Tag Archives: culture

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research indicates

Research Indicates Doesn’t Mean It’s Factual

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For years there was a commercial with the line, “Four out of five dentists surveyed…” Surveyed for what, their opinion? Yes, of course. When someone suggests, “research indicates” it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is factual.

In society many people are driven by the information they receive. That information is not always factual, it may be more of a collection of opinions.

The opinions are sometimes so compelling or so dramatic that people process it as it must be true. If more than one person, for example, four out of five, repeat the information it appears to provide authenticity.

The iPhone is the best cellular telephone.

Chevrolet makes the best half-ton pickup truck.

The bar on the corner of 4th and Main has the best chicken wings.

If you hear it once it may attract your attention. Repeated by several people, or simply repeated over and over again it may become believable, even by those who once had some doubt.

Research Indicates

In your workplace you have a culture. That culture is made up of the people that are part of that organization.

The people may agree with the flow, or they may disagree with the flow. Whether they agree or disagree is not as important as recognizing the agreement or disagreement is all part of that culture.

It is the same in your community, in your city of birth, or in a State several hundred miles away. Belief drives culture. In larger formats, such as a collection of States or a geographic region, it may be labeled as, society.

Successfully navigating your workplace is typically not just a main stream flow. It is more about surfing the ebbs and flows, thinking for yourself, and being cautious of facts versus opinions.

“Research indicates” is often more of an opinion than it is a fact. Popular opinion may be a better descriptor.

There will always be something trending.

It doesn’t mean you are required to follow. It may mean that to be successful you are required to navigate.

-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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systems culture

Systems Culture And How You Are Part Of It

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Do you believe in a systems culture? Is everything in the workplace about a system?

Some would quickly say, yes. Others might just as quickly denounce that everything is a system.

Likely, the real situation for most is somewhere in the middle.

Human behavior may be hard to place within a system.

By design the system is a set of rules, specifications, and prescribed outputs. Do it correct once, and do it correct the next million times. It is a system.

One problem with the system is that often the mindset develops to resist change. There is so much effort and so much focus on doing it exactly this way, never waver, never stray, do it this way, and always this way. Mentally, it is an antonym for change.

It Is Culture

Every workplace has a culture. Promoting and standing behind systems may be just one of the methods.

Certainly, there is great value to systems. You may have a system of how you get up and get to work each day. You arrive, just like everyone else, but how you did it might be a little different.

In the workplace, not everyone’s values and beliefs are identical. However, everyone you work with is part of the culture.

In some businesses, watching the clock is part of the culture. Who is on the clock the most? Who puts in the most hours? It is part of the culture, developed over time.

It is true for complaining and blaming, it is true for all of the ground rules and it is true for everything from dress code to lunch breaks.

It is also true about productivity and success.

Systems Culture

Many people believe that they are resisting the culture and as such they are not a part of it. The truth is that the resistance has been part of it all along.

You may or may not be a systems fanatic.

If you are part of an organization you are a part of the culture.

Your belief in how work does, or does not get done exists within it.

The trick then is to get more people on board with the purpose of what you do. Which will make doing it right matter more.

Instead of it happening to you, it is happening for you.

It’s the culture, you matter, you’re a part of it.

-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 hide

Workplace Hide and Seek, Is It Derailing Performance?

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In the game of hide and seek, hiding is the fun part. Nearly everyone wants to be the hider. Is workplace hide and seek derailing performance in your organization?

What causes the game to go on?

Hiders and Seekers

As a hider, often you can watch the seeker, you know if they are hot or cold. If they are way off track perhaps you extend some additional risk, it is almost wanting to be found, but not quite.

A seeker on the other hand is determined to locate the hider quickly. Looking towards previously known hiding spots, searching fast and almost frantic. The anticipation of flushing out a hider can be exhilarating. It is destined to happen. It is only a matter of time.

Eventually the hider and the seeker collide.

For the moment, the game is over.

Workplace Hide and Seek

In the workplace it seems the game sometimes continues.

It continues with those who perform just enough to not be noticed. Quietly, they await discovery. In some instances, they’ll risk a little more, almost taunting the seeker and if not found, the boundary just expanded.

The seeker often announces that they are coming. This gives the hider a chance to tidy up, secure their spot, and watch as the seeker inspects.

When the seeker passes by without noticing, the hider feels relief. They are better than the others who are about to get caught.

It is a game of moments. Moments of hiding and moments of seeking.

No one ever really wins at hide and seek.

