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Monthly Archives: June 2013

What happens when people can’t see the “big picture” – part 2

Earlier this week I told you about a recent experience that made me question (again) why it is that so many people lose their sense of perspective and are unable to see the “big picture” when it comes to making good decisions. I said in the last blog post that I had come across two recent examples, so here is the second one now.

Many of you know that I make my home in Calgary, Alberta, an area that experienced devastating floods last week as the two major rivers in the city overflowed their banks. Over 100,000 people were evacuated from just the downtown core alone, and as I write this, residents all over the city are only now beginning to dig themselves out of the mud. As the flood waters began to rise last Thursday, an unethical minority of merchants began to raise their prices in an attempt to profit from the desperation of people seeking basic supplies such as water, ice and food. As the price-gouging continued, some enraged citizens took to social media to complain about paying $49 for 24 bottles of water and $20 for a bag of ice. And they posted photos online as proof!

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What happens when people can’t see the “big picture” – part 1

I am repeatedly surprised at how often people miss the big picture. Like the time when Costco’s online ordering system forced me to go to their competitor. And the several times when the management team at a large organization made bone-headed moves in order to save a few dollars but in the process destroyed employee morale (see below for links to those blog posts). Well, in the last few weeks, I have been reminded once again of how prevalent this “can’t see the big picture” disease is! I have faced two recent situations where the individuals involved have become so caught up in the details of what they are doing that they have completely lost their sense of perspective. I’ll tell you the first story today and the second later this week.

BrokenToiletMy in-laws recently moved into a senior-friendly apartment and so they are selling their house. I’m helping them get the house ready to sell and so I contracted with a company to replace all the flooring. On the last day of the job, the installer called me.

“As I went to put the toilet back on in the bathroom,” he said, “the tank broke.”

“It broke?” I asked.

“Well I didn’t do anything to it, it just broke,” he replied defensively. “It’s old, and I’m not a plumber. All I did was take it off to put down the floor tile, and then try to put it back on again. And it just broke.” Continue reading

An (even more) important reason to take action with your problem employee

BadAppleA new CareerBuilder survey, released last week, found that more than a quarter of the over 2,100 managers surveyed (from approx. 2,000 U.S.-based companies) have a direct employee that they’d like to see leave the company.  Even more interestingly, many of these managers chose NOT to directly confront and deal with the problem situation, instead choosing to engage in passive-aggressive behaviours, or drop hints, hoping (against all hope) that the offending employee would somehow get the message.

I don’t know what these managers are thinking … perhaps they’re hoping that if they just ignore the problem, it might just miraculously vanish!  Not!!  When you don’t address the situation with a non-performing employee, the problem gets worse, never better!  In fact, I think the greater tragedy is what your lack of action will do to the morale of the rest of your team.  Continue reading

Why (negative) feedback is so important (another leadership lesson from “Kitchen Nightmares”)

Last week I blogged about the season finale of Kitchen Nightmares in which host Chef Gordon Ramsay walked away from Samy and Amy Bouzaglo’s failing restaurant, ultimately unable to help them turn things around. Today, I want to reflect on that episode again, but this time with another lesson for leaders. First, watch these two clips from the show.

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High employee turnover – a possible reason (a leadership lesson from Kitchen Nightmares)

BouzaglosOn May 10, the reality TV show Kitchen Nightmares aired its last episode of the season, but it was the first time in the show’s history that its host, noted chef Gordon Ramsay, was unable to help turn around a struggling restaurant. If you haven’t heard about the “crash and burn” of Samy and Amy Bouzaglo of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona, then you must have been hibernating in a cave somewhere! But just in case you were, here’s a synopsis:

After the couple’s behaviour and finger-pointing proved too much for even Gordon Ramsay to overcome, he walked off the program saying: “After about 100 Kitchen Nightmares, I met two owners I could not help; it is because they are incapable of listening.” Some of the more unforgettable moments on the show – the couple pocketed all the tips that were earmarked for the waitstaff, admitted to firing more than 100 people over a period of one year, served pre-made frozen ravioli as “fresh, made daily”, and my most memorable: picked a fight with a customer who’d been waiting for his pizza for over an hour and then threatened to call the police if he did not pay for his (still not received) pizza before he left. And once the episode had aired, the couple went certifiably insane when it started responding to comments posted on their social media accounts, insulting people and using profanity. Continue reading

Dealing with gossip in the workplace – Dogs don’t bark at parked cars

BarkingDogA professional colleague is understandably very proud of certain significant successes that he has recently achieved in several areas of his business. However, as he told a group of us several weeks ago, his one disappointment is that someone whom he considered to be a good friend has publicly criticized and disparaged his recent accomplishments. He believes that this reaction is driven by envy and spite, and he is, not surprisingly, frustrated and saddened by his so-called friend’s actions.

“You know, in the Bahamas we have a saying,” said one of our group sitting at the table. “Dogs don’t bark at parked cars.” As we all looked up with interest, he explained further. Continue reading

Working with Millennials – give them what they need to get the job done

Millennial12Earlier this week, I started a dialogue once again about what it takes to tap into and capitalize on the creativity, adaptability, and technology-smarts of the Millennial generation.  I said that it was important to give them structure by clearly stating your expectations for results.  But here’s another key thing to remember.

Once you’ve given them the structure they need, then it’s just as important to give them what they need to get the job done! Continue reading

Working with Millennials – state your expectations for results

Millennial04Four weeks ago, I gave you two specific tips on how to work more effectively with the Millennial generation – give them respect (despite their youth) and view them as free agents.  I had a few requests for some more ideas, so today, and in my next post, I offer you two more.

State your expectations for results.  When you are clear about the outcomes you desire, you give your Millennials structure, which they thrive on.  Continue reading