Tag Archives: decisions

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failure expensive

Is Failure Expensive, Compared to What?

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What does failure cost? Most people believe that the cost is significant. Is failure expensive and if so how, or compared to what?

On January 28, 1986, we lost the Space Shuttle Challenger reportedly due to an O-ring failure. The cost of this disaster probably easily exceeded $500 million. Some estimates are at more than $5 billion.

On April 10, 2010, we experienced the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Estimates on the cost of this manmade disaster reportedly exceed $42 billion.

Hard Costs, Hard Lessons

Oil spills, space shuttles, and nuclear reactor plants have all contributed to enormous costs of failure. Cost of life is of course, immeasurable.

Failure often seems to be measurable to hard costs. Have you considered the costs of doing nothing?

What if there were not any oilrigs, what if there was no nuclear power? NASA programs have also contributed heavily to technology development and innovation. What if those programs never existed?

Many of us won’t make decisions about oilrigs, space programs, or nuclear power, but we will make decisions about what we accomplish or don’t in our lives and in our careers.

What is the cost if you don’t take the new job, what if you didn’t attend college, or what are the pros and cons of starting your own business?

Is Failure Expensive

We can sometimes put a number on what failure costs, but it is pretty difficult to put a number on the cost of doing nothing.

For the individuals, businesses, or organizations that find themselves stuck, perhaps they only see the price tag of failure.

Failure may not be that expensive when you compare it to the cost of doing nothing, or worse, regret.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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long-term customer service appreciative strategies

Long-Term Customer Service, No Need to Panic

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There are many businesses doing it for the long haul. There are also many businesses who believe they are in it for the long haul but tend to operate for the short term. Are you providing long-term customer service solutions, or really just service in the moment?

Operating for the short term often seems realistic. It feels like the right thing to do. What I do today, must earn the trust, respect, and close the sale with my customer. That makes sense, but that is a short-term proposition. After today, it’s over, tomorrow is another day.

Short Game Panic

In the suburbs or rural communities, most people require a car or similar vehicle for getting things done. There isn’t a train, a bus, or in some cases, not even an Uber ride. People make life happen in part with their vehicle.

Why do people run out of gasoline? Why do they let their tank go so low that eventually it is empty?

There may be many reasons. Anything from waiting for payday to a faulty gauge, however, one of the most common is short-term thinking. The idea is I think I can make it. It will save some time and money, right now, in this very moment.

The short game doesn’t always work out so well. It causes stress, anxiety, and often panic. Panic often causes us to make additional unfavorable decisions. We can’t see things clearly, we’re always picking up the pieces from the short term fix.

Short Game Risk

Risk is often measured differently in the short game. It is like our fear to speak up. It is common for people to say nothing even though they believe the result will be unfavorable. The short gamer weighs the risk of speaking up as more dangerous than dealing with a bad decision later.

In the short game, they say nothing, and there is little risk taken, it feels safe. Tomorrow the price may be paid as a poor choice unfolds in what now may be labeled as a self-fulfilled prophecy. However, they’ll let it play out, see what happens next. That is playing the short game, not the long one.

All of this is the same for the culture of customer service that you are building.

You can run the risk in the short game. You can take the chance that you won’t run out of gas or you can hang up the telephone, watch the customer walk out the door, or worse you can hide behind email. Close the sale today, worry about tomorrow, tomorrow, that is the short game.

Long-Term Customer Service

Long-term customer service is much different from the short game. In the long game decisions usually are not made in a panic. They are made with the future at heart, the correct choices for the right now and for the long term.

Long-term strategy doesn’t come with panic. You fill the tank before you start the journey.

Unless you don’t plan to be around much longer.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Business culture decisions appreciative strategies

Business Culture Decisions in a New Economy

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Understanding the culture of your business is important. As people, most of us try to brand ourselves based on who we believe we are, not perhaps how others label us. When you think about business culture decisions things shouldn’t be much different, should they?

Unique

One of the most common broadcasts I receive from a new client is, “We are unique.” Certainly, just as every individual is unique so is the culture of most organizations. Organizational culture is shaped by leadership and based largely on the environment.

While cultures may be as unique as personalities, talent, and fingerprints, there are still some commonalities. In fact, largely, the art of doing business is the same. Sell products or services (something), and deliver on your promise.

Culture Then and Now

The culture of 1920 Ford Motor Company is certainly probably different from the culture today. Essentially the same business, but leadership has molded the shape across time. The same could be said for Harley Davidson or IBM.

Is it time for new decisions? A different question may be, “When isn’t it?” Every person and organization makes decisions about who they are, or who they will become. We sometimes suggest that both people and businesses are stuck in time.

