Author Archives: Dennis Gilbert

  • 0
productivity trap

Would You Believe Time Is a Productivity Trap?

Tags : 

Ask someone if they are going to the fitness center, and they may say, “I don’t have time.” Ask about running errands, paying bills, or doing the laundry, people may suggest there isn’t enough time. Could it be that time is a productivity trap?

What is time costing you? When life is all about the opportunity cost, what are you paying?

Time Spent

We make a lot of decisions every day. Many of those choices have to do with the time we spend. There are opportunities that are either gained or lost.

What choices will you make about time today?

How much time will you spend:

  • In the drive through lane at the coffee shop?
  • Studying the quality of the selfie image on the social media thread?
  • Procrastinating about work to be done instead of jumping in?
  • Proofing an email that took you two minutes to write but you’ve been studying it for ten?
  • Picking up your phone, turning it on, assessing in-bound data, turning it off, putting it back down?

What if the cost of an hour changed? Instead of sixty minutes it became fifty? How would this affect your productivity?

Productivity Trap

Imagine you are on the job for eight hours, but you lose ten minutes each hour. Hours are now fifty minutes. The workload and opportunities remain constant.

You lose one hour and twenty minutes per day. That is more than six hours per week. On average then you lose over twenty-four working hours per month. That would be more than 288 hours per year, which is more than seven work weeks.

If you were absent from your work for more than seven weeks what would have changed? Would nothing change, or might you suggest that everything would change?

Taking time for granted is the biggest productivity trap of all.

Waste less.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


  • 0
dreaded performance review

The Dreaded Performance Review

Tags : 

Performance evaluations and reviews are a special opportunity in the workplace. Are they clouded with inappropriate feedback? Are you about to receive the dreaded performance review?

Golden Rules

There are a few golden rules. Sadly, many supervisors don’t have adequate training or preparation to create a scenario where the review helps, not hurts, future employee performance.

Some of the rules are simple. The review should not be about a opportunity to blast the employee for poor performance or shortcomings on goals and objectives.

If this is an annual or semi-annual review those shortcomings should have been addressed long ago.

However, the review should be about goals and objectives. It should include meaningful and valuable goals that are directly connected to the larger organizational mission.

The Agony

Why do people dread performance reviews?

There are probably at least several reasons. Here are a few:

  • They’ve had a bad experience in the past.
  • The team is chattering about upcoming reviews and citing how terrible that day will be.
  • There is little or no understanding of the real purpose of the review so they see no value.
  • Setting goals and objectives makes them accountable to change.
  • Their supervisor has identified that reviews are a meaningless waste of time.

You get the picture. One or more of these characteristics have plagued or undermined the true purpose and value associated with performance reviews in many organizations.

Dreaded Performance Review

If you are a supervisor you have a responsibility. You should also have a commitment to the success of every member of the team. Future employee motivation is likely directly connected to the successful performance review.

Consider that your team will react to their review. One way or another. Do you want the next six to twelve months to show positive performance improvement?

Above all, the success (or not) of everyone will largely be based on what happens next.

-DEG

Do you need help with creating a positive culture and experience connected to the employee performance review? Contact me.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


  • 0
labor shortage

Labor Shortage: A Tale of Two Companies

Tags : 

Finding the right employee for the job can certainly be challenging. Unemployment numbers anchor us to believe that the task may be even harder than we originally thought. Do you have a labor shortage?

I feel lucky to have the opportunity to speak with business owners, hiring managers, and front-line workers in a wide variety of sectors. I encounter good people looking for work and good companies struggling to fill openings.

What or where is the mismatch? Is it all about wages?

Labor Shortage

Ask an organizational leader why they cannot fill job openings and you’ll hear things like:

  • The millennials (and GenZ) don’t want to work. 
  • No one wants to work for the rate of pay we’re offering.
  • It’s hard work, most of these kids want a come and go as you please desk job. 
  • We don’t have a labor shortage. We have a skill shortage.
  • Factory work is dead. No one wants to do it anymore. 

Does this seem like a good list? I think it is a good start, and there are many variations of those comments that are closely connected.

How are you managing the labor shortage?

Two Companies

Imagine company one, they believe that they need someone to stack widgets into a box, all day long. When the box is full and heavy, they need to move it to the truck for shipping.

