Tag Archives: communication

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workplace conspiracy plan

Workplace Conspiracy Plan and Your Involvement

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Do you have harmful conflict in your workplace? Is someone throwing you into their workplace conspiracy plan?

What is the drama floating around the office, in the breakroom, or on the plant floor?

People are often consciously or subconsciously trying to get you involved. Should you?

They ask you a question, target your emotions, and hope that you’ll provide a response and spread the word.  

You are expected to offer an opinion, pay closer attention to the drama, and get others interested.

Do you put it on your agenda? Consciously or subconsciously? When someone tells you some juicy gossip do you start working for their cause?

Workplace Conspiracy Plan

People often wonder how the rumors start and why others choose to engage? Unknowingly, many participate.

One way to stop the conspiracy is to choose not to participate.

Stay focused on results. Focus on the metrics, the comparison to the goal, and stay focused. When you drift into giving the gossip traction, by giving it attention, you are a contributor.

Things often don’t seem to get better when we give gossip and harmful conflict more attention.

Certainly, managing conflict requires more than one approach. It requires a big toolbox of skills that allow graceful and resilient navigation.

The last thing you want to do is be a contributor. A carrier, the mule who totes around the conspiracy to derail real workplace performance.

When you choose to do things that matter rather than do things that are harmfully juicy you’ve made the right choice.

Choose what you get involved in carefully.

-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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marketing perspective

Marketing Perspective and the Change You Seek

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Change is always happening. It is happening in front of you, of me, and your neighbors and friends. Is change somehow based on a marketing perspective?

You’ve heard before that we all sell. Guess what? We all market too. We advertise what’s happening, what the direction is, and which path to follow.

Not everyone agrees, and sometimes that is the beauty of it all.

Throw something on the wall and what sticks may be what matters the most or at least is the hardest to remove.

Change and Pivot

The change, pivot, or transformation that you are in right now is conditioned by marketing. Yes, of course, it may be some form of push marketing, but it may also be compelling. Pulling others along.

Marketers, all of us, are responsible for what happens next. The narrative we tell, the examples we give, and the expectations of future outcomes that we set. We’re all involved.

Marketing is a powerful tool and with great power comes great responsibility.

You have a responsibility to do the right thing.

Is the change you’re involved with right now, the right thing? Is the jury still out?

Marketing Perspective

Sometimes the best change takes more time. It isn’t a light switch with a full on or full off. Things aren’t always black and white. In some cases, step A and B need to materialize before the end result of C reveals itself.

You don’t want to get a bad rap for being a bad marketer. The perspective that you create, the one wrapped around your presence and wisdom is the one choice you will always have.

Be sure you are doing the work that matters. The work that creates the kind of change that makes you and others proud.

Sometimes all we need is a little more marketing perspective.

-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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feedback listeners

Feedback Listeners Improve More

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There is a good chance that feedback surrounds you. Feedback listeners will improve more, be better prepared, and build stronger relationships. Should this be you?

We often think of feedback in a very formal sense. A performance review, a meeting with your boss, or even asking a friend for some reflection on your project or performance.

We don’t always like what we hear and there may be a time or a place when feedback, or should I say, mismanaged feedback, can derail performance.

Feedback is Everywhere

You probably get more feedback than you realize.

Nice tie.

Love your purse.

Let me finish what I have to say. (May imply you tend to cut people off or finish their sentences for them.)

This may happen in what feels like a normal conversation. That’s because it is, it’s just a normal conversation. Yet, there is feedback happening.

Sometimes we get positive feedback when people recognize we tried really hard. Even if the performance or end result was off a bit, there is the recognition that repeating this behavior will be helpful and may become masterful.

In other cases, it may be what is missing in feedback that is the true feedback.

You painted the room yellow. That is an interesting shade.

This of course could be identified as they love the color, or it could mean they don’t find it attractive.

Roll these concepts into the workplace. It matters for the career minded workplace professional. It matters a lot.

Feedback Listeners

Feedback can spark encouragement or it can derail future efforts.

It is important to keep this in mind the next time you’re offering your ideas, opinions, or suggestions. Think about how you can be helpful and generous with the information you are providing.

It is also important to keep this in mind as the listener. What is in the message for you? How can you gain important insights to improve your performance or relationship?

Feedback sometimes seems unappreciated. Perhaps it isn’t the right timing or perhaps you haven’t managed it well. Anything connected to the word criticism (such as “I have some constructive criticism.”) is not going to work.

-DEG

Do you or your employee teams struggle with feedback? Contact me or check out my books.

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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conversation starters

Why Conversation Starters Still Matter

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Do you still use conversation starters? Do you have enough interest, time, and determination to own the launch of a discussion? Many people seek the pattern of ease instead of the pattern of meaningful.

It isn’t new, it has been happening for two decades. It is the shift of convenience, the effectiveness of time, and the lower price that is driving change.

