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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.

Amazon's leadership forgot that 'how' is as important as 'what'

This month's Mega Minute is a little different from usual in that it references something I wrote a few weeks ago. Last month, The Globe & Mail asked me to write a piece for their Weekend Commentary & Analysis section about Amazon's controversial and some say "toxic" corporate culture. This topic is of such great importance and relevance to leaders everywhere that I felt that it deserved to be the main subject of this month's Mega Minute.

First some background. The tumult started on August 15 when the New York Times published a lengthy story about Amazon's "bruising" work culture where only the fittest survive, and the rest are discarded as collateral damage along the way. Interviews with more than 100 current and former Amazon employees painted a workplace characterized by demanding hours and a grueling pace with no room for mistakes or missteps. In this toxic environment, employees are battered with unrelenting deadlines, constant criticism, heartless disregard for personal health and life circumstances, and zero work-life boundaries — all leading to a system that is inherently designed to "churn and burn". New recruits enter the company, and those that can handle the relentless pressure are tagged as future stars, the rest burnout and leave within 2-3 years; which explains, at least partially, Amazon's high attrition rates. The story struck a chord with many, and the online world flooded with comments and social media discussion. In fact, the Times officially announced this as "the most commented-on story in NYT history".

My analysis ran in The Globe & Mail's print and online editions on August 22, exactly one week later. For me the fundamental issue comes down to Amazon's inability to balance the how with the what. Somewhere along the way, as this company grew in size, managers in the organization became so focused on results, the WHAT, that they lost sight of the HOW, the people who make results happen, those who are the proverbial wind beneath the wings. You can read my piece directly on The Globe's site here: Amazon's leadership forgot that 'how' is as important as 'what' . Occasionally your access to the direct link at The Globe's site may be restricted; if that happens, you can also download the pdf version here:

My underlying and critical message to leaders in companies everywhere: sure, codifying your workplace culture so that your employees live and breathe it is one of your most important roles, BUT it is just as vital to emphasize the balance between outcomes and processes, between the end and the means, between the what and the how. Trying to achieve the former without heeding the latter is absolutely a recipe for long-term failure.

As always, I'm interested in your thoughts and perspectives. What went wrong at Amazon? Or was all this commotion much ado about nothing? Please share your insights by adding your response in my blog:

Introverts make great leaders! - live online event on October 7

This is the ONLY online event we have scheduled for this year so don't miss out! Register and mark your calendar for October 7 for Success Strategies for the Introverted Leader: "Quiet" CAN win the day!

Introverts are generally quieter, more reserved, and less likely to speak up until they've had adequate time to think things through. Unfortunately, in a world that frequently associates outspokenness with leadership, it means that introverts are often misjudged, or even worse, undervalued for their leadership skills. If this describes you, then it's time to take control and change this erroneous perception. If you're an introvert who wants to maximize your leadership effectiveness, it's up to you to help people understand not only what you believe, but what you're thinking. You can't afford to come across as unenthusiastic or uninvolved; you'll only sabotage yourself if others question your ability to lead. The good news is that you don't have to become an extrovert in order to be a powerful leader. Introverts bring strong leadership abilities to the table; but you have to know how to showcase and use your strengths to their best advantage. And this is exactly where Merge can help!

On October 7, she will lead a live online event in which you'll learn how to make the most of your natural traits to be recognized as a competent, capable and collaborative leader who knows how to get things done. The good news is that you don't have to become an extrovert in order to be a powerful leader. Introverts bring strong leadership abilities to the table; but you have to know how to showcase and use your strengths to their best advantage. And Merge will distill the critical success factors that she has learned from thousands of very effective introvert leaders. In one power-packed hour, you'll learn how to capitalize on your strengths and avoid the pitfalls. Sign up now, you owe it to yourself to maximize your leadership potential! For more information, or to register, visit our detailed information page.

Five foolproof ways to destroy employee morale

Some subjects just seem to hit close to the heart and mind! Merge's latest column for The Globe & Mail's Leadership Lab series went viral within a matter of hours of being published on their site, and was then published in their print edition the following week. Five foolproof ways to destroy employee morale is about what some clueless managers do to completely demotivate their people! See if you have anything to add to the list!

September 7-11 was Productivity Week at ...

And Merge penned A 9-Point Plan for Overcoming Procrastination. Procrastination ... you know what it is ... when you put off doing stuff until it becomes critical, vow that you'll never put yourself in that situation again, but of course, because you were exhausted from the last sprint to the finish line, you find yourself in exactly the same condition yet another time! Learn how to break the cycle.

Turning Managers into Leaders

That Merge has over 100 leadership how-to articles available to you at NO charge?

If you've got a specific leadership challenge or issue you're dealing with, chances are that Merge has been asked that question before. Which means that she's probably written a how-to article on just that very subject! Our comprehensive article directory (along with the Turning Managers into Leaders blog, Merge's Mega Minute archives, the self-assessment library, and Merge's radio clips archive) will answer just about ANY leadership question or problem you're up against. Visit our Free Tools section to browse what is available, or go directly to the Article Archive.

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