Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Interviewing’

How to Motivate Your Staff

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I’m a big fan of Daniel Pink, so I had to post this articledanielpink-600

However, it never fails to amaze me that we are still talking about staff motivation. Too many managers and organisations are still not getting the message.

I know of one organisation who advertise for call centre staff – daily! Their rate of attrition must be horrendous, and cost them a heck of a lot of money in recruitment and staff training.

There is still a carrot and stick mentality, and box ticking appraisals every so often.

I particularly like what Pink says:

“Ultimately what it gets to is who is the human being on that laptop, on that mobile phone, across from that customer? What is making him or her tick? If we get that wrong, we’re going to have a very impoverished future of work.”

And

“When you reward behaviour, you do get more of it, sometimes. When you punish behaviour, you do get less of it, sometimes. But not all the time.”

If you want engaged and motivated staff who produce business results, then you really should read articles like this.

And read my first book, of course! (And it’s not about carrot and stick)41tl4u-h9zl-_uy250_

How to be a Motivational Manager

5 Factors of Successful Recruiting

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If you are a business owner or manager you’ll be very much aware of the need to:20130628-1652591

  • Find new customers
  • Hold onto the ones you have, and stop them buying from your competitors
  • Get them to buy more of your products or services

You obviously can’t do all this on your own so it’s vital to have the best people working for you.

However, many business people seem to believe that they can employ almost anyone and train them or control them to do the job.

Can you imagine a manager or coach of a sports team employing almost anyone for their team – of course not! They’ll always pick the best person to score the points, work well with the team and help win the championship.

Only when you have the best people, can you train and motivate them to achieve the three outcomes at the top of this page.

Know what you’re looking for

The time will come when you need to interview someone to join your business or your existing team. If you work in a large organisation then this could be someone from inside the company. You might even be the owner of a small business and about to start your first employee. Whatever the situation, you’re going to have to make a decision about whether this person is suitable for the job or not.

1. Can they deliver?

This is the number 1 factor of successful recruiting. It is absolutely vital that anyone you employ can deliver the outcomes you need.

These could be more orders, or more happy customers, or fast maintenance turnaround; it’s what you and your team are judged on. You need to be clear in your own mind as to the outcomes you need.

2. Will they fit the culture?

You need to think about whether the person you interview will be happy in your company and your culture. Some people who move from a large company to a much smaller one often find it hard to adjust.

Some years ago I moved from a large international organisation to a small local company. I went into the job with my eyes open and had three successful years. However I often felt frustrated in the smaller company mainly by their culture and the way they went about their business; I was glad when I moved back to a bigger organisation. I just wasn’t a “small company” person.

3. Will they fit with the team?

Will the job applicant fit well with the existing team? Maybe your team are a group of loners who don’t communicate with each other but it’s unlikely. You can’t pick people who are all the same; you don’t want a set of clones in your team. However you need to pick someone who is on the same wave-length as the rest of the team.

Perhaps you could involve a team member at a second interview, they might have a better feel for whether the person would fit or not.

4. Can they fit with your style?

How will the person respond to you, will they be able to work with your style of management.

I’ve had applicants complain about their existing boss – ‘Do you know that he expects me to do such and such.’ And I’ve thought to myself, ‘That’s exactly what I’d be expecting as well.’

You’ve got to have a good connection with this person that you bring into your team. That doesn’t mean to say that you’re going to be best buddies but you’ll need to be able to work together.

Consider if you’re the kind of manager who likes to work closely with your team and regularly check their progress. If so, you’ll need an individual who wants structure and detail and is comfortable with close monitoring.

If on the other hand, you’re the kind of manager who sets outcomes and leaves the team to get on with it without much help from you. Then you’re going to need someone who’s happy to work with minimum supervision.

5. Will they be happy?

Job applicants don’t know what they’re getting into when they start a new job. They might think they know, but how can they when they’ve never worked in your team or your company before. Just as it’s a risk for you when you start someone new, it’s also a risk for them. You’ll never totally eliminate the risk but it’s your job minimise the risk for both you and the applicant.

