Category Archives: focus

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team culture

Team Culture, How Are You Involved?

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What happens inside the organization? Not what is the public perception, what is the internal vibe? The climate inside develops from team culture.

The team has arrival times, break times, or perhaps different, they skip breaks and look busy at all costs.

There might also be the language of the culture. Words chosen, repeated, and inside jokes about behavioral aspects of the people. What gets the boss fired up, who are the weirdos, and who will never go anywhere within the company.

You can’t rule out the price of admission. Joining the culture has a price. It has a predetermined minimum requirement. In some cases it is an education requirement, a box checked, or a resume that illustrates years of experience.

Joining is about adoption of the culture, yet each person contributes. Some for, and some against.

The culture is about what people within the organization do. It’s behavioral and it’s published.

Team Culture

Newbies join, others exit. The newbie doesn’t really bring in many outside ideas, their job is to conform and adapt.

This is how it’s done around here.

You’re not paid to think, you’re paid to work.

Don’t make waves, no one around here really cares.

The CEO is often asked about culture, or voices an opinion of how it should change.

Culture develops from stories told, yet at the same time is unlikely to be defined by a single story represented as a future forecast.

Shaping culture isn’t a task. It’s not a job duty.

Culture is created by the people. People in agreeance, people in dissonance. All aspects of social interactions are inclusive. The people decide. Knowingly or unknowingly, they’re involved.

All-Inclusive

The best way to examine the culture is to understand the focal points.

Are the focal points based on clock watchers? Is it the language that seems to take center stage? Does quality matter and how well respected is the employee population or the customer base?

Every business or organization is going to get more of what they focus on. Focus develops from messaging and observable behaviors.

People are part of everything that defines the culture.

You are involved.

One way or another.

-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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Getting certified

Getting Certified and the Hiring Manager

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Getting certified is more meaningful as a reflection of the experience, not the end product. Do you agree?

While some will quickly jump at this thought and agree, everyone should be conscious of the focal points.

The certification is the proof of attainment.

One person buys a car, either through a loan across many months or perhaps many months of saving their earnings. Another person just simply writes a check, easy money.

In both cases, a check (of sorts) is written, the final moments of the transaction happen with the validation of money as an exchange.

One person had a long time to think about the car, the car has a more significant value because the journey to attainment was different than just a quick transaction.

It’s true at the amusement park, the big coaster attracts attention. People are excited to share that they rode the “monster ride” yet the ability to say you rode it is not the experience. The experience exists in the ride.

A two-month road trip in an RV around parts of the U.S. sounds appealing to some, but the same spots could be visited faster via airplane. In either case, mission accomplished, yet the experience is much different.

Getting Certified

For the hiring manager, and for the job seeker, attainments mentioned on a piece of paper or cleverly highlighted on a digital record should not be proof of job competence. Job competence is likely better reflected through the journey of attainment.

When experiences and character matter, and most hiring managers will suggest that they do, the focus needs to be about the journey not the documented proof of the journey.

Being able to create an Excel spreadsheet is an accomplished skill. Likewise, welding, carpentry, and computer network management may be connected to skills attained.

Proof of skill attainment is not proof of character. It is not proof of workplace behaviors, integrity, or how a person performs under pressure. It is likely not proof of attendance, being punctual, or being willing to put in the extra effort.

Most of the things we enjoy are not about the proof that we did it. It is about the experience of doing it.

Getting certified and the proof of attainment is much less valuable than understanding the experience of attainment.

What you focus on, is what you’ll get. It is true for the hiring manager and it is true for the job seeker.

-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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focus approach

Focus Approach, What Has Your Attention?

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Do you have a focus approach? Do you decide what to focus on or do you allow it to simply unfold? Is it the squeaky wheel kind of focus?

Loud noises (or voices), shiny objects, and the things that are overdue. All of them may capture your attention. Are they all the most valuable areas of focus at the moment or are they distracting you from your goals?

Many people are conditioned to pay attention to the noisiest item in the room. Is that you?

Change often means discomfort. It is scary, it makes you nervous and afraid. Because of the heightened awareness, it causes you to focus on it. It is a good thing when the change is positive and can blossom from your added energy.

What about the things that never seem to change?

Focus Approach

Often the bad boss doesn’t get better, he or she simply garnishes more reinforcement that their behaviors are what gets the job done.

There are cliques at work. The drama king or queen, and those who seemingly escape the pain of effort while others suffer in silence.

What about the traffic at the intersection? The driver who turns to the left just before making that sharp right turn, or the people blocking the isles at the grocery store and causing you more frustration while seemingly wasting your time.

You may have your own list. A list of pet peeves, the things that really annoy you and yet they attract your attention. Your energy is spent on negativity as you look on with disagreement or frustration.

Do you have enough in your reserves to keep your goals in sight? Are you able to avoid the squeaky wheel that shouldn’t get the grease?

Instead of spending your energy on the co-worker with bad habits, or getting upset about the news media’s spin on a subject you feel strongly about, keep your own focus.

What if you worked harder by staying invested in the emotional labor of not being distracted from your true goals?

