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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.

No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible

I admit it ... I love cracking open a fortune cookie! It's the excitement of the unknown ... what great wisdom is about to be imparted in the palm of my hand? And the other night, after a delicious bowl of noodles and spicy green beans, the opportunity arose once again! I held the ends of the crisp cookie between each hand, and pulled it apart with great anticipation. The sage insight that fell out on to the table:

No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

Okay, so it wasn't exactly Plato-worthy! But nevertheless, it still caught my attention ... because it actually contains a great leadership message.

As managers and supervisors, we regularly assign work to our staff. And usually, most of it is routine, so our staff are fully aware that the tasks fall within their spans of responsibility and therefore they are accountable for completion. But every so often, something unexpected or atypical comes up that needs to be addressed. Perhaps there is an unusual request of your area from an external or internal client. Or a new initiative is being considered that requires some preliminary investigation by your team. Or another department is pondering a process that will somehow impact your unit. No matter what the situation, it suddenly falls to your team to step in and take on this task or project, run with it, and carry it over the finish line. But because it is uncommon, it doesn't simply or neatly fall within anyone's existing scope of work.

It is in exactly these circumstances that this fortune cookie insight offers great wisdom. What this little slip of paper is really saying is that in such situations, it is critical to identify a single individual or "point person" to take charge of the work. You have to assign responsibility for the task or project (and the authority needed to get things done) to an individual "snowflake"; otherwise you run the risk of confusing who has accountability to produce results. Sure, it may make sense to have a discussion about the issue or situation with your entire team, but ultimately, the responsibility and associated authority must be given to a single person. If you leave the delegation of responsibility ambiguous or unclear, no snowflake will take ownership, and when the inevitable avalanche happens, all that will result is mayhem and destruction.

Well? I would love to hear about your experiences. Have you seen such a situation occur in your workplace? An avalanche, zero accountability, and lots of snowflakes all either looking bewildered or pointing fingers at one another? Please share your thoughts directly on the blog at

In The Globe & Mail: Six steps you can take today to work towards a leadership role tomorrow

If you aspire to be a supervisor or manager, there are things you can do today to position yourself as a future leader in the eyes of those who can help get you there. In Merge's latest column for The Globe and MailSix steps to take today, toward a leadership role tomorrow — she lays out the specifics.

How to develop and grow your people – four new videos take our 2019 total to nine (so far)!

Since our last issue of the Mega Minute, Merge has added four new videos to our 2019 series on specific and actionable tips leaders everywhere can put to work to harness people power, build employee capability, and create visible results.

Turning Managers into Leaders

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

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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