Archives for March 2015

Four Traits of Passionate People

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Video notes:

This week I want to talk to you about whether you’re passionate. Passion gets bantered around a fair amount these days in the world of work, but I’m going to suggest you stop thinking about employee engagement, and start thinking about employee passion. Let me tell you why.

Passion is the fuel that drives people. It compels people to do things that they may not know how to do. There are four traits and characteristics of passionate people. They are:

#1 is curiosity. Passionate people are always looking to learn new things. They will uncover new ideas by looking in the strangest of places, they will overturn rocks, they will open drawers that nobody else has opened before because they’re genuinely curious.

#2 They’re courageous. Passionate people are willing to be uncomfortable and they are willing to push themselves outside of the known, safe, and predictable to learn more and to take what they’ve learned and apply it in ways that challenge them.

#3 They’re committed to exemplary work. Passionate people don’t do just ordinary work…that’s not acceptable to someone who’s passionate. Someone who is passionate says, “What I want to strive for is the exemplary and that is what I will do.” Extraordinary and exemplary work…that is the line that they have drawn in the sand.

#4 They have a community. They have a community of like minded co-collaborators that are willing to challenge themselves, that are willing to learn, that are committed to exemplary growth. They come together, they share best practices, they teach one another, they learn from one another.

So they’re curious, they’re courageous, they’re committed, and they  have a community. Here’s the question though: do people describe you as passionate? Would people describe your employees as passionate? Would you describe your customers as passionate about your organization?

Ladies and gentlemen, infusing passion into an organization starts with the organizations leaders. So this week, I suggest you ask yourself those three questions. On a scale of one to ten with one being low and ten being high, how passionate am I for my work? On a scale of one to ten, how passionate are my employees? And on a scale of one to ten, how passionate are our customers for our services? If you start asking these three questions you’re going to have a fabulous week.

That’s the Monday Morning Minute. I hope you have a fabulous week, and I’ll see you here again next week. Take care.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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Passionate leaders and organizations have one thing in common…they have an idea, hope, dream or aspiration that has grabbed hold of them and won’t let go. But if you’re like many of the leaders I talk with on a daily basis, you don’t consider yourself passionate because you erroneously think being passionate is synonymous with being the Cheerleader In Chief.

There is good news. There are plenty of leaders who are passionate and don’t wave their arms, pound the desk and give eloquent and stirring speeches. Passionate leaders do have four key characteristics in common however, and when they are in place they point to that which makes the leader come alive. These four key characteristics all begin with the letter C. They are:

Curiosity: They love learning and are willing to overturn rocks to learn and see what’s possible. Their curiosity propels them to read and learn as much as they can, not out of obligation, but out of a desire to learn and grow.

Courage: They are willing to challenge their beliefs and assumptions as well as those around them. They’re not arrogant know it all types, but they do strive to be experts in their fields. They seek out divergent opinions and willingly challenge themselves to push the boundaries of what’s known.

Commitment: Passionate leaders are committed to excellence and apply what they’ve learned quickly. They do so because they love what they do and are willing to apply the best thinking to get the very best result.

Community: Passionate leaders build communities of like minded co-collaborators who also embrace curiosity, courage and commitment. They create informal and formal networks where best practices are shared and the learning and growing process is accelerated.

Here’s my personal example: The idea of converting human potential into accelerated business results has grabbed hold of me and won’t let go. I love the idea of helping leaders see their job as primarily one of helping employees flourish professionally. If leaders do that, they will have flourishing customer relationships and in turn flourishing business performance.That’s something that propels me out of bed in the morning.

If you want to know what you are passionate about there are four key questions you have to answer.

1. What do you love doing?

2. What part of your work is the most rewarding?

3. What can you get lost doing because you enjoy it so much?

4. What’s the one idea hope, dream or aspiration that’s grabbed hold of you and will not let go?

After answering these questions don’t be surprised if you become the Cheerleader in Chief.

The Three Steps to Powerful Persuasion

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Video Notes

This week I want to talk about how you can persuade someone to do something. There are three parts to this process.

