Tag Archives: career

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career lane

Career Lane, Should You Stay In It?

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People often suggest, “Stay in your lane.” Should you stay in your career lane, make a shift, or be wider, broader, and demonstrate many skills?

Occasionally I will catch a dog show on TV. They’ll use words like, best in class, best of breed, or best in show.

What does it take to be at the top of the group? What about your personal best? Who is the competition?

About Numbers

How can you get promoted, get selected for an interview or become the successful candidate?

Let’s assume you are in sales. What is your goal? To achieve the top three or five percent of your entire team? To be number one? Out of how many?

Getting to the top five percent would mean being number one or number two, out of forty. The bigger the field gets, the more people you must rise above.

Competition

Competition to get selected for an interview and get the job can be brutal. Our digital age means the number of competitors is usually large.

People may think, “Maybe my career shouldn’t be in sales, but it could be sales related. I can apply myself to more than one area.”

The thought is when we broaden our scope, we’ve just created more chances. The irony is, doing this increases the competition, it dilutes your focus, and has made getting selected as a best in show even harder.

Career Lane

Making a career change is fine. I’ve done it three times across a thirty plus year career.

What is important is to pick a lane. Stick with it long enough to make a proper evaluation. Be consistent and stay focused.

Best of breed is easier than best in show.

You can be a big fish in a small pond. If you decide to jump into the ocean is it an entirely new game.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Career Quick Fix

Career Quick Fix, Shortcuts, or Give Up?

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Fast paced is commonly used to describe the intensity of today’s work environment. Rapid change, accelerated change, and speed are also commonly mentioned. Are you looking for a career quick fix, a shortcut, or else you’ll just give up?

People often talk about change. They talk about the unfairness of life. How things didn’t work out, didn’t go their way, or they how they are being overlooked. I’m not doubtful that these situations occur, but what should you do?

Be Realistic

As a society we seem to have become more convinced if things don’t happen fast, they either aren’t going to happen or they aren’t worth pursuing. They are, a waste of time.

Imagine that you start a new diet today. You eat healthier, cut a few calories, watch out for sugars, carbs, and appropriately balance your meals. Is the scale going to be noticeably different tomorrow? Will the mirror reflect a new you?

The same is true for a fitness program. You go to the gym. Move a few weights around, get on the treadmill, step on the scale and look in the mirror. What’s changed?

Our expectations for a quick fix are often unrealistic. There really aren’t many shortcuts. Should you give up? No, we all know it takes time, consistency, and persistence.

Career Quick Fix

The same is true for your career. It is true for your promotion, true for your new job opportunity, and true for your success at nearly anything.

You’ve been working hard for a couple of years, or ten, or even twenty. Have you grown? What has changed? Can you prove it?

Most career minded individuals can prove it. It is in the continuing education, the advancement here and there, and some metrics or measurements that illustrate growth.

Daily, the quick check in the mirror, doesn’t show much. Yet, something is happening, things are changing, new opportunities (or proof) are popping up.

Don’t give up. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

-DEG

What happens next is based on expectations, consistency, and persistence. Need a coach? Contact me

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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Wrench

Can You Hand Me The Wrench Please?

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Tools make our work easier. They improve the quality, the volume, and the effectiveness. As you navigate your business, career, or life, are you looking for a wrench or trying to get by without any tools?

If we need a hammer, we may be able to find a rock. Lacking scissors, someone may try their teeth.

The pickle jar lid is stuck. You have a couple of choices. You can figure out a tool, ask a friend, or just break the jar.

Timothy Leatherman had an idea. Put many tools in a single device. It is popular, and it works.

The Right Tools

Tools make life easier. They simplify the complex, save energy, time, and broken fingernails.

When we’re stuck, do we pick up a rock as a hammer, or do we get the right tool for the job?

In business or in your career, what are your tools? What have you used?

