Tag Archives: habits

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Performance affects your career

How Performance Affects Your Career

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Students and professionals alike are often thinking about the future of their career. Our focus often becomes about changing, learning, and growing. All of this is good stuff but is it really how performance affects your career?

Many people buy the book, they watch the video, and they pursue additional education. Certainly, those are worthwhile investments.

Short-term Events

Unfortunately, many of those same people will attempt to position what happens next based on a short-term event. Get the new job, achieve a promotion, and insist on the higher salary. All good ideas, but they are events.

Some change may occur the moment you decide you’re going to make it happen, but getting there is usually a long-term process.

Presenting Problems

Recently, a client telephoned me with an expressed need. In my line of work, we often call this the presenting problem. The presenting problem was what they viewed as a technical issue. They were seeking some technical training but expressed they couldn’t find any training programs that fit.

In reality, the technical skills were present, the workplace habits and culture was the root of the problem. We all know that a problem fixed, that isn’t at the root, is a problem that will reoccur.

Presenting problems and the real problem are not always the same. What they wanted, as commanded by the CEO, was a technical fix. What they really needed was a program related to their technical need but one that reinforces changing their habits and organizational culture.

Perhaps most important is that this organization was looking for an event that would solve their problem.

Change Process

Events may single handedly inspire change. It may create the moment that you decide. Events typically don’t yield systemic change. An event may spark it, but long-term effort is what will create it.

This is true for organizational development. It is also true for individual career growth.

Performance Affects Your Career

Change is a process that includes persistence, tenacity, and consistent effort. It is not just a one-time occurrence, or single event, but a long-term process.

Performance affects your career, but for growth, it will take more than a single event or learning a technical skill. It will be what you develop across time. It is a process of habits consistently repeated.

– 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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Understand power

Leadership Habit 46: Understand Power

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Most of the things that happen in the workplace have an emotional connection. Yes, many leaders talk about removing the emotion, using logic, and frequently give reminders that it is just business. Influence is powerful in leadership roles. Do you understand power?

For many, leadership is about power. It is the ability to control everything, call the shots, and flex the muscle. Power may be considered a form of positive influence, and it does work. In other cases, it may feel harsh and it may evoke fear.

Influenced by Power

When or where is power influential? Here are a few examples from the supervisor, boss, manager, owner, president, or CEO:

  • touring the facility
  • chairing the meeting
  • suggesting a policy change
  • arriving unexpected
  • calling you
  • emailing you
  • inviting you to the C-Suite
  • asking your opinion
  • requesting information
  • silence

Power requirements are different during good times as compared with bad times. The leader who leads during good times often possesses characteristics different from the leader who leads during difficult times.

Yes, some are adaptable to either scenario, but most leaders have strength towards one but not both trends.

Leadership in Good Times

During good times, the leader may appear to have things well under control. The business is coasting along, cruising, and life is good. The mood is positive and progressive. Decisions are more trusted and efforts feel respected.

Unfortunately, what often happens is that decisions affecting long-term outcomes feel less volatile. This sets up future challenges, because you won’t cruise or coast forever.

Leadership in Difficult Times

During challenging times, the leadership style may have to be much different. The power is different. Trust is questioned, respect is harder to develop. Decisions are often over-analyzed, paralysis often occurs.

Fear, not inspiration may be the default motivator. Short-term is problematic and long-term not well understood.

There is very little coasting during difficult times. The work is hard, the outcomes are not guaranteed.

Metaphorically

When you pedal your bike up the hill, you look forward to the coast. While coasting, very little power is required. The flow feels great and your work is (temporarily) finished. The next hill seems far away or not even in sight.

Direction, as long as it doesn’t feel like uphill, doesn’t matter so much. Exhales are easy and relaxing. The road ahead appears smooth. Details like tire pressure, chain tension, and brake wear are seldom considered.

Quickly Forget

I won’t quickly forget the CEO who told me their business had grown too big to fail. “There isn’t a chance,” he said. Good people were in place and years of commitment with a strong team guaranteed results. They were coasting, but the ground was becoming level.

Nobody really toured the facility with an eye for change. Meetings were very casual with little concern. People didn’t call, write, or even ask many questions. The silence was assumed as a signal of success, no worries.

The coast was about to stop, a new hill straight ahead.

Not one person was interested to pedal, more importantly they weren’t in shape or prepared.

