Archives for February 2016

Why Weak Leaders Attract Weak Employees

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Why would a weak employee be attracted to a weak leader? It’s really quite simple.

When an employee does not feel good about themselves, when they have low levels of self esteem or self worth, when they are not challenging themselves to pursue what they are capable of accomplishing, they are attracted to weak leaders because they know they won’t be confronted with doing so.

This morning I created a list of the ten indicators of weak leadership. I’m going to share them with you quickly because I want you to see and digest all ten indicators quickly. Here they are:

#1. Micromanaging. If you think about it, micromanagement is defined as telling someone “how” to do things without allowing the person to think and be creative for themselves. Micromanagement is a tell-tale sign that weak leadership is present.

#2. Setting unclear expectations. If unclear expectations are present, people cannot produce the highest results because the expectation is unclear. If you don’t know what road or destination you’re traveling towards you’ll never get there.

#3. You don’t hold people accountable. A weak leader will not hold people accountable because they are afraid or uncomfortable with having difficult conversations. This means number four shows up.

#4. Weak leaders accept underperformance. Underperformance is always married with a lack of difficult conversations, not holding people accountable and unclear expectations.

#5. Weak leaders play not to lose versus playing to win. Playing not to lose is synonymous with playing defensively and playing things safe. This type of thinking neglects to envision the extraordinary product or service offering which means customers suffer.

#6. Weak leaders have too many priorities. Weak leaders have thirteen priorities as opposed to the performance enhancing three to five. They also have a calendar filled with back to back meetings and no white space. The week leaders proclivity is to go from meeting to meeting to meeting. Doing so precludes you from ever doing your best work.

#7. Weak leaders focus on activities versus results. Weak leaders believe they are successful because they engaged in three activities as opposed to focusing on the result of their three activities. Successful leaders are much more concerned with results as opposed to activities.

#8. Weak leaders provide low levels of praise and recognition. Weak leaders don’t recognize other people. Weak leaders take credit for other people’s work and lack a sense of generosity. They are oftentimes more interested in themselves as opposed to others.

#9. Weak leaders are negative. Weak leaders have a negative mindset. Their most common admonition is “we’re not able to do that”, or “we shouldn’t try that because we’ve tried in the past and been unsuccessful.” Their leadership narrative is rooted in negativity and ‘can-not’ as opposed to ‘yes, we can.’

#10. Weak leaders don’t invest in themselves or others. There is a clear and direct connection between the amount of time, energy and money leaders invest in themselves and others. The connection is that you will be more successful. Investing in becoming a more successful leader, a more successful executive, a more successful entrepreneur, whatever it may be, when you invest in yourself it sends a clear message to all of those around you that an investment in getting better is important.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you are doing any of these ten things I have one recommendation: Stop It! If you are a leader, executive or entrepreneur and you see anyone in your organization doing the above ten items you must nip it in the bud immediately. Why? Because these ten indicators will absolutely erode your performance.

Be Brief – Be Succinct – Be Effective

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This week I want to talk to you about being brief, cutting to the chase, being succinct.

I was in a meeting this week that reminded me of the benefits of being brief. Imagine seven people in a room making introductions to one another as they had not met each other before. I was asked to go first, and I said, “My name is Hugh Blane and I run an advisory firm that serves executives and entrepreneurs. I help them dramatically increase the quality of their leadership, the quality of their business, and the quality of their life.” And then I shut up. I turned to the next person in the hopes that the fifteen or twenty seconds I took would be replicated. Do you know how long it took the next person? No, you would not know because you were not there. It took them seven minutes…SEVEN MINUTES! In turn it took thirty minutes to introduce seven people. It was an inefficient and unnecessary use of time.

The reason why this is germane to the Monday Morning Mindset is that in order to be crisp in your communication; which means articulating something succinctly, with brevity, with the bare essentials of what people “need to know” versus “what you can tell them”, requires a sharp and crisp mindset to do so. The thinking that you as leaders, executives or entrepreneurs bring to how you communicate is of paramount importance. It is of paramount importance because people have a shorter attention span, less discretionary time and take clues and cues about how you think from how you speak.

This week, be brief. Be succinct and then ask if anyone has any other questions. If they do, they will ask. If they don’t they won’t ask and you can move on.

Hugh’s Brevity Recommendations:

1. Remember that less is more powerful and compelling. The Gettysburg Address for example.

2. Share what people need to know and not what you know about a subject. When asked for the time avoid a discourse on making watches and tell the person it’s 5:45pm.

3. Brevity, when done well, respects a persons time. By cutting to the chase you are acting in service of the person you’re speaking with.

I will now stop talking and say that is the Monday Morning Mindset. If you want to have a fabulous week, be more succinct, be crisp in your communication, and if you do, you’re going to create a fabulous week.

Love Is A Catalyst For Great Performance

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This week I want to talk to you about love. Love is a simple four letter word that some people don’t equate with work, but I think you should.

Yesterday was Valentines Day, a day we celebrate the loved ones in our life. We may celebrate by taking people out to dinner or cooking for them at home. We may have a bottle of champagne as a way of celebrating the person we love. Whatever way you celebrate I hope you had a wonderful time doing so.

