Clarifying Your Leadership Purpose

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Video Notes:

This week I want to talk to you about your purpose.

To do something on purpose means that you are doing it intentionally. I have found that the vast majority of people do not have clarity around what their purpose is and in turn, don’t lead purposefully, but rather accidentally.

One of the most valuable things you can do in your organization, in your work and your personal life is to get clear about your purpose. Ladies and gentlemen, most people don’t know how to do that…but I do, and want to help you do just that.

I’m going to make available to everyone who’s watching this Monday Morning Minute the first module of a thirteen-module program I developed called The Transformational Leadership Project. The first module deals specifically with purpose.

What’s included is a four to four and a half minute short video and a fifteen page Purpose Planner. This module asks the most targeted questions I found that help you clarify your purpose. Questions such as; what am I really passionate about? What am I really good at doing? Where do I provide the most value?

I am making this available to you because so many of you are asking how to get clear about your purpose, and I am making this available on a complimentary basis. It is my gift to my viewing audience in the hopes that you will get clear about your purpose.

What you will do is look directly below this video on the webpage, not in the newsletter, but on the web page and you’ll see the Purpose video as well as the Purpose Planner for you to download.

Also, in the month of November I will do a teleconference on transformational leadership and the role purpose plays in organizational transformations. This is my way of saying thank you to my viewing audience for your participation with my content and for your feedback.

So if you want to get clear about your leadership purpose, you’ll find everything you need in my video and in the planner below it. I hope that you find it valuable.

The Transformational Leadership Project

bonus materials

Free download: Purpose Planner

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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ALERT: You only have ONE chance to make a good first impression with new customers.

Gone are the days where customers will give you a second or third try. We live in an culture where doing things accurately, quickly and with a deep regard for the customer experience is expected.

My wife and I went to dinner at one of Seattle’s finer steak restaurants. We ordered a very nice bottle of wine and ordered dinner which included steaks cooked medium rare. When our steaks arrived Alyson’s wasn’t cooked as requested. When we mentioned this to our waiter he told Alyson in a dismissive and definitive tone “that’s how you ordered it.” Alyson reminded the waiter that we ordered our steaks together and that mine was cooked just right. The reply? “That is the way you ordered your steak. Now if you want me to take this back to the chef and ask him to fix it I will, but that is how you ordered your steak.”

After dinner I told the manager about our experience and he apologized profusely and offered to buy us dinner as a way of showing it was simply a one off situation. We declined his offer. Why? When you spend several hundred dollars on a dinner there are far too many other restaurants where we can be assured of excellent food, superior service and an experience that is memorable. We declined the managers offer because there wasn’t a compelling reason to return to the restaurant and give them a second chance.

Any business that wants to create a memorable experience for their customers must work tirelessly to create highly differentiated customer experiences that delight their customers. If they don’t their customer will not return and in turn let others know about the lackluster experience they had.

If you want to make a good first impression with new customers or enhance the experience existing customers have, leaders and teams must answer three key questions:

1. Who is our ideal customer and what is really important to them?

2. What part of your work needs to be highly differentiated in order to please our ideal customer and meet their needs?

3. Are our ideal customers happy or even delighted? If not, why not? If they are, why are they?

My Best Monday Morning Minute Advice Ever

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Video Notes:

The one piece of advice I have for you this week may be some of the best advice I’ve ever given on the Monday Morning Minute. Do you know what it is?

It is to … do your best work, and then go home.

I’m not trying to be cavalier or flippant. Ladies and gentlemen, the world of work is more frenetic and stressful now and many employees are complaining that the amount of stress they’re experiencing is overwhelming.

To be clear though, my recommendation of doing your best work and then going home does not mean that you should not be fully engaged in providing the maximum value to your organization or that you care less. Au contraire. Do your very best work for your senior executives, for your team, for whomever is your key customer and then go home and spend time with people that you love and that nourish you. If you don’t do this then when you return to work you will be less productive and unable to provide value because you’ll be worn down and spent.

My best advice for you this week? Do your best work and then go home and spend time with people you love and that nourish you. If you do that you will have a fabulous week.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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Doubt or fith, opposite signs
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If you are going to doubt one thing the one thing you must doubt is your doubts.

What we doubt about ourselves; either personally or professionally, is not real. Our doubts are rooted in negative or painful past experiences or a fear about what might happen in the future. Both inhibit us from living fully in the present moment and overcoming our doubts.

There are three ways to doubt your doubts:

1. Focus on the upside: Keep in mind that the areas of your life where you hold you the biggest doubts also holds the potential for the greatest benefit and reward. By overcoming your doubts you create a new future unencumbered by self-doubt and uncertainty.

2. Expand your perspective: Look around your friends and associates and ask if anyone else has accomplished what you want to accomplish while in a similar situation? If it has been accomplished successfully then you know it’s possible.

3. Execute on your passions: Without exception, the people who accomplish the most astounding feats are passionate about what they do. They have fallen in love with an idea, a hope or an aspiration that is compelling for them and that infuses them with hope and optimism.

