Tag Archives: career

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likeability matters

Likeability Matters for Your Career

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Many people don’t want to believe it or face it. Likeability matters and will play a role in what happens next for your career.

You may see likeability connected with, and labeled as, bias, unconscious bias, or even stereotyping. Regardless of the label it matters for what happens next.

Two kids in the lunch room. One belches loudly and other kids giggle, a different kid does it and for some unknown reason it is totally unacceptable.

Does something like this ever happen?

The Hypocrisy Of It All

We see this play out in the grown-up world too. One person seems to get tolerance or acceptance while another with very similar actions or behaviors is granted none.

If you watch any news, it is in politics too.

Organized religion doesn’t escape it. What is OK for someone in one religious community is often perceived differently by another.

Quickly, we may label some of this behavior as hypocrisy.

All of this is important for your career. It matters because building and forming relationships will impact what happens next.

Likeability Matters

There will always be the naysayers, those who say loudly whatever is on their mind. Those with actions or behaviors that are sometimes labeled as not having a filter. They seemingly say everything that comes to their mind regardless of the impact or impressions to others.

When people apply filters to words and behaviors it seems to make a difference.

The next time you have an impulse to say or do exactly what’s on your mind pause to consider the long-term impact.

Impulse is typically driven by an emotion. Anger, fear, or frustration to name a few.

Notice when you feel emotions coming on. Think twice before you impact everything you’re working towards.

-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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capture attention

Capture Attention or Face a Bigger Challenge

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For the majority of the people in the workforce today, the World has changed. Some suggest we are in an information overload society and we filter much more than we consume. What are you doing to capture attention?

When I was a kid, after school I would jump off the school bus and run as fast as I could to my house. It was an exciting time. I couldn’t wait to get started.

Get started on what? What captured my attention?

Whatever it was that a few friends or one of my siblings may have established for what you do after school. At times I played alone. It may have been with a ball, a matchbox toy, or throwing around a few sticks in the nearby woods.

Pace of Technology

Consider this, just a little over a decade ago there were no smartphones. Text messaging really started to take off around 2005-2007. YouTube was founded in 2005, and didn’t start to become largely known until a few years later.

What does this technology history lesson indicate?

If you are in the workforce today and you are more than 25 to 30 years old, things have changed dramatically. It has all happened, right in front of you.

If you lean towards the younger side of the workforce scale you may not really remember much difference. If you are in the middle to older side of the scale, change is very noticeable.

The challenge today for every career conscious workplace professional and every business endeavor is not so much about change as it is about attention.

How do you capture the attention of your marketplace?

Capture Attention

We’re all selling, whether it is our expertise and why we are the right choice for the job or promotion, or whether it is our products and services, or a third category is perhaps, both.

When I was a kid, on a lucky day I had just a couple of friends to play with.

Technology hasn’t made us more reclusive; it has opened up the World.

The challenge then, is being interesting and valuable enough to get the attention of your market.

-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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remember endings

Remember Endings Follow Beginnings

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Excitement for the beginning is great. It unleashes the energy and gets things rolling. Every customer order, every project, and even your career has a beginning and an end. Remember endings have just as much importance as the beginning.

When things start, it is often hard to keep in mind that things will end. The optimism and excitement of the beginning often gets everyone engaged in the flow. Flow means momentum and momentum is hard to stop.

After the Beginning

Your latest personal technology device is super cool on the first day or week. Eighteen short months later and it has often lost some of its luster.

It is similar for a new outfit, a pair of shoes, and a car. Awesome at first, but later not so much.

Certainly, it is similar for your job or your career. Even the greatest start is followed by an ending.

Unless it is the finale of something great, like a fireworks display, the end is often not desirable or attractive. In fact, it is a distraction.

At the same time having the foresight and recognition that often even the best things come to end is important for your career.

Remember Endings

Endings follow starts.

Starts are important, so are first impressions. Yet across time impressions and opinions often change.

How you navigate between the beginning and the end will continue to shape your reputation and your personal brand.

How you end will be remembered.

While you’re navigating your day keep in mind that what you do becomes part of the reputation that follows you. The beginning, the journey, the end.

It’s true for this day, and every day thereafter.

-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 navigation

Understanding Navigation and Where You’ll End Up

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Understanding navigation may be more difficult than many workplace professionals quickly recognize. Yes, it is often about what we do and how we react and that defines how we navigate.

Just last week someone annoyed you in a meeting. Someone else didn’t complete a task, delayed the project, or simply decided not to show up.

This week there are schedule pressures. An update meeting with the boss and a report to complete.

There are countless opportunities to get annoyed in our workplace. Opportunities to see stress, feel stressed, and worry. Was anything different last month, last year, or at your old job?

Navigating The Same Stuff

Some things have probably changed but yet in reality you worried last year about stuff that just doesn’t matter this year.

You worried about sales being off, the budget not being balanced, or that a co-worker was trying to undermine your project.