Our economy is very different from 1920. It is different from what it was in 1950, and even in the year 2000. For decades our economy has been shifting, today more Fortune 500 companies are representing the service sector or have a significant service component.

Business Culture Decisions

Businesses often change because of need. Internal and external forces exert pressure on organizations, requiring adaptation or perhaps demise.

The real challenge though is in the perceived risk. Staying the same feels safe if it appears to be working. The status quo is what most individuals feel comfortable with, businesses aren’t really much different.

What most people and businesses should be thinking about is if our World, the business environment, or the way we do things, is staying the same, or is everything around us changing? Is anything changing?

If our new economy is the same then I guess there isn’t any need to become different.

Easy decision.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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customer service decisions

How To Make Good Customer Service Decisions

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When you dig under the surface of any corporate policy and procedure designed to satisfy customers you might ask about empowerment. Employees who are empowered to make delicate and difficult transactional decisions have an important role; have you considered how employees make customer service decisions?

Most of the work that we do and likely most of the sales transactions don’t go beyond the decision for a customer to buy and for a vendor to fulfill. Occasionally though, something will go wrong. A client or customer will need something more, something extra, or perhaps there is a flaw or defect.

When we purchase a pack of Post-it notes, we expect them to stick, disposable pens we expect to have ink, and our file folders should fit in the cabinet. Many transactions are simple, straight forward, and require little thought to make things right.

Complex World

It is the complexity of the world we live in that creates additional challenge. Expectations of people vary. So will the decisions that they make.

When there is a problem and we begin a conversation with someone designated to help, we may become progressively curious about his or her level of empowerment. A really angry customer may start the conversation with, “I need to speak with a manager.”

Many organizations feel a bit torn, a bit of tug of war, or wonder how they will walk-the-line.

There becomes a balance, often a set of rules or guidelines designed to steer employees to follow the flow chart. It is straight forward, or so we think. When the customer presents this, you say that.

When we think about it, it all comes down to the decisions that we trust employees to make. That is empowerment.

Certainly not every employee is ready to make the most difficult choices. Consideration to advance problems to a higher level will probably always be part of the process.

The best scenario is minimizing problems in the first place. Those too are often based on the decisions that employees make.

Customer Service Decisions

Most people can follow the flow chart. They can be trained to understand start and end blocks, input and output, and processes. Still, at some point they’ll encounter a decision.

Training is important, but training beyond policy will come from training that forms an understanding of the culture.

Not every decision can be made at the front line, but the easy ones can. What makes a decision easier? Certainly ones with smaller risk, but understanding policy should have equal importance with developing the understanding of the philosophy and the culture.

That is how people make good customer service decisions.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Customer Service Failures

5 Common Customer Service Failures

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Customer service may mean many different things. In simplest terms, it is often thought of as a department, an organization stereotype I’m doing my part to remove. Customer service should be about a holistic organization approach. What are some of the most common customer service failures?

Helping businesses in many different sectors is actually very interesting work. You learn so much about styles, philosophies, and culture that may seek a similar result, but often vary widely in approach. Most businesses or sectors believe that they are unique. In some ways, they are, but there are also many commonalties.

Customer Service Failures

Here are five areas common areas for customer service failures:

  1. Decisions. Employees at all levels make decisions. Internally and externally, they decide. It may start with a decision about attitude, output, or communication. The only question really is, “Are they empowered?”
  2. Empowerment. Customers what results, they command action, and the loyalty to your brand is at stake. Guidelines can be helpful, but many situations are unique. The employee who is well trained in policy and procedure that is also appropriately empowered will likely extend the lifetime value of customers they touch.
  3. Response time. This measurement is common by your customers and their expectations are demanding. This is true during all aspects of the sales cycle, and of course, post-sale. This is also very applicable internally with the team and externally with not only customers, but also vendors.
  4. Protection. Great employees understand that they need to protect the company, but they also want to protect the customer. One of the most miscommunicated factors I witness with organizations is a misunderstanding of how to weigh decisions they make about how to balance this scale.
  5. Empathy. While it may feel like many customers just want action or resolution, they probably also want empathy. Every touch point must be well designed to express and demonstrate empathy. While action and resolution is often what we think about, an organization culture holds that empathy as a core value will likely have fewer service related issues.

Make Root Cause Changes

Have you thought about failures in the services your organization provides? What decisions can your organization make in these five areas, or others, that will make a difference?

If you’re going to improve failures or breakdowns, you’ll need to get to the root cause. The root cause is sometimes buried deep within traditions or values that drive culture.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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building your future

Building Your Future or Predicting It

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Organizations face commitments to the future. Do employees face decisions for the same kind of commitment? Are you building your future or predicting it?

I often hear stories from people reminiscing. Stories that if they only would have known then what they know now. It is true for their investments and often for major life decisions. It might be different if they had that crystal ball.