What is Traditional?

Most fast food restaurants still have inside dinning. Yet, the drive through is popular.

Many traditional retailers have shipping services while they still maintain some presence with a store front.

People movers in airports are popular, yet some people still walk to either side.

In some circles there is the argument against reading. “Who reads anymore, I just watch a video.”

We don’t have to physically run and hunt to get our food. Yet some people still do both.

In modern society, convenience often stands out when compared with the traditional.

Conversation Starters

Communication is not losing its effectiveness so much as the options for delivery are vastly increasing.

As the societal value of convenience, ease, and the selfishness of control slowly erode traditional systems will conversation starters still matter?

Some people still want to dine in the restaurant, even for fast food. Some still enjoy the experience of shopping in stores instead of using a computing device. Reading still matters to many and some believe it is the most valuable path to increasing intellect.

Conversation starters still matter for the feeling of belonging, security, and what most believe to be important for survival.

Society will change, so will the scope of conversations. It is hard to imagine the shape of tomorrow without starting a conversation.

-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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good listening

Good Listening Requires Great Effort

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As a general rule everyone can be a good listener. Good listening is not an instinctive process, rather it is a developed skill that requires great effort.

It is funny, observations of workplaces struggling with communication challenges. The first thing they often do is attempt to have more communication.

Meetings increase in size and number of occurrences. Email lists grow, making sure everyone is copied. Time spent communicating increases but does the effectiveness?

We use the words hearing and listening synonymously. Yet, they really are not the same thing.

Assuming no disabilities, we hear sounds, noises, and people. Hearing is an instinctual process. Good listening is a developed skill.

Good Listening

Many people are lazy listeners. It is probably safe to say that most people are lazy listeners. We listen only to what we want, things that require little effort, or things we find enjoyable.

Everything else, it gets tuned out.

In the workplace, many people have already decided it is not worth the effort. Someone is complaining, someone else is blaming, and the boss, well, he or she is just micromanaging. Tuned out.

Great listening comes from high energy people. It is sparked by interest, sometimes fear, and always takes effort.

Great Effort

Effort to sort the information, qualify it appropriately, comprehend, remove bias, stereotyping, and other filters. When our emotions get activated it can enhance our listening or have us applying filters that mean we absorb the communication different from its intention.

It is not impossible to be a great communicator. It is not impossible to be a great listener.

Are you committed enough to put in the effort? Do you care enough?

More communication isn’t always the answer. In fact, it often makes things worse.

-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 success

What Do You Know About Workplace Success?

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How would you describe success? Does everyone describe it the same way? Workplace success may be as individual as soda, pop, or cola.

Communicating in your workplace has its share of challenges. We are all experiencing things like too much, too little, and misunderstood communication.

Are the words you use effective?

Choose Wisely

We use words to communicate meaning, yet there are times when we blur those lines.

Someone says, “I need a pencil.” Then someone hands them a pen.

“I’m stopping for coffee.” May be as different as hot and black is to
mocha caffe latte, iced.

Most people wouldn’t dare to think about wearing (only) underwear on the beach. (I know I wouldn’t.) Yet, a bikini seems just fine. There seems to be something visually different, is there?

We use words to convey meaning. When we are thinking about the meaning of workplace success, there is more than one meaning.

Workplace Success

Success, respect, and good, all depend on your individual definition. We attempt to use the words to convey meaning, yet the image in everyone’s mind may differ.

Prepare for the meeting.

Arrive early.

Make sure you do it right.

We think communication is easy. We talk, we write, someone listens, and someone reads.

All our words, phrases, and especially our body language and tone matter.

When you suggest that your team should engage and communicate to create more success what is the meaning?

Success for some people is about a position, a title, or their paycheck. Still there are others that view success as the completion of a task, a reached milestone, or appreciation from the boss.

Sometimes the difference between what you want and what you get is based on the words you chose.

Define success. Do it carefully, descriptively, and with the correct image.

-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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cubicle neighbor

Addressing Your Cubicle Neighbor

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In the 1980’s cube farms were popular. Like several dozen eggs, all packed neatly into rows and columns people performed their job duties. Imagine you’re in that organization today, perhaps you still are, how will you address your cubicle neighbor?

Cubicle Neighbor

Once wildly popular, many of them have been reconfigured for more open environments. There are now pods in the corners for chatting or business conversations, floor to ceiling glass conference rooms, and pub type tables near vending areas.

If you needed your neighbor across the wall you often stood and captured their attention. How did you address your neighbor? Were you kind and courteous or just more of a shout out with a hurried expectation? If you disapproved of something, what did you do?

Emotional Self-Control

Construction zones are popular on major highways during the summer months. Road rage often develops. Someone scooting past the line of traffic for a better position near the front is annoying. If this is you, don’t look to your right because you may not appreciate the sign language coming from the motorists you are passing.