Did the leader understand power, or how to use it?

Understand Power

There is a difference in the power requirements when pedaling up-the-hill or when coasting.

Many leaders survive the coast, pedaling is a different story.

– 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 Habits

Why You Should Change Your Customer Service Habits

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Habits lead to traditions. Traditions become part of the culture.  Should you make room for some new customer service habits?

You probably have to clean out your closet before you can buy something new. When both hands are full you need to put something down and let it go before you can grab on to something new.

Do you have an old customer service habit that needs to be revised or replaced?

Customer Service Habits and Labels

Here are a few ways that we might label customer service habits:

Established. What is well established seems reasonable, but in a world of constant change the worst thing to do is to stay exactly the same.

Tried. Many times people have tried something new, only to discard it quickly and label it as not working. Just because it didn’t work then, doesn’t mean it won’t work now.

Old. Old habits are traditions and traditions may be the hardest to break. Traditions are good, but what if you can only have ten of them? Could one of them be replaced with something fresh, something new—should it?

Tested. Knowing what works is important. Passing the test is always critical. Did the test cover all possibilities? What has changed since the test?

Broken. Chances are good you have a habit that is broken. That doesn’t mean you’ve broke free, it means that the habit is not effective. Broken, weak, or useless means it should be discarded. Replace it with something new.

New Habits

The landscape of your service interactions are constantly changing. Certainly, you may have some fundamental values, policies, and procedures, but the interactions you have today may not still be effective tomorrow.

New doesn’t last very long. Some people see that as a problem, others see it as an opportunity. Tomorrow you’ll have a choice, some habits should stay for a while, others may need to be replaced.

There is an advantage to new, it gives you energy, something to talk about, something to promote.

People always ask, “What’s new?”

Will you have something to say?

– 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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about attitude

15 Choices We Can Make About Attitude

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It is often easy to point the finger at a bad attitude. We can be accusatory without self-examination. And yes, we make choices about attitude.

Most employers will tell you that they hire for attitude. Certainly, there are often minimum skill requirements and sometimes certifications or degrees, but next in line is often attitude. Although we might not always recognize it, attitude is about choice.

It is about our choices, what we choose. It is not about what someone has done to us, against us, or because of us. We still have the right, and more importantly the responsibility to choose.

Good or Bad

Like most things in life, we can make good choices or bad. Do you want to make good choices?

If yes, you might choose to:

  1. participate with interest
  2. give your best effort
  3. encourage honest work
  4. help others
  5. be committed to learning
  6. strive for excellence
  7. have a willingness for change
  8. support improving confidence
  9. be optimistic
  10. have an open mind
  11. have ambition
  12. celebrate achievements
  13. keep promises
  14. believe in the goal
  15. discover and focus on the good

That isn’t all, there are plenty more. Unfortunately, there are bad choices too.

About Attitude

Choices about our attitude might be similar to a habit, or perhaps positive choices should become one. You have to make the choice about attitude over and over again. It isn’t a one and done.

We’ve all probably heard that attitudes are contagious and that they often develop from role models. Each day is a new opportunity, a new experience, and one that might require the right attitude.

There are rewards for making good choices. When you make good choices about attitude, you might find yourself with a better job, better pay, and an ever increasing number of opportunities.

Choose to lead. Choose to be a good role model.

Always make good choices.

Have the right attitude.

– 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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customer service ethics appreciative strategies

What Are Your Customer Service Ethics?

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Ethics can be a controversial subject. What seems perfectly fine to one person might be extremely wrong to another. Do you think much about customer service ethics?

People sometimes believe it is okay if it is a small thing. It might be the little white lie or the dirt swept under the carpet. In other cases, it might be connected to the concept of a baker’s dozen or getting a take home container after having a full meal at the buffet.

What do you think, are people and businesses ethically challenged?

Observed Ethical Challenges

Make a cake and you might hide the imperfections with extra icing, seems sweet enough.

What about the chicken nuggets left over from the lunchtime rush? Did the cook notice or simply not care? Perhaps it is about profit, no nuggets wasted.

The same might be true for the aged lettuce tossed into your salad or cleverly hidden under your sandwich bun. A few pieces here and there, no one will notice.

Ethics exist in customer service. Sometimes they are cleverly disguised in the sale. Other times there is hope that it simply goes unnoticed. Besides, if discovered there is an apology to make things right.

