Converting A “I want a deal” Mindset To A “I want The Highest Value” Mindset

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Do you have a “looking for a deal” mindset or a “looking for value” mindset?

I was involved in a conversation the other day where someone asked my wife about purchasing a standup paddle board, and if by attending an event she recommended they could get a good deal. This conversation piqued my interest because the person asking is a successful business owner and someone with a positive mindset.

I believe they asked the wrong question. As a successful entrepreneur they should not ask if they can get a deal. They should ask whether by attending an event they can find a standup paddle board that provides them with the highest value.

This is an important distinction. When we look for a deal, what we are looking for is either a reduced price or for someone to add something to the pot as a sweetener. A two for one deal for example or a 20% discount.

When you go through your day with a “looking for a deal” mindset you cannot simultaneously cultivate a “looking for the highest value mindset”. High value relates to something enriching, rewarding and beneficial or valuable. It’s something with a high return on investment.

One of the principles we live by at Claris Consulting is the high value / high return on investment principle. For example, if a client invests $10,000 with us we want to turn the $10,000 invested into $100,000 worth of value for the client. This ROI mindset permeates all our interactions and conversations.

If you are going through your professional life looking for a deal you are not looking for, creating and communicating value. The people you interact with pick up on this subtle clue and in turn try to get a deal from you. They look for a deal with regard to your fees, and in turn your revenue and profit goes down.

If you want to increase your fees, revenues, and or profitability, you should stop focusing on getting a deal and start focusing on providing extraordinary value to the people that matter most to you and that are willing to pay you a commensurate fee for the high value you undoubtedly provide.

This week, invert your mindset. Start thinking about how you can create and communicate extraordinary value in each conversation you have. When you focus on the value of your high return on investment ideas, products or services, your revenue, profitability and performance will go up.

The 3 Strategies For Cultivating a Flourishing Mindset

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This is a wonderfully clear purified glass of water that just came from my water purification system in my kitchen. This is a glass of water that is filthy dirty. If I were to host you and offer you these two water choices, which would you choose? You’re going to choose the clear purified water.

Let’s consider for a moment that the glasses represent a person’s mindset. If this is the mindset of an employee that is interacting with one of your customers, what would the customer experience be like? It will be 180 degrees different than if it were from this glass of water. One represents clear thinking and without impurities. It is healthy for us and is appealing. This dirty glass is the opposite. This begs the question, which do you want your customer to experience?

I’ve been studying mindset for over twenty years and I’ve concluded that a leader’s primary job is to create an employee mindset that cultivates a customer experience that is rewarding and highly differentiated. That means that there are times when an employee’s mindset needs purifying. How do you do that? If you’re a leader or manager or you’re someone that sees a negative mindset, I suggest you do three things:

  1. Clarify the desired customer mindset. You have to get crystal clear about the mindset you want the customer to have. You have to articulate what each customer will feel, think, know and believe about your organization.
  1. Clarify the desired employee mindset. Leaders get crystal clear about what kind of mindset is required in order to create the customer mindset. By that I mean, leaders get very specific about the behaviors, attitudes and thought processes an employee will cultivate in order to create the customer experience.
  1. Measure your mindset. One of the most important questions a leader and employee then asks is, “did I do my best today to cultivate the mindset outlined in step two?” I suggest a self-rating system of between one and ten for each trait. Also, once a month at a team meeting, each employee and manager shares where they have been successful and where they are struggling and best develops best practices.

Ladies and gentlemen, you do not want a dirty mindset showing up in front of your customers. You want a clear and compelling mindset…and it is your primary job to create it. If you utilize these three steps you’ll cultivate a customer experience that will be truly extraordinary. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the best way to purify your mindset, purify your employees mindset and create a mindset that the customer really wants to experience.

What You Tell Yourself Matters More Than What Others Tell You

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There is one idea I want all of my coaching clients to understand and own. It is that:

“What you tell yourself is of far more importance than what others tell you.”

You see, what happens in between your ears is incredibly important. It’s so important that I wrote the Mastering Your Mindset special report to address the nine negative thinking habits all of us engage in. Here’s an example of how important what you tell yourself is.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting two people who have been watching the Monday Morning Mindset for a couple of years. I had a hard copy of the report and I asked one of the individuals if they would like a hard copy. They said, “I have an electronic version, but I’d love a hard copy also”. I asked, “what is it about a hard copy that’s appealing?” They replied, “Because I’m old.”

