Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

Leadership Blog

New Leader Challenges - Let Them Down Easy

Bad news is never welcome. It is hard to deliver; and even harder to receive.

 

Recently, a mid-level manager whom we will call Bob, was on the receiving end of some bad news. He had interviewed for a higher position in his organization, but another candidate was chosen.

 

The delivery of bad news comes in many forms. The easy way, which usually alienates an applicant, is to send a generic email declination. Even worse is for the applicant to not receive any communication other than an email that introduces the new position holder (not them) or to hear the news from co-workers who are somehow “in the know.” Then there is the hard way, which is also known as the right way. This involves a face-to-face meeting with the staff member in order to discuss the decision before it is made public. When bad news is delivered with a personal touch it demonstrates the good character of the leader. It can also build a better sense of team in the process.

 

It was the latter declination that Bob experienced. Although he was disappointed by the news, he respected the decision-maker for taking the time to deliver the message in person. She turned the meeting into an opportunity to build mutual respect and trust with Bob. In fact, Bob left the meeting with a very favorable opinion of the leader.

 

Bottom Line: Delivering difficult messages can have a positive outcome if you plan your message. Have a strategy, and deliver tough messages with confidence and honesty.

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information:  To learn more about coaching and training services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com today.

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-10-30 at 12:32 PM
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New Leaders Challenges – Embrace the Employee Review

Guest Blog Post by Joseph Kennard

It is that magical time of year! Yes, annual employee reviews are due.  As a new leader take this opportunity to build a stronger team.  Many of us have been a part of that review where you are told “Your performance objectives are being met successfully. Please sign here.”  Do not waste a golden opportunity to connect with your team members in a meaningful way. Discuss the organization’s objectives and workplace expectations. I mean, really discuss them!  Then learn about the team member’s objectives. Finally, discuss your objectives as their leader and their collaborative partner.   Many employees feel as though their leaders lack interest in them beyond their ability to perform to some standard. A well-planned and thoughtfully executed performance review helps you send a message to your team members that they matter. In the process, you may find that many of their objectives coincide with the goals of your department and/or organization.  If team member objectives differ from the broader organization, the performance review is a nice time to get squared away for the coming year. Regardless of a team member’s perspective, you will gain insight into what drives your staff.  The better you understand your staff, the better you can lead them. Give performance reviews a new perspective, and take your leadership effectiveness to a higher level in the process.

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Note: This is the third installment of our New Leader Challenges series. Please share your thoughts with us. For additional information, review our previous blog posts entitled: Your New Role and Fear The Back Room Deals.

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information:  To learn more about coaching and training services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com today. 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-09-25 at 08:16 AM
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New Leader Challenges - Fear the Back Room Deals

Guest Blog Post by Joseph Kennard

Harry, a brand new leader, was working on the personnel schedule the other day. It is the bane of his existence. Normally, creating schedules would be easy. However, Harry’s predecessor had made a bevy of “back room deals” with team members over the years. For example, one staffer did not have to work Tuesdays because she attended school (even though she graduated two years earlier). Another team member receives a free pass on Thursdays because she has child care issues.  A final employee has received approvals for extended vacations during the busy season for years.  Add it together and the personnel schedule becomes a nightmare. The task becomes even more daunting for Harry because all the team members receiving special treatment were his peers just a few months ago!  Of course, they all expect Harry to honor the old deals, and some other staffers are asking for new deals of their own.

 

Learn from Harry’s experience.  When it comes to scheduling or any other endeavor, play it fair, across the board.  If special circumstances arise, be careful about granting exceptions to the rules. Also, make certain that your exceptions are fair and consistent. It may be uncomfortable at first, or even met with hostility, but it will build a better team through mutual respect and a sense of fair play.

 

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information:  To learn more about coaching and training services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com today.

