Goodbye 2016 Hello 2017

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There are two types of responses to 2016 coming to a close and 2017 starting.

The first is “Good Riddance! 2016 is over and I’m glad to be done with it.”

The second is “Bring it on! 2017 holds tremendous promise and I can’t wait to get started.”

However you view the closure of 2016 and the start of 2017 I want to share two offers with you that I believe will help you make 2017 your very best year ever. Both offers have limited places available and must be reserved by December 31, 2016.

Mastering Your Mindset Intensive
One of the most exciting new programs I offered this year was the Mastering Your Mindset Intensive. It was oversold for the first cohort, but will be offered again in Feb and March of 2017. The results participants are experiencing are:

* 100% of participants anticipated a 50% or greater increase in their performance. At week seven 80% of participants were on track to achieve their performance improvement, and by week eight 90%.

* Participants are experiencing increases in confidence, decreases in anxiety and an increased belief in their ability to do GREAT work.

Current participating organizations and any new participant for 2017 can enroll at the 2016 registration fee of $495.00 versus the 2017 fee of $695.00. This $200.00 per person savings is available through 12-31-2016.

Read more about the Mastering Your Mindset Intensive here.

Pulling Out The Stops – Executive Coaching
Stop making resolutions and start making each year a year of clarity, energy and focus. My Pulling Out the Stops coaching program will accelerate your professional growth faster, more reliably and with greater satisfaction. You’ll learn to rapidly optimize your performance and productivity with custom strategies and techniques. Experience the rapid career growth that my most successful and satisfied clients enjoy.

Finding Direction and Purpose – Transformational Coaching
A program for individuals who want to make 2017 their best year ever. Whether you want to kick start your career, find a better work / life balance or improve your personal and professional relationships, this is a 60-day program to set direction and purpose in all aspects of life. More effective than another list of to-do’s, this is the perfect gift for yourself or someone you love.

Read more about my coaching work here.

Applications – For an application and more information, contact Hugh by email @ or call 206-829-9413.

All my best,


Hugh’s Words of Wisdom

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The Five Strategies I Use To Accomplish More In Less Time With Less Stress And Greater Enjoyment

I have a lot of priorities. I have client projects, writing for my blog and book, business development responsibilities, creating online courses for Claris University and acting as the head chef and on site general contractor of our kitchen remodel. I’m very productive and was asked recently how I do what I do. I have five key strategies, none of which are earthshaking or new information to you. They real key to my success and level of accomplishment is in the summary at the end.

What I do:

1. I plan my week. Before starting my week, I spend sixty minutes planning the following week and what I will “accomplish” each day specifically. I review my priorities and define what a successful week will look like. I view this planning time as writing the next chapter of my personal and professional life. Either I write the next chapter or someone else will. I take full ownership of my week and never delegate my schedule to someone else. Ever.

2. I view time as finite. I used to engage in magical thinking with regards to time and my schedule. It worked like this: there was an infinite amount of time available to accomplish something the further I was from what I needed to do. INnturn, I magically thought I would be able to pull all of the requisite pieces of a project together within an hour. It never worked. I view all of my priorities through a “time is finite, precious and limited” prism and don’t engage in magical thinking.

3. I have good self-talk. There are two powerful voices playing in my head every day; my biggest advocate and my greatest critic. I listen more to my advocate now and remind myself of where and how I’ve been successful. If I’m going to listen to a voice it’s now a positive and affirming voice. To help with this I complete an accomplishment list before leaving the office each day. You can find it on my resources page here.

4. I focus on progress. I used to focus on perfection. I wanted all matters associated with my work to be “just right.” The problem was that I never achieved “just right” because the higher levels of accomplishment I achieved I in turn raised the bar to new levels. I never felt satisfied. I don’t do that anymore. I strive to make progress every day and move my most important work forward.

