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?

Are you ready to learn how we can help improve your organization’s leaders?

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

Dr. Tad Dickel is a leadership, creativity, and strategy consultant who works with businesses, nonprofits, colleges, schools, and churches. He received a Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute, Certificate in Foundations of Design Thinking from IDEO U, and holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership.

Generational Differences in the Workplace Workshop

Want to learn how to navigate generational differences in the workplace? Dr. Tad Dickel will be leading the following two hour workshop through the University of Evansville:

Navigating Generational Differences in the Workplace
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Stone Family Center for Health Sciences, Downtown Evansville

Many employers are trying to navigate three to four different generations working in their organizations. This workshop will introduce characteristics and difference of Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Participants will learn about the unique perspectives of each generation that lead to conflict. A process will be introduced for multi-generational teams to work through these conflicts to get better results.

To register, click here.

Effective teams

We often work with clients who are trying to improve the effectiveness of their teams. Google (Rozovsky, 2015) studied effective teams and came up with the top five characteristics:

  1. Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
  2. Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?
  3. Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?
  4. Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
  5. Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters? (para. 5)

More information can be found here.

Before we share this list with a client team, we ask them to share what they think are characteristics of effective teams. We have never had a team come up with “psychological safety.” In many organizations, it is more advantageous to play it safe than to take risks. How can we foster a sense of psychological safety within our organizations?

We encourage organizations to intentionally reward and encourage risk. Google (Rozovsky, 2015) suggests that we can improve psychological safety by having team members share a risk they have taken at the beginning of each meeting. This action prompts us to think about and discuss risk.

Divergent and convergent thinking are foundations of creativity. With divergent thinking, we strive to generate as many ideas as possible before we evaluate them. A feeling of psychological safety should help team members feel comfortable to generate more ideas with each other.

While these characteristics come from research on Google teams, we encourage you to think about how they can be applied to your organization to enhance productivity. Are there characteristics that are missing?

Rozovsky, J. (2015, November 17). The five keys to a successful Google Team. Retrieved from


Creativity: Learned or Unlearned?

LinkedIn recently published a study of hard and soft skills needed by employers in 2019. The top five soft skills include: creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management. Is there an abundant supply of creativity among applicants?

George Land was hired by NASA in the 1960s to assess the creativity level of astronaut applicants. He developed an assessment that NASA used for years and then he conducted a longitudinal study of children at age 5, age 10, and age 15. This table shares the results of his work:

Creativity Scores

After looking at this data, we have to ask whether creativity is learned or unlearned. This study is over fifty years old, but I imagine the emphasis on standardized testing has probably not improved the creativity of young people in the United States.

George Land recorded an excellent TEDx presentation that I encourage you to view and reflect on.

We provide training that enhances the creative output of participants. This training helps people and organizations “unlearn” blocks to creativity and also introduces important skills that enhance creativity. Workshops can be customized in length of time and content. Please let us know if you are interested in learning more.