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-09-17 at 08:08 AM
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New Leaders Challenges – Your New Role

Guest Blog Post by Joseph Kennard

You made it! You are on the fast track and have landed your first post as a leader.  You probably have lots of excitement, even fear, but you feel ready! If you have been promoted from the ranks, you have some unique challenges ahead.  The first challenge is to examine your behavior as you transition from follower to leader. You are in charge now and need to exude a leader mindset.  The behavior you exhibit toward your staff and peers needs to reflect your new position and responsibilities.  Proceed with caution. You do not want to alienate your staff and damage the relationships you have cultivated. At the same time, you need to meet the demands and expectations of the position. Communication is the key. As you grow in your new role, discuss the changes with your team members.  In their mind, they are still your peers.  Communicate your understanding of their position as well as your own. Your team needs to know that you are the same person as before, but that your new role calls for you to have different work-relationship expectations of them. More than likely, they have different expectations of you. Remember, you all have a history together. Also, you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Build on the strengths and attempt to improve on the weaknesses.  You have worked in the trenches together in the past.  Use your workplace insights and rapport to improve the team for a successful future!

 

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information:  To learn more about coaching and training services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com today.

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-09-10 at 07:49 AM
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Michael Phelps: An Inspiration – To Athletes and to Leaders

By winning 22 Olympic medals, 17 of them gold, Michael Phelps has elevated himself to the title of greatest Olympian of all-time. He has performed at the highest level possible for a very long time. In the process, he has achieved almost a mythical greatness. While the lauds he is receiving are well-deserved, let’s take a look at the three core qualities that have made him so outstanding.   

  1. Hard Work. Many believe that people who possess world-class skills are simply naturally gifted. While they are certainly gifted, there is a complimentary trait that they all possess: Work ethic. The secret that all achievement-oriented, naturally gifted people know is that excellence requires effort!

Lesson for Leaders: Practice your craft with unwavering precision. Seek to grow your skills by being a student of leadership.

 

  1. Focus. Michael Phelps set his sights on the goal of being a terrific swimmer and winning several gold medals. While growing up, his idol was Michael Jordan, another hardworking overachiever. Mr. Phelps believed that Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all-time. As such, he focused on becoming the greatest swimmer he could be.

Lesson for Leaders: Set your goals big. Craft a strategic plan on how to achieve your goals. Laser in on positive actions that will drive your team to the pinnacle of success.

 

  1. Passion. You have to like what you do. Why is Michael Phelps retiring? Answer: Because he is tired of looking at a black strip at the bottom of a pool. His extreme passion is waning and he is smart enough to realize that you cannot be the best if you do not possess passion for what you do. I have the honor of knowing professionals in a great many industries. The industries include manufacturing, real estate, technology, professional services, health care, communications, food services, railroads and many more. The highest achieving people I work with have incredible passion for what they do. In addition, they have a passion for positively impacting others.

Lesson for Leaders: Recognize that passion is one of the greatest strengths of a leader. Make certain that your passion resonates in the workplace. Also, help others find or demonstrate their passion for excellence.

 

Bottom Line: To achieve greatness a leader must have talent, a strong work ethic, laser focus, and passion. You may not be rewarded with a gold medal, but the positive results you drive will be felt in the hearts and minds of your team for a very long time.

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-08-06 at 08:22 AM
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The Importance of Being a Team Player

Most NFL teams have opened their training camps for spring drills. It is a time for the players to reunite and rekindle their team chemistry. From a teambuilding standpoint it is important that all key players attend. For some players though, it is time to “hold out” and skip camp as they attempt to renegotiate their contracts. The vast majority of the time, the hold-out strategy is successful. Last week, however, something unusual happened.

 

Mike Wallace, the all-pro wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers was a no-show at training camp. Apparently, the one-year, $9 million offer from the Steelers was not tasty enough for Mr. Wallace. A fan who was concerned that a key piece of the team’s success last year might remain absent, asked Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to comment about the situation. Brandishing a viewpoint that he was much more interested in who showed up rather than who did not, coach Tomlin calmly stated: “That’s bad……for him.” I love that response. Coach Tomlin’s comment sends a clear message that the team is more important than one player. There is a message in Mr. Tomlin’s words for all leaders: The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts – do not be held hostage by the actions or behavior of one team member.

 

So what has happened in the Steelers camp since last week? Well, they signed a different wide receiver (an existing team member who showed up for camp) to a long-term contract. This action leaves little room for Mr. Wallace to rejoin the team. A curiosity question then becomes: Will Mr. Wallace play football this season? The answer is most assuredly “yes.” But for what team? At what reduced salary? And will that team fare as well as the Steelers?

 

So many questions for someone who is not a team player. So many positive possibilities for players who come together as a team!

