Category Archives: Confidence

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restoring confidence

Restoring Confidence Means Creating Certainty

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Are you good at restoring confidence? Do you believe that confident employees and customers matter?

A lack of confidence means worry. Worry means hesitation, procrastination, and delays. Delays within employee teams and delays in meeting the expectations of the customer.

Many people are facing new challenges when navigating the workplace. And now, more than ever, more people are working from home (WFH), and as such workflow and communication have changed. Certainty is at a premium and uncertainty is commonplace.

Timelines, metrics and measurements are keys to successful navigation.

When the boss asks, “When will we get an update on the project?” or when the customer asks, “When will my order ship?” how do you respond?

I’m waiting on one more piece from the team, we’ll have something together soon.

Your order should ship out by Friday.

Neither response makes an exact commitment. The unknown is hard to navigate.

Certainty builds confidence.

Restoring Confidence

A common reaction is to stretch the truth, be vague, and hope everything works out for the best. In reality, everyone is being short-changed.

People beg for transparency, truth, and certainty. In most cases, this is a transaction. It’s a transaction that can have the outcome of restoring confidence or the outcome of uncertainty and disappointment.

When we reassure with direct, not dodged, or fuzzy answers, we have a chance to change the level of confidence, certainty, and even manage the disappointment.

Better to say that the project will be finished by the end of the day tomorrow, or the order will be on the truck on Friday. Wiggle words don’t sound the same as a certainty, and its especially unlikely that they will restore confidence.

-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.


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big attitude

Does Big Attitude Mean Big Enough to Fail?

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Charisma, confidence, and a big attitude, is that what it really takes? Selling or leading could benefit from all three, yet a big attitude could mean the beginning of the end.

Some organizations believe that they are too big to fail. They have too much in reserves, the strength of bold and powerful investors, and a market that never ceases to gobble up their products or services.

Perhaps they’ve scaled. They’ve built it from the ground up and now sit atop a high peak. Looking down they underestimate that their strength could be exactly what makes them start to tumble.

Big Attitude

It can happen to the local pizza shop. They run like a monopoly. The best pizza in town. The big attitude is, “If you don’t like it, try to find a better one.”

It can be true for the local convenience store, the car dealership, and even the specialty grocer.

Behind the scene, they make little investment. No need for a drone video, a fancy website, or a Superbowl commercial.

As profits surge, the care they started with begins to diminish.

Keep expenses low and keep the profits to yourself. The facade fades because it costs to keep it up. A new sign here, or a coat of paint over there, and it’s good enough.

Employees are tools, not an investment. Those at the top contribute less and the frontline is coerced to give more. Customers come and go, but they mostly come so who really cares?

Possible to Fail

It’s happened in business, in education, and even in healthcare.

Be on top, or you’ll be underneath. On top is easier, more rewarding, and requires a lot less time. Count the money, buy big stuff, show what you’ve got. That’s the attitude.

A big attitude can get you started. It can also take you places.

When a big attitude scales, it may mean you’re now perfectly situated to be big enough to fail.

-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.


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increase confidence

Increase Confidence Not Worry or Stress

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What would happen if you could increase confidence? Would that mean less worry and stress?

Sometimes the unknown makes us better.

My navigation system may not work in that remote location. I better study it on the map.

I’m giving a presentation to the committee. I should think through every question they might ask.

It’s been a while since I’ve done this. I better practice first.

Under-pressure is sometimes a way to get things done. It does provide a certain amount of motivation, determination, and commitment. However, under-pressure may create anxiety, unnecessary stress, and even panic.

Dress for success, rehearse the obstacles and freshen up on the skills. It’s true for the face-to-face meeting and it is true for the virtual meeting.

It is true for the job interview, how you’ll navigate change resistors, and even the chance encounter with the CEO.

Choose Confidence

Although many would argue that they lack choice, everyone has a choice for how they’ll manage worry and stress.

A simple course of action is preparation. Prepare.

Lacking confidence may mean that you haven’t appropriately prepared.

You haven’t prepared to drive 250 miles to an unfamiliar city and get to your destination on time.

It’s been a year since you created an Excel spreadsheet using complex formulas, and the CEO expects it tomorrow.

You didn’t run through your Powerpoint to consider what you might say about each slide.

Worry and stress.

Increase Confidence

Worry and stress are often built by not preparing.

When you prepare, you improve your confidence. You can rehearse and imagine the unexpected. It makes your work better.

It may be hard to cover every possible angle, yet, the more you cover in advance the higher your confidence.

Appropriate confidence has another perk.

Confidence sells.

-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.


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new job demands

New Job Demands and Going All Out

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Someone may tell you that you have to put yourself all in, in order to go all out. They’re probably correct. Do you have new job demands? Can you go all out?

Being committed to high performance in the workplace is not always easy. There are plenty of distractions and plenty of naysayers.

That shouldn’t stop you!

Whether you are starting a new career, a new job, or have moved to a new employer, going all out matters. It even matters if nothing is really new, maybe it is just a new you.

People often lack the commitment because they are uncertain. Perhaps they wonder if they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities. They may also be uncertain if they can sustain such a high level of commitment.

