Tag Archives: leadership

  • 0
Good plans fail

Why Good Plans Fail And Judgment Inspires Outcomes

Tags : 

What’s your plan? People ask that question often. What’s the plan, what are we doing? Have you thought recently about why good plans fail?

Having a good strategy is important. There are plenty of ways to start developing one. There are also plenty of ways to overanalyze, and become paralyzed with fear.

One of the best questions but the one not often asked is about the quality of the plan. Is it a good plan? This is typically not asked, because instead it is judged.

Good Plans Fail

Most plans are judged. The gamble of working or not working, being fun, exciting, and the risk, or a lack of risk, that will generate the momentum required for success.

It’s all judgment. Typically, judgment based doubt, not on optimism.

When the plan is rolled out, doubt will appear. Doubt is often confirmed in the moments that immediately follow. When in doubt, the naysayer has your back.

Judgment Inspires Outcomes

The trouble with a lot of good plans is that they are judged by naysayers. If judgment is going to occur, perhaps it should be different. Judged for why it will work and not why it won’t.

What if it is a good plan? What if the judgment, the bias, and the stereotyping confirmed success instead of denying it? Would the outcomes change if it were judged by success and not the possibility of lurking failure?

Often good plans fail before they get started.

Lead Each Other

Suggest the opposite, look for what will work. Consider why things are different now, and the possibility of how this plan will make things better. This is a team who leads each other, a team who works with optimism, hope, and a good plan.

The team that believes they have a good plan and the one that does not are probably both going to be right.

The reality that the new plan might work will prevent a good plan from failing.

Somebody has to lead. Plan accordingly.

– 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+


  • 0
failure expensive

Is Failure Expensive, Compared to What?

Tags : 

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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


  • 0
Changing organizational culture

Truth About Your Changing Organizational Culture

Tags : 

Times are changing. It seems every organization recognizes the business environment and climate are changing. Are you closely connected with some of the most fundamental aspects and ready to discover the truth about your changing organizational culture?

If everything in the business environment is shifting, the riskiest place to be is stuck in the status quo. When the environment is different, you can’t just do things differently. You will likely have to discover and learn, adapt, and do different things.

Discover Truth

Here are three important aspects to consider:

  • Facts. What is factual and true about your direction? What is the proof, or what can you prove through research or evidence?
  • Needed. What are the skills or expertise you will need for where you are headed? What will make the shifting direction successful? Consider what your team can learn or what should you outsource or hire?
  • Fears. Give honest self-reflection. What do you fear? What are you avoiding to face the truth? Consider what may be important but also out of your control.

Our U.S. economy has been shifting for decades. It has accelerated in this shift since 2009.

Do Different Things

Ask another question, what are you doing that is different, which is not the same as exploring what things you are doing differently.

This represents the truth in your path. Consider the culture, the habits, and the traditions.

Write it all down, put it on a flip chart or write on a white board.

When you step back and look at your situation more as an outside observer as compared to an inside navigator you may discover the real truth.

Changing Organizational Culture

Many believe their culture protects them and makes them strong. That is a truth, but a culture stuck in the status quo is actually falling behind.

That may be the hardest truth 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+


  • 0
born leaders appreciative strategies

Some People Are Born Leaders, Right?

Tags : 

A discussion exists that has been circling for some time. It didn’t start yesterday, and it may not end today. Are some people born leaders? Are leaders automatically born into leadership or are they made?

In U.S. culture the answers are much like an election, you’ll find people on both sides.

Leadership is for the:

  • wealthy who have things coming their way, it may be people like Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett;
  • generous, it may be people like Paul Allen, George Soros, and Ted Turner;
  • long lasting and persistent, people like Peter Drucker, Jack Welch, and Fred Smith.

Is it?

Beliefs about Leadership

Some believe that leadership is for everyone else. It is for other people, the people who have rank, money, and family connections.

There are people with a different belief about leadership. People with a different story, a different foundation, and even with a different frame. They see things differently.

Leadership is Different

When you see it that everyone has a chance to lead, and people will lead in different ways and at different capacities, leadership itself is about something different.

If you make your life’s work about developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities to lead and then you execute to the fullest extent of your capabilities you are probably a leader.