I’ve seen too many people start a new job and then find that it doesn’t suit them, they don’t like it and they want out. It causes problems for you as the manager; so I suggest you do every thing you can to avoid it.

It’s not easy

Picking people for your team is one of the most challenging and important jobs you’ll ever do. Use every bit of information you can get your hands on, read their resume and study any psychometric test that’s been done. However be as good an interviewer as you can be.

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Employ People Who Think

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Old style management doesn’t encourage employees to think.not sure

That was certainly the case when I started work back in the bad old days, however it’s still prevalent in many businesses today.

It’s evident in many of the organisations that I work with that there’s a culture of – ‘I’m the boss – I tell you what to do – you don’t question it.’

The successful manager doesn’t react that way; he or she employs people who think!

They pick people with a mind of their own who aren’t afraid to say what they think and feel.

You need people who question, who challenge you as a manager.

If you want the job done…

I remember sitting in on a second interview with John, a manager client of mine who was interviewing candidates for a sales job. One of the candidates was a guy called Phil. He was a very strong character, full of questions and suggestions on how the job should be done.

John turned to me when Phil left the room – ‘That guy’s good, I reckon he’d be a good salesman for us, but I don’t think I could handle him.’

John was a much quieter type of person than Phil and I knew he felt uncomfortable with his style.

So I asked John – ‘What do you want this new salesman to do?’

‘I want him to bring in new business’ said John.

‘Do you think he can do that?’ I asked.

‘Of course I do, I just think he’ll be difficult to handle.’

It all comes down to outcomes. As a manager, what are you trying to achieve? What does your organisation and your boss want from you?

Don’t be scared

Of course you must consider how you’re going to work with a new team member, but you sometimes need to get out of your comfort zone and take a risk.

John hired Phil and he brought in the new business that John needed. Phil was always a handful and a challenge for John but they learned to work together.

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8 Tips for Successful Job Interviewing

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1. Relax the applicant20130628-165259.jpg

This is nigh impossible to do because almost anyone being interviewed for a job will feel nervous. However, don’t make it harder for them by creating some kind of pressure chamber or interrogation room.

Be warm and friendly and welcoming however, don’t get into too much small talk or before long they’ll be telling you all about their last vacation in Florida.

2. Set the scene 

Let the applicant know that you want to find out if they have the talent to do the job you need. Make it clear that you will be asking some structured questions and that you want them to say how they feel and what they think. Explain that it could be different from any interview they’ve had before and that you want to make a decision that is best for both of you.

Make it clear that you’ll allow time at the end of the interview for them to ask any questions they have. However, let them know that if they’re invited back for a second interview then that would be the best time for them to ask questions.

This interview is where you will decide whether this person has the talent to do the job; it’s not where you talk about the duties involved, the benefits or the salary. You can get to all of that at a second interview. If they ask any questions about salary, (if hasn’t already been made clear) then there’s no reason not to tell them. In fact, I quite like people who want to know what they’re getting paid.

3. The questions

Based on the talent you’re looking for you need to have prepared questions before the interview. Do not interview by the seat of your pants and ask questions as you think of them. You could then end up just having a chat and you will never uncover the talent you’re looking for.

You’ve heard all the stuff about open and closed questions; what you want in an interview is open questions that allow the person to go in various directions. You want them to reveal how they would respond if faced with the situations you know they’ll encounter every day on the job.

Be careful that your questions don’t give the applicant a clue as to the information you want.

You have to be careful of questions that telegraph the answers you want. ‘What do you enjoy most about being a maintenance engineer?’ is going to get you answers like – ‘I enjoy the challenge of solving customer’s problems.’ – Yuck!

4. ‘Tell me about a time’ questions are good

If you were looking for a customer service person who you wanted to build good relationships with your key accounts, then you might ask a question such as – ‘Tell me about a time when you built a relationship with a customer.’

