Viewing entries tagged
training

Comment

Reclamation . . . Old Wood/New Wood; or Is that employee worth it?

I love the reclaimed depot wood we put on our cabinet ends. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

I love the reclaimed depot wood we put on our cabinet ends. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

Leaders, like a builder, can choose to get new employees or work with the old ones. Employees with issues can be seen as disposable—out with the old and in with the new—or as valuable resources worth working toward reclamation.

A Change

I have found a new joy in reclaimed old wood. Old redwood to be precise. Redwood salvaged from a deck that provided the framework for a porch that had deteriorated over time. It surprises me a little bit—this joy of working with tis old wood—because I’ve always been favorably predisposed toward “new.” Maybe it’s my history of allergies. Maybe it’s laziness. But I always enjoyed building with new wood—from scratch if you will—rather than recycling something old . . . and often not being happy with the result. But now that’s all changed.

The destruction phase. If you look closely, you will see our Melodrama sign (to the extreme left) later in our shelving picture on the—mostly—completed porch.

The destruction phase. If you look closely, you will see our Melodrama sign (to the extreme left) later in our shelving picture on the—mostly—completed porch.

The Wood

It started with a tear-down-and-rebuild project. We live in an old converted train deport. An amazing amalgam of construction. One hundred year old “bones” and newer additions make up the primary building. One of the features we loved was the “four-season porch” on the back. That porch, not in great shape when we bought the property—and poorly built originally—had deteriorated to the point that it needed to be torn off completely or rebuilt. Tear off and rebuilding . . . again not my favorite. But, it had to be done. The next couple of years, with the guidance and assistance of my contractor, consisted of working on weekends on this project, and after finishing the major work with the contractor, I am still working on the finishing touches as I write.

Redwood boards. Planed and ready to use for projects! You can see the discarded metal wagon box in the background. See the redwood wagon below!

Redwood boards. Planed and ready to use for projects! You can see the discarded metal wagon box in the background. See the redwood wagon below!

The porch was built on top of a redwood deck. Well, it was partially built on a redwood deck. The builders had cobbled together a porch stoop (by the door to the right) and a deck (covering the rest of the porch)—which allowed the whole structure to settle unevenly—there was even a metal stand probing up one part!—and helped the general deterioration. We tore out the whole underlying structure, including the redwood, as part of our rebuild.

Now, if you aren’t into wood, you should know that it is expensive to buy redwood today. When I started building shelving from this wood, I priced new redwood to see how much it would cost to build one of the shelves and found that the wood, alone, would cost me close to $500 to buy new. Now that gets a guy’s attention and makes him look at the reclaimed wood in a totally new light!!

Here are some of the shelves and other Christmas projects—vase stand, and guitar neck rests. Notice the same sign in the background that was in the earlier tear-off picture. No floor yet. Finishing the walls first.

Here are some of the shelves and other Christmas projects—vase stand, and guitar neck rests. Notice the same sign in the background that was in the earlier tear-off picture. No floor yet. Finishing the walls first.

From the salvaged redwood I have built a few sets of shelves, a child’s wagon, a dozen or so guitar head rests (for changing strings), a bunch of guitar picks, one flower-vase frame, and a conductor’s baton case. Mostly these are for gifts, partly for fun. I could show you lots of pictures . . . but I’ll limit myself to one more, that should make the point.

Some of the smaller projects. Mostly the redwood. Some ebony, maple, too.

Some of the smaller projects. Mostly the redwood. Some ebony, maple, too.

Leaders and People

All this . . . chaos? . . . effort? . . . history? . . . came to mind recently when a business owner, who was told about our process of helping organizations with their “people issues",” asked, “Why don’t they just fire them?” This sentiment, “just fire them,” sounded eerily like my attitude about wood. Just buy new wood! It’s easier. There are no problems to deal with . . . like there are with old wood. Old wood is too much trouble.

Some leaders see the world in much the same way. They would rather start over with a new employee than struggle to find a solution to their managerial problem. They minimize issues within their culture, system, or leadership that contribute to the problem. The propose superficial fixes and ultimately blame the employee for not changing. These decisions reveal the leader’s true values.