I stopped and said, “Wait a minute. What did you say? Did you say you are old?” I suggested; actually, I may have blurted out, “How you describe yourself determines the way you show up with other people”. Do you want to describe yourself to others as old?”

The most successful clients I have describe themselves in positive terms. They may describe themselves as generous, grateful, vibrant, invigorated, intriguing or interested in others. Imagine if you described yourself in this way. What would be the impact on your behavior? It would be powerful because the words we use to describe ourselves are planted in the fertile soil of our thinking, and they take root and they grow.

Now there is no real harm if someone says I want a hard copy of your special report because as I get older I need glasses. That’s okay, but I would even put a positive spin on needing glasses. I would say; “It’s much easier for me to assimilate information in a hard copy as opposed to electronically”. It’s a small but positive twist ladies and gentlemen, but the small twists we implement make a huge difference.

This week, pay very close attention to the words you use to describe yourself, your work and your customer interactions. To take this idea of using positive self-descriptors to heart, I recommend you create a list of four or five vital and invigorating words that best describe you and use them everyday for a week. When you do, you will have a much more effective workweek.

The Worlds Simplest Formula For A Happy Customer and Employee

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Do you know what the world’s simplest formula for a happy customer is?  It is surprisingly simple.

Here it is: Do what you say you’re going to do.

Doing so results in happy customers as well as happy employees.  When you articulate what you stand for as a business and or as a leader and act accordingly you’re seen as credible. You build trust and respect with the people who matter most to you because you do what you say you will do.

The moment you fulfill your promise a customer and or employee feels good because their interaction and transaction with you was completed in a way that’s in alignment with what they expected. In essence, you’re making a persons life easier because you are confirming they made the right choice in choosing to do business with you. When you don’t act in ways consistent with what you said you’d do your credibility goes down, trust goes down, and customer loyalty goes down also.

I’m experiencing that firsthand where I have reached out to a particular organization where I shop and asked for an update on a particular product. Not once, but twice. I haven’t heard back from them. The first time I asked, they said, “yes, we’ll get right back to you.” One week went by. One week! And I didn’t hear anything. Then I tried to be somewhat light and said, “hey, whoever has the information about where the particular product is, can you go hit them over the head, can you shake their shoulders and tell them, the customer wants to know? And we can’t tell them one or two more weeks. He wants to know specifically.” That was on Monday of this week. Five days later…no call. Nothing.

So now I’m in a difficult situation. I like the people and I like the product, but they don’t do what they say they’re going to do. Now I’ll have a conversation with the store, but some of your customers are not like me and won’t have a conversation with you. They’ll just leave.

Ladies and gentlemen, this week; where are you fulfilling the promise you’ve made to your customers or your employees? Where are you doing this well? Identify it and celebrate it.

And then ask, “where am I not living up to my promises? Where am I not doing what I said I was going to do?” If it is with a customer, TODAY, not tomorrow, implement one strategy to alleviate this because it is the death knell to your business.

Do not let today go by without identifying one place where you’re fulfilling your promises and one area where you’re not. If you do so you’re going to have a fabulous week!

The Freedom To Choose Is Yours

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Fifty years ago today an extraordinary event happened in the United States that took another fifty years to replicate. On June 20th, 1966, by a vote of 307 to 0, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve the Freedom of Information Act. An unprecedented piece of legislation that Lyndon Baines Johnson did not want to sign, but signed reluctantly on July 4th, 1966. This legislation went into effect on July 4th, 1967.

Why is this important to you on this Monday June 20th, 2016? One of the admonitions I repeat to my coaching and consulting clients is that by living in the United States we have the freedom to choose the quality of our professional and personal lives. Make no mistake about it. It is a choice.

And this choice does not require the same kind of bare knuckle brawling type of politics that took place in 1966 to pass the Freedom of Information Act. No, this choice simply requires that we have a conversation with ourselves and ask, “If I look at December 31st, 2016 with the full recognition that my mindset is a catalyst for me achieving it, what is it that I want? Is my mindset aligned with what I want? And if not, how do I get it aligned with it?”

