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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.

Leadership lessons from a penguin

The penguin is a bird that does not fly. With feathers and a beak, it looks like a bird. And in most behavioural aspects, it acts like a bird. Except of course in this one very significant characteristic ... that it cannot fly. But what the penguin lacks in flight power it makes up in aquatic grace. In the study of bird evolution, paleontologists have determined that many eons ago, the ancient predecessor to today's modern penguin could fly. But over millions of years, penguins' wings evolved into fins as they adapted to marine life in the Antarctic Ocean. And if you've ever watched penguins swim, you know that they perform with as much elegance underwater as their avian relatives do in the sky.

The successful existence of the penguin offers at least two apt metaphors for leaders. One ... that anyone can adapt. In order to survive, live and thrive, the penguin adjusted its behaviour, and over time, its physical attributes changed as well. So too is it possible for people. We just have to be prepared to seek out alternative choices and be willing to shift our behaviour.

Two's okay to be different. C'mon, there isn't anything more unconventional than a bird that cannot fly! Yet the penguin has carved out a very successful niche for itself in the world. And so too can it be true for people. As leaders, we sometimes fall into the trap of seeking out conformity in our staff. But perhaps we should be seeking out employees who are unusual and unconventional, not only because they offer different perspectives but because they take on roles or fulfill functions that most of us may not.

So what other leadership lessons can we learn from penguins? Please add your thoughts at my blog online:

P.S. In the past, I've blogged about Leadership lessons from a mountain and Leadership lessons from a sea turtle. Please share your thoughts on those lists online at my blog as well.


Leadership development at TWO-THIRDS OFF!

Canadian clients, listen up — you can get high-quality leadership development training for your employees at one-third of what it would normally cost you. Yes, we said "one-third"! The federal government has recently launched a new national training initiative to build leadership competency in Canadian workplaces. So if you've been thinking about giving your leaders the tools they need to communicate and work more effectively with their staff and colleagues, but an insufficient budget has held you back in the past, then your time has now come ... and it's time to call us!

Merge is pleased and privileged to be involved in some of the early projects under this initiative. Contact us for more information and more importantly, how this opportunity can fit your organizational requirements.

Merge interviewed by Succession Planning magazine

The cover story in the current issue of Succession Planning magazine focuses on the very important issue of how to establish and maintain employee confidence when an organization's ownership changes. Managing expectations addresses the reality that ownership or management changes in an organization can lead to anxiety and uncertainty among employees. Writer Christopher Guly interviews Merge and two other experts for this article.


Turning Managers into Leaders

That Merge can help you facilitate your next high-stakes or complex meeting?

If your meeting is likely to involve large egos, high stakes, complexity, many participants at different levels, or low degrees of trust, then Merge can greatly increase the likelihood of positive outcomes, ultimately saving you time, money and frustration! Merge is an experienced external facilitator who is adept at refocusing people with grace and humor. Whether it's a strategic planning session, a Board planning workshop, an association meeting, Executive team development, staff team-building, creative problem solving, or something else, Merge is skilled at creating a safe and productive meeting environment in which people are engaged, and more efficient in using their time, resulting in prudent decisions and a greater commitment to further action. Visit our Facilitation Services section at our website for more information. Or for a first-hand look at what Merge can help you accomplish, read through our two facilitation case studies (scroll down to the bottom of the page).


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