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 @ hugh@clarisconsulting.net or call 206-829-9413.

All my best,

Hugh

Are You A Cost Center Or A Profit Center?

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Are you seen as a cost center to be minimized or profit center to be maximized? That’s a pithy question, but it’s also a very powerful question.

Cost centers are minimized because they don’t produce a lot of value. Profit centers get additional investments because leaders know that an extra $100,000 given to a particular department or person will be turned into $1,000,000.

Executives inside your organization are making financial decisions every day. Their question is similar to “Is this a valuable service or product that we should invest more money into? Or, is it not a value add and should we reduce our investment or spend it elsewhere?”

As an employee you want to be seen as a profit center. Not wholly in literal sense, but certainly in the sense that leaders see you as making a meaningful contribution to your customer. You want to be seen as a profit center so that if there are any additional resources to be given out, you would convert those resources into additional profit and performance for your organization.

How do you do that?

1. Cultivate a strategic business partner mindset. You’re not simply an employee. You now wear the moniker “Strategic Business Partner.”

2. Build your brand. Build your brand around being a strategic business partner. Think strategically about what’s in the best interest of the organization. Become known for fostering new and innovative ways of thinking.

3. Communicate passion for the customer experience. Talk about the customer experience relentlessly. Forget your methodology and become hyper-focused on what the customer is experiencing.

If you do those three things you will be seen as a profit center and your career will never be in jeopardy.

How To Create A Culture of Courageousness

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This week I want to talk about the number one strategy for creating a courageous culture. I was leading the Mastering Your Mindset Intensive webinar today and one of the questions asked was: “how do you promote, coerce, or condition yourself to move outside of your comfort zone and do something that might be labelled as courageous?”

That is a great question. It gets to the heart of what leaders are trying to do…have people move from the status quo to something much better. How do you do that? I suggest that courage is the secret ingredient. The word ‘courage’ comes from the French word coure, which means heart. That means you have to have heart for change.

I will contend that the best way to have heart for change, to do something that may be uncomfortable, is to have a much bigger yes. By that I mean you must have a purpose or aspiration that is compelling for you. Your aspiration must leave you announcing “I will not allow this to go undone” or “I really want to do this!” It’s then that you’ll find yourself doing things because you have a heart for them and because there’s a big idea, dream, hope or aspiration that’s compelling.

I also suggested that we each need to do something daily that is a little scary. If you get used to being on the edge and going beyond what’s normal, safe and predictable; doing something scary, over time you’ll build the habit of moving outside your comfort zone.

How do you cultivate a culture of courage? Have a much bigger yes and do something that’s a little scary each day.

The Ideal Perspective To View Your Results

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I want to talk to you about the optimal way to look at your results. We’ve been trained to look at our results as good or bad, right or wrong. This is a very binary approach that I don’t think is the right one. I believe it leads to judgement and harsh criticism, and most certainly doesn’t lead to doing our very best work.

I suggest you put this binary approach aside and optimize how you look at results by using the good, better, best approach. What does this mean?

Good:

The “good” response means that every result you get may not be the ideal result, but it’s a good result if the result teaches you something about your process or how you do your work. There is nothing wrong wth looking at a situation that didn’t play out the way you wanted and saying, “we got a good result because we accomplished A, B & C, we learned a lot, exerted a lot of effort and grew as a result.”

Better:

The “better” response is when you add “but there’s a better result that’s possible. If we modify what we do by implementing this new step or process we’ll get an even better result next time.

Best:

The “best” response happens when you add, “but if we did this we may get the best result imaginable.”

When in a leadership position, especially in a time when everyone feels overwhelmed and overburdened, it is easy and natural to default to ‘right or wrong,’ or ‘good or bad.’ Just tweak your thinking ever so slightly. When you do you will change the way people perceive their results, and you’ll continually find better and better ways to achieve your results.

Why Separation Is Preferable To Unification

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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.

What You Really Believe and Why It Matters

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I want to talk to you today about beliefs. I want to do so as a catalyst for you to clarify what you believe. Why? Because I believe if you get clear about what you believe, you can then focus on making it become more real.

To that end I’m going to role model what I believe you can benefit from doing.

I have fifteen things that I believe.

#1 I believe love makes the world a better place. Every major faith tradition believes that the world in which we live was created in love and for love and that we have a responsibility to live in alignment with that principle. I believe that love does make the world go round, but far too many of us forget the importance of love.

#2. I believe that generosity stems from gratitude. I think that when people are not grateful for what they have they hold on to what they have and are not generous with other people emotionally, spiritually or financially.

#3. I believe that to those who much has been given, much is expected. I have been incredibly blessed in my life, and I believe that in turn it is my role, my responsibility to share what I have learned with other people so that they can benefit accordingly.

#4. I believe we need to retire the word retirement. The statistics are that when I reach the age of sixty-five with and I’m reasonably healthy that I will live to ninety. I cannot imagine sitting dormant; as many people believe retirement to be, doing nothing for twenty-five years. I love what I do and as long as I am making a contribution to the world why would I stop?

