Tag Archives: change

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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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different workplace solutions

Different Workplace Solutions, Yet Both Are Correct

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There are plenty of sayings. The ones that suggest more than one way to accomplish the goal. What happens when there are different workplace solutions yet both seem to work?

More than one way to crack an egg.

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Half empty or half full.

Largely what happens inside the workplace community is about culture. The words, phrases, metaphors, symbols, and of course the acronyms are largely about just that, what happens inside.

Different Workplace Solutions

Companies make cars, computing devices, bouncing balls, and eyeglasses. Many of these have similarities. Balls are round, cars have wheels, and eyeglasses generally hook behind our ears and bridge our nose.

What happens inside the organization is different. The rules of the game are likely not identical. People drive the culture. They represent the repetitive nature of, “What happens here.”

What happens inside is the correct way. It may always be evolving, it may be a fluid approach, yet that is the way it is done.

We’ve never done it that way.

We’ve always done it this way.

Phrases are as much about the culture as the motion they create. You can choose to agree or disagree. Workplace cultures do sometimes change, they pivot, shift, or accelerate. If you are inside the community you may be considered part of the solution, or the problem.

Changing Ways

Sipping coffee through a straw may seem odd, so is sugary icing on broccoli.

It seems that new ideas have a path. They become cultural norms or they don’t.

What you do at work today may be the correct way, or the incorrect way. Both may still be about a solution.

The culture determines which way, for now.

-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 event

Workplace Event Disguised As Workplace Change

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What happens when the change you believe you are experiencing is just a workplace event? How do you know the difference?

The big sales month, the surprising reaction to the video posted on LinkedIn, or a visit and tour from a high-ranking politician. Are any of these a signal of change or just an event?

Blip or Change?

Occasionally, the angler catches a big fish, the realtor closes a huge deal, and you just happen to catch every green light when you are running a few minutes late. Do you build a plan around these occurrences? Has something changed?

When the biggest customer, the biggest sponsor, or the biggest vendor change, often so does the organization. Is this the result of an event or calculated change?

You may suggest that it could be both, and of course, it could. Usually however, it isn’t.

Workplace Event

Events may be repeatable, but likely are not the norm. Winning the lottery may be an event, but you shouldn’t count on it happening every day. You can pretend it might, but a business model built around pretend is clearly an illusion.

You can pretend you’ll have the biggest sales month ever next month too, and with a good plan you might. Chances are good however without a specific structure and catalyst for this continued success you’ll find a lot of disappointment and misery.

It is valuable to consider how events shape the organization. A blip of success here and there really isn’t something that is calculated. While it may be a promising sign of being prepared to seize opportunity, it may only be an event may and not a sign of the new norm.

The glass of water fills drip by drip, the tree grows a little each year, and the organization that lasts isn’t built from the results of a single event.

-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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changing times

The Workplace Impact of Fear During Changing Times

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People will often quickly agree that their workplace is affected by changing times. Times, they are changing, yet what is really happening in your workplace?

Do people fear change? Largely, yes, many people are very nervous and afraid of the impact of change on their job. Everything from promotion to demotion to the possibility of being terminated.

Fear can cause action, that is an absolute. Fear as a tactic to motivate people is usually not a good idea.

Changing Times

The less people understand about change, the more likely they are to fear it. Out of fear they may suggest there are ulterior motives. Yet perhaps, they just don’t want to face the truth.

Clumped together in a group, people may feel more power to slow down the change and shift it to a different direction. The presenting factor is that the change is a bad idea, the truth may be that they fear what is proposed to happen.

A mindset of, hide in numbers, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few is their anchor.

Those who are responsible for the change have a different view. They may look for resistors. Spot them. Ask questions. Get them talking.

In this manner the resistors become known, they’re spotted, and a designated action or reaction can occur.

It is the silent resistors that are the most troublesome. They cause fear for the change leaders. The change leaders wonder, “Who doesn’t agree with this change and what do they plan to do about it?”

Truth in Change

Perhaps if there was more truth, more transparency, and more concern about the impact on human capital our workplaces wouldn’t be so harshly impacted.

People are not just a tool. They are an investment.

In a World of constant change, the status quo may carry the most risk. Protect your investment by allowing change to happen for you, not to you.

Be honest.

-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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my job

Will My Job Always Be This Way?