If the individual is good at building relationships then they’ll immediately respond with a case history. If they ask you – ‘What do you mean?’ simply repeat the question. If you start to prompt them or put the question in a different way, then you’re in danger of telegraphing the direction you want the applicant to take.

5. Listen for specifics

Some applicants will answer the above question with something like – ‘I have good relationships with all my customers, it’s difficult to give you a specific example.’

The reason they say that, is because they don’t have a specific example. They may just be a processor of customers and don’t really build good relationships.

The good guys will tell you stories such as ‘I’ve dealt with Susan at the Acme Tool Company for the past two years. We didn’t get on too well when I first made contact because we’d let her down on deliveries a couple of times. So I decided to set up a system whereby I’d contact Susan once a week and discuss the order situation with her. We get on really well now and she’s even asked me to come and visit her company.’

6. ‘How do you feel’ questions are also good

You might ask an applicant – ‘How do you feel when a customer is angry about the service from your company?’ You may get the response – ‘It’s no problem to me, I can handle it, water off a ducks back, I sort their problem out.’

If you were looking for someone with the talent to empathise with your customers, then you’re not getting it here. The response you’re looking for should be something like – ‘I feel really uncomfortable for the customer when we don’t get it right, I realise that it must be very frustrating for them. I listen carefully to what they have to say and make it clear that I do care about their situation and tell them what I’ll do to resolve it.’

7. ‘What gives you great personal satisfaction’ is another good question.

Every individual is different and what is personally satisfying for one may not be for another. I’m sure there are many jobs that you wouldn’t think of applying for no matter how much they paid.

I find it hard to understand what anyone would find satisfying in being an accountant or a dentist; however many people do. Some people find it really satisfying to turn round a difficult customer or negotiate a loan. Finding out what an applicant finds satisfying will give you clues to their talents.

8. Keep thinking

The benefits of having structured questions prepared beforehand means that you don’t need to be thinking about what to ask next. You can devote all of your time to listening for the information you need.

It’s also important to keep your thinking brain engaged, don’t let your heart rule your head. If they were to say – ‘I hate customers who don’t know what they want.’ Don’t think – ‘It’ll be okay, they probably don’t mean that.’

The thing is, they probably do and it may cause problems with their ability to build the customer relationships you need. The trick is to believe what the applicant says and don’t put your own interpretation on the answer.

Too often a manager will interview someone and realise that they may not quite have the talent they’re looking for. The manager then thinks – ‘It’ll be all right, once they’ve started in the job I’ll train them, or I’ll sort them out.’

You’ll only be able to bring out a talent that’s there in the first place, so you’re going to have to be sure that it’s there.

As long as the applicant is talking and you’re carefully listening and thinking then you’re more likely to pick up the information you need.

 

 

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10 Tips to Pick the Right People

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Pick people:

1. That you want, don’t let anyone else do it.

2. Who will deliver the outcomes you need, not those with a great CV.

3. Who will fit with your team and the organization.

4. Who will respond to your style of leadership.

5. Who have the talent to do the job, not the experience or the qualifications.

6. Who have energy.

7. Who have good rapport building skills, no matter what job they do.

8. Who have courage.

9. Who will be happy in the job.

10. Who are right for the job, not the best of the bunch.

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Packaging Maketh the Person

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The multi million pound cosmetics industry is acutely aware of the value of packaging. You’ll know this it you’ve ever bought anything from those ladies whose counters are always just inside the front door of Department stores.

However, every so often we are presented with surveys about the creams we rub on our bodies which take years off our age, and make our skin as soft as a baby’s bottie.

The surveys tell us “Buy the cheap stuff or the own label one from the supermarket, ‘cause they’re all the same”. But do we? Of course we don’t!

Human beings are driven by emotions not logic, and never more so when spending their money.

People buy with their eyes, we love packaging. The marketing and merchandising experts have it down to a fine art and know the colours and shapes that we’re most likely to buy. They then design their packaging accordingly, and make sure it grabs our attention.

