Bearing Gifts by Jim Johnson

Many years ago, I had the privilege of traveling with a musical group, The Continental Singers.  For 10 years, I traveled throughout the United States as well as Europe, Great Britain, southeast Asia, and Korea.  I clearly remember many instances where our group was the guest of a large school or in the presence of a community’s leadership group.  Gifts were always exchanged.

This all came back to me this morning as I was getting ready for work.  One of my leaders invited me to a luncheon with her and our city’s mayor and his wife.  I count this an honor, and I look forward to our time together.


Yes, we will be bearing gifts.  One of our colleagues at work wrote a book about the rich history of baseball in our city.  This is one of our gifts.  The other is the new book from John C. Maxwell entitled No Limits.

I share this to encourage you to adopt this practice.  My fellow leader and I are honored to be able to have lunch with our mayor.  This is a gift to us.  It shows honor to Mr. Henry and his wife to give gifts in return.

fort wayne

Our beautiful city – Fort Wayne, Indiana

Employers Find ‘Soft Skills’ Like Critical Thinking in Short Supply by Kate Davidson

The job market’s most sought-after skills can be tough to spot on a résumé.

Companies across the U.S. say it is becoming increasingly difficult to find applicants who can communicate clearly, take initiative, problem-solve and get along with co-workers.

Those traits, often called soft skills, can make the difference between a standout employee and one who just gets by.

While such skills have always appealed to employers, decades-long shifts in the economy have made them especially crucial now. Companies have automated or outsourced many routine tasks, and the jobs that remain often require workers to take on broader responsibilities that demand critical thinking, empathy or other abilities that computers can’t easily simulate.

As the labor market tightens, competition has heated up for workers with the right mix of soft skills, which vary by industry and across the pay spectrum—from making small talk with a customer at the checkout counter, to coordinating a project across several departments on a tight deadline.

In pursuit of the ideal employee, companies are investing more time and capital in teasing out job applicants’ personality quirks, sometimes hiring consultants to develop tests or other screening methods, and beefing up training programs to develop a pipeline of candidates.

“We’ve never spent more money in the history of our firm than we are now on recruiting,” said Keith Albritton, chief executive of Allen Investments, an 84-year-old wealth-management company in Lakeland, Fla.

In 2014, the firm hired an industrial psychologist who helped it identify the traits of its top-performing employees, and then developed a test for job candidates to determine how closely they fit the bill.

In the increasingly complex financial-services world, advisers often collaborate with accountants, attorneys and other planning professionals, Mr. Albritton said. That means the firm’s associates must be able to work in teams. “You can’t just be the general of your own army,” he said.

A recent LinkedIn survey of 291 hiring managers found 58% say the lack of soft skills among job candidates is limiting their company’s productivity.

Read the rest here:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/employers-find-soft-skills-like-critical-thinking-in-short-supply-1472549400