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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.”
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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.

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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.

Effective Teams, Leadership

Technology tools for virtual collaboration

When I started consulting, most of my work was in person. I have spent the last several months adjusting and have been using more technology to collaborate with clients. I wanted to share a few tools that may be helpful for your work. I welcome your suggestions for technology that has been helpful for you.

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Google Jamboard: I use this free Google app for collaboration during Zoom meetings. Jamboard is a digital whiteboard that allows you to post “sticky notes” and draw. I regularly use it for virtual brainstorming, asking meeting attendees to share a “hope” for our meeting, and debriefing a meeting. I adjust the share settings and provide a link to the Jamboard in the chat box. 

Digital whiteboards: There are several different digital whiteboard products available, and I have used Microsoft Whiteboard, Mural, and Miro. Whiteboards are a great tool for collaboration and capturing ideas. The products listed above have many features that are not included in a simple digital whiteboard like Google Jamboard. The board’s owner can give access to others by sharing a link. 

Loom (loom.com): is a free video sharing site. I use Loom for sending personal video messages to individuals. This can be a great way to personally connect with employees and clients. You can also use Loom to record your screen and show someone else how to use a software program. Loom has a free version, but you can also upgrade to access more features.

Slack (slack.com): Slack is a messaging app that is commonly used by companies and other organizations. You can create a team workspace for communication, share documents, and search for previous communication. I use Slack for asynchronous communication with teams. Slack has a free version, but you can also upgrade to access more features.

Trello (trello.com): Trello is a project management app that I use for my “to do” list and for team projects. You can have multiple team members on a board, assign tasks, upload documents, create deadlines, and utilize many other features. Trello has a free version, but you can also upgrade to access more features.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, I wrote a blog titled “Leading effective virtual meetings.” http://bit.ly/3aX8xQj

One of the major challenges of collaboration is getting people together at the same time for meetings. I am excited about opportunities for asynchronous collaboration. There are aspects of in person meetings that are difficult to replicate, but there are also many advantages of virtual collaboration. What tools are your teams using to enhance collaboration? 

We are using these tools for facilitating strategic planning processes, leadership coaching, creative problem solving training, collaboration, building relationships, and managing work. If you want to learn more, 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.

Uncategorized

Thank you for a great 2020!

Despite challenges, I have a lot to be thankful for in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, most of my consulting work had been conducted in person. We were able to pivot quickly and continue to provide value to clients through virtual coaching, facilitating, and training. I’m hopeful for a time when seeing family, friends, clients, and colleagues in person becomes commonplace.

Here are some things I’m thankful for:

  • Helping organizations and individuals successfully navigate the pandemic.
  • Providing value for great clients in Indiana (Evansville, Ferdinand, Floyds Knobs, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Jasper, Oakland City, Poseyville, Washington), Kentucky (Madisonville and Muhlenberg County), and Nebraska (Lincoln). 
  • Consulting with banks, manufacturing companies, universities, government agencies, nonprofits, churches, and schools. 
  • Providing strategic planning services, creative problem solving facilitation, leadership coaching, board/staff retreats, family business planning, and training related to leadership, scenario planning, innovation, effective teams, nonprofit boards, nonprofit fundraising, and virtual meetings. 
  • Becoming a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner.
  • Blogging on a more regular basis than before. 
  • Driving and traveling less to see clients. 
  • Dressing casually.
  • Teaching leadership, innovation, and strategic planning graduate courses for Creighton University and University of Evansville.  

As we prepare for post-pandemic, I think it is important to be intentional about the transition. What do you want to keep, leave behind, or change? I wish you a happy and healthy 2021! 

If you have ideas for future blog posts, 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.