Tag Archives: leadership

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Aspiring Leader Seminar

Aspiring Leader Seminar – Williamsport, PA

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Today’s leaders are more than just supervisors or management team members. They are the heart of inspiration, team work, and create the atmosphere required for the pursuit of common goals.

This seminar covers many of the foundation skills that build great leadership habits. Participants will explore what it means to be a leader, not just a supervisor or manager. We’ll be covering change, communication, and motivating the team. Tough topics that are sometimes taken for granted such as resiliency, understanding priorities, and the difference between facts and opinions. In addition, we’ll examine some tough questions such as, “Where are you most vulnerable?”and “What is most important right now?” 

More Info / Register


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Employee development

Employee Development While The Pendulum Swings

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A refusal of the offer is not the same as rejection. It is common that small businesses and some larger ones too, will refuse the offer or opportunity for employee training. Is employee development important for your organization?

Behind the scenes, quietly, the label is sweatshop. The organization that believes employees are a tool, and only a tool. They are a tool to push the button, drill the hole, and fill the box. Jobs like that still exist, but largely, they are rapidly being replaced by robotics.

Scaling

Most for-profit organizations are attempting to scale. They are trying to maximize value, ROI, and increase sales. The most fundamental underlying principle of scaling in a service economy driven by technology is, building knowledge.

General Managers, Presidents, and CEO’s alike have suggested to me that they don’t have time for training. The messages spreads, it goes to Human Resources, Engineering, and front line teams. The knowledge gain stops, stalls, and the organization temporarily stabilizes, right before the pendulum starts a backward swing.

Questions Drive Direction

Not so long ago a G.M. stated a rhetorical question, “When you have a chance to ship product and fulfill orders, or sit in training, what are you going to do?”

Perhaps we need to look at it through a different lens, with different questions.

  • How did you become the G.M.? (Not sarcasm, sincerity.)
  • What mattered most for you to become a supervisor, manager, or business owner?
  • Who will you promote or seek to help advance the organization?

The questions are the tricky part because they answers will illustrate the future of the organization. Will the organization scale, or will it become another statistic of stop, stall, and temporarily stabilize?

Employee Development

Nothing will help the organization scale faster than employee development. Knowledge gain for those who seek it will guarantee a better future.

Information and knowledge are spreading more rapidly and easier than ever before. Perhaps the best part of all is that developed employees create other developed employees. Standards for work performance rise and so does the quality, customer service, and sales.

Employee development ensures that reputation, loyalty, and job satisfaction continue to rise. People on the outside want in and those on the inside want to stay.

Momentum is a hard thing to start, but it is also a hard thing to stop. Which way is the pendulum moving?

– 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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job satisfaction

Job Satisfaction May Be What You Create

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Monday is the drag yourself to work day, Wednesday there is a glimmer of hope, and Friday is the day many wait for anxiously. Does this sound like you or someone on your team? Is job satisfaction something that each person can create?

Why We Work

There are of course, people who only want to work for one reason. By choice or by submission to the years of drudgery, they are paycheck only employees. Certainly though, there are those who are enthusiastic and career minded.

For the career minded, one of the most popular ways to create your career is to predict it. You graduate from high school. You make a decision about college or no college. Observations of family and friends occur. Then you listen to guidance from teachers, elders, and those who want to sell you a path.

That isn’t all though, you make a choice to make an investment. Usually connected to time, money, and amount of effort, what you are really hoping to do is get the prediction correct. What you see for the future and the place that you want to be is a prediction.

There is a sizable lot that does this, and does it effectively. When you look around though, you are really making a prediction. The best prediction of all may be that predicting your future is unlikely.

Career Changes and Job Descriptions

Millions of people make career changes. The factory closes, the technology shifts, or the difference between a paycheck and career start to sink in. Predicting your future or your job satisfaction is difficult, but creating a better outlook for your future may be something you can control.

