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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.

Tornados and termites — do both get your equal attention?

A tornado can level a house. You know what else can? Termites. Over time, termites, left unchecked, can bring a 2,500 square foot house down to a pile of brittle lumber. A tornado gets attention because it can destroy a house in a matter of mere minutes. But termites, eating away at the skeleton of a home over a period of six months to two years, tend not to get the same degree of attention, simply because their damage happens slowly. But let's be very clear on one thing — whether it's a tornado or termites, the eventual result is exactly the same — a house that is completely destroyed.

As a leader, catastrophes in your workplace get your attention. Whether it's a virus that shuts down your computer network, a rail accident that impacts deliveries of your product, a flawed recommendation your firm made to an important client, or a significant accounting error that is discovered only after the financial cycle has closed, such situations bring your crisis management skills to the forefront. Your expertise and experience instantly come into play as you gather information, assess the situation and immediately take corrective action to both mitigate the damage and move towards resolution. Crisis situations such as these are equivalent to tornados. They cause widespread destruction, and because their impact is so visible and concentrated, time and resources are assigned without delay to not only address and correct the aftermath, but to also investigate the root causes and implement safeguards against future occurrences.

Sure, the catastrophes in your workplace are worthy of your attention. They should be. But do you also have termites? And perhaps more importantly, are you giving them the focused effort they also deserve? Is there a small kernel of discontent or negativity in your department that left unchecked could swell into a widespread decrease in employee morale? Or is there a general lack of pride in workmanship that creeps insidiously towards a noticeable decline in product or service quality? What are you doing to address the termite issue in your department or organization?

There's a compelling lesson here for leaders. Whether is tornados or termites, the ultimate outcome is exactly the same — a department or organization that doesn't deliver on its service or product promise to its clients.

So are you giving your termites as much attention as you are giving your tornados? I would love to hear your reactions and answers to this question. Please comment online at my blog at:

Joyful greetings for the holiday season and our best wishes for the new year!

Our very best wishes to you and yours for a joyful holiday season and a fantastic 2017. Our offices will be closing for an extended holiday break on December 15 until the new year. We won't be answering our phones, but we will check email periodically, should you need to contact us over the holidays. We'll be back in January 2017!

Turning Managers into Leaders

That if you're dreading a difficult conversation with an employee (or co-worker), Merge can help?

If you've ever had sleepless nights just thinking about how to handle a difficult conversation with an employee or colleague, then help is here! If you want to maintain a positive and productive workplace (and your sanity), then you know that a direct and respectful conversation to give you your desired outcome is essential. But the challenge is how to do it without letting things deteriorate into anger, resentment or hard feelings. Merge's 60-minute audio program (available in both downloadable mp3 and audio CD format) continues to be one of her most popular sellers. In one power-packed hour, you'll get right to what you need to know — the what, the when and the how of these difficult discussions!

Having Difficult Conversations With Your Employees and Co-workers

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