Tag Archives: culture

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dennis gilbert #CustServ

WBHRS (West Branch SHRM) Event

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I will be presenting, How HR Contributes to a Culture of Service.

Come visit this SHRM chapter and join existing members for this dive into the importance of having a culture of service and how HR teams can contribute to or become role models for success.

Excerpt from WBHRS website: “Dennis Gilbert will address and solidify the relevancy for organizations to develop more of a culture of service. Too often organizations look at customer service as a department. What happens internally is what is reflected externally. HR can play a significant role in role modeling a practice of high-performance service. He will also discuss why this is more important now than ever and what trends will look like in the future.”

Please visit the WBHRS website for registration and additional information.

I will have books available for purchase at this event.


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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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scaling side effects

Scaling Side Effects and Cultural Impact

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Scaling works both ways. Organizations scale up, or they can scale down. It happens with leadership changes too. Sometimes they are mutually inclusive. Are you aware of the scaling side effects?

Changing Organizations

Recently, I spoke with a middle management employee of a rather large software firm. He was in touch with me because he was looking to make a career move.

When I asked why, his short version answer was connected to problems arising from a recent merger. His firm was bought by a larger firm and now scaling was threatening his otherwise long-term position.

I’m not sure if this gentleman is a star, or below par extra weight, either way his time is being spent on an exit strategy.

In another case, I’ve had communication with an organization that has been forced to scale down. Prior leadership is gone. Temporary leadership is installed, and many employees have, as we often say, “jumped ship.”

This organization prepared to make some cuts, but they didn’t appropriately prepare for the attrition that would result from a mismanaged scale up that then resulted in a mismanaged scale down.

Scaling Side Effects

One scaling side effect is losing people. Sometimes good people.

Boards of directors and organizational leadership often like to believe that in times of turmoil, the worst will go. Unfortunately, this depends largely on the leadership.

My experiences across several decades leads me to believe that often good employees go while the weaker and less effective employees stay. Leadership sells this as a culture of loyalty. In reality, it is often a sign of the side effects of mismanaged scaling down.

In contrast, when scaling up, if the leadership assumes that all the good and well needed talent is external, then they too have a problem.

Bad scaling up choices lead to bad scaling down consequences.

Your best employees have the most choices. They have more options and are very marketable. Certainly, some will hang on for a long time because they are committed, others will hang on because they lack choice.

On either side of the scale, up or down, culture will play a significant role.

The Other Premise

There is one other premise. The organization that is stable, not scaling.

I’ve met a few of these self-proclaimed stable organizations. Often the culture felt in the trenches is different from the culture described by leadership. The trenches culture is more representative of employees who have given up trying to make things better.

Scaling may be a plan, but how will you manage the side effects?

-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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workplace cooperation

Workplace Cooperation, Do You Have It?

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Getting along in the workplace is a job requirement. It may not appear on the job description, but it is still a requirement. Do you have workplace cooperation or is harmful conflict, agreeing to disagree, or passive aggressive domination more popular?

Is your business or organization feeling stuck? What are the employees saying?

Considering workplace success and organizational growth, it should be clear that cooperation is a better path.

What Is Different?

When there is a different idea, a different suggestion, or something that offers a different perspective, what is the cultural response? Often different is associated with opposition, not opportunity.

Certainly, revenue and profit matter. Certainly, a unified team is important, and certainly building a cultural experience that motivates and excites often produces great work.

Have you considered how internal cultural experiences shape results? Have you grown just big enough and are now stuck?

Big Enough

Grow big enough and a culture of dominate and destroy has an opportunity to infest the communication and cooperation of your internal workforce. Push hard enough and the insistence of win at all costs will test your ethical boundaries.

Preach about perfection, you may end up with a culture that absolutely resists and rejects change.

Preach about removing emotion, you may end up with a culture that is not appropriately motivated, misunderstands their purpose, and lacks loyalty.

Absolutely, quality matters, and yes sometimes we do need to set aside emotion in the interest of a good clear business decision. A word of caution though, be careful about the culture you are creating.

Workplace Cooperation

We live in a highly networked world. In a networked world connection is the most basic and fundamental principle for success.

If you don’t have workplace cooperation you may be lacking the ingredients required to get you to the next level.

Feeling stuck? Do you question why you have internal fighting and disconnection? Have you wondered why dominance and strikeouts occur between fellow employees?

It may not only be about the cultural aspects that you allow. It may exactly what you’ve built.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. 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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customer service pace

Customer Service Pace and the Cutting Edge

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Suggest to someone that we are existing in a fast-paced World and you likely won’t be starting an argument. Most will easily agree. In your organization, what is the customer service pace?

You have two paths. The first path is to do it the way you’ve always done it. The second is to figure out how to be on the cutting edge.

