Tag Archives: accountability

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work from home

5 Tips To Help You Work From Home

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There are some people who just realized their dream opportunity. Largely, this sudden shift may feel more like a nightmare to many people. Are you prepared to work from home?

More or less I have worked from home for the past 14 years. I’ve had part-time offices out of my home and spent many hours onsite at client locations. However, when I’m grinding out new content, writing, studying, and preparing for deliveries, I’m often at home.

Work From Home

First, let me say that there are pros and cons. I spent over 20 years working in conventional workplace settings. I definitely recognize both sides of this story.

Solitude can drive you mad. Yes, it seems kinda cool at first, but after some time you miss the interactions and sometimes the climate of a face-to-face team. There is also no one immediately available to bounce ideas off of, except for your plant or a family pet.

Let me jump right in. Here are five tips to help you get started, stay productive, and not feel like you’re totally alone.

  1. Set a schedule. Planning to do things when you get around to it is probably a bad idea. If you’re planning to do some wash, run the vacuum, or get a snack for the kids you are best to plan around a schedule. A schedule keeps you focused during high energy times of the day and helps you avoid time sucking distractions. Productivity is going to be important so set a schedule.
  2. Prepare a work space. A home office is ideal. However, you can also use your kitchen island, a coffee table, or a stand up desk by using your ironing board. Your best work is going to occur if you can establish a place to setup and keep it somewhat permanent. Using your laptop on your recliner may work for processing some email but your best work is going to occur from a little bit more rigid work space.
  3. Block out distractions. It may feel pretty cool to have the news on the TV, or be jamming to music so loud that the neighbors can hear it, but these are largely distractions. While everyone is different and some will think that they work better with these distractions I encourage you to think twice. Every time you pause to think about something else, something different, or throw in the next load of laundry you are wasting time and more importantly energy.
  4. Take some breaks. A break is not necessarily a distraction. It can be an energizer. It can also be very healthy both emotionally and physically. Your best-case scenario is to plan your breaks. Set a timer and forget about it until you are alerted. You could take break every hour or every two or three. They are important and don’t skip too many.
  5. Teamwork. If you you’re working remotely with a team a great energizer is to plan for team calls or video chats. One way is to plan a call for every two hours. The team quickly assembles at the appropriate time and in a round-robin approach you take turns talking about what you accomplished since you last spoke and what you plan to accomplish in the next time slot. This call should last no more than 15 minutes. It is a quick huddle, and energizer, and a great way to hold each other accountable.

Working from home is just that, it’s work. Yes, you may be able to dress down a bit and yes, you may have some additional flexibility but there is still plenty of work to be done so don’t coast.

-DEG

You may also be interested in the Managing Remote Work Teams or Master Your Work From Home Environment webinar(s).

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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responsible coach

Responsible Coach And The Engaged Trainee

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Are you a responsible coach? Are you serving as a mentor, a coach, or a teacher?

In your workplace role do you find yourself feeling responsible to help guide, motivate, or teach others?

Professional coaches spend decades honing their craft. They are in it to make a difference. Much of their inspiration develops from seeing the results in others.

Is it possible that the coach cares more than the trainee?

Making a Difference

Both formally and informally many workplace professionals find themselves assigned to help others. Is it working? Are you making a difference?

It is difficult to feed those who are not hungry. You can set a table full of delicious and nutritious food in front of them, yet, they’ll not indulge.

Is the food terrible or are they just not hungry?

It is true for most things in life. As a general rule, people will only participate fully when they feel the need or have the desire.

Someone who doesn’t want to learn, or see a need to learn, probably won’t learn very much.

Weight loss, exercise, or healthy eating, will mostly come from those who have some desire or a feeling of necessity to create the outcome. Very limited desire yields very limited results.

A Motivation Coach

Can you motivate as a coach? Absolutely, you can. The question often becomes, “For how long?”

Remove the stimulus and you may see the results dwindle.

One role of the coach is to help the person stay accountable. Yet, you likely cannot provide oversight every minute, of every day.