You worried about what you said in the meeting, how you said it, and when the boss may have hinted (although you aren’t sure) that you aren’t measuring up.

None of those things matter this year. Although now you have an entire new set of somewhat similar challenges.

Are you navigating differently?

Understanding Navigation

Sure you may have grown. You attended the seminar, read a book, and listened to a few podcasts. You’ve chatted with colleagues, asked for feedback, and with some apprehension, listened to the critics.

Being stressed and worried doesn’t accomplish much. Feeling annoyed and getting irritated does not really serve a useful propose.

What happened last week or last month may have some impact but largely our career and the work that we do is about what is accomplished across decades of commitment and navigation.

Last week you weren’t a novice, an amateur, and now you’re an expert. It took you time, lessons learned, and navigation.

Don’t overestimate the impact of a single experience and don’t underestimate the value of the culmination of a decade.

-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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being average

The Frustration of Being Average

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Are you planning to excel in your career? Is being average the norm? By definition most people would fall into the average bracket.

It seems funny to me how controversial the subject of being average can be. I’ve had people unsubscribe and delete me from social media because they didn’t like a discussion about being average. It’s true.

Is it okay to be average? Certainly, but if my work was geared to just becoming average there wouldn’t really be much work to be done. My business depends on people who are working for something more.

Being Average?

When you consider the definition of average, you have to think about the middle. In manufacturing, if you build to spec, you are really building to the middle. In any service sector, most of your transactions are probably average.

This is a simple concept, because what falls below spec or is less than spec is poor quality, and once in a while if we stretch, we can go beyond average.

Most organizations are actually trying to hire for average. They look for what they define as “best fit.” Best fit is really about being average. Lousy work and you fall below, exceptional work and there isn’t enough room for you. At least, that is how things seem to shake out.

Frustration of Average

The argument for average is that we need certain levels achievement, but not so much achievement that you blow away the spec.

For most careers then, the goal of excelling in your work is counter intuitive. That is, unless there is room for advancement.

This is one of the cultural frustrations for the organization. It is what causes work in motion to slow down. It causes quality to be only about good enough, not about as good as it could be.

Sometimes we have to look beyond best fit. Yet, that is a risk that many choose not to take.

-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 currents

Workplace Currents and Getting To The Other Side

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Do you find navigating workplace currents a challenge? Are you fighting upstream, going with the flow, or simply trying to get to the other side?

What strategy for navigating workplace currents would you recommend?

Survivalists Message

Survivalists claim that the best way to cross a stream in waist deep water is to face directly across the stream. They suggest you shouldn’t face upstream, or downstream, but you should stay focused on an exit point on the other side.

The logic seems to be that facing upstream could cause you to slip, lose your balance, and topple backwards, possibly drowning. Facing downstream may get you across but not where you need to be as you would slowly be drifting away from your exit.

Is this similar to navigating workplace currents?

Workplace Currents

Certainly, confidence and approaching obstacles head on has its value. Yet, going with the flow feels like the easier route.

Perhaps it depends on the goal. For many, career growth is very important, yet it may feel like a catastrophic failure will seal your fate.

Sometimes surviving the workplace current is the most important aspect. You still want to thrive, but first you have to get through the current.

Much of what happens next depends on how you choose to navigate. Our belief systems and what we tell ourselves will have a significant impact on the outcomes.

So will the idea of keeping your eye on the prize.

Sometimes the hardest part is not the obstacle itself, it is the concentration and focus required to stick with your goal.

-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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stalled career

Stalled Career And What Will Cause Movement

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Career, work-life balance, and the daily grind, are things feeling a bit stalled or stuck? It may seem easy to self-assess and tell yourself, “I’m not sure about my options.” The feeling of a stalled career is common, mostly because people apply simple logic.

The logical examination considers all of the valuable reasons you are where you are. It considers the ease of the norm, the status quo, and perhaps the safety of no risk.

Feeling Logical

The norm feels comfortable. You know the routine. You’ve grown to appreciate and quietly value the repetitive nature of things being just the way things are. Mostly, you know what to expect, and often, when to expect it. That’s normal.

The status quo shields you from change. It is based on your expectations. Expectations of a secure job position, an annual salary increase, and accrued vacation pay. Work life exists during mostly fixed hours, and you are comfortable steering around long weekends, vacations, and holidays.

Your mind will convince you that this is logical, it makes sense. You can’t do this, or do that, because of the risk connected with a decision.

Sometimes you feel forced to make a move, or sometimes unfortunately your services are no longer needed and a new direction is required.

Regardless of the circumstances people still often feel stuck. Stuck because any other move has already been evaluated and the only choice is to stay right where you are.

The suggestion sometimes is that people will only change when they get miserable enough to make a move. Do you really want to be that miserable?

Stalled Career

I often ask people, “What are you going to give up?”

When our days and our time is completely filled, we have to give up something in order to do something new. Logically, this doesn’t always resonate, mostly because if you are truly stuck it is often hard to see what you can give up.

If you are going to get things moving again. If you’re going to get out of your career stall, you’re going to have consider doing something different.

