Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: January 2012

Mastering the performance evaluation process – live audio event on February 8

If you mentally cringe when you think about the annual employee performance review process, then you can’t afford to miss this.  Many supervisors and managers see this process as a time-wasting form-filling activity, often accompanied by crushed egos, hurt feelings, resentment, and sometimes even anger. But it doesn’t have to be that way! In fact, the performance evaluation process, IF conducted properly, can not only be a tool to achieve departmental goals and organization results, BUT can also be a positive motivating force for employees. Really! No kidding!

Join me, Merge, for one fast-paced and content-rich hour in which you’ll learn in-depth tools and techniques on how to make the process perpetual and painless; you’ll learn how to make this work FOR you instead of AGAINST you.  And if you act by February 1, you can take advantage of early bird savings!

Click here to register now.

Here’s some of what you’ll learn:

  • A strategic four-step system to make the annual process perpetual and painless
  • One easy way to ensure that you NEVER again have “writer’s block” when it comes to the annual written performance review
  • The one critical factor that ensures commitment and buy-in from your employees when it comes to department goals and organizational results
  • Specific techniques and how-to steps to offer both positive and negative feedback
  • Simple tools to set goals, objectives and measurement criteria that employees understand and take ownership for
  • How the performance evaluation process is directly linked to employee motivation (and how you can make it work for you)

Join me on February 8, 2012 at 11 AM MST. Early bird pricing in effect ONLY until this Wednesday February 1!

Click here to register, or for more information.

If you have too much to do at work, help someone else

I overheard two people the other day involved in an escalating discussion about who was more busy.  As one person complained about how much she had to get done, the other one vied to show how long his to-do list was.  Then he told her about the consequences of not meeting a work deadline and she narrated the terrible result of missing an appointment.  This went on and on, back and forth, for about 10 minutes.  I glanced over at my business colleague who was composedly eating her sandwich seated across from me at our small table.  She smiled, well aware that I had been unabashedly eavesdropping on the neighbouring conversation.

“I’d handle it differently,” she said, in response to my unspoken comment. Continue reading

Here’s my “shipped” list for 2011!

A couple of weeks ago, I told you how I was going to stop and celebrate the accomplishments of 2011 by creating a list of what I’d “shipped” during the year.  Not shipping of books or products to a destination, but rather the “shipping” of deliverables – getting things done, achieving goals, reaching the finish line, delivering completed products and services – you know, accomplishing significant goals and objectives.  And not only did I encourage you to do the same, but I promised that I would share my list with you once it was complete.  So here it is!

  • Delivered 61 speaking engagements
  • Delivered my signature keynote “Why Does the Lobster Cast Off Its Shell?” to an audience of my peers and colleagues at the National Convention for the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, a huge honour!  Woo hoo!
  • Crossed the 44,000 mark for total number of people who have attended my keynotes and workshops
  • Produced four new audio CDs
    • Juggling Your Workload – Prioritization and time management skills for leaders
    • Emotional Intelligence – The keys to working more effectively with others
    • Are We Having Fun Yet? – Motivating your team and maximizing performance
    • Personality Performance – The inside scoop on forming high-performing teams
  • Acquired eight new (to us) clients
  • Launched four new learning programs
  • Wrote six installments of my regular Further Than Figures column for CGA Magazine
  • Was re-elected for a second 2-year term to the national board of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers
  • Provided expert advice to the Canadian HR Reporter on tackling prickly conversations with employees.
  • On the personal front, got to check off two items on my “places I want to visit before I die” list – (1) traveled to remote areas of eastern Turkey to visit the ancient (and endangered) city of Hasankeyf and to wander amongst the fallen heads of Nemrut Dagi, and (2) explored the spectacular underwater world of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

So … did you make your list of what you “shipped” in 2011?  Do it!  I think, like me, you’ll surprise yourself.  And please … do stop by here to let us all know how you did.

What do you hate most about the performance evaluation process?

Do you mentally cringe when you think about the annual employee performance review process? If so, you’re not alone. Many supervisors and managers see it as a time-wasting form-filling activity, often accompanied by crushed egos, hurt feelings, resentment, and sometimes even anger. But it doesn’t have to be that way! In fact, the performance evaluation process, IF conducted properly, can not only be a tool to achieve departmental goals and organization results, BUT can also be a positive motivating force for employees. Really! No kidding!

