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Lois Dostalik is acutely self-aware, fiercely passionate, and idiosyncratically delightful. She is the personification of E4, a strategic consultancy specializing in organizational alignment, strategic thinking, business modeling, leadership mindset, strategy execution, and performance management.
Stepping inside the office inspires a sensory kaleidoscope. Colors and patterns and shapes fill the spaces and illuminate the senses. Throughout the office you’ll find colorful curiosities, sizable artwork, twisted rubbery toys and puzzles sitting on tables inside thinkubators (rooms named The Chiller, The Boiler Room, and The Sandbox). You can literally write and draw on all the walls.
There’s a ten-ton elephant in the room. Her name is Sophia (Greek for “wisdom”). The not-so-subtle idiomatic expression helps clients address what’s obviously being ignored. In a world where creativity has become a commodity, E4 offers an environment that simultaneously frees and structures the mind with carefully curated stimuli. For a place where behavior modification is necessary for success, the response and reaction can be a whole lot of fun.
With ideas shifting like glass in a kaleidoscope, at E4, it can be hard to tell the difference between the complex and the simple and between play and hard work. But don’t let the toys fool you. Everything in the space is meant to energize, elevate, execute and yes, even evolve. Those are the fundamentals of E4. “The majority of our clients come to us because they say ‘We need some type of strategic plan,’” says the founder and chief strategist as she adjusts her round black fade spectacles. But for Dostalik, while anticipating growth and change, clients should also start to envision the future—one E4 can help them create. This kind of approach assists organizations of all types to rethink their entire way of doing things, resulting in bold new strategies. She knows that every challenge also presents an opportunity. “This what motivates me; it is why I absolutely love my job. Making a meaningful, impactful difference!”
E4 replaces the traditional strategic planning process with the Envisioned Future Model—designed to encompass the vision for a decade from now, but flexible enough to capitalize on opportunities that arise along the way. She is a firm believer in core purposes. “I think organizations should talk about their core purpose,” she reiterates emphatically. Dostalik uses examples from Mary Kay (to empower women), TOMS (sharing), and Nike (crush the competition). “It’s your generation that says it’s not good enough to have a great product, but you have to be socially conscious when you’re delivering it—it’s the value add,” she explains. “Let’s not get hung up on the motivation. The world is a better place because of it.” The beauty of being a company that evolves is that some companies will do good because their core purpose or culture dictates it. Others will do it because it’s good for their bottom line. As Dostalik sees it, when companies live by an organizational core purpose, people are motivated to come to work and make a difference.
This year, Dostalik celebrates twenty-five years in business. She’s curious and sharp. The firm certainly reflects her own evolution into a vibrant and contagiously enthusiastic advocate of all things creative—and generous. Dostalik is proud of the time, energy, and dollars a company E4’s size puts into pro bono work and philanthropy. She thinks the City of Lancaster is quite extraordinary and looks for ways E4 can give back to it and to great not-for-profits throughout the county.
A master of organizational and synthesizing methodologies, Dostalik leads her team in using powerful facilitation and consulting skills to help clients think in a different way and adopt new mindsets. “You must create your future,” she says, her eyes widening. “With creation comes energy. With creation comes buy-in. With creation comes confidence. And with creation comes amazing things,” she says. “We help people get out of their comfort zones and look at things differently. It isn’t always easy but by creating your future you facilitate passion.” And there is no doubt Dostalik has passion and energy to spare.
“I look at failure very differently than I used to. As you get older, you just get a little sharper, in spite of yourself. You really do.” In her free time, Dostalik enjoys kayaking, packing a little lunch and some good cigars, and getting out on the water. “It is quiet and you are able to go places and see things no one else can see,” she says. The real magic of seeing works like a kaleidoscope (Greek for “beautiful way to see”): with a mirrored reflection, a little light, and an ever-changing sequence of gems and ordinary objects. For Dostalik, this willingness to see anew runs through her work with E4. From the quiet of a river to the boisterous facilitated meetings in E4’s Sand Box, Dostalik sees things boldly.