Times are tough and tools to improve the work are costly. Company management knows packing the box and shipping it makes money. Anything else, any stall, or stop, it costs the company money.

The CEO, CFO, and plant manager, measure the cost of manual labor from the income statement. Their cultural observation, “Keep expenses low.”

Then there is company two. At company two they also need widgets stacked into a box. They’ll need the boxes prepared for shipping, loaded, and then shipped.

Recognizing times are tough, they are planning for the long haul, they make an investment.

They hire people to ensure the widgets are stacked, loaded, and shipped. They also encourage them to find better ways. Employees are not just packers and shippers, they are also engineering the future.

The C-Suite and front-line management insist that people are an investment. Their cultural observation, “Employees are a human capital investment. Everyone helps make the Company better.”

People Choices

It is easy to quickly scoff at this story, and of course, I’m over-simplifying it.

Of the many organizations in many different sectors I work with, I can tell the difference between success and failure from their language.

One company hires employees as a tool to get the job done, they are an expense. Another, different company, hires human capital to ensure the success of the organization.

People have a choice.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


  • 0
managing time

How Are You Managing Time?

Tags : 

Time management sounds like a boring topic. It seems like everyone should just get it. We often think, “Do it right, do the right stuff, be effective and efficient.” Are you managing time properly?

What’s Your Focus?

The golden rule that we’ve all heard is that we all have the same amount of time. Certainly, it’s true. Twenty-four hours in a day, seven days a week, and we’re all counting.

Consistent with that thinking, time, it seems, isn’t really our problem. It is how we decide, or feel forced to decide, how we will spend it. What space will we occupy or what activity will we do during our time.

Here lies the real challenge. Do you have the dedication, the devotion, and the focus to really be productive? Are you committed to making the most of your time?

It may require emotional labor. Emotional labor feels hard, exhausting, and makes us question the return on investment. However, it may be necessary to make the best use of your time.

Managing Time

The first step to understanding how we manage our time comes from self-assessment. How are you utilizing your breaks? Are you taking a short brisk walk? That may be productive if you need better fitness.

What are your distractions? Are you creating them or are the result of others? Walking to the coffee pot or the break room may be a distraction. How many trips are you making?

Asking your co-worker across the cube if they watched the Grammy awards the night before, or the latest episode of the Walking Dead, or the Presidential Rally is likely inviting a delay of the real work to be done.

Assess the next three or four hours of your work. What are the time wasters? What activities are you substituting into the mix to procrastinate about the real work to be done? If you’re honest, you may be surprised.

Managing time, we all have the same amount.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


  • 0
act smart

Do You Act Smart, Poised, Confident?

Tags : 

Likely nearly everyone has heard, “Dress for Success.” Some don’t subscribe, and that is OK. However, some questions may remain. Can you act your way to success? Do you act smart? Are you poised, confident, and do you appear successful?

There are plenty of people who are working for professional advancement. Everyone from students anticipating graduation to the senior vice president who is seeking the CEO role. What are your chances for success?

Define Success

Everyone defines success differently.

One person may define success as having a modest home with a swing set and sandbox in the backyard. Another person may believe it is a high-rise Manhattan apartment, a fleet of expensive black cars with tinted windows, and several vacation homes.

Setting aside our differences in definition, how will you get there?

Some believe, what you think, you will become. This is mainstream thinking for many motivational and inspirational thought leaders. I subscribe to this, at least in part.

Act Smart, Poised, and Confident.

Consider asking yourself some of these questions:

  • What if I acted totally committed and excited about the new product launch? What if I appeared totally committed to it, even when I may still have a few concerns?
  • Imagine yourself right before your next big presentation. An important presentation that you never really saw yourself doing this way or on this platform. Instead of feeling inferior, nervous, and afraid, what if you acted completely confident?
  • What would the outcome be if you delivered the change with an appropriately energetic and commanding presence. Even if in the back of your mind you had a few worries about this path?

I believe in dress for success. I also believe in the power of our mind to change our own personal outlook and create a self-fulfilled prophecy.

What do you believe?

Have you considered how the outcomes change when you act smart, poised, and confident?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


  • 0
workplace microaggression

Was That a Workplace Microaggression?

