Archives for March 2017

The Six Hour Strategy Session

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In last weeks Monday Morning Mindset I asked what the number one question you wanted to have answered was. The first question I received came from Peter Marks. He asked:

“I want to know if I have the right organizational strategy. It’s a very competitive market for us now and I want to know if I’m headed in the right direction.”

Peter, there is one key concept about organizational strategy I want to share before I specifically answer your question. Here it is: customers don’t care about your corporate strategy. They only care about one thing and that’s whether your products or services make their life easier or better.

In turn, the best organizational strategy is to answer the question, how will we improve the customer position? This type of strategy; which can be completed in six hours maximum, is simple and powerful.

But here are some specifics. You’ll know you have the right strategy when the following five results are present.

  1. Your customers love your work. You hear repeatedly that you are making your customers life better, more successful, more rewarding or easier. This is not a one off type of comment, but rather a continual refrain from your ideal customers. Either in customer interviews or project completion meetings, clients rave about your work.
  1. Your employees live your strategy. You hear from each employee a clear, confident, compelling recitation of the corporate strategy in 60 seconds or less. When employees can do this they aren’t intellectualizing the strategy. They are living the strategy and that is a game changer for most organizations.
  1. Your sales pipeline is full of unsolicited referrals. Without question, referrals and recommendations to peers, colleagues, friends or family members is the greatest compliment you will ever receive and it is a clear indication that what you are doing is valuable and worthy of being referred. Your customers will only refer others to you if they believe that by doing so the person they refer to you will benefit from the introduction.
  1. Your P&L is flourishing. Not only are you receiving a full measure of unsolicited referrals, your current clients and prospects are willing to pay you for high value. They’re not bottom feeders looking for a deal. They’re savvy partners that recognize value and are willing to pay you for the quality of your work. This leads you to have a flourishing P&L.
  1. You’re attracting top tier talent. Not only are you receiving a continual flow of unsolicited referrals to new customers, you are also receiving a continual flow of top tier talent that want to work for you. The work you do and the value you provide has created the reputation of superlative work and an excellent place to work.

The bottom line is that an effective strategy works for the benefit of your customer, your employee and your bottom line. Which of the five results do you want to create this week?

What’s Your #1 Most Pressing Question?

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I spoke with several CEOs and entrepreneurs last week and asked what I thought was a good question, but that in hindsight turned out to be a fabulous question.

I asked, “what is the one question you have about your work, business or personal life that has yet to be answered successfully for you?” I heard the following:

  1. How do we remain committed to our values in a marketplace that is increasingly misaligned with our values?
  1. How do I reduce my sense of being overwhelmed with my t0-do list?
  1. How do I grow my business with no money to invest?
  1. How do I get my board to be less scattered, more focused and actually read my email updates?
  1. What do I do if I can’t establish clear expectations with my employees?
  1. What do I need to do to feel more successful and satisfied?
  1. How can I tame my work life in order to enjoy my personal life more?
  1. Is my partner a dumb stupid jerk or is it me?

If you are like me, you may be fascinated by the unanswered questions people have. The unanswered question a person has represents the area of concern, hope, frustration and or desire, that when addressed successfully makes life easier and more rewarding.

Over the coming weeks I’m going to answer the most common burning questions you have. I will provide you with tactical and actionable answers to these questions.

So, let me ask you.

“What is the one question you have about your work, business or personal life that has yet to be answered successfully for you?

You can hit reply to this email or you can go to my blog and respond there. But,  however you choose to respond, be prepared to have your question answered.

What do you have to lose?

Growth Requires Being Comfortable With Feeling Uncomfortable

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We all have a comfort zone, a place where things are known, safe, and predictable. However, remaining in our comfort can become the greatest inhibitor to accelerated performance. Without the discomfort of learning something new and growing beyond our current capabilities, we will not experience the greatest rewards possible.

I recently spoke with a client who said that the last three months of our working together were the most uncomfortable three months of his professional life. We specifically discussed the level of skill his leadership team had for being a magnet for top tier talent, executing on strategic initiatives faster and more reliably, and fostering the mindset of customer excellence throughout the organization.

