Is your organization’s 2020 vision in focus?

I used to pride myself on my ability to multitask, and I was surprised when I started reading articles about the “myth of multitasking.” You can Google that phrase and find many articles that discuss the negative consequences of multitasking on productivity. One particular article can be found here.

As I have learned about the advantages of clear focus, my personal productivity has significantly approved. I try to start each day with key priorities in mind, and this approach allows me to spend my limited amount of time on what is most important.

Many organizations are guilty of multitasking. We take on numerous goals, initiatives and tasks and struggle to focus on what is most important. It is too easy for us to get caught up in our day to day responsibilities and ignore more strategic items. A survival mindset prevents us from looking at the big picture and setting a vision for where we are going.

In The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling, the authors urged leaders and organizations to set a clear goal and provided a framework for executing it. They wrote:

“MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller says, ‘Trying to concentrate on two tasks causes an overload of the brain’s processing capacity…Particularly when people try to perform similar tasks at the same time, such as writing an email and talking on the phone, they compete to use the same part of the brain. Trying to carry too much, the brain simply slows down.’ If this is true of simple tasks like processing emails and phone calls, think of the impact of losing focus on the goals that could transform your business.” (2012, pp. 25-26)

We are now well into the 4th quarter of the year. Does your business or organization have a clear vision for 2020? Have you spent time focusing on what is going well and what needs to change? As a business owner, I find myself now wrapping up this year and carefully planning for next year. I imagine you are thinking about what 2020 will bring for your business or organization. We often neglect to carve out time to discuss some of the most important business discussions. These questions might include but are not limited to:

  • What successes have we experienced?
  • What lessons have we learned?
  • What opportunities exist for growth, better services, and new products?
  • What is one area that we could focus on to improve our business or organization significantly?
  • Where are we going as an organization?
  • Where should we be going as an organization?

Setting aside time to bring together employees and/or other stakeholders to discuss these questions is a valuable investment to set clear priorities, develop buy in, improve as an organization, create accountability, and learn from others.

These discussions often take place in the context of an extended strategy meeting or retreat. Utilizing an external facilitator can ensure all employees and/or stakeholders are able to fully participate in the discussion and not be worried about running the meeting process. After the meeting, we can provide a report with key priorities to consider. T.A. Dickel Group, LLC is trained and experienced in facilitating these types of important discussions and are now scheduling facilitated team retreats and meetings for the end of the year and early 2020.

Please contact us to schedule an initial discovery conversation and learn more about how a facilitator can help your organization plan for success in 2020. We offer customized retreats and meeting facilitation in various time formats and locations. In addition, we can include team building activities to enhance the cohesiveness and effectiveness of your team.

If you are looking for a way to establish a collective vision and focus for 2020, please contact us. We wish you a happy and successful 2020.

Tad Dickel, Ph.D.

Dr. Tad Dickel is the President of T.A. Dickel Group, LLC and is based in Evansville, Indiana. His services enhance organizational leadership, creativity, and strategy in the surrounding region.

Creative Problem Solving for Congregations

Dr. Tad Dickel will provide a “Creative Problem Solving for Congregations” workshop through the Center for Congregations on October 23 in Evansville, Indiana. The workshop will help attendees improve how they creatively approach complex problems encountered by their congregations.

All attendees will take the Basadur Profile in advance of the workshop to better understand their preferred creative problem styles. During the workshop, attendees will learn how their styles influence their creativity and problem solving as individuals and in teams. Other topics include effective meetings, productive conversations, and team building.

The workshop will introduce ways to enhance creative thinking and apply these skills to real problems experienced by congregations. Learn more at the following link:

To discuss this type of offering for your company or organization, please contact us. We offer a variety of options to help organizations enhance how they think creatively and work collaboratively to solve complex problems.

Building Effective Teams Across Generations

Tad Dickel recently presented at the AAF-CRC (American Advertising Federation Central Region Conference on the topic “Building Effective Teams Across Generations.”

