Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

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Stimulus Packing Lacking in Zip

It should be fairly obvious to everyone by now that the current stimulus package is nothing more than a social welfare program wrapped with a really expensive bow. It was supposed to create jobs, right? Well, at best it has kept some States alive, like Florida and Pennsylvania, but less than 10% of the stimulus package will create any kind of new jobs – and that segment of the package is caught up in the web of Washington bureaucracy. So what needs to happen? Unfortunately (the use of that word is your cue to grimace), a second stimulus package will be needed. Shockingly, the next stimulus package will need a larger price tag than the current one. In fact, talk of a second stimulus package should replace all the current rhetoric about health care reform. (See my previous blog post for the solution to the health care issue). What should the second stimulus package look like? Answer: 100% dedicated to infrastructure in the United States! Repair the 170,000 bridges that have been identified as needing attention; engage in new road and highway projects that will increase travel efficiency; and fix inadequate motorways that need some TLC. The aforementioned actions will create jobs. Further, money from those jobs will flow into the economy in the form of goods and other services purchased. What can you do? Plenty. Contact your State Senator and demand action. Will they even listen? Surprisingly, they will take your outreach quite seriously.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2009-07-20 at 08:54 AM
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The Solution to Health Care

The main problem I see with our current health care system is the title: Health Care. What is most of the “health care” money spent on? Answer: (all together now) sickness and injuries. If you want to BEGIN to solve the health care issue, call the program what it actually is: Sickness & Injury Care (SIC). Then, create a separate segment of the program that is focused on cardiovascular exercise, stretching, real nutrition, weight control, and positive thinking (i.e., SIC prevention). Further, spend at least 10% of current “health care” expenditures to educate a bulging population about good health. A goodly portion of these funds could go a public relations campaign showcasing well-respected people working out and displaying healthy habits. 

It is imperative that the current system of health care be renamed to something akin to Sickness & Injury Care. The new name will begin to create a social stigma about using the system. You want this. You especially want this if you desire to spend less of your hard earned money helping others who have long-embraced self-destructive behavior. 

You may think I am a dreamer, but in 1978 no one buckled their seat belt. In fact, if you got in someone’s car and buckled your seat belt they would look at you and say: “What, you don’t trust my driving?” As a result of this poor behavior, traffic fatalities that could have easily been prevented by seat belts were at an all-time high. Then, a massive public relations campaign was started. In my state, we had bill boards showing the hands of Mickey Mouse clicking a seat belt. “Buckle Up Florida,” it was called. And we did (we always take Mickey’s lead). Fast-forward to today: almost all of us use seat belts. It is second nature. And people who do not buckle up are seen as foolish and self-destructive. As such, never doubt that poor health behavior cannot be stemmed. We have the power if we unite.  

Bottom Line: Focus on the positive side of the health care issue: prevention. Call prevention Health Care. Simultaneously, create a psychological disincentive to overuse a sickness and injury program. Refer to what is currently called Health Care as Sickness and Injury Care

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2009-07-07 at 06:41 AM
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The Burgeoning Generation Gap

The generation gap has apparently become as wide as it was in the 1960’s. This statement is the conclusion of a recent study by the Pew organization. The gap experienced in the 60’s, of course, was driven by social change and fueled by a division of opinion related to an unpopular war. The Pew study cites similar reasons for the current generational chasm, sprinkled with a disparity in religious fervor between the old and the young. 

The way we are gaining information and communicating our thoughts and ideas is rapidly changing. The younger generation is enamored with text messaging and blogs, and the older generation, by and large, just doesn’t get it. There is a generational difference regarding the embracing of technology tools and channels. That, in my opinion, is as much the culprit to today’s generation gap as any particular issue or social moray. Yet, there appeared to be little mention of a technological divide in the Pew study. Hmmmmnn.      

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2009-07-06 at 07:01 AM
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Workplace Team Building on the Rise

As teams are getting downsized, right-sized, and totally reshaped, workplace teambuilding is becoming quite popular. Or at least it should be. Leaders of teams going through massive change or a reduction in force are missing out if they do not explore the possibilities that workplace team building sessions hold. Is there a cost? Answer: sure. Most effective workplace team building will involve some type of investment. But usually the experience delivers a handsome return.


Consider the benefits of taking your team offsite for just one day. During that day you are away from stressors and distractions. Your team can concentrate on skill building in areas such as communication, collaboration, and understanding change. In addition, they can engage in team activities (coordinated by the facilitator) that will help to enhance team accomplishment.


Can you accomplish the same outcomes by taking everyone to a ballgame? Answer: not really. However, outside activities of any sort should help to build morale and a better sense of team. A word of caution is you select this option, seek to encourage the consumption of more hotdogs than beer!

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2009-07-02 at 10:57 AM
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