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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.

It's a lot easier to drink water when you have a glass

Potable water ... absolutely essential to survival, but unless it is contained — within a glass, a bowl, or even a cupped hand — almost impossible to drink. Sure you could kneel and lap at a running stream just like other members of the animal kingdom, but it's a lot easier if it is in a vessel of some sort. Even animals appreciate drinking from an enclosed source such as a pond or a puddle.

At a time of the year when so many people set goals and targets for professional and personal lives, this liquid reality offers an apt metaphor. Think of water as representing dreams and aspirations, the goals and objectives that you hope to accomplish over the next twelve months. Just like a liquid takes less effort to drink when it is contained within a vessel, desired targets are easier to achieve when they are surrounded by a solid structure. So what is this vessel that lets you move goals and aspirations from mere dreams to concrete reality? The outer form of the vessel may differ from situation to situation, but it must always be constructed of three components — it must be specific, it must be measurable, and it must have a deadline.

Let's say that one of your leadership objectives is to build technical capability in your team over the next year. A worthy goal, but if you want to significantly increase the likelihood of actually achieving this target, then make it specific, measurable, and attach a deadline. So for example, be explicit about which specific employees will obtain what particular technical certifications, and by what date. Pouring water (your leadership objectives) into this vessel (a solid structure that is specific, measurable, and assigned a deadline) will increase the likelihood that you can successfully drink from this glass.

Does this metaphor resonate with you? What are doing to maximize the odds of achieving your goals in the upcoming year? Please share your thoughts on the blog at:

The five top leadership issues in 2018

The Globe & Mail kicked off the new year by publishing Merge's first column for 2018 in their January 1 edition. In The five top leadership issues in 2018, Merge makes her predictions for the five employee-related trends that will gain the greatest momentum in the upcoming year. Her goal in creating this list of top-of-mind leadership issues is to give you insights as to where you should focus and emphasize your energy and effort as you go boldly into the future.

We're clearing out our audio CDs — over 80% off!!

Over the holiday season, I mentioned to a young person in my life how our educational audio CDs don't sell as well as our digital downloadable products. "CDs are so 1998!" she scoffed. I had to laugh at her candour. She's right of course, but I still listen to CDs and I'm willing to bet that some of you do as well. So in the spirit of staying current in the 21st century, we've decided to clear out our inventory of educational audio CDs by offering them at an unheard of price of $13 each. Normally priced at $67, each of these CDs covers step-by-step, how-to specifics on just about every common workplace leadership dilemma you might face. Whether it's giving effective feedback, having difficult conversations, juggling your workload, or something else, choose from our 22 different programs to help you build your leadership toolkit. Special bonus: each CD comes with a downloadable note-taking outline that you can use to capture your key takeaways. This never-before price is in effect only as long as inventories last or until February 15, whichever comes first. SO DON'T DELAY! Visit our Leadership Store and use code ITIS2018 at checkout.

Open-enrollment leadership training events in Calgary this month

On January 26 and January 30, Merge is delivering, in partnership with CPA Alberta, "open enrollment" full-day leadership training programs in Calgary. This is a great opportunity to invest in yourself and your leaders' competency and skill development at a very reasonable price, a fraction of what it can cost through some commercial vendors. Check our website for the details.

Turning Managers into Leaders

We took a short hiatus from the blog over the holiday season, but Merge is back, excited and energized, looking forward to another fantastic year of sharing tips and exchanging ideas, starting conversations and perhaps even some arguments, all in the pursuit of becoming even better leaders than you already are!

That this month marks the fourth anniversary of Merge's regular leadership columns for The Globe and Mail?

Since January 2014, Merge has been a regular columnist for The Globe and Mail's Report on Business section, penning articles on a wide variety of leadership topics, all under the umbrella of Leadership Matters. In addition to her latest column which ran on New Year's Day (and is linked earlier in this issue of the Mega Minute), below are listed her last five previous columns. And if you'd like to peruse any of the others, you can always find them in the Article Archives at our website.

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