5. I eliminate distractions. When I turn off my phone and shut off my email I not only think more clearly, but I also think more creatively. For the longest time I refused to disengage from the hustle and bustle of work as I thought I was too important. Being disconnected was not an option. I learned an important lesson the hard way…when I don’t schedule quality uninterrupted time I never achieve consistent quality results. And, life becomes a long slow slog through enemy territory with bullets flying overhead.

Here’s the real kicker though. None of the above five strategies mean a hill of beans unless you have the VOLITION to implement them. Frankly, you know what you need to do. The question is which one will you without question start implementing today? Not tomorrow when XYZ is around…because that’s magical thinking. Today.

Which one?

How To Increase Your Goal Accomplishment By 50%

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This week I want to talk to you about how you can increase your goal accomplishment by 50%.

One of the things I am fascinated about is the research that’s happening in neuroscience and how the brain works. Specifically, that there are really two different parts of our brains; one that’s very good with ideation and one that is very good with the deployment of ideas.

Here’s what the current research is telling us. If you want to increase your goal accomplishment, there is this strategy called the “if – then strategy.” Here’s what it says: once you have identified the goal that you want to accomplish, list out all of the barriers that are going to get in the way. Then simply look at each one of the barriers and say, if this happens then I’ll do this.” If – then.

So when you say, “if this happens, then I will do this…” what you’re doing is creating a new pathway in your brain that says, “here’s what I do when this happens.” You won’t have to stop, think and then strategize. You won’t have to stop and plan because you’ve already done so. When it comes time to deploy and implement your idea you’ll do it 50% more effectively.

I think that’s a fascinating piece of information.

Here’s a bonus piece of information. If you visualize yourself doing when you’ve said you will do then your effectiveness goes up by an additional 50%. You can actually increase your effectiveness by 75% by implementing the “if this barrier comes up, then I will do this strategy.” And if you visualize yourself doing this you’re going to be 75% more effective.

Implement the if – then strategy this week and you’ll have a much more effective workweek.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom

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Belief. What we believe about ourselves and those around us influences us in significant ways. This belief led Henry Ford to say “whether you think you can, or you can’t, your right.”

For me, I don’t believe I will ever play in the NFL or NBA and I am 100% confident that I’m 100% right about that. But there are other areas of my personal and professional life where my confidence and belief has at times been less certain. For example, during times of adversity and illness what I believed about my health and wellness, my significant relationships and my business and my community involvement influenced what I achieved. When I first saw the linkage between what I believed and what I achieved I set out to change my beliefs. I wasn’t content with what I was achieving and realized the most significant change that needed to happen was a change in my beliefs about what was possible.

But changing our beliefs can be hard.

As leaders, what you believe about the people you work with will not only affect each individuals performance, but your team or organizations performance. If teams believe they are incapable of meeting the challenges posed by their biggest competitor; if they believe they are going to be obsolete and relegated to the “also ran” group of teams, the likelihood they will experience these beliefs is considerably higher than with an opposing belief.

One of the strategies I’ve helped successful leaders use to improve performance is to change their beliefs as to what’s possible for themselves as well as those they work with. Think about the beliefs required to rescue the three Apollo 13 astronaunts stranded in space in 1971.

While not a complete list, here are five strategies you can use to change an individuals, teams or organizations beliefs.

1. Find an extraordinary exemplar. Find someone who you know or admire who has achieved something extraordinary and study them. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

2. Recall a big success and what people said to you and or the team. Create a file to capture your list of what contributed to your success and add to it as frequently as possible.

3. Read, watch and immerse yourself in the biographies of people who achieved something extraordinary and find one thing you can learn and or adopt from their experience.

4. Surround yourself with people with an unshakable belief in what’s possible.

5. Change your vocabulary. More important than what people say to you about your work is what you say to yourself. At the earliest sign of a “I can’t do this” narrative replace it with an alternative narrative. For example, “I haven’t done this before, but I will learn how to do it with time, patience and tenacity.” Number five is easier when numbers one through four are in place.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom recommendations:

1. Personalize this list. Make it your own by adding to it ideas that appeal and resonate with you.

2. Be of service. Think of your most significant relationship. If you wanted to help them change their beliefs what would you recommend they do?