Decisions we make are important. They help to shape our future. So do our actions and behaviors.

Predicting What’s Next

Many people confuse making a decision with predicting the future. Certainly, some things will just happen but far more important than predictions might be what you will do or how you will handle what happens next.

If you are an employee within an organization, you should have a commitment to help build it. The problem that most people see is that within the organization they don’t make the decisions for their future so they try to predict what will happen next.

In many ways, this seems like a truism. However, their individual contributions will somehow make a difference for the outcomes. So perhaps the outcomes are not so much of a prediction but more about how each individual helps to co-create.

Granted the contributions of just one individual seem minuscule when compared with an entire operation. However, we shouldn’t forget the story of what can happen with just one bad apple.

Building Your Future

If everyone on the team is needed then the contribution of every individual must matter. It isn’t necessarily about predicting the future. It might be about creating it.

If your contribution doesn’t matter or doesn’t make a difference then the prediction should be clear.

If it does, there shouldn’t be as much prediction necessary. You’re co-creating.

Reputations, brands, and entire organizations don’t just happen. They are built.

Sometimes it might be better to focus on building and stop trying to predict.

Predictions are for meteorologists.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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The Difference Between Lucky or Smart

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You’ll often hear someone say, “They got lucky.” Sometimes you’ll hear someone say, “They are very smart.” Is there a difference between being lucky or smart?

lucky or smart appreciative strategies

Good Luck

We sometimes assume that luck simply happens. You get lucky if you win the lottery against very big odds. Luck might be with you when you pick the date for the summer picnic and that day the weather is amazing.

Many people might agree that luck implies we have little or no control over the situation.

Bad Luck

We might feel unlucky if we get a flat tire on our car, or we get sick with a cold right before several very busy days in our schedule.

The truth about luck, good or bad, is that often the outcomes are conditioned by how you manage it.

Have the most successful people been lucky? Are they smarter?

Lucky or Smart

The multi-million dollar winner of the lottery might become completely broke within just a few years. In contrast, the person with nearly nothing might become quite successful in a very short time. Both are the result of how their situation was managed.

This is exactly why you have to be smart. Smart isn’t always the most educated. It isn’t always the most experienced. Being smart often means you feel a responsibility and hold yourself accountable for your actions and decisions.

Analyze the data, consider the facts, use your knowledge and base it on your experiences. Sure, you can consult with others, get opinions, and make best guesses. You can do research and examine all options. Just make sure you are doing it smart.

Smart

It’s not always the fastest, it’s not necessarily the most calculated, and it doesn’t mean that it is low risk. Smart means you do the absolute best you can with everything you do. It means you make the best choices, not necessarily the easiest ones.

You may not always like the options but you still have to decide. Sometimes a decision to do nothing is still a decision. You’ll have to make the best one at the time, live with it, and make more.

Are you lucky or smart?

Either way it’s always about what you decide.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Big Decisions, Removing Options, and Permanent Choices

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Are you facing a tough decision or choice? What is it about big decisions that often leave us struggling to make the call?

Big decisions, appreciative Strategies

About eight months ago on a 114 degree day near Phoenix, Arizona, I found myself riding in the back seat of a big, dark, tinted window SUV. I was on business related travel and was able to get connected with a very reasonably priced private driver.

This wasn’t Uber, it wasn’t a cab, but a professional business service that chauffeurs people in that area.

While on a ride from a business meeting back to my hotel I engaged in some small talk with the driver. After a few minutes I noticed that the driver was very well spoken, appeared very knowledgeable, and his business savvy was quite impressive.

Being somewhat intrigued, we continued to talk. I learned that he was originally from the east coast with a very noteworthy professional career. I asked him about his move to Arizona, how he made the decision, and if it was the right choice.

His story was interesting but the details are not what really matter the most. What matters the most is one specific sentence that he shared. He said, “Every big decision that we make in life is always the right decision at that time, at that exact moment when you make it.”

Like a heavy meal of pasta and bread, it hit the spot and has stuck with me ever since.

Big Decisions

Sometimes when we are faced with big decisions we get too caught up in the details. It’s easy to become worried about what is the right choice or the best choice, and sadly we often inappropriately weigh the risks.

Confidence might sometimes be a factor, but most of our struggle often comes from the feeling of what we have to give up. Additionally, it might be about the feeling of permanency with our choice.

Consider a decision to move a thousand or more miles away from home. A career choice or a new job offer, and we certainly can’t forget about the idea of getting a tattoo or marriage. All of those things might feel permanent, and with that feeling of permanency there is added pressure.

Removing Options

The challenge for most people exists in the removal of options. Like a multiple choice question on an exam, deciding means we have to eliminate something. Some choices are easily removed because they just don’t fit. As the options become fewer the pressure might feel more intense.

