Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lack of client responsiveness … pushes customers to your competitors

It’s mind-boggling to me that so many companies still don’t understand the importance of making it easy for their customers to buy from them. In fact, I outlined two specific examples of customer service failure in Are you easy to work with? – a lesson in client responsiveness just less than a year and a half ago. Well I’m back again today with yet another stellar example of how to push revenue out the door and directly to your competitors.

WoodFurnitureJust recently, I was in the market for solid wood Canadian-made furniture, specifically six pieces for the bedroom. Since wandering from store to store is not my idea of a good time, my husband and I pored through manufacturer’s catalogues, both print and online, for months, looking for ideas and styles that caught our attention (and that were within our budget). A few weeks ago, we narrowed our interest down to three specific furniture lines. Despite the fact that I adore the convenience of online shopping, I knew that it was now time to look at them “in person” before we made the final purchase decision. So I fired off emails to the manufacturers (using the contact info on their websites, no less) asking them if there were any dealers in my area who had the specific lines in their showrooms. Two manufacturers wrote back to me within 24 hours, letting me know the names of stores that carried not only the lines I was interested in, but also information about several of their other products. One of them even let me know that they’d let a local store in the area know of my interest, and the next day, someone from the local store called me to follow up to see if I had any questions. The third company, well, I never heard from them. Continue reading

How the “road fairy” took ownership of the problem

Every so often I run across a nugget of news that makes me shake my head, partly in amazement and partly in frustration. Take the case of Veronika Bobrus, a 26-year old Russian florist who, exasperated by number of potholes in her home town of Omsk (and seeming lack of action by city crews), decided to take matter into her own hands. Mind you, not by complaining to the city, or going to the media, or god-forbid, staging a sit-in, but by taking action. By going out in the middle of the night with concrete and gravel to fill the potholes herself! In the middle of winter! In Siberia! She became an overnight local celebrity in Omsk (dubbed the “road fairy”) when last month, a local motorist caught her on his dashboard camera and subsequently posted the video online.

RoadFairyVideo

So far, so good, you might be saying. Why would this cause you to shake your head Merge? Continue reading

Here’s what micro-managers shouldn’t do!

Micromanaging word breaking apart on chain links to illustrate sEarlier this week, in my blog post titled Perfectionists are micro-managers (and lousy leaders), I offered up a couple of ideas on what micro-managers could do to cease and desist, and thus build a better working relationship with their teams. In today’s post I thought I’d add a couple of ideas along the same theme, but this time on what not to do. Continue reading

Perfectionists are micro-managers (and lousy leaders)

Perfection is Roadblock to Progress Road Barricade SignAre you a perfectionist? If so, you’re probably proud of it; you likely wear your perfectionism as a badge of honour. But don’t. In Why perfectionism is NOT a good thing!, I’ve laid out five reasons why perfectionism is not a plus. But there’s another even more important reason to let go of perfectionism – because it also makes you a micro-manager. And (trust me on this!), micro-managers are lousy leaders. They’re hard to work with, and most people find ways to work around micro-managers and perfectionists than to work with them! If you are “guilty as charged” (and willing to admit it), then here are a couple of ideas on how to stop micro-managing, and build a better working relationship with your people. Continue reading

Self-awareness increases when you are able to accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses

Crow_PeacockSelf-awareness is a key component of emotional intelligence, of which self-confidence and accurate self-assessment are key characteristics. Self-confidence is certainty about one’s self-worth and capabilities, and accurate self-assessment is knowing one’s strengths and limits. I was vividly reminded to these two attributes a few weeks ago, when an elderly relative recounted a story from Indian folklore that I recall from cobwebbed memories of my childhood.

An elegant black crow lived in a forest absolutely satisfied and happy with his life. But one day, while flying through the forest, he came upon a swan. Landing in front of the swan, he said. “Swan, you are so vividly white and I am so black. You are so beautiful – you are the happiest bird in the world.” Much to his surprise, the swan replied. “Actually, I always thought I was the happiest bird on earth until I saw the parrot. The parrot has two colours. I now know that the parrot is the happiest bird on the planet.” Continue reading

Upcoming leadership training events in Calgary and Edmonton

Leadership TrainingLast fall, I announced the series of “open enrollment” full-day leadership training programs in Edmonton and Calgary that I am delivering in partnership with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta) until March 2016. Three of these are coming up in the next three weeks.

In Calgary:

In Edmonton:

If you’re based in Alberta, do NOT miss this opportunity to invest in yourself and your leaders’ competency and skill development at a very reasonable cost, and a fraction of what it can cost through some commercial vendors. Even though these are offered in partnership with CPA Alberta, you DO NOT have to be a CPA member to register. If you work in a smaller organization that normally doesn’t have the budget to conduct onsite leadership training programs, then don’t miss this cost-effective opportunity to get what you need. Click on any program link for further information or to register directly at the CPA Alberta site. You will need to create a secure account on their system in order to register, a very quick and easy process.

And please, leave a comment or send me a tweet if you’re planning to be at any of these events. That way I know to look forward to seeing you there!