The product in the packaging has to do what it says it’ll do, however if it looks like it can do the business, then we’re more likely to believe it can.

Whether we like it or not, people are likely to make judgements about us by the way we are packaged. They will decide whether they like us, whether they’ll give us a job, or even just believe what we say.

This seems to be so obvious. Yet I’ve seen speakers with scuffed shoes, business leaders with outdated suits, and politicians wearing clothes that don’t fit them or suit their shape.

A few months ago I attended a function where an accountant was invited to speak about his business. He told the assembled audience how efficient his business was and about their attention to detail. However his tie was undone and his shirt looked like he was breaking it in for a smaller friend. His suit, though probably expensive, wasn’t the right colour for him, and merely due attention to the fact that its wearer liked his food. All of what he was saying was totally contradicted by how he was packaged.

It’s not just your external customers and clients you have to consider, what about your colleagues and your boss? They will all make decisions about the quality of your work, and your promotion prospects by your dress and image.

There is the famous story about the 1960’s pre-election television debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. These debates were also heard on radio, which was much more popular at that time. After the debates a poll was taken of how TV and radio audiences had reacted to the two participants. The radio audience voted for Nixon, however the TV audience voted overwhelmingly voted for Kennedy. The TV audience liked the look of Kennedy better than Nixon; they liked the packaging.

We also tend to make decisions very quickly about people we come into contact with.  Psychologists have established that we subconsciously make around eleven decisions about other people within the first six seconds of meeting them. Personnel managers have admitted in surveys to making a decision about a job applicant within the first thirty seconds of an interview, these decisions being made primarily on how the people looked and carried themselves. How we look will confirm or contradict what we say.

Okay, so we can’t all have the perfect looks or the perfect body, what ever that is. However it doesn’t matter what shape you are, but it does matter how you package that shape, if you want to make an impact on other people.

How you package yourself can also make a huge difference to your self-confidence. Have you ever noticed how confident and self-assured you feel when you dress in something you feel good in? Particularly when someone genuinely compliments you. How you dress can have a huge impact on how you carry yourself and project to other people.

So there you have it. You may have a lot more to offer than a jar of anti wrinkle cream or a packet of cornflakes; however no one is going to pick you off the shelf if they don’t like your packaging.

To listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player, please click this link.

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Recruit People Who Think – Six Steps to Success

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When you’re interviewing someone for a job, what do you look for? Perhaps you look for previous experience, technical expertise, a particular level of intelligence and probably many other qualities and characteristics.

Can I also suggest that you pick someone with the talent to think, the ability to control their own mind.

Old style management doesn’t encourage employees to control their mind, they aren’t encouraged to think. That was certainly the case when I started work back in the bad old days however it’s still prevalent in many businesses today.
It’s evident in many of the organisations that I work with that there’s a culture of – “I’m the boss – I tell you what to do – you don’t question it.”

The successful manager doesn’t react that way, they employ people who think; people with a mind of their own who aren’t afraid to say what they think and feel. You need people who question, and who challenge you as a manager. Now I know you’re getting scared but a successful manager needs courage!

I remember sitting in on a second interview with a manager colleague of mine who was interviewing candidates for a sales job. One of the candidates was a guy called Phil; he was a very strong character, full of questions and suggestions on how the job should be done.
John, the manager turned to me when Phil left the room – “That guy’s good, I reckon he’d be a good salesman for us, but I don’t think I could handle him.”

John, the manager, was a much quieter type of person than Phil, and I knew he felt uncomfortable with his style.
So I asked John – “What do you want this new salesman to do?” “I want him to bring in new business” says John. “Do you think he can do that” I asked. “Of course I do, I just think he’ll be difficult to handle.”

It all comes down to outcomes; of course, you’ve got to consider how you’re going to work with a new team member, but you sometimes need courage to take a risk.
John hired Phil and he brought in the new business that John needed. Phil always was a handful and a challenge for John but they learned to work together.
So look for clues when you interview a job candidate such as:

1.    Do they run their own mind or does someone do it for them. – You’ll be listening for clues such as: “My husband suggested I do this” or “My mother says that I should”…or “My family were all engineers so that’s how I ended up becoming one.” None of this is wrong in its own right but it will give you an indication as to whether this person runs their own mind or not.

