Why Separation Is Preferable To Unification

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

This week I want to talk to you about why separation is preferable to unification. You may have noticed that separation has gotten a bad rap. There are several reasons for that. There is the bad rap that came from the separation of the races in the deep south, and there was the separation that can from Bernie Madoff engaging in separating  people from their money.
But there are really good aspects of separation. There is the separation of wheat from the chaff. By removing the husk; the inedible portion, we’re left with the corn. There’s the beneficial act of separating the impurities in our water so we can ingest healthy water.
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to suggest that there are three things you need to separate yourself from this week in order to be really successful.
#1. Separate yourself from low expectations. The very first thing you want to do is separate yourself from people who have low expectations. These are people who are willing to settle and who don’t have the same aspirations as you do. They want to coast and they are content with the status quo. Ladies and gentlemen when the status quo becomes attractive or acceptable curiosity and innovation go out the window. You want to separate yourself from people like this.
#2. Separate yourself from people that believe failure is bad. Failure is not a permanent blemish on your character. Rest assured, there are people who are incredibly successful that look at failure as simply the next step in achieving something extraordinary. You want to unify yourself with people who believe failure is not bad and separate yourself from people who see failure as a terrible thing.
#3. Separate yourself from victims. Separate yourselves from people who see themselves as victims, that they believe someone is doing something to them. These are people who don’t take responsibility for their actions and that don not want to be held accountable.
Ladies and gentlemen, you do not want to be separated from the above types of people, and while many organizations admonish leaders and teams to work together, if you are trying to achieve optimum performance you have to separate yourself from these types of people. People who want to raise the bar and are striving for something extraordinary typically do not believe life is a struggle and believe they can be better next week than they were this week. This mindset attracts similar mindsets and is repelled by the opposite. Unification is not the answer in all cases; separation is a great answer to accelerating performance.
I ask you this week: where do you need to separate yourself, or where do you need to separate some of your team, so they can perform at a higher level? Answer that question and you’ll have a fabulous week.

The One Strategy For A Flourishing Mindset

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

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.

Say Hello To The Monday Morning Mindset

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

Wait, did you just say the Monday Morning Mindset? Yes, I did.

I’m changing the name of the Monday Morning Minute to the Monday Morning Mindset and I’m doing so for two reasons. One, I haven’t done a Monday Morning Minute in a minute in quite some time. I just find the construct of doing a minute long Monday Morning Minute too limiting, and besides, people have said to me that they would like for me to expand on ideas. So, this artificial construct of the Monday Morning Minute is going to be jettisoned. I’m still going to keep the videos short, so don’t expect anything too prolonged. I’m changing it also because I believe that mindset is the critical determining factor in someone’s success.

For example, you’ll have no doubt seen two two people with the same pedigree, talent, skills and experience, but the one with the mindset of, “I will do whatever I need to in order to be successful” or “I will play to win, as opposed to playing not to lose.” The person who has the “yes, I can” mindset is going to flourish in the world of work, in their personal lives and in their community life. I want to be a catalyst for you to create the mindset that allows you to be supremely successful in whatever endeavor you want.

Let me start this Monday Morning Mindset with this idea: every thought you have, every word that you utter, every action you take…has within it the potential to transform yourself, others, your team, your performance, your community and your family.
Yes, changing the way you think about something changes your experience and changes your performance.

In the Monday Morning Mindset I want to talk with you about changing your thinking and your mindset. I want to come alongside of you and give you one thing each week that will lead you to believe you can change your thinking…because when you change your thinking you can and will become more successful.

So ladies and gentlemen, if that sounds interesting to you, then continue to watch the Monday Morning Mindset. If it doesn’t, there is an unsubscribe button on the bottom of every email. I don’t want you to unsubscribe, but I do respect your time and only want to provide you with content that is valuable.

I hope that you will continue to watch because if you master your mindset then you’re going to master the world of work, you’re going to master your personal life, and you’re going to master your community life. You have to get your head in the game to become supremely successful and I can help you do that.

So, that ladies and gentlemen is the Monday Morning Mindset. I hope you have a fabulous week, and I’ll see you here again next week. Take care.


Managing Your Leadership Message

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone


This week I want to talk to you about managing your leadership message.

Ladies and gentlemen, every day, by the words that we use and the actions we take, we are communicating a message to the people that matter most to us. Whether it’s our family, an employee, a key stakeholder, a shareholder or a board member, we’re communicating a message.

An important question is: are you doing it purposefully or accidentally?

If you are communicating your message purposefully you can and will get so much more leadership traction and will be so much more effective…if you manage these three messages.

1. The message you send to yourself. The six to eight inches between your ears is the most important repository of the messages you send you can manage. Are you sending messages to yourself of optimism, a can-do attitude and playing to win? Or, are you sending messages of the inverse? Whatever message you plant in between your ears creates a mindset that is cascaded throughout your entire organization.

