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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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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Systems We Can Each Sustain - Starting with Ones that Get Results!

We started down this path by looking at How to Be More Productive - at Work and at Home then we worked through some Personal Productivity Tools that Support Great Systems. As I mentioned before though, we’ll each need to develop our own unique approach if we want to create systems in our lives that we can stick with over the long haul to achieve our goals and avoid burning out along the way. What works for you may not work for me - and vice-versa!

A few millennia ago, a fellow named Confucius suggested the importance of knowing ourselves… If you’ve read these messages for a while or you’ve been part of almost any training session that Cindy and I have done over the last several years, you’ve likely heard me stress the importance of being able to recognize the communication style of each person we interact with on a daily basis so we can communicate with them like they need us to rather than just how we prefer to communicate. The DISC Model of Human...

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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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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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What Skills Matter Most?

Alexandra Levit, workforce futurist and author of Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workplace of the Future, was quoted in a recent SHRM article as saying “While most people are hired for their technical abilities, their soft skills give them career durability.”

In the last post, I challenged what I’ve seen to the traditional thought process of expecting a tangible return on investment from technical training while having far less clarity on how the rubber should meet the road after any type of training on those perceived softer skills. To me, it just boils down to developing the discipline to know what to look for and clarifying how those powerful skills should be applied.

Let me be very clear here: BOTH types of skills matter in every industry. But answering the question What Skills Matter Most? really depends on the specific role we’re hoping to fill. 

Our son, Matt, has an outstanding work ethic and caught onto the technical...

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If We Can’t SEE It, We Don’t Usually Expect It...

Last time I suggested that the only real difference between soft skills and hard skills is that most hard skills only tie to certain fields where soft skills have the power of impacting nearly any type of work we’ll ever engage in. None of us come out of the womb being amazingly equipped with either type of skill; they ALL require cultivation throughout our lives if we ever hope to master them. And we should absolutely be seeing measurable results from the action steps we take in applying what we learn as we study any new skill!

The most common disconnect I’ve seen with this over the last twenty years has been that most of us have learned how to measure technical tasks; it’s fairly simple to track how many widgets can be produced in an hour or how many procedures can be completed each day. Measuring the effectiveness of what most people refer to as soft skills isn’t quite as straightforward because it rarely produces a stack of something at the end of an...

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Not Just Busy; Effective!

Are you busy? That’s a stupid question, huh! We all are… If you’re anything like me, there are times where you feel like there’s just not another second in your day to squeeze in one more thing.

But are you getting the results you’re after? Are you productive?

Let’s be honest with ourselves here, being busy and being effective are two very different things!

Whose face comes to mind when you really consider this? I immediately think of a few different folks I know who constantly seem to be putting out fires but never reach any of the goals they’re working toward. They’re incredibly busy, but it would be a pretty big stretch to describe them as productive…

In complete transparency, I’ve fallen into that scenario myself far more than I care to admit. My DRIVEN approach to nearly everything tends to result in me taking on just about any task that falls within reach and going at it full speed ahead until it’s done or I...

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The New Sheriff in Town?

Last time we looked at some of the challenges we may face when we move into a new position of authority, and leadership responsibility, for a team of folks who had previously been our peers. But what if that’s not the situation we’re in? What if our first day with the organization is also the day we have to start managing processes and leading our new team?

If you’ve more than a few of these posts, you’ve likely seen me quote John Maxwell as saying that “Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership!” Since leadership is so critical to achieving results through a team of people, someone new to an organization really needs to be prepared to flex their leadership muscles from day one, right?

Before we jump right into showing everyone that there’s a new sheriff in town, we should probably consider what I’ve heard John share just as frequently, “Leadership is Influence. Nothing more, nothing less!” And it’s highly unlikely...

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Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?

There’s a section in chapter three of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry titled “The Impact of EQ” that shares some statistical that nearly knocked me out of my chair:

“How much of an impact does EQ have on your professional success? The short answer is: quite a lot! It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction with a tremendous result. We’ve tested EQ alongside 33 other important skills and found that it subsumes the majority of them, including decision-making and communication. Your EQ is the foundation for a host of critical skills - it impacts most everything you say and do each day. EQ is so critical to success that it accounts for 58 percent of performance in all types of jobs.”

I’ve read a few books and numerous articles over the last several years that provide answers to the question Why is Emotional Intelligence Important? When I read something suggesting that emotional intelligence, or EQ, accounts...

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