Category Archives: risk

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participation costs

Participation Costs and What You Pay

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Have you analyzed participation costs? What does it cost you to participate and what if you don’t?

There are many things in life where the price listed on the tag feels like it makes it all very clear, but does it?

If you have a headache and you buy an over-the-counter pain relief medicine from the local pharmacy it has a price tag. Yet, that is not the true cost.

What about the cost of not buying it? Do you simply save the money or is there something else?

Of course, there is more. There is the pain that holds you back, keeps you down, lessens your patience and weakens your energy. What is the price of that?

On the job, you may have an option to voice an opinion in the meeting. You may get a voice about the potential new hire or whether you’ll participate in the pizza party. There is a cost if you do and a cost if you don’t.

What are the real costs of participation?

Participation Costs

Sometimes it feels hard to participate, even when there is not a monetary price to pay.

When you voice your opinion on the future direction, it costs. You are on the hook with your reputation and must face the onlooker’s opinions of your competence.

Sometimes it may feel easier to say nothing, to not get involved, or to relinquish the offer to participate.

It happens in your workplace every day. It happens when there is a political election.

Sometimes the price you pay for lack of involvement is greater than the price you pay for the hook you decide to hang your hat on.

Participation itself is often free, but not participating may present the biggest price tag of all.

-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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workplace opinions

Workplace Opinions Determine Fit

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Opinions, we all have them, right? Do your workplace opinions fit, or are they out of place?

For clarity, there is a difference between opinion and fact.

That’s a Fact

Suggesting that the pizza shop on the west side of town has the best pizza is an opinion. Unless, of course, the statement is, “Antonio’s Pizza won the best pizza in Clifton contest for the third year in a row.”

When we suggest that getting to work early is better than staying late, it is an opinion. The same is true for taking breaks, having background music in the office, and whether or not to have Hawaiian shirt Friday’s.

Opinions help form the culture. They help form what is symbolic about the organization, what stands out, and how outsiders remember or connect.

When you want to join the Facebook group, or when you choose to join an organized club or association, there is an expectation of conduct and fit.

Individual attitudes and perceptions help shape the image. They’re often based on opinions, not facts.

Workplace Opinions

There is more than a statement in, “This is the template for all corporate slide decks.” It is true for how visitors are treated, response times for customers and vendors, and how the pecking order of the parking lot works.

Organizations often promote the idea of change. Yet, largely, their opinions and beliefs about whether the clock pendulum ticks left before right, or right before left, is deeply rooted in the culture.

Opinions often determine fit. Opinions also tend to steer the direction of culture.

The next time you give a presentation to the C-Suite, request a lunch appointment with the CEO, or decide to wear flip-flops on Friday, you may want to check the culture for fit.

If it is important that you fit, it is best to develop an understanding of the cultural opinions first.

-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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analyzed enough

Wait, We Haven’t Analyzed Enough

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One person always wants to decide fast, quick, and hurried. Another wants more time, more data, and additional input. Have you analyzed enough?

It seems that there is always more data. We can ask a few more people, research some old work, and attempt to benchmark the industry. Does it really matter?

One trouble spot is that more data isn’t really what people seek. They are seeking more certainty, less risk, and the fear of a bad decision.

Wait for What?

Procrastination on a decision can still be a decision. “I’m making the choice to not decide, yet.”

A delay sometimes feels safer. The feeling is that you can’t be criticized because you didn’t decide, only if you do decide and you’re wrong.

You weigh the risk of the decision on the cost of being wrong instead of on the cost of time or the cost of being stuck.

It is the fallacy of critical thinking. No choice is a safe choice.

Analyzed Enough

The reality is that time is often not on our side. Patience is important, but time always keeps moving.

A decision or choice not made may allow the window to close, or worse, the competition jumps through leaving you behind.

You can spend a lot of time reviewing the past. Reliving the mistakes from before and feeling stuck about the action you should take next.

Experience suggests more watching, listening, and learning, yet time can’t wait.

Change needs motion. Motion means you are not stuck.

If there is a change you need to make, today may be a great day to start.