Is this the food you want to eat? Is it the product you thought you were buying, or what you expect to find inside the brown box on your doorstep? No customer wants this surprise.

You Are What You Build

In life, you are the product of your habits repeated over and over again. The same is true for your business reputation. You are the product of what you deliver over and over again.

You might sweeten the cake sometimes and get away with it since icing seems like an extra. Few would probably find fault or feel short-changed.

Cold nuggets and brown lettuce are never a good idea. Some might complain, but many others will just go somewhere else the next time.

Customer Service Ethics

What you try to hide or pretend to not notice might get you through the day. After all, if no one says anything did it really happen?

The successful shop, the one that cares and is ethical, is not sweeping anything under the carpet.

They are not building it for today. They are building it for today and tomorrow.

Their customers come back and refer others.

– 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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build better customer service

How to Build Better Customer Service Starting Now

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When you ask about customer service, most will tell you that it should be easy. It’s true, by concept customer service is not that hard. In practice, customer service is a little more difficult. Do you know how to build better customer service?

Measuring Customer Service

People often walk blindly into the belief that they have great service. The belief is that they create it with “please” and “thank you” or by kindness and caring.

Management often believes that is created by careful monitoring, pushing out surveys, and collecting feedback.

In some scenarios, exceptional service is measured by sales results and revenue growth. Numbers that are typically anchored in historical data or management expectations.

All of those might provide some value but none of them really tackles the hard stuff. The hard stuff is having a culture of caring and being driven for excellence. Not because you say it is so, but because your customers know that it is so.

A culture of the best service is built around people who are energized by working together to create an exceptional experience every time.

The values and beliefs of those functioning within it create outputs day in and day out which are the standards they live by.

Perhaps the most coveted culture inspires peers to help peers, is one where everyone takes the lead and following or co-producing is natural. The purpose is not to create more followers. It is to create more leaders.

These are their habits, replicated across time.

Build Better Customer Service

Customer service is not validated by the automated return call, the lengthy register receipt with a URL, or simply by asking those who are willing to answer. It’s validated when people come back or when they tell others about their positive experience. Better yet, it is validated when they bring friends the next time.

Customer service is not defined by rules, policies, and ultimatums. That is the easy stuff. It is what nearly everyone does and it is why there are so many complaints.

Size doesn’t matter but feelings and perceptions do. Short cuts, fake smiles, and direction pointers aren’t providing service. At best, they are earning a paycheck.

When you measure against the average, or the organization that is just one step ahead the best you’ll ever become is number two.

If you want to build better customer service, you might want to think less about rules and policies and more about culture and caring.

– 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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comfortable with change

Getting Comfortable With Change

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Did your January 1st start out with a vow to change something? As I write this, it is nearing the end of June. How has change worked for you? Are you comfortable with change?

Habits and Traditions

Most of our life is spent getting comfortable. It seems we are always working to improve our skill and to replicate what worked well and call it a habit. It might be the way that we do things and those things might become known as traditions.

Yet, for most of us, we also recognize that if we want different results we have to do things differently. Even then, we sometimes can’t just do things differently, we must consider how to do different things. This is change.

When our concept of progress is to become so highly skilled that we feel comfortable, everything else is uncomfortable. Change is often hard, it is different, not the same. Change might take all that we know and all that we’ve done and turn it upside down and inside out.

Business leaders want to improve the product, find new revenue streams, or completely change the company. Their opposition might not be the competition but more about the habits and traditions they’ve worked so hard to perfect. It is a paradox.

Comfortable with Change

Perhaps mastering change is to learn a new skill, the skill of becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable.

The emergency room at the local hospital never knows what to expect. They plan for the unplanned and adapt as things change. Certainly, they might not always change their policies, procedures, or medicine, but they also don’t know what will happen next.

Technology, shifts in socio-economic conditions, and the values and beliefs of consumers will all have an impact on what happens next.

It seems that the best way to get comfortable with change is to expect it.

You’re going to have to give something up though. A habit, a tradition, or the way you’ve always done it. It will mean learning something different and developing a new skill.

Get comfortable with that too.

– 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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no problem appreciative strategies

Customer Service: When No Problem is a Problem

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We probably experience many customer service interactions every day. Not just at the convenience store, on the telephone, or in our workplace, but everywhere. Do you recognize that when you say, “no problem,” it might actually be a problem?

