Tag Archives: habits

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small errors

How Small Errors Become Big Problems

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It is common for big problems to be linked to big errors. Often though the big problem developed from small errors that grew over time. Are small errors worth fixing, or should they be ignored?

Bad Habits

It often feels natural to skip over the little mistake. Many believe it is perfectly fine to procrastinate about the task at hand, brush it off, and save it for later.

Habits are formed this way. The habit may be to shrug and walk away. Place the blame on other circumstances or situations. Ask who was the last person who touched it and suggest that the starting point exists somewhere else. After all, you’re too busy.

Wrong Directions

We were late because of traffic.

The guy on the corner gave us bad directions.

The signage is simply not adequate on this road.

If you are lost, do you keep driving hoping to pop out at the right place?

Certainly, this may work if you’re close. As in, close to having the right directions, but if you are traveling North when you should be going South, good luck. Your problems are compounding with every mile.

Most of the time our wrong turns, bad choices, and faulty data are not because of an isolated incident. They are the result of compounded issues that grow with each successive twist or turn. They grow bigger and get faster. Worse yet, they get further away and harder to come back to.

The result is a bigger problem.

Small Errors

A messy customer experience doesn’t get better when you wait. Often the issue festers. While it festers the same experience can be inappropriately duplicated.

The problem grows over time. More people affected, more costs eroded, and a brand that sours.

It seems likely that sometimes the best way to deal with big problems is to deal with them when they are small errors. Casting blame, looking away, or denial of an issue doesn’t let anything slip away except more time and money.

Next time there is a small error consider fixing it before it grows into a big problem. It is the right kind of habit.

-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 RespectNavigating 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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avoiding hassle

Avoiding Hassle and Other Great Time Wasters

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Change surrounds us, yet everyday someone avoids learning something new. What becomes more of a hassle, learning something new or the change that it entails? Are you avoiding hassle or really avoiding the time it takes to learn?

Something New

Who reads the instructions? Buy something that requires assembly and many people will dig right in. Certainly, they often get it right, but sometimes they cost themselves more time through a tear down and rebuild.

Software version upgrades, they are often a hassle too. A new phone, a new printer in the office, or even your brand-new microwave oven. Learning something new sometimes feels like a hassle. It feels like a waste of time.

A Required Change

When the customer changes a work order. It is a hassle. There is time involved. The machine will need calibrated, the materials put back in storage and new materials acquired. The shipping container will change and so will the costs. It is a hassle.

The same is true when the customer forgot to order the sandwich without the tomato, the taco without the guacamole, or an extra order of fries. It is hard to change your order at the drive through when you are between the “order here” microphone and the pay window.

Some things we learn to live with because it feels easier. We learn that avoiding hassle is easier than living it.

Avoiding Hassle

It is true for our careers too. Many people decide that they don’t want to re-tool. They don’t want to do-over, start fresh, or learn something new.

It stops becoming about getting better. There is more focus on the hassle. The value of leverage has changed or is not understood in the first place.

The habit of avoiding hassle crosses all generations. Many traditionals feel there is not a compelling reason to learn something different and yet much of Generation Z has learned to avoid the hassle altogether by asking Google.

Everything we do for our job, our career, or our business is done better with leverage. Instead of getting into the habit of avoiding hassle, consider the time you will save by leveraging the value of learning something new.

-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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learning how

Learning How Is Not Where Things Start and Stop

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Learning how is a good step. People often think, “When I don’t know how, someone will help me.” Learning how is important, is it most important?

Today people jump on a Google search, ask Siri, or head over to YouTube to discover some do it yourself tactics. This may work, in fact, it does work for many things. However, the home mechanic, sink fixer, or roof repair skill builders may still be too much for many people and are appropriately given to a professional.

Are there things that you should learn and then turn into a new habit?

Habits Last

Many eager people in the workplace want to learn how. They want to learn how to navigate the system, how to be a better leader, or how to improve their communication.

People go to school, they may attend college, do an apprenticeship, or get formal on-the-job training. All these things can be good and beneficial but learning how is just where things start.

What we do every day has much to do with our knowledge but knowing and doing are not the same.

It is the habits that we form that will create the most momentum. Attitude can be a habit. Approaching work with energy and enthusiasm can be a habit. What we do first, next, and at the end of the day is often based on habit.

