Merge's Blog

Leadership training programs in Alberta – get your 2018 professional development points before you run out of time!

CPAFor the fourth year in a row, I am so pleased to be partnering with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta) to deliver high-quality cost-effective leadership training in a series of ten “public” programs until March 2019.  The first two sessions happened in October, but I now have three more events coming up in December in Edmonton and Calgary.  If you belong to a professional association that requires you to complete a specified number of professional development credits annually, then these one-day programs will most definitely qualify (and may be one of your last chances to get your 2018 requirement met).

You don’t have to be a member of CPA Alberta to attend

Even if you aren’t a member of the CPA Alberta, these are “public” programs which means that they are open to ANYONE from ANY organization … you DO NOT have to be a member of CPA Alberta to register. These one-day sessions are very reasonably priced at a fraction of what it can cost through some commercial vendors, and if you register early, you can get even more savings.  Add in a continental breakfast and a light lunch, and the fact that we get to spend the day together … how could life get any better?

Here are the dates!

Edmonton:

Calgary:

Click on any program link above 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; it’s a quick and easy process.

Let me know if you register for any of these events. That way I know to watch for you there!

Separating true leaders from narcissists

NarcissistLast year, I was a featured expert in a story about narcissists in the workplace, and how one can function effectively with (or despite) them, no matter whether they are your co-workers or your boss.  And certainly, if you follow American politics, there is a lot of conversation about whether a certain head of state is a prime example of a narcissist.  So it isn’t surprising that this topic continues to be front and centre in the news.  One question that often comes up in my leadership development practice is about how to separate leaders from narcissists, particularly during hiring, as the outcome of hiring one over the other can be enormous.  Ironically of course, on the surface, narcissists look suspiciously like leaders; it isn’t until later that the truth comes out.

Last week, CNN Business News put out an article titled How narcissistic CEOs put companies at risk, explaining how narcissist leaders create long-lasting negative consequences for their companies.  From a leadership perspective, a couple of points in particular caught my attention.   Continue reading

When you let them telecommute, you create engaged employees

All year, I’ve been offering ideas in our ongoing series on specific things leaders can do to create highly motivated and engaged employees.  Earlier this month, I talked about giving your employees positive opportunities to interact with your senior management.  Today’s tip (which also happens to be #30 in this series): let your employees telecommute.

Let your employees telecommute

Let them work from home; not necessarily every day, but how about a few days a week, or even once a week?  Heck, even once a month is hugely motivating.  Even occasional telecommuting leads to highly engaged employees … because they view it as freedom – the independence to be productive, stay motivated and save time. Now I am well aware that there are certain jobs that don’t lend themselves to telecommuting – I mean can you imagine being a retail store clerk or a grocery store cashier from afar?  But … the vast majority of jobs have at least some responsibilities that can be done from a distance.  And in some cases, these tasks can be completed much more efficiently if they’re away from the daily distractions of the workplace.

With today’s technology, working from home is no longer as impossible as it might have once been.  Continue reading

Leadership lessons from ants!

As regular readers of the blog know, I am continually inspired by the lessons in leadership that come to us from the animal kingdom.  In the past, I’ve written about bald eagles, sea otters, goldfish, and penguins, among many others.  Today’s leadership lessons come to us from ants!

Ants don’t admit defeat

Have you ever watched an ant carry what appears to be a gargantuan load?  Science indicates that ants can actually carry ten to fifteen times their body weight.  And they do – repeatedly – in order to provide for themselves and their nestmates.  Which got me thinking … if ants aren’t daunted by the sheer magnitude of what they sometimes have to carry, is there a lesson there for us as leaders?

In the workplace, we are often faced with what seem to be insurmountable obstacles in our leadership roles – looming deadlines, challenging employees, missed opportunities, apparently unattainable targets – which could, if we let them, cause us to give up and admit defeat.  Continue reading

Maximize introvert power by tapping into their strengths

Extroversion versus introversion.  Despite numerous studies and anecdotal situations that show otherwise, people still continue to assume that somehow extroverts are more successful in the workplace than introverts.  As I have blogged about in the past, that is simply not true.  Introvert power comes from tapping into what makes introverts different from extroverts, and not by taking on more extrovert traits.  In fact, in the past I have blogged about how introverts lead, and how introverts network.

Which is why I was delighted when my professional colleague Dave Byrnes agreed to guest on the blog today.  Dave is known as The Introverted Networker, and not surprisingly, he helps introverts use sales and networking to succeed in their business and careers.  Today he writes about how leaders (extroverts or introverts) can help their introverted employees maximize their introvert power and productivity.

