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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.

The value of instant feedback

Recently, a family member suffered a partial lung collapse (it's okay, she's recovering ☺) and part of her rehabilitation therapy is to practice breathing slowly and deeply through her nose. But old habits are hard to break, and she often forgets and reverts to rapid, shallow mouth breathing, which of course is not what anyone wants. So her medical support team implemented an instantaneous feedback system.

They hooked her up to a pulse oximeter and sat her in a chair so that she was facing the display screen. A pulse oximeter is a small non-invasive painless medical device, which when placed on a finger measures how well one's blood is absorbing oxygen. Ideally, you want readings of 95 to 99 percent. When my family member does what she is supposed to do — breathe deeply and slowly through her nose — her pulse oximeter readings immediately climb to over 95 percent. But when she forgets (or dozes off) and reverts to shallow breathing, the readings drop and an audible beeping sound gives her an instant reminder to correct her breathing. The best part – the more she practices, the better she gets at remembering to breathe correctly, even when she's not hooked up to the device. Cool huh? And what a great illustration of the value of instant feedback!

As leaders, one of the most important things we can do to coach our employees towards higher performance is to give them open and honest feedback. But feedback must also be timely; and in fact, as this example demonstrates, instant is better! Advice or criticism offered one week or one month after the event, or god forbid, once a year, to employees is simply not useful. The best feedback is that which is given in the moment (or as soon as possible after) so people can immediately adjust and adapt their actions. The bottom line: timely feedback is much more likely to create change in behaviour than that which is given after (or ages after) the fact.

So are you making it a point to give timely, even instant, feedback to your employees? If not, what's getting in the way? Share your ideas online at my blog at:


The Lawyers Weekly interviews Merge and three other experts

For an article about how conflict can actually be a positive force to spur innovation, The Lawyers Weekly reached out to Merge for her expert commentary. Read the advice that she and three other experts had to offer in the online version of the article: Using good conflict to spur innovation: a team of 'yes men' won't yield desired results.

Merge celebrates her first anniversary as a columnist for The Globe & Mail

It was on January 23, 2014 that Merge's inaugural Leadership Lab column for the Report on Business in The Globe & Mail hit cyberspace. Since that first Leadership Lab column aired, she's written seven more, including one just this past month. And when The Globe ran a retrospective on the Top Ten Leadership Lab columns in 2014, two of Merge's columns made #1 and #2 on the list! For a complete summary of all of Merge's columns, visit this post on our blog.


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 through 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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