Too often people forget about the tool. They try to cut corners, open the plastic bag with their teeth, and stand on a chair with wheels instead of getting a small ladder. Risky, unsafe, and perhaps very costly.

Wrench Please

As a kid, I remember my job was to fetch the tools. I learned their names, the intended use, and the value of organization. I also learned that without the right tools the job took longer, had a higher rate of failure, and often became more expensive.

What are the tools you require? What will save time, improve quality, volume, and effectiveness?

In the workplace we need effective communication, trust, and sometimes we need someone to hand us the wrench.

We can blunder around without the right tools. Get it done with our bare hands, use a rock, or try it with our teeth.

That doesn’t make much sense though.

If you don’t have the right tool, you should ask.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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career strategy

Career Strategy When Nothing Works

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What you’ve tried has failed. What you were convinced would work totally bombed. Have you ever felt jammed up and stuck? Your career strategy is important but so is execution.

When Nothing Works

Looking back what was the failure? What didn’t work? Did you have a bad plan or was it more of a faulty execution, accountability, or a lack of persistence?

Many people are attracted by the shiny object. The tall building with lots of glass, the successful employee with special parking, or the top dog who drives the expensive car.

It could also be the assumption of extended vacations, international travel, or a work from home schedule. Certainly, the big salary, stock options, or expense accounts also create attraction. All shiny objects.

Did your projected path and the associated outcomes consider the political currents, the cultural aspects of the business, and both a short and long-term trajectory?

What about your stubbornness, arrogance, or confidence? Did you create a my way or the highway impression? Did you visualize how you would go with the flow or was it more of an against the crowd view?

Career Strategy

I meet a lot of people with good intentions. Just as many people who want to change the world. And a great number of people who have a great plan with little action or a with a case of severe procrastination.

Often, we get jammed up because we let ourselves down. Our expectations are not realistic, goals are too vague, and there is limited or no accountability.

When you are considering your career strategy you should be sure you have specific goals, a solid plan of action, and a method to stay accountable.

Otherwise, you’re just chasing shiny objects. You’re impressed by the illusion that strong thoughts or good intentions will pave the way.

Ask yourself the tough questions. Answer honestly.

Allow for adjustments but be persistent and patient with your strategy.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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two career paths

Two Career Paths, Which Is Yours?

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If you had a choice which path would you choose? It is a question that many of us ponder each day. Not always consciously, but we’re working on it in the background. There are at least two career paths, which one are you on?

Sometimes the problem is that there is a goal in mind, but the path, plan, or process remains elusive.

Become the manager of the department.

Get the advanced degree in my field and pivot. 

Find a job doing the work I love.

Two Career Paths

The first path is simple. Put in some effort, land a job, do the work, and see where things go. Sometimes this is a career. It is easy to go through the motions each day.

Good effort at work. Enjoy a little free time here and there. Spend time with the kids. Have a hobby or take a vacation.

It isn’t your dream job, but it is work. It doesn’t pay what you want, but you are surviving. Suddenly weeks turn into months and months to years.

It’s a job and you’re doing alright. Life rolls on.

The second path is different. It has purpose. It may include a journey down the first path, but there is a different kind of objective. The objective is to use the first path to get to the second path.

Career Strategy

If you have a goal, you need a plan. When you have a goal and a plan, you need to execute. As you execute you must compare outcomes to timelines and milestones. Adjust, and move forward. Failure to do any of this puts you back on the first path.

Many will suggest it all depends on how bad you want it.

I would suggest that the recipe for success also includes commitment, discipline, and self-confidence. You’ll need to add in accountability and belief to get the best flavor.

You can let your career happen to you, or you can make your career work for you. Neither choice is wrong. Just remember, it is a choice.

What path are you on?

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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hiring practices

Hiring Practices Tell a Story

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It seems almost counterintuitive. Low unemployment rates, organizations claiming they can’t find employees, and potential candidates expressing they can’t find employers. Does it have something to do with hiring practices?