These conversations led him to realize that he had the wrong people in the right roles, and in turn that his hopes for higher performance would be stalled if he didn’t make significant changes. This meant asking several employees to leave.

This CEO accepted that his dreams of elevated performance were dependent upon his willingness to make uncomfortable decisions and asked for ideas as to how he could become comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. I suggested the following three strategies.

  1. Link your discomfort with your purpose

The most important growth catalyst is to focus on the idea, hope, dream or aspiration you have for your work or personal life. What is the one idea you will not tolerate leaving unfinished or undone? Hold this firmly in your mind when it comes to moving outside your comfort zone because without it change becomes intellectual and not emotional. Feelings propel you to change faster than facts.

  1. Associate discomfort with growth

This strategy is a mental jujitsu maneuver. Whenever you feel discomfort it is a reminder that you are poised for growth or undergoing growth. Poised for growth in the sense that you’re confirming the old way of working is no longer working, or that you are undergoing change and growing. Both send the message that change is underway.

  1. Fail forward faster

Discomfort doesn’t have to last indefinitely. Remind yourself that pain and discomfort last as long as it takes to achieve the result you want. The faster you make mistakes, learn from them and regroup the faster you’ll eliminate the discomfort.

Which of these three strategies will serve you best this week?

If you’d like to learn how to fail forward faster, drop me a line at hugh@clarisconsulting.net and we can discuss how my work can reduce your time to success.

Are You In The Fast Lane To Success?

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Are we there yet? That’s a common question heard repeatedly by parents traveling with small children. The children are so excited to arrive at what they believe will be the most enjoyable and fun destination of their short lives, they impatiently ask “are we there yet?”

As adults we too can become impatient about arriving at our desired destinations and we lose sight of the barriers holding us back from going full speed ahead. For some of my California client’s traffic congestion is a barrier, but for the vast majority of people accelerating towards what they want or need is mental.

Accelerating toward your destination of choice doesn’t happen simply because you want it to happen. You have to address five key areas: your strategy, how good you are at execution, how you deploy your talent, your mindset and leadership.

Today I want to address mindset by sharing an example of how mindset can be an accelerator or a brake for your performance.

A client emailed me to review a decision he made regarding postponing an internal project for 90 – 120 days because he felt “the timing wasn’t right.” After our call he realized two mission critical things about arriving at his decision.

  1. You Cannot Take Your Foot Off The Accelerator

In today’s world of work there is no longer a pause period after a period of exertion. It’s gone. We live and work in a world with a constant pressure to grow. In very real and pragmatic terms he could no longer win with customers by exerting himself and then resting. Why? Because there is an unending expectation from customers for him to provide higher quality, lower prices, faster turnaround times and better terms. With customers, he realized that taking his foot off the accelerator would lead to him getting passed by his competition.

  1. His Focus Drives His Results:

He also realized that he too frequently focused on what he cannot do rather than what he can do. Yes, he has lots going on as we all do, but when he focuses on what he cannot do he’s already falling behind. He realized the desire to postpone was a form of procrastination as well as avoiding the challenges he would have with the corresponding growth of the new project. By shifting to what he could do he could remain in a state of continual progress and growth.

In our phone call he realized he didn’t need to delay the project, but rather learn how to be successful and flourish in this new world of work. He couldn’t turn back time and have work be as it was 5 – 10 years ago, (more predictable and less chaotic) and said out loud, “I need to hit the accelerator and embrace this new world of work. I need to welcome the discomfort because this is where I will grow the fastest. And this whole mindset thing Hugh, it’s a game changer.”

Yes, mindset is a game changer. The rate of speed you’re making toward your desired future is a function of your strategy, how well you execute, the talent you have, your leadership and yes, your mindset. Is your foot on the accelerator of each area? Are you focused on what you can do versus what you can’t?

If you’re not, read my Mastering Your Mindset Special Report and read Habit #2 and #7 and the 3rd success strategy for both habits. They will help you accelerate faster without spinning your wheels. You can download it here.

If you’d like to learn how to hit the accelerator for yourself individually, as a team or organization, drop me a line and I’ll bring you up to speed.