Additionally, sometimes, they’re troubled by the likability factor. Will other people get angry or am I stepping on someone’s toes?

Being committed is an interesting position. You sometimes don’t realize that you’ve already decided, you just need to carry out your plan.

Commitment is a Choice

When I was a teenager, rolling skating and dancing were a popular group attraction. If you went to the rink, you were going to skate. If you went to the dance, you were expected to dance.

Only not everyone did.

It could feel kind of personal. People are watching. What if I fall on my skates or my body moves weird when I try to dance?

If you went to the rink or to the dance, you should have already decided. Unless you decided that you were going, but you were not going to participate. So why show up?

Teenagers may have many reasons. Yet, in real world adult workplace situations does just showing up count? Of course not.

When you make the decision to show up for your job, your work, or career it’s time to dance. The commitment should have already occurred so why not?

New Job Demands

Life is full of distractions. Life has risks.

There is a risk to commitment and often a feeling of uncertainty. What you sometimes fail to realize is that you’ve already decided. The moment you decided to show up was the moment you decided to go all out.

What is riskier?

For your job, riskier might be only going half-in. You do something so that there is motion, but your commitment is all wrong.

As a result, you do inferior work. You miss targets and deadlines, or your output is not the quality or quantity expected. You cost more than you are worth.

What holds more risk? Going all out or only half-in?

You didn’t think you were going to show up and only watch, did you?

-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.


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confident employees

Confident Employees Can’t Wait To Get Started

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Being over-confident may be as bad is being under-confident. Are confident employees better skilled, or simply better starters?

Analysis paralysis is sometimes feared in decision making and problem solving. The idea is, you over-analyze the situation. You review more and more data, so much so, that you fail to take any action.

Some might suggest that you lack confidence. Others might suggest that you don’t realize what will happen and that you lack appropriate knowledge or experience.

Confidence impacts what happens next. It also impacts how the story is told, if buy-in is created, and the level of resistance.

It has often been said that practice makes perfect.

Confident Employees

In the workplace, taking initiative and springing to action will typically be more accepted, even when there is a mistake, rather than no action at all.

Some people claim that they can’t do math. So, they do the opposite, they avoid math.

Some don’t like to make decisions, start on big projects, or approach the boss with a recommendation for change.

Still others don’t want their picture taken, their memo read, or to get feedback from the boss.

Sometimes the best way to improve is to jump in and get started.

If you struggle with math, do more. When you don’t like projects or discussions with the boss maybe it would help to get more involved, not less.

Waiting will often allow for one thing.

A chance for someone else to improve and for you to get left behind.

Get started.

-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.


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sacrificing experience

Sacrificing Experience for Checking the Informed Box

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There is information everywhere. Every place we step, turn, or take a rest. Information is plentiful and knowledge is abundant. Are you sacrificing experience for information?

In workforce development circles the chatter is often about experiential learning. On the surface many believe this means hands-on learning.

Experiential or Hands On?

Hands-on learning is can be experiential and it is important for the carpenter, the mechanic, and the electrician.

Are there other forms of hands-on learning?

Hands-on doesn’t always guarantee it is experiential. Experiential learning is about the act of doing something and then being able to reflect about it.

In seminars, it is the debrief following the subgroup exercise. The case study with a question and answer component, or perhaps even the often-dreaded role-play.

Confused?

Understanding Information and Experience

The confusion exists because of our comprehension of the word experience.

As people we connect experience to motion. Turning the screwdriver, cutting the board to make it fit just right, or setting the torque specs for the cylinder head.

Learning to do it just right comes from experience. Because of the experience we can feel it, and reflect on it.

Today we have more opportunities than ever before to gather information. We’re plastered with information.

New age vehicles deliver more opportunities than ever. We have podcasts, social media posts, and YouTube, just to name a few.

We are exposed to information on a grand scale. Does it make us smarter? Does it improve our experience?

Sacrificing Experience

In a World full of opportunities to gather more information it is important to remember that information on its own does not necessarily improve performance. Our learning and the ability to contribute in the future often develop from experience.

We may be able to recite information but not do the job.

Having the new employee watch several hours of training videos doesn’t necessarily improve their competence. The same is true about the podcast or the technical specifications sheet.

Are you reflecting or just absorbing?

Be careful about confusing knowledge with experience.

-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.


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assumption decisions

Assumption Decisions Are Made In Every Meeting

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Meetings are often about decisions. They are also about information, thinking, and often about assumptions. Are you making assumption decisions?

At the very start of every meeting there are assumptions. The assumption about why Jane is missing, why Bob looks worried, and about how the meeting will evolve.

Most meetings expect reflection. Reflection is part of experiential learning and it is part of being a participant and contributor.

What are you reflecting upon?

Meeting Anxiety

Are you wondering what will happen when you’re asked to verbally contribute? Will you be called upon to vote, respond, or is the expectation to simply nod your head?

What is the elephant in the room? Is the elephant your imagination or do others feel the same thing?

Everyone knows that we shouldn’t make decisions based upon assumptions. However, when the data is lacking, when we’re lazy, or when our experiences tell us it is safe, we do it.

