Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: January 2011

Use older more experienced employees as sounding boards

A few months ago, I told you about Martha, an older more experienced employee that I worked with in one of my early roles as a supervisor.  The Marthas of the world have a great deal of experience and longevity in the organization and industry, but because they’ve often been under-utilized and under-appreciated, they usually carry a huge chip on their shoulders.  Despite the apparent negativity though, these employees CAN be very valuable resources for you and your organization IF you can find a way to tap into their knowledge and strengths.  Back in September, I offered you one approach to get the most out of your Marthas – acknowledge their experience; now here’s another suggestion.

Use them as sounding boards for new initiatives. Remember, Marthas have seen “new” ideas come and go.  If you are thinking about putting in place something new and different BUT your Martha knows WHY something similar didn’t work five years ago, then don’t you want to know?  It’s this knowledge, this inside track, that will help you make sure that you’re not setting yourself up to fail!  Float new ideas past your Marthas before making your final decision. Say something like “I’m thinking about changing the way we get our employees to submit their expense statements. What do you think?”  Now be prepared; just because you start asking questions such as these does not mean that the Marthas of the world are suddenly going to turn into founts of information.   Be realistic, they’ve probably seen other leaders try this approach and give up, so your initial advances may not sway them.  But if you persist with respect and inclusion, they’ll eventually come around to seeing that you’re the real thing!

What are you doing to tap into the knowledge and experience of your older more experienced employees?

What prevents you from prioritizing your responsibilities and managing your time?

If you’re a leader, then you have a multitude of responsibilities that keep your schedule overflowing. Dealing with day-to-day issues, addressing long-term initiatives, putting out fires, responding to email, juggling numerous projects, meeting a myriad of deadlines – you’re constantly being asked to do more with less – provide better customer service, greater productivity and stronger leadership, all while your time and resources dwindle. Boy, it’s enough to make you lose your breath (and sometimes your sanity!)

What obstacles do YOU face when it prioritizing your responsibilities and managing your time? Tell me about your most difficult challenge at, and I’ll do my best to answer as many questions as I can during my live Audio Conference coming up on Wednesday February 16.

While you’re at, be sure to participate in our fun poll: what’s your biggest time waster at work? (Click on the link on the bottom left of the screen)

Honesty and integrity necessary for success? Recent experience with Grupo Mayan suggests otherwise

Last week I told you about our recent short holiday at the Grand Mayan, one of the mega-resorts run by Grupo Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.  Specifically, I talked about rules – silly rules and sensible rules, and how having the former makes it difficult to build credibility for the latter.  In passing, I also mentioned my “timeshare experience from hell.”  I wasn’t ready to talk about it last week (the experience was still too recent and “raw” :)) but I’ve recovered sufficiently now that I’m ready to share.

Without going into the whole sorry story, let me just admit first that against our better judgment, we were talked into attending a 90-minute timeshare presentation.  I have no good excuse, Continue reading

Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta: silly rules means that you can’t enforce the sensible ones

Poolside at 7 AMSo a couple of weeks ago, over the holiday season, we spent a short holiday at the Grand Mayan, one of the mega-resorts in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.  Our vacation apartment was lovely and so was our stay in this area (we love Mexico!), but unfortunately, our experience with this resort was terrible.  Overcrowded facilities, overpriced services and amenities, constant nickel-and-diming, an ill-equipped kitchen, lacklustre staff response to our queries, and questionable operating practices were bad enough, but then we fell prey to the timeshare salespeople.  Aaargh, the timeshare sharks, well that experience is the subject of a future blog, but in today’s post I’m going to talk about something else.  I’m going to talk about rules – why, if you have them, you should enforce them.  And if they’re silly, then you shouldn’t have them!

Let me explain. Shortly after checking in to the Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta, we were given a welcome packet containing a rather comprehensive list of rules, not unusual in a facility of this type, except that this list was a little longer than we are accustomed to. Continue reading

Fun poll: what’s your biggest time waster at work?

You don’t need me to tell you that you’re busy!

If you’re a leader, then you have a multitude of responsibilities that keep your schedule overflowing. From dealing with the day-to-day issues to participating in long-term initiatives; from putting out smoldering fires to responding to the never-ending stream of e-mail in your in-basket; you are tasked with juggling numerous projects and meeting a myriad of deadlines!

You don’t need me to tell you that your schedule is demanding, you already know that you are being asked to do more with less: provide better customer service, greater productivity and stronger leadership, all while your time and resources dwindle.

You don’t need me to remind you of how much you’re trying to juggle.  You already know.  But … wouldn’t it be fun to find out whether your biggest time waster at work is the same as everyone else’s?  Participate in our fun (and highly unscientific) poll and you’ll find out!  Click on the polling box below.


Turn obstacles into opportunities

CherryPits“If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?” groaned a good friend.

“Why, what’s the matter?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m in a dead-end job going nowhere, and I just got passed over for yet another promotion.  I think it’s time for me to dust off my resume, sharpen my skills, and get the word out that I’m looking for a new challenge.”

It occurred to me that perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to feel like your life is in the pits.  You see, pits are really seeds, just with an outer stony covering.  And if things in your professional or personal environment get bad enough, it may just be exactly the motivation you need to break open that pit and expose the seed.  Once that seed is uncovered, the opportunities are endless.  With the right soil, moisture and nutrients, and just a little bit of care and concentration, the seed can grow into something new, healthy, vibrant and exciting.

As we kick off a new year, this is the perfect time to stop and consider what is getting in the way of you achieving your professional and personal goals.  Just like my friend is using his disappointment as his inspiration to get his dream job, this is also your perfect time to crack open your “pits” and use the seeds to grow your desired goals and dreams.

Get going!

Top 5 talent and workforce trends in 2011

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.  I did, and now I am back, refreshed and ready to go! 😀

Just before the holidays, I was privileged to be a guest on Dr. Amy Vanderbilt’s TrendPOV show.  Dr. V’s weekly broadcast focuses on identifying, researching, highlighting and reporting on evolving trends in the business environment.  And I was there (well virtually there) because Dr. V wanted to know about the top 5 talent and workforce trends that executives needed to know as they head into 2011.  You can watch the entire broadcast below.

It’s about an hour long, so if it’s easier, you can download it from iTunes to view at your leisure.  Search in iTunes under Podcasts for the “TrendPOV Show”.  You want the episode released on 12/24/10.

As always, feel free to comment here and let me know what you think.  Just click on the Add a Comment link below.