Leadership doesn’t come from status, money, or family connections. It isn’t a job title, a number of direct reports, or high back leather chair. It isn’t a salary, perks, or a membership at the country club.

Born Leaders

Leadership may come from caring, giving, and role modeling. It may come from well executed risk, persistence, and by making good choices. It may also be about stepping up, endurance, and taking initiative.

If you decide you want to lead, then perhaps you can decide that you were born to lead.

Leadership for anyone is about one fundamental truth—choice.

– 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+


  • 0
listening improves customer service

How Listening Improves Customer Service

Tags : 

Many organizations who actually take the time to self-reflect suggest that one area they could improve is in their communication. Listening is one of the most fundamental and easily improved skills. Have you considered how listening improves customer service?

As a business consultant and organization development professional, I hear it all the time. I hear it mostly because I am listening, listening carefully and watch the non-verbal cues. Many businesses believe they are too good to change.

Their focus is either on the CEO’s area of expertise, often a technical skill, or on getting more sales. Neither of these are a problem, until; their focus becomes their blind spot.

Blind Spots

I’ve heard CEO’s of small businesses ($15k – $65k annual revenue) repeatedly suggest that they are too big to fail. Some of them flat out say it. Others are saying it when you listen through the words.

If you’re following along closely, you might wonder why I’m even in the room? Think about that for a moment. Honestly, I’m typically there because someone on the team has suggested to bring me in and the top brass tolerates it because they hope it will silence the team.

Now, I’m not bashing my clients, not at all. I’m honestly trying to help. However, too big to fail sometimes equates to too big to listen. This is most likely why the second string in the C Suite has recommended we work together. The first string tolerates it, again hoping to calm the restless.

Besides, they would never want to be accused of not supporting the team. The team needs this, but perhaps they do not, at least that may be the thought.

Customer Service Connection

The customer service connection should be starting to become clear. We’re in a service oriented economy. That isn’t really new, it has been shifting for decades, and many believe that it is accelerating.

In a service economy, the most valuable core principles should be closely aligned with [customer] service. This is important internally and externally. It is important for sales, brand promise, and understanding lifetime value.

Where are most organizations focused? They are focused on the external, closing the sale, increasing profit, and forging new relationships. Certainly, of course they are, as they should be. However, their focus on external push often eliminates listening to the service requirements.

Listening Improves Customer Service

How does this happen? Too big to fail, equates to too big to listen, which makes their actions and behaviors consistent with too big to care.

Caring is one of the most violated principles in a service economy. They may care, but sometimes they care incorrectly. Caring about closing the sale is sometimes not the same as caring enough to listen.

Listening, that is where it all starts. Not hearing, but listening.

In case you’re wondering, there is a difference.

– 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+


  • 0
building customer service appreciative strategies

Correctly Building Customer Service Culture

Tags : 

Everyone knows that in the business world there isn’t really any standing still. You are either moving forward or falling behind. In the midst of our service economy, smart organizations are building customer service cultures like they never have before. Are they doing it correctly? Will it last?

Many are familiar with the fictional Iowa corn farmer who repeatedly hears, “If you build it, he will come.” Is your team hearing a voice from beyond? Is this type of thinking true for building customer service culture?

Foundational Stories

Surprising to some, much of the impact and learning moments of our lives are founded in stories. The stories may be factual or fictional but they often solidify learning. The greatest thing about a good story is that it is repeated. It is shared, valued, and trusted. Most important it is told over and over again.

The foundation of your customer service culture needs to be a story worth telling. It should be able to form connections, and move and inspire others. If the story isn’t worth telling the likelihood of repetition will drastically decrease, no matter how hard you push.

Once you have a story, or at least believe that you have a story, you’ll have to assess its value. You can ask yourself or your team, “Is this story something that anyone will care about? Will it move people by causing positive actions and behaviors?”

If no one sees or feels a benefit from the suggested outcomes, no one will care. If no one really cares, there is little chance for a viral experience. Even throwing money at it won’t change things much. End of story.

Symbols Shape Culture

Your story, metaphorically or literally, will condition what happens next. The story may be deeply rooted in values and traditions. It may be illustrated through words, phrases, and symbols.

