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Where do ideas come from? June 7, 2012

Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Change, consulting, executive coaching, executive leadership, family coaching, Family Crisis Group, FCG, Hope, Life Coach, Neurobiology, shared vision, Systems Thinking.
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I was watching a YouTube video of Tony Faddall addressing the question, “Where do ideas come from?” For Tony the answer was FRUSTRATION. I think that’s a great source for someone involved in engineering. My daughter was in the Apple Store a couple of weeks ago with her new iPad. What she wanted to do is create a document and have it be on a cloud so she can update that document from any computer where the file resides. I’m a writer so this seemed elemental. But currently it can’t be done in a transparent fashion. The tec helping her said that he understood her concept and it was a good idea. Well Duh. We all live with frustration in our daily lives and it is getting worse.

I’ve noticed over the last year a disturbing trend in large corporations. For instance, our KitchenAid trash compactor has been broken most of time while my maintenance contract was ticking away. The rest of the time we just sat thinking about calling the repairman. So when I got the renewal contract in the mail I called KitchenAid service and told them the situation and suggested they should give me another year on my contract for free. Now what I just did was ask the person on the other end of the phone to walk to the moon. So, the answer I got was “Impossible.” No way. We don’t do that. Ever.

So with the challenge set, I went on a mission to get the “impossible” done. I called supervisors and got the same Impossible. Now my wife had been around with them before so she had a number for someone in the corporate office. I called her and suddenly the impossible became possible.

This super negative ‘there’s no way in hell’ attitude seems to be permeating business. When I ran Dickinson Theatres I’d ask the receptionist to direct all complaint calls to me the President/CEO. I had fun solving their problems and keeping a happy customer. I guess that’s old fashioned.

Frustration? Yes it breeds ideas and sometimes a smart person may solve the problem if he/she doesn’t get fired for doing so. Now I’m a creative guy. I write movies, short stories, books and do photography. These ideas come from a bit different place. What I say is, the day dreamers in the room will probable have an idea and do something great. Those who couldn’t daydream if they tried need not apply.

I find my ideas come from a convergence of information that at first may not look related. I also love the “what if…” game. The point is creativity is not just the property of a few but the property of all no matter if it’s computer design or programming or painting or writing a novel. Here is a good LINK to start.

For you writers out there a fun tool is The Observation Deck.

The number one biggest helper in the creative department is curiosity. My computer defines curiosity as a” strong desire to know or learn something.” Curiosity may have killed the cat but it truly is the well from which ideas flow.

A New Initiative July 11, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in Change, consulting, family coaching, Family Crisis Group, FCG, Hope.
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Patti and I have been helping other families for a very long time. We have 30+ years of experience in parenting (and we aren’t done yet) and in that time we have experienced some bumps and a lot of joy. We increased our knowledge by taking parenting programs, continuing education, keeping current with the literature and being involved in our community.

Currently I serve on the Advisory Board at Ozanam Home (a residential treatment facility) and I’ve worked with families and boys through the Boy Scouts for over 20 years. I have worked with Lone Scouts and as a Scoutmaster. Patti has spent years involved with the PTA. She worked with schools raising awareness of the homeless and has written an introspective book entitled Four Ordinary Women. She is a licensed educator and has taught K through 8th grade. Some of that time was spent teaching in schools in ethnic neighborhoods learning as much as she was teaching. Patti and I co-authored No Windows No Doors – On the Threshold of Homelessness. The book was created for the 20th anniversary of Uplift. We have spent many evenings riding in the back of a truck bringing meals to the homeless where they live. Currently Patti volunteers her time at the Kansas City Free Health Clinic.

I have an MA from TCU in Communications. Communication seems to be an issue that’s at the heart of family problems as well as a challenge for kids of this current generation. I have taught The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People since 1994 and worked with individual schools and school districts in implementation of this program. I’m developing a new workshop called HOPE based on a foundation developed by Dr. C. R. Snyder who was the leading expert on hope theory.

Experience is one of the best teachers. I think that’s why people “practice” law and medicine not just “work” in those fields. Society is in rapid change, destabilizing business, science, economics, politics and families. After helping other families I mentioned to Patti that we should formalize things. We have made contact with so many excellent resources (also called people!) and been a guide to so many families that it seems very natural to create what we now call The Family Crisis Group or FCG.

We had our first client family before we even announced this initiative. This family had a teen who was spiraling out of control. We walked them through the predictable feelings of grief, shame and heartache. We wanted them to know that a family can heal, marriages can be repaired and relationships restored. We can help you walk that road. FCG is composed of professionals from psychiatrists to addiction specialists and educational consultants.

Patti and I will stay with you as the point people in your effort to regain control. We will coach, teach, listen, recommend action then be there through the action so you know you can pick up the phone 24/7 and we will be there to help. As a matter of fact, you can call us now. We are non-judgmental, supportive, and objective. There’s no blame, no shame — only advocacy for parents and families. The out of control teen causing this maelstrom is a person crying for help.

We try very hard to bring an intensive therapeutic environment with us so residential treatment can be avoided. We can facilitate addiction intervention, and represent your plan to help your child in court. If residential treatment is the only option we work with an excellent educational consultant who will guide you through that maze and try to leave you with some money in your bank account.

