Tag Archives: leadership

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Paycheck only employees

Paycheck Only Employees and Other Cultural Blunders

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Clients often tell me, “We have paycheck only employees.” Their statement is often a cry for help. Does the available workforce, societal trends, or the culture of the organization create this situation, perhaps it is all three, and many other factors.

Facts and Myths

Certainly, there are challenges with the workforce demographics in many areas. This is not a myth it is a fact. Societal trends, certainly, yes, they also condition much of the attitude and temperament about employment.

What about the organization, is it possible that the organizational culture also affects or has responsibility for the creation of this so-called paycheck only employee?

Find What You Seek

Sometimes we find exactly what we seek. Perhaps a parent cautioned you back in the day, “Don’t go looking for trouble.” Did you listen? Most or at least many probably did. They tried hard to steer clear of what appeared to be potential trouble.

What does your organization seek? Does the help wanted ad focus on money or the job?

This doesn’t mean the amount of verbiage committed to describing the organization or the job; it means what is the attraction point and the culture? What are you advertising? Are you looking for paycheck only employees?

Driven By Emotion

People assess the environment by what they feel. Certainly, many authoritarian environments have executives urging people to remove the emotion, but emotion still guides many of the choices.

The unemotional executive probably doesn’t drive a nice car or live in a nice place, with nice things. Nice things are an emotional choice. Perhaps fulfilling some practical needs, but often also expensive. They are beyond need, they are about a feeling and are driven by emotion.

People are driven (or not) by emotion. What are the cultural indicators in your organization? When your organization offers a job, what is the selling point? Is it money? Is it about a career, a stepping stone, or just fulfilling a need?

The employee who only wants money and the organization that only offers to fulfill that need are sometimes a perfect match. The people are there for a paycheck. Caring on the other hand, that is emotional, it is also optional. You’ll expect higher turnover, you’ll get it.

Paycheck Only Employees

When the environment feels like the organization doesn’t truly care about the employee, the employee really doesn’t really care about the organization.

Advertise what you seek, be what you advertise. Deliver on the promise.

You’ll find what you are looking for, everything else is only about the paycheck.

– 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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add energy

Add Energy Instead Of Subtracting It

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We make lots of decisions daily. While not everyone believes it, we have choices about our behaviors, situation outcomes, and what we’ll contribute. Do you add energy to your workplace or subtract from it?

Rules are rules and guidelines are guidelines, perhaps more people prefer to work with guidelines instead of rules. Rules are more matter of fact, they are black or white, typically with very little grey.

What if we changed the guidelines? What if the guidelines became more about giving instead of taking? I’m not referring to charity or forwarding a few dollars to a cause, I’m talking about just giving more.

Would Things Change

How would our workplace change if:

  1. Everyone was truthful
  2. There were more offers of help
  3. People owned their mistakes
  4. Assistance was given before the ask
  5. There was more sharing of information
  6. People Cared more about listening
  7. Promises were kept
  8. Commitments were promises
  9. We welcomed different ideas
  10. We had more learning opportunities
  11. There was was encouragement for speed
  12. Employees valued quality more
  13. Fear wasn’t the motivator for action
  14. We gave better feedback
  15. More respect was given

This is the short list. We could continue to explore more.

What about meeting the pace of the customer, could we do that? Imagine considering a draft, just that, a draft, and keeping things fluid. And simply caring more about the outcomes of others instead of paychecks for ourselves.

Certainly, nearly everyone needs the paycheck but does it come before civility?

Add Energy

I can’t think of a business that doesn’t have a human side. Even the most tech savvy, robotics driven environments still rely on having humans at the helm.

Organizations often talk about it, occasionally they throw some energy into it. What if it was part of the guidelines?

Imagine if every person had the goal to add energy? Would it change a few unspoken rules?

– 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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reaction culture

Reaction Culture In a Service Economy

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Have you ever avoided a conversation, speaking up in a meeting, or taking a call from a customer because you’re anticipating a harsh undesirable reaction? Does your workplace have a reaction culture?

Reaction Culture

In the reaction culture, our plan is to wait for something to break. We wait for the compliant, the problem to arise, or the shipment to be unsatisfactory. The assumption often is, no news is good news.

When a problem occurs we send it to the customer service department, or we call one ourselves when we are the victim. We wait for people to look for us, hunt us, and track us down. Everything else, well, it is just good news, not bad.

Our reaction then, is probably to avoid bad news. Avoid the compliant, avoid the problem, and hope that good enough will be exactly that, good enough.

May be that isn’t the right tactic. Reactionary isn’t the right approach for communication, it doesn’t spell leadership, and it certainly is probably not the best resolve for customer interactions.

Proactive Is Lucrative

It seems to me that proactive is much more lucrative. Customer service should be about a proactive culture of service. It is not a department, and it certainly shouldn’t be only about a transaction gone wrong.

What if the metric was tallied differently, what if it was not about problems fixed but more about problems never occurring?

What if the sign on the wall in the plant was a count of how many days without a reported customer problem? Safety matters, but so does the customer, without them there isn’t a plant at all.

Labeled As Good

When we make customer service about a department it places the weight of everything on a reaction and making things just good enough.