Surprisingly, it may even be a song. It is hard to imagine the true (and lasting) impact when people sing your song. Coca-Cola did this so well.

Building Customer Service Culture

You’ll have to ask yourself and your team, “What will we do to create lasting impact and keep the story alive?”

Organizations often have a good plan. They may even have a good story, one that has some value in telling. The mistakes they make are not in the design. They are in the build.

Correctly building a customer service culture that matters will require you to show up, support it, live it, and tell it. Not once or twice, not just at the quarterly meeting or annual retreat, but every day.

Design will be important, but you’ll also have to lead.

– 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+


  • -
framing organizational culture

Framing Organizational Culture

Tags : 

It isn’t uncommon, most things that we do begin or are contained within a framework. Metaphorically and literally, we know the importance of strong foundations. How are you framing organizational culture?

We’re in a service economy, and that isn’t anything new. More and more of the Fortune 500 companies are representing a service-oriented sector. It has been transforming for decades.

Service Connections

What are you or your organization doing to for positioning? What frame are you operating in?

Even the manufacturing sector is developing more components of their business that includes a service connection. What are you leveraging?

This isn’t a think outside of the box story, but it could be.

Frames That Fit

The biggest problem I often encounter with businesses and organizations who are struggling to align with a better is culture is that they don’t realize the problems that they have. Alternatively, they downplay the importance of recognized problems because they proclaim they don’t fit.

A manufacturing company often believes that the most important thing that they do is manufacture. Anything that detracts from the production process is unimportant. When challenged by internal or external forces they resort to proclamations that they are a manufacturer and this is how it works. That’s a frame.

Framing Organizational Culture

Frameworks give us a space to work in. They help us constructively manage the space. We only deal with so much at a time in our online browsers, a book has a manageable limit to its physical size, and the artist has the limit of the canvas. Hard of soft, real or imagined, we operate within our frames.

Perhaps the first thing that any organization should do is constructively remove the frame. A culture that fits within the service economy probably has different boundaries. The more traditional the business the more they are going to have to color outside of the lines.

Sometimes the best brainstorming requires us to forget everything about who we are and focus more on where we want (need) to be.

– 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+


  • -
organizational culture strategic

Is Your Organizational Culture Strategic?

Tags : 

One thing that I find most businesses believe is that they are very unique. Certainly, they have unique characteristics, and certainly, their culture has some unique features. Are they strategic, groundbreakers, movers and shakers? Is your organizational culture strategic?

What do many organizations do to develop their culture? They replicate, borrow, copy, or steal. They do this with ideas that they believe hold the power to create their future success. It is not uncommon. It may be part of learning and growing. Taking someone’s idea of a cart and a wheel, throw a motor in it, and it’s a car.

Similar but Different?

What your organization does may be a take-off, branch off, or knock off of a previous idea. What do most flat screen TV’s look like? They look pretty much the same. Most cars have four wheels, and motorcycles two. Yet, they aren’t the same.

Organizational strategy and culture has everything to do with your success. It is applicable to your marketing, your brand, and your products or service. Most organizations fall into one of several categories.

The first category represents the organization that decides they want to conquer the competition. So they challenge competitors head-on. They provide similar but (yet they believe) different products and services. In addition to keeping existing customers, they also want people who use a competitor to switch.

Another somewhat different category is for those who to take a defensive posture. You focus mostly on well-established relationships. You work hard to build business with your customers, not necessarily for them.

There is a difference between building with customers and building for the customer. When building with your customer, you upgrade, enhance, and improve what is already working, and you do it together. You defend your business against the competition.

There is still another path though and that is the path of creating what is next. Organizations stick their neck out, they take risk and they try something new or different. They are not just doing things differently. They are actually doing different things.

Organizational Culture Strategic?

We might consider products like the Keurig coffee maker, digital photography as opposed to film, or even the 2007 launch of the iPhone. In each of these cases, they took a risk to do something different. They transformed original products or results by being very different. They became attractive. People switched.

Perhaps the biggest mistake that any organization can make is believing that they are unique but yet they follow what everyone else in their industry does. Your hardest challenge may be separating yourself from what anyone, can get anywhere, at any time.