The teen may not like us but that doesn’t matter. We have a great team that’s got our back so we can have yours. Parents are so often the forgotten piece in all this and if you are involved with the social services or juvenile justice system you know what I mean. You need an advocate for you with the goal being to repair your broken family.

Family is the most important thing we have. Call and we’ll talk. Together we can take steps toward better days. Until then, God be with you.

 http://www.familycrisisgroup.com/

Control June 17, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Change, consulting, family coaching, Life Coach.
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It’s Friday and a wonderful rainy Friday to boot. As I woke this morning I mourned the fact I couldn’t stay in bed and enjoy the sound of the rain and just relax and think. This is becoming a huge problem not only for me but all of us I fear.

I met a friend for breakfast then came home to sort through tax issues before going in to work. Work is something I’m trying to move to my home. Having an office these days is silly. It’s an expense that returns little value and mostly is a pain due to landlords who are rude and ungrateful. I have plenty of space in my home to work and Starbucks or Panera for my meeting rooms.

The real problem I have (and I don’t think I’m alone) is time and its organization plus managing my to do list. The reason is the constant flow of interruptions. In 7 Habits we talk about actions we take being broken into 4 quadrants. The idea is if we can spend more time in planning and preparation then we’ll reduce the emergency issues that eat away at our time. Urgency. I think maybe the world has driven us beyond this simple idea. It isn’t simple urgent issues that beg for my time and my control over stopping urgent issues isn’t just a matter of better planning and preparation. It now has become the decision not to play in this relentless world of immediate gratification.

I write an email and expect an answer immediately. I text and wait for the reply. I am accosted with volumes of blogs I’m made to feel are essential to my success as well as leaving comments, blogging myself and doing everything just right to build my “social presence.” All of this could fall under planning and preparation when it feels totally urgent and might just be a total waste of time.

Confusion is what has been created in the world today. I look at my kids who are in college and high school and they are knee deep in a world that exercises more control on them than they have on themselves.

I think maybe it is time to look at our models of time management and recreate them to match the chaos that is the environment we currently live in. I look at my father-in-law’s life (now in his 80s) and he has none of this chaos not because it isn’t all around him but he doesn’t choose to respond to it. Kids growing up in it right now are wiring their brains to contain this chaos but at the price of personal relationships and times of reflection and peace. Instead they withdraw into activities that are time wasting. Escape I think. Excessive sleeping, television, texting and general disconnection to real life and the social and political realities around them.

How to change this? A total reboot of the social system? Abandoning the Internet? Something must change and maybe it is one person at a time deciding your problems are not my problems. I start my day doing what I want. Phone off, no email running, and looking at my to do list with intentionality. Planning to do email for thirty minutes or so before lunch and again at 4:30 in the afternoon. Ignore text until lunch time. No Internet except for directed activities needed to fulfill my to dos.

If this leaves Facebook not visited today, so be it. My “social presence” isn’t important to the real work I want to accomplish today.

Family May 1, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in Change, consulting, family coaching.
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When the family finds itself in crisis what should it do? Quick! Have the answer? When a child in the family falls into the high risk category and you never planed on having a high risk kid, what do you do? Quick! I need the answer. When my kid explodes turning the entire family into a rage and creates unbelievable stress on the marriage, what’s the plan? Hurry, the answer please!

Unless you have lived this situation you have no idea what it feels like. You think you are a good parent. You teach values and are there for your kids. But despite your best efforts the calls keep coming from the school everyday with the “bad” report.

The answer is you flat out don’t know what to do. Suddenly you are in territory you never planed for with problems you never thought you’d see. Not in my family.

Maybe you run to your kid’s doctor only to find out they don’t really know what to do and don’t really have a referral. Maybe she prescribes some drugs but she really doesn’t have the pharmacological background to be effective.

Then you make a big mistake and run to a clinic in a large institutional hospital. You find half committed doctors and social workers that offer to run yards of test and weeks of therapy only to be at the same place but two months down the road.

By now the stress on the marriage and family is too much. Mom screams, “We have to get him out of the house!” How do you do that?

The truth is the struggling teen is hurting as badly as everyone else. No one likes him, he has no advocate and he feels abandoned and scared. The shame of the situation is driving his actions.

What you need is a family coach/educational counselor. You need a friend that can do a breakdown of the situation and make lists of basic needs that need to be met. This person can help ease the panic and frustration and show you that there is a direction to go. Remove your vulnerability.

I have had to deal with at risk kids in my home. They are all doing well now but the road was very bumpy because I didn’t have an advocate to ride shotgun the whole way. I have had to go to war with hospitals like KU when they were wanting to follow a treatment protocol that clearly wasn’t indicated. Me against five doctors and one rabid social worker. I’ve had to get in the face of school administrators to get them to open their eyes to what they say their mission is. And so it goes.

All this is very intimidating which a lot of the time is exactly what the powers that be want. They are the experts and you should sit down and shut up. Some recent events outside my family has shown me again that an individual is needed to talk a parent through a hard choice. I was wishing that I could have met with the family and assessed things myself then gone to the facility chosen and see if they can really do the job. I found I was wanting to remain the advocate for the child and parents until things were under control. That way you can help a family through the entire process and after care choices and family reintegration.

I’ve never really thought of doing this kind of work but really thinking about it I feel more and more intrigued by the challenge. I have worked with educational consultants in the past but they are placement counselors. They don’t follow progress on a proactive basis through treatment. What do you think? Is there work here and an opportunity?

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