Tag Archives: goals

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Vague Customer Service

Vague Customer Service Guidelines

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Milestones and goals are always important. Many people stress how critical metrics and measurements are for the performance management process. How are you managing customer service? Do you have vague customer service guidelines?

When you attend a meeting, get involved in a committee, or volunteer to help steer the direction of a project you may insist on some goals. The funny thing about most of these endeavors is that they are built on one underlying, often-subconscious premise, keeping everything vague.

Customer Service Culture

Your organizational culture is developed from many things, including: brand, symbols, language, methods, and processes. Most of all, it is carried out by people, and is often intended to be role modeled from the behaviors of organizational leaders.

Is customer service part of your culture? Customer service shouldn’t be viewed as a department, in today’s economy customer service is about culture. Most leaders will quickly grab on to this idea, but as role models, they may leave some gaps.

Not Specific Means Vague

Positive language is often spread throughout the organization by role models, but it is often vague.

Here are a few examples:

  • Improve satisfaction.
  • Increase lifetime value.
  • Enhance the customer experience.

Anything that is vague is hard to measure.

What about the committee or project management team, how do they contribute?

Vague Customer Service

The committee will most likely leave some gaps when the leadership is vague about guidelines. Vague customer service guidelines leaves wiggle room. Wiggle room means the measurement will be subjective.

It is hard to do anything wrong in an environment with vague guidelines or goals. They’re vague, so just wiggle, but that also makes it hard to move forward.

Unfortunately, being vague is often the self-deceptive and unrealized output from the meeting, committee, or project team. What is worse, often the language is handed down and passed around. It is role modeled.

In most cases, it is not intentional. Everyone has good intentions, but vague allows everyone the opportunity to wiggle.

Wiggling isn’t winning. Vague customer service guidelines aren’t helping anyone, especially the customer.

– 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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discovering customer service appreciative strategies

Discovering Customer Service More Than Once

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In a general sense, we are creatures of habit.  Discovery takes energy, lots of energy. Have you considered that discovering customer service must happen more than once?

Once you’ve read the book, watched the movie, or completed the academic class you are done, you may feel like you don’t need more right now.

Quitting Too Soon

Yesterday I watched a football player make an amazing play. After obtaining the football during a botched play by the opposite team, he ran for sixty or seventy yards, only to slow down in the final five yards before the touchdown. An opposing player caught him and the ball knocked out of his hands in the final five yards. How ironic.

Once we’ve read the book, watched the movie, or even obtained the degree, it often reduces our interest to work harder for more. After all, we’ve done it, mission accomplished.

Sometimes you think that you have everything completely under control because you can see the finish line, and so it may be OK to slow down now, but it isn’t.

Discovery is hard work, so is learning something new. People often believe that they’ve worked hard enough, and now they are ready for things to be easier. They’ve earned it, and they deserve it.

On the other hand, seeing the end can sometimes be motivating.  Only ten more pages to read, only twelve more college credits until I earn the degree, or I see the goal and I better speed up to ensure I get there. It may be inspiring to accelerate toward the finish.

Discovering Customer Service

Discovering customer service excellence never ends. The business or organization that always continues to work hard at discovering how to make it better isn’t cruising to the finish line. Their motivation is not for the pending relaxation, it is fueled by a constant desire to improve.

There really is no such thing as perfection because that may imply that you are finished. You can’t deliver just enough to complete a transaction, and you certainly can’t slow down when you see the finish line.

Discovering customer service repeatedly may require hard work, but the best are never finished. They are always continuing the effort to discover more. It isn’t a one and done.

– 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 roadmaps appreciative strategies

When Business Roadmaps Are Useless

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Processes are important. Systems designed to follow a standard, replicate quality, and improve efficiency are also important. All of these may be connected to a plan, a map. Business roadmaps aren’t always the right tool. Some people aren’t wandering because they lack direction.