Yes, every leader has to face the fact that sometimes the only choice is to let someone go or do harm to the team or organization. But, as a leader, are you eager to adopt an “out with the old and in with the new” attitude?

I have worked with a few leaders who, a review of history or observation, revealed a pattern of employees passing through a “constant revolving door.” Rarely do these leaders see these decision as driven by their own ego or their behavior and that of the organization as the constant in this pattern. They don’t understand how lies that effect employees and leaders. Communication suffers along the way. They may struggle to see the value of mistakes in creating strong teams. They believe that failure is always bad. Other leaders see value in preserving the value of seasoned employees. They recognize that an investment in these employees may provide a superior long-term benefit.

Yes, working with the “old wood” means you have to engage with the wood in a more rigorous manner . . . trim some damaged wood away. You have to pull nails out of the boards so you don’t ruin a set of planing knives. You will make more cuts to find the solid, usable part of the boards and to reveal the pretty original grain. Finally, you will also have more cut-offs to discard.

Seven Reasons Leaders Should Focus on Retaining Employees

But there are good reasons not to start over with new wood . . . or a new employee.

  1. New wood isn’t the same as old wood. Anyone who has been building for more than 20 years knows that the wood you buy today at the big box stores isn’t the same quality as old wood. Fast-growth, sap-wood, poorly dried, cheap lumber dominate the industry. Old wood has dimensional stability, strong grain, color, hardness, and character.

    In most circumstances, employees also gain value over time. They have institutional knowledge, they have experience with the trials and errors of the past. They have awareness of what it was like before the product was available. They have relationships with coworkers, vendors, and customers. Finally, successfully “reclaimed” employees can become the biggest champions of the organization and leadership.

  2. There is a cost . . .to buying new. My father-in-law continues to “whittle-away” at a big block of Desert Ironwood from Mexico that he bought years ago for a little over $100. That one log has been part of projects for more than 20 years. Today, a 3/8" thick, 1.75" wide, 5" large stick will cost $12-15 plus shipping . . . if you can get it at all. A log like my father-in-law’s would run close to $1,000.

    Those who study business also talk about the high cost of employee turnover in organizations. The impact on “onboarding,” training, and other “real costs” may be secondary to the impact on the culture, morale, leadership trust, and other “soft factors” that, while critical to success, are less frequently measured. The big problem is, most leaders don’t have an easy cost comparison when deciding if firing an employee is in the best interests of the organization and many minimize the impact on the culture of the team—especially if this is perceived to be a pattern of the management.

  3. The old wood has a unique attractiveness —because it’s old wood. Part of the beauty of working with this old wood is the blemishes . . . the nail-holes, checked areas, and uneven coloring. It leeks “used,” but when the wood is cleaned up, trimmed, planed, sanded, and finished, it is more beautiful that a more “perfect” new board.

    “Reclaimed” employees can have this save value. When we do interviews in an organization we typically take a plant tour. We request a guide—an employee who is not a “company ‘Yes!’ person” but who is also not the company critic. When leaders guide us to the right employee for this guidance . . . often someone with a reclamation story about the company . . . other employees’ trust in that individual helps us get very honest information about whatever issues we are seeking. The “stability” of this employee (see below) promotes trust and creates the opportunity for an open dialogue that is priceless to the organization. Other employees see the value in this employee and trust their reliability, know their past history, and see the openness about the organizations past challenges . . . and their faith in the leadership.

  4. Old wood has known attributes where new wood has unknowns. Once again, old wood is far from perfect. But, you do know what you are likely to encounter in working with the wood. That’s worth something. New wood may have a high moisture content and tend to cup, warp, or crack. Old wood, once reclaimed will remain true to form, stable, and increase its value. New wood is an unknown. It may age and become cherished old wood or it may warp, crack, or fail.

    As we noted above, a reclaimed employee, in the same way is a “known” commodity. Other employees develop a respect for the employee that has come through challenges to remain a part of the organization. They trust someone who they know has not always “had it together” and see themselves in the real story of that employee. They note the optimism and faith the employee chooses to place in leadership despite the past. A new employee may have those traits, but it is an unknown risk at the time they are hired.

  5. There is a unique satisfaction to reclaiming old wood. Sustainabllity, history, value, reduction of waste, or character and beauty . . . there are many reasons that reclaiming old wood is satisfying. In the same way, there is nothing like developing, challenging, and supporting employees to be their very best . . . and then seeing that benefit the team or organization.