2. The message you send to employees. Are you sending the message that you want every employee to be an owner as opposed to an employee? Are you sending the message that you want every employee to be engaged in creating the extraordinary? What message are you sending through the words you use and the behaviors you exhibit? This message needs to be managed purposefully in order for you to have the greatest success.

3. When employees or key stakeholders respond to you, how do you manage the message that you send to them in return?

There are three messages: one to yourself, one when you deliver messages to others and one grounded in how we respond when we receive messages from others. These are three critical messages that will help you become a more effective leader.

Monday Morning Minute Challenge:
This week, identify one meeting you will attend and the message you want to deliver. How will you craft this message? What words will you say, what examples will you give, what results will you associate with your message?

After delivering your message the second part of this weeks challenge is to learn from your experience and ask, “what worked, what didn’t work and what will you do differently next week?”

By engaging in this weeks challenge you’re sending a message to yourself about continual improvement, getting better, learning and growing. And that’s a fabulous message to cascade throughout your organization also!

How To Reduce Interpersonal Strife By 50%

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone


This week I want to talk to you about how you can reduce the interpersonal strife in your personal life and professional life by 50%. How do you do that? You get clear about the boundaries you have or need. For example, in my neighborhood there is a home that is getting ready for a massive remodel. I noticed they had someone draw boundary lines no doubt because they want to know how far they can expand their footprint. What I noticed is that their neighbor’s hedge is on their property line. I said to myself, “that’s going to be an interesting conversation. I can hear, remove your hedge!”

So there is a boundary line that has been crossed and the homeowner has every right to say, “no, please remove or move your hedge.” The same thing happens at work.

We have to be really clear about our boundaries. There are three boundaries that are absolutely critical, and if you get clear on these three, interpersonal strife will go down by at least 50%. Here are the three most important boundaries.

#1. Get clear about what you will and will not do. If your employer says you now need to start working on the weekends, and you say that your expectation was that you wouldn’t have to work weekends, you have something that needs to be negotiated. You have to get crystal clear about what you will do and what you will not do.

#2. You have to get crystal clear about when you will do it. If you say to someone that this is a four week project, and they say, “no, no, no…au contraire, it’s only one week” and you agree to do it, you’ve agreed to do it in one week. So the timing is really important about when you will do what you agreed to do. This is absolutely essential because if it’s late people will see you as untrustworthy.

#3. You have to get crystal clear about the quality of work that you will deliver. If someone says the project is going to be due in one week, you can say I will have it in one week, but it will not be fully vetted. In one week it will only be 60% complete, because we need the extra three weeks to get the other 40% done.

So get clear about what you will do and what you won’t, when you will do it, and the quality of the work you’re doing. If you do that interpersonal strife will go down by 50% and productivity will go up.


THE Most Powerful Leadership Tool You Have

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone


The most powerful leadership tool you have available is asking a question.

I know that sounds simplistic or even trite, but you have to know those you lead, and you get to know people by asking them questions about what’s important to them.

If you ask an employee what’s important to them you may hear things like being a good father, partner, husband or spouse. You may also hear being a good community member, being involved in a church, a food bank or being involved in a charitable organization. When you hear these types of answers you can lead more effectively and purposefully. You can know a person’s hopes, dreams and aspirations and look for ways to connect what you do in the world of work with what people deem important.

I have three suggestions for how to best ask questions.

#1. Spend time with people. You have to spend quality time with people you’re going to ask questions of. You cannot run in and out and expect a quality answer. You must devote time to being with them and to being fully present.

#2 Listen and care about what they say. You’ve heard me say this, that some people listen to respond and other people listen to understand. You want to truly listen and care about what people have to say.

#3. Learn from them. Asking questions is a wonderful learning experience about how you can lead more effectively. When you take a person’s answers and use them to shape your leadership, you show up with integrity and lead on purpose.

Ladies and gentlemen, these three things: spending time with people, listening and caring about what they say, and intending to learn from our conversations, each one helps you become a more effective leader. If you do these three things you’re going to ask great questions and more importantly you’re going to get great answers, AND you’ll improve your leadership.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

I attended a business meeting this morning where James Murray of Business Cloud Services talked about IT security and its importance for profitability to small and medium sized businesses. He presented compelling, germane and valuable information that reminded me of the three secrets to effective presentations.

1. Compelling presentations start with the results accomplished. Far too often leaders and their teams focus on the activities they’ve undertaken and not the results accomplished. Yes, knowing “how” you achieved your results is important, but only after you’ve garnered your audiences attention with the results accomplished. When you start with activities rather than results you’ll be seen as a technical pair of hands as opposed to a results oriented strategic partner.

2. Compelling presentations are about real people and real situations. To make your results truly compelling talk about the real people who accomplished the results. For example, James discussed two specific clients and recounted one phone call from earlier in the week. This left me saying this is not theoretical and it built James’s credibility as he was seen as a catalyst for the results.

