Tag Archives: employee engagement

Performance Transformation, LLC™ Announces Change In Open-Access Policy For Methodologies and Intellectual Property

Due to a recent upswing in plagiarism, copyright violations, and the theft of intellectual property for commercial gain, Performance Transformation will curtail their standing, five year policy of open knowledge sharing.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ~ VENICE, Fla. — Performance Transformation, LLCTM (Venice, FL) announced today a change in their longstanding, open-access policy for the sharing of their knowledge systems, methodologies, and intellectual property.

“It’s unfortunate, but I suppose it’s a sign of our times.  Information should be open and new ideas and insights should be encouraged to move freely.  That’s the reason for copyrights as well as patents.  Patents are open for review by anyone looking to improve upon the patent.  Just like patent infringement, plagiarism is theft,” commented Terry Murray, founder and Managing Partner of Performance Transformation, a leading firm in the development and delivery of high performance leadership and enterprise performance insights and solutions. “The plagiarism and copyright violations have been growing incrementally over time. The recent theft of our copyrighted intellectual property, by a major, multi-national corporation, caused us to rethink and retool our policy. We will continue to share our intellectual property, as we strongly believe in the 21st Century business value of transparency, open collaboration, and the free flow of ideas as the propagating seeds of innovation. We will just reign it in a bit by implementing a chain of custody trail to those that seek to access our ideas and insights.”

Founded in 2008, Performance Transformation has developed and delivered highly innovative experiential learning programs and strategies for both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. Through their recent partnering with Talent SprocketTM, LLC (St. Petersburg, FL) they are the first leadership and enterprise performance firm to incorporate advanced, machine learning into their approach. Talent Sprocket incorporates sophisticated algorithms to deliver Predictive Human AnalyticsTM, a major step forward in the rapidly growing, talent management arena. The combination of Performance Transformation’s proprietary, developmental approach and Talent Sprocket’s analytical capabilities delivers concise, return on investment metrics for leadership development, a very unique benefit in the industry.

“Everybody claims to be an expert today, especially in the field of leadership development,” added Terry. “When we look at the research data, it’s quite obvious there are very, very few effective leadership development companies delivering viable solutions and value in the market. Corporations and institutions have invested nearly $1 trillion over the past twenty years in behaviorally-based leadership development programs. The ROI is pitiful, representing perhaps the worst, collective investment companies have made over the past two decades.”

The Gallup® Company’s recent, annual survey on the State of the American Workplace once again pegs employee disengagement at 70%. This figure has remained stagnant for more than a decade. McKinsey® published a study less than two years ago that demonstrated only 1% of executives scored excellent in eight key leadership competencies. Ninety percent scored below average.

Terry is the author of “The Transformational Entrepreneur”, which was cited by the academic Journal of Economic Literature in March, 2012. Performance Transformation’s pro bono program, “Warriors in Transition”, was formally commended by General David Petraeus in 2010. The program imparts leadership and resiliency skills in combat veterans working to successfully navigate the transition home. It has also

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been employed extensively for veterans struggling with Post Traumatic Stress to support Post Traumatic Growth.

“What would our economy, companies and nation look like today if these traditional approaches to leadership development had actually delivered on their promise? It’s why we come armed with a validated, neurologically-based approach grounded in the needs of the individual as well as the business, build skills around tangible business outcomes, and hold ourselves accountable with our analytics capabilities. We’re determined to make a change.”

In addition to publishing his book in 2011, Terry has written and published more than 300 articles and blogs, openly sharing his wisdom, knowledge and expertise. He is a frequent guest of the media and a sought after speaker for professional conferences and symposia.

“Congruency is such a part of our philosophy and we believe in giving forward and openly contributing to support positive change in our society and communities,” said Terry. “Capitalism can be, and should be, a force for good. When business leaders embrace this perspective, it resonates with today’s multi-cultural, multi-generational, global workforce. Enormous productivity gains and value is lying quietly, just beneath the surface in many companies and organizations. Our approach is proven to capture and leverage that value, driving remarkable, breakthrough business results. We simply will no longer subsidize individuals and corporations that don’t share in our honesty and authenticity.”

