Effective Communication: Connecting with a Group

How do you increase your effectiveness in connecting with others in a group? This blog unpacks each of these questions and gives some practical tips and tools to become a more effective communicator. I’ll also give you a framework for living out Simmons Values as you are connecting with a group of people during the next meeting or presentation that you give.

Downshifting: How to Move From Tasks to Connection

“I want to connect with people, but I’ve spent the last 40 years building walls. I don’t even know where to start.” Maybe you feel the same way as one of our leaders, who had just articulated his vision for what he wanted to be able to say about his relationships in the end. He wanted to still be married to his wife, have a close relationship with his kids, and have meaningful relationships with his parents, siblings, and friends. But then reality hit. Where he wanted to end up and where he was headed were completely in the opposite directions. His question was, “Where do I even start to turn this ship around?” I don’t think he’s the only one asking this question.

Understanding the Control Freak

Most people would agree that a sense of control is necessary for good emotional and physical health. But when people use control to dominate everything around them they have crossed the boundary into over-control. The key is being smart enough to know when to use your control and when not to, or how much control to tolerate from others.  Your over-controlling creates stress in me and makes me feel that I have no control at all.


It’s interesting how some words are so closely connected to others. For instance, the title of this blog is “Premeditated” - what’s the next word that came to your mind? I would bet a slice of pie from The Wooden Spoon that it was “Murder” (Tip: Always bet pie. Win or lose: you get to eat pie). What might surprise you, is that I want to talk about forgiveness.

Value Results and Relationships

Success. We strive after it. We devote an enormous amount of our energy pursuing it. But can you define it? Most often, managers will define success as a healthy bottom-line. And they are not wrong, but there is a tension here, isn’t there. The tension is that you work for a company that has a value of Put People First. Many managers feel the tension to choose either results or relationships. I want to challenge you today that it is not an either/or, but rather effective leaders realize that success is predicated on my ability and willingness to value both results and relationships. So what does that look like and how does a manager make that shift in thinking?

Engage and Develop Others

We’re tackling the question, “What is the secret to becoming an effective leader?” Last week, we looked at the fact that effective leaders have a clear vision for what we are aiming for and they communicate it with clarity and regularity. This week, we will look at another secret to effective leadership: Engaging and Developing Others. We will discuss what it the opportunities that you have to invest in the lives of those you are leading, whether in the workplace, at home or in your community. We all influence those around us. That’s what leaders do. But are you adding value to their lives? Check out this week’s blog.

What You Think May Not Be So

What you think about a person may not always be true. And, what you have heard said about a person may not be true.

A few years ago I went to a hospital in Tulsa to be with a Simmons’ employee and family whose small child was having surgery. As we were sitting in the waiting room, one of the teenage boys noticed my boots. Having already been introduced as a company chaplain, he said, “I thought a preacher would be wearing dress shoes.” I responded by saying, “Well, these are dress boots.”