You wouldn’t suggest using a map of the United States to help someone get across town, find the nearest gas station, or the best coffee shop. Better yet, you wouldn’t hand someone a globe at Central Park North in New York City and tell them to use it to get on the subway and go to Wall Street.

Modern technology has provided us with some easy methods to find our way from point A to point B. Many people have an electronic map, a way finder, and it is in their hand, purse, or pocket. It will likely even speak to you. Maps are useful but not for every directional purpose.

Business Roadmaps

Businesses and organizations are always trying to find their way. They go to great lengths to plan, design, and deliver a roadmap for employees to follow. They talk about timelines, milestones, and goals. All very important, but it might not help employees find their way or understand why.

Guiding the way with a roadmap is useful to those who already see the big picture and who are committed to it. Everyone else, those who are uncertain, not committed, or lack trust for the described outcomes really do not have use for a map.

Sometimes what employees need are not more directions. They don’t need more standards, a process, or a system. All of those things are useless when they don’t understand why they should go.

Pictures and Purpose

What they really need is someone to connect them with the purpose that leads to the big picture. They aren’t lost, a lack of direction is not why they are wandering.

Most people can follow a map, or have someone tell them when to yield, turn, or stop. The solution might not require more direction.

Productivity, efficiency, and quality really don’t matter that much when they aren’t committed to the purpose.

A globe doesn’t help much on the subway. Handing them business roadmaps won’t be helpful if they aren’t lost.

They’ll reach for the map when they understand why.

Have you answered the question about why?

– 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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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work together appreciative strategies

3 Ways to Get the Team to Work Together

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Are you working with a team on a project? Are you trying to start or launch something new, make a change, or simply make forward progress? How do you get the team to work together?

People have been asking the same question for years, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Answers to this question can be challenging. Finding mutual agreement in several key areas might help.

Discovering Harmony

Here are a few things that might help your team find harmony.

  1. Understand the goal. Sometimes co-workers lose sight of the fact that you are all in it together. It shouldn’t be this person against that person or this clique over that clique. Teams that can agree on the goal are a step ahead of the rest. You might have different ideas on how to there, but the goal is understood.
  2. Agree on measurement. Can you agree on how you will measure success? What are the timelines and milestones? If you can agree on the goal, you should be able to form some consensus on the measurement. What will you measure and how?
  3. Accept the facts. A willingness to search for and understand the facts might be critical. Evidence is often hard to disregard. At the same time, working too hard to prove the point isn’t necessarily the best approach. Consider facts to be tools. Use them as appropriate to help create effective measurement.

Teams that are on the same journey are the most effective. Those who can’t agree on the goal, measurement, or facts have additional challenges.

Work Together

We might need to accept that there is more than one way to get to the end result. Sometimes the process needs to be fluid, but the goal remains unchanged.

What would you do if you were ship wrecked? Most would prefer to cooperate and never crash in the first place.

Work together, it seems to make the most sense.

– 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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tactics more important

Are Tactics More Important Than Goals?

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Developing and executing a good strategy is important. So is avoiding tactical firefighting approaches. What will get you to where you want to be? Are tactics more important than goals?

Strategy, Vision, and Goals

One of the most important concepts for creating individual or team success is to have a good strategy, a clear vision, and appropriate goals to get you there.

At the same time, it is important to recognize that having any of those, or all of them, won’t create the end result you’re looking for. You’ll need well executed tactics.

Ask three busy workplace professionals about their day and there is a good chance one of them will tell you that they were busy fighting fires. Fighting fires is a tactical approach to fix whatever pops up. This is a bad habit to get into, but you still need tactics.

When I help groups with formulating strategy we always develop tactics that will lead them to their vision or goal. Having a vision and strategy isn’t what gets you there, it is the tactics that get you there. This is not tactical firefighting though. There is a difference.

Here is how this breaks down. You have a vision or goal, where you want to be. Then you need a strategy for how you will get to that goal. Next in line are the tactics that you will use to pursue that strategy that will take you to the goal.