For more information on Performance Transformation, please call (941) 485-7428.

© 2013, Performance Transformation, LLC™.  All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Diversity & Inclusion, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Talent Management

Establishing a Talent Management Baseline for Breakthrough Productivity

As the economy continues to gain ground, organizations are faced with the risk of unprecedented turnover.  Years of downsizing have left many workers disengaged, mistrustful of leadership, and generally burned out.  A recent survey illustrated the fact that 55% of employees feel they cannot handle their current workload and the resulting stress much longer.  From an organizational development viewpoint, this unsettling situation threatens the foundational competitiveness of many firms, fore it is the best and the brightest that are the most mobile.  The collaborative challenges of leading a multi-cultural and multi-generational workforce, in an ever-accelerating environment, only exacerbates the threat.

Let’s face it, traditional approaches to leadership development have fallen far short of their promise.  With enterprises investing $50 billion a year in leadership development, you’d think we’d see better results, yet only 1% of 5,560 executives assessed (McKinsey Quarterly, July, 2011) scored excellent in key competencies.  Nearly nine out of ten score below average.  The fact of the matter is, behaviorally-based approaches to leadership development only treat the symptoms of poor leadership, blindly missing the causal elements that differentiate mediocre management from inspirational leadership.  Even worse, these traditional approaches to talent management are failing to identify upwards of 65% of high potentials.  All of these factors are combining to create the perfect storm for many companies.  With the speed of business and demands for innovation what they are today, committing a misstep in talent management can be fatal…and there no longer exists even a modicum of time to respond.  If you get blindsided by this today, you may not be around tomorrow.

Here’s a short, video white board describing how leveraging the state-of-the-science findings from the field of affective neuroscience, along with incorporating targeted, demonstrated high performer competencies (in today’s volatile world), can anticipate this coming wave of disruption by creating a quantitative, talent management baseline that aligns with the demands of the day.

© 2013, Terry Murray.

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May 1, 2013 · 4:07 pm

The Top 5 Signs You’re Already Losing the Talent War

I just returned from attending and speaking at the HR Management Institute’s conference entitled, “Enhancing HR as a Strategic and Transformative Business Partner in Times of Volatility and Change”.  It was a compelling event in which our team had the opportunity to meet and interact with some of the most progressive HR executives I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with throughout my career.  Upon my return home, I read an article about Yahoo’s CEO making the decision to end telecommuting at their company.  The irony of this decision hit me immediately.  One of the few companies to survive the dot com crash over a decade ago, a company that is entirely built around the value proposition of internet connectivity, is retreating to an Industrial Age, brick and mortar mentality.  Just as the rest of the business world is poised to leverage new thinking and new technologies that will catapult the foundations of internet connectivity to transparent engagement and rapid innovation.

These two recent experiences compelled me to share my insights on the early warning signs that you may already be losing the talent war (and by the way, 2.9 million workers voluntarily left their employer in January, the highest level since June, 2008).

1. You’re resisting flexibility in the workplace ~ I haven’t worked out of a traditional office setting since 2000.  I’ve worked with teams of dispersed associates scattered around the country, and now around the world, and we’ve created remarkable value.  Knowledge workers warming a seat in a cubicle does not ensure productivity or innovation.  At a time when, according to the CEB Executive Guidance ~ 2013 report, CEOs are looking for an additional 20% increase in productivity, forcing knowledge workers to waste time commuting to an expensive piece of real estate doesn’t make sense.  The American Consumer Institute reports that over 350 billion days per year are spent community.  The lost work time and transportation expense represents roughly 7.2% of our gross domestic product.

Even worse, the not-so-subtle message Yahoo is telling its employees is, “We don’t trust you and feel compelled to babysit you to ensure you’re getting your work done.”  Gen Y workers are interactive, online, mobile workers.  For them, the lines between work and life are blurred.  Take that flexibility away from them and you wont have to worry about engaging them; they’ll be working for your competitor.

