Drew T jackson

Coaching, Speaking & Training

Importance of Communication Skills in Business

I have been working on a new training titled, The 360 Communicator.  The goal is to help you communicate with anyone, anywhere, every time. I know that is a bold statement, but I believe it is possible with the proper training and sufficient effort. It takes effort to communicate with all of the various types of people that we all run into on a regular basis. 

I do not have at my command the time to go into all of the details of how you can become a 360 Communicator, but I do want to give you the three filters with which you need to be aware of if you desire to communicate effectively. 

You can watch me explain these 3 communication filters in this 10 minute video or you can continue reading below.

These filters are “title” filters.  What I mean by title is that we all basically relate to three different types of titles. Those titles are leaders, team members, and peers.  Everyone you come in contact with is going to be someone that leads you, someone you lead or someone you neither lead or follow and they would be a peer.  If you are unclear on if you lead someone or if they are a peer, I would default to the assumption that they are a peer and interact with them that way first.  Now, I talk about behavior styles in my trainings and in future writings or trainings I will share those with you, but for today this is more than enough to up level your communication.  

One last thought, title is a weird word, because you could be leading people that have the same title as you, but you have influence in their life for one reason or another.  Don’t think of the word title as a strict organizational chart, but understand that everyone you communicate with falls into one of these three boxes.  

What do I mean by filter?

What I am saying is that all of your communication should be run through the purifying word concept associated with it.  Let me say it this way.  If you have a home water purifier you basically start with water and you end up with water, right?  Yes and no. Yes, it was water when it went in and it is water when it comes out, but some things have been removed.  Nothing major, we are not cleaning raw sewage here, we are taking drinkable water and removing that which is undesirable.  The same is true with the filter words I share with you below.  You cannot take ugly, unkind words(sewage) and “filter” them through the word I give you and say that you did what I instructed.  The communication that you begin with must be thoughtful and intelligent and basically okay and the filters that I give you will increase your likelihood that the words you say are received properly.  

So what are the three filters?

Leader Filter: HONOR

The leader filter is a filter of honor.  Every leader, in every era, of every gender wants to be honored by the people they lead. Now, some people get really weird with this and demand crazy tests of honor and those people are insecure leaders, but that is another lesson.  That being said, if you want to communicate for greater influence and impact then honor is going to really help you.  Great leaders want to be spoken to with honor as well.  What do I mean by honor?  I mean give them credit for being the leader.  That can flesh it’s self out in a lot of different ways, but simply put, give them some credit.  

Team Member Filter: VALUE

Every single one of us wants to feel like what we do matters.  We want to believe that our thoughts and opinions have value and are worth being heard.  We want to believe that our little piece plays into the overarching goal.  We want to feel valued.  This is never truer than in the leader/follower or leader/team member relationship.  I like using the term team member if we work together because ultimately, we are working together to accomplish a vision or a goal.  Using the term team member reinforces the value of those on your team. If you fail to express to your team members that you value their contributions, then they will go looking for it elsewhere…which means you will constantly be replacing good people that just want to be appreciated from time to time.  

Peer Filter: RESPECT

Do you have any self-respect?  Hello, if they are your peer then by definition, they are your equal.  You may think they suck and you are great, but at the end of the day, they are your peer.  You can be mad about it and think that you can treat them disrespectfully, but that behavior says a lot more about you then it does them.  Your peers do not need you to honor them, that would feel really weird.  They want to be looked at eye to eye.  Recognize that for one reason or another they are in the same boat as you and they know it and you know it.  If you respect yourself than respect them…if you don’t respect yourself than you probably are not taking the time to read this article.  

In closing I have three questions for you.

  1. How can you filter your communication through honor with those who lead you?

  2. How can you filter your communication through value with those whom you lead?

  3. How can you filter your communication through respect with your peers?

For Research on why communication skills are important go here: The Importance of Communication Skills Demonstrated Through 10 Studies 

Leadership Simplified

The best definitions I have heard of leadership are always the most concise.


Leadership is influence. - John Maxwell


Leadership is knowing where you want to go and getting others to go with you. - Coach


I will attempt to simplify a thought I initially read about in The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill.  Hill quoted Major C. A. Bach, a military instructor that boiled the leaders activities into three categories the leader must know about. 