Learning How

Learning how is important, but it is also often quickly forgotten. When we find that we need to know we’ll ask again, check the manual, or go visit YouTube. None of those are a bad plan, but they are about knowledge that isn’t retained or practiced. A habit will last.

When we make learning how a habit, and back it up with knowledge gain turned into more new habits we find more success.

Often the secret for getting along, creating a better team, and being a better leader is not based purely on learning how.

It is based on learning how and turning new skills into a habit.

-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 RespectNavigating 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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Never coast

Leadership Habit 47: Never Coast

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Good things happen to good people. At least, that is what we often hear. When things are already going good there often really isn’t any need to do anything different, right? Cruising, coasting, or joy riding may be a bad metaphorical position for any leader. Good leaders never coast.

When the marketing plan appears to be working, when sales are flowing and the funnel is big, and when all of teams are working together and the product or service is ready to ship, don’t coast. Coasting is one of the easiest traps for any leader to fall into.

Coasting Problems

Here are a few problems for the leader that coasts:

  • False security, no reason for action
  • Stops learning because of the feeling that all necessary knowledge has been attained
  • Listen to the bottom line, not customers
  • Opportunities go unrecognized since they aren’t needed
  • Systems age or don’t keep up leaving a technology gap

Coasting feels good. It is the confirmation bias of those that follow the idea of good things happen to good people. One problem with that thinking is that most business success, at least that which will continue to grow, doesn’t just happen.

Never Coast

Consider some changes for the trouble spots just mentioned.

  • Action is always important. No plan, or a plan without action is a plan to fail. Sooner or later.
  • Becoming smarter is magnetic. It typically creates more business. Besides, learning is a lot more fun than boredom.
  • Nothing will give you a better clue for where you’re headed than honest conversations with customers.
  • You can’t feed a family (for long) on last year’s crop. There is no room for the sustain mindset, new opportunities are always needed.
  • Prepare to change often, new technology leads the way, nothing has advanced in the last century without new technology.

Anyone can coast for a while. Sometimes the coast is long and steady, but eventually the coast will slow to a stop. In some circumstances, you eventually may start to coast backwards.

Never coast, it may feel affordable, but the true cost is always too high.

– 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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what happens next

What Happens Next, You Always Decide

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There are plenty of financial experts ready to help you plan your savings, your retirement, and where you’ll invest. The idea is that in that near the end, you’ll end up where you planned. What about your career? Do you have a plan for where you’ll end up? One thing is certain, what happens next is up to you.

More Than Work

Work is more than the labor that you can see or touch. It is more than the numbers on the spreadsheet, the product ready to ship, or the size of your sales funnel. Everyone in the workplace is also processing some level of emotional labor. It’s hard to measure and hard to see, but it is happening, every day.

What do you spend ten minutes on each day, how about twenty minutes?

Imagine if you spent ten minutes each day to study something unfamiliar, what would happen? Perhaps it is about best practices for your trade, management skills, or knowing more about the healthiest foods. It could be about auto repair, landscaping, or fixing the kitchen sink.

It doesn’t really matter if it is about business skills, hobby interests, or fitness. When you spend ten minutes each day working on it, learning something new, and practicing it you’ll become better.

What happens next? If you do it long enough, most likely you can become an expert.

Expert In What

Of course, there is always the other side of how you’ll spend ten minutes. You can spend ten minutes complaining about being short changed, how things are unfair, and that the boss is a jerk.

You can spend ten minutes reminding yourself of where you came up short, the mistake from yesterday, or how much money someone else is making.

Alternatively, you could spend ten minutes asking questions about why the woman down the hall is wearing jeans, why the outside salesman isn’t wearing a tie, or how long the boss will put up with a lack of accountability.

What Happens Next

A penny, a quarter, or a dollar only seem small until you collect one each day for five years. Ten minutes doesn’t seem like much until you add it up for the week, a month, or across a year or more.

The difference between who you are today and who you’ll become is based on how you spend your time. It is conditioned by your emotional labor. The product is you. Will you end up where you planned?

Bit by bit, what happens next, is entirely up to you.

– 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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worked yesterday

This Worked Yesterday, So It Will Work Today

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Habits are what carry most people through each day. Self-improvement experts are always suggesting that people should change their habits. If it worked yesterday, will it work again today?

