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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.

What do you do when you see a spider?

During a recent trip to Hong Kong, I found myself seated at a small table in a tiny streetside outdoor café one afternoon. There were only four other tables, equally small, all of them occupied. Suddenly, the two well-dressed women at one of the corner tables screamed loudly almost in unison, and stood up, shouting rapidly, nearly knocking over the table in their haste to get away. Even though I don't understand Cantonese, it didn't take me long to figure out what happened. A giant furry brown-and-white spider, still suspended by a remnant of a cobweb, had dropped down from the tree above, and come to a stop almost in front of the faces of the two women. Startled and obviously distressed, they almost knocked over their coffees and desserts in their rush to get as far as possible from the monster arachnid. It was mere seconds later that the café owner stepped from behind his counter, walked over to the table, gently lifted the offending spider and placed it on a bush a few feet away. The two women, still rapidly speaking in Cantonese, continued to be unnerved and agitated, presumably by the spider's size.

As I watched the drama unfold over a matter of minutes, it occurred to me that it wasn't the spider that caused the turmoil. After all, it was this very same spider that caused two completely different and opposite effects in the women and the café owner. The women reacted, but the café owner responded. The women's reaction was emotional. Now that's not entirely unexpected given that the spider's arrival was unanticipated and quite sudden. But the owner's response to the same situation was careful and measured. The outcome of the women's reaction — commotion. The outcome of the owner's response — a level-headed and useful solution to the problem.

Is there something here that we could learn as leaders? You've no doubt repeatedly encountered the workplace equivalent of unexpected giant spiders. Do you react, or do you respond? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share online on my blog at:

Three reasons to ignore your company's policy manual

Is the title of Merge's latest contribution to The Globe & Mail's Leadership Lab series. Yes, I know; some of you think that this borders on blasphemy! After all, policy manuals are decrees and edicts that were painstakingly put together by teams of expert professionals, people who know what they're doing. Sure. But Merge's column makes the compelling case for why policies are only guidelines and definitely not rules. Read it here:

Upcoming leadership training events in Edmonton on October 28-30

Most, if not all, of the on-site leadership training programs Merge conducts for different client organizations are closed to the public, but she is often asked about "open" programs that anyone (from any organization) can attend. If you live in Alberta, Canada, you will be pleased to know that in partnership with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta), Merge is delivering twelve full-day leadership and workplace communication programs over the next six months in Edmonton and Calgary, including three at the end of this month in Edmonton. These programs are available to anyone from any organization ... you DO NOT have to be a member of CPA Alberta to register. If you work in a smaller organization that doesn't have the budget to conduct an on-site leadership training program, this is your chance to invest in yourself and your leaders' competency and skill development! These one-day sessions are very reasonably priced at $525 per day (and include a continental breakfast and lunch!), a fraction of what it can cost through some commercial vendors. For a list of programs from now until the end of March 2016, click here.

The Canadian HR Reporter asks Merge if Amazon has the right corporate culture

Merge's column in The Globe & Mail‘s Weekend Commentary & Analysis section prompted writer Sarah Dobson from the Canadian HR Reporter to reach out to Merge for an article she was writing about Amazon's recent notoriety for their "toxic" corporate culture. In this article, she spoke to four leadership experts (including Merge) to get a greater insight into whether or not Amazon is doing the right thing. For links to Ms. Dobson's story and Merge's column in The Globe, visit this page:

Turning Managers into Leaders

That Merge offers one-on-one mentoring to high-potential leaders?

Sometimes being in a leadership role feels like you're caught between a rock and a hard place! Your managers have increasing demands of you — greater productivity, improved customer service, and stronger leadership. Your staff have unrelenting questions and problems — process bottlenecks, escalating workloads, and interpersonal conflicts. And all the while, your time and resources dwindle. You know you're capable of getting things done; after all you have a proven track record that speaks for itself! But, things just aren't falling into place the way they normally do! At times like these, all you really need is a shot in the arm — someone to stand by your side and support you as you pull yourself out of the quicksand. And this is exactly where Merge can help! Find out more at our website, or read this Mentoring case study to get a better idea of Merge's approach.

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