A leader must know themselves, know their business and know their people.  


That’s pretty simple, right?  It is tremendously rich as well.  If you thought through these three areas you could begin the business of leading in a few hours, even if you had no previous experience with leading you could write what you know about yourself, define what “business” you are in and begin to find the people who are around you and better understand them.  


At the same time, you could dig into these three simple items for the rest of your life.  Let me give you some questions that you can dig into today that will further your development as a leader. 


Below you will find three questions under each category a leader must know: 

1. Know Yourself

• Do you know your strengths and do you stick to them?

• Do you know your challenges and work to minimize them?

• Do you know where you are going and make decisions in light of this? For FREE help with this go HERE.

 

2. Know Your Business

• Do you know your plan?

• Do you know about your competition?

• Do you know your numbers?

 

3. Know Your Team

• Do you know them individually & connect with them personally?

• Do you know their strengths & help them stick to them?

• Do you know their challenges and help them minimize them?

Simple, yet profound.  If you begin engaging in these three simple areas your ability to lead successfully will increase exponentially. 

You’ve got to have a want to

I was 20 years old and knew everything. Crazy Dave was 50 years old and knew nothing.  We were on a job site in a local elementary school in the summer of 2003.  I had been a plumber’s apprentice for a year and I already knew everything there was to know about plumbing.  On this day, Crazy Dave, who received his nickname for being a little on the passionate side, asked me to look for a certain fitting in our job box.  A fitting, in this case, was a small piece of copper tubing that we needed to run a water line.  He was unsure if we had the fitting, but he wanted me to look anyway.  

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Dave could probably see that I was not very enthusiastic about looking through a large metal box filled with heavy tools, tool bags, hardware and all kinds of other junk for a 15-cent piece of metal that we could just go and get from the store really quick.  I walked down the long silent hallway of the elementary school to the room where we were keeping all our supplies.  I opened the box and nonchalantly pushed aside a few nuts and bolts. I then pushed aside a few of the heavy boxes and bags and peaked around them to see if I could see a glimmer of copper in the bottom of the box, and I couldn’t see anything.  I wasn’t planning on seeing anything and I fully intended on reporting to Dave that he should call our boss and tell him to bring us the part we needed from the store.  I shut the box and made my way back to Dave.  I reported to him that we did not have the part and we would need to call it in. 

 

Crazy Dave looked at me and with fire in his eyes, he began to march his 5-foot-tall stocky frame down the long hallway.  He motioned to me with one wave of the arm, follow me!  I followed behind him like a toddler that was in trouble with his parents.  We got down to the room and I received a front row seat to why Crazy Dave received his nickname.  Dave threw open the lid of our large metal job box.  He reached in and began to throw 40 and 50-pound bags of tools and heavy duty power tools.  I felt like I was in a cartoon where the character is throwing everything out of the toy chest into the air behind them.  It seemed like he just kept pulling stuff out of the box.  Pushing aside nuts, bolts and screws as they went flying. I just stood back holding my breath, hoping that he wouldn’t find the small copper fitting that I had confidently declared was not in the box. 

 

Once all the throwing was done, Dave reached down into the box and pulled out the small piece of copper tubing that I was supposed to find.  He held it up to my face, just underneath my nose and he said to me seven words that I will never forget.  He said, “You’ve got to have a want to.” 

 

I will repeat those same words to you today. Whether you are trying to start a business, increase your skills set or transform a community you’ve got to have a want to.  Whether you are leading your family, leading a company or leading yourself you’ve got to have a want to.  You must have a desire that transcends what someone else suggested to you or assigned to you.  I implore you today to identify, define and write down your “want to” because what you are searching for may be right underneath your nose.

How do you build a life?

I have always been fascinated with construction.  I love seeing a dirt field or a hole in the ground transform into a beautiful building.  Something about it is inspiring and brings out a childlike awe on me.  I have driven past this building every day for the last eleven months.  When I began driving past it they had just dug a hole and were beginning to pour the concrete for the first story.  I remember all of the supports and the activity.  I remember the massive cranes and pumps to put the concrete where it needed to go.  I have observed this project and sometimes been frustrated by the traffic issues it has caused, but I have not been intentionally monitoring the progress.  As I went outside to walk today I heard the sound of screws being plunged into the exterior of this building.  One of the many construction workers is attaching the siding to this building.  As I continued to watch I noticed two other men rolling on the paint and it hit me.  How do you build a building?  The answer.  One screw at a time.  One brick at a time.  One piece of rebar and one bucket load of concrete at a time.  One pass of the paint roller at a time. 