Many people stick with what is familiar.

Right arm in the right sleeve first, it is the way to put on a jacket.

Coffee before any work begins.

The number four combo in the drive-through restaurant.

In the workplace people often groan about boredom. They can’t stand Monday, start a little happy dance on Wednesday afternoon, and are excited for the end of work on Friday. Included in their status quo are the grumbles about their repetitive, monotonous, and humdrum jobs.

They retire there, but before they do, in their final days, they discover something. They discover that it is their chance to leave something behind. Perhaps it is a legacy, a chance to make an impact, a chance to tell the story of how to make it better and why the work matters.

Risk Change

Some of the best companies have failed. Some of the best companies have changed.

People sometimes proclaim, “Nothing will ever change around here.” Yet it is that same story that they work for each day.

Some businesses strive for process improvement through Six Sigma, or other cleverly named methods of perfecting a process. Reduce waste, improve efficiency, and have no defects.

It is fantastic during the build. It accomplishes something. Long term it creates a mindset of perfect it, lock it in and never change. Then there is the concept of continuous improvement, but then people are at odds with the philosophy. Do we change or stay exactly the same?

Habits are micro steps to creating an outcome. They build confidence or destroy it. Lessons are learned, some should be kept and others discarded. This worked yesterday, it took a while to perfect the process, lock it in. It will work today.

What is familiar is comfortable. Habits are supposed to be the process that creates the desired outcome.

If it worked yesterday, it will work today.

Worked Yesterday

Some things never change and some shouldn’t. Some shouldn’t be the way they are, and some should never have started.

One of the best ways to start your day may be with the optimism of your first day.

I am not completely sure what is going here, but I really want to learn something new.

Maybe this is the best habit of all.

– 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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New habits

New Habits Are a Decision You Can Make

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Personal or professional change is always a topic that invokes interest. Many people consider that they want to make a change, make a difference, or discover something new. Have you considered how new habits are about decisions you make?

Wanting New Habits

Someone will suggest that they want to get more exercise, read more books, or learn more about something they have always wanted to do. What is required to make this happen? The quick and easy response is change.

Your days are likely filled with activity. Depending on your work, your personal responsibilities, and your discipline (note discipline, not motivation) you can make a change. The question you may have to ask yourself is what will you give up?

Out with Old Habits

Old habits are hard to kick. Attraction to the path of least resistance is easier than the discipline required to make a change.

I want the chocolate cake is more desirable than I won’t eat the cake because of the outcomes that will follow.

Taking a little snooze while watching some television is easier than getting dressed in some workout gear and heading to the gym.

Having a nice cup of coffee and processing emails or joining in the office chat is easier than calling some clients to ask about the recent service you provided.

Sometimes we can this motivation, but it really is more about discipline.

Requirements

New habits require at least two things. They require you to give something up, and they require you to have the discipline to continue to do the new repetitively.

When I’m coaching people they often can’t see how they will make a change. Their day is full, their time is committed, and their energy and work to life balance is set. It makes me smile because that is exactly why we are talking. They need a change.

New Habits New Steps

Recognizing the need for change is the first step. Next, you have to consider what you will give up. Will it be the chocolate cake, the television snooze, or the smooth and easy flow of what you call the daily grind?

If you’ve decided you need a change. Identify what you’ll give up and commit to the discipline to stick to it.

New habits are possible but only when 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 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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Better habits

Better Habits And Your Personal Masterpiece

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Do you need better habits? Human capability is amazing. When you study anything historical, you’ll find that the human race has accomplished astounding things in a very short period of time. What you do with your life or your career is often based on simple things called habits.

Many suggest that we are creatures of habit. We spend our lives waking to morning routines, which turn into daily routines, then evening routines, and after some sleep we do it all over again. Is it really that simple? The easy answer is, sort of.

Examine Your Habits

If you drink two or three twenty ounce sodas per day, eat cupcakes and candy bars for lunch, and have pizza four or five times per week you may want to consider some different eating habits.

If you never walk more than a handful of steps between your home, your car, and your workplace, it may be a good idea to get some additional exercise.

We can change our habits. We can eat better with more well balanced meals, we can exercise more, and we can even commit to more learning and personal growth.

