Happy Holidays

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Video Notes:

This is a little bit of a deviation from a traditional Monday Morning Minute.

Today is the twenty second and it’s kind of a big week. On Wednesday, for my Jewish friends, Hanukkah comes to a close, and on Thursday it’s Christmas day. It can be a very stressful time for a lot of people. You can be in the middle of hectic crowds and you can feel the obligation to buy a lot of presents…so sometimes we miss the meaning of the season.

So, on this Monday Morning Minute, I want to say that I hope however you spend the season, however you celebrate the Holiday’s, that you experience the joy that the season is intended to create. And with so many wonderful things at this time of year to pay attention to, I hope you are paid attention to by the people who love you, and that you in turn pay attention to the people that you love. Love is the reason for the season and I hope you have the most joyous of seasons.

I want to also thank you for the support you have given me and the Monday Morning Minute over the course of the last year. It’s been a joy to have you here, and it’s especially been a joy to have you take part in the community that shares the Monday Morning minute.

So, with that said, have a fabulous, fabulous holiday season and I’ll talk to you again on the 29th. Thanks everyone. Take care.

Two Things You Should Say Everyday

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Video Notes:

This week there are only two things you need to say to yourself every single day in order to have a great day. The two things are; I’m going to do this, and I’m going to kick butt when I do it. That’s right! I choose to do “this” and I’m going to do it exceptionally well. I’m going to kick butt doing it.

Imagine what that will do to your thinking when you say it. It transforms your thinking. It also starts to transform all those around you.

My challenge to you is for the next week say to yourself every single day…I’m going to do this and I’m going to kick butt. Notice how this positively impacts your work and personal life.

Now if you want a kick butt teleconference that’s going to position you for a fabulous 2015, do not forget to register for the Transformational Leadership Project teleconference, the link is below. The teleconference is this Wednesday, 9:00 am Pacific time. If you haven’t registered you will not be able to kick butt in 2015. You’ll be glad you registered because there’s going to be some great, great content.

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

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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I have the distinct pleasure of working as a consultant and coach with some very inspiring and talented leaders. What I’ve come to see in all of these leaders is that they have five attributes that make them both effective as well as followed.

1. They exemplify the critical thinking skills that are more concerned with asking the right questions than with having the right answers.

2. They recognize their behavior does more to shape the hearts and minds of employees than well orchestrated speeches.

3. They have a deep commitment to cascading excellence throughout every nook and cranny of their team or organization.

4. They are a catalyst of high performance teams.

5. They are highly satisfied professionally and are passionate about living a legacy.

Which of these are you most comfortable with?

Which of these are you most uncomfortable with?

Which of the above do you believe will make you more effective?

Diffused Focus

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Video Notes:

This week I want to talk about diffused focus. Yes it’s a contradiction because when you are focused you will not be defused. But there are times when people get diffused as to what they should focus on they are diffused for a variety of reasons. It could be because of fear of failure, it could be because of bad processes, it could be because of other employees. But, whatever the reason, if you’re diffused in your focus you’ll never achieve maximum performance.

I’m going to give you three suggestions this week I think can be really helpful in that regard.

#1 Get crystal clear about what your purpose is. What’s the one idea, hope, dream, or aspiration that has grabbed hold of you. Articulate it this week!

#2 Create the longest list possible of all the things that are holding you back. Choose one of them and commit to reduce this by at least twenty-five to fifty percent this week. Or, just kick it to the curb altogether.

#3 Create a list of why your purpose is important to you and what the payoff is for achieving it. Make the payoff so compelling ladies and gentleman that it dwarfs the list of what’s holding you back, because when the payoff list becomes compelling, it will dwarf the holding you back list.

If you do those three things this week you’re going to have a fabulous week and I hope you do. I’ll see you here next week. Take care.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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John F. Kennedy said, “to those whom much is given, much is expected.” I find the people who are the most generous are generous because they are grateful for what they’ve achieved, been given or experienced. Some are generous out of obligation or guilt, but for the most part generosity is fostered by gratitude.

There are implications for leaders and the world of work. If you are leading a team of two, a department of fifty or an organization of fifty thousand, gratitude is a catalyst for winning the hearts and minds of those you lead. With a deep rooted sense of gratitude we change how we interact with those around us. We become generous in our thinking, in our praise of others and in how we treat others. Grateful leaders share their best insights, wisdom and thinking and foster others to do the same.

Gratitude is skill that can be developed. For example, this last week I received some discouraging news. It shook my optimism and left me discouraged. Not one to wallow in bad news, I recognized I wanted to change my perspective and created the longest list I could of what I was grateful for and it changed my mood immediately.