    Many leaders are, in fact, very open to the idea of trying to “reclaim” employees. There are several challenges however that can make this fail. This, in itself, could be it’s own post, for our purposes, suffice it to say that a poor understanding of human behavior, a weak commitment to reclamation, a lack of consistent attention over time, fear that it will fail, poor communication or planning . . . these are but a few reasons that it may not succeed without a clearly implemented and monitored plan.

  6. Developing a love of old wood opens up new possibilities. Living in an old Depot was daunting at first. The prospect of reclaiming a structure that had been turned into apartments—with it’s three kitchens and six bathrooms—did not sound like fun. But, tearing out the old porch, finding the redwood, and beginning to use this resource has created possibilities where none existed before. The cabinet ends pictured at the top for example. These boards were, in my estimation, a merely a nuisance, piled up in the attic . . . old, dusty brown boards that I was going to have to deal with at some point. Now, after several layers have been stripped, the boards planed down into quarter inch panels, the rotten parts cut away . . . they are a real center point of our remodel.

    In the same way, I have seen leaders that were burned out, dreading coming to work, contemplating leaving their position, who after working through a process of reclamation, were, once again, energized, excited about the next challenge, feeling more optimistic about their role and the organization. As the saying goes, “Success breeds success.”

  7. Working with old wood changes the woodworker. Maybe it’s obvious. The old wood/new wood dichotomy is not new. What has changed is me. Once the woodworker opens him or herself up to using old wood, the world begins to change. Board piles are interesting, seeking out businesses that reclaim wood becomes a passion, helping to tear-down old properties becomes a treasure-field to explore. One sees the cheap woods of modern building. There rekindles a joy in the old, the weathered, the sturdy.

    One of the best reasons to be inclined, first, toward reclamation when it comes to employees is that it changes the leader. (A good reason to try and “reclaim” leaders as well! Because they can be more valuable.) No, a desire to focus on reclamation will never preclude firing a bad employee. We have mentioned several times that not all the old wood was kept . . . the bad parts of the board were cut off and discarded . . . the point here is that by taking a positive view toward reclaiming the old many boards can be salvaged, materials have a longer sustainable life, and the leader becomes a more functional, well-rounded, and energized leader.

They put the wagon to immediate use! But it’s not about the wagon, is it? People . . . that’s what it is all about!

They put the wagon to immediate use! But it’s not about the wagon, is it? People . . . that’s what it is all about!

Comment

Comment

When you task a graphic designer to keep notes . . .

We . . . Bryan, Keith, and Andrew . . . just returned from providing a training with a group of government employees. The training, which focuses on using an interactive game to help improve communication, understand the relationship of mistakes and learning, and be willing to take reasonable risks to add to their strengths and become better team members.

Bryan and Keith were co-facilitating the training while Andrew was along to expose him to the training—since he had not participated in our past trainings. I tasked Andrew with being our tech support and quality improvement observer. The first meaning using his knowledge of gaming to help the training flow smoothly and the second to think about the strengths of the training and what needs continued improvement.

He did both jobs well.

I will share, for the fun of it, what you get when you task a graphic designer to take notes. Take a look . . .

Andrew’s quality improvement notes . . . .

Andrew’s quality improvement notes . . . .

I flipped through my entire spiral-bound notebook. A notebook I loaned him to in which to make his own notes. Page after page, nearly 40, of my own sterile, austere, notes. Just notes. Not one illustration, squiggly line, or doodle. Boring.

The amazing thing to me, is that this kid--can I still call him a kid at 30?-who obviously shares a creative talent inherited from his mother . . . and not me, had some great insights. As a result, we will have a much stronger training product through implementing several of his ideas.

If you are developing your own products, don’t forget to include an observer who can help you refine your process—and it doesn’t hurt if their ways of processing are different than yours, in fact, it might open up your eyes to new opportunities for improvement!

Below, are pictures of a couple pages of our new Training Lesson Plan developed from one of Andrew’s suggestions. We will introduce this new tool during our free training on Sunday.


Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 2.18.26 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 2.18.59 PM.png

Comment

Comment

Consulting "glam" or "other duties" of a consulting.