    This may seem elementary to you but apply it now to your life.  How do you build a life?  One decision at a time.  One action at a time.  One day at a time.  One relationship at a time.  One thought at a time. 

    But you don’t want to build a life, you want to build your life.  The life you have been dreaming of.  The life you hope to have one day or someday, but what if you could begin to have that life today?  The amazing thing about this life is that you can.  You can begin to build the life that you desire today.  One thought at a time, one decision at a time and most importantly, one action at a time. 

     What will you do today to move one step closer to the life of your dreams?  What could you do?  What will you do?

Why is my business not growing?

Why is my business not growing? As you may know, every small business starts out resembling the owner of the business. What do you mean resembling? I mean that the business reflects the personality of the person that runs it. So in essence, the business looks and acts like you!  So, think about what you want to do, which is grow your business. What do you think that means for you as a person?  That’s right, it means that you should steadily grow, mature and learn new things to help you and your business become successful.  If you aren’t, then your business will become stagnant.  So, if your business isn’t growing, look to yourself to see where you aren’t growing.

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As you start the process of evolving yourself and starting that change, you will begin to see that potential inside of you start to realize its self, and in turn that will reflect in your business.

      Another thing that you will need to grow is a dynamic team.  You create this team by equipping them with the tools they need to succeed as individuals.  By doing this, they become extensions of you, and thus positively impacting your overall business..

   But what if you don’t have good quality employees? Well take McDonalds for example.  They find the lowest qualified employee to give a consistent result every time, which is delicious crunchy French fries.  You don’t have to be an expert to make fries, but because McDonalds has a system in place to equip the person making those fries, they come out the same each and every time.

   This is what you need to do.  Have a system in place equipping your team with the tools to make them successful.  You have to take this action on this, but a lot of people don’t and here are seven reasons why they don’t.

 1.  It’s hard- to start the process of equipping your team is hard work, because you’re training them to think a different way, or take on new challenges.  Because you are invested in the business, rather than delegate or train, a lot of business owners just handle it themselves, which takes time from growing themselves and the business, as well as taking a valuable learning opportunity from the employee.  This in concept makes it less of a business and more of a self-employment opportunity, and makes the entire business dependent on you, which is not the overall goal.

2.  We underestimate people.  Some business owners say, I just don’t have the money to hire quality people, and once my business grows, I can afford to pay the hire more quality people.  How do you expect to get there, if you don’t work with what you have.  As a leader, you have to understand the reality of your situation at the current time.  If you feel that you don’t have quality employees then you may be either a) underestimating them, or b) you don’t have a system set up for them to be successful, because they don’t have the information, and nowhere to look up the information.  Sadly, no employees come with the pre-packed information for your business, and to find someone that can fulfill your wish list, will cost you money, but that doesn’t mean that your current employee can’t fit that bill with some set systems in place.

3.  The I’ll do it myself mind set.  As I mentioned earlier in this post, the do it yourself mindset makes the entire business dependent on you, and doesn’t allow the team that you have in place to learn new tasks and responsibility.  So by delegating, and growing your teams  skill set, you free time to grow yourself, and the business.

4. We grow our ego strength from being needed. An example is when people call my office, and say, I need to talk to Drew.  Well, no you don’t because I have set my team up with the tools to be successful, and can answer any and all concerns that you may have.  I have given them that empowerment to be successful, and thus making my business successful.

5. The habit of doing everything ourselves.  We answer emails, and phone calls, and it goes back to that ego we just spoke about.  You must grow out of the infancy stage, and place a team that can handle all the day to day work, so that you can grow, and with that grow the business.  

6. You want to keep control.  You want to do everything yourself, you want to maintain that tight grip over everything.  You feel like you can’t hand this over, it’s too important. You can hand it over, you just must put some systems in place, so you know that its being done properly every time, and this is done by equipping your team. 