The cutting edge won’t last for very long. It is chasing an expanding goal. It is fluid, rough, bumpy, and requires some risk.

Customer Service Pace

Organizations that exist on the first path may have upgraded, but they are still stuck. Their root philosophies still exist in the history of how they got here.

Somewhat surprising, that path will eventually get them unstuck. Likely headed for extinction, not distinction.

First path organizations have longer wait times. As a result, the customer can do it faster, be more informed, and continue moving without hesitation, discomfort, and stress.

This is the path where sales, service, and customer interactions are more painful for the customer as compared with organizations on the cutting edge.

Cutting Edge Path

The second path, the cutting-edge path, changes the customer service pace.

It is when order status is at their fingertips on a mobile app. When sales questions are self-answered by a schematic the customer finds on the web. It may be when help is just a YouTube video away.

What is worse for the first path organizations?

The second path organizations not only do it faster and with lower customer cost. The customer experience becomes about ease of use, value, and a feeling of respect.

Connection is Culture

There are exceptions. The exceptions exist in connections. Connections that form a culture. Not the organizational culture, but a culture of the customer.

People will wait in line for hours for the latest iPhone release. Culture.

People will gather at Harley Davidson dealerships for food, music, and test rides. Hanging out for hours. Culture.

It may be the rock concert, the county fair, or the line that forms for fresh cut french fries.

Pace isn’t as important here as is the connection and the experience.

Pick your path. Pace yourself. Be something really special that connects people, or be on the cutting edge.

-DEG

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 five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating 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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culture distinction

Culture Distinction or Extinction, Which Should You Choose?

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We sometimes don’t know how things started, or perhaps worse, what caused them to end. What is the culture in your organization? Do you have culture distinction or is the culture headed for extinction?

The More We Learn

It seems like the more we learn, the deeper the questions become. Archeologists and anthropologists continue to dig up (sometimes literally) more details of a past that we often know little about.

There is of course the Inca civilization of South America in Southern Peru and Northern Chile, and the ancient Egyptian civilization of Northwest Africa in the Nile River Valley.

Both civilizations and geographic areas have interested many. The studies of their cultures, buildings, and activities are astonishing.

Stories, artifacts, and in some cases written or pictorial reflections give us some hints of the cultures that once were abundant and thriving.

What happened to them?

We may shrug our shoulders and say, “Who knows?”

Do you think the ancient cultures had a warning? Did they know that something was undermining their existence? Was it rules, greed, or even an overuse or abuse of resources?

What about the culture of your workplace? What is it about your culture or your environment that may go down in the history books? Is there a legacy being built or what picture (metaphorically or literally) will be left behind?

Culture Distinction

Most businesses today would suggest that they are building a culture of distinction. They want their story to be the story of success. The artifacts and pictures that line the walls of the lobby, the trophies in the showcase, and the press releases that put it all to a timeline.

For all existing organizations, the culture is their definition of success, failures, and the tenacity to withstand it all.

In all other cases, it is the case of extinction. Only the possibility of some artifacts remain. What will be the story?

What is the threat knocking on the door of your culture? Is anyone looking? Is there a warning that no one is considering?

Better not give it a shoulder shrug.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. 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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metric assumption

Metric Assumption and Measuring Intangibles

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Successful leaders and organizations often cite the creation and monitoring of metrics as the tool to track progress. Does the metric always provide the correct measurement? Are you operating using the metric assumption?

In the strategy meeting someone will ask, “What is the metric here? How will we measure our progress and result?”

It is a fair question.

Of course, the other option is that no one asks at all. No one spends any energy to think about the metric, they just want to roll up their sleeves and take a deep dive.

Either scenario may achieve some results. Either scenario may involve some risk, some guess work, and need to be fluid with outcomes.

Metric Assumption

It seems we may make a metric assumption. The assumption is that when we have metrics and measurements, we can more easily assess the results. While this is likely true, does it cover everything about the project?

People are sometimes suggested to remove the emotion, focus only on the result, and everything that matters is in the KPI (key performance indicator).

Do you have metrics or measurement for the aspects of the organization that make it an organization? Have you considered the organizational culture component?

Measure Intangibles

How will you measure commitment, trust, and perceptions? Is there a metric for purpose, community, or respect? What about the building blocks of confidence, things like self-efficacy and self-esteem?

Do they have a metric?

The most successful projects, work groups, and organizations are those who have deep roots in a culture that is emotionally connected to the work at hand. Purpose is a driver and the goal may be just as important as the paycheck.

Metrics are both valuable and important, they can also be a good motivator. If you assume metrics alone are what drives the project, I hope you are including all of the intangibles.

-DEG

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 five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating 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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customer punishment

Customer Punishment and Finding a Better Way

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Customer service and the customer experience, two things that many organizations claim they do right. After all, it is likely an integral part of the mission statement. What about customer punishment, is that on the agenda?