IMG_20190607_083144-1.jpg

Today’s tasK: Assemble all the materials for our training next week in Missouri. Using a “bomb difusal” game to teach principles, and train skills, of high-functioning teams. One thing I don’t mind about running my own consulting company is the “hands on” work. It’s a nice day of listening to music, mindless tasks, and dreaming about other ways to help! Having worked in the health care system for 35+ years, it’s a nice break from heavy clinical work.

By-the-way, this is the same process that we will be demonstrating in our June 23rd free training.

Comment

Comment

Update: Announcing . . . Free training . . . June, 2019.

Engaging Your Team People Small.png

Teamwork through Gaming . . . free training in June

On Sunday, June 23rd from 3 to 4 pm central time Bryan Miller, Ph.D. will be providing an on-line training on the HSC process of using gaming to train work teams to be effective. This is a training we have done in 4 to 6 hour segments with nonprofits, ecclesiastical bodies, business owners, and governmental departments.

The training is for professionals in the behavioral health field who are interested in providing training to organizations and who would like to find new and innovative ways to deliver good value and work outside of their typical clinical practice.

May 13th Update: We are now opening the training to professionals beyond our subscribers.

Want to know more?

Watch our You Tube trailer.

Email Bryan

Reserve your seat at Gumroad. A $20 fully refundable fee required —to prevent no shows.

Or check out our website where you can Subscribe and get a free eBook.

Comment

Comment

2019 Coaching Class is Set!

Photo by  Fancycrave  on  Unsplash

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

Our 2019 Coaching Class is set. Thanks to everyone who applied! . . . We are officially closing the application period.

Those of you who are subscribers to our blog may note that we had originally talked about taking applications through September. No, September isn’t over, yet. But it is time to close the applications and move forward, to put 2019’s “recruiting class in the books” so to speak. Thanks for the interest and if it didn’t work for you in 2019, we would encourage you to continue to follow our blog. We can’t promise we will do another round of coaching in 2020 but we haven’t closed the door to that yet. Stay tuned, as they used to say!

For those new to HSC—and the concept of contracting, coaching and consulting as part of a behavioral health practice —below is a brief history of our journey . . . .

We have been training students and professionals to work with organizations and businesses —through private practice contracting, coaching, and consulting—since 2006. In 2019, we will be using our proprietary developed workflow (developed for the Trello platform) to work with our coaching class. This is the next step in our ability to help behavioral health professionals diversify their services and escape the dependence on insurance and governmental sources of income.. .

Her's a quick history of training behavioral and mental health professionals to work with organizations and businesses.

  • 1998: As part of a class on Qualitative Research, Bryan and a colleague started—as part of a university class— a consulting contact with an international manufacturing company. Supported by a couple of our professors originally, the contract would be repeated in 2000 and in total cover 4 years. We were learning and HSC was off and running!

  • 1999: Bryan starts working in senior management positions in behavioral health.

  • 2002: We repeat the consulting work with the international manufacturing company.

  • 2005: Dr. Miller established Human Systems Consulting and HSC begins contracting with organizations.

  • 2006: Tasked to teach a doctoral-level course on Consulting with Larger Organizations. Continued until 2016.

  • 2008: Conducted local trainings for behavioral health professionals on consulting and coaching.

  • 2011:  At the continued urging of the students and colleagues, published Beyond the Couch: Turning your behavioral health degree into cash without losing your soul. (By the way, our Gumroad store sells this for $7.99 a huge savings over Amazon at $24.95!)

  • 2015: Published Engaging Your Team: A framework for leading difficult people.

  • 2016: Published Private Practice through Contracting: A path away from insurance dependency! (Our most popular title since it’s publication)

  • 2017: Presented our model in a day-long institute at the AAMFT national conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • 2017: Training professionals in a 6 hour workshop as part of the ICET conference in Louisville, Ky.

  • 2018: Re-tooled our Trello-based tool to facilitate and lead professional coaching for 2019 coaching class.

Looking forward to 2019! Last year we were in Georgia and Kentucky, next year we are in discussions to finalize agreements for training in Nebraska and Missouri. With these commitments, we will limit our out-of-state commitments to 1 or 2 others in 2019.

