Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: December 2009

Televison memories from 17 years ago!

As the holiday season kicks into a flurry of parties and time away from the office, I am taking a short hiatus from the Turning Managers into Leaders blog.  But fret not, I’ll be back, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, on January 7.

In the meantime, just for fun, watch this video showing some of the television commercials that aired in December 1992, seventeen years ago!  If you’re in my age bracket, you’ll actually remember some of these, perhaps with some nostalgia.  If you’re younger than me, then at least you’ll get a laugh!  My two favourites – the Coca-Cola Santa Claus at 3:16 because it made me reminisce, and the McCain Crinkle Fries “Cassette Offer” at 3:46, because who still has a cassette player? 😀

Until we meet again in 2010, I wish each of you an absolutely delightful and entertaining holiday season, and my very best wishes for great success in the new year!

Strategies to deal with workplace negativity

Negative people … they’re in every workplace. You know who they are. They never have anything good to say about anything or anyone. They languish around the office. They are victims in a world that is conspiring against them. And lest you fail to notice, they are quick to point out why something won’t work. But worst of all: their sour attitudes bring the rest of the workplace down.

It’s this contagious and toxic nature of negativity that creates havoc in workplaces and causes untold grief for managers and supervisors. The effect negative people have in a workplace is akin to adding a few drops of coffee to a glass of clear water. Within minutes, the drops of coffee swirl and spread through the water and immediately cloud and darken the mixture. Just a few negative people can dampen team morale and productivity. So what can you do about it?  Read the entire article in the September/October 2009 issue of CGA Magazine here.

How to communicate with confidence, clarity and credibility

As a manager, supervisor or team leader, what is your single most difficult challenge when it comes to communicating with confidence, clarity and credibility?  Ask your tough questions at, and Merge will do her best to answer as many as she can in her live Audio Conference coming up on February 10.

Are you “present” in your conversations with others?

Last week, I had a frustrating conversation with a business colleague.  During our entire five minutes together, he could barely focus on our exchange.  Instead, he spent the entire time scanning the crowd around me, seemingly more interested in what was happening in adjacent conversations than in our short discussion.  Now to be fair to him, this dialogue occurred at the national convention for the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers in Calgary AB.  Imagine for a moment, 250 plus people in one room at one time, all of whom speak for a living.  The volume on the decibel scale was in the stratosphere, so in hindsight, he might be forgiven for getting distracted.  But at the time, I found it maddening that he couldn’t be “present”, in that moment, in our conversation.  Exasperated, I finally gave up and left when he turned away from me, mid-sentence, to talk to someone else. Continue reading

Seek out specialized skills to solve workplace problems

Legions of army ants swarm in extended colonies (as many as 200,000 in one colony) over the forest floor in Central and South America catching anything they find in their way. In a testament to social cooperation, army ants do not eat each other, but instead overwhelm their prey (usually non-army ants or larger arthropods) through their sheer force of numbers. In an intriguing 2006 study, Bristol University researchers Scott Powell and Nigel Franks observed that some ants took on a specialized role in order to benefit the colony overall. Continue reading

And the lucky winners are …

Last month we asked for your help in determining our content for our 2010 Leadership Skills Series Live audio conferences, and your feedback was FANTASTIC!  Thank you!  We also promised that we would draw for three chances to win one of my Leadership Skills audio programs, either in downloadable mp3 or CD format, a $197 value.  Drumroll please ….

  • Cynthia Johnston, London ON
  • Marilyn Jonas, Saskatoon SK
  • Florine McCandless, Nashville TN

Our three winners chose their favourite learning program from eight Leadership Skills audio courses (you can preview the entire collection here).

The survey results are in!

During the month of November, we asked for your help in determining our program content for our 2010 Leadership Skills Series Live audio conferences (and we promised you a chance to win three great prizes).  Your feedback was fantastic — thanks so much!  We analyzed the data several different ways, and seven topics repeatedly arrived at the top of the list.

  • Communicating with confidence, clarity and credibility
  • Motivating employees without spending a fortune!
  • Mastering the secrets of persuasive communication
  • Creating an environment where people WANT to work
  • Managing employees with lousy performances, unacceptable behavior or rotten attitudes
  • Active listening skills for the leader
  • Creative team-building ideas and activities

These topics will drive our curriculum development in 2010, and are all subjects that I plan to specifically address in the upcoming year, either through the Leadership Skills Series Live, or another avenue.  So stay tuned!  And if you missed the survey, it’s not too late to give us your thoughts.  Just add your comments to this post.

No, we didn’t forget about the prizes!  As promised, we also randomly picked three winners from all the entries we received.  We’ll announce the winners tomorrow, so be sure to check back then.