Games are often played to fight off boredom.

People with a well-defined purpose and goals seldom get bored.

-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 exceptions

Workplace Exceptions Are Sometimes a Trap

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Do workplace exceptions bring down the momentum or integrity of the team? What exceptions are lurking around your workplace?

People and businesses alike often target to serve the masses. In other words, guidelines are in place to cover most, but not all.

It is true with policies and procedures. It’s true with work schedules, breaks, and even the depth of benefits.

Targeting the Masses

If an automaker wants to sell a lot of vehicles, they’ll target features and pricing to align with most of their prospective buyers in a segment.

Businesses have business hours that align with generally accepted societal hours. Nine to five is more than just a Dolly Parton song.

Organizations adjust to cultural norms.

When employees take breaks. How lunch hours are managed. Even themes around vacations, childcare, and dress codes.

All of these things are targeted at hitting the middle, the norm, not necessarily accommodating the extremes or the exceptions.

Standards for People

The work of people management, human resources, or the basis of organizational culture sets out with the intent to create a better work environment.

The goal in mind is often one of service. Show that the organization cares and that consideration is being given to each individual’s wants and needs. Most importantly, all while building an organization that is successful and well respected.

A real struggle sets in because most attempts to do this are only able to structure it around mass appeal. Some segments are almost always excluded.

I remember when ashtrays were common in business offices. Before smokers took it outside and before smoking was getting banned in restaurants or on public properties.

I fielded a lot of complaints about the number of breaks smokers were allowed (or simply took) especially when the movement to get smoking outdoors developed.

Who did this accommodate? The few or the many? Was it fair? Was it an exception?

Workplace Exceptions

Nearly every people-based decision in every business is designed to adjust to, or accommodate group norms. It is a practice intended to create peace and happiness. Yet it often alienates those who are outside of the norms.

On the flip side, too much attention applied to those outside of the norms is also problematic. In some cases, especially across time, it appears almost as a type of reverse discrimination.

There is seldom an easy answer.

Navigating the exceptions is just as challenging as serving the masses. Often it is the first step towards a trap.

-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.


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Dennis Gilbert Masterclass virtual customer service

Masterclass : Customer Service Culture

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Masterclass : Customer Service Culture

Starts in:

 

Are you building or contributing to the development of a culture of service excellence? Service has never mattered more. It’s true to get your customers back, and it’s true to forge new relationships. Whether your opportunities are B2B, B2C, or in some cases both.

You also cannot forget about the importance of a culture of service internally. Your staff and team absolutely need to be culturally connected to serving each other.

While it may start within a small group or department, a true culture of service includes everyone in every aspect of the organization.

Does it sound like a lot? It is, and this masterclass will help you immediately start making a greater impact.

CustServ Dennis Gilbert Masterclass

 

Developing a culture of service means you’ll have employees who:

  • are fast and effective at solving customer problems
  • respond appropriately with courtesy and respect
  • place value on the customer experience not on quick fixes
  • recognize lifetime value and are devoted to maintaining relationships
  • deliver customer experiences that compel customers to refer your business
  • And so much more…

The customer experience begins within the culture of your organization. Teams that understand and value both internal and external customer service will always be more effective at demonstrating these values to the external customer. After all, when your employee teams focus on the customer experience there simply isn’t much room for drama, poor attitudes, or lackadaisical approaches to products, services, and sales.

During this masterclass, participants will consider the aspects of creating a culture of customer service by examining foundational skills and how to apply them. There will be a specific emphasis on the concept of each individual improving their customer service skills and the workshop will close with an activity that reinforces the development of these skills as a cultural practice.

 

Session one: Understanding culture, building strong impressions, exploring habits. (90 Minutes)

Session two: Expanding habits, internal and external customers, culture development. (90 Minutes)

 

Are you committed to making a difference? Now is the time.

 

Where: From your own device. For best results, you’ll utilize a webcam type device (and speakers or earbuds) to connect to the seminar. Optionally, you can listen in and interact through questions without a video connection.

When: October 28, and November 11, 2020, both starting at 10:00 AM (Eastern U.S. timezone) 90-minutes each.

Who: Employees at all levels, front line staff, back-office support, customer support, technical support, team leaders, and all levels of sales and support departments. It is also critically important for supervisors, managers, and business owners who want more emphasis on building a customer service culture!

