Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help 5 million business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more in less than one year, in less time than they’re spending on email. Drawing on over 25 years of deep profit and growth expertise from her “in the trenches” and executive experiences with Fortune 500 companies and smaller firms, she closes the all-too-frequent gap between the good intentions vs. year-end results. The solution is the roadmap she wishes she’d had - a Profit Plan that transforms “we don’t have the budget for that!” into a “YES!” to funding every greater dream and goal for their business as they create prosperity for their company, their employees, their customers, and their communities.
You can visit Anne’s website at www.ProfitInPlainSight.com
Contact Anne at:
Author Website: www.AnneCGraham.com
Blog: http://annecgraham.com/read-the-blog/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnneCGrahamAuthorProfitInPlainSight?fref=tsFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnneCGraham
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/annecgrahamGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6475264.Anne_C_Graham
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
I had a life-changing experience early in my career when I watched my dreams of the corner office vanish along with the jobs of 120,000 others worldwide, as a result of a company that was focused on getting “big” instead of being “profitable”. That company was Digital Equipment, at one time the second largest computer company in the world behind IBM.
Not only did that experience light my entrepreneurial spark, but it put me on a path to several successful business turnarounds (and one that wasn’t!). Ten years later as clients continually shared successes that completely transformed their companies, Profit in Plain Sight: The Proven Leadership Path to Unlock Profit, Passion, and Growth started to take shape as a way to reach and impact more business leaders than I ever could as a consultant and speaker.
Now I’m on a mission to have the same type of impact that the book Good to Great had on me many years ago – to reach 5 million business leaders and inspire them to step up to more. I want leaders at all levels to transform “We don’t have the budget for that” into an enthusiastic “YES!” to every good growth initiative that crosses their desk, because that’s how we create a thriving economy for employees, customers, and the community so that we can leave the dregs of the post-recession hangover behind for good. I structured Profit in Plain Sight as straightforward 5-step Profit Plan for leaders to achieve all the profit they need to fund the growth they want.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
Writing Profit in Plain Sight was a lot harder than you might think for someone who devours business books and has a collection of almost 200 favorites! One of my great frustrations with many books is that they contain a lot of “shoulds”… but not nearly enough “hows”. As a result, early versions of the fork-lift-sized manuscript were so incredibly detailed and boring that it put ME to sleep whenever I tried to proof read it!
I rewrote the book several times to reflect many more AHA! Moments, lots of colorful success stories, and specific next-step action plans. I pulled out all the “hows” and put them into a comprehensive series of complimentary videos available through links in every chapter. People hear “Profit” and immediately think this will be full of dry accounting principles. Instead, it’s a great read that’s all about creating value for customers in uncommon ways and being richly rewarded for doing so.
I had a great editor who wasn’t shy to call me on any aspect of my content that didn’t really sing or add value to the reader, and I recommend that every writer should get a good editor sooner rather than later in the process – we all truly need that external set of eyes that can see at a macro level what we’ve become too close to.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
I originally self-published, and a chance encounter with Morgan James during a speed-dating networking session at an author’s conference resulted in a book deal for Profit in Plain Sight. Oddly enough, I signed the publishing agreement the very same week I got my self-published books delivered by courier! It was important to me to have bookstore distribution to reach my target audience of leaders at all levels who are committed to taking their business to a much higher level of performance.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
The amount of time it took to write, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, design, edit, rewrite and redesign. There’s a trend in the industry today to “write a book in a weekend” – and that always shows in terms of poor structure, poor editing, and poor design. My book took me 3 years of writing and editing to get to the self-published stage, and another year to work through the Morgan James publishing cycle so that it could reach the attention of bookstore buyers.
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
Earlier I mentioned the “forklift-sized” manuscript. Two wise peer-reviewers advised me that I had two books, not one, and after a very big gulp, I accepted their advice. Profit in Plain Sight is available now. Growth in Plain Sight is that “second half” and I intend to publish it within 18 months. Innovation in Plain Sight will expand upon one of the chapters in Profit in Plain Sight within 18 months after that, and an as-yet-unnamed book that creates a roadmap for businesses seeking to become Legendary will follow a couple of years later to create a comprehensive roadmap for building an extraordinary business.
Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?
That depends on whether I’m in work mode or relaxation mode! In work mode, I try to catch up on the daily goings on by scanning MSN, and I’m all over the web researching, following intriguing email links, and interacting with peers. In relaxation mode, I have a secret addiction to binging on various Netflix series including House of Cards and The West Wing.
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
I want every business leader to feel confident that they are in control of their success, and be willing to step up to creating highly profitable companies that can provide employment and give back to their community, regardless of what’s going on in the economy. When you provide exceptional value for customers that they want to buy in good times and bad, you create your own destiny. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have to zig and zag in your business as the economy changes… but value-creation is a skill that creates the ability to NEVER again have to say “we don’t have the budget for that!”… and as a result, fund all your greater goals for the business with ease. The whole message of Profit in Plain Sight is that that outcome is within reach of every leader at any level with P&L responsibility, if they have the passion and desire to implement the 5-Step Profit Plan and see take-it-to-the-bank results.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
Simply this. Everything in Profit in Plain Sight: The Proven Leadership Path to Unlock Profit, Passion and Growth is designed to be implemented in less time per week than most executives are spending on email per day. For less than $25, this is one of the best investments any leader will make in their business this year.
About The Book
Author: Anne C. Graham
Publisher: Morgan James
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Format: eBook / Hardcover / Paperback / PDF
Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/profit-in-plain-sight-anne-c-graham/1120518388?ean=9781630472917
- 84% of business owners and CEOs surveyed score a C, D or F on the Return on People Benchmark - they can't even give every employee a decent raise, let alone hire, invest in facilities, equipment or technology, or expand into new markets!
- 40% companies who increase their revenues in a given year will actually decrease their profits… and there’s a better way to increase both.
- 96% of companies will put their greater goals on hold this year with one simple phrase: We don't have the budget for that.
Savvy entrepreneurs would never start a new business without a Business Plan. Experienced executives would never try to lead their business without a Strategic Plan. But almost every manager confesses that they don’t have a Profit Plan beyond their P&L, and that means that profit becomes the leftovers between disappointing revenues and higher-than-expected costs.
Profit in Plain Sight offers the Profit Plan that’s missing, with a step-by-step roadmap that enables these busy leaders to grasp the big picture, and to implement solutions in less time per week than they are spending on email per day.
Unlike many business books, Profit in Plain Sight gives readers access to the “hows”, not just the “shoulds”, with downloadable training resources and action plans at the end of every chapter, plus regular opportunities for the reader to reflect on how their thinking is changing and growing.
This book finally helps leaders who are passionate about their business have all the profit they need to fund the growth they want, with tough questions to start changing the conversations in everyday management meetings, with practical, actionable techniques that are quite different from conventional cost-cutting approaches or the all-too-dangerous “increase revenues at all costs” techniques. Instead, Profit In Plain Sight offers take-it-to-the-bank results.
Prepare to Transform Your Most Persistent Market Challenges into Profit, Passion, and Growth
… with The Proven Leadership Path that Delivers Results
- How much easier would igniting profit, passion, and growth be if everyone in your business embraced change and became part of it?
- What would be possible if transforming your business felt more like play than like work?
- How quickly could you turn good intentions into tangible results if you simply could take small steps that require less time than you are devoting to e-mail in a given day?
IBM is a legendary company, not only because of its enduring success for over 100 years in the fast-changing world of technology, but because it leads its category by a factor of four in terms of
profitability and continues to transform itself to generate growth opportunities. Customers are incredibly loyal, the company has a stellar reputation for quality, and, as the holder of more patents than any other high-technology company, its strengths in innovation are readily apparent. It seems that IBM has found ways to conquer some stubborn challenges, doesn’t it?
But it didn’t start that way. IBM’s roots go back to the 1880s and at one time its products consisted of employee time-keeping systems, weigh scales, automatic meat slicers, coffee grinders, and punched card equipment. Hardly the glamorous “Creating a Smarter Planet” organization we know today.