This will sound overly simplified but I’m going to say this anyway, knowing that you can vote unanimously to live a more rewarding an enriching professional life, what choice will you make today? Will you make the conscious choice to live a rewarding and enriching life? And if you have or will make that choice today, how are you going to live it out? How are you going to exemplify your choice? How will you become an exemplar for other people so that you then give permission to others to do the same? The reality is that your choices have the potential of liberating other people.

So this Freedom of Information Act anniversary can be used as a catalyst to live your best life ever and that’s what I hope you will do on this June 20th, 2016. Think of today as the Freedom of YOU day, and I cannot wait to hear what choices you are going to make.

What do corporate fraud, prison breaks and leadership have in common?

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What do corporate fraud, prison breaks and leadership have in common?

They’re all an inside job.

At Enron the corporate fraud there evaporated $78 billion worth of value. It would never have happened were it not for the CEO, Jeff Skilling’s inside knowledge. The Clinton Correctional Facility where two prisoners escaped would never have happened were it not for the seamstress working in the correctional facility that provided the necessary tools to escape.

Leadership is an inside job also. In my coaching and consulting work I see leaders in the face of adversity crumble under the pressure. I listen to leaders conversations and hear their internal self-talk, they too are crumbling. Leadership cannot crumble under pressure and you enjoy extraordinary performance.

So, I am reminding you this week that leadership is an inside job. When leaders get their inside set right; and by that I mean what happens between their ears, when leaders get their mindset aligned / pointed in a direction that is rooted in success, abundance, and about cascading excellence throughout their organization, they experience the performance benefits they want inside their organization.

But, here’s a tricky question for all leaders to ask. When you look at situations inside your organization that are not going well, rather than finding blame outside of yourself, ask  “what is it about my leadership that’s allowing this situation to happen?” Or, “what is my leadership hindering?”

When you start thinking about leadership as an inside job first, what you’ll do is set out to master your mindset. You’ll see what transpires between your ears as THE most important leadership tool you have access to. If things are not working in between your ears you’re going to be toast.

As a reminder, if you have not downloaded the Mastering Your Mindset special report you must do so.

It will help you see leadership as an inside job.

When You’re Afraid…Start Paddling

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On Wednesday of last week Alyson and I drove to Hood River, Oregon to pick up her new Stand Up Paddle Board. It was a whirl wind trip, but one that provided me with a potent reminder of the power of just starting.

We went white water rafting on Thursday morning with a fabulous outfitter by the name of Zollers Outdoor Odyssey in White Salmon. In the safety talk before hitting the water Mark mentioned one of the cardinal rules when hitting a rapid…keep paddling! Even though you’re afraid and want to stop paddling…start paddling.

Our guide was Seth, a 20 something with an unbridled enthusiasm for rafting and helping those in his charge have a wonderful time. Seth has only been guiding for one year, and while that would normally make me nervous, after hearing Seth’s story I was convinced Seth was the best guide for us. Why is that?

Seth has a “yes, I can mindset.” When Seth learned about a guiding school hosted by Mark at Zollers he said yes to going, but didn’t have the money. I can’t remember if he begged or borrowed the money, but he attended guide school. After graduating he traveled the river over 50 times before taking a group down the river solo. Yes, he was required to learn the river by Mark the owner, but he LOVED rafting so much he was excited and eager to travel the river and learn as much as he could. He was so enthusiastic that he didn’t limit his learning solely to the names of the rapids, bends and falls, he set out to learn about the history of the land that cradled the river for seven and a half miles.

We’ve all met people like Seth who have what we euphemistically call a “spark” or a “fire in their belly.” In my consulting and coaching work I recommend leaders hire for mindset and train for skill set. Why? We’re drawn to people like Seth because their first answer to how they’re going to get something done is a simple and unequivocal “yes.” They know they want to do something and they start. They don’t have all the steps laid out in front of them. They just know they have to start. They do what Mark said to do when hitting a rapid…they paddle knowing that paddling is the only route to their destination.

