Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: July 2014

Win a prize! Help us determine the topics for our online events

Survey2After the great success of our first two Leadership Skills Series online events this year (Stop the self-sabotage!  Breaking communication habits that are hampering your success and Don’t Back Down – Dealing with bullies in the workplace), we’ve decided to do one more, tentatively scheduled for October.  But first … we need your help in determining the topic.  For five minutes of your time (probably less!), you could win a signed copy of my new book Generations Exposed: Unexpected insights into the people you work with.  We’re giving away ten copies!  Follow this link to complete our short survey:

2014SurveyQRCodeOr just scan this QR code with your mobile device to get you right to the survey.



To motivate employees, let them telecommute (even occasionally)

Working From HomeOn Thursday I blogged about a subject that I tend to return to every so often – low- and zero-cost ways to motivate employees – last week my suggestion was to have a career discussion.  Today I want to propose that you let them telecommute.  In other words, let them work from home; not necessarily every day, but how about once a week, or even once a month?  Heck, even a couple of times a year is hugely motivating.

Now hang on, before you jump in with your objections, I am well aware that there are some jobs in which telecommuting simply isn’t possible – can you imagine being a retail store clerk or a grocery store cashier from afar? 🙂  Continue reading

To motivate employees, have a career discussion

Career OpportunityI am repeatedly asked for ideas on how to motivate employees; specifically, things that don’t cost a lot of money.  Well guess what?  Employees are motivated by conversations – genuine meaningful dialogues with their supervisors and managers – and the only cost associated with any of these is your time.  Previously, I’ve blogged about saying thank you, thanking an employee’s spouse and family, and telling them why; today my suggestion is to have a career discussion.  Yup, another conversation, this time about what your employee hopes to achieve and aspire to in his/her career.  Make a commitment to yourself that you will schedule at least thirty minutes with each of your employees within the next month to do nothing else but discuss their career objectives.  And what should you talk about in this meeting? Continue reading

Step outside your comfort zone

LobsterResizedAs long-time readers of this blog know, I am a huge advocate of the importance of pushing yourself to step outside your comfort zone as it is the only way to learn and grow, both as an individual as well as an organization.  Why Does the Lobster Cast Off Its Shell? is the title of both my flagship keynote as well as my first book, and both are based on this very premise – in order to continue to grow and develop, you must be willing to step outside your existing boundaries and take calculated risks; to not do so means stagnation and eventual demise.

The challenge of course lies in developing the courage to take the leap, and in acquiring the skills and abilities to actually pull it off.  So here are three ideas to do exactly that:

  • Focus on what’s in it for you.  If you push yourself to network more, speak publicly, volunteer to spearhead a change initiative – how could that help you advance your career?  If there’s a clear personal payoff, it makes it easier to make the first move. Continue reading

Exceptional customer service starts with small actions

As leaders, we have the responsibility to nurture and maintain organizations that deliver great customer service – where our employees are responsive to our clients so that they not only have wow experiences that keep them as lifelong customers, but also compel them to tell others about us.  Which is why I am always very excited when I experience companies that get it!  In the past I’ve blogged about G Adventures’ commitment to their values, the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani’s unusual personalized approach, and Hai de Lao China’s way-and-beyond customer service.  An interaction with the travel clothing company Tilley Endurables was a recent pleasant surprise.

NeedleThreadIn April, during a visit to Toronto, I stopped in at their main store to purchase a pair of zip-off pants.  If you’re not familiar with Tilley, this is a company that designs and manufactures top-notch travel clothing with many unique features.  Zippered and Velcro closures, secret pockets, reinforced stitching in key areas, extra loops and buckles, all design elements that are a blessing to those who travel a lot.  Despite purchasing these pants in April, I didn’t actually get a chance to wear them until late last month … which is when I discovered a small shortcoming.  Continue reading

Engage your Millennials by actively supporting volunteerism

Millennial01In my book Generations Exposed: Unexpected Insights Into the People You Work With, I’ve highlighted how civic duty, the environment, and making a tangible difference (beyond monetary profit) in the world is important to Millennials.  So it’s not surprising that charitable, social and environmental organizations are quite interested in learning more about what it takes to attract and involve this generation in their causes.  Enter The Millennial Impact Project.  This ongoing study, primarily through annual surveys, seeks to determine and track the best approaches for cause organizations to attract and engage Millennials.  Their 2014 report, released just last month, offers interesting insights into what draws and keeps Millennial engaged, both in and outside the workplace.  If you’re the leader of a team that has Millennial members, here are some items worthy of note: Continue reading

Flexibility can be the source of power, particularly in pressure situations

StoneBowlLiquids take on the shape of whatever container you pour them into.  When you think about it, this fluidity and flexibility is a remarkable characteristic – it means that no matter what kind of bowl or pitcher or pouch is used, liquids have this amazing ability to adapt, conform and integrate.  And when these liquids are under pressure, it is this very attribute that makes them the source of power in hydraulic systems (used in many applications including vehicle brakes, landing gears in airplanes and raising mechanisms in heavy equipment).

What if people were the same way?  What if they were able to adjust, change and fit into whatever situation or condition they found themselves in?  Could they too become a source of immense power capable of stopping cars, landing planes, or moving earth (or at least accomplishments of the same caliber)?  Possible?  Continue reading

Three steps to less workplace stress

MichelleMay2Dr. Michelle May is a member of my mastermind group, a small group of professional colleagues that serve as an informal advisory panel to each another.  Even though she usually spends her time helping people break free from emotional eating, I persuaded her to guest on the blog today, writing on a subject that I know is on the minds of leaders (and their employees) everywhere – managing workplace stress!  At its core, stress is a medical issue so I knew that Dr. May would have valuable advice to offer.  And she didn’t disappoint!

x —————— x —————— x

When you’re experiencing stress, your impulse might be to power through, freak out, or stick your head in the sand (procrastinating, eating, drinking…you get the idea). As we’ve all noticed, behaviors such as busy-ness, overworking, smoking, overeating, drinking alcohol to excess, isolation, and taking our frustration out on others, perpetuate the stress reaction. Continue reading

Maintain your sanity under a micromanager

Careeranista_MicroManagerBig shout-out to Kristin Gomez, staff writer for, a website focused on providing information and products for smart, sophisticated young women who are seeking to better position themselves for success.  She recently wrote about how to maintain your sanity under a micro manager, and drew upon expertise from several sources, including yours truly!  You can read the article (and some of my advice) here:

Maintain Your Sanity Under a Micromanager

Kristin’s five tips:

  1. Don’t take it personally Continue reading