High Tide Press News – March 2021

Celebrating Accomplishment

March has been celebrated as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month since 1987. It is a time when we especially want to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of our friends who may have an intellectual or developmental disability while keeping in mind the important work that still needs to be done.

It is also a time for encouragement and enablement for those who are dedicated to helping people live their best possible life.

High Tide Press joins with you in this celebration and, like you, looks forward to overcoming the barriers to full inclusion that still remain.

The mission of High Tide Press is to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. We do so by publishing books, assessments, training, and educational materials, as well as other media resources and interactive products. Our emphasis is on sharing best and promising practices, helping to develop positive work cultures, inspiring values-based leadership, and communicating the benefits that Positive Psychology has to offer people with disabilities, their families, and those who work to support them.

Developing Leaders Through
Leading Questions

When you hear “Leading Questions,” what goes through your mind? Do you, perhaps, see a trial scene? For instance, an attorney cross-examining a witness is interrupted by a cry of, “Objection, your Honor! That is a leading question.”

Maybe your thoughts went to a recent experience with a major purchase (or even a minor one) when, after you made your buying decision, you asked a leading question—the intensity of which typically varied with the salesperson’s personality and the possibility of a commission. The smiling clerk inquired, “I assume you want us to add a warranty to this sale. Would you prefer a three-year or a five-year safeguard for a very low fee?” The entire sales arena is, in fact, fraught with approaches that depend on leading questions. “How would you like a 30-day free trial?” “Will you take advantage of our no-interest payment plan?”

Or, consider the pre-election polls written by political strategists. Some are embarrassing in their lack of finesse.

In these examples, leading questions are framed to get a person to respond in a particular way—the way the inquirer wants. They are not designed for objective fact-seeking or for advancing truth. They are crafted to evoke a specific emotional response to motivate the action desired.

However, the intent of High Tide Press’s latest release, The Leading Questions Dialogue Deck, is quite different. High Tide authors developed The Leading Questions Dialogue Deck to engage leaders in thoughtful discussion, to offer a context for exploring the dynamics of leadership.

Reasons Why the Questions We Ask Are Important
Questions have power—the power to direct a person’s mind, evoke emotion, elicit action. When we considered the kind of questions useful for leadership development, we wanted questions that strengthen thinking and understanding while developing and maintaining the ability to take better future actions. 

Let’s briefly visit the Socratic Method, a learning approach still in use today (although often not recognized). In its essence, the Socratic Method is a form of dialogue employing questions or statements to stimulate critical thinking, spark new ideas and draw out underlying assumptions. The Socratic Method is used in the training of attorneys and medical professionals.

When used in a formal teacher-student setting, the teacher employs the Socratic Method by sharing the statement to be considered with the students and asking questions to identify exceptions or contradictions. The teacher then facilitates the subsequent dialogue among the participants to help them understand the matter more deeply. The goal is to cultivate a greater understanding of the statement—or even create a more precise definition. The dialogue frequently results in students coming to a better realization of the nature of their own beliefs. Having a willingness to change one’s mind, think openly, and be willing to be challenged is critical to the Socratic process. This process is a design feature of the Leading Questions Dialogue Deck.

The setting for learning with Leading Questions, however, is less formal or rigorous. A facilitator, rather than a teacher or instructor, guides the dialogue among participants.

The Importance of Questions in the Everyday Life of Leaders
First, we need to be aware of the questions we ask and, related to that, know why we are asking them. Of course, the goal is to ask questions that propel us to become better leaders and help our team members and colleagues grow and develop more confidence and productivity.

Our questions should not reflect a desire to be in control at all times, put others down, or avoid answering a difficult question ourselves. Further, we should be aware of the assumptions that underlie the process we follow when shaping our inquiries. We need to have an answer to a basic question: “Where are they coming from?”

By the same token, if a person uses dialogue to prove their intelligence, they won’t get the full benefits of the dialogue process either to the group or themselves. An open, growth-oriented mindset contributes the most to the group and offers the most value to each participant. 

We should also be aware of the way we ask questions:

  • Is the tone accusatory?
  • Are they clear and sufficient in detail? Or too detailed?
  • Do they reflect a caring, supportive spirit?

Our choice of words also makes a difference. Creating fear is not helpful. Note the contrast between “What went wrong here?” versus “Can you help me understand?” Or, “Did someone forget to update the data?” versus “What do you think was missing in our approach?”

Leaders acquire a reputation among their employees and followers by how and why they ask questions. Unfortunately, some leaders aren’t aware of this too-common dynamic. 

The Value of Questions in Leadership Development 

Judge a leader by their questions
rather than by their actions.”

So far, we’ve built a foundation and context to look at the importance of questions and how they shape our behavior. Now, let’s consider the value of asking questions related to leadership and followership experience in an organized learning experience. 

In this approach, a small group or team (three to eight participants) is presented with a facilitator’s leadership statement and guided through a dialogue supported by targeted questions and process suggestions from the accompanying Facilitator’s Guide. 

Here’s an example statement from one of the Dialogue Deck cards: 

In an organization, who we hire
is the most important thing we do.” 

After reading the statement, the facilitator asks the participants to think and talk about its relevance to leadership. Robust dialogue is supported through the use of the Leading Questions Discussion Suggestions and Takeaways. Of course, some leadership stimulus card statements are more complex than others. There is no forced time parameter; the facilitator moves the group on to the next question as the dialogue comes to closure.

The Facilitator’s Guide has full instructions for carrying out the learning experience. The Dialogue Deck can be used in many ways—going through a few cards when beginning or ending a meeting or during a leadership gathering. An individual wanting to strengthen personal leadership skills can also use the cards for supported self-reflection.