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-07-30 at 05:04 PM
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The Leading of Yahoo (and other organizations that have lost their way)

On July 17th Marissa Mayer, the former Google executive started her new job as CEO of Yahoo. Setting aside the jaw-dropping financial package secured by Ms. Mayer, one might question the wisdom of leaving Google to join Yahoo. After all, Google has clearly won the search engine war. In addition, Google has effectively monetized key product lines and diversified its revenue model. Alternatively, Yahoo has been losing market share, changing leadership, and appearing dead-in-the-water for years. Yet, Yahoo still has a handful of competencies that they do very well. They also have a global footprint and a well-recognized moniker. So what is Ms. Mayer to do? Well, here are my thoughts: 

  1. Identify a few product lines in which Yahoo’s capabilities are the best in the world. Then, focus and go deep on those product lines.
  2. Jettison all other, non-essential product lines.
  3. Rebrand with a laser-focus on clearly defined, easy to understand product lines. Note: An entirely new perception of Yahoo will need to be created during this process. Recall that Apple used to be perceived as a computer manufacturer and now they are thought of as much for their phones and how easy they make it for people to connect and gather information as they are for their computers.
  4. Succinctly and frequently communicate with internal colleagues, the marketplace, and with investors. In sum, over-communicate just what business Yahoo is in and why it matters.
  5. Stick to your guns. In other words, Ms. Mayer will need to give investors, the marketplace, and internal colleagues an opportunity to acclimate to Yahoo’s rebranding changes. Over the past few years Yahoo’s strategy has been a moving target. The new leadership must give Yahoo’s corporate culture a chance to change, embrace a rebrand, and stabilize.
  6. Celebrate victories and breakthroughs. Not a lot of celebration has occurred in Yahoo’s corner of Silicon Valley of late. This needs to change. Ms. Mayer should lead the celebratory bandwagon and rejoice any type of small, medium, or large victory she observes.

 

The above stated strategies are by no means reserved solely for Yahoo. Any business or corporate division that has lost its way but still possesses great potential can embrace these actions. The implementation of these ideas simply calls for a pragmatic leader who crafts an attainable vision for her people. Her laser-focus and drive, coupled with motivated team members will take care of the rest.

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-07-30 at 05:00 PM
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A² = Acknowledge & Ask

For all you math-a-fobes out there, do not be intimidated by the title of this blog post. It has nothing to do with arithmetic, although it does contain a formula. The formula applies to communication and it is a great way to move a conversation forward and position yourself to leverage advanced communication techniques such as paraphrasing. The first thing the A2 technique calls for you to do is acknowledge what the other person has said. It is easy to acknowledge someone by simply nodding your head in an affirmative manner. The second step is to ask a probing or open-ended question. If you are curious about how to come across as conversational as opposed to interrogational, check out our December 2010 newsletter in the e-Learning section of Leadership Simplified. Okay, back to A2. Your acknowledgements will keep the focus on the other person, and your “asks” will allow you to take the conversation where you want it to go, without appearing pushy. Want to be subtle, a good listener, and in command? Get algebraic and go A2!        

 

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-07-05 at 07:37 AM
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Want Better Collaboration in the Workplace? Try Taking Your Dog to Work

http://youtu.be/cJNrIjvcwY8

A client of ours takes his dog to work. In fact, everyone in his twelve person company takes their dog to work. Their office is quieter than you might expect. Why? The answer is because everybody gets along. Our client loves his dog. He also has a strong belief that if a myriad of dogs can get along in the workplace, so can all the owners of the dogs. His intuition and experience is actually backed up by several studies that validate that pets reduce anxiety in humans. Further, when pets are near they have an anti-irritant effect that, you guessed, helps to increase workplace collaboration.

Wanna get people working together and reduce workplace conflicts? Bring a pet to work.

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-06-30 at 09:28 AM
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The Magic Touch for the Dodgers

Last month an investment group headed up by basketball hall-of-famer Magic Johnson purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers. At auction no less. What lies ahead for the Dodgers is a myriad of changes, not least of which will be reorganization and team building. The past few years the Dodgers have played like a bunch of talented individuals, with no team synergy holding them together. Most assuredly, the Dodgers will need to create/expand their sense-of-team on the field. In addition, they will have to ensure the proper alignment of their front office team. This will call for the development of a cohesive vision, a solid action plan, and a consistent quality-oriented mindset.

