If you work for yourself, you are probably a high achiever who is independent, loves to work, and easily focuses on projects and goals. However, that’s not enough. Pivotal relationships for entrepreneurs are essential to their success.

Surround yourself with a variety of experts in which you can build the best fit for your business. With the right coach, partner, expert, or support person, you can significantly increase your ability to succeed.

Follow these 3 steps to analyze your pivotal relationships:

1. Write down the top 24 experts in your life – Who is my tech expert? My Mastermind expert? My legal expert? My spiritual expert?

2. Score the experts from 0-10 (0 = not a fit for you, 10 = best fit for you)

3. Score their genius ability from 0-10 (how much of an expert are they, or how much expert potential do they have?)

When you’re done, use your results to strengthen your team over time. You will soon be able to see not only how these pivotal relationships contribute to your life, but how you contribute to theirs as well.

To discuss or even form pivotal relationships in your life, you may want to explore being a member of one of our Masterminds. Explore our Strengths Champion Mastermind, Strengthspreneur Mastermind, or Leadership Mastermind on our shop page.

If you would like me to speak to your organization about diversity, strengths, or a whole host of topics, contact Brent.


Mental health is more than diagnosed disorders. It is a pivotal part of our general well-being.

As a Strengths Champion, I’ve noticed a correlation between a person’s CliftonStrengths profile and how they correlate with many aspects of mental health.

There is a continuum of mental health. One that is easy to recognize and break down into 4 parts:

1. Healthy

2. Reacting

3. Injured

4. Disorder


Our Strengths follow a similar path. When we achieve or approach strength mastery, we see healthier behaviors and likely are seeing better overall mental health. On the other end of the spectrum, when our strengths are in a raw state, we tend to demonstrate behaviors that mirror some common mental disorders. Regardless of where we are on the continuum, we can even ‘aim’ our Strengths at our mental health, using our best tools to have a positive influence on our minds and souls.

This was a fantastic conversation. Many different strengths and how they present themselves came to light and offered real insight into this correlation with mental health. I encourage you to watch the full video here.

If you would like me to speak to your organization about diversity, strengths, or a whole host of topics, contact Brent.

Effective Leadership Communication - 23 Tips-Conference table of great communicators telling their tales.
Communication is the number one key to healthy relationships and a healthy workplace. So, I’ve created my Effective Leadership Communication – 23 Tips infographic below.

I’ve highlighted 23 different areas of communication where you can evaluate your communication strengths and challenges.

Watch the video if you’d like more insight into how we handle barriers in communication. We even discuss how our CliftonStrengths themes play into what kind of communicator we are in sending the message and what kind of active listener we are in receiving messages.

Please comment with your observations, questions, insights on this blog post. Still have questions? Set up an Ask Brent Anything complimentary call HERE. 

Decorative: Diverse group of coworkers at a table together, smiling, inclusive

Diversity and Inclusion are important part of our workplaces and they’re a large part of many of the discussions we hear about on the news and in business circles today. There is a fantastic Inclusion and Diversity Model for Work Groups that I reference in my work. (View my Workplace Training Brochure.) And I think it’s also an important model for leaders, managers, even entrepreneurs who serve a diverse audience.

This model was researched and shared in the Journal of Management in 2011. The wonderful research by Lynn M. Shore, Amy E. Randel, Beth G. Chung, Michelle A. Dean, Karen Holcombe Ehrhart, and Gangaram Singh resulted in this very parsimonious model. (Which is a fancy way of saying it’s brilliant in its simplicity.)

It’s a two-by-two model that factors in two key values, Belongingness and Uniqueness.

As you can see, the result is four major quadrants of trust and inclusion.

1 Exclusion

As you would guess, exclusion has low values of both Uniqueness and Belongingness. What’s happening is that there is low value for an individual. You are saying, “You are different from me, and you are an outsider, instead of an insider. And it’s hard for me to respect and to include you.”

2 Assimilation

Assimilation, too, has a low value of Uniqueness. However, it has a high level of Belongingness. You are saying, “Oh, yes, I really respect your different values, your beliefs, your experiences. However, if you want to make it in this workplace, you need to conform to our values and our expectations.” This is just a more superficial kind of inclusion, and leaves many people feeling marginalized, they feel like people are valuing parts of them, but not all of them.

3 Differentiation

However, there are often those that are valued for their Uniqueness, but there is a low value of Belonginess associated with them. You are saying, “You are different, and I value your difference. But your difference comes with a sense of ‘other’ that keeps you from belonging.”

4 Inclusion

As our conversations would suggest, Inclusion is the goal. It is a space where the individual is valued for both their Uniqueness and Belonginess. You are asking them, “Lean in and have a voice and share your perspectives and your point of view and life. That has value to us all.” Inclusion is that high degree of valuing someone’s uniqueness, and then opening your heart, opening your mind, to also create psychological safety, where that person can belong in a group.

To  hear more about Diversity, Inclusion, and Strengths, watch the full video.

A big part of the workplace today is building the language of valuing and respecting our differences. But how much inclusion are we creating? How much belongingness are we creating?

Let’s all figure out how can we use our unique strengths to create more psychological safety in our teams, in our relationships, and in our workplace. Then, let’s begin to understand that there are various parts of this puzzle of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

And this inclusion piece has to do with belongingness and valuing uniqueness. And it’s important that we continue this discussion. So, if you have any questions and let’s continue this discussion about strengths, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

If you would like me to speak to your organization about diversity, strengths, or a whole host of topics, contact Brent.