It seems to me that there is a difference between good enough and being enough to be labeled good.

Proactive is a better choice, it is much different from the reaction culture.

– DEG

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

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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Emotional Labor

What is Emotional Labor and Does It Matter?

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Are you tired of doing things that you really don’t want to do? Have you been patient with your career goals and are now growing weary of putting in the time? You may still have some emotional labor to endure.

Enduring the Work

The boss asks you to follow up on the delinquent accounts, but you suggest you don’t have time.

A project team member asks how the work is coming with your assigned task after the meeting last week, but you say you didn’t get to it yet.

Unfortunately, it is common that people drag their feet about projects or work that they aren’t really interested in doing.

Ask the mechanic if he wants to do an oil change on the eight year old minivan.

Ask the mechanic if he wants to do an oil change on the hottest model with the big engine.

Do you think the mechanic would spring into action for both of those scenarios or just one?

Many employees feel like they are asked to pick up the pieces for work that is not that desirable. It is common for people to feel like their career has stalled, that they have put in the time, and now they want more.

Emotional Labor

Emotional labor is a condition that exists when we are putting in the time. It is doing the dirty work, the crappy jobs, and picking up the pieces for others. It may be doing things we find boring, monotonous, or below our pay grade.

Have you been putting in the required amounts of emotional labor?

If there is one thing that every employee can do to make a difference for their career it is putting in large quantities of emotional labor. Certainly, no one wants to be taken advantage of and no one wants to do work that they have advanced beyond.

However, the best employees are putting in a lot of it. It requires the persistence, discipline, and grit to get it done, but they do it.

The employee may easily forget about emotional labor, but the boss usually remembers it.

– 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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gut feel

Can You Improve Your Gut Feel?

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I asked the question, “Do you ever follow your gut?” Whenever I ask this in a seminar I get many heads nodding to the positive. A gut feel is an interesting dynamic, is it correct? Can you improve your gut feel?

Our instincts are powerful, but are they really instincts or lessons learned? Touch a hot stove and we learn to fear it. Is that instinctual?

Judgment Call

Meet someone for the first time and we may pass judgment. We look at clothing, hair style, and shoes. We listen for language, slang, and education. Sometimes we assess the location, the time of day, or the car they drive. Are we making our determination based on our gut or stereotypes and bias?

People will often suggest that sometimes you have to go with your gut. Is going with your gut a skill? Does it get better over time?

Perhaps we can learn to train our gut. We can examine stereotypes, bias, and our affirmations. Will this examination lead to developing the skills that give us a competitive edge? It probably can, but it could also invite false perceptions.

In fact, this examination could lead to a self-fulfilled prophecy. Our gut tells us something is wrong and sure enough, we find things that go wrong. Instincts suggest the new product isn’t ready for market and sure enough sales are slow.

Improve Your Gut

If you want to train your gut or improve your instincts you’ll need to approach it with an unbiased mind and carefully examine the results.

What should you do? You may consider:

  • watching sports and picking the winners;
  • observing the new employee and predicting his or her organizational fit;
  • and, privately assessing the outcomes of meetings, decisions, and the path for new directions.

You should commit to your gut, write it down, observe the outcomes and mindfully note your success. Do this again and again. Establish some data.

Are you getting better, worse, or is your success staying about the same? Ask yourself, “What is the best predictor of future performance?” The likely answer is past performance. When you don’t know the past performance you go with your gut.

Gut Feel

Our gut feel and instincts are important but chances are that our true success in this area is conditioned by learning the behaviors, patterns, and predictable actions of the subject involved. If we don’t know past performance we assess what we do know and guess at the rest.

Sometimes our gut feel is really just an assessment of the data we’ve stored over time. It may include our attitude towards the situation.

At least that is what my gut tells me.

– 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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ethical challenges

Ethical Challenges for Leaders and Role Models

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The backbone of honorable leadership may be ethics. Do you stop to think about how your leadership practices affect employees, morale, or sales? Have you considered the ethical challenges or decisions that you may make every day?

I believe the root of your behavior often depends on the questions you ask yourself. For many employees and for the values, beliefs, and traditions of the organization are ethical standards something you think about? Do you have a written code of ethics?

Ethical Challenges

Here is a partial list of ethical questions that may challenge or enhance your ethical standards:

  1. If no one notices does it still matter?
  2. Should all errors be fixed or can some be ignored?
  3. If errors cost, who will be paying?
  4. Is telling someone what they want to hear sometimes required?
  5. Can we replace it with something cheaper?
  6. Are there opportunities to hire someone who will do the same work for less pay?
  7. Does the fine print really matter?
  8. Should we ship it if it isn’t quite ready?
  9. If everyone else is doing it, it must be OK, right?
  10. Can you please just tell them I’m in a meeting?
  11. What shortcuts can we take?
  12. I wonder if anyone will notice if I borrow our competitors PowerPoint slides?
  13. Should we notify the vendor that they charged us for less than what we received?
  14. Does that policy apply to everyone?
  15. Does gossip matter if it isn’t about our employees?
  16. Should we tell the customer we overcharged them?
  17. Can we remove some of the safety equipment if it slows productivity?
  18. Is that the legal definition?
  19. Do we have to listen or can we ignore them?
  20. Should we hire this person to meet a racial diversity or gender quota?