2.    Can they solve problems – Do they think things through and try to find a solution? Or do they let someone else do it for them? You’re listening for – “When I get a difficult customer I believe its best to let my manager deal with them.” Or alternatively – “I had a real crisis on my hands so I considered what options I had and …..”

3.    Are they fairly disciplined – Is there structure in their life and work, or do they just react to circumstances. You’re listening for – “Before I start a job I like to plan how I’m going to do it.”

4.    Are they creative – Do they look for new ways to do things? You’re listening for – “We always used to fill out reports in a certain way but I suggested to my manager a way that would save time.”

5.    Can they arrange things – Do they have the ability to organise themselves and others? You’re listening for – “One of the team was leaving so I organised a going away party.”

6.    Do they think about their own performance
– Are they questioning themselves and thinking about how they could do better? You’re listening for – “I was really unhappy with my results so I decided to…….”

Put this to the test right away and it will ensure you get the best people on your team.

If you want to listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player; please click this link

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Don’t Recruit People Based on Experience

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What do you look for when you’re interviewing someone for a job? I’m sure there are many factors that are important to you, and probably experience is one of them

A job applicant’s previous work experience is often used to judge whether they have the capacity to do the new job.
Many managers go through the resume discussing each previous job with the applicant. The applicant then goes on to tell the manager how clever they are and how successful they were in all their previous jobs.
It’s almost a case of – “Have you worked in our industry before?” – “Yes, I have lots of experience in your industry” – “Great, can you start on Monday?”

I’ve been in the situation where I’m interviewing someone for a sales job and they have several similar jobs on their resume. I’ve often asked myself – “Who on earth employed this person in a sales job, because I have no confidence in their ability whatsoever.”

Put your customer hat on for a moment and think about the people you’ve dealt with in the past who were pretty hopeless. The salespeople, the plumbers, the maintenance engineers or the customer service people on the end of the phone. When these people were interviewed for their job, they probably discussed with the interviewer about their experience, how good they were in their current job and all their previous jobs. However, based on your interactions with them, I bet you’d have something to add to that discussion.

Experience shouldn’t be ignored, but it’s not a reliable indicator as to whether someone can give you the outcomes you want.

What you’re really looking for is talent!

It doesn’t matter how long they have been in your industry, or how long they have been in the type of job you’re trying to fill. You need to establish whether they can give you the results you need.

Depending on the job you’re trying to fill, keep asking yourself, does this person have the talent:

  • To make customers want to come back?
  • To generate more sales for the business?”
  • To make customers say positive things to other people about my business?
  • To manage my people and make them top performers?
  • To make my life easier and help me achieve my outcomes?

Concentrate on the factors that you will ultimately be judged on and keep those at the forefront of your mind.

I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.
John Wooden (1910-, American basketball coach)

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The Truth About Intelligence and Recruiting People

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One of the programs that was installed in my brain as I grew up was that ‘intelligent’ people could do almost anything due to the fact that they had the capacity to learn.
The education system when I was young was based on the understanding that, if you left school with a whole raft of qualifications, then any job was open to you.
If you wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, pilot, engineer or an architect then all you needed was these school qualifications and you could go on to learn anything.
Sadly, many people who did train to be doctors didn’t turn out to be very good doctors, as with lawyers, pilots or any other job you care to mention.

When I was an apprentice engineer I can remember working with young engineering college graduates. Some of them were really good, they had talent for engineering and it was really apparent. However, there were others who, if truth be told, were pretty hopeless. Their intelligence had helped them learn enough information to qualify for a degree in engineering but they just didn’t have the talent.