We learn about customer service at a very young age. Nearly everyone understands the importance of a smile, a friendly greeting, and making a difference for someone else. What are your practices though? Do you have the right habits?

No Biggie

When I was a teenager, I remember a popular phrase. It was used so often that I’m not sure its true meaning was really understood. Everything that happened, every time there was something going on that required a follow-up response we might have heard, “no biggie.”

People said, “No biggie” all the time. I guess it meant not to worry, no offense taken, or may be sometimes it meant, you are welcome.

Sometimes our habits are not just actions. They might also be words or phrases. Habits might represent a thoughtless response of jargon that we apply to more than one situation.

No Problem

In customer service scenarios we might want to consider that the commonly used phrase, “no problem” might actually be a problem.

Consider some of these scenarios:

  • No problem, I’ll call you as soon as I find out more information.
  • If you have any trouble, just call me, no problem.
  • We can fix that, no problem.

Have you ever considered that sometimes when we say, “No problem” the customer might feel that there actually was a problem?

Perhaps their interaction interrupted your other work. They might feel like they were asking for something special that was an inconvenience to you. Worse yet they might decide consciously or subconsciously that they don’t want to be a problem in the future.

You’re Welcome

Perhaps it is misunderstood. Maybe we should change that habit.

We could just as easily say, “You’re welcome.”

– 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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mentor and coach

The Difference Between Mentor and Coach

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In a recent article I wrote about how to find the right mentor. It sparked some additional questions. One important question might be what are the differences between mentor and coach?

When you are considering the idea of having a good mentor or coach in the workplace it is important to think about the end result. What are you really trying to achieve?

Outcomes and Experiences

You might want to use a mentor when you are trying to create any of the following:

  • Job shadowing
  • Developing specific skills
  • Learning the ropes
  • Following in the footsteps
  • Replicating

A coach on the other hand would be somewhat different. Consider a coach to help create the following:

  • Breaking new ground
  • Discovering alternatives
  • Exploring choices or direction
  • Replacing old habits with new
  • Connecting with purpose

Mentor and Coach

Mentoring might assume that the mentee is ready, willing, and able to take on a new job role. It would be used when you are trying to transfer the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the mentor to the mentee. In some ways you might also connect these same concepts with an internship or apprentice.

Coaching is different but it also assumes that the person is ready and willing to be coached. In some cases it might be viewed as an opportunity to get on the right track. In other cases it is to inspire growth. Coaching typically is not show and tell. It is more about discovery and direction.

Skill Sets

A mentor needs to know and understand the job requirements. They need experience in that role, or to be a good professional role model. A mentor would likely use examples of actions and behaviors that lead to job success. I sometimes suggest that it is an advanced form of job shadowing.

A coach may or may not have specific experience in the job. The coach often needs to be able to help the coached person discover alternatives, different paths, or new directions. Show and tell is less important. The ability to illustrate and ask without being seen as condescending holds more value.

Do some mentors use coaching techniques? Do some coaches have the ability to mentor? The answer to both is yes.

– 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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getting things done habit

Getting Things Done Habit and Your Workload

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Some days we look at our schedule and we can’t imagine how we will accomplish what needs done. Do you have a, getting things done habit?

Most people seem to operate from one of two schools of thought.

  1. Work hard, be determined, get quality work accomplished and check it off the list.
  2. Work hard, be determined, second guess the quality, find doubt in the quality, set it aside for later.

Either case might have value or seem like the right decision at the time. What is your habit?

Getting Things Done Habit

You absolutely never want to deliver or turn in work that is of poor quality, but sometimes we have to be okay with the current quality. The truth is that we have to find the right balance. In some circles we might call this tolerance.

I often suggest to people that for nearly any task you can accomplish eighty percent of the work in twenty percent of the total time required. However many people will spend eighty percent of the total time required trying to achieve perfection which is only twenty percent (or less) of the finished product.

I find two things to be true:

  1. The strictest people, the perfectionist, those with doubt that overshadows confidence might need to release more work.
  2. The people who believe the check box is more important than the quality need to seek more perfection.

Your Workload

When you really need to get a lot accomplished you might have to rethink your strategy.

Having a strong work ethic is important. Caring about delivering exceptional quality might be even more important. In some cases though, you have to label the work as finished. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

Find the balance in your getting things done habit.

Someone mgiht think you four it, or perhaps not.

– 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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