IBM’s secrets to success came from an unlikely resource who was named President in 1915: Thomas J. Watson, the second in command at National Cash Register. With just a few practical
tenets, Watson laid down the enduring foundation for IBM’s success — a focus on the customer and on customer service, a sales culture that built trust and respect, and an environment that instilled pride and loyalty into every worker. The result? Profit, passion, and growth, with integrity. In the 1990s, IBM had to reinvent itself or risk becoming irrelevant in the marketplace, which it did by reemphasizing its customer focus and creating clarity in its positioning.
In the 2000s, it had to reinvent itself again as the competitive landscape shifted once more, which it did by emphasizing its role in providing integrated solutions, not merely products.
This is not a book about IBM. But as subsequent legendary leaders have proven, those enduring, practical tenets can serve every business well.
How Many of these Stubborn Market Challenges Are Grinding You Down?
Each year a variety of organizations publish lists of the Top 10 CEO Challenges based on polling business owners and leaders. And inevitably, five stubborn market-related issues keep coming up again and again on these lists, although the order may shift from year to year:
1. Earning Customer Loyalty and Retention
2. Generating Sustained and Steady Top-Line Growth
3. Ensuring Bottom-Line Growth in Profit
4. Building a Corporate Reputation for Quality Products and Services
5. Stimulating Innovation and Creativity and Enabling Entrepreneurship
Why don’t we ever get traction and put those Challenges behind us? Because 70 years of thought leadership in the business press, from universities and in executive programs, has left us with more shoulds than hows and a lot of flavor-of-the-month distractions that sound promising but are hard to translate into bottom-line impact.
Let’s change that.
This Book Is for You When …
… most of the books you’ve read are sitting on your shelf and have not had any impact on your business;
… some of the books you’ve read have inspired you but you struggled when you tried to put them into practice because the author shared the shoulds but left you to figure out the hows; and
… you’ve tried to implement ideas in the past as an army of one only to run out of steam, run out of time, or run out of focus when you find yourself spending more time trying to get people to change and get on board than actually implementing anything.
Move Beyond the Myths
Here’s your wake-up call and a bold promise.
We’re Too Busy
FACT: All of us are busy. None of us have spare time. Or do we? Over 90% of executives polled admit that they spend between 1 and 2 hours a day on e-mail … often more. So here’s your wake-up call: unless you work in the order entry department, e-mail does not move the needle in your business because it does not create cash flow, profit, or growth. In fact, it leaves you working everyone else’s agenda when, as a leader, it is up to you to set the direction and lead by doing. E-mail is a nice, easy, reactive way to start the day and waste most of the morning. And it’s killing your company.
We Have to Be “Always On”
FACT: We’re tethered to responding instantaneously to our phones, our e-mail, and other interruptions, and there are times when that’s appropriate, but more often it’s simply busy work. I’m not saying that you have to abandon e-mail — it’s a part of our lives in the 21st century, just as the telephone and voice mail became a reality in the 20th. But what is currently in your in-box or on your priority list that is more important than securing the future of your business for your employees, your family, and your community? What’s more important than building a profitable, growing business
that can weather any economic turmoil that global change can throw at it?
There’s No Way Out
FACT: The noise is getting louder now that texting and social media elements are also in the mix of e-mail, voice mail, and more. Yet one simple shift is all that’s required to completely transform
noise into results, and I invite you to share Appendix 1 with your entire organization to help them make that shift. In the meantime, here’s my bold promise.
If you have time for e-mail, you have time
to once and for all overcome the stubborn
business challenges holding you back.
When you follow the Solutions in Plain Sight outlined in this book and access the Rapid Results Resources that ensure you never have to waste precious time reinventing the wheel, you will transform your business in less time than you’re currently spending on e-mail.
Close the Gaps when you apply uncommon strategies and tactics that will shift your thinking forever
Our biggest challenge as business leaders at all levels is simply to overcome the thinking that’s kept us stuck with those Challenges. Many of us were taught old-world thinking, long before today’s realities of the Internet, globalization, recurring corporate scandals, all-too-frequent recessions, and a rate of change that’s difficult to keep up with. It’s time to hold our beliefs, myths, and common practices up to a very harsh light of uncommon sense and retool for the future. It’s time to replace them with a road map that delivers results. This first section, Possibilities, is going to give you two powerful tools to do just that.