7. You don’t notice the leadership potential in your team. You get wrapped up in all the day to day, that you overlook the hidden talent that you already have on your team. So that results in not giving them a chance, or equipping them to show their true potential and how that can impact your business.

So I encourage you to grow yourself, and as you do, equip the people around you, and I guarantee that your business will grow if you start doing that one thing.

Focus

    Today I want to talk about the word focus, and how it’s my word of the year. It’s something I’m working on to improve in my life, and help me become a dream achiever.  People dream about becoming successful in their lives, but there’s a difference between being a dreamer and a dream achiever. That’s where focus comes into play, and how it can help you become that achiever.

   I’ve had family members that had been dreamers, but they died penniless because they didn’t achieve their dreams and goals in life.  They wanted to contribute to society via non-profits, or get that invention off the ground, but to be blunt, they didn’t have the focus to make it happen.  I vowed that I was gonna be a dream achiever, and I wanted to share with you how focus is getting me there.

    In order to achieve my dreams,  I realized that I was going to have to untie from some of the things in my life that weren’t contributing to my overall goals.  One of these things was a subscription to audio and digital books that weren’t adding value to my overall desire. I realized that they were taking my focus away from what I felt was important in my life. Now I love personal growth and leadership, and you would think that research would be the best route to go, and trust me there is no shortage of material, but my problem was my love of learning.  It was always, one more book, what’s next, so while I love to learn, it was taking time away from enacting what I was learning. So, while I was learning a lot, I wasn’t able to put that knowledge into action.

   So, to drive this point home for myself, I created an acronym that I encourage all my students to use that will help you focus so that you can move forward into achieving your dreams.

F:  Find out what’s most important to you.  What is going to help you achieve your goals? Consider areas in your life that aren’t contributing to your goals such as my audio books.  Once you have identified that areas that are causing distraction and lack of focus, it will be easy to cut out and concentrate on what you have identified as important, and worth the time to make you successful.

O: Only do what's most important. As I mentioned previously, cutting out the things that aren’t contributing positively to your dream, will allow you to do what will.

C: Consider what is holding you back from what's most important.

U: Untie yourself!  This can be challenging because there are people connected to the things that we should untie ourselves from.  It may be the PTA at school, a book club, or something else that affects other people. It doesn’t mean stop doing these things all together, but maybe pick one that you feel most attached to and dedicate yourself to that, and use the other time you gain to focus on your goal.  I want to encourage you to do it because it will only lead to success down the road.

S: Seriously commit yourself to the dream.  Until you take your dream seriously, you will never achieve it.  Go through the process, it maybe weekly, it may be daily, but take it seriously. If you ask yourself, what I am doing right now, and is it contributing to my overall goal.  If the answer is no, stop doing that, and move forward what will help you achieve your dream.

   We want to be dream achievers, not just dreamers, so I hope this helps, and I encourage to start finding your focus.

Do you desire to achieve your dream?

I want to start by telling you about a building that’s going up across the street.  Nothing special about it, just a non-descript building but it got me to thinking about my days as a plumber.  Back in those days we would go out into fields and bury pipes, and then hope that our pipes came up through the foundation at the expected spot. I want to focus in on that word, expected, or expectation because that is the focus of my talk today.  When you’re building something, you don’t hope that it comes together, you expect it to come together. You have a reasonable expectation that your planning, and work will come together to finish the project, not a hope that it will.  When starting a project such as a building, a project planning, will ensure that everything is where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, and built to the plans that they’ve made.  This ensures their expectations are met when they proceed to the next step of the build.

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Now how does expectation relate to dream Friday?  Well, this building across the street got me thinking about the difference between want and desire.  There’s a very subtle, but very real difference between these two mind sets, and it’s something that I have been thinking about often in my own journey.

The question I posed in the title of this post, “Do you want your dream or do you desire your dream?”, do you want to achieve your dreams, or do you desire to achieve your dreams? Do you see the subtle differences in those statements?

Think about the use of the word want. How often do we use it? We say we want a new car, or I ate a meal, but I was left wanting.  This indicates a state of lack.  We lack a new car, or we’re lacking food, because the meal wasn’t enough. It’s your inability to have that which it is that you want, and so when you simply use the word want, you’re expressing that you have lack of something.