Each participant will receive:

  • Two, ninety-minute sessions of high-quality (virtual / webinar) instruction
  • Digital course materials, which will serve as a reference guide for on-going development
  • Certificate of completion

 

This virtual (Zoom) seminar will be presented by business consultant and national level speaker, Dennis Gilbert, CSP.

Dennis Gilbert

 

“I delivered my first live, on-line virtual training program in 2009. Much changed since then, and the content and delivery is now better than ever. Make no mistake, this program is not a freebie teaser. It is a specially developed live virtual training (webinar) that is jam packed with tips, techniques, and most of all, value.” – Dennis

 

Cost: $199 per participant – one ticket buys both sessions!

Act Now! 

Register now for $199 $189

Register Now

Thanks for looking and for supporting small businesses!

 


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caring gracefully

Caring Gracefully Is In Short Supply

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Caring gracefully may be exactly what your organization is missing. Are you stuck between offerings and volume? Are the big box stores or eCommerce sites rattling your cage?

How will you compete?

The best way to get more is to bring it all to scale. Scaling your product and services is the best way to get bigger and often, yes, get better.

Where will you invest? Time, money, or people? Perhaps all of those?

Scaling not Failing

The small mom and pop restaurant will often fail when they try to expand. The small repair shop struggles to compete with the franchised option. And your product on shelves in Walmart, Best Buy, or available from Amazon may attain a different scale when compared with the small retail shop or static webpage.

The difference may come from the investment that many leaders overlook. The investment is in driving purpose which drives caring.

Many organizations and businesses insist that they are family-oriented. They insist that working in one of their shops, warehouses, or production facilities is just like being part of a big family.

Is it true?

Caring Gracefully

Talk is cheap and true caring comes with a price.

The price is the sacrifice that people make when they care more.

It starts with a well-defined purpose. Achieving the metric matters but it isn’t achieved in dollars and cents. It’s achieved when people care enough to push more, push harder, and pull it off.

A deeper level of caring means everyone understands why quality inspection seeks perfection and not just to be good enough. It’s why packaging matters and the brand is built from a reputation not the size of the facility or number of locations.

People who work together for a common cause, who are smart, value learning, and want to do the job right are far more likely to achieve more than the competing organization that cares less.

The small shop or the multimillion-dollar franchise. The retail store or the eCommerce site. Caring gracefully matters.

Buying state-of-the-art equipment is one price to pay. It will never be enough to beat a team that invests in purpose and caring first.

It’s often hard to find.

-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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emotions guide

Emotions Guide Your Work, Good or Bad

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Do you recognize how your emotions guide everything that happens next? Emotions are tightly connected to your culture whether it is realized or not.

Leaders sometimes suggest you should remove the emotion in order to make a good decision.

Certainly, there are times when that may apply. Yet, there are other circumstances or situations where emotion is what creates forward energy.

Buy-in, persistence, and motivation may all be linked to emotions. Passion for the work and caring about the customer are also connected to emotions or feelings.

Emotions Guide

Many businesses face change. The thought always is, get buy-in for the change effort.

It is easy to quickly reject the suggestion for a new path in the meeting. It may be easy to bring up all the obstacles and roadblocks in the path of making a new direction work.

Sometimes, great ideas are quickly put to rest by eager naysayers.

At the same time, ideas that gain traction are also connected to emotions.

When it seems like a good idea excitement builds, commitment develops, and those involved are emotionally connected. When people are connected at that level, they don’t want to see the project fail and they’ll work hard to overcome any obstacle that may sabotage success.

After days, weeks, or years of commitment to a path or system, people are emotional. They have witnessed the success, poured their heart into keeping it alive, and have satisfied hundreds or multiple thousands of customers.

It would have been easy to reject the system when it was only a thought. Once it comes to life is it also connected to emotion.

Sticking to a path, an idea, or even an employee is emotional.

Good or bad.

-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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leadership balance

Leadership Balance, Find the Middle Ground

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Harmony is typically not found in extremes. Regardless of which end. Leadership balance is where the best results will develop. Are you finding the middle ground?

Too many meetings, or too few?

Too strict and authoritarian or too soft and too lenient?

Are you too congratulatory and appreciative or too subdued and neglectful?

Everything in leadership is about finding the right balance and balance is often hard to achieve.

Culture and Community

In the workplace, the environment and culture are often suggested to be about creating a community. The community works best when everyone can find the right balance.

Unhappy communities often seek a form of asylum. They prefer to retreat, withdraw, or to be left to their own devices.

Differences are more notable and not embraced in unhappy communities. Instead, people feel divided and seek a safe space.