Most businesses won’t succeed in making the shift. They’ll remain mired in the “we’ve always done it this way” paradigm, because they simply won’t invest the time and energy to be open
to new approaches, and they won’t take the time to build a road map that takes them to their Possibilities, step by step. They’ll continue to default back to “business as usual,” because they think it’s easier, even though they know it’s not working, and they need a new approach. Unfortunately, they’re unknowingly making their lives and the lives of everyone in the organization more difficult, and more uncertain.
Take a look at the shapes Figure 1. How many forms of transportation can you spot? Look carefully, as the shapes hold the key to your transformation. How many did you see? What were they? (Go to Appendix 2 for the answer.)
Rapid Results Resources: Put some energy into your regular meetings and start the process of
Transformation with “The 101 Questions You MUST Ask Your Leadership Team.” Use a couple of the questions every week to get your team thinking about Profit, Passion, and Growth, and to get their creative juices flowing. Download your copy at www.ProfitInPlainSight.com/101Questions.
ITE THE POWER OF
Solutions in Plain Sight: Inform. Inspire.
Motivate. Systematically Transform.
By opening the cover of Profit in Plain Sight, you’ve already taken your first step to becoming more open, more focused, and more successful. You’ve taken your first step towards creating a process for sustainable levels of increased profits. And you’ve taken your first step that will differentiate your business from your competitors’ when you implement well. Just keep turning the pages to make it happen.
SOLUTION IN PLAIN SIGHT #1
Infuse Your Employees With Possibilities
What does it mean to Infuse employees? It means embedding the desire to be part of something more, to be the best, to behave every day in ways that add value to your customers, and to earn profit with integrity that will help the entire company grow and succeed in the future.
It means engaging them with the Drivers of Transformation that you’ll see in Part I, Possibilities, which will give them the powerful AHA! Moments of information, inspiration, and motivation.
It means involving them in creating the road map forward, because information, inspiration, motivation, and good intentions need to be turned into action before you can transform stubborn challenges into Profit, Passion, and Growth (see Figure 2).
People support what they create. When you Infuse your teams with the passion and talent to be part of the solution, you’ll divide and conquer the workload and transform your profit and growth more easily than you might imagine.
SOLUTION IN PLAIN SIGHT #2
Enthuse Your Customers
What does it mean to Enthuse your customers? It means creating an environment where they love doing business with you and know that your success is part of their success, because you save them time, make or save them money, solve real problems for them, give them peace of mind, and make them feel good. It means being the path of least resistance and getting it right the first time. It means they’re happy to pay for the value you provide.
It’s what happens in Part II, Practicalities, when you take action with the systematic approach of the Profit in Plain Sight Framework to solve the five stubborn challenges that are holding you back from leading your market by industriously activating your road map to success (see Figure 3).
1. Activate the power of Infused employees with the Two Drivers of Transformation.
2. Trigger the factors that Enthuse customers as you systematically overcome five stubborn market-driven challenges with integrated solutions that build upon each other.
3. Achieve Profit, Passion, and Growth … in less time than you’re spending on e-mail.
SOLUTION IN PLAIN SIGHT #3
Overcome Your Biggest Obstacles
Right now you may be thinking you don’t have the time. Your people aren’t onside. You have other priorities that need your attention and focus. You’re uncertain of whether you can make a commitment to see this through. You don’t believe that significant profit increases are possible in your business or in your industry. Hogwash!
Bringing the voices of your customers into your organization is a powerful, counterintuitive, yet proven, approach to see what’s possible from a tactical perspective and will powerfully move you past “we’ve always done it this way” thinking with each of five stubborn market-driven challenges. In this book, you’ll learn exactly how to do that for results.
You’ll stop guessing at what it will take to keep your customers loyal for longer and know for certain how to become their preferred partner. You’ll stop guessing what they might value and know for certain how to deliver value to them that results in Top-Line Growth. You’ll stop applying bandaids to quality issues and get the sludge out of your system to stop the profit leaks and grow your Bottom Line. And you’ll know exactly how to avoid “me too” inventions that are passing for innovation and innovate in low-risk, low-cost ways that will set you apart from your competitors.