Here are some highlights from the presentation:

There are currently five generations in the workplace:

Millennials are now the largest generation in the workplace:

In the book Sticking Points, Haydn Shaw (2013) identified twelve common challenges for different generations to navigate:

  1. “Communication: What is the best way to interact with my coworkers?
  2. Decision Making: How do we decide what to do?
  3. Dress Code: How casually can I dress?
  4. Feedback: How often and in what ways do I want input?
  5. Fun at Work: How much fun at work is allowed?
  6. Knowledge Transfer: How do we pass on critical knowledge to new employees?
  7. Loyalty: When is it okay to move on?
  8. Meetings: What should happen in our meetings?
  9. Policies: Are policies rules or guidelines?
  10. Respect: How do I get others to respect me?
  11. Training: How do I learn best?
  12. Work Ethic: How many hours are required, and when must I work them?” (p. 30)

Shaw (2013) also developed a five step strategy for working through these “sticking points”:

  1. “Acknowledge: Talk about generational differences.
  2. Appreciate: Focus on the “why,” not the “what,” and the common needs.
  3. Flex: Agree on how to accommodate different approaches.
  4. Leverage: Maximize the strengths of each generation.
  5. Resolve: Determine which option will yield the best results (when flexing isn’t enough.” (p. 31)

When we talk about generational differences, this is often done in a negative manner. We need to:

  1. Show respect
  2. Appreciate differences
  3. Be careful about stereotypes
  4. We are more similar than different

We provide training on building effective teams across generations and also help facilitate these important conversations related to these differences.

Does your organization have a leadership development strategy?

The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner is considered a classic leadership book by many. Through years of research, the authors have identified “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership”:

  1. “Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart”

Leaders who put these practices into action more often than other leaders:

  1. “Create higher-performing teams
  2. Generate increased sales and customer satisfaction levels
  3. Foster renewed loyalty and greater organizational commitment
  4. Enhance motivation and the willingness to work hard
  5. Facilitate high patient-satisfaction scores and more effectively meet family member needs
  6. Promote high degrees of student and teacher involvement in schools
  7. Enlarge the membership size of their religious congregations
  8. Reduce absenteeism, turnover, and dropout rates
  9. Positively influence recruitment yields” (from The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner)

The Center for Creative Leadership (2015) has identified a leadership “skills gap” based on the most important leadership skills that are most in need as identified by current leaders:

  1. “Inspiring commitment
  2. Leading employees
  3. Strategic planning
  4. Change management
  5. Employee development
  6. Self-awareness”

High quality leadership makes a positive difference, but many organizations have not developed strategies to develop leaders. Although leadership is important, many people move into managerial and leadership positions and must “sink or swim.” This can be expensive and detrimental for organizations.

Do you see these as the key leadership gaps in your organization? What strategies have you developed or need to develop to address these “gaps”? How can we help you develop a leadership development strategy?

What can leadership coaching do for individuals and organizations?

I was a music major in college and spent countless hours practicing in high school and college. Somewhere along the way, I was introduced to Timothy Galwey’s book The Inner Game of Music, and this book influenced the way I began to approach performing and teaching music. Galwey created the “Inner Game Equation”:

“Performance = potential – interference”

Many musicians struggle with interference caused by their minds, and the most successful musicians are able to effectively minimize this interference. While there is a physical component to music making, I realized my mind played a role on my ability to improve as a performer, and the same held true for the students I taught. An effective music teacher can help musicians build on their potential and also reduce the amount of interference. I was able to enhance my students’ musical abilities by encouraging them to reflect on their performance rather than telling them exactly what needed to be done.

As I progressed through leadership roles and earned a Ph.D. in leadership, I observed many organizations struggle to develop leaders. I began to learn about leadership coaching and realized there is a connection between the Inner Game guru Timothy Galwey and leadership coaching. Galwey partnered with Sir John Whitmore who is a founder of modern coaching. His book Coaching for Performance is considered an essential read by many coaching experts.

Sir John Whitmore wrote, “Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them” (Coaching for Performance 5th edition).

Many organizational cultures are built around someone in authority directing others what to do. By adopting a coaching approach, leaders help those around them to be more reflective and aware. Leaders can help build the capacities of individuals to be more engaged, responsive, and responsible for their work. This change in mindset can develop organizations that are more effective, efficient, adaptable, and innovative.

We can help enhance organizational leadership by providing assessments, developing customized development plans, and coaching leaders.

Does your organization focus on instructing people what to do or teaching people how to learn? How can we help you build a coaching mindset among your team?