Often, they leave the community. Heads down and defeated they are disconnected and weary, physically, emotionally, or both.

A focus on self, defeats communities and builds an unhealthy culture.

In contrast, a quest for balance is a generous act.

Is there balance in your leadership?

Leadership Balance

Leadership is artful.

There are a few small pockets of people who believe that leaders are born. The educated population largely believes that leadership skill is developed and that great leaders are made.

The toughest challenges of leadership may not be about risk, vision, or processes and systems. The toughest challenge may exist in how leaders choose to set navigational examples, inspire, and build community.

It is a generous dance with balance.

Communities often don’t respond well to force.

-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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tactical emergencies

Tactical Emergencies May Be Holding You Back

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Do you spend a big chunk of your day [metaphorically] fighting fires? Is it time to change the approach? Tactical emergencies happen, but when they are the norm there should be corrective action.

We could start with hiring practices, or we could jump into training approaches, and then we could even jump into egos, systems, and most of all strategy.

Do you have the best approaches to work or are you just getting through each day?

Every time you are fighting a fire you have temporarily abandoned strategy. Whether it is five minutes, five days, or five weeks. Both strategy and tactics are important, yet both require balance.

Are you doing too much tactical?

Tactical Emergencies

Workplace leaders are often out of balance. They feel trapped. Trapped in picking up the pieces for production or performance failures that are happening all around them.

What do they do?

They put out fires with little afterthought of how it started, why it started, or especially why they are continuing to pop-up.

In order to regain balance, they need to do something different. They need to stop the cause of fires.

Misbelieve 1 – No one is capable of providing the oversight that I provide. That is why I’m here. I’ve worked my way up by being the one who fixes everything from a hiccup to a catastrophe. Checkpoints: ego, training, aged cultural systems, or values.

Misbelieve 2 – Training takes too long and no one cares enough. There isn’t enough time. We need to get the people working not training, after all, we have a schedule to meet. My job is to pick up the pieces. Checkpoints: training is an investment, not a direct expense, culture, purpose, and long-term strategy.

Misbelieve 3 – It’s been done this way for years. That’s exactly how we’ve stayed in business. It’s hard to find new talent. Checkpoints: strategy, technology investments, skills, culture, business reputation.

Sometimes it feels like the only way to get out of a hole is to dig. Sometimes while you are digging you misunderstand how you got into the hole in the first place.

Being more strategic and less tactical may be much more effective than showing up with a helmet, an axe, and sirens blaring.

-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 norms

Workplace Norms and What Is Different

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Do you fall perfectly in line with the culture at your workplace? Are you following the workplace norms?

Many organizations hire for fit. Fit is often viewed as the most important attribute immediately following a handful of specific skills.

Do you feel like you fit? What is the real narrative of the culture?

Fitting in has value. So does, a different opinion. In many cases, something different creates more value not less.

Need Not Apply

We must remove some variables.

A person who is against alcohol consumption probably isn’t right for a winery or liquor store.

The same may be said about gun shops, vape stores, or your local specialty meats store. If you are strongly against, you probably don’t fit.

What about someone who loves to go fishing instead of playing golf. Someone who loves tiny homes instead of a mansion, or who drives a junker car instead of a brand-new BMW?

Why does any of this matter?

It matters because decisions connected to your personal preferences or taste, should not necessarily count you out for being valuable to the organization. Strong differing values and beliefs may not work, but otherwise different may be just what the organization needs.

What are the workplace norms all about then?

Workplace Norms

People often want to hire people who are just like themselves. The belief often is that if we agree on nearly everything, the work will be easier.

The prominent thought is that it will allow for greater success, more efficiency, and fewer people problems.

Don’t confuse easier with better, or success with fewer problems.

The leadership team at Blockbuster must have agreed with each other. The same might be said for strategy developers at Sears, KMart, or Radio Shack.

You may not be in love with technology, you may not understand why some co-workers ride a bicycle when they have a car, and perhaps you can’t imagine why anyone would eat brussels sprouts, yet it may not be relevant for doing the best work.

Workplace culture enjoys a special dance with empathy. Empathetic cultures embrace many differences and use those differences to form special bonds with the organizational mission.

A football team isn’t made up entirely of quarterbacks. Healthcare doesn’t only hire nurses. And the construction company probably needs an accountant.

Fit is often really a frame that is often misinterpreted as meaning, “Just like me.”

What is different may be exactly what you need.

-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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