#5. I believe we need to jettison the Golden Rule. Yes, jettison the Golden Rule and embrace the Platinum Rule instead. The Golden Rule says that I’ll treat people as I want to be treated. The Platinum Rule says that I will treat others in the way that they want to be treated. I believe we should do that as long as it is in accordance with our values and we are not violating them to do so.

#6. I believe we’re growing or dying. If we are not growing we are dying. If we’re not learning something new and thinking differently, we are decaying. Yes, grow or die.

#7. I believe in experiencing beauty daily. Whether in artwork or in a natural landscape, seeing beauty enriches us and uplifts our soul. Every day we should look at something beautiful and allow it to stir our soul and enrich our lives.

#8. I believe mindset trumps skill-set. I believe there are incredibly talented people who never reach their full potential because their mindset is tainted with issues from the past that have not favored them well. Their mindset soils everything that happens to them.

#9. I believe in creating value. Each day we should strive to create value for others; our customers and our employees yes as well as for ourselves. We should create high levels of value and stop looking for a deal. When we do we’ll receive value in return for what we’ve created.

#10. I believe people live in fear. Fear has become pervasive, and based on past experiences drag around the past. I believe fear stifles all creativity. In my own life I have had to jettison fear because it was a large part of how I grew up. I think there are far to many people walking around living in fear.

#11. I believe in assuming positive intent. There are people we will interact with that will not to be the best of interactions, but we should assume they had no ill intent. People are not out to take advantage of us.

#12. I believe society has fostered a victimization and entitlement mindset. There are people who believe they should have the same outcome in life as someone else. Just because you are able to go into business does not mean you should have the same outcome. Each of us is entitled to the same starting point, but not the same finishing point.

#13. I believe that being overwhelmed is a choice. When we lack clear priorities, roles, expectations and what we can say yes and no to, when we have not focused on the critical few things that absolutely have to be done we will feel overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed can be overcome by making one or two choices that allow us to feel empowered and in control.

#14. I believe that life is for savoring. I believe there is so much beauty to see as well as interesting people to meet in interesting locations that we cannot marvel at the worlds around. And yet, many people are simply surviving and not savoring life. I think that is a terrible way to live your life, and that ladies and gentlemen is a mindset issue.

#15. I believe I can help you live a more rewarding life. Without question I have a fabulous and what I call a very blessed life. I believe that in some small way by doing this list of what I believe I may help you compile the five, ten, fifteen or twenty things you believe. I believe that by doing so you will get clear about what you believe and in turn focus on making those things become real.

I also hold the belief that some of you will share this with someone important to you, and that by doing so you will help someone live a more rewarding and enriching life. Writing your list can be a life enhancing and powerful exercise.

Ladies and gentlemen, when you get clear about what you believe, you’ll hyper-focus on them and you’ll make them become even more of a reality…and I believe that makes for a fabulous week.

6 Steps to Getting Clear

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Clarity is essential to improved performance. Leaders and teams must have clarity about the objectives to be achieved, the methods for achieving the objectives and whose responsible for driving progress toward the objectives. Without this level of clarity progress is stalled.

This came to mind after several interesting conversations last week. One conversation involved being approached to be the keynote speaker for eight hundred people at an annual conference for one of my clients. I spoke with the individuals charged with vetting speakers, and they outlined the desired leadership subject matter and thought I was a perfect fit based on my Transformational Leadership Program.

But before I commit to speaking to an audience I always ask to talk with the executive responsible for the success of the event. I want to hear first hand what they want audience members to walk away thinking, knowing, feeling, believing or doing.

On this call I learned that the ultimate goal of the event is for people to work better together. I mentioned that this was different from what I heard earlier. “Well, if you go to our website you’ll see that what we’re saying aligns with what’s listed on our website for registrants”. When I visited the site the primary focus I found was how to overcome obstacles.

After additional calls and meetings to get clear as to how I can help make their conference a great success, I realized that there are six aspects of getting clear; whether you are planning an event for eight hundred people or for a meeting of eight people, you must have clarity in to make progress. They are:

1. Clarify the purpose. The first question is, ‘what is the purpose of being together?’ What is it you really want to accomplish and or what are you striving toward?

2. Clarify the results. How will you know that you’ve been successful? What’s the end result and what will people say afterward?

3. Clarify the required skills. What skills or experience do you need? If you need a keynote speaker, do you want them to have a message focused on leadership, teaming or overcoming obstacles?

4. Clarify the time frame. What’s the time frame for making decisions or achieving milestones?

5. Clarify who is accountable. Who’s going to be accountable for certain decisions and or budget issues?

6. Clarify the reporting process. How are you going to communicate and report to everyone the progress you’re making toward item number one?

When you get clear you will accelerate toward that which you want to accomplish.

Hugh’s Key Question
Which of the above six aspects of getting clear do you need the most help with? If you were to have clarity around this issue, what would be the impact on your performance?

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.