Which of your doubts do you need to start doubting?

Reminder: Join me on Friday, September 26th at 9:00am for a teleconference entitled, “Mastering Your Mindset”. To learn more check my teleconferences page here.

Positivity and Perseverance

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Video Notes:

Good morning everyone, my name is Hugh Blane, it’s the Monday Morning Minute and this week I want to talk about positivity and perseverance. Now sometimes you might find that inside your organization those two words are not fully present, that they are in short supply. I want to suggest to you that I’ve found five reasons why they are in short supply.

Here’s what they are.

#1. There’s no clear and compelling purpose that people have said yes to.

#2. There are far too many priorities on people’s planner. They may have somewhere between eight and ten priorities as opposed to three.

#3. There are promises being made by others inside the organization that are unrealistic and these promises then put undue pressure on others. In turn, people cannot be positive, nor can they persevere in the face of those.

#4. There’s no one personifying positivity and perseverance so there’s not a role model or avatar.

#5. There’s simply not enough praise being spread throughout the organization. There are people who just move from one task to another without ever stopping to praise people for a job well done.

Rapid Action Challenge

Review the five areas above and ask:

1. Which one of these really needs to be addressed inside my organization?
2. What’s the one thing I can do this week that would help me get better at #1 above?
3. How can I role model my answer to #1 throughout my organization?”

Positive change starts with one person role modeling something important to them which in turn creates a cascading effect.

That’s it ladies and gentlemen, I hope you have a fabulous week and I’ll see you here again next week.

Reminder: Join me on Friday, September 26th at 9:00am for a teleconference entitled, “Mastering Your Mindset”. To learn more check my teleconferences page here.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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The army and it's weapon on land, sea and air
photo courtesy of iStock Photo

Periscopes allow a submarine to visually search for targets and threats on the surface of the water and in the air from shallow depths. If they are spotted though, the submarine becomes a target and their primary defense is to dive to the ocean floor and take refuge from the soon to follow depth charges.

One employee I met recently told me how she felt stranded on the ocean floor of her organization. She lamented that after six months of having a new senior executive in role she remained in the dark as to what the executive wanted for strategic priorities. After town hall meetings and the much talked about “listening tour” this leader had submerged and gone silent as to what the organization would strive to accomplish. What the manager wanted was a clear line of sight as to what she could focus on in order to be successful. What she saw on her radar was nary a blip.

Far too many employees are working in environments where they are submerged underwater and unable to fix their sights on a financial or operational target. They will remain significantly underutilized until their leader answers the following three questions:

1. Where are we going?
This is the fundamental question every employee wants to know the answer to. Without a clear destination employees will never perform at their highest levels. It’s similar to driving in fog. When you can’t see the road in front of you you slow down, tighten your grip on the steering wheel and drive defensively.

2. Why are we going there?
While having a five year old continually ask you why questions can become tiresome, in the world of work when employees ask “why” it’s an invitation into greater enthusiasm for the vision. Answering “why” questions clarifies the future state further, communicates that all options have been considered and infuses emotion into the desired future.

3. What’s in it for me to go there?
Many leaders answer the preceding two questions, but they neglect to answer the most important question on every employees mind…”what’s in it for me to go there with you?” This is not a selfish question. It’s a highly practical question. Employees want to know what the payoff is for exerting greater effort to achieve a leaders vision. If there is not a compelling payoff leaders need to be prepared to have one of their greatest assets remain dormant.

Three key questions:

1. Are you crystal clear as to your organizational priorities?

2. Are your employees crystal clear about their role in helping you achieve your priorities?

3. Which of the three questions above needs the most clarification?

You are the Architect of Your Life

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Video Notes:
Good morning everyone, my name is Hugh Blane, this is the Monday Morning Minute.

This week I want to talk to you about: You are the architect of your personal and professional life. There’s a corollary to that in that if you are the architect of your life then you are one hundred percent responsible for the level of happiness you experience in your life.

Some of you will agree with this. If you do, that means you are also one hundred percent responsible for the amount of unhappiness you have in your life.

Ladies and gentlemen, in my consulting and coaching work what I find is that people lead oftentimes accidental lives as opposed to purposeful lives. Accidental lives lead to lives characterized by dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

If you want to live a purposeful life then this week’s rapid action challenge is to do three things.

#1. Write down three things; the talents, skills, and gifts that you have that you are really, really good at. Give me three of them, give me five of them, put them down on paper.

#2. What are you passionate about? What is that one idea that has grabbed hold of you and simply will not let go?

#3. Where do you provide the greatest value? Where is the intersection of your talents, skills and passion? That’s where you’ll find the greatest need for you to show up.

If you answer these three questions, you will live a life on purpose and you will be the architect of a life that is truly rewarding and enriching, and that is contagious throughout your organization.