 

My advice to the Dodgers is to embrace a strategy of change that includes team member involvement and lots of meaningful communication. Next, they should consider proper workplace alignment, which includes aligning talent with team potential. Finally, they should delve into copious amounts team building that will assist them in coming together as a unit.

 

Can the Dodgers pull off the kind of excellence that will be needed to deliver on-field and off-field success? You betcha, they have all the tools and resources they need in order to be successful. With a proper plan of action and solid execution, they can turn their world around. Do they have options if they fail? Of course, they can always move back to the open-arms of Brooklyn.  

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-04-30 at 08:00 AM
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Enterprise Zone Strategic Planner

During a recent strategic planning session that I facilitated with a client, the topic of Enterprise Zones came up. These are interesting animals which are best defined as State designated areas that are targeted for economic revitalization. Moving your business to, or increasing the employment in an Enterprise Zone holds the promise of a bevy of tax benefits. Interestingly, when we moved the headquarters of Leadership Simplified to downtown Bradenton we did not realize that our new location was smack in the middle of an Enterprise Zone. I guess that makes me an Enterprise Zone Strategic Planner. Anyway, think strategically about your business, as well as the location of your business. You never know, it just might lower your tax bill.

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-03-20 at 07:37 AM
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HARP Could Make Beautiful Music – For Some

While many of you may be aficionados of an enormous stringed musical instrument called the harp, this narrative has nothing to do with music. Rather, this prose is dedicated to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (also known as HARP), which is designed to assist homeowners in refinancing their mortgages – even if they owe more than the current value of their home. HARP is a means for people who have paid their home loan on time, but are underwater from a loan-to-value standpoint, to be able to refinance and take advantage of today’s low interest rates. Please note: The program pertains ONLY to mortgages that are held by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, which is 50% of all the loans in the United States. What makes the timing of today’s leadership blog post interesting for some people, is that on March 19th HARP is revising (i.e., increasing) their loan-to-value limits AND beginning to take applications for refinances of investment property, as well as primary residences. You can find out more or apply for the program by connecting with your favorite lending professional. If HARP resonates with you, my advice is to pursue this beauty sooner versus later. 

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-03-19 at 07:05 AM
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Motivational Speaker

It is always nice to receive a call from a client who is looking for a motivational leadership speaker. While we here at Leadership Simplified seek to coach and train leaders, it is fun to speak to groups from a motivational perspective. As a Florida-based motivational speaker one would think that Doug Van Dyke would speak to groups mainly in the Southeastern United States. This is not always the case, however. As a long-standing member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), Doug has worked with groups from coast-to-coast, as well as north to south. Doug believes that being in business for over 16 years, coupled with an NSA affiliation has greatly helped with increasing motivational speaking bookings. We would like to extend our thanks to all our wonderful clients. It is an honor to speak, to coach, to train, to strategically plan with you!

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-02-28 at 08:33 AM
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Team Synergy

The definition of synergy is two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable. In other words, the whole is greater than sum of its parts. This certainly is the case with high-performing teams. They find a way to coalesce into a unit that gets along and produces results far in excess of the capabilities of a group of individuals.

 

The best teams also have a fine compliment known as a great leader. Many of you have heard my definition of leadership which is: Leaders impact culture. Indeed, solid leaders build a sense of team. Along the way, they also provide a vision of the future that serves as a roadmap to show where the team is going.

 

If you are leading a team and are desirous of team synergy or a greater sense of team, take stock and look in the mirror. When you do, you will be staring at the person who sets the tone, the vision, and enables an otherwise disjointed group of individuals to come together and conquer all.         

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-02-27 at 02:16 PM
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Workplace Learning Helps Everyone Win

Interestingly, many people do not associate the workplace with learning. Rather, they think of the workplace as a place for doing. Now certainly there are an abundance of results that must be achieved while at work – that takes much doing. However, it is important that leaders do not lose site of the importance of people learning while at work. This calls for leaders to be good coaches and trainers. There are many advantages for those leaders who choose to help their people learn at work. First, the time a leader spends in helping team members learn, translates into greater productivity down the road. Second, team member retention is increased when the workplace serves as a center for learning. Finally, leaders hone their own skills by teaching others to build theirs.

 

The best leaders actively seek methods to coach and develop their valued team members. Not only does workplace learning help both organizations and team members win, but it helps leaders win as well.   

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-02-13 at 12:57 PM
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