Sounds pretty simple right? The challenge might be that people often confuse the level of importance for goals as compared to tactics. You can have a fantastic goal. You can even have a fantastic strategy, but without the continued tactical pursuit, you just won’t get there.

Tactics More Important

Are tactics more important than goals? Think of tactics as your daily habits. A collection of good habits might be exactly what is necessary to get you to your goal.

Don’t slip into a habit of fighting fires and don’t have a vision and strategy without tactics.

Tactics might be the most important. Your daily tactics produce your results, with or without specific goals.

Reminds me of the fundamentals of computing, lesson one, garbage in, garbage out.

– 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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Coaching Yourself to Achieve Your Next Goal

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There are large numbers of people who chit-chat about their next goal. They have some ideas, talk about them, and perhaps give some fuzzy deadlines. Will coaching yourself work?

coaching yourself

Goal setting helps with vision. When you move forward step-by-step you are taking action. Action creates results, and you’ll need to actualize your vision.

Whenever you set a goal and actually put your body, mind, and heart behind it your chances of accomplishing something increases, dramatically. What sometimes stops people is that you also increase the chance of failure, setbacks, and disappointment.

Goal setting can sometimes be kind of funny. The bigger your vision the easier it is to make an excuse to quit. Better yet (actually worse yet) you might choose to just never get started in the first place. Sometimes people would just rather not face any disappointment and stay stuck.

Coaching Yourself

Here are a few points to keep in mind as you pursue any goal:

  • Make it realistic. What can you do to start the process moving forward? Monitor baby steps. Allow enough time.
  • Put time on your side. Disappointment often sets in because we hear about flash diets, short cuts, and quick fixes. There are none, be patient.
  • Be sincere with yourself. “I think I can,” is different from “I will do this.” If you want to program yourself to get there, don’t use wiggle words.
  • Focus on the next step. Sure you want to see the finish line, but you’ll never get there without the next step. If you only look towards the finish you leave room for doubt about the next step.

Talking about change or transformation is easy, making the pivot is harder. Often people find ways to talk themselves out of action instead of into action. If you’re coaching yourself you still have to pay the price of commitment.

– 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 You Driving For More Results?

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After all, results are what matters, right? Are you driving or are you just riding along?

get more results

Many people believe that they are creating their own path, making their own way, and working hard to accomplish their goals. However, often these same people are more interested in just riding along. They ride as a passenger, as a tourist or sightseer. They take in the views while someone else has the controls.

When someone shouts, “shotgun” it means they are claiming the front seat. They aren’t driving though. They are still just riding along. They are somewhat captive. They don’t really make the choices or even pick the destination.

When the driver gets them to the destination on time and without incident the passenger probably doesn’t really care whether they drove or not, in fact, being the passenger might be a whole lot easier.

If the driver doesn’t reach the destination, arrives late, or has a fender bender along the way the passenger has someone else to blame. They can just say, “Hey, I wasn’t driving.”

When you are driving though, it is a different story. You are responsible for your fate, there isn’t anyone someone else to blame and no one else can take the credit. You’re in control and responsible.

So are you driving or are you a passenger?

Here are a few metaphorical tips to help you drive for more results.

  • Know your destination. Driving without reason or purpose might take you someplace but it also might leave you stuck. Pick a target or a destination and understand your reason and purpose for going there.
  • Choose your path. A roadmap will help. Be sure that you pick the best route. The fastest or the slowest might not be as important as ensuring you arrive.
  • Use milestones. Mark your path with milestones or checkpoints. Have a plan, a timeline, and measure to it. If you don’t check-in along the way you might find you’ve arrived at the wrong time.
  • Budget for detours. No matter what you might encounter, smooth roads, roadblocks or detours. They might change your course but that doesn’t mean that they’ll change your destination.
  • It’s not over until you arrive. You might have to stop to rest, regroup, or refocus but your trip isn’t over until you arrive. Accept no excuse for not reaching your destination. If you’re driving there isn’t anyone else to blame.

