Jon Gordon delivers his keynote speech during the Opening Breakfast at PHCCCONNECT 2021.

The Power of Positive Leadership

Oct. 21, 2021
Jon Gordon delivers a powerful, positive keynote at PHCCCONNECT 2021.

KANSAS CITY, MO — On Oct. 21st, Jon Gordon delivered the keynote speech for PHCCCONNECT 2021 during the opening breakfast (sponsored by Bradford White).

Gordon is an author, speaker and development coach who's clients include The Los Angeles Dodgers, Campbell’s Soup, Dell, Publix, Southwest Airlines, Miami Heat, The Los Angeles Rams, Snapchat, Truist Bank, Clemson Football, Northwestern Mutual, West Point Academy and more. He has written 24 books, including 12 best sellers and 5 children’s books, including The Energy Bus (which has sold over two million copies), The Carpenter, Training Camp, The Power of Positive Leadership, The Power of a Positive Team, The Coffee Bean, Stay Positive, and The Garden.

Gordon opened his address, "Positive Leaders Drive Positive Results," by talking about his connection to the service trades, his wife, who comes from a long line of plumbers. He described himself as not a naturally positive person. He comes from a Jewish-Italian family, and his formative years combined, "a lot of food and a lot of guilt."

"I needed to change," Gordon said, "so I made the decision to be a more positive person. Taking a positive approach doesn't just make life better for you, it makes life better for everyone around you."

Gordon believes that positivity is the key to great leadership, and leadership in a business is all about building a strong, positive company culture. He advised everyone in attendance that day to meet with their team and talk about the kind of culture they want at their company; what kind of values, goals and principles they want their company—and themselves—to be known for.

Get the buy-in of your employees, Gordon said, and then reinforce it constantly. "It can't just be words on a piece of paper," he said. "Remember Enron? Their motto was 'Integrity.'" You need to live your culture every day.

Gordon encouraged attendees to lead with vision and with purpose, to give people a sense of where they are going and why. To help people focus their passion and their purpose, he suggested having people choose a word for the year. They can share them as part of a team-building exercise. You can even choose a word for the company, and then try to live up to the best potential of that word. Some suggestions he gave included: Endurance, Serve, Finish (strong).

"Your word will shape you and mold you in amazing ways,' Gordon said.

Gordon described leadership as a transfer of belief, taking your belief in other people and using it to help people believe in themselves. He firmly feels that belief pays dividends. "Optimism," he said, "is a competitive advantage."

Gordon stressed that he didn't want people to become Pollyannas, blinding themselves to problems. When challenges come in we confront them, address them—but then we have to move forward. And moving forward involved asking three questions: What's good? What's bad? And how do we make it good?

Justified complaints are important; they can be a catalyst for growth. Whining and complaining on the other hand have no purpose to them. Simple negativity only saps the energy and drive from people.

Relationships, Gordon said, are the real driver of success, and building worthwhile relationships is all about communication. It is communication that creates trust. Trust in turn allow for teamwork, and teamwork is the engine of success.

Relationships come from connection. Without connection there can be no commitment. Every leader should take five minutes out of their day, every day, to really try to connect with someone on their team. To ask them, "What's good? What's bad? How do we make it good?"

If Communication and Commitment are the two Cs, the third C is Caring. A leader that cares builds a team that cares. From caring—from love for the thing being done—comes excellence. "The difference between a carpenter and a craftsman," Gordon said, "is the caring."

About the Author

Steve Spaulding | Editor-inChief - CONTRACTOR

Steve Spaulding is Editor-in-Chief for CONTRACTOR Magazine. He has been with the magazine since 1996, and has contributed to Radiant Living, NATE Magazine, and other Endeavor Media properties.

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