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Nothing lasts forever. I remember my job as a Computer Programmer, I was in my early twenties and a manager said to me, “Tough times don’t last but tough people do.” I liked it, and I never forgot it.

Grand Illusion

People sometimes get caught up in the idea that the present moment, the space they are in right now, is where they will be forever. It is an illusion of life that we allow when our frame is too narrow.

The project we are working on. It is temporary. The team we are working with, likely, is temporary. The software program, the difficult customer, and the person who annoys you. Temporary.

It will seem like common knowledge when I suggest that we can control our own fate. Yet, the frame that we sometimes hold ourselves behind does the opposite. It restricts us, limits us, and establishes belief patterns that can convince us of little hope for a better outcome.

My Job

Do you enjoy your work? Work is work, it probably has its moments of good and bad for everyone, yet rest assured that your job isn’t staying the same. Love it or hate it, things are going to change.

Business cycles change. Government regulations change. The needs of society will change.

If we experience an unexpected change, we may feel shock, frustration, and confusion. We may feel a lot of stress and pressure. This moment feels like bottom. Something is over, done, finished. The end.

Only if our frame says so.

Certainly, things end, even our job. The job we loved or the job we hated. It won’t last forever.

Stop believing that it will.

-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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workforce relevance

Workforce Relevance or Self-Deception

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Once upon a time it mattered to ensure you stocked enough green bar paper. You were state-of-the-art. This may also be true for the number two pencil, the Rolodex, and the pink “While you were out” memo pads. Workforce relevance changes too. Skills, approaches, and service themes.

The sales funnel is important. Keep a good supply of potential leads, work them down into the yes and no pile. Keep going, keep moving, the sales funnel means life. Build operational support to keep the funnel flowing and you’re set.

Stay Relevant

Organizations often face irrelevance because the theme of keeping the flow moving becomes a standard. The idea is, when we do just this, and just that, and get everything just right, the flow will continue. Then it slows, or stops.

What built the organization and the teams that keep it moving, aren’t necessarily the same aspects or indicators of what will keep it alive.

Likely every organization that has worked to standardize and then lock it in, eventually stop, things slow and then end.

For the small business it is often the hard work of the owners, the second or third generation of family, or the subconscious vision of, “We finally have it all figured out.”

Workforce Relevance

It is safe to say that all organizations are driven by people. People are not tools; they are an investment. Manage them as a cost of doing business instead of the reason you have the business and you will have a short run game.

The relevance of your workforce will condition everything in the long game. The knowledge, skills, and abilities you will need to continue to grow, change, and adapt.

If you get stuck in the world of green bar paper, number two pencils, and your Rolodex, everything will pass you by. In a world of constant change being convinced your formula will stay the same is self-deception.

-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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needs improvement

When “Needs Improvement” Is All You See

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The best question to ask may be, “What are your expectations?” The answer can often be confusing. If you, your department, or the entire organization needs improvement what should you do?

We find out in the meeting. “This is a good start, but needs improvement.”

On the performance evaluation, “Work is satisfactory, but there are some areas that need improvement.”

“Next year your goals are higher.”

Needs Improvement

The role of many workplace professionals is to make improvements. That is what we’re always striving for, improve the process, become more efficient, and delight the customer. It is a constant effort to improve.

Yet we often face barriers and roadblocks, obstacles and hurdles, the so-called challenges of change. Most of the things in our pathway to improve are a residue of the organizational culture. The way the organization gets things done.

The management team is supposed to push, encourage, and perhaps passively shout to get the work done. Change is proposed, an action plan put in place, and people are watching and waiting.

You are only on the team because you fit, yet the design calls for change. Things are supposed to improve, yet we only do it our way, the way it has been successful in the past.

The organization seeks outside resources, advertises for new hires, yet whoever signs up doesn’t fit, so they are disregarded.

Clever words are selected, the mission is published and public. The branding video was expensive and demonstrates what it should. Everything is set.

Yet, on the inside, things haven’t changed. Cultural change is supposed to happen fast, but feels impossibly slow.

Things Have Changed

Since the industrial revolution, there has been a lot of change. Largely, we’ve addressed many of the “needs improvement” areas. If the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, the last 200 years have been phenomenal.

Don’t lose sight of the changes you’re making. Work hard and lead through the challenges. “Exceeds expectations,” is happening. It’s happening right before your eyes.

Seeing is believing.