2. You’re still exclusively entrusting psychologists to train your next generation of leaders ~ McKinsey & Co.® published a study in July, 2011 that identified only 1% of “C” level and one step down executives scored excellent in eight core leadership competencies.  Ninety percent scored below average.  The Corporate Executive Board’s Executive Guidance ~ 2013 report identified the top ten, key competencies shared by more than 23,000 current high performers in today’s fast paced, ambiguous business environment.  Of these ten competencies, only three were identified and measured by the McKinsey study. A study published a mere eighteen months ago.

According to a study conducted by Doris Gomez of Regent University, and published in 2007 in the International Journal of Leadership Studies, corporations are spending in excess of $45 billion a year on leadership training.  That’s a breathtaking investment level for the reported outcomes and painfully obvious disconnect revealed by the McKinsey and CEB studies.

I don’t mean to take the organizational psychologists to task.  I’m sure they have good intentions and work hard at their profession.  They simply are not solely equipped to train the leaders we need today and for tomorrow.  Psychologists have long dominated leadership training efforts and leadership development firms.  If they have been so successful, why do we see such a disconnect?  The fact is, leaders develop leaders, not academics that have been comfortably observing on the sidelines, with no skin in the game, while the rest of us are engaged in the day-to-day trenches, actually leading fellow human beings.  Academics enrich the discourse through their research and scientific method, but this needs to be mindfully blended with real world, leadership experience.

3. You’re still focused on yesterday’s leadership model ~ Transactional leadership is about as relevant today as a rotary dial phone.  Command-and-control leadership tactics are the fastest way to disconnect Gen Y and Gen X workers and create cross generational and cultural rifts in the workplace.  Why?  Because transactional leaders focus exclusively on leveraging extrinsic goals and values.  What motivated and engaged a homogenous workforce once dominated by white, male Baby Boomers rings hollow in today’s multi-cultural, multi-generational workplace.

To engage today’s remarkably rich and diverse environment, one must include intrinsic goals and values in their approach to leadership.  Authentic relationships, opportunities for personal and professional growth (Gen Y and Gen X don’t differentiate between the two), and purposefulness, of feeling a part of something meaningful and larger than ourselves, transcends multi-cultural orientations and multi-generational perspectives.  It speaks to how we’re neurologically wired for survival.  It speaks to that which makes us human beings.

4. You’re still focused on training hard skills and not developing the soft skills of your talent ~ Training is fine for health and safety, but it does nothing to move the needle of effective leadership, employee engagement and innovative collaboration.  It is rote and boring (a Harvard study demonstrated that traditional lectures improve conceptual learning by only 14%).  Companies must embrace more compelling opportunities that include experiential learning and environments that support the development of emotional intelligence competencies (research shows that 80% of success in life can be attributed to one’s emotional intelligence, with the remaining 20% based in cognitive abilities).

For years we’ve been told to leave our emotions at home when coming to work.  The fact is, this disengages us from our authentic selves and creative abilities.  Emotions are a part of our primary survival mechanism.  Emotions inform us, guide us, and connect us on a neurological and biochemical level.  This also harkens back to the problem of having psychologists running leadership development.  The mainstream academic field of psychology dismissed emotions as messy side effects until the 1980s.  Shocking, right?  It shocked me when I discovered, while reading Richard Davidson’s book, “The Emotional Life Of Your Brain”, that up until about thirty years ago, mainstream psychologists were entirely enamored with behaviorism.  Progressive researchers like Dr. Davidson struggled to even get approval from their institutions, never mind the funding, to conduct psychological studies that looked into the relationship between the brain and emotions!  Thankfully they prevailed, and the field of Affective Neuroscience was born.

5. You’re still conducting traditional diversity and inclusion training as a compliance-driven have-to-do ~ As an esteemed colleague of mine says, “We have diversity, what we don’t have is inclusion.”  Many organizations still conduct D&I training at the same level of enthusiasm and strategic importance as they conduct health and safety training.  Employees are sent an email, told when and where to show up, and they check off the box for another year.  The demands and pace of business are such that we had better be fully engaging our entire workforce.  And if we’re to capture that 20% improvement in productivity CEOs are looking for, I don’t think we can consciously or unconsciously relegate a single employee to the sidelines.

We need all of our associates to feel authentically cared for and genuinely included in the central conversation of the business.  If we don’t, one of our competitors certainly will.