Whatever direction you are looking is likely where you’ll end up.

-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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targeted work

Targeted Work Is Always Better Than None At All

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Do you do targeted work? Meaning work that is for a specific audience or customer. What if you did nothing because you couldn’t satisfy everyone?

It happens often. The quest to please everyone is often stronger than the quest to please a few. Many people struggle with trying to please.

Is it a sticking point for you?

A chocolate frosted donut won’t please everyone. Should you have no donuts on offer at all?

The same is true for pink cell phone cases, orange pickup trucks, and black coffee. Not everyone wants those things. Should you not offer any at all?

It is a simple case really. For every niche or specialty, you’ll find someone not satisfied. They don’t like or appreciate what is on offer. They would sooner refuse the offer and walk away than take it as is.

You don’t have to satisfy everyone. The cost of trying to do so often makes people retract which leads to satisfying no one. It’s a cost you shouldn’t bear.

Targeted Work

In the workplace it is true for the products and services you provide. It is true for how you communicate with the team.

When you provide training or give a talk. You provide too much information or details for some, and not enough for others. Your sense of charm or humor will entice some, and turn off others.

It likely doesn’t mean that your products and services are without value. It doesn’t mean that the training or pep talk shouldn’t be given.

Being a contributor requires risk. The reward is that you’ll satisfy someone.

It seems like a far better outcome when compared with satisfying no one.

-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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focus forward

Focus Forward Because You Guide What’s Next

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Are you uncertain about what happens next? Your best choice is to focus forward.

Often people or entire groups are hesitant to make a change or perhaps they’re anxious about keeping things the same. Most of our human nature links us to favoring consistency. Many people find comfort in things that are consistent and unchanged.

What happens when you don’t know what happens next?

Next is Scary

Usually, you strive to find the answer, you analyze or over-analyze the possible outcomes. It may be easier to place emphasis on your fears instead of on the possibility of something better emerging.

To put it all another way, there is comfort in knowing for certain what the playing field looks like next. What the rules will be, and how you can interact to survive and thrive.

It happens when you get a new boss. It happens when you get a promotion or move to a different employer. When the company changes ownership, merges, or gets acquired by another.

Perhaps not surprising it even happens when there is only a threat of these changes.

In the presence of such a threat, there often becomes the unknown about what will happen if things don’t change? Will they remain the same, get better, or perhaps all of the rules will change since the threat was a close call?

What should you do?

Focus Forward

When you focus forward, you’ll rely on your core values. You’ll put your best efforts behind your belief systems and use your knowledge and experiences to make good choices about what happens next.

The vision should be forward focused, not dwelling on where you’ve been but on what you’ll need to do in the future.

When you focus on the possibility, and not the opposite, everything changes. With an optimistic focus, your actions and behaviors will solidify your future direction.

No one said what’s next will be easy. Even if things seem like they will stay the same.

It’s doing the hard work that makes a difference.

You’ll create the best version of what’s next when you show up prepared to do so.

-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.


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focus matters

Focus Matters and Changes the Outcomes

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What are you focused on today? Do you believe that focus matters? Will it change the outcomes?

When your work is very scattered it is hard to know where things start, stop, and how to measure progress. Time and effort are always wasted in the act of engagement, disengagement, and reengagement.

Focus Matters

When there is a problem or a crisis on the job, it becomes an all hands-on deck situation. Everyone jumps in to fight the metaphorical fire. They’re focused and it makes a difference.

Focus is often connected with a timeline. It is notable in many of life’s events. On graduation day, everyone is focused on the ceremony, the totality of the grind that brought graduates to the moment. It is also true for major surgery, a wedding, and an election.

When all the stakeholders are rounded up and focused, everything else stops until the event is over.

The long-term outcomes may be more significant. What will the graduate do now? Will the heart surgery prolong life and what will that look like? Weddings are in the spirit of a lifetime and election results last for years.

Resulting Outcomes

The focus is often short-lived when compared with the outcomes. The culmination of the process leading up to the event and what follows are the outcomes of a lasting endeavor.

Never taking the moments necessary to focus, without interruption, in order to create what happens next is often the problem of a failed action.

The real-life firefighter doesn’t put down the hose to browse his or her cell phone, have a snack, or chit-chat about neighborhood drama.

Perhaps what everyone needs is a little more focus and a little less procrastination or interruptions.

Focus is efficient and effective. It 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.


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assessing competition

Assessing Competition, What Is Your Comparison?

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Do you have a habit of assessing competition? When you look at what is out there, compared to what you do, how do you rank? Does it matter?

I remember November in grade school. Right before the United States celebration of Thanksgiving, we made construction paper turkeys. It all started with placing your hand, palm down, and tracing around each finger on brown construction paper.

Everyone followed a template, a model, as instructed by the teacher. Yet, everyone had their own work. Right before the holiday, you got to take your turkey home to your parents. I remember my mother acting so proud of my accomplishment.

My accomplishment was a huge success. Perhaps because I followed the model or perhaps because of what it was compared to.

At home, it was only compared to my last best work. It wasn’t compared to every construction paper turkey in the County. It wasn’t compared to every similar project in the State or the US.