It seems fine when you don’t know the person. Somebody too close behind you, riding your butt, and some sign language may occur. Near misses at intersections honking horns and more language. Lips moving, you can often read them without hearing the words.

It may seem okay if it is not your family, friends, cubicle neighbor, or boss.

Small Community

I recall a friend who was running late for a meeting with a district manager at a regional office. He was chatting with me on his cell phone while driving. He mentioned a car driving very close behind him.

Eventually the car zoomed past him. He decided to use some sign language indicating his disapproval. A few minutes later as he entered the office parking lot the district manager which he had never met was stepping out of his rental car. It was the person who moments before passed him.

Yes, the sign language was received.

Just because you can’t see what is in the cubicle next to you doesn’t mean you won’t know them. The World, your community, and your cubicle walls may be smaller than you think.

-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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information flow

Information Flow Means Momentum

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The static organization is stuck. They may appear to just be stalled, yet soon they will be falling behind. Information flow helps keep the organization alive, breathing, and moving, what are you sharing?

Direction of Momentum

We have some choices about what we share. Here are a few of many possibilities:

Intelligence research on the competition

New age marketing and the video bait click

The shipping record that was broken last month

The newest large customer and what they’re about

What was learned at the recent conference

The blog that provided an inspirational message

Recent resumes and who is interested

Why this year will be better that last year

Identification of commonalities in our teams

Insights for new methods or for refreshing old

Every day what is shared happens by choice. It is culture driven, sometimes conscious, sometimes not so much.

When you are building an organization, information flow means something might be happening. Will it be productive conversation or something that slows things down?

Momentum can build both ways. Information keeps organizations from becoming stalled or stopped. Do you have good information flow?

Information Flow

Considering what you choose to communicate each day, which direction are things most likely headed? Reliving past bad experiences doesn’t have much value. A lesson learned is good, tragedy emotionally repeated, not so good.

Communicate organizational values, beliefs, and stretch goals. Communicate inspiring stories, winning moments, and positive insights. Replace stories of doom and gloom with something new and refreshing.

Static and stuck is a choice, it’s not an inheritance, irrevocable trust, or voodoo spell.

What you say next will determine where you are going.

-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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facts matter

Have You Wondered if the Facts Matter?

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Nearly every moment of every day is a chance to tell a story. The story of the big fish, the trophy you won, or the co-worker who consistently turns out bad work. Do the facts matter or is the drama more valuable?

Workplace Stories

Stories often get embellished. Worse yet, they grow in drama bit-by-bit nearly each time they are told. The basis of the story may be founded in evidence and truth, but the way it is told magnifies the sweet spots.

Around the workplace people often find themselves living for the drama or wishing it didn’t exist. The culture certainly plays a role. When we inquire and investigate it is a chance for someone to tell their story.

Culture often decides what we will spend more time to investigate, understand and adopt, or what it will choose to ignore. The investigative process itself may be a cultural attribute. If the focus on work to be completed feels more important, less opportunity exists for stories.

Facts Matter

The story often told, and the story we hear, is a story riddled with opinions. The emphasis becomes about the wrong doing, the unfair act, and the less than truthful analysis of others.

Opinions are what we often share.

She never shows up on time and doesn’t care

He never does his part and is highly overpaid.

Opinions embellish the story. They shift the facts ever so slightly, or in some cases alter the truth in the message.

Listening requires energy. Hearing the message is not the same as listening to the message. We hear a voice talking, but listening takes things to higher level.

Down on energy from the work at hand we only listen when there is great interest. If we aren’t careful, we’ll process opinions as facts.

Now you are reminded, facts matter.

-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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language matters

Language Matters Because It Builds Culture

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What is the language of your workplace? Is there optimism, excitement, and energy? Language matters because it sets the tone and shapes the environment for everything that happens next.

“Good Morning,” is different from, “Ugh, here we go again.”

“I’m ready, let’s go,” is different from, “I’m not awake yet.”

We never know exactly what each day will bring. Yet we have a choice to decide what we will bring to each day.

What are your contributions to culture?

Building Culture

Every workplace has a culture. Every organization, business, and group effort have language behind their energy.

What is the language of your workplace? It is energizing or creating fear? Does it inspire confidence or get hung up on doom and gloom?

We are people, people with personalities, emotions, and feelings. We leap forward with inspiration or make a choice about fighting or retreating during fear.

Today you will make a choice about what you see. You’ll look for the opportunity, or describe a problem that cannot be solved.

You will believe that what is unfolding is happening for you, or to you.

Most of that belief will develop from your language. Tell yourself either you can, or you can’t. You will be correct.

Language Matters

Belief is powerful. Our belief systems are often created from the language that surrounds us.

Your team and your organizational culture are built by this belief.

Suggest that there is nothing good about this day. Chances are you’ll have a hard time finding something. It is a self-fulfilled prophecy.

Think carefully about what you’ll say today. It will guide what happens next.

-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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