Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: May 2020

A leadership lesson from Aesop’s fables

This blog post originally published in September 2009, just a few days after we launched the Turning Managers Into Leaders blog for the very first time. Today, over 10 years later, this story about teamwork and synergy  is as relevant to leaders as it was then.  I hope you enjoy this blast from the past.

synergyThere is a classic Aesop’s fable that offers a great lesson to leaders about synergy and teamwork.  A father whose sons were always fighting wanted to show them the value of the synergy that comes from working together.  So he had one of the sons bring him a bundle of sticks.  He gathered his sons around him, and one at a time, he asked each young man to take the bundle of sticks and try to break it.  None succeeded.  He then split open the bundle, and handed each son one or two sticks, asking them once again to try to break them.  This time, the sons did so easily.  “You see boys,” he said.  “Individually, these sticks do not have much strength, but when you combine their individual might, they form something of much greater power.  Separately, you can be broken, but together, you are stronger.” Continue reading

Another idea to overcome procrastination

In my last two video blogs on productivity tools for leaders, I’ve focused on specific ideas to overcome procrastination.  So today, I’d like to give you one more idea on this topic.  If you’ve been putting off tasks on your to-do list because they feel so large that they are overwhelming, or because it’s something you just really don’t want to do, then overcome procrastination by scheduling them into 25-minute blocks.

Tackle unappealing tasks by scheduling them into 25-minute blocks

Research shows that 25-30 minutes feels manageable and attainable to most people.  Half a day, or even an hour may feel intolerable, but we can do anything for 30 minutes.  So schedule difficult or unappealing tasks into 25 minute increments with a five minute break in between. Continue reading

Overcoming procrastination can be as easy as simply getting started

In my last instalment in our series on productivity tools for leaders, I shared a tip on overcoming procrastination.  Go public got such positive feedback that I decided to share a couple more in our next two videos.  Today’s idea on overcoming procrastination is take advantage of the Zeigarnik effect.

Use the Zeigarnik Effect to your advantage

The Zeigarnik effect, so called because it was observed by Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. Continue reading

Working remotely? Out of sight does not have to be out of mind

Long-distance relationships can be hard.  Just ask anyone who has ever been in one.  And right now, courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people across the country are engaged in a long-distance relationship of a different kind.  With their boss.

Working remotely comes at a cost.  It takes more effort – more communication, more attention, more energy – to keep the bond with your boss strong.  If you plan to grow and progress in your career, then be aware that out of sight can quickly become out of mind.  So, if you’re working remotely, it’s essential that you take conscious steps to not only stay connected to your boss, but also let him/her know how well you’re handling crises and achieving organizational objectives.

It is possible to successfully build your reputation from afar

In my newest column for The Globe and Mail, published in Saturday’s print edition (on page B5) and on their website just this morning, I explain the single deliberate action you must take to make working remotely a success; the six steps that will keep your long-distance relationship robust.

How to maintain the long-distance relationship with your boss

 If you’re a paid online subscriber to The Globe, here is a direct link to the column on their site: https://tgam.ca/2WmthcM

If you’re working remotely, whether it’s due to the recent pandemic, or even if you’ve been doing it for a while, I’d love to hear what you’re doing to make sure that “out of sight” with your boss, doesn’t become “out of mind”.  Please share your strategies and experiences so that we can all learn from one another.   Add your comment below. 

I write a regular monthly column for The Globe and Mail Report on Business, under the banner of Leadership Matters.  Here are links to some of the more recent ones:

When it comes to decision-making, “perfect” is the enemy of good

Leaders have responsibility for decision-making.  And as regular readers of the blog know, I routinely blog about tools and challenges that come with decision-making.  Today’s blog post illustrates the decision-making trap called “perfect”.

decision-makingThere are at least six different routes I can take to get from my home to the airport.  One is on a highway and it’s the fastest, particularly during rush hour traffic, but it has a toll fee.  Another is also on a highway, but at peak times, it’s often bumper-to-bumper and moving slowly.  The others go through an assortment of neighbourhoods with different marked speeds and varying number of stoplights and playground zones.  They all get me to where I need to go.

There really isn’t a perfect route to take.  Continue reading