Leaders and Role Models

Leaders, not just people with a formal title will often work hard to establish a healthy organizational culture. Sometimes though, they just don’t ask the right questions.

What will you do, especially when no one is watching?

– 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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workplace role model

Being a Workplace Role Model

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Great role models are hard to find. What may be even harder is to replicate them. Are you a good workplace role model?

Certainly, role models may be situational. The role model lifeguard is likely a much different skillset when compared with a role model at the local factory, hospital, or burger joint.

Admiration and Leadership

Role models are often admired for leadership traits. How well do they lead under pressure? What keeps them driven and yet well-grounded every day? How do they stay motivated and professional at all times?

People have many common characteristics. One person likes to have some down time as much as the other. Many have interests or hobbies that are outside of the normal scope of their work.

Discipline and willpower may guide some of the best role models. What are some things that great role models don’t do?

Great role models don’t:

  • act on impulse
  • tell other people off
  • show up late
  • lose interest easily
  • complain

This is a short list the entire list is long. They are often great role models because they are masters of control, are willing to endure emotional labor, and care about the outcomes of their actions and behaviors.

Workplace Role Model

A great workplace role model doesn’t show up only when someone is watching. They are always watching for the next place to show up. They arrive and walk in like a pro. There is something in the air about their presence, not just when it aligns with something they love, all the time, good or bad.

The truly great ones will keep their promises, they don’t need to tell you that they are great, it shows. They are authentic, valued, and respected.

They do they work they don’t feel like doing, the work that is old, tired, and boring. Listening is important so they do it twice as much as talking.

Are you a good workplace role model?

– 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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Have effective meetings

Do You Have Effective Meetings?

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Are meetings really just a waste of time? Organizations of all types and all sizes often believe that they get work done through meetings. They improve communication, adjust focus, and motivate the team. Do you have effective meetings?

Most likely, the difference between doing good work and doing great work has something to do with what happens between meetings. Are your meetings setting the stage for the proper outcomes?

Belief About Meetings

Often the belief is that meetings are held to improve communication, yet the dynamics of the group often create an environment that doesn’t share, but chooses to withhold information. Yes, it is true.

The other common belief is that more communication will improve miscommunication. This is of course, very unlikely.

Show me an organization with a staff of more than a dozen employees and I’ll show you an organization that likely believes they have some communication challenges. Do meetings really make this better? It may depend on the purpose, but it will always depend the preparation.

Organizers and Planners

In order to make the most of what happens between meetings you should ask some questions before getting started on planning your next meeting:

What is the purpose of this meeting?

What is the desired outcome?

Who should be invited?

What is the best use of everyone’s time?

Where should the meeting be held?

Who will monitor or pursue accountability for recommendations, actions, solutions, to-do’s, measurements, metrics, and goals?

Who has the authority to make the decisions, are they invited and are they attending?

What is the budget?

How will priorities be set?

Is this a recurring meeting? Is it a task force, committee, or project management gathering?

Meeting Participants

And for the attendees:

How will you prepare?

What solutions have you thought of?

Have you met or exceeded the objectives?

What is the most constructive recommendation you can bring forward at this time?

Are you committed to outcomes and keeping the meeting productive?

Have Effective Meetings

Most important of all is when a meeting lacks focus on measuring effectiveness; chances are substantially higher that participants have labeled them a waste of time. Mind-set is critical and recurring meetings become part of the culture.

If you’re working for what happens between the meetings, keep them brisk, effective, and performance measurable.

– 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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driving decisions

Driving Decisions Through Culture In Your Organization

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Sometimes it is all that people want. They just want a decision. Do you suspect you know the answer before the final word is delivered? What is driving decisions in your organization?

Impatience is often a problem when people believe they know the correct path. The opposite side of impatience may be analysis. What does the data tell us? What evidence exists?

Decisions and Organizational Flow

While it may seem surprising to some, the organizational culture may be responsible for driving decisions. In larger organizations, a lack of understanding about subcultures may be one of the reasons for resistance or change failure.

Most people want to support the decision, the better your culture the more likelihood of decision support. This is simple, when you have a highly engaged workforce. Many will be easily able to follow the path. They’ll believe in it, and they’ll follow it.

Therefore, the first step that is often cited as getting buy-in, is important. Buy-in can be created in many ways, but at the root of buy-in is culture.

Culture is Powerful

Consider that when the culture is committed to customer service, making changes that will positively impact the customer feel easy. A culture that is commitment to technology use, well, they’ll embrace being the front runners for the latest gadgets.

In somewhat of a contrast, cultures that are committed to the highest quality in their product, much to the surprise of some, often struggle the most with change.

Do you know why? The answer is easy, their workforce is attached emotionally to what they feel is a perfected product. Change may tarnish perfection.

Driving Decisions

Your organization has a culture. Decisions that drive future direction are guided by beliefs. Buy-in for change will be closely attached what employees feel.

As a result, often the roadblocks for change are unknowingly created by the very culture an organization works so hard to create.

– 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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