This past Saturday I had the honor to present at the 2016 Paying It Forward Conference in Spokane, Washington hosted by my good friend Dennis Mitchell. The lineup featured many great speakers who shared wisdom on how to not only improve the community, but also several ways to take more action and build a better life.

The third speaker of the afternoon was Spokane County Sherriff Ozzie Knezovich. As he approached the front of the room and began his presentation I was struck by how he immediately gained full attention by asking the audience a series of questions. This was not what I expected but it was extremely effective to set the stage for his talk.

He next went onto mention that few people in his chosen field of law enforcement rarely open themselves up for questions and the many reasons as to why. I found it not only instructive and unique, but to see him do the opposite of many of his peers for us was a great way to share his wisdom and insights on the topic of leadership.

Yes, leadership is a constant area of study and interest by organizations of all shapes and sizes. Here’s my two cents as to why: leaders are made, not born. It is a very learnable skill as success in all facets of life leaves clues. In addition, modeling those individuals and companies that lead the field saves time and provides real-world lessons we can all learn from and often times use to improve.

As he concluded his 30-minute talk with us he ended with what he dubbed as his Three Key Leadership Principles which all great leaders possess. Here they are:

#1: All leaders are effective problem solvers

#2: All leaders have standards that they believe in and uphold at all costs

#3: All leaders have a clear vision of where they are going and how to communicate it with others

So, again a quick shout out to Sherriff Ozzie for his time and wisdom, and also to event organizer Dennis Mitchell, the other presenters, and those who attended for this past Saturday to help Pay it Forward and better serve the Spokane community!

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