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Effective Teams, Innovation, Leadership

How can leaders create psychological safety?

In The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, Daniel Coyle (2018) shares three skills of highly successful organizational cultures: 

(1) Build safety, 

(2) Share vulnerability, and 

(3) Establish purpose. 

This article is the first installment of a three part series about organizational culture and explores psychological safety. The importance of safety is often overlooked by leaders. According to Coyle (2018), teams that experience safety often describe themselves as a family. What words would your team use to describe itself?

Google has studied their teams and identified five characteristics of effective Google teams. The first characteristic is psychological safety:

“Psychological safety refers to an individual’s perception of the consequences of taking an interpersonal risk or a belief that a team is safe for risk taking in the face of being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive. In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.” (re:Work, n.d.)

maslow's hierarchy of needs five stage pyramid
Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html#gsc.tab=0

In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, he stated that physical needs must first be fulfilled before moving up to the next levels. Employers need to ensure their employees’ basic needs are met before safety, especially psychological safety can be met. To create psychological safety, leaders can ensure they create an environment that allows genuine listening and respect. Coyle (2018) suggests leaders can do the following to enhance psychological safety (The Culture Code includes additional ideas):

  1. “Overcommunicate Your Listening” – Leaders should physically show that they are listening through eye contact, physical and verbal cues that they understand, an alert listening posture, and avoiding interruptions.
  2. “Spotlight Your Fallibility Early On” – Leaders must admit that they do not know everything. They can find opportunities to invite input and admit their mistakes.
  3. “Embrace the Messenger” – Many leaders make the mistake of reacting negatively when they receive bad news. Employees should not be scared of sharing bad news. Sharing bad news is better than hiding it. 
  4. “Overdo Thank-Yous” – Showing gratitude is a great way to develop relationships and encourage cooperation among team members. 
  5. “Make Sure Everyone Has a Voice” – Giving employees a voice is difficult to accomplish but is certainly worth the effort.    

Leaders might consider asking their employees the following questions:

  1. How well does your supervisor listen to you?
  2. How well do your team members listen to you?
  3. How able are you to share opinions without fear of embarrassment, humiliation, or retribution?
  4. How well does the team manage conflict when there are differing opinions?

To learn more, I encourage you to read “What is psychological safety at work?” by the Center for Creative Leadership. 

Psychological safety will result in organizations with stronger employee engagement, employee retention, and a more innovative culture. How psychologically safe does your team feel? We regularly work with leaders and organizations to enhance leadership and culture. Some of our popular services include leadership coaching and meeting facilitation. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact us

References:

Coyle, D. (2018). The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups. Bantam Books.

re:Work. (n.d.). Guide: Understand team effectiveness. https://rework.withgoogle.com/print/guides/5721312655835136/ 

T.A. Dickel Group, LLC is located in Evansville, Indiana, and we focus on enhancing organizational leadership, strategy, and creativity in the surrounding region.

Dr. Tad Dickel is a leadership, strategy, and creativity consultant who works with businesses, nonprofits, colleges, schools, and churches. He received a Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute, a Certificate in Nonprofit Board Consulting from BoardSource, a Certificate in Fundraising Management from The Fund Raising School, a Certificate in Foundations of Design Thinking from IDEO U, and holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Indiana State University. Tad is a Certified Basadur Simplexity Thinking Facilitator and Trainer, Certified Basadur Profile Administrator, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner.

Effective Teams, Innovation, Leadership

The job skills needed in 2025

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report was released near the end of 2020. Unfortunately, I have not heard many employers talking about it. The report predicts that “50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, as adoption of technology increases” (Whiting, 2020). 

According to the Future of Jobs report, the top 10 skills of 2025 include (Whiting, 2020):

  1. Analytical thinking and innovation
  2. Active learning and learning strategies
  3. Complex problem-solving
  4. Critical thinking and analysis
  5. Creativity, originality, and initiative
  6. Leadership and social influence
  7. Technology use, monitoring, and control
  8. Technology design and programming
  9. Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  10. Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, many organizations have eliminated training programs to control costs. Some organizations have decided to postpone training until employees can safely gather together in person. As a result, many organizations will not have prepared their employees to master the skills needed in 2025. 

K-12 schools have largely focused their efforts on math and language arts standardized testing instead of many of the skills included on this list. Many employees will enter the workforce needing training in these skills. 

How is your company preparing employees for the skills needed in 2025? Many organizations do not know where to start. T.A. Dickel Group specializes in leadership development and creative problem solving. Our training and programs can help improve innovation, creativity, leadership, social influence, and problem solving. We have experience leading and designing training and coaching programs.

How can we help you? Please contact us for more information. 