Hope your 2019 is a great year!

Bryan

P.S.— BTW, Facilitating trainings can be an interesting and fun way to enter into contracting—while providing high visibility for your organization, develop a position as a thought-leader or resource, and open up new possibilities for contracting. If interested in facilitating a training in your area using HSC’s expertise, just contact us!

Comment

Comment

Ten Reasons "Controllers" Don't Recognize their self-defeating patterns

thermostate.jpg

Photo by Moja Msanii on Unsplash

 

Ten Reasons "Controllers"* Don't Recognize their self-defeating patterns

You've seen it. The person who tries to control a situation when they ought to just leave it alone. The guy or gal who can't see that their actions are causing more harm than good. Why do they do it? Why can't they recognize their own fear? Is it "poor insight?" A lack of psychological sophistication? Poor people skills? A bad childhood? Perhaps. But here are some more pragmatic ways to look at it . . . 

  1. It has become a habit. Controlling people control. In their minds, they are helping and often they are. So, the success of "making things happen" creates a Pavlovian-conditioned state (perhaps more Skinnerian) where the behavior is likely to reoccur.

  2. Other people respond to it. Face it. A lot of people don't want to be in control. They don't want the responsibility for the outcomes and they are happy to give up that role to someone willing to step in and take it.

  3. It masquerades as knowledge and wisdom. Confidence, assertiveness, bold initiatives often give the impression that the person "must know" what they are talking about. Right or wrong the controller often is, defacto, given some credit for knowledge or wisdom by reason of their action.

  4. Controlling prevents facing internal pain. Control is a way of avoiding uncertainty, inefficiency, judgement . . . a host of states that may cause the controller to feel ways they do not want to feel. "Taking the reins" for the sake of preventing these bad outcomes is often done "for others" but really is the controllers way to avoid these emotional states themselves.

  5. It looks like confidence and leadership. Since controlling is an active process, others have to secumb or fight to take an opposing point of view. Controllers, over time, tend to win by attrition as others "give up the field" and simply choose not to fight. The controller "gains ground" simply be their natural tendency toward being on the offensive.

  6. Negative consequences are not immediate. The consequences of the controlling behavior is often accommodated, tolerated, or dismissed . . . in the early stages, especially if the desired outcomes are positive. The organization is growing, the business is making money, or the family is thriving. However, over time the impact of the control implodes. People begin to react to the control. As outcomes diminish people begin to question the controllers behavior, motives, and vision.

  7. It is often disguised in humility and openness. Controllers who don't have good people skills are simply bullies. Those who do have these skills often cloak their control in positive ways. "I only want to help." or "You can, of course, do whatever you want to do. But, I think . . ." implying often that their answer is best. One CEO, dealing with a benevolent controlling consultant told me, "She's so nice you almost don't mind the way she pushes you around."

  8. Criticism is not allowed. By "criticism" I mean the critical process of examining ideas thoroughly. Many controllers are good at making logically sound, quick decisions. They may under-value the process of allowing others to evaluate the decision-making process. This leads to unilateral decisions. Not fully getting other's on board and committed and when the outcomes turn negative leading to blaming the controller for their decisions and behavior.

  9. The motivation is to help. Hard as it may be to believe, one of the reasons controllers don't see themselves clearly is because when they look inwards they know that their motivation is good. They want to help. They clear away the confusion. They prevent inefficiency that is frustrating or hindering others. They get things done.

  10. It works. Bottom line. Controllers control because it works. It achieves the short-term needs of the individual, the team, or the organization. The question controllers fail to ask themselves however is, "Yes, it works, but at what cost?" Often it is at the cost of developing the leadership skills of people working for them, developing an achilles heel of a single vision, or in family business, trampling on relationships. Long-term what works maybe be antithetical to what works in the immediate moment.

Leaders, who tend toward control, need to find ways to check their natural instinct. This does not mean downplaying their strengths or abdicating the need for "controls" in their leadership. It means having good "checks and balances" on their natural tendency.  Develop ways to get feedback from other team members, take time to get an outside perspective, create habits to incorporate others into the decision-making process. See yourself as a resource, an encourager, an enabler . . . and less of a director, tactician or decision-maker. Recognize the leadership need others have for inclusion, affection, and their own control as you lead. Long-term the likelihood of success is greater.

