Author Archives: Dennis Gilbert

  • 0
contingency plan

3 Reasons Why You Will Need a Contingency Plan

Tags : 

Will your strategy work? Do you have an awesome plan? The truth may be that the better your plan, the more you are going need to develop another plan. A contingency plan, do you have one?

It is true that many small businesses get by without putting pen to paper for a plan. They don’t put data entry to digital document either. They stroll along for years based almost entirely on gut feel.

Sometimes this works, but normally it has some magical limitations. Of course, no one really knows those limitations because the plan is just a feeling, a fairytale, some magic.

Strategic Plan

Is a personal or organizational strategic plan the solution to become unstuck?

In my opinion, a plan is always a good idea. A very precise and detailed plan certainly helps avoid anything falling through the cracks. Are there problems with a tight plan?

Yes, but when you plan for the unplanned there is a good chance you’ll keep moving in the right direction.

Should you have a backup plan?

Contingency Plan

There are many reasons to have a contingency plan.

Here are three of my favorite reasons:

  1. Surprises. Things aren’t always going to go exactly as planned. There is a time to push or force the issue. There is also a time to go with the flow. Surprises have an interesting way of shaping a slightly tweaked direction. A direction that still gets us where we need to be.
  2. Specifications Change. The specs are the specs in the tightest plan. What if the specs aren’t the specs that are needed? Identification of a want isn’t always the same thing as the need. Fluidity in design should be part of the contingency.
  3. Missed Deadlines. The metric of time is valuable. Too soon can be nearly as problematic as too late. Along the way both surprises and specification changes may alter the timing. Sometimes the best question is not about, “what if,” it is about, “what we’ll do when.”

Tight, highly detailed plans are a good idea. The best plan almost never happens.

The perfect plan is one that is built with a contingency.

-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+


  • 0
win list

3 Reasons Why Creating a Win List is Valuable

Tags : 

Do you create lists? A to-do list, a grocery list, or maybe a list of bills to pay. Do you talk about all the things that go wrong? Maybe what you really need is a win list.

Our energy is precious. No amount of caffeine, 5-hour Energy, or Red Bull is going to significantly change the energy requirements you need to perform at your best every day.

Energy Zapping

Negativity is energy zapping. We talk about the failed shipment. We express anger about the sudden shift in priorities for the project. Sometimes we even complain about a co-worker or the boss. Energy zapping!

Why do we engage in counterproductive behavior? Perhaps there are times when it just seems like talking about it makes us feel better.

Yes, talking through some of our challenges may help shed some light on something new or even change our mind to something more positive. Unfortunately, we usually don’t stop there. Consciously or subconsciously, we relive the difficulty and negativity repeatedly.

We drag it around, carry it around, and spread the negativity. We have a list of all the things that make us angry and at any opportunity we’re prepared to dump it on someone else.

Win List

What if we created a different list? Imagine instead, a win list. An opportunity to relive and tell someone else about something positive.

There are many reasons that this is valuable but here are several good ones:

  1. Focus. The win list creates a positive focus. When we think about it, talk about it, or even write it on a whiteboard it creates positive energy.
  2. Sharing. When we share our wins, it helps shift others away from negativity. It helps ignite the whole team with more positivity.
  3. Results. Changing our mindset is often required to change the results. A win list accomplishes both.

Your list can be something small and simple. It could be something big.

Do you want another good reason?

What you think is what you become.

-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+


  • 0
awaiting change

Awaiting Change or Making Change Happen?

Tags : 

What will be different today? Will something change? Many people feel excited about the possibility. They are awaiting change.

Is this what will spark change or do we have to engage deeper, in a more meaningful way?

Constant Change

Most would agree that we are in a World of constant and rapid change. Some live for this exhilarating feeling, others want to climb back into their box.

On the other hand, many people and businesses feel stuck, trapped, or worse, going backwards.

We are all responsible for change. Change seems to happen more when the reason for change is clear. When there is purpose, direction, and vision.

Awaiting Change

One trouble spot often is, people are just waiting. They are waiting to be inspired, waiting to connect with what matters to them, and looking for clear vision, a roadmap they can follow.