3. Compelling presentations excite the storyteller before they excite the listener. We’ve all listened to a speaker use words that are compelling, action oriented and exciting but delivered with the enthusiasm of a TSA agent working the tail end of a double shift at JFK. Since the employee is exhausted there is no enthusiasm for their work other than for it to be over. When leaders make presentations they have to excite them first, because making presentations that leave the listener flat jeopardizes their influence and turns audiences off to their key messages.

If you want to be seen as a leader who can get results and rally people to take action, do as James did. Talk about results with real people and in ways that excite you. When you do, you’ll hear the most powerful words a speaker wants to hear…”tell me more.”

What stories do you have that compel you and others to take action?

Why Focusing On Success Is Making You Unsuccessful

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone


This week I want to talk to you about why focusing on success will make you unsuccessful. It’s counterintuitive, but true. I know from personal experience.

I will admit that in the early part of my career I was hyper-focused on success. What ended up happening was my success became the driving force of my professional life. I wanted to be successful and to have the resources and experiences successful people had. I put success first.

In my mid forties I realized I had things completely backwards, and that I was not being as successful as I could be because I was chasing success, as opposed to attracting success. There is a world of difference between the two.

What did I do to actually attract success? I said I wanted to be a person of service and I wanted to be of significance to people. I wanted to do something that would enable human flourishing and I wanted to do something that would help convert human potential into higher performance.

When I focused on being of service and being a person of significance, my success went up. Today I have a flourishing business, I have a flourishing personal and professional life, and it’s because what I strive to do is to be of service; to you by doing the Monday Morning Minutes, by posting on the website and by having conversations with you.

It’s about service and significance. When you have that as your focus your success will go up. When you have service and significance as your focus, you’re going to have a blast because it is just so much more fun to do that. Is success there? Absolutely.

Ladies and gentlemen, this week focus on being of service and a person of significance to people. When you do that, you will become more successful, and you’re going to have one heck of a good time at work.

Your Lack of Response Is A Response

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone


This week I want to talk to you about why your lack of response is a response.

I am stunned by the amount of email that some of my clients get. It can be overwhelming. I know these people to be good, caring leaders who want to make a difference and who want to bring out the very best in others. But they get overwhelmed by electronic communication. When they do I remind them of three things.

#1. By not responding you are damaging your brand and reputation.

#2. By not responding you are increasing employee or customer anxiety.

#3. By not responding you are reducing performance because people can’t act on timely information, and in turn they become disengaged. It’s a vicious cycle.

So, not responding is a response…at least it is in the mind of the person who is trying to communicate with you. If it is, what do I suggest? I suggest you get really clear on expectations. And the expectations need to be around:

#1. What’s the best vehicle to reach you? Letting people know the best vehicle to reach you reduces anxiety and uncertainty.

#2. What’s the time frame people can expect for you to respond. In other words, if you say to people, “if you send me an email, I’ll get back to you within three days,” then you have to get back to them in three days. If you say, “the best way for you to reach me is to send me a text,” then you have to respond to the text.

These two points are important in today’s culture because everyone has been “Amazoned.” I love Amazon. I can buy with one simple click, receive a notification of my order as well as my shipping date. I love it! If you’re watching this and you work for Amazon…your service is addictive. I pay Amazon Prime fees and I’m buying a whole lot more merchandise. Amazon is responsive. They communicate with you and they remove an uncertainty, anxiety or ambiguity about our orders.

Your employees have been “Amazoned” and expect you to respond in tight timeframes. And when you don’t respond, it creates a negative impact.

So this week, get very clear about the best way to reach you, and what the expectations are about when you’ll respond. If you do those two things people will see you as being responsive and your brand and reputation will go up.

The Most Important Decision You’ll Make Today

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone


Today I want to talk to you about the most important decision you’ll make today.

The most important decision you will make today is a bifurcated choice: turn left or right. If you turn left you’re going to do something today to bring out the very best in others. If you turn right you don’t. By turning right, you forget to bring out the best in others because you got overwhelmed.

When you don’t bring out the very best in others there is a negative impact on your customers. The negative impact is rooted in the reality that you cannot bring out the very best experiences for customers unless or until you bring out the very best experiences for employees. Without flourishing customer experiences you cannot have a flourishing business.

If you want a flourishing business I have three suggestions for you.

1. Get crystal clear about what bringing out the very best for customers means for your leadership, for your team, for your organization. Why is it important, what does it look like, what is that experience for customers?

2. Get equally as clear about what bringing out the very best for employees looks like. What is it for them that allows them to do their very best work?

3. Do something every day that is on your employees list. When you bring out the very best for them they will see you doing it and will in turn do it more for your customer.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is another benefit to bring out the best in others. It feels really good when you do it. You’re turning toward the very best part of human nature and you’re bringing it out, as opposed to bringing out the worst in human nature. One is so much more rewarding than the other.

What is the one thing that you will do to bring out the very best in a receptionist, in a warehouse worker, in a nurse, in an IT professional? One thing everyday…if you do one thing daily your business will begin to flourish.