Hugh’s Monday Morning Mindset Challenge:

1. Name the one area of your personal or professional life where the fire is on the verge of being extinguished.

2. Name the destination where you want to arrive if the fire was blazing with regard to question #1.

3. Say yes to one thing this week that fuels your fire. Don’t try and have all of the plans laid out in advance as that is nine times out of ten procrastination. Just say yes and start paddling until you make it through the rapids of not knowing. You may get wet, but the alternative of sitting on the shoreline with no fire in your belly is far more scary than a five foot waterfall.

Happy paddling!

The Leadership Mindset Assessment

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This week I want to talk to you about The Leadership Mindset Assessment. And because we’re all so used to acronyms, that’s the LMA for short.

One of the things I have heard overwhelmingly from people who downloaded the Mastering Your Mindset Special Report is they want to have some way of gauging how well they’re doing with regards to their mindset. To help with that, I created the Leadership Mindset Assessment, which you’ll see in the body of this Monday Morning Mindset.

The assessment comprises ten questions you ask yourself about your mindset. You rate yourself on a one through ten scale. You’ll give yourself a one if you either don’t have this item or don’t do it, and you’ll give yourself a ten if you do this regularly and or have it in place. Answer all of the questions and then ask the three really important questions that follow.

  1. I have a clearly defined and communicated leadership purpose
  2. I am currently and actively engaged in growing my leadership mindset AND skillset
  3. I devote a minimum of 10% of my workweek to thinking holistically and strategically
  4. I set, pursue and accomplish my priorities with fun and enthusiasm
  5. I track leadership results and share them with a trusted partner weekly
  6. The people I interact with most say I infuse hope, confidence and optimism into the workplace
  7. I read broadly and welcome opposing viewpoints and perspectives
  8. I’m committed to having a positive impact on one persons life, both personally and professionally, daily
  9. I am comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity
  10. I am having fun, love life and savor my personal and professional life

Monday Morning Insight Challenge

  1. Where am I today? This question will help you self-assess and take ownership for where you are today.
  2. Where was I one year ago? When you scores from one year ago are compared to today one of two things has happened. Your scores have gone up or gone down. If your scores have gone up, do more of that! If your score has gone down, then it’s likely your job has changed, your responsibilities have changed or something in your family life has changed. I say that because most people don’t just fall of the tracks, something has happened. The follow on question is, “what prompted me to have a lower score one year later, and what can I do about it?”
  3. Where do I want to be in one year? When you answer where do I want to be in one year you can identify one of the twenty-seven strategies from the special report and implement that to help you master your mindset.

The most important thing for you to do this week is to complete the Leadership Mindset Assessment and ask yourself my three really important questions. If you do that, you’re going to gain insights and know what to implement.

Download your Mastering Your Mindset Special Report


The Simple Formula For A Flourishing Business

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Here is a simple yet powerful question.

Are you flourishing as a leader?

I ask because there is a simple formula my most successful clients use to achieve accelerated results. It goes as follows:

1. Flourishing businesses have flourishing patients/clients/customers.

2. Flourishing customers are created by flourishing employees.

3. Flourishing leaders create flourishing employees.

As I wrote in my Special Report, Mastering Your Mindset: Nine Negative Habits That Hold Executives Back and How to Break Them for Accelerated Business Performance, more often than not, the lack of flourishing is not a skill set issue, but a mindset issue. Here are two examples.

I heard of a hospital CEO who wanted to recruit a cardiovascular surgeon scheduled to leave his current hospital. The surgeon was a brilliant physician, had a history of positive clinical results and brought an assured profitability to the hospital. When the interview panel of six SVPs returned a unanimous “do not hire” recommendation due to the physician “not valuing their team culture, argumentative on small issues, a poor listener, dismissive of all employees other than physicians as well as holding a negative view of the CEO”, the CEO hired them anyway. The reason? “You’re being overly critical and you can learn how to work with him.”

This CEO dismissed the feedback of a smart and talented group of SVPs and communicated his real criteria in decision making: money trumps culture along with my VPs opinion. Money is important, but when financial performance becomes the key strategic driver and culture is dismissed without significant thought, long-term performance is on life support.