The Only Person Who Likes Change Is a Baby with a Wet Diaper
Even with technology, globalization, credit crunches, and economic turmoil, people still need to buy goods and services and people still do business with people. The need to enthuse your customers with the desire to do business with you and to infuse your staff with the passion and talent to deliver never changes.
What does need to change is how you tackle those five stubborn market-driven challenges, and therein lies the stumbling block.
Your people can’t buy into the typical approach of an endless stream of unrelated tasks, so-called best practices (which don’t differentiate you from your competitors), flavor-of-the-month management and proverbial silver bullets. Over 90% of business owners, leaders, and key employees polled admit they get lost chasing bright shiny objects, and those are simply the equivalent of trying to change nice, dry, comfortable diapers to icky wet diapers that don’t make sense to your people. Uncertainty, seemingly wasted time, wasted effort, confusion, and the feeling of a lack of progress simply causes fear and resistance.
Harvard Professor W. Earl Sasser was the first to refer to the plethora of stand-alone tactics as “Kidney Stone Management” (his lengthy list back in the 1990s has only expanded with time).
We’ve trained our staff to expect that whatever new idea is out there, it’s a kidney stone — it will only cause them pain for a while, it will pass, and business as usual can return. No wonder our people are burned-out and skeptical when so many new initiatives are launched, so many seem important, and so many run out of steam. Explain Kidney Stone Management to your executive and management teams at all levels. You’re guaranteed a few rueful chuckles of recognition and an AHA! Moment that indicates that approach is no longer going to be part of your leadership practices.
That’s the reason Profit in Plain Sight will make a difference when others haven’t — solving these Challenges for good comes down to realizing that you’re in wet diapers and wanting the dry ones you’ll get by shifting the way you do business. Dry diapers are the result of implementing the step-by-step road map of over 57 detailed, value-add Profit and Growth Accelerators for near term yet sustainable Profit, Passion, and Growth.
When your people have a mental map of where they’re going, and how they’re going to get there (see Figure 3), Kidney Stone Manage-ment is no longer a problem and they will be informed,
inspired, and motivated to get into the dry diapers. A systematic and integrated process rather than a series of disconnected events will consistently create successes and a sense of forward momentum and progress — the transformation you’re looking for.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Unsuccessful businesspeople try to go it alone, reluctant to show their weakness by asking for help. Successful businesspeople ask for help all the time. They call it getting input and they know the value of not reinventing the wheel. Profit in Plain Sight is the window to Rapid Results Resources that are not just shoulds but specific hows — proven step-by-step instructions plus additional proven strategies and tactics that are beyond the scope of this book.
They deliver results more rapidly and easily than you might imagine. They deliver smart practices specifically implemented in the context of your unique company. All you have to do is commit to transforming conventional passive reading into active learning for results.
Every business leader who has succeeded in doubling their profitability or more — in less than one year, in less time than they and their team were spending on e-mail — has identified obstacles to success. And as they began the process, they found that each and every obstacle dissolved with the straightforward, practical approaches laid out in this book. At this point, all you need to do is finish reading the next two pages, and take the actions outlined. Then, turn the page and do it again. That’s it. Are you with me?
We’ve all heard that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. But I always say that you can make the horse thirsty or make the water sweeter. From the sheer fact that you’re reading Profit in Plain Sight, I know you’re thirsty.
Make Your Horses Thirsty Too
Embracing a process to transform challenges into opportunities doesn’t come from rigorous change management processes that try to force-fit people into a change that they haven’t bought into. That’s just leading the horse to water. Instead, it comes from naturally leading your team where you want them to go by building an infused culture that thirsts for excellence and that reflects their desire to find the easiest and most effective ways to achieve that end. When you share this book throughout your organization, you’ll help lead your teams’ thirst for where you want them to go.
