Merge's Blog

Tag Archives: adaptability

So what is fairness anyway?

fairness - equivalent, not equalHow employees perceive fairness in the workplace is very important (as this funny video about an experiment with capuchin monkeys demonstrates), but in my conversations with leaders, I make it a point to separate equality from equivalency.  This may sound like I’m splitting hairs, but let me explain.

Fairness cannot be equal

Fairness should not (and cannot) be equal, it must be equivalent.  In other words, good leaders don’t treat all their employees exactly the same, rather they adapt their approaches to be more effective for different employees. Sure, that can translate into differences in how policies are interpreted and how rules are enforced, which may cause complaining, particularly from those employees who may feel like they are getting the raw end of the bargain.

Focus on doing the right thing … for the company AND the employee

Chances are that the employee who complains is likely the one who would complain about unfairness no matter what action or approach you took.  Continue reading

Developing people requires adaptability in your leadership style

JimClemmerAs regular readers of the blog know, I am a huge fan of metaphors. My most well-known metaphor of course is the title of one of my most requested keynotes (and my first book) – Why Does the Lobster Cast Off Its Shell? So it’s not a surprise that I am absolutely delighted that our guest blogger today is using a metaphor to illustrate one of the most important skills in leadership – adaptability when it comes to developing people. Jim Clemmer is the founder of the Clemmer Group, a firm that focuses on making people better for organizations and organizations better for people. He is also the author of seven international bestselling books and I’m proud to call him my professional colleague. His post today uses the metaphor of perennial gardening to offer an important lesson in leadership.

Leaders Grow People To Their Full Potential

I enjoy perennial gardening in our yard. As I have tended our gardens over the years, I am continually struck by how some plants will do well in some locations and terribly elsewhere in the garden. Each spring and fall I move plants around to match their preferences for particular soil, wind, and sun conditions, as well as their proximity to other plants. Continue reading

Three reasons to ignore your policy manual

My latest Leadership Lab column for The Globe & Mail went up on their site earlier today

Three reasons to ignore your company’s policy manual

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 I still stand by my unequivocal belief that corporate rule books were put together to offer guidance to leaders, not to handcuff and prevent them from using and applying good judgment. As far as I am concerned, policies are guidelines, not rules. And as the title of this Leadership Lab column suggests, I offer up three perspectives to make my point.


As always, I want to know what you think. Do you agree with me? Or am I treading on a slippery slope (downhill)? Please share your views directly on The Globe‘s site so that your insights are available to their significant readership. Or if you wish to comment in a more targeted way, drop me an email or send me a tweet (@mergespeaks). I’m eagerly looking forward to your reactions and perspectives (even if we don’t agree with one another).

And one last thing — do me one HUGE favour – help me get the word out … share the link with your staff and colleagues (easiest directly from The Globe‘s site using the share icon at the very top of the article). My objective is always to get the dialogue started so the more people who join in the conversation, the more I’ve succeeded in achieving my goal.  

I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Here is a direct link to the article in case you need to cut and paste it elsewhere:

Flexibility can be the source of power, particularly in pressure situations

StoneBowlLiquids take on the shape of whatever container you pour them into.  When you think about it, this fluidity and flexibility is a remarkable characteristic – it means that no matter what kind of bowl or pitcher or pouch is used, liquids have this amazing ability to adapt, conform and integrate.  And when these liquids are under pressure, it is this very attribute that makes them the source of power in hydraulic systems (used in many applications including vehicle brakes, landing gears in airplanes and raising mechanisms in heavy equipment).

What if people were the same way?  What if they were able to adjust, change and fit into whatever situation or condition they found themselves in?  Could they too become a source of immense power capable of stopping cars, landing planes, or moving earth (or at least accomplishments of the same caliber)?  Possible?  Continue reading