-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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Changing Habits

Changing Habits By Making Room

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We are all creatures of habit. Our daily routine, the work week, the weekend, what we do is based on habits. Changing habits is likely important for success but what will you give up?

Habits Produce Results

What we do this week won’t completely shape what we achieve across the next six months.

One small landscaping project tackled at our home on the weekend may improve things, but there will still be maintenance across time to keep it up.

Our daily work habits across the next twenty-six weeks will shape half of the year. What happens across the next three years will be based on the habits of each week of those years.

We do something every day. In fact, we may do many things each day. We occupy twenty-four hours. Eating, sleeping, working, and living life.

When it is time for a change, we must make room. Something goes and something takes its place. We may sacrifice some free time, some TV time, or some phone surfing time. Room must be made.

Ultimately, the question becomes, “What will you give up?”

Changing Habits

Changing habits means you’re going to have to make room. The choice is more important than you may think.

If you give up sleeping, eventually you’ll burn out. Eating or skipping meals, same thing. You recognize that somethings you can’t give up because that supplies the opportunity to achieve other goals.

Everything is a tradeoff.

Setting up your garage with home fitness equipment sometimes seems like a reasonable approach. Only, now you don’t have a place for your car. Worse, if you give up your workout routine the space is completely wasted. You gave up both, everything for nothing.

Making room for new habits is important. Something must change. Give up something.

Just be sure the something doesn’t cost you everything.

-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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shocking change

Shocking Change Includes Disbelief

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By now we all know that change is a part of life. Many people will quickly agree that everything around us is changing. How are you navigating shocking change?

Shocking Change

Change often does come as a shock and is followed with disbelief. Someone wins an election. Someone gets promoted, or the one-hundred-year-old business closes its doors forever.

Some will claim that they saw it coming and it wasn’t really a surprise.

In other cases, change happens so slow people barely notice. People age, trees grow, and a new house is built in a tiny corner of the two-hundred-acre field.

In our home or at our workplace, a room gets painted, a picture hung, and a new chair gets placed in the corner. Perhaps noticed and strange for a moment, but then life goes on. In a few days, we forget that something changed.

Surprised About Change?

Big change or small change, we tend to process it the same. At first there is some surprise, maybe a shock and maybe some disbelief. Shortly thereafter, the shock wears off, the disbelief switches to reality, and now it becomes the norm.

Change doesn’t always happen the way we wanted or when we wanted, but it surely happens.

Some will call it progress others will see it as the beginning of the end. Some changes will stick and some have a strange way of circling back around.

Change doesn’t always stick, it doesn’t always stay, and it sometimes feels unfair.

People were once shocked (no pun) by the light bulb, the airplane, and the breakup of Sonny and Cher.

Don’t be surprised with the disbelief that comes with change. Be surprised how long some things stay the same.

-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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change barriers

Change Barriers, Are You Jammed Up?

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Everything in the world is changing. Truth? Most will quickly say, “Yes!” What are some of the change barriers you are encountering?

Barriers, jams, and bottlenecks, what is hindering forward motion for you or with your team?

Change is Emotion

There is an emotional journey connected with change. Early in the process there is often fear, shock, and frustration. There also may be signs of denial and anger. Our bottleneck, the jam up point, is often connected with stress.

We may feel stuck at stress. Things aren’t moving, or are not moving fast enough. We haven’t let go of the old way and the new way feels too early to be sure. People feel stuck.

Getting unstuck means change. It means acceptance of the new reality, forward motion with the risk of the somewhat unknown.

When things get jammed up, when we are stuck or stalled, something magical happens on the other side. Breaking free of the jam, we accelerate.

Change Barriers

Construction zones on the highway, things slow down, cars merge from two or more lanes into a narrower path. Sometimes traffic stops completely. On the other side, cars burst out of the jam to get back to the speed limit.

This also happens with technology, the server, the router, the processor, things jam up and once free it is like a burst of new energy.

It happens with the ketchup bottle, the mustard, or anything that squirts. Lots of volume, behind a small opening, apply some pressure and it squirts. It’s breaking free from the bottleneck.

Change barriers, the obstacles, the bottlenecks, and even the stress or pressure associated with being stuck or stalled, that isn’t how the story ends. Unless you quit.

On the other side there is acceleration. The pressure is relieved, the flow is great. Things are faster, better, and ultimately more comfortable.

Sometimes we must get through the zone, to get back into the zone.

-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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