But here’s the thing. There are a lot of people in the world of work that don’t love their work. Actually, they don’t even like it. Some people who dislike their work may report to you, and quite possibly you may be the person who doesn’t like their work. Maybe you’ve concluded “love doesn’t belong in the world of work.”

Au contraire, yes it does!

Ladies and gentlemen, what I’ve seen first hand with successful people and their mindset towards work is that they love the endeavor they call “work.” Whether it’s banking, healthcare, engineering or the practice of law. Truly successful people love their work and are fully engaged. They want to learn as much as they can and in turn experiment and take risks. They want to do better in whatever they have chosen because they enjoy it so much…no, they love it.

And this is a big and, AND they love their customer. They want what is right for the customer and will do whatever they can to have the customer experience the best outcome possible.
And they love their employees. They love their employees because they know when their employees are flourishing, their business is flourishing.

This week ladies and gentlemen I’m going to ask you to make the choice to infuse love back into the world of work. Not an intellectual understanding of love, but to fall back in love with the work you do. Fall back in love with the customers you serve and the employees you work with. When you infuse love back into the workplace your business will flourish. Ad this choice takes you back to mindset. Are you entering this week with a loving mindset? Cultivate a loving mindset and you’ll have a fabulous week.

The One Strategy For A Flourishing Mindset

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This week I want to talk to you about the one strategy to have a flourishing mindset.

Just one, really? What could be the “One” strategy you can implement to have a flourishing mindset?

It’s really pretty simple. It is simple in construct but it can be harder to implement because it’s challenging in today’s hyper connected, always on and get more done, faster, cheaper and better world. Here’s my one strategy…get a fabulous nights sleep.

Ladies and gentlemen, I talk to people everyday that say they are exhausted. They say they are overwhelmed and have more worry, more anxiety, more apprehension about the world of work and that their to-do list is growing exponentially. In turn, the level of anxiety they feel is interrupting their sleep.

I heard a sleep doctor, Doctor David Chang say this, “the quality of your life throughout the sixteen, seventeen or eighteen hours that you are awake is directly linked to the quality of life you lead while you’re asleep.”

Let me put this in my terms: who I am while I’m awake dictates who I am while I’m asleep.

Generally, when busy executives have a negative mindset it is not because of a character flaw nor is it because they are less than. It could very well be that they are exhausted. So let me suggest that if you want to have a fabulous nights sleep and to feel well rested, don’t focus on the sleep…focus on your waking hours. Are you focused on the things you are grateful for? Or, are you focused on what you are frustrated by? What gets the majority of your attention while awake will also get the majority of your subconscious attention while you sleep.

If you are frustrated, can you reduce the frustration either by re-framing it or delegating it? Can you finds ways to reduce your frustration and in turn focus on what there is to be grateful for? When you reduce your level of frustration you focus on the things that are working and take that with you into your sleep life.

So, this week ladies and gentlemen, look at the sixteen or seventeen hours that you’re awake and determine where you are flourishing. Because if you’re not flourishing while you’re awake you’re not going to flourish when you’re asleep.

Mindset is not just for athletes, academics and cave dwelling mystics

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Having a positive mindset allows you to be significantly more successful in virtually any endeavor you choose to participate in. If you bring a positive mindset to your leadership, you will infuse stronger beliefs about what is possible, instill hope that the work you and others undertake will be beneficial and create optimism about the level of success that’s possible.

This is not blind naiveté or looking through rose-colored glasses. In my coaching and consulting work I’ve found that eighty percent of a leader’s success in creating greater business outcomes is mental. For example, there are leaders who believe that work is a long, slow slog through enemy territory on their belly with bullets flying over their heads. This mindset will produce lower performance one-hundred percent of the time. There are others that don’t have the best talent, but who knock the socks off their goals because of their positive beliefs and expectations.

I say this because there’s something I know about you and your team that you may or may not know. I know you and your team have within you more untapped potential, more misdirected energy, more talent that has never been exploited and more capacity for growth than you recognize.

Let that sink in for a minute. You have more potential; potential for greatness, than you recognize. That’s similar to having a Ferrari parked in your driveway but never driving it. That’s a waste of a finely tuned piece of automotive art.

In order to perform at the greatest level possible your mindset must be at the greatest level possible. How can you cultivate the greatest possible mindset? Here are my three strategies:

1. Stop settling. Far too often we settle for what we think is probable as opposed to chasing what’s possible. We’re playing not to lose as opposed to playing to truly win. I’ve done that and it’s a terrible way to live.

2. Get help. When someone has achieved what we want to achieve we should want to be coached or mentored by them. It’s time consuming and ineffective to spend time trying to learn the lessons they’ve learned through our own trial and error. We want to learn faster and more effectively from someone who we know can help us.

3. Be uncomfortable We humans are creatures of habit that try and avoid pain and discomfort whenever possible. We know that pain and discomfort are necessary to grow and flourish, but we avoid them. The vast majority of the people in health clubs are on automatic pilot when they enter the gym. They are not there to be uncomfortable. I know this too because without my trainer I would never work as hard as he pushes me. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable.

Which of the three strategies would you benefit most from implementing in 2016?