Businesses often feel this pressure when deciding on their marketing mix or building a brand. Lots of options or being all things to all people feels more comfortable. The feeling is that you’ll never miss an opportunity.

Unfortunately as a result prospective buyers can’t decide so they move on to the vendor who has exactly what they want. Fewer options make deciding easier.

Individuals sometimes find this challenge with big decisions such as buying an automobile, a home, or booking that once-in-a-lifetime vacation.  The more choices or options, the harder it is to decide.

Perhaps in life or business the easiest way to make big decisions is by becoming more comfortable with removing options.

Make the big decisions, even when it feels like it might be permanent.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Are Your Decisions Based On Instinct Or Gut Feel?

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Have you ever asked your family what they would like to eat for dinner and no one can decide? We make a lot of decisions every day, but sometimes we have to consult something inside ourselves to feel like we’re making the best choice. Do you believe that those decisions are based on instinct or are they more of a gut feel?

Instinct Decisions

We’ve all faced tough choices and sometimes we just don’t know who to ask in order to gain additional insight. Sometimes we ask others who we know will most likely answer one way or another, and we do that to improve our confidence or to feel better about a tough choice. In other situations we might avoid asking someone we know because we believe they will give an answer that deep inside we really don’t want to hear.

Have you ever asked someone, “What does your gut tell you?”

Instinct

Instinct, as being referenced here and perhaps by formal definition is connecting your thoughts to what comes natural or feels natural with some specific direction for a choice. It can be illustrated by considering something simple, for example, when you feel hungry you might make a choice to eat. Another example could be when you hear (hearing is instinctual) someone speaking you make a choice to listen, or not.

Gut Feel

Gut feel is different because it might suggest that there are other factors involved in making the decision or choice. Sometimes these factors are conditioned by emotions and because we have feelings connected with those factors we label that decision as coming from having a gut feel. Some people may associate the concept of gut feel to the idea of following your head, or your heart.

Business Case

Imagine you’re at your job and you’re confronted with a tough choice. You may have ethical concerns, integrity complications, or you worry that the choice you make could in some way affect the future for yourself or the organization. Will you make the decision based on instinct or gut feel?  In business many believe that you should leave your emotions out of it. Business is business and there is not any room for emotional issues. However, much of the business that we do is strongly based on emotional choices. We do something because we believe in it, we have passion about it, and it makes us feel good. I see a lot of emotion connected with business and that doesn’t necessarily make it bad.

Critical Thinking

When we are facing tough choices it is often helpful for us to think more critically, analyze the data, deal with facts, and look for patterns. Some people like to expedite decisions while others prefer to drag them out, over analyze, or procrastinate. Sometimes if we ask what led to the final decision someone will say they used their instincts to guide the choice, or they did it by gut feel.

Decisions based on what we might label as instinct or gut feel are often very risky choices. People can sometimes develop strong beliefs based on perception or data that is not accurate. As people we collect more life experiences, some of them good, and some of them not so good. Over time we start to trend that data, based specifically on our own life experiences. Sometimes this data becomes associated with what might be labeled as instinct or gut feel.

What about you, how do you make tough choices?

– DEG

See also: Boomer Decisions, Millennial Decisions

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


  • 2

Boomer Decisions, Millennial Decisions

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Talk to enough people about how decisions are made in their workplace and you’ll likely find someone who has a viewpoint different from the path typically chosen. While it might be common to find disagreement with courses of action handed down from the high rise offices of the c-suite, it also might be common for people to believe that past experience will yield the strongest results.

Appreciative Strategies Blog

We often generalize that baby boomers (born 1946-1964) will have much more experience when compared with millennials (born 1977-1994) and as such will make better decisions. This idea of experience based on time may have its fallacies though, and in a recent blog post I wrote about how traditional wisdom regarding workplace generations and experience may sometimes be incorrect.

So what generation is best equipped for decision making? It seems it really all depends since more experience sometimes leads us to self-deception or data anchoring, while less experience may sometimes mean no previous trials and errors (failures) exist and as such you can’t possibly know or understand the best course of action. Which one is correct, or is it both?

It seems there are two golden rules about decisions and generations:

  1. Past experiences drive choices, but more experience doesn’t always mean better decisions.
  2. Every generation has values and beliefs relational to their experiences, not to their age.

Popular wisdom suggests that things like false perception and self-deception, data anchoring, palindromes, and other components of critical thinking, including life experiences and patience, will drive decision quality. In addition, how we approach solving problems such as through technology, innovation, or what has worked well in the past will also be a factor.

Are you solving problems by working across any generational boundaries, or are you locked into traditional thinking and methods?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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