Category Archives: pivot

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lane selection

Lane Selection May Be a Form Of Strategy

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Are you staying in your lane? Lane selection for your career path may be more important than it seems.

Many people are excited about new opportunities, and for good reason. Boredom is a leading factor in workplace disengagement.

Have you ever been advised to stay in your lane?

Of course, it is not highway driving that I’m referring to, it is analogy about your job or career.

There are plenty of ways to expand and grow. Plenty of opportunities to take some risk, try something new, or move in a different direction. Yet, beyond the somewhat apparent risk of needing to hone new skills, there is another risk.

The risk of doing everything you do poorly.

An economic downturn may be as much to blame as an economic upturn. Both businesses and people alike are searching for what works best.

In a world of constant change, you may need to do more than just do things differently, you may have to do different things.

Lane Selection

You should make conscious choices and use specific strategies on your quest. Throwing a bunch of things at the wall to see what sticks sounds appealing. Especially, when you can’t see a clear path. However, this often quickly leads to being a master of none.

Whatever you do, choose your lane. Make conscious decisions about direction shifts or portfolio additions.

Pivoting matters, it always matters, largely because nothing stays the same for long.

In every field, and in every business sector, there are people throwing things at the wall to see what sticks.

This shouldn’t invite chaos. Choose your path, consciously, strategically, and don’t give up too soon.

Swerving benefits no one.

It’s reckless.

-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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formal meetings

Formal Meetings or Hallway Chatter, Which One?

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Many businesses want to make a choice, pivot direction, or start something brand new. The team is assembled. Often within formal meetings. Is that the best idea generator? Is it where the decisions are made?

When the conference room lights are turned out and everyone is gone are there continued discussions happening behind closed doors?

Is there a meeting after the meeting? When the Zoom session is over is there another meeting, a telephone call, or a long email message?

Formal Meetings

Brainstorming sessions can be very productive.

Unfortunately, it often takes advanced facilitation skills to bring everything out. Important items are left unsaid, others are strategic and prearranged to create a specific flow, or worse, they’re selectively designed to navigate towards a predetermined outcome.

Wouldn’t it be great to capture it all?

No manipulation, no behind the scenes strategy, and just open and honest flow?

Some of the best and most truthful ideas come from the hallway chatter. That is when the information isn’t being protected, guarded, or facing criticism.

Hallway Chatter and Cocktail Napkins

Many great ideas and inventions are said to have occurred on a cocktail napkin. Some appear on yellow legal pads, others in an executive portfolio, and still others are written in a spiral bound notebook.

As it turns out, many of the decisions made, policies adopted, and future directions are the product of the conversation outside of the meeting.

They happen when ridicule is less feared and the consequences are only fairy tales or negative fantasies. There seems to be less risk and yet more power.

Pay close attention to the new idea presented in the hallway. Take a look at the cocktail napkin drawing, or what is presented from the ruffled edges of the yellow legal pad.

Often these are the honest ideas and the ones having enough risk to actually spark positive change.

-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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train tracks habits

Train Tracks and Habits Have Much In Common

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How are your habits similar to train tracks? The answer may be easier than you think.

Much of what you do each day is derived from your habits. Habits built around a schedule, the food you’ll eat, and even how you’ll communicate.

By default, most people look for the easy road. I’m certainly not suggesting they are lazy. I’m suggesting that people are wired to look for efficiency and effectiveness.

If you drive an automobile to work, what route do you take? Where do you stop for fuel or coffee? Chances are, you have some habits connected with this behavior.

The same is true in your household. How you clean, do laundry, or prepare meals. Largely, it is probably based on traditions or habits.

The work that you do, or the baseline competencies for your career are largely structured around habits. You know them to be effective or perhaps the most convenient.

Train Tracks

Prior to the explosion of the automobile, trains ruled.

The rails will carry a heavy load, they are largely consistent and you know exactly what to expect and when.

One problem is, trains operate on a fixed route. If the tracks are blocked, you’re stuck or stranded. If the train doesn’t move, there are not good options. You can’t effectively detour.

People tend to get on fixed routes too. Their tracks are built to follow the rails of a particular path.

It is a habit.

Luckily, there are other choices, should you choose to take them. You can easily re-route or change your path and direction. You can take new turns, double-back to reposition, speed up, and avoid roadblocks.

Do you want to? Do you need to?

Some habits are good and desirable, others, not so much. You may want to be selective on the tracks that you choose, or even which side of them you exist on.

Full steam ahead.

-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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consistent influence

Consistent Influence Promotes Patterns of Change

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Are you trying to shape a positive culture? Is a change required to navigate your current business climate? Consistent influence may be the most underestimated action you can take.

How do cultures shift or change? How does a seasoned workplace leader learn new habits that will help him or her navigate shifting workforce ideologies?

Many organizations invest in training. It is the right thing to do. Whether it is technical skills or people skills, training makes a difference and it always matters.

