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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.

Making risky decisions: a simplified approach

By definition, there is always uncertainty in making decisions that are perceived as risky; after all, the old adage "no risk, no reward" holds true. No doubt, leadership instinct and past experience play an important role in determining whether the possible reward is worth the perceived risk, but I am nevertheless often asked by leaders whether there is a more systematic approach to making choices that could have negative outcomes. Decision-making theory abounds with a plethora of techniques and methods, but there is one relatively simple approach that I have found to repeatedly give positive results. Ask yourself: does making the decision result in more options or fewer? If the answer is more choices, then move forward. If the answer is fewer options, then don't take that action.

Let's consider an example to illustrate this approach. You are trying to decide whether to invest in a new piece of equipment for your manufacturing operation. There are several risks involved with this purchase including the significant cost, an extended period of training for your operators during which there may be difficulties or even service breakdowns, and expenses associated with retooling several component modules. Ask yourself: does purchasing this equipment increase my business options or reduce them? Will it allow you to produce a wider variety of products for a broader range of customers? Or will it tie you in to working with a single support vendor? Will this equipment permit easier cross-training of staff which will alleviate some of your employee scheduling challenges? Or are you more likely to face technical issues when it's time to switch the equipment to another production line? The answers to questions such as these will tell you which alternative offers more future choices ... and that should be the direction you should lean towards.

Here's one more illustrative example from a more personal perspective. Let's say you've been offered a job by a competitor in your industry. They're offering more money, but you still think it's a risky decision because you'll be walking away from those who know your established track record to a situation in which you'll have to prove yourself once again. Ask yourself: does taking this new job increase my future career options or reduce them? Will the new job create greater opportunities in promotions, skill and knowledge growth, industry reputation and networking possibilities? If the new job will allow you to access greater options in the future than will staying in your current role, then follow the path that results in more alternatives further down the road.

This is a decision-making approach that has served me well many, many times in my past. But I'd love to hear your experiences and comments, both in support or in disagreement. Please share online at my blog at: www.turningmanagersintoleaders.com/blog.


This past month has been an eventful one as Merge has been recognized as a thought leader in two well-known publications. Her first Leadership Lab column for 2017 published online in The Globe & Mail on January 30 and was so popular that it went into the print edition just two days later on February 2. And The Downtown Victoria Magazine published her column on overcoming procrastination in their special insert in Victoria's Times-Colonist newspaper. As many of our regular readers know, Merge opened a new office on the west coast last year to better serve our Vancouver, Victoria and U.S. Pacific coast clients, so it's very exciting to be embraced by the Victoria business community in this way. Links for both these follow below.

Money as a motivator (P.S. It's not!)

Merge makes the case for why money is NOT a motivator, and perhaps more importantly and practically, what it means to you, a leader, so that you can inspire your people towards excellence in the workplace. Read it here: Why money is not an employee motivator.

Procrastination: why it happens and how to conquer it!

Procrastination ... you know ... the situation where you put off doing stuff until it becomes critical, vow that you'll never put yourself in those circumstances again, but of course, finding yourself exhausted from the last sprint to the finish line find yourself in exactly the same condition yet another time! In this column, Merge writes about how you can overcome this endless cycle. There's a link to it here: A 9-point plan for overcoming procrastination


Turning Managers into Leaders


That Merge designs and delivers leadership skills training uniquely crafted for your organization and your people?

Merge's professional practice is focused entirely on turning managers into leaders; on helping great people become exceptional leaders by turning people power into real and tangible results. In any training design, there are many elements to choose from, and Merge will work closely with you to determine your specific needs and establish objectives that are relevant and meaningful to you. Your final outcome could be a one-time training event or a series of graduated learning programs; it could involve online or distance-learning modules; it could contain audio or video components, it could incorporate the use of social media or "virtual study groups"; it could even include peer support or one-on-one mentoring. Whatever it is, it will be uniquely "you", and Merge will expertly craft and deliver what you need to turn your managers into leaders and your people power into results. Visit our Training Services section at our website for more information. Or for a first-hand look at what Merge can help you accomplish, read through our Training Case Studies.

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