3. Be courageous. Most of the time you know what needs to be done. You have the experience, wisdom, discernment and courage that comes from being alive. What hinders you is a fear or trepidation about some aspect of your actions and in turn you second guess yourself. As Bob Newhart said in his famous skit, “Stop it.”

The Three Steps to Powerful Persuasion

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Video Notes

This week I want to talk about how you can persuade someone to do something. There are three parts to this process.

#1 The first part is that you have to build a strong relationship with the person. Building a strong relationship involves having a relationship characterized by trust and respect. These are two absolutely essential ingredients if you want to influence someone. Someone must have a trusting and respectful relationship with you if you are to positively persuade them.

#2 You have to know what is important to the person you want to influence. You can’t focus on what is important to you, but rather what is important to the other person. What are their dreams, their hopes, their aspirations, their goals or their objectives. You have to understand what is important to them.

#3 You have to make their life easier. You must bring a solution that helps them get what they want. Ladies and gentleman, for you to persuade somebody to do something you have to build a trusting and respectful relationship, understand what’s important to them and then bring them solutions that will help make their life easier.

If you do these three things people will be interested, engaged and listen to you about what’s important to you. It starts with you extending an olive branch to them and to go the extra distance to see the world from their perspective, and to help them get what they want. If you do that, you will be incredibly persuasive.

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

Seven Traits of a Transformational Leader

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Video Notes:

This week I want to share with you seven questions that really get at the heart as to whether or not you are a hopeful, optimistic and positive person.

This is important because hope, optimism and positivity are contagious, and leaders who exhibit these traits create the same wherever they go. If you’re able to do these seven things, then I think you become transformational and do exemplary work. So, do you want to know what the questions are? Here they are:

#1. Do you have a mindset that infuses positivity into your daily routine? Do you do that intentionally? Do you do it purposefully? That’s number one.

#2. Do you let go of past wrongs and not hold grudges? Whatever has happened, do you move on and make the best of it?

#3. Do you focus on your assets and not on your liabilities? I don’t know of anyone who has done exemplary work while focusing on their liabilities. I just don’t ever see that.

#4. Do you live without fear, regret or guilt. Really? Yeah, that’s one I had to work on myself. But I live without fear, regret and guilt and it’s absolutely essential to being transformational.

#5. Do you have positive self-talk when the yogurt hits the fan? Can you automatically move into a positive frame of reference and communicate positively through the adversity and come out on the opposite side in a positive way?

#6. Do you have a compelling purpose? Do you have something that is really compelling that you want to accomplish and that infuses your entire thinking.

#7. Do you avoid comparing yourself to others? Are you comfortable in your own skin and look at becoming the very best you you can be?

Ladies and gentlemen, the above have nothing to do with the technical or professional side of your work, but it has everything to do with the type of person, the type of thinking that you bring to work. If you bring this type of thinking to work it is contagious. When you infuse hope and optimism into your workplace, amazing things happen.

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

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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There are numerous reasons why leaders experience lower than ideal performance. When I pulled back the curtain with a CEO client as to why employees were underperforming in his organization I found the following ten reasons.

1. A market disruption that created significant pressure to retain market share but without a clear strategy for doing so.
2. Multiple changes in leadership due to transfers, retirement or termination.
3. Receiving a promotion after the leadership vacancies from #2 without the requisite skills to be successful.
4. Leaders saying one thing and doing another. (This is always a performance killer)
5. Continually changing performance expectations. (This one is the death knell for superior performance also)
6. Keeping up with the onslaught of email and meetings to address the market disruption.
7. A lack of clear priority setting along with unreasonably tight deadlines.
8. Family / financial concerns about job security.
9. Attending mandatory human resources classes that are generic and not germane to the market disruption.
10. Working with unrealistic / demanding customers and being held accountable for customer satisfaction.