Today perhaps we’re all marketers. We all must sell, promote, and create connection. Like it or not, we’re in a connection economy. As the digital age shoves more data in front us things don’t get clearer, they get more nebulous.

In a fuzzy world, we resort to instinct, our instinct resorts to trust. We ask someone.

The testimonial is more important now than ever. The people you meet, they have value. What they say will have impact on your direction. When we listen, we’re building our own vision.

What To Do

Ask yourself, “What would the savvy marketer do?”

Launch a new OOH campaign, engage with video, build an incredible and resourceful website? One thing is certain, they are going to try to connect with emotion, a purpose, and a vision.

When you recognize what matters most and stop waiting you’ll start changing.

Connect yourself or your team with authenticity, respect, and high ethical standards. Maybe it is what people are waiting for. Maybe it is what matters the most.

Stop waiting, start connecting, promote the vision, and listen. Things will change.

-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+


  • 0
grit

On The Subject Of Grit

Tags : 

“Day after day,” an important part of the lyrics from Dobie Gray, in the hit song Drift Away. Day after day it feels like the grit required to get through becomes more challenging. People start their Monday and hope to survive it all until Friday.

Not bad for a Monday. 

It’s hump day!

Is it Friday yet?

People are required to show up day after day. Not just physically, but really, show up. For many people this is about 250 or more days per year.

Hanging In

What do you walk into each day? The same old grind? Or you have to love this one, “Same stuff, different day.” (If you can’t say it on TV, don’t write it.)

Do you want a better day, a better week, and a better career?

What may matter most is that you show up. It seems that showing up, having the grit to do the work that must be done is the single biggest factor for success.

That project you’re working on. It likely won’t single handedly change the culture.

The customer call you must make. It won’t shape the future of everything that happens next.

Your early morning sales or staff meeting, the one that always runs long, probably won’t matter much across the lifetime of the organization.

Certainly, all these things may contribute to the impact, they are all part of the build.

Grit

All the greats, they aren’t the overnight success they appear to be. Good companies that become great, weren’t just about a project, a day, or a meeting.

The grit that you are going to put in today, tomorrow, and about 250 days per year, across 40 or 50 years, that is a career. It all happens one day at a time.

If you do nothing else today, consider that your grit matters.

-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+


  • 0
self-reflection

Self-Reflection May Be Your Stumbling Block

Tags : 

Assessment is one of the most fundamental ways we seek to understand gaps. It is important for the speaker at the conference, the trainer helping to develop the team, and the coach who helps you change. Self-reflection, a form of assessment, may also be your biggest stumbling block.

Social Anxieties

Do you enjoy browsing on social networks? Why does it interest you? Do you engage, or quietly observe? Do you stalk, secretly looking to see what others are doing?

What do you find attractive about shopping? Whether it is online or in a brick and mortar store?

What are some of your favorite movies? What television series attracts your attention?

Why does the song or music resonate with you? What makes you feel it, helps you escape, or excites your emotions?

The answer to nearly all these questions has something to do with you. Individuals are striving to understand, feel, or compare. Their vision, thoughts, and feelings are a vicarious trip to the future, or an opportunity to relive the past.

When we look at the old yearbook photo, we seek first to find our own reflection. What were we wearing, how did we look? Too skinny, too fat, or why did we choose those clothes?

Why do so many selfies get adjusted? Add some dog ears, and a cute little nose.

All of this is not about everyone. It is however about someone. It is about you.

Self-Reflection

Self-reflection will always condition what happens next. It will condition your choice to spring into action or to fall back, hide, or regroup.

People are attracted to social networks because they are finding themselves. They may seek to find sympathy, regret, or someone to share in their sorrow. Maybe things aren’t that bad, or maybe they want appreciation for being the victim.

Other times they seek the energy, the excitement, the happiness, and the possibilities. They relive the best and think fondly of the past.

One truth about self-reflection, it is the thought we have right before what we become next.

-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+


  • 0

Creating Outcomes Is Exactly What We’re All Doing

Tags : 

Are you responsible for your own fate? Are you being positive about what the future holds for you? In your life or career, do you feel like you are creating outcomes?

Most people probably do this much more than they realize. Their mindset directs what happens next.

Someone coughs. “Stop spreading your germs! I better not get sick.”

Traffic is backed up. “I knew this would happen.”

