Service and Empowerment!

To this point, we’ve looked at how critical it can be for business owners or executives to surround themselves with other leaders they can trust for wise counsel, we worked through a process that Cindy and I created to help a group of those folks develop solid executive leadership solutions to the issues they face in their respective organizations that rest squarely on their shoulders alone, and we’ve worked through a few specific skills that owners and executives need to practice to truly lead their organizations rather than just manage them. Let’s close the loop here by looking at one final executive leadership skill that I believe ties all the rest together…

Early on in our Emerging Leader Development course, we ask participants WHY they’ve accepted leadership roles. We walk through a list of what many perceive as the perks of holding a certain title then we counter those with a list of the responsibilities that come with most titles. The point we...

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Did You Set Clear Expectations?

Whether you’re leading a small department or a large organization, there’s never a shortage in things that need your attention… Even after those business owners and executives we’ve been looking at have invested the time and energy into leading their teams effectively and ensuring the leaders around them have the right tools to support the people who are counting on them, the work still isn’t done! If they haven’t been extremely clear about the expectations they have for how those tools should be applied and the results that need to be achieved in order to get a tangible return on investment, the odds of actually seeing those results are slim.

Picture this: you have a crew of carpenters who have traditionally used mostly hand tools and a few corded power tools. They’re about to begin a large project where they won’t have access to electricity and the foreman comes to you with a request to purchase a few thousand dollars worth of new...

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Do They Have the Right Tools for the Job?

Have you ever been expected to accomplish a task without having the tools you need to do it? I’m guessing the majority of folks I’d ask that question would be able to provide very specific details around their own example of this almost immediately! If that’s never happened to you, let me know where you’ve worked and if any of those places are hiring…

Seriously though, I’ve seen this happen in all kinds of scenarios and in basically every organization I can think of. That said, I’ve rarely known an executive - and certainly never a leader - who has intentionally given someone on their team a task without having what they needed to accomplish it. But that’s not to say it doesn’t happen at times…

One company we work with routinely has even put systems in place to empower their team members to prevent this from happening; the owner of that company makes it known that not having the necessary tools should never be the reason...

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Executive Leadership Skills; Application Matters!

We started down this path by defining the differences between an executive who owns or manages a company and one who truly leads their company. Then we took a detailed look at the process Cindy and I have developed locally to help a dozen or so executives focus on identifying the solutions they need for strengthening the leadership culture in their respective organizations. With that foundation in place, let’s close the loop on the importance of executive leadership by digging into a few skills that are critical for anyone who genuinely wants to build strong leadership throughout their team - and this is all about the application!

Cindy and I kicked off our seventh annual LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg event last Friday with a session called Building Buy-In Around a Clear Mission & Vision where we tailored a lesson we initially developed for our Executive Leadership Elite Think Tank group to be something that could be applied by anyone attending who held even the slightest amount...

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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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