Category Archives: Confidence

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talent bar

Talent Bar or Skills Gap, Which Is It?

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Has the talent bar been set too high? Do you have the talent required to do the job, to fit in, or to become a success?

There is a belief, and likely strong evidence, to support the idea that sometimes people give up too soon.

Children in sports are often encouraged.

Nice arm!

That kid is so fast!

Great eye on that one!

Chances are slim for the millions of young people who engage in adolescent sports to become professionals. Even rarer is that if they turn pro, that they will become an all-star.

It is also true for academic studies. True for the assessment of math skills, reading, or comprehension. Yes, of course, some think and achieve differently, yet the bar for success in most job roles is much lower than the academic requirements.

Is the bar about talent or developed skill?

Talent Bar Surprise

In most workplace roles, the concept of talent is given too much emphasis. Just like the Netflix movie suggestion you received from your social media feed, it is overrated.

A focus on developing the appropriate skill is much more appropriate.

Something strange develops from work that you focus on every day. Showing up and doing your part always builds experience.

You may not always get the kudos you feel you deserve or the reaction to your work may receive harsh criticism. Yet with every teeny tiny success, you can raise the bar on your personal levels of competence.

Most work isn’t a one and done.

It’s not a talent bar or a skills gap.

It is a persistent focus on cranking out your best work, day-after-day across time.

-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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lost skills

Lost Skills Might Just Be Misplaced, Find Them

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Have you experienced the feeling of lost skills? When you believe you once knew how do something but since that time you’ve forgotten?

During the summer I bought two American flags, they were on sale. I sent one up the pole, but by the end of the summer it had lost some of its luster. Now I’m not sure where the other new one was placed. It’s lost.

On another occasion, I bought a hand tool that I didn’t think I had. When I went to put the new tool in a storage place, I discovered that I once bought a nearly identical tool several (or more) years earlier.

I went to a closet area in my home where I discovered several cool t-shirts that I completely forgot I ever owned or wore. Likely, they were worn one time, and then a change of seasons occurred. They were forgotten, abandoned, out of sight and out of mind.

There are various ways we can lose something we have. Sometimes we may forget that we ever had it in the first place.

Lost Skills and Confidence

Many successful business people have spoken with me about workplace situations where a bad boss or a rotten culture made them lose self-confidence.

Perhaps their confidence is still there, it is just being hidden by some unpleasant memories or painful and destructive criticism.

Skills or confidence may not be lost forever.

Maybe you’ve just forgotten where it is stored, or maybe something new or different is hiding it, even though it is right there in plain sight.

Don’t lose track of where you’ve come from. Don’t allow unpleasant experiences override the good of what you bring.

Use it or lose it may have many different meanings.

It’s true for skills, it’s true for confidence.

If you’ve lost something you once had, finding it again can be very rewarding.

Look before you decide it’s gone forever. You might be surprised by what you find.

-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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smartest person syndrome

Smartest Person Syndrome, Do You Know Someone?

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Do you know someone who is suffering from SPS, aka, smartest person syndrome? We once called this a know-it-all but today with social media making some voices louder than ever before it may be a little more complex.

It only takes a short amount of time on social media channels to find someone who is smart.

That may be both a truism and sarcasm.

Smart People

Most people enjoy being right.

They want to be the person who has the answer, all of the time, and willingly (or forcefully) shares their opinions often while ridiculing someone with a different opinion.

Do you know someone like this? Has this ever been you?

Many people have strong opinions. Their opinions are commonly rooted in their values and beliefs and are formed by past experiences.

Only use this laundry detergent, nothing else works.

Never take the highway to get across town.

Don’t use margarine, only real butter.

Another problem with opinions is that they often sound like facts. If the listener is not careful, they may get caught up in believing other people’s opinions are in fact, facts.

This is often the goal of someone suffering from SPS. He or she wants to convince others that their way is the only way. It couldn’t possibly be any different.

Smartest Person Syndrome

If you know someone like this and wish to explore something new or different you will need a different approach.

The trick is to allow the person with this syndrome to believe that they’ve discovered an alternative path. Some new information, or something so compelling that it overrides their previous values and beliefs.

It doesn’t happen by telling. It typically happens by gently asking questions.

New ideas then come from new information. New ideas have been created in their mind, not because someone told them, but because they’ve discovered it.

SPS is, at least in part, about the person wanting to be right. When he or she discovers the new information then the idea is their own. They were right before and they are right again now.

It makes things much easier.

I’m not sure there is a cure.

Let it be their idea.

-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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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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