Many people forget their career is finite until it’s too late. If you’re serious about achieving new breakthroughs and getting better results you owe it to yourself to drive.

Otherwise, you’re just along for the ride.

– 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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Will You Find A Way?

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Do more, dig deep, find a way to stay positive and focused. Do these thoughts ever cross your mind?

Beautiful thoughtful business woman

Finding a way to set free and peacefully reflect on past accomplishments or shortcomings and then create a plan complete with goals and objectives for your future is not only smart, but it helps keep you focused.

I’m convinced that what makes the difference for most people is their hunger (metaphorically) and their decisions. Yes, with accumulative shortcomings, let downs, and break downs anyone can get driven to believe that it just isn’t in the cards for them.

For most people though, it is something not so dramatic, something that they stop short of on their own and something that they give up on.

What about you, will you find a way to improve, a way to achieve more?

What we call life.

Life will test your will, your strength, and your balance. Some believe that achieving more is impossible. Others will find a way.

Some will make excuses, blame someone else, and express envy for those who appear more fortunate. Others will continue to seek positive change.

Are you currently thinking about your future, your goals, your past successes and failures? Perhaps you are rethinking decisions that you have made, paths that led to dead end roads, or how unfair life sometimes seems to be?

Your opportunity is now.

You have an opportunity right now to do something different.

Here are a few things to consider.

  1. Become more aware. As you plan your future, go back to the basics, consider what has worked and what hasn’t and plan to do more of what has worked. It is important that no matter how small they might appear, you focus on decisions, turning points, or unexpected results that are evidence of something that has worked in the past. Get to the root of those. Plan to do more of them.
  2. New choice, new opportunity. Decisions and choices are always the correct one at the exact moment you made it, but life always throws in the unexpected. If you’re dwelling on a past choice, let it go, it does you no additional amount of good to live in the past. Make a new choice, choose a different direction, and don’t stay stuck.
  3. Choose a path. Every path is not the right path, but if you don’t choose a direction and you remain undecided you’ll never leave the spot where you currently find yourself. Worse, the spot where you are currently will also change, it’s a guarantee. You’re much better off to be in control of your life rather than life being in control of you. 

Have exceptional hunger.

Change is never easy, and sometimes you won’t like it but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t necessary, important, or simply the right thing to do.

If you are thinking about your personal future, about your professional growth, or how to make a difference for your business you’re going to have to be exceptionally hungry and have unwavering focus.

That doesn’t mean that your plan won’t change, it most likely will. You’ll find scenarios that didn’t completely fit, plans of attack that didn’t work, and changes outside of the realm of your control that you must adjust to. A change in plans doesn’t have to mean a change in focus, but it might. Both are possible and both can be acceptable.

You’re going to have to remain committed. A lack of commitment means a lack of focus, and a lack of focus will mean a lack of results.

Stay focused, be hungry for more.

If you aren’t hungry, you’ll stop eating.

– 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 You Your Worst Critic, or Best?

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You came up short on your life goal, you narrowly missed being selected for the promotion, or a gigantic roadblock appeared that you didn’t expect. Are you your worst critic, or best?

your worst critic

As people we often see the worst in ourselves. We punish ourselves for coming up short, making a mistake, or narrowly missing an opportunity. Here is the brutal truth, don’t be so hard on yourself.

Your Worst Critic

Yesterday a dear friend shared something very private with me. It was something that he has carried for more than 30 years. With his head lowered and a never before heard softness in his voice, he expressed some of his pain.

While his story was difficult and upsetting to him my immediate reaction was that this situation was not his downfall, but it was his gift. (Just for the record, he is quite successful but he doesn’t always see it that way.)

