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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.

Earthquake versus erosion: what geography can teach us about leadership

Colca Canyon in southern Peru is one of the deepest in the world, and at a depth of 3,270 metres (10,730 ft), it is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States. Looking at it from above, you might think that this colossal fissure on the earth's surface was created by an earthquake or other cataclysmic event. It wasn't. The Colca Canyon was formed by thousands and thousands of years of erosion of volcanic rock along the line of a fault on the crust of the earth. Unceasing erosion – water erosion from the Colca River that flows through the mountains of rock; and wind erosion carrying away the loose sediment exposing even more surface area to the elements — created the spectacular geological formation we see today. The Colca Canyon wasn't the result of sudden dramatic change, it is the outcome of thousands of small changes, over time.

Small changes, over time, can produce significant results; it's a thought worth considering as a leader in your workplace. Many leaders operate under the belief that dramatic acts are what leadership is about; in fact it's the opposite. Sure, impressive actions often have an immediate impact, but similar to how an earthquake might, they leave those affected stunned and bewildered. And much like victims of an earthquake, the overriding objective of the people who struggle through the aftermath is to return to the status quo, to get back to "the way things were".

In reality, it is the slow steady ongoing actions that produce the greatest sustainable impact. Repeatedly demonstrating integrity in interactions with staff, clients and colleagues; communicating openly and honestly with all stakeholders, time after time; displaying emotional intelligence, even during periods of adversity; continually willing to "walk the talk" no matter what the situation – these are the forces that create lasting change in people and in organizations. A positive and highly-productive workplace culture isn't created overnight because of cherry-picked majestic gestures by managers. Rather, it is shaped over time, the ultimate accumulation of thousands of individual actions by those in positions of authority, all contributing towards the eventual workplace climate. It is the repeated individual actions by those in leadership positions that directly determine what kind of a workplace culture exists in organizations.

What kind of a workplace culture are you creating in your organization or department? Are you focusing on the occasional magnanimous deed, or on frequent consistent regular behaviours and activities that send an unfailing singular message? Are your day-to-day actions as a leader equivalent to the sporadic earthquake or to the gradual continuous erosion that ultimately, over time, creates something grand and spectacular? I would love to hear your perspective. Please share your thoughts on the blog at:

We've had a busy month here at Turning Managers Into Leaders since the last issue of the Mega Minute. Merge had regular columns printed both in The Globe and Mail and Canadian Accountant; she published two more videos in her continuing series on tips for leaders charged with implementing organizational change; and we've been working hard preparing for two upcoming open-to-the-public learning events — the Customer Service Leadership Summit in Calgary on November 15, and the kick-off for another season partnering with CPA Alberta for leadership training events in Edmonton and Calgary. Read on for further information on each of these.

A moratorium on office email?

Imagine a world in which you don't receive any work-related e-mail except during working hours. That's right: no beeps, bells or buzzes on your smartphone announcing the arrival of e-mail either overnight or during the weekend. None, nothing, nil, nada. Impossible, you say? Well, it's happening, right now, at companies in Germany. A moratorium on office email published in The Globe & Mail‘s weekend Management series on September 23.

Five ways to build a kick-ass personal brand

If you want to grow your business, obtain a better job, get noticed by your peers, take your career to the next level, or meet high-quality professional colleagues, the impression others have of you will have a huge impact on your success. But how do you build your "best" personal brand? Merge's newest column in Canadian AccountantFive ways for CPAs to build a kick-ass personal brand — isn't just for accountants; it applies to anyone in any profession.

Two more videos in our continuing series on leading change

With so much other stuff happening in the last month, it's a surprise that Merge found time to publish two more videos in our popular series on tips for leading change in your organization. But she did!

Tickets to this premier event in Calgary on November 15 are selling fast!

We are just over one month away from the Customer Service Leadership Summit, and sales have been brisk. At early bird prices that are 40% off the standard rate, this is a great way to ensure that your entire leadership team gets the same message, but these prices will only last until October 18! Merge and three of her thought-provoking and invigorating colleagues will be on the mainstage, plus there is one super-session with three proven business leaders. Guarantee your seating now before tickets sell out.

Another season of leadership training events in Edmonton and Calgary

Over the next six months, eight full-day leadership and workplace communication programs in Edmonton and Calgary from Merge, open to anyone from any organization. More details on this terrific partnership on our website.

Turning Managers into Leaders

That Merge designs custom leadership training delivered as a Series over a period of time?

Effective training is a process, not an event. If you want leadership training that really "sticks" then let Merge help you develop a series of graduated learning programs to be delivered over a period of several months. The final design could involve face-to-face training, or online/distance-learning modules; it could contain audio or video components; it could incorporate the use of social media or "virtual study groups"; it could even include peer support or one-on-one mentoring. Whatever it is, it will build in learner accountability, guaranteed! It will be uniquely "you", and Merge will expertly craft and deliver what you need to turn your managers into leaders and your people power into results. We invite you to contact us to set up a time for a no-obligation conversation with Merge about your specific needs and challenges. Once we get the dialogue going, Merge can offer you more insights and advice on how to proceed.

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