-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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tight tolerances

Tight Tolerances and the Unexpected

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What happens when a ball gets dropped or a customer changes the order?
Are you prepared to face the challenges of the unexpected? Tight tolerances make sense, until they don’t.

Some organizations and people are expecting the unexpected. Emergency rooms in hospitals, your local fire company, and even having an umbrella in your car on a sunny day.

Unexpected Happens

Workplaces today thrive on being lean. They thrive on just enough, just-in-time and metrics that constantly measure their efficiency. Any more than just enough or just in time is considered waste.

What happens when the unexpected happens?

Being incredibly lean is fantastic when everything works. Having a system that is efficient, can be monitored, and has very low waste is good, until something changes.

The overburdened wedding caterer has an oven and a refrigeration unit go down. The tire sales shop can’t fit another car in this week because they are booked full with annual inspections. The pizza shop suggests a one-hour wait for order pickup.

Tight Tolerances

When the tolerances are too tight, there is no room for extra, no room for a malfunction, and no tolerance for the unexpected.

Busy with a wait list may seem like a good problem. It may be, until a competitor gets a chance.

So tight that there is zero waste, zero defects, and zero rejected work is good until something in the system breaks.

A team so small, that every minute of every clocked hour is utilized perfectly works great until the customer changes the order or an employee gets ill.

It takes a long time and a lot of effort to earn good business.

What carries more risk? Room to spare or no room at all?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace innovation

Workplace Innovation is Peanut Butter and Chocolate

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Have you ever wondered who first connected peanut butter with chocolate? Perhaps it was the other way around chocolate with peanut butter? How does this connect to workplace innovation?

You must wonder sometimes, how does real innovation occur? Is it by luck, by chance, or perhaps an accidental connection?

Exploring Different

Who decided to put ketchup on potatoes, cheese with eggs, or little tiny marshmallows in cereal? Was it all intentional, or was it an accident?

When someone takes the chance, takes a risk, and is willing to explore it changes the norm. It creates the unexpected. Somewhere deep inside the unexpected exists the breakthrough.

When we want to make something different happen the belief is that we need a plan. People and companies develop a plan. They form a strategy, design tactics, or establish a new procedure.

Does that happen by chance?

Workplace Innovation

Most of our plans develop through brainstorming. A strategy discussion, an idea dump, a throw things on the wall and see what sticks.

When you are looking for a breakthrough you can’t expect to color within the lines. You can’t expect a rigid system to have enough flexibility to allow for innovation.

A plan or a system strives to eliminate surprises. It is a rigid guideline for creating an anticipated result.

There isn’t much room in rigid systems for innovation.

We don’t get peanut butter with chocolate unless someone breaks the status quo. There isn’t an opportunity to spice up our potatoes, add a little cheese to an omelette, or find the marshmallow in a breakfast cereal.

If you’re looking for workplace innovation, seeking to find a breakthrough, or to change the results, you’re first going to have give up the rigidness of the current plan.

-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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safety zone

Safety Zone and The Status Quo Approach

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Safety is something that most humans covet. It’s an inherent part of our evolution. We like to feel safe. Is operating in your safety zone or the status quo holding you back?

Safety and the status quo tend to keep everyone stuck.

Status Quo is Sticky

We don’t speak up at the meeting. It is safer to just observe. It saves embarrassment, perhaps revealing a weakness, or worse, getting blacklisted or fired for a bad idea.

We don’t apply for the new job. Maybe we aren’t that good. Maybe we’ll fail, or maybe they will decide they don’t like me so I better stay put. It is safe.

It is often suggested to represent the evidence of loyalty, commitment, or how we do it here.

Gradually, across time, our jobs and workplaces create the feeling of safety and security. There is a feeling of comfort in the status quo.

The Paradox

Yet, every day organizations are mostly looking to serve more, do more, create new, get bigger, be stronger, and last longer.

The contrast between safety and change is sometimes nearly invisible to the employee, yet the lingering feeling is often a cause for discomfort.

It is ever present in the job change. The increased workload. Picking up the slack for another person or workgroup, or the message from leadership that the economic climate requires change.