© 2013, Terry Murray.

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Filed under Diversity & Inclusion, Experiential Learning, Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture

Terry Murray to Speak About Affective Leadership Development at HR Management Institute Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Terry Murray Warriors in Transition HawaiiFeb. 12, 2013 – Terry Murray, founder and Managing Partner of Performance Transformation, LLC™, has been invited to present at the HR Management Institute’s upcoming conference entitled, “Enhancing HR as a Strategic and Transformative Business Partner in Times of Volatility and Change”.  The conference will be held at the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Orlando, FL from February 24th to 26th, 2013.Mr. Murray will be presenting, “Leadership 2020 – Developmental Strategies for Delivering Competitive Advantage in the New Economy”, an integrative, research-based approach for sparking engagement, collaboration and innovative thinking for today’s multi-cultural, multi-generational workforce.  The approach leverages recent findings from the scientific disciplines of affective neuroscience, social neuroscience, performance psychology, emotional intelligence, adult learning styles, creativity research, and applied behavioral economics.

“Our approach to developing inspirational leaders, what we call Affective Leadership, is a scientifically-substantiated methodology that leverages the neural mechanisms of human emotion to connect, engage and inspire today’s multi-cultural, multi-generational workforce,” commented Terry.  “The intention is not to manipulate emotions, but to develop keen insights into how our presence, congruity, authenticity, transparency and communicative style affects those we lead and seek to positively influence.”

Through the application of collaborative, experiential learning, in combination with Performance Transformation’s proprietary Accretive Coaching Process℠, leaders and high potentials are provided the opportunity to experiment and discover these lessons for themselves and immediately begin to apply them within the context of the business.

While the approach incorporates insights from more than 200 peer-reviewed research studies, it is far from an academic treatise.  Affective Leadership, and the firm’s developmental process is grounded in more than twenty years of real-world, executive leadership success.

“Simply put, Affective Leadership is the leadership of engagement,” added Terry. “Going as far back as the 1990s, I had the chance to lead multi-national business units for a global corporation.  I was twenty years younger than my Managing Directors in Europe and Latin America.  I had to learn how to lead multi-cultural, multi-generational workforces.  I didn’t have a choice as I had been tapped to turn around an emotionally and cognitively disengaged workforce overseas.  Our approach reflects those lessons and the rapidly emerging research supports our philosophy.”

“A quick canvasing of the contemporary business literature clearly demonstrates the importance of leveraging intrinsic values to engage and inspire today’s knowledge workers.  Personal development, authentic relationships, being of service to others, and a sense of purposefulness cuts across the broad spectrum of perspectives that are conditioned into us through culture and generational experiences.  This is especially important for creating a culture that attracts and helps retain the best and brightest workers from Gen-X and Gen-Y and for connecting these generations with the knowledge and wisdom our rapidly retiring Baby Boomers are taking with them.”

Performance Transformation exemplifies these intrinsic values through their community service programs.  Warriors in Transition, which has been introduced in six states since 2009, received a formal commendation from General David Petraeus in 2010.  The firm has also invested in developing programs for the Autism Spectrum Disorder community, and most recently, a leadership and life skills program for at-risk girls.

“Part of what we teach is congruency…the motivational power that can be unleashed by walking your talk.  In order for us to impart these lessons with integrity, we must embody them in our actions,” said Terry.

© 2013, Performance Transformation, LLC™.

 

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February 12, 2013 · 3:20 pm

Positioning with Purpose ~ Meaning, Engagement and Social Branding

The McKinsey Quarterly® just published a compelling article entitled, “Increasing the Meaning Quotient at Work”.  The article explores the power of meaningfulness in the workplace and shares several approaches to cultivate a sense of purposefulness throughout the organization.  We must admit, we have a bias in endorsing the research, as the concepts and application of psychological flow, emotional intelligence, the endowment effect, and inclusion through authentic engagement have been central tenets of our curriculum for the past four years.  For us, it’s a point of independent validation of our thought leadership (of being a step ahead of such prestigious, global firms like McKinsey) and approach to professional and organizational development.