Addressing this list successfully requires addressing both the technical and people aspects of underperformance. The technical aspects would be addressed in a logic and rational manner. The people aspects required senior leaders to communicate with employees in an emotional manner that spoke to the hearts, hopes and fears of each employee. How do leaders do that? By making promises to the organizations three most important constituents.

1. Promises to your employees: Remember, you’ll never have satisfied customers if you have dissatisfied employees. So, what are the non-negotiable promises you will make to your employees? These promises need to communicate how you will support and advocate for them in times of change and uncertainty. If your promises are not compelling you’ll create more uncertainly and anxiety as opposed to remove it.

2. Promises to customers: What is non-negotiable for you and your team with regards to the customer experience? What is the ideal experience you want customers to have and in what way will you make their lives better or easier? What promises will you make to them based on your company purpose and priorities? Specifically, what are the two or three promises you will make?

3. Promises to themselves: Adversity does not build character. It reveals it. What is non-negotiable for you as a leader during times of extreme disruption, change and adversity? Which of your values will be on display no matter how much the yogurt hits the fan? Based on the current situation what two or three promises will you make to yourself that will help you navigate the coming months?

Making promises is a two edged sword. Promises when made and kept are huge in building trust, respect and credibility. When they are made and broken trust, respect and credibility are eroded as is the ability to adapt, grow and innovate.

What promises are you making or do you need to make?

5 Questions For Flourishing in 2015

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Video Notes:

We’re here on the 29th of December. It’s just a couple of days away from 2015. Thank you for being with for another year of the Monday Morning Minute.

I want to share with you five questions, that if you ask yourself these questions today it will be a great way to start 2015. Here we go.

#1 In what area of your professional life last year did you experience the most growth? What part of last year do you want to make sure you capitalize on and take with you in 2015?

#2 In what area of you professional life were you challenged by the most last year? What was it about last year that was challenging and where do you need to experience the most growth?

#3 What areas of professional development excite you the most in 2015? What do you want to get really, really good at in 2015? So good that even your customers or employees would say, “Wow, you’ve really kicked butt in that area.”

#4 What specifically does your team look like in 2015; and more importantly, what do you need to do as a leader in order to make that happen?

#5 How does your mindset need to change in 2015? Do you need to move from a poverty mentality to an abundance mentality?

Ladies and gentleman, question number five is really important because your mindset motivates you as well as other people.

As a reminder, there’s a download on the teleconference page of my website from the Mastering Your Mindset teleconference. If you haven’t listened to it, you’ll want to download that and listen in 2015.

Ladies and gentleman, that is it, 2014 is under wraps, it is done, it is over with. Thank you for being with me again this year. I hope you have a fabulous, fabulous new year and I will see you in just a few days in 2015.

Thank you everyone. Have a fabulous week, and I’ll talk to you soon. Take care.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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If you are not making a meaningfully positive difference in the lives of your customers and employees you need to make an exit.

It is a reality in the world of work that customers demand an increasingly higher-level of service, courtesy and engagement in order to be a repeat customer. When this is not present customers leave and go elsewhere.

Employees do the same. If the leader doesn’t engage the hearts and minds of employees and create an environment where each employee can do their best work, talented and valuable employees leave.

Far too many organizations tolerate employees who are not making a meaningful positive difference. In some organizations, they actually tolerate employees alienating customers or fellow employees. To these employees I say, make a difference or make an exit.

It’s Wednesday gut check time:

1. Are you as a leader making a meaningfully positive difference in your customers life? Is your answer borne out in repeat customers and increased referral business?

2. Are you making a meaningfully positive difference in your employees life? Are they inspired to do their best work and give discretionary amounts of effort in service of the customer?

3. Are there employees who say about you, “I love working with you. You make my work life so much easier?”

If your answers to the above questions are no, then it’s time to make an exit.

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?