Are You Ready for Personal Growth in 2014?

This is a blog I wrote for the John Maxwell Team blog about a system I use to reflect on and evaluate experiences so I can learn from them.

Good leaders use TACT
Posted on December 28, 2013 by Bob English

Good Leaders Use TACT – How about you?

Tact is the ability to say the right thing. Leaders definitely need to develop this skill but I am talking about the acronym TACT. It stands for Think, Apply, Change and Transfer.

Good leaders are continual learners. One of the best ways to learn and to grow is to reflect on and evaluate your experiences. You may have heard that experience is the best teacher, but without reflection and evaluation of an experience, it is just an experience. The only way to truly learn and grow from an experience, a book, an article, a talk is to evaluate it by asking what it meant to us, what can we learn from it, what can we apply in our lives, what do we need to quit doing based on the experience.

How many times have we read a great book, heard a great talk or had a great experience and thought how much it would help us but never did anything with the information and experience?

When I joined the John Maxwell Team, we were taught to use the acronym ACT to reflect on teachings and experiences. First I annotate the book or my notes with an A for those things I want to apply in my life. I put a C next to those things I want to change in my life and a T next to those items that I want to transfer or teach to someone else to help them. When I review my notes, I can incorporate these items I have annotated on my calendar or action plan for the week or month. This is helping me to make better use of these learning and growth opportunities.

At a recent John Maxwell Team training event, I had the privilege to see the movie Lincoln with John teaching leadership lessons during the movie. He stopped the movie about 10 times and taught lessons from those scenes.

He stopped after one scene where Lincoln got some information then walked away to think about a big decision. John taught that great leaders take time to think. He told us that leaders have a bias to act but sometimes need to think. He commented that he ought to add another T to the acronym ACT. Adding Think makes sense to me; leaders Think before they ACT.

Since then I have added Think to my reflection and evaluation process. I try to identify those things I just need to think on for a while. John told us that what would separate us from others is not our actions but our thinking. So now, I try to take time to withdraw and just think. What about you? Do you take time to just think? Do you reflect on and evaluate experiences so you can learn and grow as a leader? Just remember to use a little TACT.

About the Author

Bob’s passion is to pour into others and help them find their purpose and passion.

His goal is to use to the fullest his experiences from a military career and skills learned from the JMT to coach, teach and speak to leaders who want to learn and grow.

Contact Bob at :


Be All You Can Be in 2014

This is traditionally the time when we make resolutions for the year ahead. We want to lose weight, get better organized, spend less, save more, spend more time with family, etc.

A New Year’s resolution is a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year. Statistics show that 46% of Americans usually make resolutions and only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution.

What if you entered the New Year with a little strategic planning rather than making resolutions? First, ask what is your life purpose, what are your dreams, what is your mission in life? You have to know where you are going before you start down the road to get there.

You may already have this figured out or you may need to do a little thinking about where you want to go. Then develop goals for the year, both personal and professional, to move you toward your destination. Next, assess what you need to do this year to reach those goals.

Remember, companies continue to improve their products, think iPhone. You are your own product and realizing and embracing this fact is the essence of personal development. To improve and grow, it is critical to invest in your own self-development.

Look at areas in your life where improvement will move you forward. Your leadership ability is the first area to examine. You need to continue learning and growing as a leader whether you are leading others or just leading yourself.

Communicating is another important area to continually develop. Learning how to better connect with others helps our relationships and our communication results. Remember, most things we do are done with other people. If you are intentional about growing in these two areas, you can bet you will move along toward your goals for the year.

Then determine other specific actions you need to take to reach your goals. All of these actions become your plan for the year. Make them measurable and give them a timeline. If you base your daily and weekly agendas on this plan you will move toward becoming all you can be as you live life to its fullest potential.

So, forget the New Year’s resolutions and lay out your personal development plan for the year. Good luck!