Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: November 2012

Invite your critics to be part of your project team

Diverse points of view are the source of disagreement, but they are also the foundation of better decision-making.  The next time you are working on a new initiative or project, think about who your biggest opponents might be.  These are the people who often are a thorn in your side – they think whatever you’re doing is a waste of time and other resources, or they believe you should have gone in a different direction.  Engage them in a conversation anyway, as it will lead to your eventual success.  Set up meetings with each one, and without getting defensive, let this person tell you exactly what they think.  It won’t be a comfortable dialogue, but wouldn’t you much rather know this information than not?  Then, and this may be a bitter pill to swallow for some of you, ask this person if they’ll join your project team.  Now before you write me off completely, let me explain.  Continue reading

Measuring the value of training

If your training expenses are significant, it’s not unusual to have senior leaders in your organization question whether the money spent is worth it.  And it’s not a bad question.  After all, just like every other cost you incur, you should be able to show that the dollars you spend on training your people has a positive return on investment.  But that’s the challenge … it can often be a struggle to evaluate the effectiveness of training.  After all, not every learned skill can be measured quantitatively.  Things such as customer satisfaction ratings or the average time to complete a client’s file can be calculated, but it’s much harder to compute improvement in communication or leadership!  In the latest issue of CGA Magazine, I take you back to a model (that was first developed over 50  years ago) that you can use to demonstrate that training your staff is effective and has impact.

Training Justified

Take a look and then come one back to the blog and tell us how you’ve been able to demonstrate the value of your training initiatives to the senior folks in your organization. Let’s share what works (and doesn’t work)!

Help us decide and win a prize!

We need your help! We’re developing the topics and content for our 2013 Leadership Skills Series Live learning events and in return for 5 minutes of your time, we’ll give you four chances to win!

Just complete this quick ‘n’ easy survey

In return for your time, we’ll enter your name in a draw for four chances to win one of my Leadership Skills Series Live audio programs, either in downloadable mp3 or CD format, a $197 value. There are nineteen you can choose from, and you can preview them all here.

The deadline to enter is 11:45 PM MST Wednesday December 5, and we’ll announce the winner here as well as in December’s issue of Merge’s Monthly Mega Minute. Do it now – in won’t take more than 5 minutes, we promise!

Click here to go to the survey.

Leadership that is contrary to popular opinion …

Henry Ford is often credited with saying:

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

In fact, my imperfect research has not been able to substantiate this quote, but it nevertheless falls under the category of “well if he didn’t say it, he should have!”  Because it’s a useful principle for every leader to keep in mind!  Clearly, there are times when seeking input and obtaining consensus from your team and other stakeholders is not only important, it’s critical.  But there are also instances when it’s crucial that you stand up, step out, and make decisions that are contrary to what the majority thinks or wants.  Continue reading

Four great prizes up for grabs! Complete our survey for a chance to win!

We want your help in planning our 2013 Leadership Skills Series Live learning events, AND we’re giving away PRIZES in return for your help! It will take less than 5 minutes of your time!

Click to take survey

Every year, at about this time, you, our clients, have helped us plan the next year’s Leadership Skills Series Live learning events.  And we’d like your help yet once again!  But we’re not beyond bribing you to participate!  If you take less than five minutes out of your busy schedule to complete our online survey, we’ll enter your name for one of my Leadership Skills Series Live audio programs.  The topic will be your choice, available either as a downloadable mp3 or an audio CD.  You have nineteen to choose from, each one offering specific, practical and hands-on skills to become a better leader. Whether it’s delegating the right way, overcoming negativity in the workplace, having difficult conversations with employees, or just learning to communicate more persuasively, each one gets right to the heart of the issue and gives you what you need to know! If you want to see what you’ll be making your prize selection from, click here.

We’ll take your responses until 11:45 PM MST Wednesday December 5, and then we’ll randomly draw for four winners. We’ll announce the winners here on my blog, and also in December’s issue of Merge’s Monthly Mega Minute.

Please do it now – click here – and thanks for your help!