When I work with small businesses, the percentage of those who have job descriptions for all employees is something less than fifty percent. If you were to add in the relevance of the work performed as compared with what is on the job description you would find an even deeper discrepancy in accuracy.

Employees can get nervous about their job description. Often they shudder with the thought that they will be targeted for poor performance or that the description will list a task or duty that they find undesirable. Sometimes this may happen and in other cases, it is simply a negative fantasy.

Job Satisfaction

Instead, what if your job description is considered an opportunity? Imagine if the job description has the possibility to be co-created. When the supervisor asks you to create a list of your duties as you see them, is that a problem or an opportunity?

The best path for your job satisfaction may not be in predicting the future. Perhaps the best path is to create it.

You may not be able to create one hundred percent of it. In fact, complete creation is unlikely. However, every chunk, every point, and every opportunity you have to steer, will make a difference across time.

Job satisfaction is not an image or comparison, for many positions, it is what you 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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need training

They Need Training, As The Leader I Don’t

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More common than you may think, the finger is pointing the wrong way. It seems pretty silly, but authority often gives the power of the point. Pointing to this, or pointing to that, and proclaiming a lack of change is the problem. Does your organization need training?

Adapt or Change

One often forgotten part of training is that training means change. Sometimes the boss will point out who needs training, but in his or her mind that means everyone else needs to adapt to their style and way of doing things.

This could be a great idea. It could also be a voice that screams divide and conquer. Conformity under duress is not consensus.

Scorned Employees

Many organizations have scorned employee teams. Employees who have been punished for trying a new way, expressing a different thought, or not abiding by the directions of the boss. Certainly, this may be a balancing act for any employee, and for their boss.

The best path, the one that feels safe, is the path of not too much or too little, just the right amount.

Why are employees sometimes punished for trying to make things better? Is it fear that causes the punishment?

Fear of Inferior

I will never forget the boss who wouldn’t participate in the playful online IQ test. The boss who shared with me how he will have to, “knock her down a few pegs,” because she spoke out of turn in a meeting. And a boss who advised your only role in the meeting is to listen, not contribute.

Another all-time favorite for the list are the bosses who want assessments for the team but are absolutely not interested the same assessment for themselves.

There are countless times that a business owner has recommended training when the front-line team is not the only place that training is needed.

Need Training

There are so many ways to engage, to inspire, and to lead. The small business owner, the boss, or the otherwise noted workplace leader should recommend training and be open to employee development. Not doing so would be such a waste.

One question the leader should always ask, “Are WE getting better?”

Training applies to everyone.

– 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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succession

Succession and Building a Small Business Empire

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Many small business owners and CEO’s wonder what they’ll do next. Many are not serial entrepreneurs but they are passionate about the work that they do. What happens as the window of their reign starts to close? Have they prepared the organization to continue, will there be successful succession?

It is interesting to ask the small business CEO, “Who is number two?” It is not uncommon that they’ll flinch and squirm a little. Certainly, it is understandable, it is their business, but they probably aren’t preparing appropriately for what is next.

Considering that they are a successful CEO, they probably will have trouble admitting that they haven’t really been looking or building the team. In fact, they’ll likely argue that they have but that true talent eludes their operation.

Largely, this is confirmation bias for why they are still at the reins.

Succession

Is it true that no talent is available to fill some spots? Can it be that it is too challenging to line up a few possibilities for number two, three, or four?

Every human resources leader, manager, and CEO should consider a few key elements for the atmosphere of onboarding.

Does the organizational culture for both current and advertised positions have the following dynamics?

  1. Trust. People (employees) are encouraged to take action, not wait for permission to move.
  2. Movers. Many small businesses hire to lock someone in, not provide a path for growth.
  3. Risk takers. Certainly, you don’t want someone to sink the ship, but risk within bounds of authority is important for organizational advancement.
  4. Experts. Good enough is only good enough, it is not high performance. Hire (or create) experts, they desire more, they will create more.
  5. Confidence. A culture that honors achievements and exceeding expectations. It builds confidence, and confidence is a desired cultural attribute.
  6. Investment. Invest in employees and they’ll be much more likely to invest in you.
  7. Respect. Everything starts within the team. Respect is mutual, not one way. A lack of respect is a momentum stopper.

Business Empire

Many small business owners hire to fill labor requirements. They equate the process to hiring a house painter, someone to cut the lawn, or shovel the snow.

Nothing is wrong with any of these jobs or the people performing the work. The trouble spot is that the culture provides no growth. Most of all the mindset is to hire for fit. In this case, fit means just this position, all day, every day, for the rest of time.

Unfortunately, sometimes the owner, CEO, or board of directors, does not prepare early enough to make an appropriate difference.

As the window starts to close is the organization prepared?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant and succession coach who helps organizations 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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diversify

Diversify Sometimes Means Doing More, Getting Less

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The small engine repair shop can fix bicycles if someone asks. A washing machine repairperson can wire a new light switch, and the pizza shop can serve eggs benedict. Should they diversify?

Often the mindset is that if we don’t have it, we can get it. It is tempting to grab some money on the table and run to the next table to see what is desirable there. Also tempting is chocolate cake, sleeping in, and another cocktail at happy hour. None of which may be a good idea.

Doing More

It may seem easy for the restaurant to expand the menu, the mechanic to fix everything that has a bolt, and for the landscaper to paint the porch, stain the deck, or seal the driveway.

If there is time, a need, a question, or what is otherwise believed to be an opportunity, then perhaps it is tempting to take it. The mindset is, when customers ask, we don’t refer, we respond.

This appears to work, that is until you are an expert at nothing. What you become known for is unclear, and how people refer you doesn’t seem to make any sense. Is your small business a group of part-time hobbyist or experts?

Generalized

The general store has general merchandise and this makes sense. A medical doctor knows something about tending to cuts and bruises, and can also take your temperature and diagnose the common cold.

On the other hand, the shoemaker probably shouldn’t get involved with wagon wheels. Both help you go places, but they are a completely different markets and expertise.

Diversify

Getting eggs benedict at the pizza shop is unusual. It typically would not strengthen their business, but distract from it. Making them more noticed is having the best pizza, or the best eggs, but likely not both.

McDonalds tried pizza for a while, but I don’t believe it was a hit. Taco Bell has tested french fries, and Tractor Supply has been known to sell baby chicks and ducks.

Having a wider offering seems logical to pick up some extra cash, or cause a little excitement. Is it really what you want? Does it make sense or is it a distraction?

Most people are trying to remove clutter from their life. It seems to make things easier, better, and more focused. Cluttered businesses typically don’t really get noticed, but the specialty shop is easy to refer.

The idea to diversify may make sense for the general store, not so much for the specialty shop.

Which one are you?

If you say, “both.”

I’ll say, “The small engine repair shop can fix…”

– 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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Different sells

Different Sells and the Evidence To Prove It

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No publicity is bad publicity, or at least that is what we’ve often heard. In some cases, this may be true. In your career or for your business what will give you more traction, being the same or being different? Different sells and we have lots of proof.

Evidence

The hit television show, The Big Bang Theory, is largely a success because the characters are very different. Sheldon Cooper may be a favorite for many, but when you look twice you may discover that nearly every character is, well, a bit different.

Speaking of The Big Bang Theory, if you are a creative thinker your thoughts may drift to William Shatner. In recent years, William Shatner has continued his legacy through clever television commercials that co-feature a Big Bang Theory star, Kaley Cuoco.

However, William Shatner, and even Kaley Cuoco aren’t the best evidence to correlate with the idea that different sells. That honor goes to Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy stole the show in Star Trek, the original television series which began in the mid-1960’s.

Nimoy was different in many ways, including his pointed ears, but that may not be as memorable as the tone he applied to his words. Spock, as he was so fondly known, was a hit with words like fascinating, logical, and who could forget, “live long and prosper.”

Is this enough evidence that different sells? Let’s throw in one more for good measure.

What about The Office? The television show based on the workplace in the small city of Scranton, Pennsylvania. In this hit comedy series, Steven Carell, made a big splash for his career as he played Michael Scott. Different, nerdy, and full of workplace missteps and miscues, the connection of being different made it all seem surreal.

Different Sells

Do you believe different sells? Many people and organizations spend their lifetime trying to be the same, to fit in, or to mimic others. Being the same or being similar only leads to one thing, blending in.

When you want to stand out, be different. When you want to lead, be different. Properly executed, being different sells.

– 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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team harmony

Team Harmony and the Common Goal

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In today’s workplace, it is tempting to be self-absorbed. Society supports groups within groups who wield an opinionated lens that shifts perspectives across generations like a kaleidoscope changes the reflection of light. Is team harmony still possible?

Being the critic attracts the bystanders, the onlookers, those who risk little but critique a lot. In the unhealthy team, instead of finding a reason to explore and embrace, it is more popular to be confrontational and oppose. The old idiom connected with “everyone has an opinion” is alive and well.

Unsuccessful Teams

Often driven by envy, jealously, or victimhood the goal is to move up, move around, or stampede. Domination is the strategy and what it costs in morale is of little concern to those leading the oppositional crusade.

This describes the unsuccessful team. The team plagued with a viral cancerous disease that drains the spirit of the mission faster than a bottle of Drano dumped in the kitchen sink. People still show up, but they show up for a paycheck not an organizational goal.

It is true that the organization is sometimes unorganized but work still happens. This work lacks meaning, it lacks a personality, and its only style is that of despair.

By definition team harmony shouldn’t be making a sound that we shutter to hear.

Team Harmony

What if there was a different crusade? What if the sound was more pleasant?

Imagine when someone talks, everyone else listens. They don’t listen to respond but they listen to understand. They don’t listen for what’s in it for them for but they listen for what they can put into it.

Imagine that people don’t show up with the intent to be oppositional and they don’t show up with the goal of divide and conquer. They don’t show up with a movement, a theme, or with a position that says their group is different and for that reason, different treatment is their goal.

Common Goals

Does team harmony still exist? It should and it can.

It is about how you build the empire, not tear it down.

What is the common goal?

Pursuit of anything else isn’t about the team, it is a distraction about the individual.

– 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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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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things will change

Things Will Change. Will You, Are You?

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Many people just want to move forward, yet they compare and contrast everything to the past. Often people are looking for differences and identifying that the unknown may not work. Things will change, the biggest question may be, “Will you?”

My cell phone failed a drop test last week. I knew immediately that there really wasn’t a choice, but to replace it. Two and a half years is a long time in the technology world. I didn’t really want any change, but I felt that I had no choice. Things have changed, and so have I.

Better Future

There could be lots of argument about technology or society. The big question often is, “Will the future be better?”

We are on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence (AI) and while that has many scary aspects, especially those connected to privacy or jobs, it is our future. It is not even likely, it is a given. AI is happening and it is happening without a stop sign.

Our future won’t be the same. Some things will work, some will delight, and others will cause fear, hesitation, and distrust.

All of this is likely not much different from a first ride at 35 mph in an automobile. Not really different from the introduction of the motorized bicycle, or to be flying several thousand feet high in a winged motorized vehicle.

There were people who likely scoffed at the idea. Said it won’t work, wouldn’t last, wouldn’t stick, and was dangerous. In the early 1990’s some proclaimed the pending emergence of the internet was a fad, it wouldn’t last, and people largely would not be interested to join.

Things Will Change

Many predictors of the future base their predictions on the past. This is often true for individual behavior. It is not so true for society or world cultures.

Things will change if you allow it to happen. Your workplace can become better, more prosperous, and successful. The way you did it three or five years ago may still work, but if you’re not eager about what is next, it is time to start looking.

The question is not about when, because the timing is now.  The only question remaining is, “Will 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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