Another important aspect of any organization is its culture. Those collections of ideas, norms, and values. The symbols, the branding, and belief systems. And let’s not forget the role models. Sometimes knowingly or unknowingly people are looking at others for behavioral guidance.

How do you engage to make the good things better, the bad things fewer, and promote a new path to success?

Consistent Influence

Training is an influence. The network of people engaged in your organization is part of the influence. Whether it is employees, customers, or even vendors, they are all part of the organizational ecosystem.

Change doesn’t happen without change.

Recently, a manager commented during a training event, “Getting people engaged around here has been a problem for 27 years.”

After thinking for a moment, I responded with, “Who owns that?”

The room was quite for a few long seconds.

My belief is that this was a fair question.

It’s easy to throw our hands up in the air and claim that it won’t work. It’s easy to blame the onboarding practices, the economy, or the government.

In the end, the organization needs to survive and ideally grow.

Workplace leaders have a responsibility to be relentless in their pursuit of role modeling the desired behaviors for the future. Whether that is getting back to the roots, or shifting forward to meet the demands of shifting societal ideologies.

Consistent influence will help those charged with change create the desired outcomes.

Just like a shower or a bath, training and influence is not a one and done. You have to refresh regularly.

Back to that manager. Following the training, he approached me and thanked me for working with their team. His closing comment to me was, “I learned a lot.”

Practice what you’ve learned.

Consistent influence.

-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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changing minds

Changing Minds May Be The Secret To Your Success

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What are you seeking to do next? Are you in the business of changing minds?

When you enter the meeting and there is a published agenda you likely have an idea of direction. Even when you may suggest, “I’ll wait to see what they say.”

Nearly everyone is making choices and decisions based on their frame. They have limitations in various directions. There may be some room to compromise or the parameters may be fixed.

Computer scientists tell us that there are variables and constants. Variables can change, but constants remain the same during any program execution.

When it comes to people what are you trying to change?

Changing Minds

Many people want the data, the research, and the history. They’ll decide about their willingness to shift by looking at the constants.

Not every choice is an exact science. Most of our decisions or choices are connected to an emotion. It may be a belief, but belief often lacks science. It’s missing the proof that logical thinkers need in order to feel.

It seems that when you really want to change minds, you’re going to have provide the data, create a belief, or both.

Changing minds then is a framework of thought. It will always be conditioned how people feel about the situation and sometimes that feeling will develop through the data, sometimes without.

Forcing a change is often not successful because people are taking action against their beliefs.

A compelling call-to-action, something that develops through choice is much more powerful.

Thus, the popular comment, “You can’t change people.”

People change when they’ve made a choice 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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gone sideways

Gone Sideways and Self-Help For Your Efforts

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Have you ever felt like the project took a wrong turn? Have things gone sideways? Maybe you don’t even notice it, yet?

Committed people sometimes do some very strange things. Onlookers wonder why the commitment sticks even when there is evidence clearly illustrating it’s failing.

In all likelihood, there are multiple angles or points of view. One of the common yet somewhat unrealized traps is staying committed because of all the effort already put in.

It’s often hard to make the right choice. Someone wants to abort the project early and someone else wants to hang in there because, “We’ve already invested so much.”

Everyone recognizes hindsight often tells a different story, either way.

The right now is not hindsight and it’s also not foresight.

What should you do?

Gone Sideways

For the customer, you need to do the right thing. For the team and even your community, you must do the right thing.

Yes, even for yourself, you must make a good decision now.

Many people believe that every day they are in a tactical firefight at their workplace. So many things happening so fast, so many loose ends, and so much drama.

What do they do?

They fight the fire. They address problems as emergencies and face the wrath of whatever unfolds next.

Problem-solving is a key skill for leadership. If you are good at it, you should be proud. However, when tactical firefights are so commonplace that you fail to execute strategy everyone loses.

The project gone sideways either needs to stop, start again, or redirect. Stuck won’t work and neither will additional wasted effort.

The same is true with poorly performing employees.

Learning from the past is powerful. It goes hand-in-hand with knowing when to pivot.

A strategic focus needs a tactical approach.

Tactics only, without a vision for the future, are sure to send you sideways.

You don’t have to believe it now, but you will when you check your data.

Commit to the strategy. The tactics of getting there may need to be adjusted.

-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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mindset predicts

Mindset Predicts the End of the Story

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What does the end result have to do with what your mindset predicts?

Everything.

Many star athletes claim that they visualize their success. Fast starts, being ahead at the middle, and strong finishes.

In business, many people and organizations visualize what comes next. Most of the success stories probably don’t start by visualizing hardship or failure.

While what many would label as a positive mindset doesn’t solve all the problems, or overcome every hurdle, it may be the difference between winning and losing.

In any competitive environment, it often feels like a race. A race to be first, a race to endure, and a race of the strongest finishers. Even a race against time, because short bursts aren’t always sustainable.

Visualizing what things look like at the start, the mid-point, and the finish will matter. It will also matter when the measurement is taken. The half-way point, the third leg, or when the clock expires.

Sometimes the biggest challenges are those that you create.

