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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.

Squirrel!!?

My husband, an avid cyclist, rides his bicycle to work daily (at least while the weather is still cooperating). Recently, he moved offices, and so his daily cycling route has changed. Even though almost his entire journey is on bicycle trails, the path itself is quite serpentine, twisting and winding its way through tree groves and up and down many small hills. In a passing comment to me this last weekend, he said "I find that I can't really enjoy the view on my bike rides anymore because I need to concentrate and pay attention to the path. A couple of times I've been distracted by birds or squirrels in my peripheral vision, and I found myself almost veering off the trail and into the brush. This is not a straightforward pathway, so I have to really stay focused on what is ahead of me, otherwise I run the risk of getting into trouble."

His comment about getting distracted by birds and squirrels got me thinking about how often we lose focus at work by the well-known (and notorious) "squirrel". Whether it's minor side-issues, unimportant paperwork, gossip at the water cooler, or surfing the Internet, sometimes it's far too easy to deviate from the pathway and get distracted by things in our peripheral vision. Yet if the path is convoluted and complex (as many work issues are), then it's even more critical to stay focused on what is ahead, and deliberately avoid whatever is happening on the periphery. Otherwise we run the risk of veering off the trail. My personal experience though is that staying focused when there are so many squirrels and birds around is easier said than done!

So what do you do to stay focused when on a twisted or convoluted path? One approach that works really well for me is to schedule a specific amount of time to work on the important task. I find that when I set aside one hour, for example, to deal explicitly with the issue at hand, I am much less likely to get distracted by the many "squirrels" in my workplace. That's my go-to-approach, but what do you do? Please share by adding your comment online at my blog at: www.turningmanagersintoleaders.com/blog.


The right way to communicate unpopular decisions to your staff

As a leader, you can't avoid making unpopular decisions. But there are things that you can do to help your team understand and accept the new reality. And that is the topic of my latest column for ProfitGuide.com. In The right way to communicate unpopular decisions to your staff, I offer five ideas to deliver the message, yet soften the long-term impact.


Turning Managers into Leaders


That Merge can help you create the perfect team-building event?

You already know that motivating people is an ongoing process, and that one of the best ways to re-energize a team is to get them out of the office, even if it's just down the hall in the conference room, but away from the challenges and pressures of the day-to-day. A team that learns and laughs together is well on its way to being a high-performing team, and Merge can help you create the perfect experience! She'll work with you to identify what specific skills your people could benefit from, and then design and deliver a fun, exciting, and perfectly customized program to fit your people, your organization's culture, and your needs. You and your employees will return to work exhilarated, with a renewed passion for leadership and action, and a toolkit full of unbelievably useful ideas that will make an immediate impact on your leadership and productivity effectiveness.

For a first-hand look at what Merge can help you accomplish through your people, read this case study: Teaching People & Teams How to Build More Productive Working Relationships – A fun team-building day at a credit union.

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