Sales are down. “The marketing plan was a bad idea from the start.”

Our Vision

We get more assignments when we attend the meeting. The phone rings as soon as we get engaged in our work. We nearly the finish the project and then the boss decides it isn’t needed anyway.

It happens to us when we don’t get the job. Perhaps when the weather takes a turn we don’t like. And, it especially happens when we feel overwhelmed.

Is it coincidence, is it fate, or just bad luck?

Expectations

We get more of what we expect. Yet we’ll argue that we would never, ever, do that. In fact, we may even argue that we are being positive but bad things keep happening.

Do you talk about what’s positive? Do you recite the feeling you had when you closed the sale, drove straight through without traffic, or felt pretty good after a brisk walk? This is option one.

Option two is talking about the coworker that appears to be goofing off, how you were running a few minutes late and then traffic was at a standstill. Or, perhaps you’ll mention the scratchy feeling in your throat and worry about an oncoming sickness.

Creating Outcomes

Life isn’t always as complex as it seems to be. Creating outcomes is what we do. It all starts with our vision.

When we expect a bad day. We’ll find a reason to see a bad day. Do this repetitively and we’ll develop confidence that our vibes are correct. Our intuition is our guide and we trust it.

All of this affirms that you get what you look for, and what you look for is what you’ll get.

Stop telling everyone what went wrong. Look for what worked, what went right, what is a win. You’re not bragging, you’re not narcissistic, you are turning your life around.

-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+

Looking for a different mindset? 

pivot accelerate

Buy on Amazon

 


  • 0
little more

Humpfrey, Can You Do Just a Little More?

Tags : 

Career minded people are trying to change. They want to achieve something better, greater, and more robust. The true love comes from what they do, what they become, and the good things that follow. Can you do a little more? Will you?

It is common that people in the workplace feel dumped on, piled on, and burnt out.

Camel Syndrome

Dumped on and piled on, you feel like a camel. Standing, waiting, looking over your shoulder. You see someone lingering with just one piece of straw, eager to throw it on someone’s back. Will it be yours?

It is difficult to dump the metaphoric load. The emotional labor required grows. No straws seem to fall off your back, just more piling on.

Carrying the load is often intensified because we relive that feeling. Even if the load is gone, we’re still carrying it. Worse yet, we feel compelled to share the story. We relive it once again, giving some burden to another weary traveler.

Big Loads

Of course, it is possible you’re carrying a big load. Perhaps the biggest load you’ve ever carried. It isn’t a test. It is reality.

Yet, another straw is hovering just above your shoulders waiting to drop.

If you want to make a difference for your career you are lucky then. You’re lucky that you have the opportunity to carry more.

It will show your strength. Your ability to overcome adversity and eliminate any perceived weakness.

A Little More

You should ask yourself, “Can I do a little more?” Can you push through the emotional labor? Will you find a way to be more responsive, more caring, and more patient?

Can you find the strength for one more straw?

Here is the thing, that one more, it makes you different, better.

If the journey is going to be tough the weakest camel is never selected.

-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+


  • 0
forced change

Forced Change Doesn’t Work As Well As Consensus

Tags : 

Change surrounds us. It may be hard to find an argument with that idea. However, does forced change ever really work? Can you force a change?

Certainly, there are external forces of change. We have technology forcing change, government regulations may force change, and even shifting economic conditions are likely to force change.

Managing Change

How do you manage forced change? Can it be managed? Does forced change happen internally?

There are always both external and internal forces putting pressure on organizations to change. The outcome of pressure applied is reactionary change.

We all realize that reaction may not be as good being proactive.

When we present ideas, concepts, and new directions we are hoping for change. Does the debate at the water cooler invoke change? What about the private discussion after the staff meeting? Does that bring about change?

Fighting for Change

It is easy to find disagreement. It is easy to pick a fight.

A culture of, “We fight about it.” may bring about some change, but it may not be the change you had in mind.

While external forces cause change for organizations, internal change or buy-in may require a completely different strategy.

Decision by consensus is different from persuasion, it is different from majority vote. Forced ideas seldom lead to consensus. Debates, arguments, or fights seldom create buy-in.

