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Welcome to Merge's Monthly Mega Minute - a bite-sized, yet substantial and practical, nugget of information that you can use immediately to enhance your professional and personal success.

Through the customers’ lens … 

Just last week, I had the opportunity to watch and listen to Terry O’Reilly, legendary adman, and host of CBC Radio’s wildly popular show Under the Influence.  Many Canadians will know that Terry, on his show, gives listeners a rare backstage pass into the hallways, boardrooms and recording studios of the ad industry, connecting the dots between pop culture, marketing and human nature.  Terry is a master storyteller and I was absolutely riveted to all that he said.  However, one story resonated with me more than the others.


Terry told of when, several years ago, executives at British Railways realized that they needed to make some marketing changes in order to stay profitable.  They reached out to half a dozen ad agencies, and invited them to put forward proposals to help orchestrate a turnaround in ridership and revenues.  One ad company asked the executives if they would come to their agency offices for a full presentation, to which the executives readily agreed. 

At the scheduled date and time, three senior officials from the company made their way to the ad agency offices.  The first thing they noticed when they entered the reception area was the general state of disarray and disrepair.  Empty coffee cups and other rubbish littered the floor, a few of the straight-backed chairs had ripped upholstery, and extensive dust and grime strongly implied that the place hadn’t been cleaned in months.  As they gingerly waited on soiled chairs, the minutes crept forward.  Finally, 50 minutes after the appointed time, the agency staff ushered them into their boardroom, apologizing profusely for the delay.  The creative director opened the presentation with “What you have just experienced is exactly what your riders experience every single day.  If you are willing, we’d like to talk to you about what it will take to change both reality and perceptions.”  As the story goes, this ad agency got the British Railways contract.

Great story, right?  It certainly got me thinking.  Thinking about the trap so many of us fall into as leaders of our departments or our organizations.  We forget to look at things from our customers’ perspectives.  To be successful organization – for-profit or not-for-profit – you cannot lose sight of your client or customer.  Always ask yourself the question – what are your end-users seeing?  What are they hearing?  What are they feeling?  Are you dropping the ball when it comes to their expectations?  Are you focusing more on what makes your administrative processes easier rather than on what is of value and benefit to your customer?  I have seen so many situations when companies dupe themselves into thinking that their internal processes should eclipse what their clients need and want.  Whether you are working with external clients or internal users, always stop to look at things through your customers’ eyes.  When you focus first on your relationships with those you serve, you will always achieve a superior outcome. 


So what situations have you experienced where departments or organizations forget to view outcomes through the customers’ lens?  But I’d love to know what you think.  Please share by commenting directly on the blog at

We’re planning a new video tip series for 2022!

As regular readers of this newsletter and our blog know, since January, Merge has been presenting a series of short video tip focusing on tools to lead virtual and hybrid teams.  Given that so many organizations have been operating in this environment in the past year, the topic made complete sense.  But this series is scheduled to end later in December, and Merge will start a new series early in 2022.  The topic is still under discussion, but if you have some ideas as to what you’d find useful, we’d love to hear about it.  Please send us an email at

Turning Managers Into Leaders

That Merge is one of only 60 Canadians to hold the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional credential? 

Merge is a proud professional member of both the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers and the Global Speakers Federation, and holds her Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation. The CSP designation is an international measure of speaking and platform excellence and is awarded only to those accomplished speakers who meet strict criteria and have a proven record of delivering client satisfaction. Less than 12% of the speakers who belong to the worldwide federation hold this professional designation, and Merge is one of only 60 Canadians to have earned the Certified Speaking Professional credential. You can obtain more information about the CSP designation here.

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New and Notable Blog Posts Did You Know