But, if you look at desire, and the etymology of the word, you see demand and expectation. There’s that word again, expectation.  Question, do you have an expectation that you’re going to achieve your dream, or are you in a lack mindset?  Do you want your dream, or have you crossed into expecting your dream?  There is a difference. 

Let’s look at it in a different way.  Take my kids for example, my daughter wants her brother to throw her the ball.  She wants it, she is yelling, she has her arms out, and you can see and feel the frustration, because she is wanting something.  She is expressing her inability to get what she wants.

Now, let’s say that her brother is going to throw her the ball, and now she is expecting it. Her posture and form changes.  She has her hands out in a receiving position, and she is ready to catch the ball.  She has a desire to catch the ball, and she has an expectation to receive it. 

Now what does that have to do with your dream?  It has everything do with it, because if you are wanting, or expressing lack in your dreams, you won’t be able to tackle challenges when they arise to achieve your dream.  However, if you have an expectation of achievement, it will no longer be, if my dream comes true, it will be when my dream comes true.  It’s a subtle difference, but a difference all the same.  By switching from a lacking mentality to a desire mentality, it’ll make the difference in achieving your goals.  So, I’ll end with this, are you wanting, or are you desiring? Think it over, and see the difference it can make.

Stop dreaming!

Happy Friday, and as you know Fridays are dream days here at Drew T. Jackson Leadership. I had a very interesting and enlightening call with a colleague of mine named Mark.  I love talking to Mark, because I always learn something new and inspiring, and this call was no different.  He said to stop dreaming. What?! Stop dreaming?! Then it hit me...this is inspired thinking.  How do you stop dreaming, isn’t that the whole goal, to achieve your dream?

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It’s about realizing and pursuing your dream. We as people can become satisfied with simply dreaming for dreaming sake.  We become comfortable in thinking what could be, and get enjoyment and gratification in this. You can plan the details of achieving it, what it would look like almost to the point that you would be just as satisfied with the plan without taking any action to achieve it.  There’s Mark’s point. Stop dreaming. Take action. Move forward with your dream, so it’s no longer a dream but an achievable goal. 

I want to encourage you to take that first step.  It doesn’t have to be huge.  It can be a phone call; it can be putting something on paper. It can be anything you want, but take that first step.  Whatever you decide to do, consider this. Is this action going to take me closer to my dream, or further away? Is getting more education or partnering with a business going to get me closer to my goal.  Stay away from things that are going to be happy distractions, and focus on the things that are only going to get you closer to where you want to be. 

Stop dreaming and start taking action.

How to Make a Great Impression at Professional Networking Events

Hey folks! It’s that time again to head to another networking event, and I wanted to talk to you about some basic networking skills you can use to make an impact with the people that you’ll meet and hopefully work with in the future

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First, be the person that you want to connect with. I personally don’t want to talk to someone with bad breath so I make sure to have gum on me at all times. Next, make sure that your showered and shaved! Hygiene is so important, so men make sure that your beard is groomed, or your clean shaven, with a light aftershave. No one want to get knocked out by strong cologne. Ladies, same principal, light scents, natural makeup, and professional hairstyle. Be the kind of person that you want to connect with. Lastly, make sure your clothing is clean, freshly pressed, free of animal hair so you look like a million bucks.

I bring this up again, like I did in the last video, because I go to events all the time, and people show up messy, smelly, and appear just disorganized. While I’m polite and chat with them briefly, it’s not someone I will invite to be a part of my business. So, good hygiene is key!

Now every networking event has a different format. Sometimes you get to share publicly about yourself, and sometimes you just have to go person to person. Now the person to person format is kind of like speed dating where they give you two to five minutes to market yourself to the person before you have to move on. I wouldn’t encourage you to speak for the full five minutes, but take a good 2 minutes to share about yourself, and what makes you and your business unique.

Another format is to share things like, “what is your ideal leader?”, “What does ideal client or lead look like?” This is so the group can get an idea about you, and what you bring to the table.

The group I am visiting today is a leads group, and with this type of networking event, it’s about building trust, and sending leads towards other members of the group. So it takes some time and effort to build this kind of network. Once you have established yourself in this type of group, it will be reciprocated by the other members sending leads your way! Give, give, give, and it will come back around to you.