A Plan for Immediate Action

Every session Cindy and I do, be it in person, virtual, or for any of our digital resources, closes with a call to action; a challenge for participants to identify what they can apply immediately from whatever we just shared. That call to action is really based on two things… First was the expectation that had always been placed on me to produce a measure impact on productivity from any training I had attended. The second thing was a comment I heard someone make in a training session just a few years back. One of the participants commented on all the take-aways they had learned and made notes on through the two day event. The trainer was quick to push back by suggesting that those take-aways wouldn’t do much if they never put them in play

Consider this; you’re away from work for a training event. It doesn’t really matter if that’s half a day of a full week, it’s extremely rare to have anyone cover for us while we’re gone… But...

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More Than Just a Catchy Phrase

In 2015, I invested a hefty amount of money and an even heftier amount of time into getting licensed to teach, speak, and coach using some of John Maxwell’s work. I was super excited about this since I had been studying everything I could get my hands on from John for over a dozen years leading up to that. The opportunity to pass just a few of the lessons along, since they had been so influential in my career progression to that point, was one of the most motivating things I had ever experienced!

In complete transparency though, there was one part of the licensing that just didn’t create a spark in me. I had been teaching teams how to build successful behavioral-based safety processes for years and I had spoken in front of groups all over the country at that point, but I was struggling with the coaching piece… As I looked around, coaches of all shapes and sizes were popping up all over the place; health coaches who weren’t in shape, life coaches who were...

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Challenging the Status-Quo

Sharing best practices with other business owners and executives, then bouncing around ideas on how to solve current issues, can provide resources few in these roles ever have access to. When this happens within a group that’s been built strategically to ensure there’s no conflict of interest, or even the perception of direct competition, there can be an unguarded openness that rarely happens in any other setting. And if that’s all that goes on in this type of setting, the juice is already worth the squeeze! But what if there’s also an intentional focus on pushing each member of such an executive leadership council beyond their current situation and toward their desired future states for their respective organizations?

As Cindy and I worked to map out exactly what the quarterly half-day sessions in our Executive Leadership Elite Think Tank would consist of, we knew we had to make sure every single minute we had with the group would have to deliver significant...

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Executive Leadership Solutions

I heard John Maxwell say, “Anyone can find a problem, but it takes a leader to find a solution,” (or something along those lines) for the first time nearly twenty years ago. In fact, I remember him sharing a story about the time he started requiring anyone on his team bringing him a problem to present at least three possible solutions to that problem. He went on to explain that there were a few team members who never brought him a problem again!

Whether we’re leading a small group of people or an entire organization, we’ve likely all experienced something similar to what prompted John to take that stance. As a supervisor, manager, or owner, our team often expects us to have all the answers! To that end, have you ever heard anyone who wasn’t in a leadership role say “they don’t pay me to think”? Each time I hear something like that, I’m flooded with a mix of frustration that anyone is willing to accept such a low level of...

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Iron Sharpens Iron

Over the last twenty years, I’ve had access to better mentors than I probably deserved. I’d like to think I’ve always worked as hard as I possibly could to earn that access but some of the folks who have sown into my life and career were nothing short of proof that God’s hand does indeed move in each of our lives when we’re willing to move with It! All that said, the type of mentorship I’ve needed has changed as I’ve held different roles with different types of responsibilities; personally and professionally!

When I worked in safety, there were three or four amazing safety professionals I was able to align myself with so I could have access to the best and most relevant information available. As I moved into a full time human resource role, a few of those guys who were great at safety just didn’t have experience in HR so I had to chase after experts in that field. The same that had been true in my personal life when I started working...

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Intense Pressure to Deliver Results!

I remember a Friday evening phone call a few years back with a friend who was serving as CEO for a locally owned company that was experiencing almost unbelievable growth. He had been very tuned into the topline and bottomline revenue the entire time I knew him. I had also seen firsthand how effective he was at developing relationships with the customers and clients his organization served. In spite of all the growth and how great he was at connecting with folks outside the organization, about half of the managers who reported directly to him were ready to throw him overboard. As our discussion moved to some of the challenges he was dealing with inside the organization, he made a statement that I don’t think I’ll ever forget: “My job is to grow the business. I don’t have time for all that touchy-feely stuff!”

I closed last time by referencing how frequently business owners and executives have typically face intense pressure to deliver results. Whether...

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What’s Driving Your Team?

Last time, I shared an example that I hoped would help make the case for the clear difference between managing and leading an organization. One is just as important as the other and neither can be overlooked, but we cannot mistakenly consider those two very different actions to be one in the same! That said, I’m sure you’ve seen that exact thing happen just as frequently as I have…

Let me be clear here; I don’t believe the terms - leadership and management - are interchanged with the intention of creating confusion (most of the time). In the majority of the scenarios I’m picturing, supervisors and managers definitely hold responsibility for leading their teams. But all too often, they’ve never been provided with the tools necessary for combining any kind of effective leadership with the technical steps of managing the outcomes of the processes they’re overseeing. We’ll circle back to that shortly…

Before that though, I want to...

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Who’s Really Leading?

The entire time I was in manufacturing, nearly twenty years, the facility I worked in held a meeting each Tuesday afternoon that was often referred to as The Leadership Team Meeting. The plant manager led this meeting and each of the department managers participated, reviewing the metrics they were each responsible for tracking, discussing issues they were facing, and whether or not they were within budget to that point in the quarter. If one of those managers happened to be out of the plant, they would tap someone on their team to attend in their place…

Sound familiar? I expect it does since nearly every company I’ve interacted with in the years since holds similar meetings. But are those really leadership team meetings?

When Cindy and I had a conversation with Carly Fiorina a while back, she shared this with us regarding the difference between managing and leading, “Managers produce results within existing constraints and conditions. Leadership CHANGE or ...

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Systems for Accuracy and Precision

Several years ago, Cindy and I led a session covering The DISC Model of Human Behavior for a local client where a friend of mine was one of the participants. He and I had served on a board together prior to that so I had a solid understanding of his day to day responsibilities and I knew that he was really good at what he did. That said, he worked in a highly regulated field and he had to provide a ton of information to several different monitoring agencies. It didn’t surprise me at all that someone with a significant amount of this final primary behavioral style would excel in a role like…

To this point, we’ve looked at tools we can each consider, whether we’re more DRIVEN, INSPIRING or SUPPORTIVE, as we build systems that help us be more productive over the long haul - at work or at home. Before we close the loop by looking at the last of the four primary styles, we have to keep in mind that none of us have just one of these! Even if one style is...

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Supportive Systems We Can Stick With

Having looked at some things we can consider adding to our systems when we have either of the two more Outgoing styles, a more DRIVEN approach or a more INSPIRING blend, let’s change our pace a bit and focus on what we need to considering building into our systems if we’re have the primary behavioral style that likely makes us one of the nicest people in the world - the SUPPORTIVE style.

Since this group represents the largest segment of the population at around 35%, there’s a significant chance that you either have this as a large part of your overall blend (even if it’s not your primary style) or you deal with someone on a daily basis who does! Whether we’re working to build systems into our own routines that we can sustain over the long haul to achieve high levels of productivity or we’re coaching one of team members on how they can do this, massive amounts of change won’t SERVE us in reaching the goal! Folks with this primary style tend...

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