they usually act on them. After all, they're paying for my expertise. But when I offer similar (and free) advice in casual conversations to relatives or personal friends, more often than not, they are discounted or even occasionally ignored. However, I could just as easily make the case for the opposite. I blog twice a week, offering "free" suggestions and insights on different aspects of leadership and workplace communication. Does that mean I am less respected in this arena, or does it increase my worth in the eyes of others? Are my actions increasing or decreasing my value proposition in the eyes of my clients and other stakeholders?

So I'm interested to know about your experiences? Do you see something similar with the product or services you provide to your customers? What is your value in the eyes of your external and/or internal clients? Do "freebies" increase your market share, or do they dilute the value of what you have to offer? I would love to hear about your thoughts about what increases and decreases your value proposition, both in the work environment, and also even at a personal level. Please add your comment online at my blog at: www.turningmanagersintoleaders.com/blog.


Do you want to know what it takes to create TRULY engaged employees?

My colleagues at The Globe & Mail are sponsoring a very cool project — a Canada-wide survey that is investigating what companies are doing to foster a working environment that creates engaged AND healthy employees. And "healthy" is not just physical health, but also mental, work and life health. Why? Because past research has shown that highly-engaged employees are not always healthy, which means that their productivity is only short-term. A highly-engaged staff member who works long, demanding hours but doesn’t know how to cope or take care of his health is someone whose productivity will only last until he burns out! Find out more about this project and how you can participate at: http://www.turningmanagersintoleaders.com/want-engaged-employees-need-healthy-four-areas/


Turning Managers into Leaders


That Merge has special "toolkits" designed to fit your specific leadership challenges?

No matter whether you're new to your leadership role, or dealing with ongoing employee problems; trying to manage poor communication or focusing on achieving higher performance; Merge likely has a solution for you. Her leadership skills series of audio programs offer step-by-step, how-to specifics to deal with just about any responsibility or situation you face on any given day on the job. Each one of these programs contains practical, concrete and realistic advice, available when you need it, with step-by-step details and relevant examples so that you can make the necessary changes right away. Visit our Toolkit section in our Leadership Store to learn more.

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