Dealing with employee complaints – live audio event on November 21

Conflict and negativity in the workplace, if left unchecked, can lead to low team morale and decreased productivity. Even worse, it can shift into harassment, discrimination, or even violence. Which means, that as a leader, you can’t just hope that such issues will simply work themselves out or magically disappear. You have to take deliberate focused action to address the issue!

But do you know how to confidently and assertively address employee complaints and concerns in a manner that will get to the root of the problem and result in positive outcomes? If not, then this audio conference titled “No Whining Allowed – How to deal with employee complaints and concerns” is exactly what you need. In one fast-paced power hour, you will learn specific strategies for assessing and evaluating employee concerns, and tested tactics for dealing with complaints quickly, fairly and in a way that takes care of the situation long-term.

Click here to register now

Don’t wait! If you act by November 14, you can take advantage of early bird savings. Here’s just some of what you’ll learn:

  • Two very important reasons you shouldn’t ignore the problem (or even hope that it will go away)
  • Seven specific things you can do to effectively question, paraphrase and listen to get to the bottom of a concern or complaint
  • How to give your employees tools to become part of the solution (rather than part of the problem), and in the process manage circumstances before things become too hot to handle
  • The “big four” situations when it’s time to bring in the “big guns” in the form of professional help
  • Specific actions that you can take to avoid getting in legal or regulatory hot water later

Join me on November 21, 2012 at 11 AM MST. Early bird pricing in effect ONLY until tomorrow Wednesday November 14!

Click here to register, or for more information

What brings your clients back? Is it what you sell or is it your customer service?

This past August, I was in Shanghai China for several speaking engagements. One evening, my host took me to dinner at Hai de Lao, a very popular chain of “hot-pot” restaurants. If you’re wondering what “hot-pot” is – basically, you’re brought a boiling pot of soup and you spend the rest of your dinner dunking in and cooking as many different kinds of vegetables and meats that you want. Needless to say, the food was fantastic, but it turns out that Hai de Lao is making its mark on the restaurant scene not just for their food, but also for their customer service! Since it’s not uncommon to have to wait up to an hour for a table during peak hours, the restaurant seeks to keep you entertained. Continue reading

What will it take for a rattlesnake to bite itself?

In his landmark book Rattlesnakes: Their Habits, Life Histories, and Influence on Mankind, respected herpetologist Laurence Klauber describes what happens when a rattlesnake is prevented from escaping out of the hot sun. A rattlesnake is exothermic which means that it normally controls its body temperature simply by moving into a cooler area. But if it is unable to do so, its body overheats and within a matter of minutes, death results. As the temperature rises, the rattlesnake gets more and more agitated, trying everything it can to get away, including biting itself in the final minutes of its violent efforts to escape the torment. Essentially, in desperation, the rattlesnake contributes towards its own ultimate demise.

“People perform better under pressure,” is a refrain I often hear when talking to managers and supervisors when they are justifying the fast-paced and stress-filled nature of their organizations and departments . Continue reading

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to dealing effectively with employee concerns and complaints?

Every workplace has at least the occasional disagreement or conflict , and sooner or later, every supervisor or manager is called upon to deal with negativity amongst team members.   If left unchecked, conflict and negativity will lead to low team morale and decreased productivity, and can even shift into harassment, discrimination, or at worst, violence.  Which means that you HAVE to take action NOW in order to prevent a worse situation later.

This is exactly the subject under discussion in my next live audio conference on November 21, 2012.  In “No Whining Allowed – How to deal with employee complaints and concerns”, I’ll be covering specific and practical information on how to confidently and assertively address employee complaints and conflicts in a manner that will get to the root of the issue and result in a positive outcomes.  I’ll be opening the lines for questions, so I want to know – as a manager or supervisor, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to dealing effectively with employee concerns and complaints? What one thing could I help you with so that you can address these issues before they turn into bigger crises? Go to to ask your question and I’ll answer as many as I can on November 21.

And while you’re at, be sure to download the free article – “Conquering the Negativity Toxin” – in which I lay out specific strategies to deal with negativity in the workplace. Just click on the link on the bottom left of the screen.