#1 The first part is that you have to build a strong relationship with the person. Building a strong relationship involves having a relationship characterized by trust and respect. These are two absolutely essential ingredients if you want to influence someone. Someone must have a trusting and respectful relationship with you if you are to positively persuade them.

#2 You have to know what is important to the person you want to influence. You can’t focus on what is important to you, but rather what is important to the other person. What are their dreams, their hopes, their aspirations, their goals or their objectives. You have to understand what is important to them.

#3 You have to make their life easier. You must bring a solution that helps them get what they want. Ladies and gentleman, for you to persuade somebody to do something you have to build a trusting and respectful relationship, understand what’s important to them and then bring them solutions that will help make their life easier.

If you do these three things people will be interested, engaged and listen to you about what’s important to you. It starts with you extending an olive branch to them and to go the extra distance to see the world from their perspective, and to help them get what they want. If you do that, you will be incredibly persuasive.

That is the Monday Morning Minute. I hope you have a fabulous week, and I’ll see you here next week. Take care everyone.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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When you boil accomplishing extraordinary feats down into their basic elements there are seven focus areas that help you to think bigger and become more successful. They are:

1. Focus on an extraordinary exemplar. Find someone who has achieved something extraordinary and study them. Look for patterns of success, traits or characteristics that if you were to adopt them you too could be successful. Be careful to not waste time by reinventing the wheel.

2. Focus on a compelling aspiration. Recognize that thinking bigger is often about perfecting an idea and not inventing a new one. It is much easier to find an idea for improving an existing process or improving a customer or employee experience. Find your one idea and run with it and don’t exert energy starting from scratch.

3. Focus on a previous success. Recall a big success and what people said to you and what you said to yourself. Look for compliments and or specific acknowledgments and vow to take them and use them repeatedly. A previous success can be a precursor to future success if coupled with the other six focus areas.

4. Focus on building your confidence. One of the most effective ways to think bigger while also strengthening your confidence is to create a success file that captures your list from #3 and review it and add to it frequently. When you see the pattern of what you do successfully and how you’ve done so repeatedly, your confidence increases and your willingness to think bigger grows also.

5. Focus on what you read and watch. You can only hold one dominant thought at a time. If you plant the seeds of entitlement, victimization and defeat through the books and movies you watch, you are planting in the fertile soil of your imagination these attributes. If you immerse yourself in the biographies of people who have achieved something extraordinary and learn from them, you plant theses seeds in your imagination. The latter is far more valuable.

6. Surround yourself with big thinkers. Without question, the environment where you spend the majority of your time nurtures in you the thinking that created the culture. Regardless of your position on the nature versus nurture argument, your environment is a significant factor in your thinking and how successful you’ll be. Spend less time with people who limit themselves to safe “in the box” type of thinking and venture out to the farther reaches of what’s possible with expansive bigger thinking people.

7. Focus on how you use your time. Time management is a priority issue and not a resource issue. If something is important to you you’ll make it happen. If it’s not you’ll resist making the time available. In turn, review your calendar every morning and determine which one task or appointment you’ll think bigger about and devote time to think in advance how your avatar would approach it, how you can use your previous success as a catalyst for even greater success, or how would someone who thinks bigger approach this issue? These three questions specifically will jump start your thinking and accelerate you toward greater success.

What will you focus on today?

Purify Your Thinking

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Video Notes:

This week I want to talk to you about pruning the trees in your yard.

Ladies and gentlemen, outside my window is an apple tree that has been pruned over the weekend. That apple tree looks a whole lot better. It had long spindly little branches that had grown erratically because it had not been pruned in five to seven years. We’ve been in the house for three so we left it alone because we had different priorities during the remodeling process. But over the weekend I said to my wife, “the apple tree is starting to interfere with our view. Let’s let’s have it pruned.” We did and now I have more natural sunlight, I have unobstructed views towards Puget sound and the yard looks cleaner and better maintained. There are a lot of benefits to pruning the apple tree.