Others working with controlling leaders need to firmly assert the need for the leader to develop a more rounded way of leading. This may not be easy for all the reasons cited above.  The controlling leader is not likely to "see" the need for changes. The appeal is often best couched in terms of the needs of the team or the organization. "We know that you have a lot of strengths. We need to you continue to build on those strengths to meet the future demands," is one way to approach this conversation. Don't wait for the crisis, where the deteriorating conditions force this leader to "admit" that something is wrong. Challenge them to grow and demonstrate a willingness to lead in a way that is often uncomfortable for them but of great value to those they are leading.

 

* "Controllers" in this context means, "minimally well-adjusted, mentally healthy" people who value control. Controllers here does describe sociopath control issues who control out of a need to dominate others, create win-lose scenarios, and/or who are mentally unhealthy.

Get more . . . Download an eBook from HSC!

Engaging Your Team: A framework for leading "difficult" people.

Family Legacy: Protecting family in family business.

 

Comment

Comment

Louisville . . . famous sons and daughters . . . and learning!

When I was a kid, the only things anyone wanted was a Louisville Slugger.

When I was a kid, the only things anyone wanted was a Louisville Slugger.

Well the Interactive CE Training spring conference is done and so is my short stent in Louisville.  Isn't it interesting how we develop a perception of what place . . . even through we have never been there?  My vision of Louisville, while not at all thought out, was something of "blue grass, horse races, and basketball."

Arriving in the airport, I was greeted with posters like this . . .

ali.jpg

It came as a bit of a shock. "Wait . . . What?  Muhammad Ali was from Louisville?"  Yes, he was. Other "big names as well."  Tom Cruise, Paul Hornung, Jennifer Lawrence. Maggie Lawson, Diane Sawyer, and Johnny Unitas all called Louisville home at one time.  I had no idea.  George Clooney and Johnny Depp spent time nearby.  Louisville is bigger than I imagined more metropolitan than "down home" in the fell. Yet, everyone has that southern friendliness and sense of hospitality.  For example, people providing service in the midwest never say, "You doing okay, Hon?"

loisville.jpg

But I wasn't here to conduct an anthropological analysis of the city. I was here to train a cohort of therapists how to add a new toolbox to their skill set . . . the toolbox of contracting and consulting with organizations.  Once again, I heard professionals talk about how the debt of education, low insurance fee schedules and other factors stress today's professionals and make them contemplate if they should "do something else" just to be able to pay their bills.

My goal for the training?  I told that attendees that the best outcome for me would be to get an email in 6 or 12 months telling me that they had a signed contract and that that contract had allowed them to . . . replace an old commuter vehicle, start a college fund for their kid, create or fund a 401K, or perhaps just take a weekend trip with their family.  That's what it's all about helping these professionals benefit from the value that they give to others.

It was especially fun to reconnect with friends from the past . . . former students and colleagues from my days of teaching.  Thanks to everyone who attended and participated in the training!  Thanks to Interactive CE Training for brining us to Kentucky! It was a great day and a great event.  Looking forward to continuing to support these great professionals throughout 2018 and beyond.

 

 

Calendar:

Next month we'll be attending the Prairie Family Business Association's annual conference. An exciting event that supports people in family businesses (like HSC) and the providers that help support them. 

Resources:

Free Private Practice through Contracting eBook.

We are now accepting inquiries for our 2019 Contract and Consulting Coaching. For more information, or to apply, email Bryan.

Comment

Comment

Leadership Lessons . . . The Guys I Admire . . . and Getting Trained Up!

 
Our Save the Date Announcement

Our Save the Date Announcement

Hello there . . . again!  If you have been a long-time subscriber to my blog, then you know that I often talk about leadership issues. I've shared the story of my "Old Ball-Coach" who was selected as the National Coach of the Year (my most read post this year) and how the effect of losing this leader turned a very talented group of basketball players into a bad team. I've told you about the Greatest Leadership Lesson I Ever Learned. And, those who followed my old blog got to hear how my Dad got the team bus moving--rescuing this very same Coach when the Bus Driver Wouldn't Move the Bus. We're told you about "Broken Leaders" and finding the courage to continue to serve others. We've also shared our leadership resources and blog posts on ideas to help leaders communicate, and dealing with power struggles.