Make the Water Sweeter
Sweeter water means helping you and your organization find ways to streamline complexity and stay focused on what really drives your business forward. That’s where the systematic Profit in Plain Sight Framework is extremely valuable — bite-sized modules are easy to implement, in less time than you’re currently spending on e-mail. Make the process painless and make the water sweet when you take an integrated approach rather than succumbing to Kidney Stone Management.
I’ve spent time in the trenches “doing,” and even longer with the responsibilities of leading others. I’ve experienced the frustration of dealing with these Challenges over and over, just as you have. I’ve used every one of these Solutions in Plain Sight, as a leader in large and small companies and with my consulting clients. They’ve worked across a broad range of industries and they’ll work for you too.
Simply. Accelerate Your Results
There is really only one theme to this book — driving Profit, Passion, and Growth. We’re going to put many lenses on that theme, but never lose sight of that as our goal.
There are only two outcomes you need to achieve in order to realize Profit, Passion, and Growth — enthusing your customers, and infusing your employees. I’ll show you what you need to do to
There are Two Drivers of Transformation that serve as wet diapers to motivate change and, in Part I, you’ll see Possibilities as you learn how to activate them to kick-start the process and help
you measure success and progress.
There are 15 practical, actionable Solutions in Plain Sight in this book and a total of 57 Profit and Growth Accelerators in the Profit in Plain Sight Framework. In Part II, Shift to Practicalities,
you’ll see your Profit in Plain Sight road map unfold as we tackle each of the five stubborn market-driven challenges.
Whether you take action on every Challenge or cherry-pick just those that are holding your business back the most, you will see impact on your Profit. You’ll impact the Passion your teams bring to the business. And you’ll sow the seeds for Growth.
There are no quick fixes … but Rapid Results are within your reach.
You can reach and exceed your goals. You can secure your business from the ups and downs of economic turmoil, and invest in everything you need to take your business to the next level and help drive our economy forward. You can finally feel confident in your plan for the future.
If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?
Work is slogging it out in isolation; play is getting support to achieve breakthroughs and feeling a sense of progress. So go ahead and put some play back in your day and some bucks on your bottom line.
This Works. You Can Do It. You Will Succeed.
Take these Actions
1. Download your copy of “The 101 Questions You MUST Ask Your Leadership Teams” at
www.ProfitInPlainSight.com/101Questions to start changing the conversations at every level of your organization. This is an ideal tool for executives and mid-level managers to use to spice up your regular team meetings and begin to shift your culture to one of profit and growth.
2. See Appendix 1 for the secrets of achieving focus and transformation in less time than you’re
currently spending on e-mail.
3. Check out Appendix 2 for the solution to the “forms of transportation” brain teaser at the beginning of this Chapter.
Small Steps. Big Impact!
Five Minutes, Five Questions:
Reflect for Deeper Learning
Reflective questions at the end of every Chapter offer powerful deeper learning on how your thinking is changing, so that you can generate the AHA! Moments to break free of the conventional thinking that keeps you stuck when trying to solve five stubborn market-driven
Reflection simply means taking the time to monitor what’s happening in your own mind, evaluate what you’re learning, and ponder what is shifting or changing in terms of your attitudes and behaviors, with the goal of eventually building a new mental framework of how things work. This will allow you to continually add relevant information and discard the irrelevant.
Your first step is internal transformation, to identify what attitudes have already shifted and what behaviors will follow.
But the reflective process only works if you use it.
Ask yourself these questions right now:
1. How can I use the reframing approach I saw in the brain teaser as a metaphor for opportunities hidden in our business?
2. Which items on the list of five stubborn market-driven challenges are top of mind for me right now — and why?
3. How effectively are we solving those challenges today?
4. How often do our people see our efforts as Kidney Stones because we fail to give them the big picture with a road map for implementation?
5. How committed am I to create an environment where my horses are thirsty and the water is sweet?
Inform. Inspire. Motivate. Transform.
Are you ready to get started with the Two Drivers of Transformation that deliver big wake-up calls and pave the way to transform your business more quickly and easily than you might imagine?
If you prefer, you can go right to whichever Challenge is your greatest burning issue today, and then work backwards to put the foundational work in place that may be required to trigger thetransformation.
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