Technology and data are helping us get better. We have gauges and sensors that help eliminate assumptions.

The temperature in the room, made known by a gauge. A tire with low pressure on our car, known by a gauge. The amount of storage used on our computing device, yes, of course, known by the data or gauge.

Is valid and reliable data better than making an assumption?

Assumption Decisions

All of our modern conveniences help us do better by being smarter. We make better choices because the information seems irrefutable.

Occasionally, an assumption will get in the way. We’ll either choose to ignore the data or we’ll take a different path because the path appears more consistent with our gut feel.

What assumption decisions are you or your team making? And the outcomes, how have they worked out?

-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.


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best effort

Giving Your Best Effort More Often

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What happens when you give your best effort? Does something change, does a spark ignite, or does your confidence grow?

Your first day on the job and you may not even be sure where the rest room is located. After a few weeks, which quickly turn to months, you start to find a rhythm and you get more comfortable.

Finding your rhythm as an individual, a team, or an organization is often the game changer.

Improving Confidence

Confidence is built through two primary channels, self-efficacy and self-esteem. Each small successive win and your confidence grows. Make a mistake and learn to improve for the next time.

The very first time we do anything is probably not going to be our best. When we try it again, and again, things start to improve. More results pour in, more discovery, and adjustments.

It is the fluidity of the process that helps us tweak things by drawing ever closer to building it better and better.

The first time we cook a steak is hard. The twenty-fifth time and things seem easier.

It is the same for giving a presentation to the board of directors, developing a process for closing the sale, or making a cold call. Practice seems to make it easier. Success also seems to come easier.

Confidence improves.

Best Effort More Often

This is exactly why we have to give our best effort more often.

Doing so creates more demand. More demand means you’re having more opportunities and more opportunities to practice and hone your craft will make success look easy.

There really aren’t any shortcuts. The overnight success often occurs across five, ten, or twenty-five years.

On-lookers believe it was luck, fate, or personal connections. They can always help, but they aren’t as compelling as the story you write on your own.

Best effort matters. It matters more.

-DEG

Originally posted on October 3, 2019, last updated on September 10, 2020.

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.


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something new

Try Something New, That’s Learning!

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Are you interested to try something new? Are you the first one to taste the unknown dish at the picnic or try the unknown from the menu?

At the dinner event hors d’oeuvres are often served. The well-trained staff will likely explain the dish, the teenage volunteer will just hold it out in your space to see if you’ll take the plunge.

Fresh seafood in North Dakota may be risky, but the beef is probably a safe bet.

Exploration helps us learn. It may also be known as research.

Learning Moments

Many people will learn from mistakes. Yet sometimes they keep doing the same thing over and over. The fear of the unknown seems greater than the risk of the consequences of bad moves.

It may feel like there is safety in the known. Other times, the last thing we want is the known.

Hiring managers often have a choice between internal candidates and external candidates. It is common that they know the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the internal possibilities. Yet they are more interested to risk an outsider who they’ve spent an hour or two with during an interview.

When it comes to change, we often want safety.

Very few people are convinced that when they jump, the net will appear.

Something New

It is risk that we may evaluate incorrectly.

At the meeting, the risk of speaking up seems more threatening than the risk of watching the team make another wrong turn. You can help, or offer alternatives, but you may retreat to a place of safety.

Fear of separation may be a root cause, which then leads to action anxiety and ultimately negative fantasies. You assess the situation and become convinced that the worst outcome will result. It’s too risky.

Trying something new may be the exact thing that is holding you back.

Don’t make the same mistakes over and over. Give up some safety for calculated risk.

That’s how we learn.

-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.


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workplace knowledge

Workplace Knowledge and What You Don’t Know

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Have you ever thought about what you don’t know? When you hear new information do you consider it, or quickly disregard it? Workplace knowledge is often about learning what you don’t know.

A shopper, backing her car from a parking spot taps the bumper of another car because she didn’t realize it was there.

The person in the restaurant with barbeque sauce on the side of his face doesn’t know it.

Hurried, a businessman dresses in a dark room before leaving home to board a predawn flight. He is wearing one blue sock and one black.

Knowing what we don’t know can be helpful. Yet this concept sometimes eludes workplace professionals.

What You Don’t Know

Are you quick to disregard the new information? Do you find yourself disagreeing with suggested best practices of other professionals?

An attorney gives you advice and you ignore it.

The architect claims you’ll never be able to heat it or cool it, you say, “Build it anyway.”

A marketing consultant suggests your new ad campaign has flaws you say, “Launch it, it will work.”

Making your own way in life can be valuable and important. Disregarding professional advice may be why you are stuck.

Workplace Knowledge

Two things get many people in trouble, their ego and being overconfident.

In carpentry, we know you should, “Measure twice, cut once.”

In listening, we recognize that, “You have two ears and one mouth, listen twice as much as you speak.”

When your company makes an investment in your continued learning don’t expect that you already know it all. Your ego and overconfidence may be exactly why you’ve been invited in the first place.

You have barbeque sauce on your cheek and you should change your socks.

-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.


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