Often, this circles back to the trainee having or developing some level of self-motivation for the cause.

It seems that there must be a level of commitment from the trainee.

What is the responsibility of the coach?

Responsible Coach

Remember that coaches often gain their own satisfaction or inspiration from helping others succeed. A coached person or trainee who lacks the commitment to the cause may not accomplish much.

The responsible coach may show the path, guide, teach, and even motivate. Yet, they can’t be held accountable to helping someone who consistently fails to do their part.

Be a good coach. Be a good trainee.

A responsible coach won’t waste his or her 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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Workplace accountability

Workplace Timelines Create Accountability

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It is often easy to shout out the timeline. Are workplace timelines creating accountability or hindering productivity?

Depending on the work, timelines are either set or contingent upon availability or demand.

Workplace Timelines

Management sometimes sets the timeline. It may be based on historical performance, benchmark data, or even just management expectations.

In other cases, timelines are conditioned by availability or need.

Restaurants are busy during a breakfast, lunch, or dinner hour, but not so much during other times.

Personal tax service businesses have a peak time of the year.

In manufacturing or assembly businesses, efforts often depend on first things first, each step of the process relies on the step before.

In healthcare or firefighting, the timeline may be conditioned by an emergency.

For some businesses the timeline is conditioned by a project specification. Project managers assure the process is happening according to spec.

In all cases, accountability is often a concern. Matrix management or cross-functional teams often leave accountability in the hands of the employee teams.

What makes a difference for accountability?

Driving Accountability

There are two schools of thought.

The first is that management sets all timelines and provides oversight to ensure all responsible parties are held accountable.

Another is that management asks responsible parties to provide the timeline and then provides support and oversight to the process.

Are the timelines reasonable? Will the work be completed on time?

When the responsible party chooses the timeline and everyone agrees that it is reasonable there is little room for excuses.

Perhaps the quality, accuracy, and completeness of the project will depend on who sets the timeline?

-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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decision commitment

Decision Commitment and Deciding What to Do

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Sometimes the best thing to happen next is to decide that you are going to decide. Decision commitment can be a stumbling block. Are you ready to leap over the obstacles?

Often it is not about a lack of options, it is about a lack of commitment to decisions.

If you’re in sales, you’ll want the customer to decide. Your goal is to close the deal. You’re in the business of helping other people decide.

Selling It

Isn’t everyone in sales? Can you sell to yourself?

Sometimes we have to sell it to ourselves. We have to take the big leap. Create the contract and stay committed.

In my consulting practice, the biggest obstacle I often see for clients is their inability to decide. They want something different, bigger, or better. They can see it, but their next decision means commitment and they may not be ready for it.

Decision Commitment

It feels so final. You contemplate over and over about the pros and cons? Will it work or will it crash and burn in disaster?

At every entry point you have a chance to decide that you will decide.

Here is the thing. It doesn’t have to be final. Your choice can be fluid. You can ebb and flow, make adjustments, take a break, or start again. If the number is too steep, adjust. The timeline is too fast (or slow), adjust it.

Procrastination and a lack of making a decision is often a crusher of momentum and certainly productivity. You know time is money. The inability to make a choice may be costing much more than the risk you’re contemplating.

Trust Yourself

A decision often starts with trusting yourself.

Is that something you can feel confident about? Do you trust yourself?

Your next decision may be a big one. The heat of the moment may not be the best time to decide, and sometimes a decision to do nothing is still a good decision.

You must decide.

-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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trust

Whatever You Do, We Trust You.

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Workplace trust seems like a reasonable component of any flourishing organization. What are the signs of trust? Does your team have it?

A small entrepreneurial effort may not require a lot of rules. A few people working together to add value and build a growing business, they have each other’s back. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing.

Workplace Trust

As organizations grow a little bigger, things often start to change. Trust often changes.

Do supervisors micromanage because they lack trust? You bet.

Are there rules of engagement, rules for decisions, and rules to track effort? You bet.