References: 

Whiting, K. (2020, Oct. 21). These are the top 10 job skills of tomorrow – and how long it takes to learn them. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/top-10-work-skills-of-tomorrow-how-long-it-takes-to-learn-them/#:~:text=up%204%25

T.A. Dickel Group, LLC is located in Evansville, Indiana, and we focus on enhancing organizational leadership, strategy, and creativity in the surrounding region.

Dr. Tad Dickel is a leadership, strategy, and creativity consultant who works with businesses, nonprofits, colleges, schools, and churches. He received a Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute, a Certificate in Nonprofit Board Consulting from BoardSource, a Certificate in Fundraising Management from The Fund Raising School, a Certificate in Foundations of Design Thinking from IDEO U, and holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Indiana State University. Tad is a Certified Basadur Simplexity Thinking Facilitator and Trainer, Certified Basadur Profile Administrator, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner.

Effective Teams, Leadership

Leading effective meetings

An important responsibility of leaders is running meetings. We have all attended meetings that resulted in nothing changing. In an article titled The economic impact of bad meetings, Pidgeon (2014), shared the following statistics:

  • “Executives average 23 hours per week in meetings where 7.8 of those hours are unnecessary and poorly run, which is equal to 2 months per year wasted.” 
  • “25 percent of meetings are spent discussing irrelevant issues.”
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Here are some tips for leading successful meetings:

  • Establish a clear purpose for the meeting in advance and communicate it to the attendees. Creating an agenda can help communicate the purpose of the meeting. Is this meeting only taking place because you have a regularly scheduled meeting on your calendar? Does this purpose require bringing people together? Does the topic require input from a group? 
  • Identify the individuals necessary to attend the meeting. Leaders need to make sure the right people are present, and unnecessary people are not expected to attend. 
  • Assign pre-work as needed to save time. Leaders can prepare for effective meetings by setting expectations for the work that needs to be completed in advance of the meeting. Having prepared attendees will make the meeting more efficient. 
  • At the beginning of the meeting, it can be helpful to articulate what the leader hopes to accomplish during the meeting. 
  • Utilize an external facilitator as necessary. There are times when an external facilitator can help move a conversation along, and this person can also help everyone be fully engaged in the content of the meeting. 
  • Use a timer to control the flow of the meeting. We have all experienced Parkinson’s Law. The amount of time it takes to complete a task is typically related to how much time we allocate for it. Teams can decide if timers are used as suggestions or strictly adhered to. 
  • Leave the meeting with an action plan. The action plan should include all follow up work that needs to occur, identify the responsible individuals, how the work will be completed, and a deadline for completing the work. It can also be helpful to set a follow up meeting as necessary. 
  • Debrief the meeting. At the end of a meeting, it can be helpful to have an open discussion about what went well about the meeting, what could have gone better, and any lessons that should be applied in future meetings.  

Leaders can follow the tips above to ensure meetings are successful. What other tips do you have for leading effective meetings? 

The statistics I shared at the beginning of the article were published in 2014. I suspect leaders have become more efficient with meetings as a result of the pandemic. We have all grown more comfortable with virtual meetings, and I encourage readers to consider some possibilities including asynchronous meetings through programs like Slack, collaboration through digital whiteboards, and very brief virtual meetings. 

We provide leadership training and coaching. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help, please contact us

Reference: 

Pigeon, E. (2014, Nov. 17). The economic impact of bad meetings. TED. https://ideas.ted.com/the-economic-impact-of-bad-meetings/

T.A. Dickel Group, LLC is located in Evansville, Indiana, and we focus on enhancing organizational leadership, strategy, and creativity in the surrounding region.

Dr. Tad Dickel is a leadership, strategy, and creativity consultant who works with businesses, nonprofits, colleges, schools, and churches. He received a Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute, a Certificate in Nonprofit Board Consulting from BoardSource, a Certificate in Fundraising Management from The Fund Raising School, a Certificate in Foundations of Design Thinking from IDEO U, and holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Indiana State University. Tad is a Certified Basadur Simplexity Thinking Facilitator and Trainer, Certified Basadur Profile Administrator, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner.

Effective Teams, Innovation, Leadership

Successful adaptation and cognitive diversity

I have really enjoyed watching and working with organizations that have successfully adapted during the pandemic. We can all think of success stories, but we can also cite examples of organizations that have struggled or closed their doors. 

I think the organizations that have successfully been able to adapt have created cohesive teams that were able to work together to solve some of the complex challenges they were facing. These teams likely had a mix of team members who think differently from each other. They needed out of the box thinkers, researchers, planners, and implementers in order to create and execute creative solutions. When we think about diversity of teams, we should also be thinking about cognitive diversity. 