Convert Your Introverts for Greater Productivity

There has been a lot of press about the power of introverts and their differences from extroverts in recent times. While better understanding is great as a leader, you may be asking yourself how this affects the bottom line.

How can you turn these insights into increased productivity from your introverts and improve job satisfaction so they stick around longer? Continue reading

Want engaged employees? Let them interact meaningfully with senior management

Today’s post on the blog continues with another specific idea on how to build a team of highly-motivated and engaged employees.  Last week’s tip was to organize a team-building and learning day.  And today’s strategy is to find opportunities to give your strong employees exposure to your senior management by assigning them to appropriate task forces and committees.

Give your people opportunities to show their strengths to senior management

Many of your employees aspire to bigger and better opportunities, so when you put them in situations where they can demonstrate their skills and talents to others who can also help them achieve their career goals, the result is highly engaged employees.  This scenario is a win in many aspects.  It’s a win because your employees’ professional networks are broadened, allowing them to “show their stuff” to other key influencers.  It is a win for you because Continue reading

Five ways to make flexible working work

The proliferation of flexible work continues.  Whether the flexibility is related to hours (such as flexi-time, compressed weeks, or part-time work) or workstyles (telecommuting, flexible workspaces, or job sharing), it is something that more employees want.  Flexible working arrangements are viewed as attractive because they represent freedom – to be productive, stay motivated, and save time.

All of which also benefits employers, but not every organization has come around to appreciating the advantages.  Ironically, if your organization isn’t open to the idea of flexible work, you are putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting, hiring and keeping the best and the brightest.  Which means it’s worth your while to at least explore the possibility. In my latest column in The Globe and Mail, I offer five must-dos to help you make flexible working a reasonable alternative in your organization.

Five ways to make “flexible working” actually work

Flexible working

If you get the print edition of The Globe, you’ll find today’s column on page B12.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2RjIGoI

So I’d love to hear about your experiences with flexible working.  Is it an option that is offered in your organization?  Is it working well?  What are some of the challenges?  What do your employees think about it?  Please add your thoughts below.

Want engaged employees? Learn together as a team

Last week, in our series on practical low- or zero-cost ways to create high-performing engaged employees, I suggested that you boost employee morale by letting them represent your organization at external events.  Today’s tip: organize a team-building and learning day.

Organize a team-building and learning day

Teamwork and engaged employees go hand in hand.  If your employees are engaged, they work together towards common team goals.  And if employees feel like they’re part of a cohesive, strong and highly-productive team, then they are highly-engaged.  Which makes any emphasis you place on learning and team-building a very powerful motivator.  So organize a team-building and learning day.

Make sure to set it up so that there is both a learning component and a fun component.  Ideally, Continue reading

We’re back! Another series of “public” leadership training programs in Alberta

CPAI am so pleased to announce that for the fourth year, we are partnering with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta) to deliver high-quality cost-effective leadership skills training in a series of “public” programs.  Many of you who follow the blog already know that most of my leadership training programs are for specific client organizations, which means that only their employees can attend.  However, these “public” leadership training programs are open to ANYONE from ANY organization.  Which means that if you work in a smaller organization that doesn’t have the budget to conduct an onsite leadership training program, this is your chance to invest in yourself and your leaders’ competency and skill development!

Anyone from any organization can attend these sessions!

Starting later this month, and until March of next year, I am delivering ten full-day leadership and workplace communication programs in Edmonton and Calgary. These programs are available to anyone from any organization … you DO NOT have to be a member of CPA Alberta to register. These one-day sessions are very reasonably priced at a fraction of what it can cost through some commercial vendors, and if you register early, you can get even more savings.  Add in a continental breakfast and a light lunch, and the fact that you get to hang out with me for the day … how could life get any better?

Here are the dates!

I have two programs coming up at the end of this month in Edmonton:

And then, here are the remaining eight programs scheduled until March 2019. Continue reading

The sorites paradox – a leadership dilemma

The sorites paradox: if individual grains of sand are removed one at a time from a hypothetical heap of sand, what is the point at which the heap can no longer be considered a heap?  At first glance, you may think that this is merely a philosophical question, but the metaphor has great applicability if you carry it into the workplace.  Consider this: if minor seemingly harmless problems or changes go unnoticed and do not individually attract attention, is there a possibility that eventually the sum total of these issues over time will result in a major setback?  And what if the significant outcome is one that, if it would have happened all at once, would have been regarded as negative, undesirable or objectionable?

In the workplace, the sorites paradox is often referred to by a variety of synonyms – creeping normality, the broken window theory, the boiling frog syndrome, and even death by a thousand cuts.  But no matter what you call the phenomenon, all versions lead to a Continue reading