Tag Archives: critical thinking

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head or heart

Head or Heart, Which One For Business Decisions

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Head or heart has been something of consideration for centuries, what should you follow? Critical thinking and decision making is often not to be taken lightly. Does the path you choose depend on the circumstances?

No two circumstances or situations are exactly alike. The intricacies of scenarios can leave plenty of room for doubt.

The character of Dicky Fox had something to say about head and heart in the movie Jerry Maguire (1996).

The subject of feelings sometimes makes business people a little squirmy. It is often closely followed by a reference to holding hands and singing Kumbaya.

There is a certain importance to feelings. Relationships and trust are deeply rooted in feelings and effective leadership requires trusted relationships.

Many business situations contain emotions. The last I checked; passion is closely connected to your emotions. For starters, a passion for the work, the product, and delighting customers comes to mind.

There may be times when decisions may require setting aside some of the emotions. There may be times when what is good for many may mean that it cannot be good for every one.

Sometimes people believe multiple choice is a nice option and suggest bringing your options to the meeting.

Which one will you follow, head or heart?

Head or Heart

What you are passionate about will condition most of your decisions. Emotion’s guide many buying decisions.

Do you buy a nice car or something that gets you from point A to point B? The same may be true for your home, your clothing, or the tools you buy.

Decisions are often made with feelings of comfort, control, or passion. Sometimes they are made for health reasons, such as the food you eat or exercise.

Business decisions require critical thinking. Critical thinking isn’t necessarily about gut feel or having the most experience. Both matter, but it is the critical side that is often the deal breaker.

People often bring the concept of luck into the equation. Good luck or bad, how you manage your luck will have plenty to do with the final outcomes.

Don’t be fooled about head or heart.

The best leaders are including some of both.


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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meetings solve problems

Meetings Solve Problems, Or Don’t They?

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Should your meetings solve problems? It may depend on the type of meeting, but many meetings have some component designed around solving problems.

Some meetings are informational. Presenters deliver information. The information delivered is probably organized around solving a problem.

Some meetings are strategic. They attempt to organize the process of planning, creating vision, and improving an organizations competitive edge. No strategy, or poor strategy is a big problem.

Some meetings are task oriented. A committee leads, guides, and steers the direction of the group. Their challenge, or problem, is often ensuring the continuation of the cause or charter.

There are many other classifications or variations of meetings. Most meetings are intended to solve problems.

Reason for a Meeting

Each day decisions are being made by team members. Each day new problems arise. The rise of a new problem, and often it is quickly solved. A process so common many professionals take for granted the act of problem solving.

The problem that makes it to the meeting is different. There are many variations, considerations, or people affected so the calculation on solving it drags on.

Big problems are big problems because they aren’t easily solved. In some cases, attempts are made to solve them, only to see them repeat or continue.

Root cause analysis matters. It matters because addressing a problem with solutions that are not at the root means the problem will continue.

Is that a reason for the meeting?

Meetings Solve Problems

Do your meetings seem to focus around the same problem over and over again? Perhaps it is because of a lack of critical thinking, root cause analysis, or patterns of inappropriate interventions.

Usually the only problems that hit the meeting are the ones that are tough to solve. Everything else has already been taken care of.

Make your meetings count, it is why you’ve assembled in the first place. Meetings that count, have a plan.

The next time you attend bring a proposed solution for every problem you plan to present.


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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Solving Workforce Problems, Should You Triangulate Your Approach?

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A solution is what most people want. Often our most complex workforce problems go unsolved because if they were easily solved, then they wouldn’t really be a problem would they?

Planning work

Problem solving can be fun, especially when it is just difficult enough to be stimulating but not so challenging that you get frustrated.

Unfortunately sometimes the problems become so difficult that we get frustrated, we might feel like giving up, or we might have to dig deeper to discover additional knowledge or gain additional expertise.

Many of our most challenging problems cannot be solved with a one size fits all approach. We would often like to believe that they can, we often approach them like they can, but then sometimes reality sets in and we come up noticeably short.

One solution might be to triangulate your approach.


The idea of triangulation to solve problems could have several different meanings, but triangulation by definition typically refers to the idea of having two or more pieces of information, and then using that information to calculate the information you are missing. I believe our GPS and navigation systems use this or a similar methodology with satellites and ground position.

How is this idea connected with solving problems in the workplace?

Setting aside design and engineering challenges which likely already involve the use of complex mathematical calculations to solve problems, we might try to combine several known approaches that develop data that would allow us to make more informed choices or predictions for probable outcomes.

By doing this we have the opportunity to validate our information and potentially understand the most probable fix.

How does it work?

Lets assume for a moment that we have a number of choices for determining why employee turnover ratios are high. We could survey employees, we could conduct individual interviews, or we could use focus groups and perhaps many other variations of this type of work to collect data in an attempt to understand solutions for reducing turnover.

In most cases, largely because of time and resources, an organization would choose only one method or a single approach. However, if we would choose two or more well proven approaches (a sort of double check) the information might be considered more valid and reliable.

Doing this means you’ve triangulated your approach with two or more pieces of data that will point to a solution.

Triangulating your approach isn’t the easiest and it doesn’t come with the lowest initial cost, but the long-term benefits could easily overshadow the short-term costs.

What do you think, should you triangulate your approach?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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Are Your Decisions Based On Instinct Or Gut Feel?

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Have you ever asked your family what they would like to eat for dinner and no one can decide? We make a lot of decisions every day, but sometimes we have to consult something inside ourselves to feel like we’re making the best choice. Do you believe that those decisions are based on instinct or are they more of a gut feel?

Instinct Decisions

We’ve all faced tough choices and sometimes we just don’t know who to ask in order to gain additional insight. Sometimes we ask others who we know will most likely answer one way or another, and we do that to improve our confidence or to feel better about a tough choice. In other situations we might avoid asking someone we know because we believe they will give an answer that deep inside we really don’t want to hear.

Have you ever asked someone, “What does your gut tell you?”


Instinct, as being referenced here and perhaps by formal definition is connecting your thoughts to what comes natural or feels natural with some specific direction for a choice. It can be illustrated by considering something simple, for example, when you feel hungry you might make a choice to eat. Another example could be when you hear (hearing is instinctual) someone speaking you make a choice to listen, or not.

Gut Feel

Gut feel is different because it might suggest that there are other factors involved in making the decision or choice. Sometimes these factors are conditioned by emotions and because we have feelings connected with those factors we label that decision as coming from having a gut feel. Some people may associate the concept of gut feel to the idea of following your head, or your heart.

Business Case

Imagine you’re at your job and you’re confronted with a tough choice. You may have ethical concerns, integrity complications, or you worry that the choice you make could in some way affect the future for yourself or the organization. Will you make the decision based on instinct or gut feel?  In business many believe that you should leave your emotions out of it. Business is business and there is not any room for emotional issues. However, much of the business that we do is strongly based on emotional choices. We do something because we believe in it, we have passion about it, and it makes us feel good. I see a lot of emotion connected with business and that doesn’t necessarily make it bad.

Critical Thinking

When we are facing tough choices it is often helpful for us to think more critically, analyze the data, deal with facts, and look for patterns. Some people like to expedite decisions while others prefer to drag them out, over analyze, or procrastinate. Sometimes if we ask what led to the final decision someone will say they used their instincts to guide the choice, or they did it by gut feel.

Decisions based on what we might label as instinct or gut feel are often very risky choices. People can sometimes develop strong beliefs based on perception or data that is not accurate. As people we collect more life experiences, some of them good, and some of them not so good. Over time we start to trend that data, based specifically on our own life experiences. Sometimes this data becomes associated with what might be labeled as instinct or gut feel.

What about you, how do you make tough choices?


See also: Boomer Decisions, Millennial Decisions

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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