One of the tools we use to help develop more effective teams is the Basadur Profile. The Basadur Profile enhances team creativity, collaboration, and problem solving by helping each individual understand their unique problem solving preference and how that relates to their team members’ preferences. Dr. Min Basadur developed the Profile based on over 40 years of research, and over 150,000 people have taken it. 

The Profile has identified four unique problem solving styles (from basadurprofile.com):

Generator: ‘I like to get things started’

“Generators love finding new problems and opportunities to work on.”

Conceptualizer: ‘I enjoy taking time to really define the problem’

“Conceptualizers like to define a problem and put together ideas and solutions.”

Optimizer: ‘I enjoy turning ideas into practical solutions’

“Optimizers like to refine and evaluate ideas, turning abstract notions into practical plans.”

Implementer: ‘I want to get things done’

“Implementers do what is necessary to get the job done.”

After completing the Profile, we lead team members through hands-on activities to help them better understand the results. I suspect the organizations that have most successfully navigated the pandemic had team members skilled in all four of the problem solving styles identified by Basadur. Those organizations with less than three of the four problem solving styles have probably struggled more to adapt during the pandemic. 

Would you like to learn more about how the Basadur Profile can enhance your team’s effectiveness? Please contact us to learn more about this affordable and effective approach. 

T.A. Dickel Group, LLC is located in Evansville, Indiana, and we focus on enhancing organizational leadership, strategy, and creativity in the surrounding region.

Dr. Tad Dickel is a leadership, strategy, and creativity consultant who works with businesses, nonprofits, colleges, schools, and churches. He received a Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute, a Certificate in Nonprofit Board Consulting from BoardSource, a Certificate in Fundraising Management from The Fund Raising School, a Certificate in Foundations of Design Thinking from IDEO U, and holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Indiana State University. Tad is a Certified Basadur Simplexity Thinking Facilitator and Trainer, Certified Basadur Profile Administrator, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner.

Effective Teams, Innovation, Leadership, Strategy

Is there enough urgency to change?

Change is hard. I am amazed by the number of people and organizations who can intellectually grasp the importance of change, but they cannot execute it. I have read about statistics about the small percentage of people who change their lifestyle (diet, exercise, smoking) after having a heart attack. They must intellectually understand the negative implications of their lifestyle, but they cannot bring themselves to change even when the consequences include another heart attack or death.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There are plenty of examples of organizations that have been unable to adapt. I live in Evansville, Indiana, and Family Video just announced they would be closing all stores. This video store outlasted Blockbuster and Hollywood Video by years. However, I have to think they saw the writing on the wall years ago. Video stores have been dying for years, especially as streaming services have grown in popularity.

I was recently in a debate about the future of movie theaters. Unless movie theaters distinguish themselves, they will also die. Many of us forget that movie theaters became popular nearly fifty years before the general public started getting televisions in their homes. As TVs, sound systems, and streaming services continue to improve, it becomes harder to justify spending the money on movie tickets and concessions.

When leaders look to create change, they must first create an urgency to change. They need to consider how they can instill a sense of urgency in those around them. Most people and organizations will not change for the sake of change.

In John Kotter’s classic change management book Leading Change (2012), he identifies the first step of change is “Establishing a Sense of Urgency.” Kotter writes, “Increasing urgency demands that you remove sources of complacency or minimize their impact: for instance, eliminating such signs of excess as a big corporate air force; setting higher standards both formally in the planning process and informally in day-to-day interaction, changing internal measurement systems that focus on the wrong indexes; vastly increasing the amount of external performance feedback everyone gets; rewarding both honest talk in meetings and people who are willing to confront problems; and stopping baseless happy talk from the top.” (pp. 44-45)

The COVID-19 pandemic created urgency for many organizations to change. They understood their short and long term survival was dependent on their ability to change. Examples of changes that have occurred include virtual meetings, remote work, churches live streaming services, restaurants adding curbside pick up, and contactless delivery. Many organizations had considered these changes but never felt urgency to implement them.

How is your organization responding to change? Does your organization experience the urgency necessary to change? If not, how can your organization remove complacency that prevents necessary change to occur?

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help your organization, please contact us.

T.A. Dickel Group, LLC is located in Evansville, Indiana, and we focus on enhancing organizational leadership, strategy, and creativity in the surrounding region.

Dr. Tad Dickel is a leadership, strategy, and creativity consultant who works with businesses, nonprofits, colleges, schools, and churches. He received a Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute, a Certificate in Nonprofit Board Consulting from BoardSource, a Certificate in Fundraising Management from The Fund Raising School, a Certificate in Foundations of Design Thinking from IDEO U, and holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Indiana State University. Tad is a Certified Basadur Simplexity Thinking Facilitator and Trainer, Certified Basadur Profile Administrator, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner.