Tag Archives: risk

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constructive contributions

Constructive Contributions Are Valuable In The Workplace

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Conditioning plays a role in much of what we do. As children or young adults many have learned to keep quiet, to not say anything, and just sit back and observe. However, it is constructive contributions that will have an impact on your future.

Speak Up, Listen, Contribute

Many people are afraid to speak up. It may be from ridicule, from the risk of being wrong, or because past experience has taught us it is safer without comment.

There is value in listening more, and many people should practice better listening, but what things are going unsaid?

How many times have you sat in the meeting with a thought on your mind but you failed to share it? How many times could the lost sale, lost client, or lousy performance have been prevented?

Measuring Risk

The value of constructive contributions is very high but like many high value items it is often very rare.

People often measure risk in the wrong way. What is riskier, speaking up, or watching the team go down the wrong path?

It may be alarming the number of times that things go unsaid. Of course, sometimes inaction may be the right action. How do you know what to do?

Constructive Contributions

When you paraphrase, you often increase understanding and limit miscommunication. What is the risk or the harm? Little or none.

When you build on others ideas for the benefit of the decision, there is little effort wasted and the quality of the decision improves. You also invite future contributions.

When you take a chance, leap, and risk with thoughtful, constructive contributions, you may change the outcome. You may invent something new, better, or appropriately encourage redesign.

The best job security, the highest probability for a promotion, and the insurance of a future for your organization may exist through constructive contributions.

While there may be some risk, the value is great.

Ante up.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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pleasing everyone

When Pleasing Everyone Pleases No One

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You have probably said it, “You can’t please everyone.” If you haven’t said it, you’ve certainly heard it. Are you pleasing everyone, or just creating an atmosphere of average?

Many people like to operate in the averages. They have some willingness to cooperate, to compromise, and they try to just get along.

We see this with room temperatures, the audio volume in the movie theater, and often on the highway as we keep the pace of traffic.

Stand Out

Yet, most people, most products or services provided by organizations are looking to stand out. They aren’t necessarily looking to blend in, to make everyone happy, or to keep operating within the averages. Or, are they?

The dive bar just outside of town may have the best wings, they are different from the franchise operation downtown. They aren’t average, they are exceptional as proclaimed by some. Yet there may be those who find them too hot or the atmosphere inappropriate for kids.

Anthony Robbins, who some admire very much, doesn’t have an average presentation style. It is part of his strategy. It appeals to some, but not necessarily to all.

At the carnival you don’t really remember much about the ring toss, the ping-pong ball throw, or the hot dogs. You remember the biggest, scariest ride that some wouldn’t even think about trying. You did, or maybe you didn’t, but you remember.

How should you position yourself or your organization? Do some things make sense existing in averages.

Pleasing Everyone

At a table in the restaurant our coffee probably comes in a ceramic mug or cup. A fountain soda from the fast food chain often comes in a paper-based cup with a plastic lid and a straw. Most smart phones are close in size and are available in black.

The challenge in all of this is that pleasing everyone is not memorable. That is why the restaurant needs to set itself apart. It is why the dive bar has the best wings, and perhaps precisely why Anthony Robbins is well known.

Comfort and averages keep people locked in to something that is just okay. There isn’t really any risk and so the reward is average.

Yet the business or person who risks giving more, doing more, and being a little different can become memorable. Memorable is probably not based in the average.

-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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Handshake return

Should Commitment And The Handshake Return?

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Trusting relationships are often cited as the path for mutual success. In a World of hustle and bustle, everything digital, and artificial intelligence should the handshake return?

Many people strive to become trusted by fitting in, finding agreement, and playing the right kind of politics. It is a surface trust, a trust that often ends in a letdown, and one that only matters if both parties have a need.

In highly political workplace currents people strive not to stand out, they hunker down, and don’t bring any unnecessary attention to themselves.

Doing the opposite may threaten the status quo, upset organized labor, and get you shunned from the group. The underground consensus is, get along with the crowd to get ahead.

Commitment is Risk

Trouble often develops because the mutual need doesn’t last. The handshake is missing. What is good in the moment may not be good for the rest of the day.

Colleagues let colleagues down, they drop balls, don’t pick up their toys, and they kick down castles in the sand.

Clients and vendors are for purpose only. Win at all costs, cut everything until you win, keep winning.

Trust is about a promise, so is a handshake. When we trust, promises are kept, commitments are honored, and people do what they say.

Often our clutter is because the handshake is missing. More email messages to confirm, more phone calls to ensure its real, more anxiety because no one knows for sure.

Handshake Return

Should the handshake return? Should everyone be more committed to doing what they say and saying what they’ll do?

Making a promise you’ll keep is risky. Something better may come along. A better deal, a new opportunity, a cause for your promise to be broken.

When winning at all costs is what matters the most, the handshake feels like it carries too much risk. The extra effort and commitment required make it easier to skip or be forgotten.

Bring back the handshake.

-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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backwards thinking

Backwards Thinking and Turning Things Around

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Some people believe in doing it backwards. The thought is, “I will do it when…” In business this may be backwards thinking and you may discover things are more effective done a different way.

We will train our workforce when we are not so busy.

We will upgrade our computer system when we get a few more customers.

Our building will get remodeled if we hit our goal this year. 

All these things and many more are quite possibly critically important. Important for customers, for scaling, and even for employee morale.

Trouble Spots

One of the trouble spots is that business owners, the CEO, and the board may not always believe in these investments. It often feels a lot safer to do it later. Do it when the time is right.

Unfortunately, some of the greatest opportunities pass by when the organization is not prepared.

Customer service and leadership skills don’t hold an organization back, improvements help build the organization up. Software and hardware upgrades, the same is true. Building size, condition, and ambiance, always make a difference for employee morale and customer comfort. In some cases, it depicts the brand.

Things are easy to suggest waiting for. Will the organization be ready when opportunity knocks?

Backwards Thinking

Being frugal is important and often smart. In business though, you sometimes must leap while you are looking, and you must build the airplane while you are flying it. It is part of the risk assessment and the cost associated with getting the timing just right.

The hospital doesn’t build an addition only when the rooms are full. The restaurant doesn’t get fresh lettuce only when they run out, and the car dealership doesn’t sell their entire inventory before getting more on the lot.

Are you tempted to wait? Backwards thinking may be something worth evaluating. It may be what is missing. Turn things around.

-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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Brainstorming session

Brainstorming Session and You Have a Seat at the Table

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Many engage in their job role hoping to get a seat at the table. They often wish for the chance to participate, to tell their story, and offer their idea. Have you been invited to the brainstorming session?

Seat at the Table

We know how to act when we’ve been invited to the birthday party, a holiday meal, or even when we are out for dinner with a few friends. We grab a seat at the table and we prepare to eat.

Many people take this opportunity to eat as much as they can. It is a feast. People dive deep and sometimes eat more than what they probably should, but it is not just another meal it is an event!

Chances are good that they have considered many items on the menu. Perhaps, they have even tried a few items that they were unsure about, perhaps something completely new or different.

When you grab that seat, you have an idea what is about to unfold, lots of eating. If you aren’t prepared to eat there really isn’t much reason to have a seat at the table. In fact, you probably shouldn’t take a seat at all.

A similar scenario exists in the brainstorming or problem solving session. If you are not going to dive in deep, if you refuse to consider things you haven’t tried before, or if you believe you are already completely full, don’t take a seat.

Big Problems

Most problems an organization faces that require a brainstorming session are big. If they were small and simple they would have already been solved.

The thought is that big problems require big solutions. Ironically, many of the problems that most mainstream businesses face today are not as big as they appear.

Brainstorming Session

How to ship on time, how to reduce the friction of the customer journey, or the risk associated with forecasting the ROI of the marketing campaign. All of these things are often only limited because someone is in the way. They are occupying space. They have a seat but they aren’t eating.

Many organizations get stuck, stalled, or stopped by someone sitting at the table who believes a roadblock or the status quo is better than the open road.

If you are invited, grab a seat, but only if you intend fully participate.

– 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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inner critic

Using Your Critic To Guide Your Inner Compass

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What guides your inner compass? What moves you more, the compliment, or the feedback that suggests improvement? Perhaps it should be some of both.

Recently I was using an experiential learning activity with a small group of people from many different parts of the United States. During the activity debrief I said, “compass” and one of the participants from the Chicago area said, “Wait, say that again.”

Unsure of what he was referring to I asked, “Which part?”

He politely said, “The word compass.”

There was a difference in our dialect. I didn’t notice, but he did. He pronounces the word different from me, more of “come pass.” He wasn’t trying to be a critic, but he did notice something different.

Blend In or Be Different

People often fear being different.

In our workplace, we are often taught to adapt, to blend in, and to be a good fit. Certainly, this has tremendous value. After all, the CEO insists on the hiring manager finding someone who will fit. I am not suggesting that is a perfect plan, but it does often happen.

Since we want to fit, we adapt, we learn that we should blend in. We believe we should be what the organization needs and not who we are. This isn’t necessarily bad, in fact, it is the norm. However, when we give the critic inside ourselves too much power we may lose.

Risk Assessment

There is risk involved. We may risk politely speaking up in a meeting, risk sharing our knowledge, ideas, or suggestions.

It is the critic we once heard, the person who corrected us. Corrected our language, our thoughts, and guided us to a way of doing things.

This is certainly important in society. It guides social norms and keeps in check what is right from what is wrong.

Does it also stifle our true abilities? Will it slow innovation and limit our contributions?

Inner Compass

Our inner compass is powerful, but you are still in control. What guides us is important. The trick is to know when to follow your inner compass and when to choose a different path.

Right from wrong, morals, and ethics, are probably good reasons to pay close attention to true North. Your creativity, ideas for improvement, and the chance to make a positive and impactful difference, you may want to consider a little freestyle.

Your critic is only as powerful as you allow.

– DEG

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

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Customer Service Best Practices

Do You Use Customer Service Best Practices?

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Organizations everywhere are trying to build their brand. Their image, reputation, and the work that they do are possibly the result of years of innovation. Has your organization considered customer service best practices? How will you build your brand?

In society, we are always using best practices and lessons learned. The same is often true for businesses and even to some extent our government.

Refining Products and Services

General Motors, Ford, and even Tesla use best practices. They are building and refining designs that may have started more than 100 years ago. Part of their mission is to improve the product, even the nuts, bolts, and welds. They strive to improve the reliability, durability, and power.

We can’t forget about comfort, safety, and the feeling of the ride. The features and systems that make the automobile what it is today are largely based on best practices developed across time. Engineers and experts learn from years of trial and error.

Best practices and lessons learned hold tremendous value. This is true in building science, agriculture, and even in technology management. We make things better, stronger, and more efficient. In part, because we’ve learned from the past.

Innovation and Design

We can’t ignore the other side of following best practices. This side goes to the innovators, risk takers, and all of the artful approaches for something new.

The risk is different for innovation. The costs are sometimes higher; the time to bring it to market may be longer. Even this work is based somewhat on what has come before it. It is different because it pushes beyond the limits of past experiences.

This form of exploration considers trends in style, taste, and even color. It doesn’t always follow. It often intentionally goes a completely different direction.

Customer Service Best Practices

The best practices that you put in place to build your brand are important. Your culture of customer service and creating the best customer experience should build on lessons learned.

Additionally, the best will consider how to go beyond the norm. Beyond the norm considers how direction will be set and how to risk developing something new, something more efficient, and most of all, tasteful.

The most important part of best practices is that they are always evolving, it is innovation after the learning.

You can ignore the past if you wish, but nearly everything we build is based on an earlier idea that has been modified.

– 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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Fear become habit appreciative Strategies

Can Fear Become a Habit, Should It?

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Workplace motivation is stimulated by many factors. Leaders in the workplace are striving for good habits that have positive reinforcement so that success is achieved. Fear is an emotional response and is often an inappropriate motivator. Can fear become an inappropriate habit?

Fear is powerful. There really shouldn’t be much confusion about that. We see fear in action as a motivator all the time.

A storm is coming, better get to the store.

Get the flu shot; you don’t want to get sick.

I’ve heard sales are down, make sure you look busy.

All three of these examples may have relevance and the intended action may even be a good idea, but what is the motivator? Yes, exactly, it is fear.

Facing the Truth

Sometimes facing the truth can be fearful, but often fear will cause action. It is an emotional choice. We may confuse it with a business only (no emotion) decision, but it is still about fear.

Fear isn’t always a bad motivator. Sometimes we have to face our fears in order to achieve more. When we risk little or nothing about the same amount of growth will occur, little or none. Risk involves fear.

Fear and Growth

Admitting the risk, accepting the fear, even saying it aloud may not be a bad thing. Writing it on the white board during the meeting may be exactly the point you need to make. Groan through it or grow through it, warriors on your team will choose growth.

Scaring people into performing with threats is probably never a good idea. Facing fear for growth is powerful.

Should Fear Become Habit?

Moderation may be the key for success. Telling yourself or your team repeatedly to be afraid may make fear become a habit. It may signal the habit of, never leave the comfort zone because it is far too scary. This is likely a habit you’ll want to avoid.

Be brave, speak of the challenge, accept it and grow. Fear as a habit will likely leave you behind.

– 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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how change develops

How Change Develops and Early Adopters

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Some of the best businesses are not who they once were. They may still offer some of the original products or services but they aren’t the same. Have you ever considered how change develops?

Mention change and people are going to become nervous, uneasy, and likely afraid. Change feels like a risk to most and anything uncertain may create fear.

People often talk about, no risk, no reward, or they may suggest that the acceptance of change is better than staying in the status quo. Certainly, there is often value in shifting our thinking.

Everything Changes

Everything around us is changing. Given a little time, a lot of time, or sometimes in no time at all.

A vacant lot gets a new home.

The video store becomes a small medical office.

The computer system tells us when it’s time to reorder.

Sometimes change is perceived as developing from past failures. In other cases, it may be labeled as required progress. In nearly all cases, it sparks an emotion for someone.

There is a good chance that the emotions are the result of letting go of something that felt stable, dependable, or even desirable. Things that someone probably worked hard to create, establish, and cared for.

We used to have to make a call from a wired phone, percolate our coffee, or get our music on a record, 8-track tape, or cassette. Yet no one really considers early telephones, coffee percolators, or music records a failure. Perhaps they are not even obsolete.

How Change Develops

Change often develops from need, or an idea to improve.

If you’ve been around long enough, things have changed. As individuals, we learned to tie our own shoes, complete our schoolwork, and report to work.

On the first day of at a new job, it is all new. We don’t always know the people, the culture, or even where to find the restroom.

Just because change is different doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it, that the past was a failure, or a waste of our time.

What feels like progress to some may be undesirable to others but we are not stopping change.

Understand what to hold on to and what to let go of, because things will continue to change.

How change develops may not be as important as the bravery to be an early adopter.

– DEG

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

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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customer service anchors

What Customer Service Anchors Are You Using?

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I really like the metaphorical use of the word anchor. Actually, if you consult a dictionary my use may not be metaphorical. We often anchor mentally, emotionally, to data or other types of input. Our thoughts directly connect to our decisions, which connect to our actions. Do you use customer service anchors?

Have you thought about things that you anchor to personally or professionally? What anchors does your department, your team, or the organization use?

Anchors and Decisions

Anchors have a lot to do with our decisions. We may consider what we have to gain or what we risk losing. Often these decisions are connected to time or money.

When we speed on the freeway, we’re taking a risk. The risk often isn’t measured by considering safety it is measured by the consequences of time and money. We may speed because we believe we can arrive sooner, and we make the choice about the risk of receiving a ticket. The citation costs us money.

The customer service that organizations deliver is rooted deep within the internal operation. It may exist in engineering, research and development, or in the manufacturing process. In service only organizations, it exists in the timeliness, attention to detail, follow through, and client outcomes.

Organizations are often not doing well with walking the talk. They may actually believe that they have a culture of customer service, until their continued struggle for growth, or even to sustain, makes it obvious. The customer experience is never what you say it is, or even what you design it to be. Ultimately, the customer decides.

Customer Service Anchors

When you have processes and procedures that are driven by people who will make decisions and choices based on their thoughts and assessment of risk, you have to consider their anchors. What customer service anchors are affecting your operation?

Here are few possibilities to consider:

  • Mistakes. A mistake is made. Is it a big mistake or a little mistake? Does it, or will it affect the customer? Will the customer notice?
  • Quality. The produced product is close; redoing it will cost time and money. It’s not perfect, will we ship it anyway?
  • Questions. A customer may ask if it will solve their problem. The true answer is unknown. The sale is important. What will you tell the customer?

While some of these are rooted in ethics and integrity, they are all likely a product of the organizational culture. Employees often learn to anchor to the data they encounter from the environment in which they work. This is rooted inside the organization and is reflected in the reputation of the brand.

What customer service anchors are happening in your organization?

– 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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