Bell Curve FlowRenowned research psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, has demonstrated that when people are in psychological flow, they’re performing at their optimal abilities.  Be it an athletic, artistic or intellectual pursuit.  In fact, I wrote extensively about flow in my book and identified methods for creating and sustaining the culture necessary to propagate flow in knowledge workers.  In fact, working from flow increases productivity five-fold.  By intentionally building an emotionally intelligent workforce and emotionally intelligent culture will emerge.  Incorporating the work of Daniel Goleman, one of the fathers of emotional intelligence research, and the research of affective neuroscientists Jaak Panksepp and Richard Davidson, we’ve created easy-to-use, yet powerful tools to assist our clients successfully navigate their emotional landscape (i.e., The Emotional Compass™).

Another interesting finding from the article is another lesson we’ve long understood and emphasized.  It is from the discipline of Applied Behavioral Economics, and in particular, the research of Dan Ariely.  When we own something, be it an idea or an item, we naturally overestimate its value.  The McKinsey study reveals this with the experiment of writing your own lottery ticket.  Dan Ariely demonstrated it at Duke, with basketball tickets.  We’ve seen it for years in our strategic planning practice and it is why we migrated from writing strategic plans for clients to coaching them through the process.  When we feel (notice it is feel, not think or believe) ownership, we adhere and champion our work.  We have a psychological and emotional skin in the game, which also drives engagement.

The other tool McKinsey talks about is storytelling.  Storytelling was humankind’s first knowledge management system.  It was how, for millennia, human beings passed on survival skills, and the cultural mythologies that defined their identity as a people.  This is another long-standing tool we’ve incorporated into our experiential learning workshops as well as our new, social knowledge management platform.  Stories are powerful psychological tools that resonate with us.  It’s part of why we so readily remember song lyrics; stories set to music.

One of the artifacts of the Industrial Age of management is the exclusive use of extrinsic goals and values to drive engagement.  Money, prestige and the big corner office may have worked well to motivate a homogenous workforce, but falls short in today’s multi-cultural, multi-generational workplace.  Extrinsic goals and values are conditioned values, things our society tells us we should value.  By introducing intrinsic goals and values, leaders can transcend both cultural and generational differences in orientation and perspective.  Intrinsic values are universal values we all share.  Authentic relationships, personal development and a sense of shared purpose.  These are the values that resonate neurologically in human beings.  They are ancient, and we can still see how they manifest themselves in primal societies in which survival is highly interdependent.

Companies are coming to realize how purposefulness, of being a part of something larger than ourselves, drives engagement.  Professional development demonstrates an investment by the firm in the individual as well, implicitly communicating, “You have value and are worth investing in.”  Incorporating professional development plans for each associate engrains this message throughout the entire enterprise and can help change the tenor of the culture.

These lessons have strategic value and we are seeing this value manifest itself through the use of social media to create social branding.  Home Depot’s Aprons in Action program is an example of this application being conducted on Facebook.  Home Depot currently has a social media voting contest in place to support nonprofits that work with our veterans.  Each month, four nonprofits compete for votes to win a $25,000 gift card.  This engages both the public and their own associates to feel a part of doing something good for the community…of being a part of positive change.  Just think how much more cost-effective this is compared to a 30 second spot on television!  It sends the implicit message, “We care,” that resonates on an emotional level with the company’s stakeholders.

This approach creates deep reach.  For example, we partner with Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART) to conduct our experiential learning workshops.  In doing so, our client’s investments in leadership development, team building and sales skills programs directly supports a community nonprofit that serves children with developmental disabilities and wounded veterans returning home.  It connects the developmental process with societal meaning and demonstrates service leadership.  When we heard SMART was in Home Depot’s contest this month, we sprang to action to create a fun promotional video for the contest. This level of engagement, of being a part of something bigger than us, mobilized action in support of their needs.  With that said, we invite you to please vote for SMART by visiting the Aprons in Action link.

This is the exclamation point on the power of social branding to drive engagement throughout an enterprise’s business ecology.  Videos are made, social media networks are leveraged, blogs are written and peer opinion and shared intention drives traffic to the Home Depot Facebook page.  Value is created in every direction that benefits Home Depot, SMART, and Performance Transformation.  How we feel, about Home Depot in this example, compels positive behaviors from outside the organization that contribute to the company’s brand equity and social standing.