The fact is, I could tell you stories all day long about leadership simply because I have been "in the thick of it" my entire life--first as the oldest son of the man- who-is-running-the-college, then as college student leader (Resident Assistant, Club President), career manager (up to, and including. as Executive Director and President), current business owner . . . and the most critical leadership role . . . father of six children.

Now, we at HSC are partnering with a local church to put on our first Christian Leadership Conference! (Catchy name huh? I thought about calling it something cool--do we still say "cool?"--like "Prospect" reminiscent of the athlete that has great potential and is being recruited to play for the local school. But then I thought, "Who would have know what that conference was about?" Maybe I should have studied branding more. Maybe not.) 

More about the conference in a minute. But I'd like to tell you about how this conference came "to be" and why I am excited to promote it.

How it came about

A friend, and former college classmate, read one of my posts about leadership. This friend, the president of a Colorado bank branch in a family-owned firm, had recently been part of a consulting process that required him to go through training on crucial conversations and emotional intelligence. He said it was rigorous, excruciating at times, and very beneficial. Upon reading one of my blog posts, he concluded that Christian Leaders needed some of the same training . . . and he decided that I should be the one to do it.

So we are doing it September 30th, in Lincoln, Nebraska and those attending will get to hear my friend "Murph" talk about his own personal experience in becoming a person-centered leader. You;ll also get to hear from Jim Tuttle, the Minister of Heartlands Church, who, along with HSC is sponsoring this conference. Jim is a leader with a heart. He is focused on helping Heartlands reach out into the community to help people where they are. He has his own personal experience being served by a church at a conference he himself attended when he became ill and he will be sharing this, and Heartlands commitment, to helping leaders at the conference.

Why I am excited about the conference

But that's not the only reason, why I'm excited about the conference. The main reason I am excited about it is because of the "core" of what we are going to offer . . . .

First, I've asked a friend, David Ensign, whom I admire a great deal to talk about the biblical principles of leadership. Why David? Because I have seen his leadership and scholarship "up close and personal." When I thought about who I would want to listen to talk about leadership, David was the first person that came to mind. David's life has demonstrated great courage through loss (the death of his wonderful wife, Linda, and his own cancer). He continues to be a leader despite those losses.

A. Keith Miller is a man I know very well. He's my brother and my consulting partner. Keith has extensive leadership experience. A twenty-one year career in the Air Force leading teams of more than 100 (including working across branches) he has a person-centered style that was recognized and rewarded for its efficacy. These Lessons Learned Around the World (a training manual he developed for leaders) is strengthened by his masters degree in organizational behavior and the consulting experience working with organizations and leaders.

Then there's me. I'm going to present simply because, well, I'm an expert. Oh, did I just say that out loud? Did I just lose my "humble-midwesterner club card? Well, as uncomfortable as it makes me to say it, I am. Senior leadership positions for more than 20 years. Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies, Associate Professor, a professional counselor for more than two decades. Business owner. Consultant. You might say, I've done nothing to avoid the "expert label"--particularly when it comes to people issues--and you'd be right. So, I'm going to bring these experiences to the conference to talk about emotional intelligence and to engage participants in activities that will help them apply and learn about how to engage this critical element in their leadership actions.

why register?

Because we want this conference to be a powerful and practical learning experience. We are limiting attendance to the first 48 people who sign up. We will have some learning opportunities about leadership and emotional intelligence but one core element will be on getting some practical skills in communication and emotionally intelligent leadership.

Participants also have an optional opportunity to sit down one-on-one with an experienced advisor at the end of the conference to talk about their specific leadership challenges.(To take advantage of this, participants must register and then contact us to reserve a spot.)

Oh yeah, I'm also excited because we are going to have participants  "defuse bombs!"  No, of course not--not real ones. But we are going to utilize bomb defusal processes to teach some important lessons on communication and team work. We've done this with work groups and look forward to doing it again at the conference. Here is our Bomb Defusal Unit badge:

Bomb Defusal Logo.png

 

So, here's the deal. If you are somewhere in "driving distance," you are available on September 30th, and you are one of the first 48 people to register, then you will be included in the conference and I promise you will have a bit of fun and your leadership will benefit from attendingt. 