I also heard from an entrepreneur of a brilliant employee whose skill set was perfectly aligned with an emerging technology the company needed, but whose mindset held a “my way or the highway” way of doing his work. When he was pushed to choose between the corporate culture of delighting customers and his way of doing his work, the customer came in second. Any time a customer comes in second to an employee preference for doing their work flourishing is destined for failure.

These two examples represent the cancer the nine negative thinking habits are to an organization. And as is the case with cancer, oftentimes leaders don’t know they have a cancer in the workplace until the only solution is a massive and radical medical intervention.

To help you identify if there is a cancerous mindset inside your organization, I developed my Leadership Mindset Assessment. On the following ten questions rate yourself using a 1 – 10 scale. One is I don’t have or do this regularly, and ten is yes, I have and do this regularly. You can also apply this assessment with direct reports.

1. I have a clearly defined and communicated leadership purpose.

2. I am currently and actively engaged in growing my leadership mindset AND skill set.

3. I devote a minimum of 10% of my workweek to thinking holistically and strategically.

4. I set, pursue and accomplish my priorities with enthusiasm.

5. I track leadership results and share them with a trusted partner weekly.

6. The people I interact with most say I infuse hope, confidence and optimism into the workplace.

7. I read broadly and welcome opposing viewpoints and perspectives.

8. I am comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity.

9. I’m committed to having a positive impact on one persons life; both personally and professionally, daily.

10.I am having fun at work and at home.

Hugh’s Mastering Your Mindset Challenge:

There are three important questions that need answers after completing this assessment. Where am I today, where was I one year ago and where do I want to be in one year?

1. If your score was lower one year ago, what have you done to improve? Quite simply, do more of what made you successful.

2. If your score was higher one year ago, identify what caused your score to decrease and identify one strategy for increasing it.

3. Where do you want to be in one year?

Identify one or two areas where you want to flourish and choose two or three strategies from the Mastering Your Mindset special report to accelerate your progress.

There is one final key point you can take from this article. You cannot have a flourishing business without flourishing leadership. It’s that simple and that powerful.

Are your flourishing as a leader?

If you want to download your complimentary copy of my special report, use this link.

Your Two Best Responses Are…

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This week I want to talk to you about your two best responses. What do I mean by that? I’m going to reference habit number two and habit number five from the Mastering Your Mindset special report. If you haven’t gotten your copy, there is a link at the bottom of this Monday Morning Mindset.

I was at Starbucks this morning listening to a conversation between a barista and a regular customer. As Starbucks employees do, they greet their customers with a “hi Joe, hi Betty, how’s your day going?” With the regulars they know better they may ask what they have planned for the rest of the week?

As the barista was engaging this one customer, she said, “Do you have plans for the summer?” His response was, “no, I’m a classic workaholic.” She then said, “I know that you’re not from around her, but Washington state has a lot of great camping. Would you enjoy that?”  A good suggestion and a good way to engage a customer. He says, “no, I’m from Chicago, I wouldn’t even know what to do.”

Now ladies and gentlemen, I want to talk to you about the two messages that gentlemen is sending to himself. The first is “I’m a classic workaholic” so therefore the only thing that’s really important is work. Anything outside of work, I don’t necessarily engage in.  If that’s the message you’re telling yourself then you’re going to attract more of that.

The second thing he said was that people from Chicago don’t know how to camp, and if they wanted to, they wouldn’t even know how to start. The message “I wouldn’t even know where to begin” is very disempowering.

I think there are two best responses in a situation where someone suggests something to you. The first is, “thank you for the suggestion, but I don’t like camping.” This is a good response because it clearly and without unnecessary explanation says, this is what I like and this is what I don’t like.

The second response is, “wow, I hadn’t thought of that. I don’t know how to camp, do you have a suggestion about how I could learn how to do that?”

These are both good responses; “I don’t want to, or I don’t know how, but maybe you could suggest a way for me to learn how.” Both of them are empowering. The gentleman in Starbucks this morning had disempowering responses.

Ladies and gentlemen, this week I want you to think about habit number two and habit number five, and to specifically remember this:

“what you tell yourself is far more important than what anyone else tells you.”

This week be very clear what you tell yourself about what type of week you want. When you do, you’ll create the kind of week that leaves you feeling much more empowered.