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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 the science of flying kites can teach us about leadership

The science behind the flight of kites is not only interesting, but also offers a powerful lesson in leadership. The physics of flying a kite is actually similar to that of flying an airplane. There are four forces that counteract each other in order for flight to occur. Lift and weight act vertically, and drag and thrust act horizontally.

As wind moves over the body of the kite, speed differences means that the air pressure above the kite is less than the pressure below, and as a result an upward force is created called lift. At the same time, the downward gravitational force of weight pulls the kite towards the earth. Thrust is the forward force that propels the kite in the direction of motion. While an airplane generates thrust with its engines, a kite must rely on wind or failing that, running by the kite flyer. Drag is the backward force that occurs due to the friction of the air movement.

Two things must happen for a kite to stay aloft. First, in order for the kite to launch into the air, the force of lift must be greater than the force of weight. And then, to steadily keep the kite flying, the four forces must be in balance. Lift must be equal to weight and thrust must be equal to drag.

Flying a kite offers a great metaphor for leadership. In order to get a new initiative off the ground, there always has to be some sort of impetus or energy that overcomes the status quo — the force of the lift has to be greater than the force of the weight. And then, to keep the project airborne, there have to be four forces, two counteracting the other two. Think about it, if all you had were positive forces, then the kite would not stay aloft. So to carry the metaphor further, success in any leadership initiative comes from the counterbalance of positive forces and negative forces. This analogy is worth considering the next time you face resistance, opposition, setbacks and delays in your role as a leader. Perhaps it is these very negative forces that counterbalance the positive ones and keep your initiative in flight and moving upward.

P.S. If you've ever heard the phrase "A kite always rises against the wind, not with it", it should now make perfect sense.

Well, what do you think? Do you see how the negative situations you face as a leader actually contribute to keeping all the balls that you juggle on a daily basis in the air? I'd love to hear what you think. Please share your thoughts directly on the blog at

"Work-life balance is a myth" published in The Globe & Mail

Work-life balance — that delicate equilibrium between the time you spend at work and that which you dedicate to family, social and leisure activities, and personal interests — is a myth, a non-achievable nirvana that few (if any) have realized. It's time to let this obsolete idea go, and instead embrace work-life blend. What will it take to reposition from balance to blend? That's exactly what Merge addressed in her October 1st column for The Globe and Mail. Work-life balance is a myth published behind The Globe's paywall, so if you're a subscriber, here is a link directly to their site:

New installments in our "How To Motivate Employees" video tips series

Three more practical video tips on how to inspire and energize your people.

Turning Managers into Leaders

That we can fit a short burst of leadership development into your in-house management meetings?

Ongoing leadership development for your team is an investment that reaps huge rewards, but it takes time, something that's usually in short supply! So fit it in to another meeting! If you're already bringing your entire team from across the organization for a biennial or quarterly meeting, then it's the perfect time to include a shot of leadership skills development into your agenda. Merge can custom-design and deliver a high-impact program only 1-4 hours in length. Click here to view a list of possible leadership training topics, all of which can be tailored to fit your shorter time frame. Then call us to discuss a presentation, either for a smaller select leadership group, or for your entire team.

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