Listening: One of the Most Powerful Leadership Skills

One of the most powerful leadership skills is listening. It’s also one of the most underutilized.


To listen is different than to hear. To listen implies that you not only hear, but that you seek to understand. You allow the words to sink in and you truly grasp what the other person is trying to express.

Our Dangerous Misunderstanding of Minimum Viable Product

In a recent post on TechCruch, Bill Aulet writes that the tech community has come to have a “dangerous obsession with the MVP [minimum viable product].”

While I agree with him that over-pursuing minimum viable products can be the fastest way for a company to “go broke saving money,” I also believe we are at a point in time where something more damaging than an obsession with MVPs is the case.

There now seems to be dangerous and widespread misunderstandings of what a minimum viable product really is, some of which are perpetuated in the post. It’s essential that our industry come to a proper understanding of what an MVP is and is not in order to put it in its rightful place.

Electronic Circuit Board

What’s on My Phone: Favorite Song

In the ”What’s on My Phone“ series, I share tidbits regarding the apps, music, and other treasures that are on my phone.  Together, these items keep me productive, motivated, and on top of my game.

Toby Mac’s “Favorite Song” (and, in reality, any other song featuring Jamie Grace) is one of my eight-year-old daughter Catherine’s favorites.  She’s a God Girl and loves to sing joyful songs that express her love for God and life.

When I’m in the car with her, I love nothing more than to turn this song up and watch her sing.  Her eyes light up, she sings out loud, and her smile lights up the car and my life.

Video link

How I Got “All the Way” Away on Vacation

I just got back from the longest trip away I have ever taken. I was in Europe for ten days with my wife. The first two days were spent visiting our 3Pillar office in Romania. The balance of the time was spent on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi with a nonprofit organization that I support.

How was it that I was able to get this time away? How was it that I was able to break away and get away to refresh myself?

Night view at St. Peter's cathedral in Rome, Italy

Not only was I away physically, I was away mentally. I was able to check out and immerse myself in the time with my wife and my pilgrimage and with an organization that’s close to my heart.

Here’s how I managed to get “all the way” away on vacation…and how I think you can, too.

There are some common traits that these highest-rated CEOs share,” says Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor’s community expert. “For instance, we see that employees say these CEOs communicate clearly on where the company is headed, how it’s going to get there, and how each employee plays a vital role on this path, along with being accessible, personable, and transparent to employees. These CEOs also know how to motivate their employees and rally the troops to get the job done.

Jacquelyn Smith
Business Insider

Four Tips for How to Communicate Effectively in the Workplace

Communication is hard, especially when you’re communicating to an organization. How do you communicate effectively in your workplace? Here are four tips I’ve found that I use as principles for my communication at 3Pillar.


Communication within 3Pillar is especially challenging for me. Not only is it a large organization of over 600 employees, but there are multiple cultures, many types of people, and various demographics. It is probably greatly more diverse than most organizations. We have offices in five different cities in the U.S. and four different countries throughout the world, all with varying backgrounds.

For example, we serve India and Asia, Romania in Eastern Europe, the U.K. in Western Europe, and then five cities in the U.S.

Those cultural differences alone make it difficult to communicate effectively.

I’ve found over the years the principle that you have to communicate seven times in seven different ways is very true, yet I’ve also found that some simple guidelines can really help to optimize communication.

Can You Live the Integrated Life Well?

There are two types of employees: those who thrive within a positive work culture that promotes work-life integration and those who will die within that culture. Which type are you? Can you live the integrated life well?

tropical business woman with blank paper

Living an integrated life requires freedom, and freedom requires responsibility. And, of course, the ability to live the integrated life fully requires an employer who supports the integrated life.

What’s on My Phone: Chicken Fried

In the ”What’s on My Phone“ series, I share tidbits regarding the apps, music, and other treasures that are on my phone.  Together, these items keep me productive, motivated, and on top of my game.

The Zac Brown Band’s song “Chicken Fried” is one of my kids’ (and okay, my) favorites.  When we want to let our hair down and have fun in the car, Dad will crank up the tunes and we’ll rock out to “A little bit of Chicken Fried.” It’s fun country music, southern rock style, that the kids love.

Video link

Question: Got a favorite you want to share? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Yelling Isn’t Discipline

It never ceases to amaze me how many parents think that discipline is the equivalent of yelling when there are all sorts of other, better ways to discipline your children.

I find that while raising your voice sometimes has its place, it’s amazing how much more effective it is to use a calm and collected stern teaching.

Giving dad a helping hand

Managing Family Activities (Without Letting Them Manage You)

One of the hardest decisions to make as a family — as a parent in particular — is how you’re going to manage family activities, especially in the case where the husband has a demanding career and is pursuing professional success. It can become especially difficult for the wife and mother to be able to manage all those activities if things get out of hand.

Young football players

It’s so easy to go to the extremes. I know many families who limit activities to zero or one per child. This might be great for their family, but I haven’t found it to be successful for my life or the best for my children.

I want to allow my children to pursue their dreams. It’s at this point in their lives that they get to explore what they’re truly good at and what gifts and talents they’ve been given. Limiting them to one activity doesn’t allow them to do that or to explore and experience the world.

At the same time, I know plenty of families who go to the opposite extreme. They want to allow their children to do everything. The child’s schedule dominates the family calendar. In fact, I would go so far as to say the family revolves around the children’s activities, maybe soccer or dance, whatever that activity is.