Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: July 2010

Why is persuading others over to your point of view so difficult?

When you speak, do people stop and listen? Do they nod their heads in agreement, and then roll up their sleeves to help you accomplish goals and get things done? Can you influence others to come around to your point of view, particularly when their minds are already made up? If you answered yes, then you are one of a chosen few!  Congratulations! And please, share some of your secrets with us by clicking on the Add a Comment link below.

But, what about everyone else?  Do you find that your contributions in the workplace aren’t getting the attention they deserve and that others don’t often come around to your point of view?  If that’s you, I’m interested in knowing what is your biggest challenge when it comes to getting your ideas recognized, accepted and implemented in the workplace. Ask your tough questions at, and I’ll do my best to answer as many as I can in my live Audio Conference coming up on September 16.

Problem-solve by changing your frame of reference

StStephensSt. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, Hungary is a magnet for both tourists and the faithful.  Completed in 1905, it was built in the neoclassical style and incorporates a Greek cross floorplan.  In the first half of the 20th century, the charming square in front of the church was a place where people gathered and children played.  However, with the proliferation of the automobile, it eventually became an ugly parking lot.  Not only that, but there never seemed to be any spots available!  Increased parking enforcement only served to frustrate both visitors as well as parking control officers.  As the volume of traffic continued to rise in Budapest, city planners were faced with a challenging problem.  How could they accommodate the increasing need for vehicle parking, as well as return the Basilica and the Square to the charm of yesteryear.  Enter some creative thinking! Continue reading

Leaders have to pay attention to the impact of social media

Last September, I wrote a blog titled Why leaders cannot ignore social media.  It was prompted by a YouTube video based on Erik Qualman’s book, Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business.  The question posed in the video was: is social media a fad?  The answer was clear, and given that my professional practice focuses on turning managers into leaders, I asked the next question: what are you doing as a leader to harness the power of social media?

Well, Erik Qualman recently released Social Media Revolution 2 – a refresh of the original video with new and updated social media & mobile statistics.  If you ignored my message the last time around, then please, do yourself a huge favour and watch this new edition.  The evidence is even more compelling than it was the last time!

I said it 10 months ago, and I’ll say it again.  There is clearly a fundamental shift in the way people are communicating with one another, and it has enormous implications for how you should be recruiting, motivating and leading your people.  And if you look at the long-term success of your organization, social media is changing how your clients and customers select and buy your services and products. What are you doing to keep up with them?

How important are YOUR clients and employees?

For the last couple of weeks, I have been telling you about the saga of my broken foot, and also the leadership lessons I have learned along the way.  Well I have one more installment on this topic, and then I’m done (I promise … at least for a while!)  You will recall that I finally got an appointment to get my cast off on June 21.  After the rigmarole of finding someone to remove the cast, I wish I could say that the rest of my experience was smooth and uneventful.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t! Continue reading

Empower your front-line employees to take action

So if you’ve been following my blog posts over the last couple of weeks, you know that my fractured foot has traveled the world!  The accident occurred in Canada, the foot was cast in India and I spent a couple of weeks traveling there; then I visited the United States and finally came back to Canada.  By then, it had been almost three weeks since the cast had first been put on, and I figured it was time to make arrangements to have it removed.

First call was to my regular doctor in Calgary.  “Sorry, we don’t have a cast saw,” came the response.  “You’ll have to call the cast clinic at a hospital.”

Second call was to a nearby hospital’s cast clinic:

“I’d like to make an appointment to have my cast removed.”

“Which doctor?”

“It doesn’t matter.  The cast was put on while I was on a trip in India, it just needs to be removed and probably x-rayed once again.”

“Sorry, if you didn’t have the cast put on by one of our doctors, then we can’t give you an appointment.” Continue reading

What does it take to get things done?

JetAirOn May 27, I fractured my foot as I (mis)stepped off the stage after delivering a keynote at a conference in Penticton, Canada.  Unfortunately, I did not realize I’d fractured it (I thought it was just a nasty sprain) until May 30.  Between when the break happened and when it was diagnosed, I had traveled 9,390 miles and 23 hours across the Atlantic, over Europe and Asia, and was now in New Delhi, India.  Definitely not the ideal time to discover that I needed medical attention!  For the next two weeks, I was scheduled to be in four different cities in India, and my timetable involved a fair amount of walking, both on stage as well as on uneven terrain.  A broken foot was definitely going to put a crimp (or should I say gimp) in my plans.  This was my first visit to India in almost thirty years, so it was with some trepidation (even though he came highly-recommended) that I went to see an orthopedic surgeon.  I need not have worried.