I’m going to suggest that there are things in your life that need to be pruned. For my purposes it’s not the tree in your front yard, it’s the things that are growing in between your ears. If you’ve participated in my Transformational LEadership Project you’ll know this as the purification principle. It prompts you to determine one thing from last week you thought did not work well for you. What’s one thing, either from a professional perspective or from a personal perspective? Just notice one thing, without any judgment, that did not work and commit to not doing that again next week.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you can look in your yard and see a garden that needs to be weeded, or a tree that needs to be pruned, what would lead you to believe that cannot or doesn’t happen in between your ears? I want to suggest to you that you embrace the purification principle. Find one thing every week you don’t want to replicate or duplicate next week and vow to either reduce it or eliminate it. If you’ll do that, the view that you will have of your personal and professional life will be much more expansive, you’ll have a lot more natural light coming in to your thinking and your well being, and you will enjoy your week so much better.

That ladies and gentlemen is the Monday Morning Minute. I hope you have a fabulous week, and I’ll see you here again next week. Take care.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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If you want to dramatically grow your leadership there are nine strategies you must implement in order to be successful.

1. Rapidly ask for, accept and apply feedback from an outside trusted advisor.

2. Surround yourself with internal colleagues who will tell you the truth about you and your leadership.

3. Find one aspect of your leadership to accentuate and one aspect to eliminate each week.

4. Invest quality time with the people you want to influence the most.

5. Spend time with like minded leaders who think big and who want to make a difference.

6. Devote yourself to helping your customers, employees and key stakeholders flourish.

7. Lead from your strengths and avoid playing to your weaknesses.

8. Spend three minutes thinking about your leadership purpose every morning before leaving bed and every evening before going to sleep.

9. Take fifteen minutes each day to do something from this list.

Before you stop reading this post let me remind you of one last thing. You know all of the above because you’ve heard it before. Nothing that I’ve shared is new information. But there is a huge chasm between knowing something and doing something. That’s why item number nine is so important. Number nine requires faith and perseverance. Faith in your ability to make a difference and perseverance to keep going in the face of setbacks and failures.

So, let me ask you. What item will you do tomorrow?

A Flourishing Business Requires Flourishing Employees

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Video Notes:

This week I want to talk about flourishing. Flourishing is actually a word I prefer to use over thriving. They’re synonyms,  but I like flourishing.

Flourishing is a good word because you know you can have a garden that flourishes, you can have an emotional well-being that is flourishing, and in some of my Monday Morning Minutes, I’ve talked about how my business is flourishing and how gratitude has played a part in that. But I want to chunk this down into very, very simple terms.

If you want a flourishing business, that means you have to have a flourishing relationship with your customer. Your customer has to flourish. No if’s, and’s, or but’s, your customer has to flourish. If you want your customers to flourish, then that means that your customer facing employees must be flourishing in order to create a flourishing customer relationship. If you want those individuals who have the most contact with your customers to flourish, that means you as a leader or manager, that you have to have a flourishing relationship with them.

This is really pretty simple ladies and gentlemen. If you want a flourishing business have a flourishing relationship with your employees.

How are you doing in that regard? Would you say your employees are flourishing? If they’re not, you’ll never have a flourishing business. Let’s not try and put a square peg into a round hole, it will not happen. If you want flourishing employees that allow you to have a flourishing business you have to ensure that your leadership enables employee flourishing.

What are you going do this week to make this happen? If you do something this week to help your employees flourish you’re going to have a fabulous week. You will flourish.

That is the Monday Morning Minute. I hope you have a fabulous week, and I’ll see you here next week. Take care.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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Plan your work and work your plan is a common bromide about having an effective professional life and a rewarding personal life. I agree with this premise, but believe there are three questions that need to be asked in order for you to take this insight and implement it effectively. The three questions are:

1. What do I want to accomplish?
2. Why is this important to me?
3. How can I accomplish this objective in the most effective and efficient manner?

From my perspective, these three questions are essential questions for creating an effective plan. Here’s my step by step process recommendations for using these questions.

