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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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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Systems We Enjoy

 Last time, we looked at the Systems that Get Results most of us DRIVEN folks need in order to have a solid chance at sticking with them long term. Since they only represent about 10% of the world, let’s press on by looking at what we should consider building into our systems for productivity if we happen to fall in the next 30% that happens to be just as Outgoing but more People-Oriented: the INSPIRING ones…

While this more INTERACTIVE style happens to be the second highest in my overall blend, when I’m operating on cruise control as well as when I’m under stress, it’s dwarfed by the part of me that simply DEMANDS results. That said, the above average amount of this I can display when things are going smoothly gives me a personal level of insight for what we can consider for folks with this as their primary style!

The one thing that tends to put fuel in this groups’ tank is an experience they enjoy - having fun whenever possible! When it...

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What Works for You May Not Work for Me!

In the second lesson of our Emerging Leader Development course, Cindy and I emphasize that building strong connections with the people we’re responsible for leading requires energy. We go on to stress that putting energy into connecting with our teams requires each of us to make sure we’re intentional about recharging as well so we’re able to invest energy each time it’s necessary - which is really every time we interact with someone. When we’re leading a team, it’s often our responsibility to build processes in place that help the leaders around us recharge. The challenge with this really boils down to understanding that something may energize one person while sucking the energy right out of another!

Like many couples starting out together, Cindy and I didn’t have much paid time off built up or much extra money to afford many vacations. The few times we were able to take the kids somewhere reasonably nice, I wanted to be sure to squeeze in...

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The Best Way to Be Authentic, Even Within a System

Several years ago, Cindy and I were leading a group through a fairly in depth study of John Maxwell’s Everyone Communicates, Few Connect when one of the folks in the group expressed concern about how applying the five principles and five practices outlined in the book could be viewed as manipulative. My response was simple… The best way I know to not come across as being manipulative is to not have a manipulative motive when you’re applying the principles or practices. When we’re genuine in our intent, the people we’re interacting with usually sense that. But when someone is trying to slip something by us, don’t we typically sense that too? Even the best principles and practices only work over the long haul when our motives are right! As a quick side note, while I do still like the individual who shared that concern, I have seen them do several things in the years since that have come across as manipulative...

Last time I shared about how much of...

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Personal Productivity Tools that Support Great Systems

As we started looking at How to be More Productive, I shared what I thought was a great example of how impactful systems can be in helping us knock out even the most dreaded tasks - like cleaning the kitchen… We also started looking at why productivity gets so much of our attention, the need for effective systems in order to achieve that productivity, and a simple process for identifying the tasks that should get the bulk of our attention to achieve the best possible productivity. Let’s face it though, most of the demands we face on a professional level usually tie back to how effective we are at developing our own personal systems for fulfilling our obligations and getting tasks checked off our lists…

Once we’ve thoroughly worked through those three R’s to determine what truly needs our attention and which things we should be focusing on first, we still need a way to manage it all. As I was looking at a few different resources on this topic, I found...

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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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The Importance of SOP’s

Building on what we looked at last time about our cultural obsession with productivity, I’ll share an example of something I learned as I was working to implement Lean Manufacturing initiatives in the facility I worked at for nearly twenty years…

We all tend to have our own way of doing certain things, right? While that’s typically true, that can wreak havoc on a manufacturing process! If each person who attempts to complete a task takes a different approach, it can be extremely difficult to produce a consistent product or nail down a reasonable expectation for how much labor is required. When quality and pricing shift with the wind, repeat business isn’t very likely. And that doesn’t even touch on how complicated these different methods for producing the same product make training new team members, especially when that training occurs on multiple shifts… Regardless of what industry we’re considering, some sort of standard operating...

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How to be More Productive - at Work or at Home!

One of the first things I saw the other morning as I checked my LinkedIn notifications was a post from a friend who has a whole bunch of children, many of whom he and his wife adopted, showing the clean and organized kitchen he came home to the evening before. Now even if you’re single and have pizza delivered on a daily basis, you know maintaining a clean and organized kitchen is no small task! But for a mom to accomplish that on her own with several kids, that’s nearly an act of God!

After I recovered from the initial shock and was able to read his entire post, I realized the point he was making was tied to how important it is, for kids as well as us adults, to have responsibility for specific tasks. My friend and his wife had been intentional about making sure each child was assigned something to do in the process and they understood what was expected of them. As a family, they had developed a system for breaking what can often be a daunting task down into little...

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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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