The hard part is not knowing what to do. The hard part is changing our habits. Sure, sometimes knowledge is involved, but that theoretically is easy to gain.

Better Habits

What is required for a change in habits?

First, we have to consider giving up what is easy. Society seems to suggest that easy is best. However, taking the stairs instead of the elevator may be a better choice.

Think of everything you do that is easy, the elevator, the nearest parking spot, and the home cleaning service, the pool boy, the landscaper, and fast food. These things are all easy, right?

The second thing we should consider is giving up something we love, pizza or Brussels sprouts, which will it be? What are you drinking? A couple of beers, three sodas, or several glasses of water, which one will you give up?

Personal Masterpiece

Giving up something that is easy, or what we love, is probably the path to a better you. The knowledge of what is required is not hard to obtain. The ideas and paths are plentiful. Having the discipline and persistence to switch to better habits may be much more of a challenge.

You probably already know how to be a bigger contributor to your personal masterpiece.

The question then becomes, “What are you doing about it?”

Ask it often. Give honest answers.

– 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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employee training

New Habits May Come From Employee Training

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The interest in employee training often sparks from a problem. A breakdown in customer service, an incorrect shipment, or supervisors who lack skills to lead, may lead to an interest for employee training. Will it work?

Since I’m in the business, it is something that is near and dear to my heart. Training can be very effective but its impact is often conditioned on many things. Sure, you have to establish a good learning environment, you must have great content, and the flow should maintain both an interested and open atmosphere.

Those are all important, but for behavioral training and soft skill development equally important is the organizational commitment for change. How will the organization embrace new skills?

Learning and Practice

Learning is just the front edge. Much of the soft skill development is not rocket science. True, many people have room to learn more, but often the biggest value isn’t so much in the new material learned, but in replacing bad habits with good.

Establishing new habits is often critical, following up with customers, framing our meeting discussions with respect and open mindedness, and leading through inspiration instead of fear.

Practice will have much to do with success.

New Habits

If I want to get fit, I may know how, but if I only go to the gym once a month I’m probably not going to change much.

When I want a healthier diet, I may have to make time to plan, shop, and have different buying habits. It isn’t always that I don’t know how, it is about my habits.

In both cases, it is also be a commitment of time, money, and resources.

On the flip side of this there is often denial.

I’m fit enough, I’ll just wear some extra baggy clothes, or I’m not really overweight I just don’t like stairs.

This is often true in our personal lives, and metaphorically true for organizations.

Employee Training

Can employee training help my organization? Absolutely it can, it will close knowledge gaps, refresh lost or forgotten best practices, and motivate and inspire employees to make a difference.

However, both the employees and the organization will need to improve by replacing bad habits with good, then repeat.

– 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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Choose choice

Do You Choose Choice Or Not Have One?

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Have you ever felt like you didn’t have a choice? Often the truth is that you have to choose choice.

Habits control much of what happens throughout our day.

When we are under stress or pressure, we often will default to what feels natural, safe, or puts up a wall.

No Choice

People often suggest that they did it because they had no choice.

Sometimes it feels as though life happens to us. Yes things break. Yes, circumstances or situations may be beyond our control. Sometimes life doesn’t cooperate. However, much of what happens next depends on choice.

It feels safer to place the blame on circumstances, situations, or other people.

I’m not applying for that job because I don’t have the degree.

That networking event isn’t for me. I won’t know anyone there.

I don’t know how to do that, but no one recognizes my true skills.

We often imagine we are blocked at every twist, every turn. Our imagination tells us that there are obstacles, hurdles, or gaps that we can’t possibly navigate or bridge. Those are often the easy choices, not the same as no choice.

Possibilities often exist except we don’t see them. We choose not to see them because we are convinced that they are too difficult or too risky. In other cases, we may become trained that a failure means it is over, we won’t go there again.

It is the boy turned down for the dance, the runaway bride or groom, or the interview without a job offer.

The easier choice, the safe one, is to put up a wall, suggest you know the outcome, or simply claim that there was no choice.

Choose Choice

Habits often link us to safety and comfort. Following a habit is not the same as not having a choice.

Will you choose choice? Do you have a choice?

Following the easy choice doesn’t mean that there are no other options.

– 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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