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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 problem-solving insight from watching an active lava flow

Last month I had the opportunity to do something very few people are fortunate enough to do — I was able to hike out (six miles over some of our planet's most punishing terrain, but that's not the fortunate part!) to the edge of an active lava flow on the Big Island of Hawai'i, and stand less than 20 feet away watching the molten rock slink and slither its way across the blistering earth. Eventually this hot rock makes its way to the ocean, creating new shoreline hour by hour, day by day. I filmed about 45 seconds of this experience on my iPhone, and you can see the video with my brief commentary audio here:

It was exhilarating to watch the raw power of the earth, up close and personal, and I found that 90 fascinating minutes fled by in what seemed like seconds. Once I got over the initial elation of the experience though, I noticed that the flow was continuously changing course. The terrain was rocky and uneven, crumpled and creased from lava flows of the recent past, so the lava repeatedly ran into obstacles in its path. If you've never seen molten rock before, it's a glowing-hot, boiling, viscous liquid, so whenever it encountered a barrier too big for it to overcome, it simply shifted direction and found a way around the obstruction, still slowly making its way towards the ocean. The impediments in its way didn't stop it, the molten rock simply altered its course and continued on its journey.

It wasn't until much later that it occurred to me that this phenomenon was a great metaphor for how leaders can deal with problems and difficulties. When you encounter a stumbling block in the workplace, you can either remain rigid in your point of view and your approach to resolving the situation, or you can choose to be more fluid and flexing, and thus fully capable of shifting direction to get around and past the complication. If you choose to remain rigid, the only possible outcome is a collision, usually not to the benefit of either, but certainly a disadvantage to the smaller participant. If you are fluid and willing to reconsider different perspectives and directions, the impediment is simply a challenge to overcome.

What are some of the things we can do as leaders to be more like flowing lava rather than unyielding rock? And perhaps more importantly, would it allow us to accomplish more, yet with fewer destructive effects? Your thoughts welcome. Please share online at the blog at:

Making the switch to a supervisory role — launch of a new video tip series!

Last month Merge began a short series of 2-minute videos on the Turning Managers Into Leaders blog about the fundamental struggle that most first-time supervisors face — which is not understanding that they have changed occupations. And by not doing so, they sabotage themselves and jeopardize their ultimate success as leaders. Given the early positive response to this series, Merge has already decided to do additional episodes later in March, but for now, here are the links to the first three that aired already.

Last chance for open-enrollment leadership training events in Calgary

Last fall, we announced an exciting partnership with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta) to deliver a series of "open enrollment" full-day leadership training programs, and the last two events for Calgary are coming up at the end of his month! If you live in or near Calgary AB, don't miss this final opportunity to invest in yourself and your leaders' competency and skill development at a very reasonable cost, and a fraction of what it can cost through some commercial vendors. We don't have any more events in this series scheduled for Calgary, so if you want in, the time is now!

Turning Managers into Leaders

That Merge LOVES referrals?

Merge's professional practice is built entirely on word-of-mouth, so we are always very thankful when someone thinks highly enough of what Merge does to recommend her to others. Are there people in your organization that could benefit from one of Merge's leadership training programs? Or perhaps you belong to an association that would enjoy and learn from one of her keynotes or breakout sessions at your next conference or convention? If so, we'd appreciate your help in getting in touch with the right people. And if you'd like, we're even willing to pay you a finder's fee! Just please contact us and Merge or one of her staff will reach out to you to obtain more information.

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