Tags : 

Things have a funny way of going full circle. Trendy behaviors, buzzwords, and even politically correct phrases. Are you delivering a workplace microaggression?

The term microaggression goes back to the early 1970‘s. Chester M. Pierce, is known to get credit for coining the word. Chester passed away in 2016, but his societal impacts live on.

Full Circle

Now, nearly 50 years after the introduction of the term, it is gaining additional traction. The term is echoed around college campuses, high schools, and yes, of course, it is rapidly emerging in the workplace.

Defining a microaggression may not be as easy as you think. In a society seeking to either find or ignore political correctness in every breath it may be hard to understand what is acceptable or what is not.

If you look up the definition of the term it doesn’t necessarily provide much clarity. Here is a segment of the definition from Wikipedia that seems to resonate, “[words, phrases] …whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group.”

Workplace Microaggression

Are you delivering a microaggression?

Let’s assume you meet a person who may appear (visually) to be Hispanic. A stereotype, yes, indeed, but that isn’t the point here. After an initial greeting, you say, “Wow, you speak good English.” Congratulations (sarcasm), you just delivered one.

The same is true if you say, “How can I be a racist? Many of my best friends are black.”

Perhaps in the workplace you say to a baby boomer, “We have many recent college graduates, if you get stuck with any technology problems just grab one of them for help.” This may be a microaggression.

If you listen carefully, much of our workplace chatter, regardless of age, race, or gender, may have roots in this problem.

Some will suggest, “You can’t say anything anymore. You’ll get in trouble.” That may be dramatizing it a bit, which is another, different workplace problem.

Be aware, improve your communication, help others.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


  • 0
workplace hot buttons

Workplace Hot Buttons, What Are Yours?

Tags : 

Something that sparks negative energy, or sends us into a moment of anger can derail our day, but only when we allow it. Do you have some workplace hot buttons? What are they?

Workplace Hot Buttons

Here are a few common anger igniters that I frequently hear about:

  • Everyone was invited to the meeting, but me.
  • The meeting was too long.
  • Did you see the way he or she looked at me?
  • Why is she wearing jeans and flip-flops?
  • Her top is cut too low.
  • She or he totally ignored me when I asked about…
  • He or she hasn’t put in the time.
  • I’m really a manager, not the girl Friday.
  • He or she took credit for my work.
  • Why does he or she get an hour and a half lunch break?
  • She or he thinks they are above everyone else.
  • He or she is a backstabber.

Have you ever heard any of these? Do you ever say them? In this case we aren’t judging whether a statement is true or false but rather we are considering some relatively small things that convert to anger.

Do you need anger management? It is more than a Charlie Sheen TV show.

Anger Management

If you find yourself getting angry in the workplace consider these quick simple steps to help you disconnect from your anger:

  1. Recognize that remaining angry is a choice.
  2. Be aware that anger comes in many forms. Self-assess.
  3. Practice relationship balancing.
  4. Stop evaluating, assessing, or blaming others.
  5. Establish realistic expectations. Stick to the facts and your responsibilities.
  6. Look for ways to be grateful and appreciative.

If you honestly apply these six steps you should be well on your way to reducing anger. You may also discover that those workplace hot buttons are not so destructive after all.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


  • 0
bad data

The Consequences of Bad Data

Tags : 

A data driven society? Yes, it’s likely we can apply that label. If we have a data driven society what happens when we have bad data?

As I write this, it is winter. Early February, in Pennsylvania. We’ve recently had some very cold temperatures, snow, and of course, ice.

In the winter months I mostly drive my 20-year-old Tahoe. Winter roads in the Northeast are not kind to vehicle life. I’m thankful for my Tahoe. It’s a trusty rusty machine.

Bad Data

Yesterday, it was around 60 degrees. Snow and ice melting rapidly. I jumped in my Tahoe to proceed to an event. Inside the vehicle it felt so warm, I had to crack a window.

Once underway and rolling down the highway, I glanced to my rearview mirror where there is a digital thermostat. It was displaying minus 36 Fahrenheit, then minus 37, eventually hitting minus 40. Should I trust these numbers?

At the event, I overheard people discussing the local temperature. Comparing the past week, to the current week. Funny how many different temperatures were being reported. Are these facts?