The easy answer is, “Perhaps.” Another good answer would be, “It depends.”

If you are an emerging potential candidate you should consider the effort that appears to be taken by the potential employer.

Hiring Practices

When a job is posted on a job board or other online quick post system what did it cost the employer? What are the details? What effort appears to have been taken to roll out this job?

When you’re looking for work it is easy to jump to the idea of, “There is an opening. I’m on it.” Sure, there may be a job there, but is it the job for you?

You can count on one thing. If the job advertisement process appears to be a mundane and disinterested roll out, it is probably going to feel like that and much worse if you get the job.

We don’t care, you don’t care, so nobody cares and we’re all disappointed.

Putting widgets in a box is rapidly being replaced by automation. If it hasn’t, or it isn’t in the works, this probably isn’t your dream employer.

In this case the employer see’s little value in the employee. The desire is, “Put the widget in the box until the end of your shift.”

When Turnover Is Popular

When the employer has little skin in the game. Turnover is popular, but not so costly because there is no intellectual value lost. Little effort went into the recruitment process, and like a lottery ticket they’ll just buy another.

So, the cycle continues. Organizations claiming that they can’t find employees, and potential candidates expressing they can’t find employers.

An investment in nothing, yields nothing.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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skills rusty

Are Your Skills Rusty?

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Working hard to perfect your skills seems like the right thing to do. Learn it, deliver it, and live it. It seems logical. It is the discipline behind many quality control initiatives. Perfect it and protect it. In a World of constant change, are your skills rusty?

I’m fascinated with certain aspects of history. Probably, outside of news, my favorite television channel is the History Channel. I don’t always believe everything I see there, but a few of the shows are favorites.

Rusty Things

Recently, I’ve watched several episodes of the Curse of Oak Island. A series about an island in the North Atlantic Ocean where it is believed that there is buried treasure.

They’ve found some interesting stuff. Some of the items are at least a couple of hundred years old. Large iron spikes, and recently a large hook that may have been used to load or unload goods from ships. Interesting.

Another sometimes interesting show is American Pickers. Somewhere in their storyline they claim they seek, rusty gold. What they really mean is that finding old rusty metal is like finding gold, at least to them.

I have a car, and a Chevy Tahoe. My Tahoe is twenty years old. A lot of miles, but still runs well. The rust is catching up on it though, and it needs some work.

Skills Rusty?

What is it about rust? It just never stops. Eventually all the metal or iron artifacts not found and recovered on Oak Island will return to the earth. The same is true for what the pickers seek. My Tahoe, will likely one day be salvaged and some components recycled.

One the other hand, if we care for it, protect it, repaint it, or freshen it up it can last for a long time. Maybe, in some cases be better than new.

All this same logic applies to your job skills. It also applies to the organization you work for, its culture, the people, and the market it serves.

Rust is always working against you. Don’t get rusty.

-DEG

Note: The photograph is of an old bicycle frame with the manufacturers badge on the front of the steering stem. This turned up in August 2018 after heavy rains washed a deep mud and rock slide across nearly 40 feet of my yard.

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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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navigating job performance

Navigating Job Performance Within Boundaries

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Most people come to work expecting to succeed. They put a lot of effort into making a difference, fitting in, and navigating the culture. Navigating job performance often involves subjectivity and attaining successful performance can be tricky.

A member of the waitstaff team decides the menu needs some new choices. He pushes management hard continuously insisting the choices by management are poor.

A creative marketing designer decides the price is too high and she assertively expresses unhappiness when preparing new advertising materials.

The junior networking engineer repeatedly challenges the long-term CIO in departmental meetings insisting that data security infrastructure is below par.

Knowing Boundaries

Many people have an opportunity to somewhat shape their job and their career. Having open discussions, a voice in the process, and providing constructive suggestions is a great thing.

