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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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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More than Readin’, Ritin’ & 'Rithmetic!

It seems like for every year older I get, there’s at least a half dozen new tasks that are added to my daily routine! While that may not actually be the case, I’m guessing you can relate in one way or another… And what if we’ve accepted responsibility for leading others? Those half dozen additional tasks could easily double to a dozen - or more!

That ever-increasing pressure makes it even more important for us to consider everything we can that could help us be more productive - at work and at home, and it drives home the importance of building systems we can use in the process! Even when we do everything we know to do, there are still times where others around us appear to get so much more done than we do; at least that’s sometimes the case for me!

I read a blog article recently called 18 Habits of Highly Productive People: What Efficient People Have in Common that opened by saying, “We’ve all known that person who always seems to be...

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A Practical Definition We Can Apply Right Away

Last time I shared the definition of soft skills from the Oxford dictionary, “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” While I think that provides us with a fairly decent starting point for what soft skills are, I don’t believe it’s quite enough to take action on… At least it’s not for me.

We started down this path by answering the question, What Do They Really Mean by “Soft Skills”.? then we worked through some comparisons of Soft Skills vs Hard Skills. If we combine all of that with what Chris Rollins shared about the origins of the concept, I think we’re ready to build a practical definition that we can each work into our daily routines. Once we have that, there’s no reason at all for not putting it into action and achieving measurable results - just like we’d expect to see from learning any particular technical skill… 

Before we do that,...

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A Definition of Soft Skills that Matters for YOU!

In early 2019, I received a phone call from a friend asking if I had a few minutes for him to run an idea by me. Since Chris Rollins had done as much to train and mentor me as anyone else I could think of in the four years leading up to that point, I jumped at the chance to provide him with any input I possibly could!

I felt a connection with Chris from our first conversation in 2015. We had similar experiences during our corporate careers and both of us really wanted to have an impact on the organizational cultures of the smaller businesses we were working with. And both of us understood just how important effective communication is to building a strong team that achieves great results.

The idea Chris wanted to bounce off of me was a concept of a collaborative book on the DISC Model of Human Behavior, one of the most powerful tools I ever seen for building effective communication into a company’s culture. Having worked through dozens of hours of training with Chris on the...

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Soft Skills vs Hard Skills

Now that we can answer What Do They Mean by “Soft Skills”?, let’s start building a comparison between Soft Skills and Hard Skills, the impact both types of skills can have in nearly any role, and then we’ll look at how we can ensure any skill development we invest in provides us with a tangible return.

I believe one of the main reasons so many individuals and organizations struggle to tie tangible return on investment is that we rarely even see an accurate comparison. An article I read on Forbes.com recently titled Are Hard Skills or Soft Skills More Important to be an Effective Leader? shared this:

Hard skills are teachable and most often technical skills, such as economic analysis, strategic planning or design. Soft skills fall in the interpersonal realm and include listening, team-building, and leadership development. They are not so much taught as cultivated. 

While that sounds reasonable at face value, I’m going to challenge you to think into...

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Exemplifying Servant Leadership

When I trained teams on behavior-based safety across North America, a point we always covered was that you can’t see someone’s attitude or their emotions but we can get a solid read on their attitude and their emotions by observing their behavior. Today as Cindy and I provide Strategic Leadership Coaching for individuals from various organizations that we’ve done training for, we work with them to ensure they’re achieving the best possible results from the immediate action steps they commit to applying based on what they learned in the sessions with us. The first question I always ask them is what their team will be able to see them doing differently as they apply the steps they’ve outlined. In either case, the behaviors we choose provide the people around us with a clear picture of what we believe - our attitude and our emotions!

To this point, I’ve shared some background on the idea of servant leadership with hopes of providing a solid...

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Effective Communication Won’t Happen Without This

In order to become really effective with that idea of Alliance Feedback that I referenced as I closed the last post, and form authentic alliances (relationships) with the team members we’re responsible for leading, we need to develop another essential quality of leadership; we need to become intentional about how we listen.

As he describes more around the idea of Alliance Feedback, Jeff Henderson suggests that “we take the time to get to know the person and their aspirations, hopes, and personal standards.” If someone in a leadership role isn’t willing to invest time and energy into doing this, which can often only be done by really listening to what their team members have to say in various situations, it’s unlikely that the relationship will ever be strong enough to form alliances.

Additionally, leaders are nearly always responsible for moving the organization forward. If we’re leading but not willing to listen enough to develop alliances, not...

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Essential Qualities of Leadership

Not long after writing what I believe to be one of the most foundational leadership books of all time, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell put out a companion book to that called The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. His thought process was that while there are indeed leadership laws we can each apply to lead our teams more effectively, there are certain qualities we need to have and/or develop internally in order to get the best possible results as we apply those laws! While I won’t be going into depth on much of what John shared, with the exception of a few quotes that help drive some points home, I will suggest you grab a copy of that book or give it a listen on Audible. It’s powerful!

So what are some of the most essential qualities of leadership? Before answering that question, let me challenge you to consider that by thinking about the best leaders you’ve had a chance to interact with personally. What specific things did they do on a...

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Nothing More, Nothing Less!

Whether it’s what we intend or not, the message we send someone is a huge part of why effective communication is so important! If we want strong relationships that yield overall happy lives, we have to be very intentional about delivering a message the person we’re interacting with can receive rather than just what we want or need to get across. As I shared with a few examples last time, this is often far easier said than done BUT it can become very simple when we apply the right tools

Effective communication is important to each of us every single day. But guess who has the most to gain (or lose) when it comes to answering the Why is Effective Communication Important? Question…

Since I’m not nearly as patient as Cindy wishes I would be, I’ll just answer that question for you! Anyone who’s accepted leadership responsibility has a tremendous amount to gain or to lose from the energy they invest into each message they share. For the last...

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