Mindset Predicts

A fumble in the first quarter may be undesirable, but there is still time. When you need a score and fumble with only seconds remaining, all hope may be lost.

Hope is part of mindset. It is why many games are won or lost before the players even take the field.

Winners are sometimes spotted in the first quarter, momentum grows, and a defeat for the opponent is realized.

Perhaps you can’t win on mindset alone, yet it can be the beginning of any defeat.

Story told.

What are you telling yourself?

-DEG

Looking for ways to explore a deeper mindset? It’s why I wrote this book, get it 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.


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Hard decisions

Hard Decisions, Bad Habits and Your Energy

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Are you facing some hard decisions? What differentiates the level of difficulty or is it only about comfort, risk, and confidence?

Organizations often make decisions about what things will look like next. They have some level of confidence because they’ve done the math, considered options, and set the timelines.

The decision feels good because they’ve prepared.

Yet it seems that somewhere in the organization there is a gap. Someone left out information, distorted the facts for their own agenda, or acted on impulse out of fear.

Real issues are not always brought to the table. There seems to be too much at stake.

If I speak up, my boss will dislike me.

I’m not really sure. I’ve learned to keep quiet.

Everyone else believes this is the right move, so I will just agree.

The end result of the avoidance to address real issues is often poor decisions.

Was the decision easy or was it hard?

Complexity of Habits

Decisions are more challenging when there are different ideas.

Go to a restaurant with fifty items on the menu, or go to a restaurant with five items on the menu. It is easier to pick from five rather than fifty.

There is one exception. The exception is knowing what you want in advance.

If you always order a cheeseburger, and stick with it, the choice isn’t hard. It’s about a habit, not change.

People and businesses can get stuck with habits.

They can get stuck when the decision feels harder than staying the same.

Hard Decisions

It’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to only half-listen. Listening is hard work and that is why so many people listen less. Because it is hard, and takes extra effort.

The same often happens with decisions. The extra effort feels like a waste energy. Energy to get through the day, put up with the nonsense, or listen during the meeting.

The hardest decisions are often the poorest decisions. Not because they were hard but because no one cared enough to put in the energy.

-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 fairness

Workplace Fairness Should Be Abundant

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Life isn’t always fair, at least, that is what we’re often told. Yet people want to be granted the opportunity for fairness. Can you impact workplace fairness?

Have you ever heard someone suggest that things are too fair?

It seems that the scarce resources are much more noteworthy.

What’s Fair

Fairness becomes an issue when we see differences. In the workplace it is true for gender, race, the generations, and so much more.

People often reference the golden rule. “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.” And, in generational talks I often reference that there may be a shift in the golden rule. Perhaps a different view is, treat others the way they would like to be treated.

Despite all of the efforts of many, people still form cliques. They desire to cling to people who are just like themselves or who have exactly the same values and beliefs.

Fairness is problematic for job status, promotions, and perks.

The management team is treated differently than the front-line crew.

Awareness is often the first step in making a positive change.

Workplace Fairness

It is surprising sometimes the number of people who fail to recognize their own ability to be fair. Fairness to you may not look like fairness to someone else.

This is exactly why the golden rule may need some deeper examination.

What is the right thing to do? Do people do the right thing?

Now more than ever it is important for everyone to dig deep and make it better.

Often the first step in making things fairer is dependent upon your own actions. If you feel like it is the right thing to do then there really shouldn’t be a reason why you are not.

-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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precious workplace resources

Precious Workplace Resources and Using Them

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Marketing is a struggle spot for many businesses. So is making great choices about talent. What are your most precious workplace resources? Are you using them effectively?

Technology and automation are both king and queen in many operations. Business strive to scale. They strive to attain the most efficiency and balance it with low cost.

Time is always a factor. How much, how fast, and how great is the quality? It’s true for both goods, and for services.

Focus is a factor when it comes to resources. Focus on nothing and you’ll likely get nothing.

Businesses and people sometimes focus too broad, or the opposite, too narrow.

The broad approach is often labeled, spray and pray. You throw a bunch of stuff out there and you see what sticks. It’s often the concept of spam.

Too narrow, and opportunities are missed. Product value is weakened or doesn’t fit like it potentially could. Services don’t provide enough depth.

Precious Workplace Resources

In the workplace it is often easy for people to appear busy. Busy is not proof of productivity, efficiency, or effectiveness. It may be proof that motion is occurring, but motion in most instances is not the point.

You can walk or run on a treadmill, yet you aren’t going any place. The argument may be that your improving fitness, and that may be true, but you haven’t changed your location.

It’s true for rocking in a rocking chair, it’s true for writing a book and never publishing it. Unless your goal is that act of doing, you’re not going anywhere.

Effectively using your most precious workplace resources has several important aspects. You should figure out where you’re going, monitor progress, and pivot your plan as appropriate along the way.

Both change and utilization are about decisions and choices. Those opportunities start with awareness.

If you think a lot of motion in the rocking chair will get you across town.

You’re mistaken.

-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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