Customer View

Things often appear different when we see them through a different lens. What many organizations do to satisfy metrics are not always so favorable for the customer.

Software has become an interesting game. Once upon a time you bought a software program. Accounting, CRM, or graphic design tools, you bought them like you may buy a hammer at a hardware store.

A hammer, once purchased, is good to use forever, or until you break it or wear it out which the average person will theoretically never do. Your software purchase was once similar, use it for life, or until hardware or operating system improvements made it unworkable.

Today it is different, they want you to lease the software. The price isn’t better, it is usually more, and by the way, you must pay every month or every year. Imagine buying the hammer every month or year.

I know the software companies won’t agree, and claim that is how they stay in business, but is this a favorable customer experience?

Get More, Needed or Not

Cable television is another one in what is becoming a long list of those who knowingly issue customer punishment. You get exactly one hundred and eighty channels, but you watch about five.

How long will the customers tolerate this punishment? Who does this work for, the customer, or the vendor? The vendor may argue the price would be much higher to do it differently, until someone finds a way.

Subscription services or products have an interesting model for profit, are they customer friendly? They probably can be, but are they?

Customer Punishment

What are you doing that punishes the customer? Do you care enough to change the customer experience?

If the box is crushed do you deliver it anyway?

When the wait times are long but customers are willing to wait do you try to fix it?

Do you tell the customer to call back in an hour, or do you call them in fifty-five minutes or less with either a solution or update?

Have you asked yourself, “What is convenient, easy, or cost effective for your organization that is unfriendly to the customer experience?”

What are you doing that benefits your organization because it is tolerated by your customers? Are those things a form of customer punishment?

How long until someone (a competitor) finds a better way?

-DEG

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 five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating 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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customer service plan

Customer Service Plan and Other Aging Items

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Start with a plan. That is what many business experts suggest. We go to a conference room, boardroom, or gather for a campfire style chat around the coffee table. Do you have a customer service plan and is it working?

We already know that the best plans are only the best plans when they are properly executed. Organizations strive for buy-in, engagement, and loyalty. It is true for buying in to the plan. It is true when you sign up as an employee. The plan means there is an expectation.

Aging Items

When I buy a car and it breaks I expect the warranty to cover it, or I know it has aged out of the warranty. At this point, the value has changed. The original capabilities are somewhat less. The tires, wheel bearings, and engine life have eroded, at least a little.

The same may be said about our clothing, a vacuum cleaner, or our home. Across time and through use, they deteriorate little by little, bit by bit, and they are never the same as the first day.

Of course, some things we consider an investment. Paint a room, install new carpet, and get a new roof, perhaps a home now has more value.

One of the biggest challenges for us in the workplace, after the plan has been made, after the buy-in has occurred and employees and systems have launched, will it be an investment or a consumable?

Customer Service Plan

Some of the best customer service plans deteriorate across time. Exceptions become rules, what protects the customer shifts to what protects the organization, and the list of what is in the box declines in value.

That bright shiny plan, it grows dull, declines in value, and needs maintenance or a rebuild.

A customer service plan is about its impact on culture. Across time, culture is about tradition and becomes what is expected.

Your customer service plan should be an investment.

– DEG

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 five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and 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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culture drives decisions

Culture Drives Decisions, Does Your Team Get It Right?

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It is Monday, or Tuesday, or any day of the week. You’ll make some decisions today, everything from what to eat to your next big purchase. In the workplace, you’ll make decisions too. Everything from how you’ll navigate the environment to the timeliness of your work. Culture drives decisions, are you getting them right?

Organizational Culture

Your organization has a culture. It is hard to imagine any assembled group of people who over time do not develop a way of doing things, how to interact, and what the rules are. When hiring, many organizations try to find someone with the required skills, but they must also fit their culture.

Is this a good idea? In many regards, yes it may be. However, when the organization is trying to build something, grow, develop, change, and inspire, more of the same is exactly that, the same.

It isn’t a secret. Culture, and its associated density, is driving the organization or team where you do your work. This is especially true for how you make decisions.

Your Way

You have a way you build brand, a way you schedule and hold meetings. There is a dress code (formal and informal) and a proper way to interact. There are hours of operation and expectations on how you’ll accommodate those. Organizational hierarchy is strict or loose.

You’ll manage relationships according to the flow of the culture. This is true for the customer, the vendor, and your co-workers.

All of these things and so much more guide what choices you’ll make today. They will guide the workflow, the pace, and who has the final say in any matter.

Culture Drives Decisions

Organizations often pride themselves on being unique. Unique can be interesting, diverse, and compelling.

If your organization or team is stuck, stalled, or just can’t seem to get out of its own way. You may want to check your culture. It is the way you do everything.

It is probably the most important decision that you get right.

– DEG

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 five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and 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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