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.

Entrepreneurship #103

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Untitled from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.

Entrepreneurship #101

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Entrepreneurship #101 from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.

Three Simple Words

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It only takes three words to either lift or sour our mood. Our moods can be lifted when we hear the words “I love you”, “that’s great work”, “you are right”. Our moods can be soured when we hear: “you are wrong”, “you’re not capable”, or “you’re being audited”.

“You’re being audited” is included because of a recent conversation I had with my CPA regarding our 2009 tax return. Because I DO NOT EVER want to hear the words “you’re being audited”, I find myself powerfully influenced by the brand and reputation of the IRS.

Some people love the IRS when they get a refund and in turn feel uplifted. Some people hate them when they owe them money and feel soured by the mere mention of their name. That’s the power of a brand in action – it either uplifts or sours your mood. The words you use to describe the IRS, or any other company for that matter, represent what you believe about them and shapes your behaviors and interactions with them.

Managers and leaders have brands and reputations also – reputations that can lift or sour the mood of those they work with. A leadership brand that lifts others is more likely to inspire behaviors that result in higher performance. The question is what is your leadership brand?

Here’s a simple three step process for understanding your leadership brand:

Know Your Default Brand: Understand the leadership brand you’ve created for yourself by asking your co-workers, customers, vendors, or friend’s to share four words they think best describe you or your leadership. This is the leadership brand you’ve created by default or unintentionally.

Clarify Your Desired Brand: Ask yourself what four words you want people to use when describing you over the course of the next twelve to twenty-four months. This list should be in alignment with your strategic goals as well as your personal values. Once you’ve written your list, ask if the words you’ve created are simply the price of admission for being in your role, or are they words that are distinctive and remarkable? Do the words you’ve chosen separate you from other managers and leaders in a distinctive way? Will the words you’ve chosen prompt people to remark favorably about you? If they’re not remarkable and distinctive I suggest you start over.

Brainstorm Your Designed Brand: Look at your two lists and determine if there is a gap and whether the gap is important to you. When there is a small gap, I’ve found that oftentimes the words chosen for the desired brand are all safe words that don’t inspire or uplift the leader. If your desired brand doesn’t make your heart skip a beat with positive anticipation start over. When the gap is larger than you’d like and or your heart skips a beat looking at your words, spend ten minutes asking yourself what behaviors you need to exhibit in order to be seen as your desired brand.

Viewing your brand in this way takes courage, tenacity and a fair dose of humility – words that might be viewed admirably by others. When it comes to your leadership brand and reputation I have a final group of three word combinations for you.

Are you interested? Do you care? Does it matter?

Talk to me!

5 Strategies for Accelerating Team Performance

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It is commonly known that high performing teams attract and retain the best talent.  But what is not as readily known is that they also act as a role model for increased performance throughout an entire organization.  If developing a culture of high performance within your team is important to you, here are five strategies that will dramatically enhance your ability to create breakthroughs in team performance:
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