Here’s a sample of what I’m grateful for.

1. A fabulously loving and supportive wife.
2. A remodeled home that is inviting, peaceful and aesthetically very pleasing to me.
3. Friends and family that love me.
4. A week of theatre, arts and concerts with Alyson.
5. A thriving business.
6. A flourishing spiritual life.
7. A view of the Cascade mountains from my living room that inspires me.
8. The blue heron that landed in a tree twenty-five feet away from me this morning, and the reminder of how magnificent our planet is.
9. The love of my 85 pound Giant Schnauzer. Man, what a loving boy he is.
10. An excellent sense of health and well-being.

After creating this list I found myself being more generous to my family and friends than I was before I created the list. I did so not out of obligation, but out of a sincere desire to enrich their lives.

I saw firsthand that by focusing on what I’m grateful for I was more generous with others. There are implications for all of us both personally and professionally. Whenever we make someones life better the same will happen for us in stunning and concrete ways. It starts though with being grateful.

What are you grateful for?

Saying No When You Have a High Need to Say Yes

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Video Notes:

Last week I had a conversation with Cynthia Whitaker. Cindy is a Nurse Executive with Swedish Hospital, and we were discussing how nurses specifically, but other healing, helping and supportive professionals also, feel a high need to say yes to people when they need to say no. For many nurses, they believe that saying no means they are being disloyal and unsupportive.

This becomes especially problematic for managers when they are invited to ten, twelve or fifteen meetings per week, and by attending these meetings they may be unable to get their work done during the rest of their week. Cindy asked me, “how do you say no to meeting requests when you have a high need to say yes?”

Cindy, there are three key points to remember when saying no to meeting requests.

1. Meetings can be inefficient. Without a rigorous focus and discipline, meetings can become a waste of time and human resources. Consider all of the meetings you were in last week. How many of these meetings did you leave thinking that the time spent in the meeting was a valuable, productive and an effective use of the participants time? If you answer in the range of 50/50, your meetings are potentially eroding a minimum of ten to fifteen hours of your week. If that’s the case you’ll want to manage this resource more carefully. Success in any endeavor requires utilizing all available resources to the best of your ability, and that includes meetings.

See this post for how to structure Effective Meetings

2. Value Your Time. If you don’t view your time as a precious resource to be guarded like a mother bear guarding her cubs, no one else will either. I’m not suggesting you become a time obsessed zealot tearing through your department removing all vestiges of inefficiency and wasted time. I am suggesting that the time you have available to provide high value to your organization is not infinite. You have a finite amount of time each week and how you allocate your time is as much a mindset as it is a resource allocation technique. Valuing your time changes your perspective as to how best to use it.

3. Less is more. When declining a meeting request that you believe is not the best use of your time and doesn’t contribute value to your team and or department, say less. The most powerful and graceful way to decline a meeting is simply to say, “I’m sorry, I’m not able to attend your meeting. Is there any information I can provide remotely or electronically that will be helpful? If not, can you send me your meeting notes or action items after the meeting and I’ll make sure to address any issues that need my attention.”

Too often, people who have a high need to say yes provide unnecessary explanations that are cumbersome and awkward.  They feel guilty for not attending and in turn explain why they can’t attend and why they feel badly for not attending. The best way to say no is to say no in as few words as possible and in as polite a manner as possible.

As a reminder, I have a teleconference scheduled for December 17th at 9:00AM PST. It will outline the 13 principles transformational leaders use to create extraordinary results. You can learn more and register with this link.

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

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Tomorrow specifically, but this this week in general, is a perfect time to appreciate all that is good in your life. Specifically, your families, your health and well-being, your ability to positively impact those around you, and the good fortune that the future holds.

All my best!

Hugh Blane

Transformational Leadership Project

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Video Notes:

Ladies and gentlemen, over the last four to six weeks I’ve been asked six questions that I think are really telling.

  1. How can I recruit and retain the very best talent
  2. How do I increase my performance in down markets
  3. How can I execute more effectively on our strategic priorities
  4. How can I increase the level of customer satisfaction
  5. How can I reduce the too high levels of employee dissatisfaction
  6. How do I grow and innovate in a very competitive marketplace

These questions are the ones I’m going to answer on a teleconference I’m calling, “The Transformational Leadership Project.”

I’m inviting you to join me on Wednesday, December 17th at 9:00 AM Pacific time. In that teleconference I’m going to answer all these questions – I’ll answer them and share with you thirteen principles all transformational leaders engages in. Thirteen principles that when they are adopted, when they are internalized, will make sure that not only do these questions get answered, but you also create an organization that is truly thriving. It’s going to be a great way to position you and your organization for 2015.