My project was compared to my best previous work. I was a winner because I was growing, achieving, and delighting my mother with my school work.

Assessing Competition

The best work that you’ll do this month should be a comparison of the best you’ve delivered so far.

When it delights the customer, you’ve accomplished something. It may be the best in the US or the best in the World, but it may be hard to determine because the relevance is what is happening right now, right in front of you.

What matters is that you’re solving problems, producing or providing something better than your last work. When it meets or exceeds customer expectations then it is work worth doing.

There are millions of undiscovered song writers, chefs, and engineers. It’s also true for healthcare workers, truck drivers, and backroom graphic artists.

The work that you do should always be compared to your personal best. It is how you’ll continue to delight someone, even if it is only a small group in a small town.

-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.


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best products

The Best Products Are Not Always Most Popular

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Do you choose the best products available? Are those products also the most popular? Is it true for the people in your workplace too?

Some products have all the rage. It’s true for household appliances, technology, and automobiles. You see it in fashion, hair styles, and vacation spots.

It’s also true with people. Performer’s, actresses, and sports stars. Even in your workplace there seems to be favorites.

Are any of these things or people the best? If so, compared to what?

What is the measurement criterion?

Popularity

Many people are sold on Apple products. Telephone’s, watches, and computing devices. Many will suggest they are the best.

Are they really the best or are they just wildly popular?

Cellular phones are popular, but which platform, Android or Apple?

You can discuss your reasons for either direction. However, much like a presidential election, choices and reasons get blurred by emotions, popularity, and opinions.

And similar to an election, if you going to discuss this, you’ll probably find argument from many that the most popular is also the best.

Is it true?

Best Products

When it comes to the best products, the best workplaces, or the best employee’s you often cannot have both the best performers and the most popular.

Most popular is a choice, the best performer is also often a choice.

Either of the two extremes seldom intersect.

Competition is a factor. How hard one product development team, an individual, or entire organization will work to beat the competition is always a factor.

You may want to reconsider the best versus most the most sought after.

With everything there is always a best kept secret.

-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.


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right focus

The Right Focus Can Change the Game

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Are you focused? Is it the right focus? Many people are uncertain about those questions. A big driver of focus is certainty.

It seems that there is a lot of uncertainty. An election year and the chaos of a worldwide pandemic has many people scratching their heads. They’re uncertain.

Uncertain about what is next, what to do, or which direction to turn, they don’t know how to play the game.

As a kid a remember someone breaking out a board game. Often the first question was, “How do you play?” Then the last question before getting started probably was, “What are the rules?”

It was true on the playground, even for games like chase, or some version of football or kickball. Dodgeball had its boundaries and maybe an occasional exception.

Sometimes the rules were made up as you played, sometimes they were written on the box, or provided as a paper insert. And still, sometimes they were modified to meet the circumstances.

Then there was the ending of the game. It wasn’t uncommon to hear accusations of cheating. Tommy didn’t play fair, Jimmy cheated, or Sue didn’t follow the rules.

It was all fun and games until the focus deteriorated.

Right Focus

All grown up and being in the game of business or life, cheaters are typically not welcomed. The casino doesn’t like cheating. Football and baseball don’t like cheating, and neither does the IRS.

When everyone stays within the boundaries the game is more enjoyable. People engage because they see how they can participate and improve their skills or make better decisions to be more successful.

You might suggest that they are focused.

When you hear the phrase, “Be a team player.” it just might make sense to be sure you understand the rules.

Everything else is chaos.

Focus on ways to contribute to the system instead of breaking rules.

You may sometimes need to alter the system, yet no one really appreciates people who try to cheat it.

Having the right focus helps.

-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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learning satisfaction

Learning Satisfaction Creates Commitment

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Are you committed to doing your best work? Does job satisfaction play a role? Learning satisfaction may be the first step to a more fulfilled workplace experience.

Are you interested?

Much of what creates fulfillment in your life is about balance. Too much or too little of anything and it feels like something is just not quite right.

Too many meetings, not enough time to act.

Always out on the road, missing more office time.

Too much production of the same thing, boredom and monotony.

Things changing all the time, not enough focus.

Abundance of email messages, or the opposite, no customers to serve.

It is really about figuring out how to find the balance or navigate the extremes.

No Problems, No Job

If there was nothing to address, no problems to solve, or no strategy to formulate then you probably wouldn’t have the job.

The same might be said about a travel schedule, the amount product needed or services to provide. No change means boredom, and no email messages or phone calls may signal the beginning of the end.

It also matters for communication efforts, Zoom meetings, or scheduled phone calls. Too much or too little and things just aren’t working.

Job or workplace satisfaction is a state of mind. You feel accomplished, confident, and those feelings are aligned with expectations.

What did you expect?

Learning Satisfaction

Never a meeting, never someplace to be, no interruptions, and certainly no phone calls or email messages? That certainly doesn’t seem like a recipe for success.

Satisfaction comes from recognizing that without all of the things that are too much, there probably wouldn’t be a need for your services.

Setting expectations helps navigate job satisfaction.

It may be one of the most important things to 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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