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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.

Shake up the champagne!

As we kick off the new year, people everywhere make promises, to themselves and others, to make changes. Whether it's in the professional or personal arena, the start of a brand new year always seems like a good time to stop doing, start doing, improve or enhance aspects of our lives. And if you're in a leadership role, you've no doubt made resolutions about things that you want to change in your department or organization in order to make your services, products and people more efficient, effective, productive and positive. Unfortunately though, history tells us that far too many change initiatives start off with energy and enthusiasm, and then fizzle and sputter back to the status quo. So what can you do to ensure a different outcome for yourself this time? What can you do to make certain that your change initiatives stick? Consider champagne — a beverage you might have enjoyed a glass of when you rang in the new year!

Champagne is naturally effervescent and if you gently shake an unopened bottle, the bubbles come to life. Leave the bottle alone for a while though, and eventually, as the bubbles are reabsorbed, the effervescence goes away. Things go back to normal. But something completely different happens if you shake the bottle vigorously. The bubbles increase exponentially and start to build up pressure within the bottle. Eventually, enough agitation creates enough effervescence that bottle cap pops and champagne flows out everywhere (and on everybody)! Once the contents escape the champagne bottle, there is no turning back. You can't put the champagne back in. The status quo can never return; things can never go back to "normal" again.

This metaphor is worth considering as you contemplate your planned change initiatives for the upcoming year. The conventional belief is that slow and steady will produce the best results — "Take your time, gain experience, and take measured steps to get to the end". But the reality is that when it comes to implementing change, gentle shaking is not the way to go. Sure, you'll create movement, but eventually, things will go back to normal, back to the status quo. Result: no change. The only way to create transformational change is shake things up, a whole lot! As you think about how you implement your organization's change initiatives, your goal should be to create enough effervescence to "blow the top", to create enough energy so that there is no turning back, so that there is simply no chance to return to "normal".

Well, what do you think? Does this champagne metaphor hold true when it comes to implementing change? What will it take to "blow the top"? Please share your ideas online at my blog at:


Make decisions and take action, ask for forgiveness later

Merge's first column for 2015 for The Globe & Mail's Report on Business went live on January 9 and was published in the print edition on January 12. Leaders: Get rid of the 'Mother may I?' mindset is based on a single premise — don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness — which is a statement Merge makes repeatedly to managers and supervisors. In the column, she tells you why, explains what she means, and even shows you how to "ask" for forgiveness. And guess what? The word "sorry" doesn't come up even once!

Merge takes #1 and #2 in The Globe's Top Ten List for 2014!

On January 1, The Globe & Mail ran a retrospective on the Top Ten Leadership Lab columns in 2014, and two of Merge's columns made #1 and #2 on the list!!! Yup, we are pretty excited!! She is joined in the Top Ten by eight other respected business executives and experts including Joe Natale (Executive VP at Telus Corp), Sherry Cooper (former chief economist at Bank of Montreal), and Karl Moore (associate professor at the Destautels Faculty of Management at McGill University). You can read the entire Top Ten list at Top leadership tips of 2014 on The Globe's site (and access each of the articles there as well).


Turning Managers into Leaders

That Merge has special "toolkits" designed to fit your specific leadership challenges?

Whether you're new to a leadership role, or dealing with a series of employee problems; perhaps you're trying to manage poor communication in your working environment, or focusing on obtaining higher performance from your team; Merge has created audio programs that offer step-by-step, how-to specifics for exactly those situations. Merge's leadership skills series will help you deal with just about any responsibility or situation you face on any given day on the job. Each one of these audio programs contains practical, concrete and realistic advice, available when you need it, with step-by-step details and relevant examples so that you can make the necessary changes right away. Visit our Toolkit section in our Leadership Store to learn more.


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