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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Speaking of Benjamin Franklin...

I closed the last post with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” and I promised to circle back with a look at how we can each expect to get a solid return on what we invest, personally and in our organizations. Interestingly enough, that same idea was the topic of conversation for me and Cindy earlier today as we filtered through a massive amount of junk mail and looked at the two pieces that actually had a bit of relevance; our quarterly IRA statements…

As we each made career changes over the last several years, we’ve rolled what we had in our respective 401(k) plans into IRAs; partly to avoid the crazy tax hit we’d take with an early withdrawal and partly to maintain some potential to recognize some level of ongoing interest. While our risk tolerance for our investments are nearly as different as our behavioral styles, the historic return on our plans have been nearly identical. Cindy’s,...

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Defining Leadership Development

Through the last several posts, we worked through just a few answers to the question Why is leadership development important? In that process, I share some statistics from a few different studies citing costs organizations encounter when they don’t put a priority on developing the people filling their leadership roles; costs that are rarely tracked and even more rarely understood or tied directly back to a failure in developing leaders… If you missed any of that, you’re welcome to circle back to a page I put together compiling it all

Let’s take the next step through by clearly defining leadership development… Promoting someone into a leadership role doesn’t make them a leader anymore than selling them at McDonald’s would make them a hamburger! (I considered substituting milkshake for hamburger but I think it’s been years since a milkshake machine has worked at any McDonald’s worldwide…) And hearing a group...

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Can We Afford Not To…?

I closed the last post by mentioning how many organizations view “soft skills” training as something that’s nice to do when there’s time but far less critical to the day to day operation of the business than any technical training tying directly back to their specific industry. But is that the right decision?

In chapter 16 of Leadership Gold, People Quit People, Not Companies, John Maxwell says “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.” In many cases, these are the same managers that have risen through the ranks of that company as they’ve developed strong technical skills and became some of the organization’s top producers. But as we discussed in the last post with regards to just how that can impact communication, being great at doing doesn’t always translate to being effective in...

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I Just Can’t Take The Risk...

Over the last decade, I’ve seen dozens of situations where a senior or incredibly skilled team member has chosen not to exceed expectations. The challenge in most of those instances really boiled down to that team member actually choosing to not even meet the expectations the organization (or business owner, or their team members) had clearly defined for the role they were in.

As we looked at how failing to exceed, or even meet, expectations can impact customer retention and the organization’s overall profitability through the last several posts, it was extremely clear that average performance won’t be what separates any of our businesses from the competition. This is just as true when it comes to the culture we build internally - how tasks get done even when a customer will likely never have direct exposure to them…

Let’s be honest, highly skilled team members are hard to come be regardless of the ups and downs of the economy. That often results in...

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Get More Juice From Each Squeeze!

I closed the last blog post with a promise to share some practical steps each of us can build a culture that creates amazing customer experiences and directly impacts profitability. Before I go there though, I want to share what may be the last invitation I can pass along for you to join me and Cindy this coming Friday (Nov 13) for the final LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg virtual experience we’ll be hosting in 2020. This year’s content is incredible but the bonuses are worth as much as the event itself… Hope you’re able to join us!

So how can we get more juice from each squeeze? First, understand I’m not suggesting that we ever try to actually SQUEEZE extra dollars out of the clients or customers we interact with! If we provide them with value through the product or service we offer, we deserve fair compensation for that. What I am suggesting is that we do everything in our power to make sure we capture as much profit as we possibly can from the revenue we...

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Like It or Not, That’s How It’s Gonna Be… Really?

Have you ever been told that by a company you’ve done business with? Like it or not, that’s how it's gonna be… Have you ever heard a supervisor say something like this to one of their employees? Have you ever been that employee???

I remember being told something very similar to that by an administrative assistant for the attorney I was dealing with about 15 years ago following a nasty car accident and the other party had a less than stellar insurance company. After being jerked around by the other insurance company for weeks and not hearing back from the attorney for quite a while too, I began calling daily until I got a response. After a few days of this, she told me “You’re not our only client. We’ll get to you when we get to you.” That didn’t go as well as she thought it would…

While I can’t say that I’ve ever been anything like that by a supervisor, I’ve certainly heard it said a few times. It’s one...

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