Safety Zone

It is ironic that the best organizations are the ones operating on the edge. The very edge of in control versus out of control. The organization that pushes the button, finds ways to become more efficient, and takes big leaps while others stand wishfully pondering the edge.

Everything is changing. Changing rapidly. The status quo is not safe.

True for the organization. True for the individual.

Excitement, engagement, and growth happen just on the other side of the safety zone.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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risky

“That’s Risky.” Whispered The Manager

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How do you navigate risk? Do you feel that you are a bit of a risk taker, or that you are much more conservative in your approach? Is there value in risk? Are you a little risky?

It can be as simple as being willing to speak up in a meeting, or more complex like putting your lifetime savings up for grabs as you start a business venture.

We also nearly always have people yelling from the sidelines.

No risk, no reward.

No pain, no gain.

Never give up on your dreams!

Each of those may have some relevance and can be motivational. However, there is something really special about risk that many people take for granted.

Does Risk Energize?

Risky can be exciting.

Driving 61 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour speed zone doesn’t have the same feeling as exceeding the speed limit a little.

Sneaking an extra donut in the break room when you are on a calorie restrictive diet is different from being caught nibbling on a leaf of lettuce.

Spiking the punch bowl at the non-alcoholic office holiday party is much different from handing out bottles of water.

Risky can be volatile and should always be carefully considered with the potential reward or the devastation that could result.

We quickly recognize some forms of risk while others are sometimes not on our radar but should be. Things like humor, etiquette, and our speaking filters.

Risky

Much of our success with risk exists in the relevance of our measurement. It is about the comparisons we make. What is risky for some, is absolute boredom to others. Have you ever calculated your ROR (return on risk)?

Risky can be very costly.

On the other hand, there is something amazingly energizing about the risk that pays off in a big win.

Nike has suggested we just do it. Risky is certainly on their radar.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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pleasing everyone

When Pleasing Everyone Pleases No One

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You have probably said it, “You can’t please everyone.” If you haven’t said it, you’ve certainly heard it. Are you pleasing everyone, or just creating an atmosphere of average?

Many people like to operate in the averages. They have some willingness to cooperate, to compromise, and they try to just get along.

We see this with room temperatures, the audio volume in the movie theater, and often on the highway as we keep the pace of traffic.

Stand Out

Yet, most people, most products or services provided by organizations are looking to stand out. They aren’t necessarily looking to blend in, to make everyone happy, or to keep operating within the averages. Or, are they?

The dive bar just outside of town may have the best wings, they are different from the franchise operation downtown. They aren’t average, they are exceptional as proclaimed by some. Yet there may be those who find them too hot or the atmosphere inappropriate for kids.

Anthony Robbins, who some admire very much, doesn’t have an average presentation style. It is part of his strategy. It appeals to some, but not necessarily to all.

At the carnival you don’t really remember much about the ring toss, the ping-pong ball throw, or the hot dogs. You remember the biggest, scariest ride that some wouldn’t even think about trying. You did, or maybe you didn’t, but you remember.

How should you position yourself or your organization? Do some things make sense existing in averages.

Pleasing Everyone

At a table in the restaurant our coffee probably comes in a ceramic mug or cup. A fountain soda from the fast food chain often comes in a paper-based cup with a plastic lid and a straw. Most smart phones are close in size and are available in black.

The challenge in all of this is that pleasing everyone is not memorable. That is why the restaurant needs to set itself apart. It is why the dive bar has the best wings, and perhaps precisely why Anthony Robbins is well known.

Comfort and averages keep people locked in to something that is just okay. There isn’t really any risk and so the reward is average.

Yet the business or person who risks giving more, doing more, and being a little different can become memorable. Memorable is probably not based in the average.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Big Decisions, Removing Options, and Permanent Choices

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Are you facing a tough decision or choice? What is it about big decisions that often leave us struggling to make the call?

Big decisions, appreciative Strategies

About eight months ago on a 114 degree day near Phoenix, Arizona, I found myself riding in the back seat of a big, dark, tinted window SUV. I was on business related travel and was able to get connected with a very reasonably priced private driver.