This situation shaped his life and has made him a very positive force in all that he does and all that he pursues. It is his motivation, his driving force, and he uses it for the greater good of mankind. I celebrate him by writing this, but he might have his head down still caught up in the moments of discomfort or pain that he still carries to this day. What do I believe? I believe he is truly great.

Best Critic

Here are a few tips to help you keep your life in perspective:

  1. Be authentic. You aren’t anyone else, and no one else is you. Own any mistakes, but never let them slow you down, you’re only passing up future opportunities if you do.
  2. Stay positive. Staying positive is not telling yourself, “I am positive.” Staying positive is living and viewing all of life through a different lens. If your self-talk is about everything that went wrong, or everything that you expect will go wrong, no amount of stating that you are positive will take you there.
  3. Perfect is unreasonable. Perfection like beauty is often measured in the eye of the beholder. While you may see something as perfection, others might find fault. Stop lowering your self-esteem by comparing yourself to someone else. Measure against your own past performances or strive for improvement.
  4. Remind yourself of past accomplishments. Your life will be full of ups and downs, highs and lows. I don’t know of a single success story that doesn’t include some of both. Any ups and downs during a 12 month window might only represent a little over 1% of your life. Pick yourself up and get back on track.
  5. Someone might tell you that you can’t. There are always people who will tell you that you can’t achieve more. Instead of listening to them and allowing their prophecy to manifest inside you, turn it around and allow it to be your motivation to prove them wrong.

I really don’t like the word criticism. It is one of the harshest and most demoralizing words used when people intend to help someone improve.

If you want to be someone’s critic, try being your own. Don’t be your worst critic.

This is one place (of many) where you can truly be your best.

– 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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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3 Tips for Translating Vision Into Action

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Converting vision into action is often a workplace trouble spot. People can’t always see or clearly understand how they will accomplish their goals or do their part for bringing the vision of the organization to fruition.

Goals-Mission-3131352

While it might sound absurd on the surface, think about the last time you said or heard, “I don’t even know where to get started.” Sometimes it is difficult to get started when the task in front of you looks too big or too lofty to complete.

People might look at their desk, open a closet door or peak into their favorite storage space and think that cleaning it up or organizing the mess is just too difficult. Procrastination is at least one of the trouble spots for getting more organized or translating vision into action, but there are plenty of others.

What about you, can you translate vision into action?

Workplace Vision to Action

When your boss, the CEO, or even the board of directions sets performance goals sometimes the hardest part is getting started. Sometimes when you consider the forecasts they seem to be based on lofty aspirations, stretch goals, or to be coming from the place where unicorns live. If you don’t know where to begin, you’re not alone. Here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Break goals into smaller pieces. If you are looking at an annual budget you can begin by breaking things down into quarters, months, or even weeks. Keep in mind that in many cases results are not achieved in a perfect linear fashion. There might be peaks as well as valleys, and some cyclical nature to achieving results. Sometimes smaller pieces will help you to identify your initial focus.
  2. Jump in and get started. When it feels like you don’t know where to start, and you just can’t seem to figure it all out, try to focus on just jumping in, launch into it. Do something, move something, change something, take some kind of action. Sometimes once you are in motion some of the pieces will start to come together. Quite simply, you can’t finish if you never start.
  3. Focus on wins. One of the best motivators for what to do next is to remember your successes or past accomplishments. Identify and always reflect on something that was successful no matter how small it may seem. Sometimes making the decision to get started might represent your first win. Collect all of your wins together, pile them up, look at them, think about what would have happened without these and focus on achieving more.

Translating vision into action typically doesn’t require you to find the unicorn. It does sometimes require focus, persistence, and tenacity. It might be easy to claim that the goal is too big, has never been achieved before, or cannot be accomplished with current resources but those all sound like excuses to me. If you’re really going to make something happen, you’re going to have to recognize that excuses are useless.

– DEG

See also: Do You Actualize the Vision?

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 a four-time author. 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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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