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

Reminder: Join us on September 26th at 9:00am for a teleconference entitled, “Mastering Your Mindset”

Rapid Action Challenge:

#1. Write down three things; the talents, skills, and gifts that you have that you are really, really good at.
#2. What are you passionate about? What is that one idea that has grabbed hold of you and simply will not let go?
#3. Where do you provide the greatest value? Where is the intersection of your talents, skills and passion?

Quote:

My passion and great enjoyment for architecture, and the reason the older I get the more I enjoy it, is because I believe we – architects – can effect the quality of life of the people.

Richard Rogers

Changing Your Behavior Part 2

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Changing Behavior Part 2 from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Within the executive halls of organizations in every industry and in every country there is a push to capitalize on Big Data. Specifically, data that shows how customers shop for products and services, how they spend money and what they think, believe and perceive about an organization.

Big Data. Information Concept.
Photo courtesy of iStock Photo

Granted, it’s not a good idea to guess when it comes to your customer, but it’s even more important not to guess about what employees think, believe and perceive about working for your organization. If you want to know what employees think, believe and perceive here are five strategies for collecting actionable data about employee perceptions:

1. Be curious and caring. First and foremost caring and curiosity are essential. Without both all efforts to learn about employees is hollow and academic.

2. Be open. No matter the forum, ask open ended questions that start conversations about what’s working and what’s not. And then repeat number one.

3. Be focused. Schedule focus groups, go on a tour of plants and facilities at times other than your regularly scheduled hours, hold town hall meetings and interview key employees to learn specifically what employees think. And yes, repeat number one.

4. Be responsive. Take action to address the issues you’ve learned about and then pay attention to the reaction from employees. The reaction you receive is as important in learning about your employees as is data gathering. Yes, I’ll say it again. Repeat number one.

5. Be tenacious. Learning about employee perceptions requires that you keep in mind that some employees will only tell you what’s really important to them after they see you repeatedly soliciting feedback. A one time request for information may come across as obligatory. A repeated request rings of real concern. Tenacity requires a keen sense of, you guessed it, curiosity and caring.

Which strategy will you start with today?

How to Adopt New Behaviors

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Video Notes:
Good morning everyone, my name is Hugh Blane. This is the Monday Morning Minute, and this is the minute where I answer a viewer’s question, and this viewer’s question comes from Mike Murphy. Mike asked a really good question.

They’re in the process of doing a cultural transformation, and they’ve done some exercises about certain traits or characteristics that are holding the organization and the senior leadership team back. So Mike is now asking the question “how do we adopt new behaviors and move the team and the organization forward in the best way possible? How do we do that?”

Mike that’s a great question because what you are really getting at is how do we as human beings change? What is it that we need to do so that we can role model this and to be an exemplar to other people in our company forward? I think there are three steps Mike, and they all begin with the letter “A.”

#1. The very first ‘A’ is that there needs to be acknowledgement, that you individually first need to acknowledge that a particular trait or characteristic you want to exemplify is important to you, is important to your team, and is important to the organization. There has to be an acknowledgment that it’s important. If it’s not important then it’s a moot point, that’s number one.

#2. Number two is you need to accept one hundred percent responsibility for exemplifying this. You need to say, “no matter what, I am one hundred percent responsible for the behavior that has been exhibited in the past as well as the behavior that is going to be exhibited in the future.”

#3. Number three, and this is where the rubber meets the road, is the adoption piece. It is actually quite simple. Whatever behavior, trait, characteristic you want to exemplify, you earmark fifteen minutes every day to work on exemplifying it. I suggest you do this first thing in the morning when you get to the office. You earmark fifteen minutes to exemplify that particular trait or characteristic no matter what it is. You will adopt one thing that you will do for fifteen minutes every day. Over time you’ll build on this and find that some days you’ll do it for thirty minutes or even forty-five minutes because you’ll get into a rhythm.

But Mike here’s the crucial aspect of this Monday Morning Minute. This change always starts with acknowledgment, it moves on to acceptance, and then it proceeds to adoption. What is one thing you will commit to doing everyday for fifteen minutes?

Mike I would suggest that if people don’t move through to the adoption phase then they haven’t taken full responsibility for their behavior. That is a whole other separate Monday Morning Minute though.

That’s my suggestion Mike. So the rapid action challenge for this week is for each one of you to ask what is the one behavior that you acknowledge needs to be changed in my team, in my organization, in my leadership? Do I take one hundred percent responsibility for it? What is the one thing I can do this week to adopt this behavior and to exemplify it for fifteen minutes every day? If you do that you’re going to have an incredibly successful week.

That’s the Monday Morning Minute. I hope you have a fabulous week. Thank you for your question Mike. Don’t forget to send in all of your questions. I’ll see you here next week. Take care.

Rapid Action Challenge:

1. What is the one behavior that I acknowledge needs to be changed in my team, in my organization, in my leadership?
2. Do I take one hundred percent responsibility for it?
3. What is the one thing I can do this week to adopt this behavior and to exemplify it for fifteen minutes every day?

Quote: “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Viktor E. Frankl