So again, it is Wednesday, December 17th at 9:00 AM Pacific time, “The Transformational Leadership Project.” Right below this video you’ll see a link that will take you to the webpage and allow you to register. I hope to see you there. Have a great week everyone. Take care.

REGISTER HERE

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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The belief that an open door policy is the best policy has expired. And just as with expiration dates on food and medications, the open door policy needs to be discarded before it does more harm than good.

The upside to an open door policy is that by having an open door you communicate to your most important customers, employees and stakeholders that they matter and that you will make time for them.

The downside is that by continually making time for others many leaders don’t take time for themselves, and by extension, don’t have the time required to think critically about their work. They believe that taking time for themselves is selfish and that the person in their doorway takes precedence. If you’re an emergency room physician this is understandable. If you’re a leader responsible for setting the future direction of your team or organization it doesn’t work as well.

Here are my four reasons why an open door policy needs to be reconsidered.

1. It erodes trust and respect. Leaders want their teams to think highly of themselves because employees who have high self respect trust their judgement. They are confident in their ability to develop new insights and make good decisions. When a leader is continually available the exit ramp taken for good decisions frequently is the leaders office. This builds trust in the leaders ability to solve the problem and not in the employees ability to think critically and develop their own solutions.

I covered this in greater detail in my Mastering Your Mindset teleconference. The audio replay is available for download here.
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2. It drains the leader. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, you need time to refresh and rejuvenate not only physically, but emotionally. To do that you need to turn off your responsibilities for thirty minutes at least once per day in order to be maximally effective. Yes, I said thirty minutes. In this time you can think deeper and more clearly about the past and how it is impacting your present, as well as how the present if left unattended is jeopardized your future by simply repeating the past.

I have clients who are in back to back meetings Monday through Friday. They arrive home conflicted about spending time with their most important relationships. They want to nurture their relationships as well as get the “real work” they were supposed to get done during the day accomplished but couldn’t because they were in meetings. This will drain you of your best thinking if left to continue indefinitely.

3. It sends the wrong message. When a leader keeps their door open the message is that their time is less important than their employees. One of the most respectful things a leader can do is close their door and remove themselves from their day-to-day priorities. It will send the message that in order for each person to maximize their potential there must be time to think, to reflect and to ask important strategic questions.

4. It changes your perspective. What you pay attention to, whether an asset or a liability, a strength versus a weakness, what’s working versus what’s not working…influences your perspective and in turn your behavior. Having time away from your daily priorities allows you to pay attention to what you pay attention to and to shift your perspective in positive ways.

Would you like time to think deeper about your work, your results and your future? If you do, I suggest you close your door.

The Five Reasons Why Purpose is Essential

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Video Notes:

I’m going to share with you the five reasons why purpose is absolutely essential in increasing organizational performance. There are five reasons why having a clear and compelling purpose are important.

#1. Clear and compelling purposes infuse hope, optimism and enthusiasm into an organization. Without it, it is almost nearly impossible to cultivate hope, optimism, and enthusiasm.

#2 You will eliminate false starts with a clear and compelling purpose. You eliminate the false starts because you’ve gotten clear and you’ve eliminated the mental barriers that get in the way between you and your purpose. You remove all distractions and you become laser focused.

#3 You’ll recruit the best talent. You’ll retain the best talent. Let’s be really clear about this; there are highly talented people who were looking for new opportunities. They are high performers. What they’re going to screen for are opportunities to do something that is meaningful and transformational. They want to go someplace where their work is going to make a difference. Is that your organization?

#4 You’ll be market differentiated. You will say to the marketplace, “This is what we stand for, this is what we hope for, this is what we aspire to do.” When it is compelling to your customers they gravitate towards you as opposed to your competitors. They do so because you are doing something that is really compelling for them.

#5 Here’s the one point that people glom onto. If you have a clear purpose that’s compelling, your performance and profits will be three hundred percent greater than your competitors. Let me say that again. If you have a clear and compelling purpose your profits and your performance will be three hundred percent greater than your competitors. I’m not making that number up. That’s a number that comes from a ten year study with fifty thousand brands.

Ladies and gentlemen, this week it is essential for you to start getting clear about your purpose. Purpose is not a throwaway word – purpose is the catalyst for extraordinary performance. That’s why if you work on clarifying your purpose this week you’re going to have an exceptional week, and you’re going to have the profits and the performance you have always dreamed of.

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