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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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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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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Where the (Soft Skills) Rubber Meets the Road

Now that we have A Practical Definition We Can Apply Right Away, let’s close this loop by looking at some practical action steps we can put in place to make sure our soft skills are yielding measurable results - just like we’d expect to see from developing new or better technical skills! Last time I tossed some stats from a study that showed what executives saw as the cause of most workplace failure as well as some number showing the cost of downtime due to poor communication. If only that were where it stopped…

In Leadership Gold, John Maxwell shared that “Some sources estimate that as many as 65% of people leaving companies do so because of their managers… The ‘company’ doesn’t do anything negative to them. People do. Sometimes coworkers cause the problems that prompt people to leave. But often the people who alienate employees are their direct supervisors.” I recently read an article from the American Management Association...

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The Majority are Transactional Overseers?

So now that we’ve established that not everyone defines servant leadership the same way, let’s build a little bit stronger foundation for all that this idea really involves before we start studying some characteristics we can work to incorporate into our own leadership styles or examples we learn from directly. I’ve been a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) for years and recently found an article on their website called The Art of Servant Leadership. Here’s what jumped off the page at me when I read it for the first time:

Experts often describe the majority of traditional business leaders as managers who mainly function as overseers of a transaction: employees maintain desired performance levels, and in exchange they receive salary and benefits. Generally, these managers are positional leaders—they derive authority simply from the fact that they are the boss.

The servant leader moves beyond the transactional aspects of...

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What Approach Works Best for YOU?

The vast majority of the work Cindy and I do is focused around developing effective leaders and building effective communication into the cultures of the organizations we work with. But when we’re digging into Why Professional Development is Important, understand that there are so many more things to consider! Don’t get me wrong, I still believe effective communication and leadership are crucial, I’m just saying that there are more things we need to consider than the one-size-fits-all baseball caps I referenced in closing the last post

Several years ago, while working with some of the most experienced team members some friends of mine had working in their company, one gentleman commented, “We’ve done it this way for 30 years. This is the best way it can possibly be done!” Having been involved in so many continuous improvement initiatives over the years, my initial reaction was to jump on the table and preach about all the risks that come...

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Why is Professional Development Important?

So you have a title that carries some authority, not to mention more than a fair amount of responsibility; what do you need to do now?

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen someone land themselves a position with a fancy title, be it fresh out of school or after several years with their company, and dig their heels in so they can enjoy the ride. All too often though, they immediately abandon exactly what got them there; the professional development process…

A quick internet search landed me on a page titled Sobering Statistics About Readers Today, stating that “33% of high school graduates never read another book the rest of their lives and 42% of college grads never read another book after college.” By the time I was 23 years old, I was well on my way to being one of those statistics! Interestingly enough, I only remember reading one book from cover to cover all through high school - The Hobbit - and I really think that was because it...

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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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The Difference in Recognition and Appreciation

In the last post, we looked at a few things that will stand out in the behaviors of the more DRIVEN folks when their emotions are running full speed ahead. We also looked at what we may want to consider doing, at least when it’s within our control, in order to ease some of the tension in the situation and help those folks operate in a state they actually enjoy. I wrapped up with a reference to recognizing the tremendous amount of effort they put into nearly everything they touch. That fills their tank, but it doesn’t necessarily fill everyone’s tank…

The next two primary styles have a much heavier focus on the people they’re interacting with than the specific task at hand. We all cherish genuine recognition, but the INSPIRING and SUPPORTIVE behavioral styles would much rather know they’re valued as individuals than just for what they’re accomplishing!

Since the INSPIRING folks, typically making up around 30% of the population, enjoy being...

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Understanding the World Around Us

In unpacking the first two components of emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self-management, I referenced the research William Marston did almost 100 years ago as he prepared to write The Emotions of Normal People. Before we dive into the third component, I want you to really think about the complexity involved with reading someone’s emotions. Heck, it’s not always all that easy to keep a firm grip on our own! With that in mind, what was Marston focusing on as he conducted that research?

Nearly twenty-five years ago, during the first training session I ever sat through on a new process called “behavior-based safety” that was being rolled out in the manufacturing facility where I worked, I learned the importance of focusing on behaviors rather than attitudes or emotions. We can OBSERVE behaviors; we can’t always see emotions and attitudes unless someone is exhibiting outwardly through their behaviors!

Having shared that quick history lesson,...

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