Doing it so assertively that it creates friction with the boss may not always be the best approach. Certainly, there may be a time to stand up, give a little nudge, and express opinions, but knowing the boundaries is important.

Pushing to the point that you are identified as having a bad attitude likely won’t win you the next rung on the corporate ladder.

Navigating Job Performance

You work hard because you care. Putting in extra effort increases your job satisfaction and makes you feel responsible, productive, and that your contributions matter. Great.

In some cases, you’ll be able to shape your own job. In other cases, there just isn’t the opportunity for another manager, leader, or C-suite executive.

It may be about timing, or it may be that you still need more skill building. Keep in mind that navigating the culture may be the most important non-technical skill you can build.

Your performance is observed and evaluated by your boss, peers, or even the board of directors.

Make sure you’re performing well in what they are measuring. In many cases, this is boils down to your awareness of how to get along with them.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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correct lane

Are You Choosing The Correct Lane?

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For all the highway drivers out there, you know being in the correct lane is important. You would also quickly recognize that you can’t be in more than one lane at a time.

If you’re halfway in between, things aren’t so good. Not for you, and not for the other drivers sharing the road.

In business or in your career, many people talk about the idea of staying in your lane. It is a metaphorical expression mostly targeted at keeping a specific focus and not being spread or scattered to thin.

Focus is important, so is knowledge and expertise. I love the entrepreneur spirit of businesses, people, and ideas that are on the move, but is there a time to stay in your lane?

Yes, of course there is.

Which Lane?

I can read a lot medical information online. I can even manage a cut on my finger with some peroxide, antibacterial ointment, and a Band-Aid. I can tell friends to take a couple of Tylenol capsules and get some rest.

It doesn’t mean I can hang out a shingle and self-proclaim I’m a medical doctor.

Balancing my checkbook and managing a personal budget I’ve been doing since my teens.

In business, I’ve been responsible to manage multiple tens of millions of dollars. I have a solid understanding of an income statement and balance sheet. I can even explain it to others.

It doesn’t mean that I am a CPA and I should hang out a shingle and start an accounting practice.

Correct Lane

Today it is easy to hang out a shingle for just about anything. Buy a domain name, put up a website, create a Twitter and Instagram account and self-proclaim that you’re an expert and open for business.

Unless it is your focus. Unless you are committed to operating in that lane you may be better off staying positioned in the lane you are in.

Halfway in between doesn’t work out so well. Not for you, and not for others sharing the road.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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changing everything

When Changing Everything Doesn’t Make a Difference

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New curtains may help, perhaps a new sofa, or a remodeled kitchen. Maybe it will take a new job, a new boss, or a total career shift. Changing everything may not make the difference you seek.

It’s funny where we place the blame. We look to our clothes, look in the closet, or sign up for the job postings feed. The thought is that this is what matters the most.

Of course, change can be good. It can make a significant difference. Change can be positive and leave behind the negative. What may matter most is understanding the root cause of why change feels required.

Understanding Your Change

Listening is an amazing thing. What you hear can make the difference for what you do. Even listening to yourself can be more valuable (or destructive) than what many people realize.

By now we’ve all heard that money can’t buy happiness. We know it as a truism. We see some of the wealthiest people still seeking happiness and living in a deeply depressive state of mind.

On the flip side we see some of the kindest, gentlest people who seem to have little more than the clothes on their back, and they are happy.

Certainly, money can matter, and so can people, relationships, faith, and hope.

Perhaps it is time to think twice about what you are changing. Think about the reasons why. Not the reasons you are justifying it, but the true reason why. And yes, there is a difference between the two.

Changing Everything

Changing everything and starting new seems like a good plan.

It is the new furniture, car, or job. It feels good, for a while.

Then suddenly, it just feels the same again.

People waste a lot of energy on changing everything. It may all be possible by changing just one thing.

What is your one thing?

-DEG

Do you need help discovering the one thing for your career or business? Coaching can help.

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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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