Perhaps more than ever, employee engagement, customer engagement, leadership, marketing and brand management, are intersecting not so much in the head, but in the heart!

© 2013, Terry Murray.

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Filed under Diversity & Inclusion, Experiential Learning, Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Sales Training, Strategic Planning, Team Building

Sound Advice or Self-Promotional Noise?

A colleague of mine sent along a recent posting from the Last Word business advice column from Inc. Magazine today.  It was written by Steve Tobak, a coach and consultant from Silicon Valley who enjoyed success with a couple of IPOs during the heyday of the tech boom.  In his latest column, Mr. Tobak declares why employee engagement is not important and should be, basically, ignored.  In his opening paragraph, he asserts that employee engagement is simply a rebranding of employee satisfaction and goes on to state that these surveys don’t do any good.  The first comment either lacks a fundamental understanding of the difference between engagement and satisfaction, or is simply dismissive of the concept.  The second comment appears disconnected and, quite frankly, a bit of nonsense. In what way does a survey ever resolve anything?

Mr. Tobak goes on to comment that some experts don’t believe there’s a correlation between employee engagement and business performance.  His evidence for this is provided in a link to another coach-written article from two and a half years ago that is cursory at best, and goes on, when the author is citing a study from the American Psychological Association, to actually contradict himself.  Mr. Tobak provides another link to an additional opinion piece to support his perspective that employee engagement is a racket.  Not coincidently, this piece also focused on surveys and not on initiatives.  At no point did Mr. Tobak reference the seminal study published in the Harvard Business Review® that demonstrated companies that engage both their associates and customers, on an emotional and cognitive level, enjoy a 240% improvement in financial performance.  Nothing was cited from studies from the fields of affective neuroscience, contemplative neuroscience, social neuroscience or applied behavioral economics either.  Each of these fields have clearly demonstrated the biochemical affect that connection, engagement and emotional well-being has on an associate’s state of coherence, psychological flow and entrainment; all key biological states of being that support creative thinking and higher, cognitive processing.

The piece goes on to focus on the anecdotal, failed execution of managerial initiatives which we’ve all been witness to in the past.  Just because an enterprise fails to execute on an idea doesn’t mean the idea, in and of itself, was false.  It simply points to poor execution.  Mr. Tobak closes his argument against employee engagement by describing a mock (his word, not mine) interview he conducted with one of his executive clients he is coaching.  Yes, a sample size of one.  He asked his client, out of a list of four groups, who’s interests should he serve first.  He shared his client’s priorities: 1. Customers, 2. The Boss, 3.) Internal Customers, 4.) The Employees.  While I sincerely agree with placing the customer first and foremost, is it any wonder this executive is in need of coaching?  So, using a shifting set of examples that never addressed engagement (a focus on surveys and an obviously biased set of assumptions) and the opinions of two columnist and one coaching client, we have the results.  According to Mr. Tobak, employee engagement doesn’t matter.

A bit stunned by disbelief (I assume Mr. Tobak is a bright, competent individual), I looked into some of his other columns.  What became readily apparent was the sound-bite nature of his work.  Everything is written as a list of superlatives or dangerous perils we must avoid.  After reading several columns, and one in particular in which he also dismissed Emotional Intelligence as another fad (the science has been rolling in for nearly twenty years on EI and its impact on organizational fitness, so I’m not sure you can still call it a fad), it became obvious that Mr. Tobak writes for sensationalism and positions himself as the contrarian as a point of differentiation.  It’s easy to knock down progressive thinking and continue to wave yesterday’s management banner.  It is simple marketing 101.

When disingenuous writing is used to drive traffic to a site a funny thing eventually emerges; the contrarian contradicts themselves.  On Mr. Tobak’s website, he quotes Lao Tzu:

He who knows men is clever;

He who knows himself has insight.

He who conquers men has force;

He who conquers himself is truly strong.

Sounds an awful lot like self-awareness and self-regulation to me; the first two tenets of Emotional Intelligence.

© 2012, Terry Murray.

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