Forced Change

Some people will always go with the flow. They’ll follow the crowd. Fence sitters can go either way but often watch for the path of the majority. People with strong views can transition to extreme views as their influence grows.

Picking a fight and creating a divide is likely not what you have in mind. Forced change is often only the residue from the attempt, the bitterness that teams harbor and relive over and over in their minds.

If you want positive change and an intact team you’re going to have to use skillful navigation to create the buy-in. Forced change doesn’t work.

-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+


  • 0
high call volume

Experiencing Unexpectedly High Call Volume

Tags : 

Call volume can be a problem. It can also be a lie. Certainly it can be both. Have you ever called for support and heard, “We are experiencing unexpectedly high call volume, please be patient.”

The next indicator of the big lie is to promote the URL that will get you to frequently asked questions or an English as a second language untrained chat support team.

Of course, as I reread my last few sentences I must consider if I am placing guilt without a fair trial.

This could prompt another question. Does your service provider or product support team have unexpectedly high call volume for months and months? I hope this signals a point well made.

Sign Up Here

This probably isn’t the service you signed up for. It is the surprise behind the brand. It is the hope and the guess of the company you’re dealing with that this call, your call, will never occur.

In the 1990’s I managed a group that provided both technical and customer support for a variety of technology products. It was a good team, but burnout was often problematic.

Humans who work support lines (telephone or even email) have one commanding issue. Nearly all, that means 99.9% of the calls they take, are someone with a problem not kudos. It is demanding work and I tip my hat.

High Call Volume

You can understand why the call center may want to stretch the truth but it may be the slipperiest of slopes. Once the process starts, it seems like a good idea to continue. Continuance often leads to expansion. Expansion leads to a bigger lie.

Their forecast is often driven down to answering one question. What is the minimum requirement for retention? What will the customer tolerate instead of how will we delight our customers?

There is a solution to this madness. Tell the truth. Start at the beginning. Create a truthful brand and live up to expectations. Provide alternatives and be sure they work well.

A staff of one may be all that is needed for a few calls a day. A staff of ten that can’t handle another call is likely not unexpected, it is the sign of an untrustworthy brand.

-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+


  • 0
strategy failures

Strategy Failures You May See Coming

Tags : 

Nearly everyone wants a good strategy. Being more strategic will pay off big when the strategy you plan for is the right strategy. Why do so many teams and businesses get sideswiped with strategy failures?

Planning Mistakes

The first mistake that many organizations make is that they hire the wrong strategy consultant (doing it internally, without external expertise, may also be a mistake).

Who is the wrong consultant? The consultant who believes he or she is the only one for the job and the consultant who believes strategic planning is about a SWOT analysis. Both are wrong.

Strategic planning includes much more than a SWOT, much more than asking about problems, and much more than suggesting do X and you’ll achieve Y.

One example is the strategy of how the business will use its time. Time is something you’ll never get back. Yes, you can start again but if the competition didn’t have to, good luck catching up.

Understanding Time

Restaurant owners understand time. Bad weather and nobody comes in for dinner. That revenue is lost forever. When your patrons choose to eat at home that is a meal you’ll never get back. The day is lost, the time is lost, gone.

The business that ships a commodity product understands time. When your customer waits the threat of the customer seeking a different vendor is pending. Being the quickest is likely linked to your brand. If it takes too long, business may be lost, gone, done. Forever.

Then there is the business that is built around value. The confusing part of value is understanding where you waste your time.

Value is subjective and having just enough is good. Doing more than enough could arguably be a waste of time. Working towards perfection takes time, and you’ll miss everyone who wants it the quickest.

Strategy Failures

Too many strategy planners get stuck in the moment of assessing what the company wants to do and confusing that with what the company needs to do.

Creating a clever mission statement is good. Stating you’ll become the best in your region, state, or the nation may be a want, but that has nothing to do with understanding how you’ll position for that achievement.

Don’t want to waste your time? Strategy failures often develop from the first mistake you make.

-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+


Search This Website

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Upcoming Public Events

  1. Bridging the Gap Event

    October 24 @ 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
  2. Developing Middle Managers : Part 2

    November 6 @ 8:00 am - November 8 @ 5:00 pm

Blog (Filter) Categories

Follow me on Twitter

Assessment Services and Tools

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