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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.

A leadership lesson from six blind men and an elephant

I was reminded recently of a parable about six blind men and an elephant that I first heard when I was a child. This parable actually has its roots in several religions of the Indian subcontinent, but the version I remember was from when I studied Jainism. The story narrates how six blind men were asked by the king to describe an elephant. Since none of the men had ever seen an elephant, in order to respond to the king's question they had to walk up to the animal and touch it. The first man happened upon the elephant's leg; so he described the elephant as a pillar. The second felt the tail; he pronounced it to be like a rope. The third walked up to the trunk, and said that the elephant was like a tree branch. The one who felt the ear said the elephant was like a hand fan; the one who felt the elephant's belly said it was like a wall. And finally, the blind man who reached out and touched the elephant's tusk, described it as a solid pipe. Upon hearing six different answers, the blind men were puzzled and turned to the king for an explanation. "All of you are right," said the king. "Your answer depended upon your individual experience. And in fact, the elephant has all the similarities that you have described." The ultimate message of the parable of course is that truth can be stated in different ways. "It is only immature people that deny aspects of the truth that do not fit with their reality," said the king. "They become deluded by the aspects they understand and then deny the aspects they do not understand."

A message worth keeping in mind in our roles as leaders in our organizations! Often, we are faced with colleagues, staff and superiors that have a different (and sometimes drastically opposite) perception or point of view on a situation that seems crystal clear and obvious to us. But is it possible that there are several versions of the truth? Is it possible that we are only seeing the situation from a single (and perhaps unilateral) perspective? By shifting our perspective, could we find ways to understand their point of view, and thus ultimately achieve consensus and results?

Would love to hear about your experiences. Please share your thoughts online at my blog at:


Use the company grapevine to your advantage

Merge's regular columns for The Globe & Mail continue to be very popular. The latest issue — Make the company grapevine work for you — hit cyberspace just earlier this week on March 10. The company grapevine (also known as the rumour mill and bush telegraph) causes so much grief to so many managers and supervisors but Merge's premise is — don't fight the grapevine, use it to your advantage! The company rumour mill is unavoidable, so smart leaders make it work for them! And Merge offers some insights into "how".


Turning Managers into Leaders

That Merge is privileged to have worked with over 250 client organizations?

She has worked with sales managers, service managers, and government managers; C-suite executives, association executives and not-for-profit executives; franchise owners; academic leaders, student leaders, armed forces leaders, and healthcare leaders in just about every industry in countries all over the world. And she'd love to work with you! Here is a partial client list.

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. Whether you need a keynote or a break-out session at your next conference or convention; customized leadership skills training; a fun and educational team-building event; help with facilitating a high-stakes meeting; consulting support on your people-related issues and projects; or one-on-one mentoring for your high-potential leaders; Merge can help!


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