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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showing up

Showing Up Seems To Make Sense

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There are many stories out there about the effects of low unemployment numbers. Some doubt the validity of the numbers, some suggest they can’t find anyone to hire. Others are just thankful that employees are showing up for work.

I want to ask, “Is that the best we can do?”

If our expectation as an organization leader is that we are grateful when people are showing up for work, something must be wrong.

Showing Up

I remember years ago when the chairperson of a community workforce meeting stated that finding employees was a challenge for local business owners. The chairperson asked a CEO in attendance, “Are you fully staffed, and if so, how are you doing it?”

The response of this CEO took me aback. He said, “Simple, we ignore the pot.”

What he meant was that through drug testing they were willing to overlook someone who tested positive for marijuana use. This was in the early 2000’s.

I’m not writing this to spark a debate about marijuana use. I’m expressing this scenario to ask, “Is this the best we can do?”

What is going on when organizations must lower their standards in order to onboard or keep employees? Worse, what is happening when they are happy they have succeeded? When they are overjoyed that people are showing up?

Tough Problem

I recognize that this is not an easy problem to tackle. I also recognize that there may be many factors involved.

Things that often bubble to the surface are things like, generational challenges, pay scales, and dirty jobs.

Maybe it is something a little more complex and less obvious. Perhaps there are connections to the organizational culture.

Does the CEO measure the value of employees as human capital (an investment), or are they measured as an expense (keep this number low)? There is a significant difference in the mindset.

When we are overjoyed that people are just showing up for work, we’re caught in a downward spiral.

Maybe the standards need to change. Maybe the culture, the business model, or the vision of leadership should pivot.

Just showing up, is that the best we can do? 

-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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culture pivot

Do You Have a Culture Pivot or Are Things Stuck?

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Businesses and individuals alike often set out on a path for change. When things aren’t working the CEO may decide the organization needs a culture pivot. Is something broken or what is prompting the shift?

Perhaps it is too much shifting, or maybe things seem to be stuck. What is happening at the root?

Symptoms, Causes, and Marketing

There may be many symptoms of a culture problem for your organization.

A feeling of being stuck, stalled, or stopped is one of them. You may also wonder why clients aren’t engaging, products aren’t resonating, or the leadership point of view isn’t persuasive anymore.

Much of what happens in organizations or what moves them into action happens because of marketing. Certainly, there is external marketing and advertising. Internally and externally we can consider personal marketing, influence, and persuasion. Is anything working?

What will make your desired culture pivot a success?

Culture Pivot

When you want change yet things are staying the same, you have a problem.

How much time and effort are you devoting to working on a solution? Often, when things are stalled, it is feels easier and safer to just go with the flow. Then you’re stuck.

The culture pivot you desire is likely attainable. Root causes for being stuck may vary, but repeating what you’ve always done likely won’t get things moving again.

What are you doing to market your pivot? What will make clients engage? If engagement isn’t happening, perhaps you aren’t marketing effectively.

Are employee teams bought in? Are you persuasive? Do they believe you? What evidence is shaping their actions, behaviors, and beliefs?

If your quest for a race to the top feels more like it is heading for a race to the bottom, check your marketing.

-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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powerful culture

Building a Powerful Culture or Watching Things Fade

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We have much more power today, as compared with twenty, thirty, or forty years ago. Are you or the organization you work for taking advantage of the opportunities to build a powerful culture?

Is it possible? Are the opportunities there?

What’s Changed?

Forty years ago, much of the mainstream view for a career was to secure solid employment with a well-known or reputable company. The idea of job security and working your way up the ladder was prominent.

Forty years ago, people who were mid-career would likely stay for the duration. For many, that was the safe bet and the honorable and loyal way to a well-respected career.

Today, things are largely a bit different. Certainly, there are still pockets of organizations and people who commit for long-term mutually loyal employment relationships. However, many suggest the mainstream view point has changed.

Many organizational cultures are stuck somewhere in the middle. They are stuck between the identity of an image of being a DuPont, Colgate, or JP Morgan Chase, and the lure of a hot startup.

What has really changed is the power of innovation, technology, and opportunity.

Powerful Culture

People and organizations alike have the power to get things moving. They have the power to communicate to the world, one post at a time. The power to make a difference for others, to build something new, or to shape their own future.

What do they do?

More people read posts rather than create them. YouTube has many more viewers than they have content creators.

What is at stake? Is it the risk of criticism, ridicule, or embarrassment? What keeps people stuck, only watching, and seldom engaging? The opportunity is there.

Organizations can break ground, lead the charge, and become a best in class, but instead many choose to stay stuck, follow the competition, and shoot for becoming number two.

Powerful cultures are built by the pursuit of opportunity.

Forty years ago, shopping malls were a bit hit, so were VHS tapes, and landline telephones.

What changed?

What will you do?

-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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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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