The Winning Combination: Warmth and Strength

A few months ago I had not been feeling well for a few days. My wife suggested that we go to an urgent care center so I could get checked out. When we arrived I was very impressed with the appearance of the clinic. It was clean, uncluttered and modern looking.

I was impressed with the staff as well. To a person, their appearance was very professional. Everyone introduced themselves and explained their role. When the nurse practitioner came in, she appeared to genuinely care about me and my condition.

When I explained to her how I had been feeling, she ordered a chest x-ray. She was puzzled by the results and suggested that I go to the emergency room. She gave me a copy of the x-ray on CD, wished me well, and sent me on my way.

When I arrived at the hospital emergency room I was checked in by a receptionist who couldn't seem to care less about my condition. A few minutes later I was called in to see the triage nurse. She asked me questions in such an impersonal way, I felt like a car getting an oil change. "Mileage?" "Make and model?"

I was then taken to a room within the emergency department. The room was small, cluttered and had old, hand-taped signs all over the walls. After a while, the doctor came in. She was very disheveled and abrupt. After a few initial questions, she asked to see the CD with the x-ray results.

Once she took a look, she quickly concluded that I had pneumonia. She prescribed medication and I was on my way. The medication was very effective and I was feeling well within 48 hours.

I frequently refer to the concepts of warmth and strength. By warmth, I mean good relational skills. Projecting a warm, welcoming and caring demeanor. By strength, I mean competency and expertise. 

In my experience above, the urgent care center projected warmth but, in this particular instance, lacked in strength (competency.) The emergency department was just the opposite, the staff lacked warmth but displayed strength (expertise.)

Although the concept of warmth and strength applies to organizations, it can apply to individuals as well. I am convinced that if you project both warmth and strength, you will absolutely stand out in the marketplace.

Never stop improving your job skills. Keep learning. Stay up to date in your field. Be sure you are extremely competent.

But the same holds true for your relational skills. Constantly seek to improve and hone your relational skills. They are just as important in the marketplace as competency.

Warmth and strength. Tough and tender. Courageous and considerate. 

That is total performance. That is the winning combination.