Are there rules about keeping the rules? Yes, often.

Organizations of all sizes can be wildly successful and exciting. The difference between small and large often requires more management of the organizational dynamics.

Mistakes sometimes pile up and can become a new rule.

When accountability seems to fall short, there is a new rule. There are rules to protect the bottom line, rules to protect the organization from legal actions, and likely some rules to protect the customer.

Rules Pile Up

As the rules pile up, the pace of the organization slows.

I don’t know if we can do that, check back next week.

That isn’t my job, I’ll have to get someone who can help.

Next week is our meeting, we’ll discuss it then.

Rules slow the pace.

The business owner who is a plumber and actively works in the field doesn’t need to check with the boss. The same is true for the print shop, the landscaper, and the garage builder.

Do you have a growing business enterprise? Do you trust your employees? How do you show it? What does the customer feel?

A lack of trust becomes costly in many ways.

-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 things done

2 Paths for Getting Things Done

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How do we get things done in the workplace? Should we push people, push systems, and use authority? Are you getting things done?

Organizational culture is driving what happens in your workplace. Is the culture supportive, or is it us against them?

Which Path?

One thought is that the authoritarian approach guides what happens next, or else, nothing happens. Without authority, without pushing, without using people as a tool, nothing happens. People will do little or nothing, they’ll wait.

This is the concept of, “because I said so.” This should beg a question though. The question becomes, “Is that the culture of leadership?” Unlikely.

Another pathway suggests that potential exists in everyone. Everyone can and should contribute. Instead of thinking about tackling work or challenges with an iron fist, we instead consider that properly empowered people will figure it out together.

This path believes that everyone has talent. This is how skills are developed, talent is grown, and leaders are made.

How will leadership utilize this resource?

Getting Things Done

One path ignites ownership, creates buy-in, and establishes responsibility. It is a natural system for accountability. It is an opportunity to recognize the potential that is in everyone and it highlights the potential of the team.

This culture pulls employee teams into action. There really isn’t a reason for push. Compelled by determination and responsibility teams will achieve.

In this system empowerment is the driver. It is a good way to get things done.

The other path suggests you wait to get picked. Dominance is about authority. Judgment of people happens based on their history, not the possibility for the future. Do as I say, not as I do. You’re never paid to think.

Every culture has a choice. Every choice metaphorically mortars another brick in the culture.

Make good choices because it is not only how things will get done, it is also how things will get built.

-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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understanding accountability

Understanding Accountability Changes Your Position

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We often wonder about accountability. Is it the missing link for teams? Does it affect morale? Understanding accountability has much more to do with success than many employees realize.

Nobody is held accountable.

It wasn’t my responsibility.

That’s not my job. 

You have probably heard all three, and have likely said at least one. Is this a problem with accountability?

Who is Responsible?

Accountability has a direct impact on culture. If few are willing to take responsibility, even fewer will be accountable.

Responsibility is a big job. There is much more risk involved with being responsible. Without responsibility no one really cares when the project gets delivered. No one cares about the quality, and why should anyone care about the customer?

The root of accountability starts with responsibility. A bad outcome may not be your mistake. It may not be your fault, that doesn’t mean you’re not responsible.

Unlearning the Escape

As children we may have gotten off the hook by claiming, “It wasn’t my fault!” We learned that when the blame shifts so does the responsibility. When we aren’t responsible we can’t be blamed.

It may have worked in your childhood because playing was probably more important than leading. You were fed and cared for regardless of the outputs of your actions.

Ready to make a difference in your career? Understanding accountability is critical for your advancement. It is critical for culture.

Understanding Accountability

Certainly, you can take more than one path. What you’ll need to realize though is that taking responsibility, even when it is not your fault, is being accountable.

When you are in a leadership role, you have responsibilities. Hold yourself accountable.

If you supervise other employees, lead committees, or make recommendations that guide outcomes, understand that people who accept responsibility will be much more likely to be accountable.

Accountability changes your position.

-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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