Step One. The first step is to get crystal clear about what you want to accomplish or the result you want to achieve. This can be complex or simple. An example of something complex may be to refresh your company website which involves rewriting the copy used on the home page and developing a more user focused experience. This involves a lot of moving parts and has a higher level of complexity. Or, it might be simple. For example, your objective might be to lose five pounds in three months. In either case starting with the what is essential.

Step Two. The second step involves answering the question why is this result important to you. Why is it worthwhile for me to exert the effort necessary to accomplish this result? If you have a clear and compelling why to what you want to accomplish it will fuel your thinking and accelerate you toward your what.

Step Three. The third step is to brainstorm a list of how’s. A word of caution first. I’ve seen smart and talented people jump from what to how and get stuck. They get stuck because when they don’t know specifically how to do accomplish something they dismiss the what as being unrealistic and lose energy for moving forward. If the result you want to accomplish is important to you, and if there’s a high payoff for doing so, then developing a list of the five or seven different ways you can accomplish it is easier.

Never over complicate this process of planning. The best plans are ones that have a clear what, a compelling why and some clear and actionable how’s. Yes, your how’s will require having a deadline and smaller sub tasks to ensure things don’t become overwhelming. If you are clear about what you want to accomplish and why it is important, you can certainly find someone who has accomplished your objective successfully, learn from them and implement a plan.

The following three questions will help you establish a plan for your next step in being a transformational leader.

1. What is it that you want to accomplish in your professional life? If you look 6 to 12 months in the future what is the ideal state you want to experience? Make this as crystal clear as possible. What will the future look like, what will it smell like, taste like or sound like? Use all of your senses to envision what the future holds for you.

2. Why is this important to you professionally as well as personally? What is the payoff for accomplishing this objective? How will it benefit you, your colleagues and even your customer? Are your answers motivational and do they prompt you to take action? If you look at your answers to the why question and it doesn’t motivate you or stir you to take action quickly, then your why is not compelling.

3. What are the five to seven different ways you can go about accomplishing your desired result? Find an exemplar or someone who has already accomplished this and go interview them about specifically what did they do to accomplish their result. Do not try and reinvent the wheel. Find someone who has been successful, learn from them and implement their recommendations.

There you have it. Three questions that will make your days more effective and your nights more rewarding.

Seven Traits of a Transformational Leader

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Video Notes:

This week I want to share with you seven questions that really get at the heart as to whether or not you are a hopeful, optimistic and positive person.

This is important because hope, optimism and positivity are contagious, and leaders who exhibit these traits create the same wherever they go. If you’re able to do these seven things, then I think you become transformational and do exemplary work. So, do you want to know what the questions are? Here they are:

#1. Do you have a mindset that infuses positivity into your daily routine? Do you do that intentionally? Do you do it purposefully? That’s number one.

#2. Do you let go of past wrongs and not hold grudges? Whatever has happened, do you move on and make the best of it?

#3. Do you focus on your assets and not on your liabilities? I don’t know of anyone who has done exemplary work while focusing on their liabilities. I just don’t ever see that.

#4. Do you live without fear, regret or guilt. Really? Yeah, that’s one I had to work on myself. But I live without fear, regret and guilt and it’s absolutely essential to being transformational.

#5. Do you have positive self-talk when the yogurt hits the fan? Can you automatically move into a positive frame of reference and communicate positively through the adversity and come out on the opposite side in a positive way?

#6. Do you have a compelling purpose? Do you have something that is really compelling that you want to accomplish and that infuses your entire thinking.

#7. Do you avoid comparing yourself to others? Are you comfortable in your own skin and look at becoming the very best you you can be?

Ladies and gentlemen, the above have nothing to do with the technical or professional side of your work, but it has everything to do with the type of person, the type of thinking that you bring to work. If you bring this type of thinking to work it is contagious. When you infuse hope and optimism into your workplace, amazing things happen.

That is the Monday Morning Minute, I hope you have a fabulous week, and I’ll see you here again next week. Take care.