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Monthly Archives: February 2011

What did you “ship”?

Debbie Elicksen, Canada’s publishing expert, is a professional colleague and a friend.  And lest I forget, she was also the project manager for the 2nd edition of my book Why Does the Lobster Cast Off Its Shell?, but I digress  from the real purpose of today’s blog post …

Debbie puts out a regular e-newsletter on publishing and book marketing and the latest issue is headlined “Ship or Get Off the Pot”.  Her provocative title is referring specifically to a concept advocated by best-selling author Seth Godin.  Godin preaches shipping.  Not shipping of books or products to a destination, but rather the “shipping” of deliverables – getting things done, achieving a goal, reaching the finish line, delivering completed products and services – you know, accomplishing significant goals and objectives.

So with Seth Godin in mind, Debbie sat back and took an inventory of 2010 and what she had “shipped” during the year.  Her list was admirable; yet she said the results surprised her.  Apparently, she’d “shipped” a lot more than she’d realized.  She ended with a challenge to her readers to do the same.  It intrigued me, so I took her up on the challenge.  And guess what?  My list surprised me too!  So now I’m passing on the challenge.  It’s your turn, make a list of what you “shipped” in 2010. I’m betting your list will surprise you as well.

Here’s my list:

  • Delivered 82 speaking engagements
  • Completed my first-ever speaking engagements in the Netherlands, China, Singapore and Australia
  • Crossed the 41,000 mark for total number of people who have attended my keynotes and workshops
  • Produced four new audio CDs
    • How to Communicate with Confidence, Clarity and Credibility
    • Motivating Employees Without Spending a Fortune!
    • Mastering the Secrets of Persuasive Communication
    • Managing Employees with Lousy Performances, Unacceptable Behavior or Rotten Attitudes
  • Acquired eight new (to us) clients
  • Launched three new learning programs
  • Wrote six installments of my regular Further Than Figures column for CGA Magazine
  • Achieved several key milestones as the Chair of the Branding & Visibility portfolio for the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS)
  • Presented with the (highly-coveted) 2010 CAPS President’s Award for Distinguished Service – Woo hoo!
  • Provided expert commentary for a Calgary Herald (and other national media) front-page story about the top issues in the workplace
  • Guested on the TrendPOV show with Dr. Amy Vanderbilt, talking about the top five trends in the workforce

So … what’s your list?  Try it for yourself and of course, let me know how you do!




Validation — so many leadership lessons

Okay, true, this video is longer than usual – about 16 minutes.  But really, it’s worth it!  Starring T.J. Thyne (of television show Bones fame), it won a whole slew of awards as best short film at various film festivals.  It is described as the magic of free parking, but that description doesn’t do it justice.  Really, it’s so much more.  If you’re a leader, do yourself and favour and watch it; there are several messages and reminders of what it takes to be an exceptional leader.

So what are your leadership lessons?  Here are some of mine:

  • It’s important to validate what your people do.  Not necessarily by complimenting them, but at least by acknowledging the skills and value they bring to your department or organization.  (Okay the movie did lay the flattery on a little thick, but they were making a point!)
  • When people enjoy what they do, getting work done becomes a lot easier.
  • Even the most positive person can eventually be affected by a negative environment.  So as leaders, it’s important that we work to create positive and productive workplaces.
  • Sometimes we have to deliberately remind ourselves that we can and must find reasons to smile, despite negative events that may be occurring around and to us.
  • There are some workplaces (hopefully not yours) where people who smile and have fun are frowned upon!  What a miserable way to spend eight hours a day!!
  • Persistence and tenacity can pay off (he got the girl, didn’t he?)
  • Seemingly random acts of kindness come back to create positive outcomes.  Worth remembering in our busy workdays when sometimes it just feels like we’re doing everything possible to keep our heads above water.

What do you think?  Did I miss any?

Leading the Multi-Generational Workforce

CGA0102-2011CoverIn this latest issue of CGA Magazine, I continue a topic I began in the November/December 2010 issue, namely that of today’s multi-generational workforce.  It is not unusual to find people from each of the four generational demographics – Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials – in a single department.  And if you’re a leader, that means that there are some specific things you can do to maximize productivity and improve the effectiveness of ALL your people.  Read the latest article here.  And you can also read the November/December 2010 article here.

And as always, I’d like to know what you’re doing?  How are you capitalizing on the strengths that each one of these demographics bring to your workplace?

How to Make a Better New Year’s Resolution in February

Linda Swindling, JD, CSP is the creator of the popular Passports to Success book series.  And today, I’m privileged to have her as my guest blogger!  Given that today is February 17, she asks the very significant question: How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? Good question, Linda!

How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? It’s February 17 now and according to research, around 75% of us abandoned our resolutions by January 14th. When you set appropriate goals you have a better chance of being successful and realizing those results. As a leader, you may need to help others set realistic goals to increase their chance of success. For instance, huge goals like wanting to lose 100 pounds or saving half your paycheck can make you feel frustrated. Even though one of the Passports to Success I’ve written is called “Reach Your Goals”, I still find the hardest part of goal setting is getting started. Continue reading

Results of our informal poll – the biggest time wasters at work

PollBoxLast month, we conducted a fun online poll – “What are your biggest time wasters at work?” we asked.  And the top two answers were (drum roll please) …

#1 – Other people

#2 – E-mail

For the rest of the results, click on the poll box to the right.

So, do you agree?  What are you doing to overcome these obstacles and manage your time better?

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot – the importance of thinking strategically

ShootFootI have recently been observing a young couple who have run into financial trouble and are struggling to keep their business afloat.  As time goes on, their creditors are getting more anxious, their existing customers are getting more annoyed, and their family members (who have also invested in the project) are getting more nervous.  All this, not surprisingly, is a bad situation and no doubt very stressful for the two of them.  Unfortunately, this bad state of affairs has caused them to lose their strategic focus and vision.  As their stress levels increase, they are lashing out at their customers and their creditors, the very people who can help them make it through this period of hardship.  Continue reading

Prioritization and time management for leaders – live audio event on February 16

If you’re a leader, then you know you are busy, no one has to tell you!  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!  No one has 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.  No one has to remind you of how much you’re trying to juggle; what you really want are practical, positive and effective strategies to cope with your escalating workload.  And I can help!  Continue reading

So what really motivates employees?

In today’s fast-paced world, you’d expect the biggest workplace challenge for business professionals would be the rapid advance of technology, or the need to keep abreast of the competition, or the myriad of options when it comes to raising financial capital.  Yet over and over again, the managers and supervisors I work with tell me something completely different.  “Managing and motivating employees” is their toughest challenge they tell me.  “Not that the other decisions are unimportant,” they explain.  “It’s just that if you are having trouble inspiring the troops, the other challenges can become secondary.”  There are no magic pills when it comes to encouraging and motivating your staff (I wish), but one of the answers to this leadership conundrum, believe it or not, has been known for quite a while.  In fact, the basic principle of human motivation that helped revolutionize today’s theory and practice of leadership was actually discovered, quite by accident, in the early 1930’s.  The Hawthorne Effect, as it has come to be known, demonstrated that the mere act of showing people that you are concerned about them usually spurs them to better job performance.

Here’s a quick history lesson.  Continue reading