One preferred approach is a brief but immersive experience generally scheduled in one-hour time blocks. In this situation, participants may explore any question as long as they like—within the time block. Other users have set a time limit of 15 minutes or so to go through any given card.

Dialogue Decks are designed to stimulate lively dialogue that can be recalled later as participants meet leadership situations or even challenges identified during their dialogue sessions. Each comes away better equipped as a result of the dialogue and leadership takeaways.

Benefits of a Structured Leadership Dialogue with a Facilitator:

  •  Generate more curiosity about leadership.
  • Discover new ideas and ways of thinking.
  • Increase confidence in challenging situations.
  • Strengthen leadership thinking and dialogue skills.
  • Sharpen listening and communication skills.
  • Gain insights on others’ views and understanding.
  • Identify leadership areas for future growth. “I’m always ready to learn, although
             I do not always like being taught.”                                       —Winston Churchill

Using questions and thought-provoking statements to stimulate dialogue expands a person’s ability to lead effectively and with compassion. The learning occurs through exploration and discovery, broadening, building, and deepening a person’s leadership philosophy and principles.  Leading Questions Ordering Info

Getting New DD Professional Staff on Board

The thousands of organizations across the United States that serve and support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have several things in common. They are all having a hard time recruiting direct support staff and front-line professional staff, such as case managers, qualified developmental disability professionals (Qs), service brokers, program specialists, job coaches, etc. Not only that, but they also share the problem of bringing new staff on board and effectively addressing their training needs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A New Plan: Using Positive Psychology to Renew the Promise of Person-Centered Planning for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities can help respond to this challenge, especially for those new staff members who may be involved in helping to craft person-centered plans or assisting in their implementation. A New Plan, written in an encouraging style, has an excellent chapter on the origins of person-centered thinking and planning that will benefit any new staff members.

Several other chapters readily lend themselves to a “let’s read and discuss” format in person or via the web.

  • The Importance of Planning
  • The Principles of Person-Centered Planning
  • The Essential Components of a Person-Centered Plan
  • The Bottom Line: Implementation
  • The Organizational Inventory of Person-Centeredness

This book will be beneficial to those staff who have never worked with people with disabilities before and those coming into their new position directly from college with a bachelor’s degree in a Human Service discipline that did not fully prepare them for the work they are about to do. A New Plan Order Info

Circuit Training for Leaders

Are you ready to inject some new life and energy into your organization and those you employ? Circuit Training for Leaders, the newest addition to our “How Do We Want to Be Together” series will accomplish just that. This quarterly, big-picture training tool will get you and your organization moving. It’s an affordable option that doesn’t require hiring an outside consultant. Designed to grow and stretch the learning facilitators as well as participants, Circuit Training will bring people together that don’t normally get to interact and will generate ideas, dialogue, and discussion that will truly have a positive impact on your organization.    CIRCUIT TRAINING PURCHASE INFO

Please know…
Wouldn’t it be great, as we come out of COVID, to begin the summer with an exciting, energizing training experience? Now is the perfect time to begin unfolding and preparing to use the Circuit Training approach in your organization. Start now and hit the ground running. The Circuit Training for Leaders tool is designed as an in-person, interactive learning experience.

My Plan To Flourish

My Plan To Flourish APP Coming To A Screen Near You

On schedule for late-spring release: the Person-Centered App for Android, Apple, and Amazon devices. 

Based on the book, A New Plan: Using Positive Psychology to Renew the Promise of Person-Centered Planning for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, by Art Dykstra and Thane Dykstra, Ph.D., CreateAbility, Inc, well-known in the field of applications for disabilities and behavioral health has been working with High Tide Press on this powerful person-centered planning application. 

In A New Plan, the authors describe five essential components of Person-Centered Planning. The plan needs to be:

  • Valued and used by the person
  • In the person’s possession
  • Clear, meaningful, achievable
  • Separate from the person’s record
  • Revised and updated regularly 

The My Plan To Flourish APP has been thoughtfully designed to allow for each of the essential components to be realized.

While the app is designed for use by the person with the plan, it is also useful for support providers, parents, caseworkers, and others on the support team to easily update and track progress.

The app is being beta-tested in real-world conditions before final tweaking and release projected for May 1, 2021. 

New This month are three resource packages designed to assist those working to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Words That Lift Us Up: Teaching
Person-Centered Language

Set to be released this spring, this is a video-based program designed to communicate and share the importance of the power of language and its impact on people with disabilities and ourselves. It also shares some suggestions to those who may be looking to strengthen their language habits. Words That Lift Us Up is a resource requested by providers interested in teaching person-centered language. 

The Power of Voice:
From Intention to Influence

We do much of our work with others using our voices. Not just what we say, but how we say it. Very often, how we say something carries much more power than what we are saying. This training program will help staff develop their Voice skills to be at their best when assisting others in getting the most from their lives. This recently updated and re-released resource is a six-module video-supported training package. View short preview video with curriculum overview. On sale now!

Practice Standards of
Developmental Disability Nursing

This new edition nursing standards manual from Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association [ddna.org] is for nurses working in developmental disabilities. It recognizes that optimal health is fundamental to well-being and offers guidance based on the Kolorovtis Model of Relationship-Based Care.

Because you made it through this season’s packed full o’ newsletter you get a FREE GIFT. For you and your organization please download and give your operation – The Person-Centered Language Check-UP.

The Check-UP is part of Words That Lift Us Up. It’s designed to be a quick way for organizations to check their commitment, their actions and the results of their efforts in person-centered language behavior throughout the organization.

The Check-UP helps you take a look at every part of your organization from the board of directors through your internal and external written communication, all the way to the experience of the people you support.

Sign In for Free Person-Centered Check List

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