It’s exactly this frustration that so many leaders face that prompted the topic of my next live Audio Conference.  On Wednesday February 8, I’ll be leading Mastering the Performance Evaluation Process – You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure; and I’ll be opening the lines for questions. So tell me — what is your biggest challenge when it comes to the employee performance evaluation process?  What specifically causes you the greatest amount of frustration? Go to www.AskMerge.com to ask your question and I’ll answer as many as I can on February 8.

And while you’re at www.AskMerge.com, be sure to download a copy of my free article titled Effective Evaluations – Tips for conducting performance evaluations.  Just click on the link on the bottom left of the screen.

Leadership lessons from the Papa Johns’ debacle

You might have already read about the public relations nightmare that Papa Johns, the international fast-food pizza chain, faced recently.  But if you haven’t …

Last Monday, on January 7, Minhee Cho stopped in to pick up a pizza at a Manhattan location of this chain.  The young cashier rang in the sale, and then typed in a description on the receipt to identify the customer.  The description – “lady chinky eyes”.  Ms. Cho, not surprisingly, was a tad bit offended and posted a picture of the receipt on her Twitter account with the following text: Hey @PapaJohns just FYI my name isn’t “lady chinky eyes”.  Also not surprisingly, the photo went viral.  In fact, last I checked, it had been viewed 244,843 times.

Continue reading

Customer satisfaction depends on past experiences

Two weeks ago, my husband and I were snorkeling off the coast of sunny Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.  As we climbed back into the boat, my husband asked, “So how was it?”  With a shrug, I said, “Not that great!”  “Yeah, that’s what I thought too,” replied my husband.  Someone overhearing might have thought our exchange a little odd; after all, we were in a prime snorkeling coral reef known to have great underwater vistas.  But the underlying reason behind our seemingly strange conversation was that our experience was relative.  You see, just five months ago, we spent two entire days snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  As you might expect (it’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world), our Great Barrier encounter was breathtaking, stunning, exciting and magnificent.  And it set the standard.  Ever since then, without even realizing it, we evaluate every single snorkeling spree using the Great Barrier Reef as a yardstick.  The tour companies in Puerto Vallarta might think that this kind of a comparison is unfair, but the reality is that everybody assesses their experiences using their past experiences as benchmarks.  And that’s a reality worth considering further.

As you begin a brand new year in your professional lives and businesses, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on how you are viewed by your clients and customers.  Whether you like it or not, they are judging what you do and the products or services you offer against what they receive from others, many of whom are your competitors.  Yes, it may be unfair – perhaps your competitors may have more resources and larger budgets at their disposal or maybe they have a competitive advantage that you cannot duplicate – but the irrefutable truth is that people compare!  So spend some time thinking about what your competitors offer to your clients, and then strategically and deliberately consider what you are going to do to make your product or service stand out.  How are you going to position yourself, differently, in the minds of your buyers?  How are you going to create, for your stakeholders, a Great Barrier Reef experience?

I’d love to hear from you — both about what you are doing to create Great Barrier Reef experiences for your stakeholders, and also what your challenges are when it comes to doing so.

Below are three underwater photos from our trip to the Great Barrier Reef.  I think you will see what I’m talking about!

Celebrate what you accomplished in 2011

Happy new year everyone!

The start of the new year is not only the perfect time to set goals and objectives for the year ahead but to also reflect back on the accomplishments of the year past.  Last February, my professional colleague Debbie Elicksen (Canada’s publishing expert) issued a challenge to the readers of her blog to make a list of everything they had “shipped” during the previous year.  “Shipping” refers to a concept advocated by best-selling author Seth Godin.  Not shipping of books or products to a destination, but rather the “shipping” of deliverables – getting things done, achieving goals, reaching the finish line, delivering completed products and services – you know, accomplishing significant goals and objectives.

Well I took her up on the challenge.  And when I sat back and took an inventory of everything that I had “shipped” in 2010, I was very surprised — apparently, I had “shipped” a lot more than I realized.  My list from last year is here.  The exercise was a valuable lesson to me on the importance of celebration.  Here at mergespeaks Inc., we invest a lot of time and energy in moving forward, creating new learning programs and products, asking provocative questions to make people think, helping managers and supervisors become even better leaders than they already are.  But we don’t often stop to celebrate what we’ve accomplished.  We’re so busy striding forward, we don’t take the time to stop, look back and reflect on the good work we’ve done.   And that shouldn’t happen.

So later this week, I’m going to take an inventory of what I “shipped” in 2011, and I’ll share that list with you in a couple of week right here on this blog.  But in the meantime, it’s your turn!  Make a list of what  you “shipped” in 2011.  And please, stop by here to let us all know how you do.