Dr. Seth took the time to ask several questions and gather relevant information; he took ownership of the (in this case, my) problem; and then he acted decisively to produce a solution.  He examined my foot, sent me for x-rays, and listened while I told him about my business and leisure plans over the next two weeks.  His thoughtful questions and genuine interest in my concerns made me feel like he understood my apprehensions about my various commitments in India.  I could tell that he was exploring alternatives to support my foot and help the fractures heal, while still letting me manage my obligations in the upcoming days.  The final solution: a lightweight fiberglass walking cast with a waterproof liner.  Within moments of receiving my concurrence, my foot was being cast.  Less than one hour later, I walked out of his office, pleasantly amazed and utterly impressed with his focus on getting things done.

So what can a leader learn from Dr. Seth about getting things done?  Three things – take the time to gather relevant information, take ownership of the problem, and then act decisively to produce a solution.  Not that difficult, is it?  Then why do so many people get it wrong?  Your thoughts?

A simple three-step approach to achieving objectives

Penticton Hospital – Great staff!

Last blog post, I told you that I fractured my foot on May 27, just six weeks ago.  And I promised that I would share more about my “broken foot” saga.  It was mortifying enough that I tripped and fell as I was coming off the stage after delivering the keynote at a conference, but what made the whole situation even worse was my travel timetable.  I was scheduled to fly back to Calgary that evening and then catch a flight to India the next morning, May 28.  As I sat in the emergency room at Penticton General waiting for an x-ray, I was on the phone with the airlines trying to work out alternate itineraries.  Unfortunately, my choices were dismal.  I had none!  If I missed my outbound flight that evening, there were no more options, and I would have to fly back to Calgary the next day.  And the first flight the next day wouldn’t give me enough time to catch my flight to India that morning.  Predictably, as the domino effect continued, there would be numerous problems with clients and commitments that I had scheduled in India.

So what was a girl to do?   Continue reading

Seeing the world from someone else’s perspective: lessons from a broken foot

MergeInCastA little over five weeks ago I broke my foot.  I admit it, I am a klutz!  As I was leaving the stage after delivering a keynote, I stumbled on the first stair and fell down the remaining four.  Not exactly a graceful exit, but as they say, “stuff happens!”  What transpired next is a long story, and I will share some of that with you in upcoming posts, but the ultimate outcome was that my foot was in a cast for 23 days.  For 23 days, I traveled through three countries, and through it all I was a little inconvenienced and a whole lotta miserable!  Even though the fiberglass cast was lightweight, it was still bulky, uncomfortable and itchy, and worst of all, I just couldn’t move very fast!  Despite being completely fed-up though, I came to a very important realization.  My broken foot was actually a blessing in disguise!  How, you ask? Continue reading

One way to create loyalty and passion at work

Today is Canada Day.  The day when Canadians, who normally are known to be pretty low-key when it comes to outwardly expressing their emotions, throw off their inhibitions and proudly and loudly declare their patriotism and affection for our country.  For one day at least, fluttering flags, maple leaf logos, and red-and-white attire become par for the course.  And if you’re American, Independence Day is coming up this Sunday.  You too will be demonstrating your exuberant allegiance to your nation by donning your red, white and blues.  You’ll celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, parades, barbecues, concerts and baseball games.  No matter which country I happen to be in on both those days, I love watching and being a part of the enthusiasm and the excitement.  And I wonder how we could recreate this level of loyalty and passion in our organizations, or at least in our departments.

This is a complex question so there is no single definitive answer.  However, I do have one idea.  Celebrate! It has been my experience that we rarely build in the time and the resources to celebrate.  We just don’t celebrate enough.  We accomplish something notable and substantial, but before you know it, we rush off to accomplish the next big milestone.  We don’t stop and celebrate.  We don’t acknowledge the achievement in a significant manner; we don’t deliberately and consciously thank the people who participated; we don’t take a break to ring the bell, or eat the cake, or hand out the small tokens of appreciation.  We just don’t celebrate enough!  Perhaps if we celebrated more, we could get a greater degree of loyalty and passion in our departments AND in our organizations.

What do you think?  What else could we do to create patriotism in our people when it comes to where they work, and who they work for?