During the event, there was additional information exchanged. Opinions shared, research claimed, materials produced, and notes taken. People processing data.

In a recent workforce meeting I attended, an organization cited an employee turnover ratio of 56 percent. I thought, it must be incorrect, perhaps a decimal problem, or some other error. I asked, “Is there a decimal problem?” The answer was, “No.” Good thing I asked.

Part of the Solution

Our workplaces are often outlined and highlighted with data. Numbers, reports, infographics, facts, opinions, statistics, and presentations.

Be careful with your data. Know what you are presenting. Do appropriate research. We can be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution.

Everyone has a responsibility with data.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


  • 0
workplace rules

What Will Workplace Rules Change?

Tags : 

Someone will quickly say, “Rules are meant to be broken.” If you’re a rebel, you may insist on breaking the rules. Do workplace rules make a difference for engagement or motivation?

It’s unlikely, standing alone, that they’ll make a significant change. In some cases, they may make things a little worse.

Always Assumptions

Many people operate with an assumption. The assumption is that if we don’t know the rules, or if there are not enough rules, people will become unruly.

Awareness matters, it is important, but being aware doesn’t necessarily change much.

Most U.S. drivers know there are posted speed limit signs. How many people drive only up to the limit or less?

It’s generally known that a high intake of sugar is not healthy. While not a rule, how many people disobey this concept?

People create rules for managing trash, the utilization of water, or about drinking and driving. Does everyone obey?

In the workplace, having rules, creating rules, or making people more aware of the rules may not be the way to a delightful and efficient space.

Do rules really matter?

Of course they matter. Are they the way to a better workplace climate? The best answer is, “Maybe.”

Workplace Rules

Have you ever heard the manager bark, “That’s against Company policy!”

Does it make a difference? It creates awareness. Will it change anything? Sure, it will make a difference for some, but for others, it may not matter all that much.

Unlike mice finding the cheese in a maze, or teaching your dog to sit and then receive a treat, people are driven by purpose.

Knowing the rules may be a good and necessary opening action, but then the rules will be best adhered to when people understand why.

We also can’t forget about things like organizational culture, group dynamics, and peer pressure.

Choosing to either follow, or ignore and break, will have much more at stake than the creation of the rule.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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
Customer satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction May Start With a Promise

Tags : 

An easy question to ask but a harder one to answer is what promotes customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is based on an expectation, a perception, and a feeling during or after an interaction. What is your promise?

The Promise

Brands have promises. Cadillac, BMW, or Jaguar may have a brand promise. So does Hyundai and Kia.

A dinner out at an Outback Steakhouse carries a different expectation from McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s.

An employee earning $90k annually has additional expectations when compared with the employee who earns $35k.

Similar expectations exist for a cup of coffee, a bottle of wine, or pair of shoes. Price sets precedence for the expectations and it elevates the factor of risk for customer satisfaction.

The lower the price, the lower the brand promise, theoretically making it easier to satisfy.

Are more people satisfied with a low-price experience as compared with a high price experience?

It would be hard to guess with so many factors conditioning any potential outcome. However, most would agree that a big price with poor outcomes is remembered long after the experience is over.

A low price with a bad experience is easier to forget. We may think, “I didn’t get much, but I didn’t expect it either.”

What is your commitment? Are you making big promises? Are you commanding a higher price?

Customer Satisfaction

It seems that is easier to give less, do less, and provide less because the expectations are lower. On the flip side of that, if we are always providing less is our customer satisfaction truly high or are we short changing the customer experience?

Does a $75 per hour employee work harder than a $14 per hour employee? Theoretically no, both should be 100% effort for one hour of work, but the expected value of the $75 per hour employee is much more.

What are you doing about customer satisfaction? Taking big risks with big promises, or just delivering the easy stuff.

It’s a choice and a mindset. It’s your brand promise and it starts with culture.

-DEG

Our actions, behaviors, and outcomes are driven by culture. So is customer satisfaction. It is why I wrote this book:

customer satisfaction

Buy now on Amazon

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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. Management and Leadership Certificate

    March 19 @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
  2. Developing Middle Managers – PSU

    April 8 @ 8:00 am - April 12 @ 5:00 pm
  3. Navigating Generations – Clarion University SBDC

    April 23 @ 8:30 am - 12:00 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