Different is scary, not always the most logical, or it may seem unreasonable.

In many cases it is not a matter of different knowledge, it is a matter of old knowledge applied differently.

No movement guarantees one thing, you’re stalled.

-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 comparison

Workplace Comparison and Judgement

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The conversation often starts with a workplace comparison. Someone else did it wrong, someone else had permission, or everybody does it.

Often it seems we live life in comparison. The grass is always greener. Someone else was lucky, or they must come from money.

The Illusion of Shortcuts

It may be a way to create blame or it may be a way explain shortcomings. It may also be a lure into the trap that shortcuts exist and the best way to get ahead is knowing how to navigate them.

When you look for the bad, the things that could go wrong, or a reason why it won’t work, you’ll likely find it. Finding someone or some circumstance to blame may be self-protection or it may create a reason to give up before you get started.

Careers have a beginning and an ending, and a whole lot of stuff that happens in the middle. You work for a paycheck, job satisfaction, or to make a difference.

You also probably wonder from time-to-time if you are getting left behind.

There are some guarantees. One guarantee is that when you compare your life’s work against another’s, you’ll find some differences.

Workplace Comparison

Some people are worn out, tired, and want a break. Some will cite fear, hesitation, and hurry as the cause for their outcome.

There will still be other onlookers who claim the shortcut was the reason.

The shortcut is an illusion. An assumption that because you know now, and didn’t before, you’ll be able to get there quicker.

Speed may matter, and so will timing.

Comparison over action may be similar to a dog chasing its tail, or the rocking chair on the front porch. Lots of activity, things in motion, but no one is going anywhere.

Shortcuts are often an illusion and so is the comparison.

Reserve judgment and stay focused.

-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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career stall

Career Stall: Feeling Stuck and Letting Go

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Have you reached a career stall? Have you found yourself wondering why, how, or where to advance?

Choices and decisions we make often become a habitual part of our life. This is what keeps us stuck, stalled, or stopped.

While there are potentially hundreds of variations or reasons why someone may feel stuck, the good news is there is something that can be done to get unstuck.

Uncertainty is Scary

Uncertainty may be a leading cause of being stuck. Feeling unsure about the future keeps people in their comfort zone.

The comfort zone is the norm. In a groove, even a mediocre groove, often feels better than the potential doom looming outside of the groove.

Outside the groove can be scary. Some may quickly say that fear keeps people stuck. Probably true, it can and it does.

Good Sized Ego

There are other things that keep people stuck.

One is ego.

Ego is not necessarily a bad thing. Another way to describe ego is confidence. Feeling confident and accomplished, some people allow their ego to keep them from seeking professional help.

Ego has halted many careers, one way or another, and it is sometimes connected with costs.

I shouldn’t have to pay for help. I’m a problem solver.

Weighing Costs

Perhaps you can navigate your situation to become unstuck, after all, you are plenty smart enough.

Is there a cost associated with not paying for help?

Keep in mind that cost isn’t always what you pay, sometimes cost is about time lost, missed opportunities, or mistakes.

How long will you stay stalled, stuck, or stopped?

Career Stall

When you have a full plate, a full day, and the clock is ticking, you have to make room for something different in order to create change. Otherwise, you are in a perpetual state of being stuck.

You may need to let go of your ego, habits that are tactical instead of strategic, or change your view on risk.

What is riskier? Staying where you are at for the next three to five years of your career or trying something different? Sometimes we weigh risk incorrectly. We weigh it for safety instead of opportunity.

What will you let go of?

-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 endurance

Workplace Endurance or Getting Through the Day?

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People often say, “I just have to make it through this day.” Does this feel like a challenge you’ve faced? Do you have workplace endurance and what is most important?

Funny, I often ask seminar participants about workplace motivation. Somewhere the obvious initial response is about money, “We have to pay the bills.”

Another question, or rabbit hole, is related to focus. Focus is critical, focus on the wrong things and you get poor results. Focus on nothing and you may get nothing.

Getting Results

In order to make it through the day people often break down their tasks or duties. Shorter vision, get through the hour, past the lunch break, and now you are more than half way through.

However, the organization often measures results across more than a single day. Results are the outcomes of each minute, hour, and day, repeated across time.

Making it through the toughest of days often conditions your success. The day we feel most challenged is the day we either decide enough is enough, or we make it through, adding to our continued contribution.

The challenge of all of this comes down to vision and focus. Often the frustrated employee has a very short vision. They believe in just making it through the day.

Workplace Endurance

What is important to keep in mind is that while making it through the day is critical, their workplace life or career is really about a bigger vision.

The contribution that you make today may be assessed, but it is your endurance, the long-term, that ultimately has the most impact.

One thousand jelly beans get in the jar, bean by bean. Your glass of water fills from the bottom up, one drop at a time. A tree grows each day, but we seldom notice, only gaining appreciation after years of making it through each day.

You’ll do something today. It is important, yet your endurance will matter the most.

-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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