Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: August 2014

Just one more day to win! Add your voice for upcoming online events

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

PollBoxClick here to complete the survey

You’ll get ten chances to win a signed copy of my newest book Generations Exposed: Unexpected insights into the people you work with.   We’ll take your responses until 11:45 PM MDT TODAY, and then we’ll randomly draw for ten winners. We’ll announce the winners here on my blog next week, and also in September’s issue of my Mega Minute.

2014SurveyQRCodeDo it now – you can also use your mobile device to scan this QR code – and thanks for your help!



Our little leadership blog turns five!

Gold 5th 3d Number Representing Anniversary Or BirthdayToday marks a pretty exciting day for the Turning Managers Into Leaders blog – it’s our fifth anniversary. Yup, exactly five years ago to the day, I started this leadership blog with a post that opened with Okay folks, I’ve entered the 21st century! Exactly 500 posts, 27 guest blogs, and several hundreds of conversations later, here we are!

So today’s blog post is a thank you and a celebration. Thank you to every single one of you for reading and participating in the discussions. Who knew that a little leadership blog project that I started back in 2009 would take off and soar? I certainly didn’t! My goal for the Turning Managers Into Leaders blog was simple – I wanted leaders such as you to get timely useful information that would be of value in your day-to-day leadership and workplace communication challenges.

But while I may be the spark that initiated the topics for discussion (which was often because of something one of you said anyway), the truth is that each of you is the fuel in the engine that kept the dialogues going. Continue reading

How to inspire the close-to-retirement employee

My newest column in The Globe & Mail‘s Leadership Lab series just launched into cyberspace this morning!

“How to inspire the close-to-retirement employee”

addresses this question that I am often asked in leadership training workshops and mentoring situations — “How do I elicit high performance from someone who is close – and coasting – to retirement?”


As most of you know, my last three columns in The Globe went viral; apparently the subject of millennials in the workplace can be quite controversial! 🙂  I of course was thrilled to bits that they stimulated so many conversations on the online boards, as well as around water coolers in organizations across the country.  But in today’s column, I decided to go in a another direction, focusing on a different demographic — Boomers on the verge of retirement who are either doing an adequate job (no more, no less), or in some cases, have mentally already left the building.

As always, and I hope it goes without saying, I’d love your perspectives!  The column should take you no more than a few minutes to read; I hope you’ll find it relevant and thought-provoking.  Add your viewpoint to The Globe‘s website, or if you wish, post your comment here, or send me a tweet (@mergespeaks).  Please … pass the link along to your staff and colleagues.  I suspect that they’ll each have an opinion as well!  And if you happen to be a Boomer on the verge of retirement (or managing someone who is), please jump in and join the conversation; I’d love your take on this topic.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.  Here is a direct link to the article in case you need to cut and paste it elsewhere:

What lies at the root of innovation and creativity?

CreativityIn his ground-breaking 1990 paper, Carnegie Mellon psychologist John Hayes explores the question “What cognitive factors lead to creativity?” and uncovers convincing evidence on two points:

  1. Years of preparation are essential for creative productivity in many fields.
  2. Goal setting is the critical element in many creative acts.

Frequent blog readers have seen me discourse on many occasions about the importance of goal-setting (Want to achieve your goals? The answer lies in performance measurement, Setting goals? To build confidence, go smaller and sooner and Begin with the end in mind – a leadership lesson from the Cheshire cat), but in today’s post I want to focus on the first point – the importance of preparation.

In his paper, Hayes summarizes the research that establishes that preparation is one of the most important conditions of creativity. Some interesting snippets – Continue reading

Ten prizes up for grabs – complete our short survey for a chance to win!

SurveyWe need your input as we design our Leadership Skills Series online events for the rest of this year and next.  And in return for five minutes of your time, you could win one of ten signed copies of my latest book Generations Exposed: Unexpected insights into the people you work with.

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.

We’ll take your responses until 11:45 PM MDT on Thursday August 28, and then we’ll randomly draw ten winners. I’ll announce the winners right here on my blog in the first week of September, and I’ll also share the consolidated results of the survey with everyone.

The key to problem solving is to define the problem first

solution ahead, answer to solve all your problems, resolution yeWhen it comes to problem solving, leaders are apt to often leap directly to a possible solution without completely understanding exactly what the difficulty is.  After all, if you’re in a position of leadership, you probably got here because you have a track record of making decisions and getting things done, which means that you also have a natural tendency to fix it and move on.  This, even if the fix isn’t necessarily what is needed or wanted, or even worse, is more than is required.

Which is why effective problem solving requires you to step back and clearly define the problem first.  Ask yourself (and your team) these three key questions: Continue reading

A leadership lesson on staying focused (from cats)

SpiritSerenaAs frequent readers of my blog and Mega Minutes know, my husband and I live in a house that is managed by two adorable furry felines.  And as all good leaders, they often demonstrate valuable lessons in leadership that I can’t resist sharing with all of you 🙂 .

Consider this example about staying focused and managing distractions – when we call the cats, they rarely come.  Instead, as my husband says, they “take a message and get back to us later”.  You see, our cats have their own agenda and they’re not hurried by external forces (such as us) insisting that they interrupt their day to fit our schedules.  So they get back to us … eventually … but at a time that better fits their needs.

Now I write this a little tongue-in-cheek, but it is nevertheless a leadership trait worth bearing in mind.  Continue reading

Continuous innovation can be just as (more) effective than disruptive innovation

G&M072314_DebowDaniel Debow, SVP at and my fellow columnist at The Globe & Mail, recently wrote about the difference between disruptive and continuous innovation in Innovation does not have to be a ‘big bang’ event.  His point: there is a misconception that innovation arrives in the form of some amazing and unique technology or revolutionary product that is the first of its kind, what he refers to as disruptive innovation.  And while disruptive innovation certainly occurs, it tends to be less common than many people realize.  In fact, most innovation is continuous – people trying to change accepted norms and improve how things are done in small ways.  Continuous innovation is repeatedly trying new things on a small scale before implementing them company-wide.  And it’s these small improvements that can snowball into greater change and ultimately into quantum transformation.

Daniel offers two suggestions to create an innovative culture in your department or organization – Continue reading