 

Comment

Comment

What's brewing-eh . . . er . . . roasting-for this summer/fall?

Photo Credit: Mark Dayness (Unsplash)

Photo Credit: Mark Dayness (Unsplash)

My daughter, now 18 and readying herself to go off to college, announced to me the other day that she expected me to roast coffee for her to take to college. Fine. It's something I do and I am happy to do that for her. But, I haven't been roasting coffee for a while due to a number of complicating factors that have created access demand on my time. So, It means I need to find all my coffee-roasting equipment, order fresh beans from Sweet Maria's (a great source if you are interested in roasting your own coffee), and schedule times to get it done.

It reminds me of all the other things we have in the works right now at HSC. Here's a list.

June 4th: I will be doing an on-ling training on Private Practice through Contracting. It is "sanctioned" by the Kentucky board for Marriage and Family Therapy and includes CEUs (including 1 hour of Ethics). If you are interested, here's the brochure.

Summer: The Prairie Family Business Association (PFBA) will be highlighting HSC in it's publication. The article will feature HSC's history as a family business, include our observations on the annual conference, and announce . . .

September 7th: The first Nebraska Member and Prospective Member Social for the Prairie Family Business Association in Nebraska. Hosted by Midland's Scientific, a family business in Omaha, PFBA will be presenting to current members and prospective members about the association and the resources it provides for family firms and family business advisors.

September 30th: HSC is hosting a Christian Business Leader Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is a a smallish, invitation only event. If interested or for more details, email Bryan at drbryanmiller@gmail.com.

Well, that's it for now. Oh yeah, I better remember to order those coffee beans.

Comment

You can't teach an old dog new tricks . . . meh!

Comment

You can't teach an old dog new tricks . . . meh!

"I think I've figured it out . . . "

"I think I've figured it out . . . "

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks." It's one of those sayings I've heard all my life and one I refuse to accept.  Okay, grudgingly I will admit (only from observation of others of course!) that there may be some advantages to learning when you are a youth . . . but learning is not all about increasing your "fund of knowledge" (besides, who needs to know anything with Google around?) or developing a new skill set (I've learned a lot about wiring but I don't want to, nor will I ever have need of, becoming an electrician).

So, if "old dogs" don't need the knowledge or skills of new learning (except of course when they need to use the smart phone) then why pursue it at all? Well, it is my contention that those of us approaching the second half of our lives should pursue learning simply because . . . it changes you and how you will observe data all around you.

Those who study such things will tell you that knowledge and skill retention is directly related to the length of time and saturation one has with a certain knowledge area or skill.  Thus something you learned and practiced since youth (let's say for five decades) is not likely to be lost easily while a relatively "new" skill or knowledge with limited exposure can lead to quick reversal in the learning and potential utter loss.  Okay, but even this view, I think, still focuses on learning as acquiring a fund of knowledge or skill building.

I believe one of the greatest reasons to continue to challenge yourself with new learning then is that it changes what you will observe.  It may not measure on a test of content or turn into a new expertise but it will change you.

Have you ever had an experience like this? Several years ago my daughter decided she wanted to have a horse. At the time I thought horses in my part of the country were a rarity . . . a relic of the past or the domain of a few breeders, maybe a few rogue left-over "cowboys" and some wealthy owners with show horses.  Then we got horses and began to trailer them to various events.  Suddenly, it seemed, I was seeing horses everywhere! I could not believe how many horses (and trailers) I drove past daily that I had never noticed before.  (The same thing happened when I started keeping bees.)

Thus one of the things I have learned in recent years is to read music (at the advanced old age of 48).  I also continue to take guitar lessons to this day. Why? Because it changes what I observe and it changes me.  Flamingo-style and classical guitar music was something I could appreciate as a skill but did not enjoy as it sounded all the same to my ear.  Now, after working hard to become a trained classical guitar player it is something richer and more enjoyable than I ever dreamed it could be.

So faithful reader, whether you are a young pup or an old dog, go out and learn . . . to change!

Available eBooks:

Private Practice through Contracting: Decreasing dependence on insurance.

Engaging Your Team: A framework for managing difficult people.

Family Legacy: Protecting family in family business.

Comment