I once appointed a college graduate as a salesperson. I fell into the trap of not thinking but reacting to my programming and believing that because he was ‘intelligent’ then he could learn to sell.
I discovered that he had the capacity to learn all about our products but he didn’t have the talent to persuade others, or to go out and find new customers.
I was also stupid enough to believe I could teach him; however, as I’ve said many times before – “You can’t make people what they’re not!”
You can teach people skills and give them knowledge however, if they don’t have the talent, then their performance will suffer.

The successful manager looks for intelligence, but more importantly he looks for talent to do the job and achieve the outcomes needed for the business.

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The Five Factors of Successful Recruiting

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Are you absolutely sure you know what you’re looking for when you come to recruit a new member for your team?

1. Outcomes

This is the number 1 factor of successful recruiting. It is absolutely vital that anyone you employ can deliver the outcomes you need.

In a previous ‘Motivation Shot’ I wrote – Recruit People Who Can Deliver the Outcomes You Need. If you haven’t read it, go check it out and come back here.

There are four other factors you need to consider

2. Company structure

You need to think about whether the person you interview will be happy in your company and your culture. Some people who move from a large company to a much smaller one often find it hard to adjust.

Some years ago I moved from a large international organisation to a small local company. I went into the job with my eyes open and had three successful years. However I often felt frustrated in the smaller company mainly by their culture and the way they went about their business; I was glad when I moved back to a bigger organisation. I just wasn’t a ‘small company’ person.

I’ve interviewed people in a similar situation. I remember one lady who I interviewed for a sales agent’s job at one of my clients. She was keen to get the job, she had loads of experience, all the skills required and I was confident that she could do it. However, when describing her current job with a large company it became very apparent that she wouldn’t fit into this smaller one.

She kept talking about all the things they did in her present company and how she went about her daily duties. I knew that this job she was applying for was totally different from what she’d been used to. If I had employed her I believe that she wouldn’t be happy, would end up not doing a good job and would probably spend her time trying to find a new position.

3. The team

Will the job applicant fit well with the existing team? Maybe your team are a group of loners who don’t communicate with each other but it’s unlikely. You can’t pick people who are all the same; you don’t want a set of clones in your team. However you need to pick someone who is on the same wave-length as the rest of the team.
Perhaps you could involve a team member at a second interview, they might have a better feel for whether the person would fit or not.

4. Your style of managing

How will the person respond to you, will they be able to work with your style of management.
I’ve had applicants complain about their existing boss – “Do you know that he expects me to do such and such.” And I’ve thought to myself, “That’s exactly what I’d be expecting as well.”

You’ve got to have a good connection with this person that you bring into your team. That doesn’t mean to say that you’re going to be best buddies but you’ll need to be able to work together.
Consider if you’re the kind of manager who likes to work closely with your team and regularly check their progress. If so, you’ll need an individual who wants structure and detail and is comfortable with close monitoring.

If on the other hand, you’re the kind of manager who sets outcomes and leaves the team to get on with it without much help from you. Then you’re going to need someone who’s happy to work with minimum supervision.

I once made a mistake with a guy I appointed into a field sales job. Because he was a college graduate I felt that he would be able to pick up the knowledge and selling skills really fast.

I’m the second type of manager I described above. I tell people what the outcomes are and let them find their way to achieving them. I keep in contact and give feedback when they do well and also when they need to improve things.

However this guy was at me all the time – “What do I do next, where do I go now, how do I do it?” This of course took up too much of my time. The others in the team made decisions themselves and regularly checked with me. This guy was a ‘bad fit,’ it didn’t work and he left very soon of his own accord.

5. They need to be happy

Job applicants don’t know what they’re getting into when they start a new job. They might think they know but how can they when they’ve never worked in your team or you company before. Just as it’s a risk for you when you start someone new, it’s also a risk for them. You’ll never totally eliminate the risk but it’s your job minimise the risk for both you and the applicant.

I’ve seen too many people start a new job and then find that it doesn’t suit them, they don’t like it and they want out. It causes problems for you as the manager; so I suggest you do every thing you can to avoid it.

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