In many industries, this is exactly why the customer experience is critically important and it develops from your organizational culture.

Is the development of your organizational culture strategic, or are you trying your hardest just to compete?

– 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+


  • -
in a vacuum appreciative strategies

Does Your Best Work Happen In a Vacuum?

Tags : 

How do you create your best work, alone or with help? Certainly, sometimes a lack of interruptions equates to more productivity, but for most, the real work comes about from collectively working with others. Would you create more success or less by working in a vacuum?

Less Interference and More Productivity

Doing it all is a large task, and one that probably will lack efficiency, insight, and will only fulfill the needs of the few. Employees sometimes argue that they could accomplish more with fewer meetings, fewer interruptions of their work, and by cutting back on their reporting requirements.

Different but somehow similar, employees might wish their inbound email would decrease. They may wish the questions from others wouldn’t be so silly, and even that their phone would stop ringing.

Still there is more, there are the employees who just want to sell, the ones who only want to design, and the ones who just want to count the money.

Certainly, capitalizing on the true talents and interests of each employee is valuable. Depending on the job, time set aside to concentrate and think about what you are doing might help to create some great work. Getting away from unproductive meetings and compiling unread reports may help too.

In a Vacuum

Chances are great though that your best work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It doesn’t happen without help, influence, and the trial and error that involves others. It doesn’t happen without good communication, or with no communication at all.

Your best work may come from combining the insights from others, even when you disagree, even when you believe there is a different path, and especially when you’ve hit a few stumbling blocks.

One person may be great at marketing and another great at sales. There are also those who are great at design and some that are exceptional at the build. Still some will be the best with money management and others thrive with keeping everyone accountable to the plan.

Best Work

The ones who figure this out early and understand that they need more input, more thoughts, and more capabilities will usually achieve more.

The best way to move a heavy object is with leverage. It works for big success 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 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+


  • -
productivity questions

5 Productivity Questions Everyone Should Ask

Tags : 

It seems common in many workplaces. Groups of 5, 10, or 35 people have work to do, often a lot of work to do. One common criticism is that the workload isn’t evenly distributed and pay grades do not align with output or responsibility. Certainly, those may be issues, but have you asked any productivity questions?

It is sometimes funny how time changes things. What was once critically important is sometimes quickly replaced or the originating reason is completely forgotten.

Pick a workplace, any workplace that has been around for 5, 10, or more years. You might find things that were once a good idea that people simply stopped doing.

Perhaps you will find the opposite too, things that were once good ideas but no longer apply and people are still doing them. Yes, it’s true, chances are good you’ll find some of these.

Every job, every task, every part of building, creating, designing, documenting, storing, and filing, is it necessary? Does it have relevance now?

Productivity Questions

Here are five questions to ask about what you’ll work on today:

  1. What is this used for?
  2. Who will use it?
  3. When does it get used?
  4. Is it the right design?
  5. Does it make a difference?

Just because it is a tradition, just because it once had value, is it still necessary? What has changed and is it important now?

Meetings, Marketing, and More

You can ask yourself about the meetings you’ll attend this week. Who is in the meeting, are the right people attending? Who is absent from the meeting and how does their absence affect the outcome?

Have you thought about the marketing materials, their timeliness, the message, the brand promise, and the mailing list? Are all of those things up to date, still relevant, and accurate?

Why do we do what we do every day and more importantly how does it contribute to the bottom line?

Productivity matters, and so does the workload distribution. Start with understanding what really makes a difference for the group and the organization. Ask questions, revisit choices often.

– 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+


Search This Website

Trending 5 out of 5 Stars on Amazon

Upcoming Public Events

  1. Book Signing – Library Express

    December 15 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  2. Customer Service Culture, not a Department Seminar – Wmspt, PA

    March 27, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog (Filter) Categories

Follow me on Twitter

Assessment Services and Tools

Strategic, Competency, or Needs Assessments, DiSC Assessments, 360 Feedback, and more. Learn more

Schedule a Telephone Call

Schedule a 15 minute
(no cost) phone call with Dennis
Click to Schedule an Appointment