This wasn’t Uber, it wasn’t a cab, but a professional business service that chauffeurs people in that area.

While on a ride from a business meeting back to my hotel I engaged in some small talk with the driver. After a few minutes I noticed that the driver was very well spoken, appeared very knowledgeable, and his business savvy was quite impressive.

Being somewhat intrigued, we continued to talk. I learned that he was originally from the east coast with a very noteworthy professional career. I asked him about his move to Arizona, how he made the decision, and if it was the right choice.

His story was interesting but the details are not what really matter the most. What matters the most is one specific sentence that he shared. He said, “Every big decision that we make in life is always the right decision at that time, at that exact moment when you make it.”

Like a heavy meal of pasta and bread, it hit the spot and has stuck with me ever since.

Big Decisions

Sometimes when we are faced with big decisions we get too caught up in the details. It’s easy to become worried about what is the right choice or the best choice, and sadly we often inappropriately weigh the risks.

Confidence might sometimes be a factor, but most of our struggle often comes from the feeling of what we have to give up. Additionally, it might be about the feeling of permanency with our choice.

Consider a decision to move a thousand or more miles away from home. A career choice or a new job offer, and we certainly can’t forget about the idea of getting a tattoo or marriage. All of those things might feel permanent, and with that feeling of permanency there is added pressure.

Removing Options

The challenge for most people exists in the removal of options. Like a multiple choice question on an exam, deciding means we have to eliminate something. Some choices are easily removed because they just don’t fit. As the options become fewer the pressure might feel more intense.

Businesses often feel this pressure when deciding on their marketing mix or building a brand. Lots of options or being all things to all people feels more comfortable. The feeling is that you’ll never miss an opportunity.

Unfortunately as a result prospective buyers can’t decide so they move on to the vendor who has exactly what they want. Fewer options make deciding easier.

Individuals sometimes find this challenge with big decisions such as buying an automobile, a home, or booking that once-in-a-lifetime vacation.  The more choices or options, the harder it is to decide.

Perhaps in life or business the easiest way to make big decisions is by becoming more comfortable with removing options.

Make the big decisions, even when it feels like it might be permanent.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Is It Worth The Risk?

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Talk is easy. There are a lot of people and organizations that talk about change, but change requires risk. Do you believe change is worth the risk?

Have a look

Many people operate in their safety zone. They never get too close to the edge, color outside of the lines, or risk something that they feel they might later regret.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about change is that by its very nature it requires risk. Staying the same feels comfortable, largely because you believe you already know the outcome, but outcomes change too.

People and businesses often believe that they want change, that they need different outcomes. They want something that works better, lasts longer, or is more efficient. All of those are noble thoughts and those who turn thoughts into action believe that they are ready for change.

Might the question then become, “How bad do you want it?” or for others perhaps, “How bad do you need it?”

Being worth the risk is often measured after the fact. It is measured in success or failure and is seldom measured for the performance against risk. Should it be?

  • A business might run one advertisement, on one television network for one month, or they might spring for a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl.
  • An employee might speak up adding one suggestion to solving a problem in a staff meeting, or they might spend additional hours at the office developing a corrective plan of action and then present their idea to the Board of Directors.

We’re often taught or reinforced with the concept of taking a risk which results in success is good, but a risk and then failure is bad. The trouble with this mind-set is that makes people risk adverse.

It makes them risk adverse since they often feel they can’t be wrong if they stay within the safety zone. Their confidence is higher for actions which occur within the zone.

Do you believe that change is happening all around you? Do you believe that change is happening every day? Do you believe that some of this change might be considered good, and that some of it might be considered bad?

If you agree that it surrounds you, then you can probably also agree that problems change too, and that changing problems require different solutions, and that new or different solutions require taking additional risk.

If you agree with all of that, then you might also agree that the value of risk should not be expressed as good or bad, it should be expressed as progress. Largely because a risk that results in change is progress.

It’s always progress as long as you are moving forward with your successes and learning from but not repeating failures.

Is progress worth the risk?

Some believe it is, do you?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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