Tag Archives: culture

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society shift

Society Shift, Is It Change You Can Manage?

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Is there a society shift? You bet, it has been happening for hundreds or even thousands of years or more.

Is the pace of shift or change different? Likely, yes, the access to information, thought leaders, news media, and even social media have likely accelerated the pace.

It is good, bad, or indifferent?

What are your thoughts?

Culture Change

People use the word culture to describe many different aspects of societal connections. Culture is sometimes linked with race, especially in third world countries. Culture may be linked with occupations, such as farming, artists, or perhaps even architects. And one of my favorites is, culture that is connected to workplace norms.

Culture can shift, things change, technology is a force that drives changes in culture. Other forces might include government actions, environmental concerns, and the economy.

There is also the force of the people.

Some people want to hold tight to older values and beliefs. An Amish community might be a great example.

Other people want to change the rules, insist that there should be more diversity, more fairness, and more generosity granted to those who might be labeled underprivileged or less fortunate.

Largely it’s a tug of war between old-school and new-school.

Society Shift

It is often suggested that there are two sides to any story. It may be true for the kids on the playground who engage in some disruptive behavior and it may be true in the workplace.

A natural reaction for many people is to become very opinionated about their side of the story. Emotions often run high and anger erupts.

Social media is a great example of a medium where emotions, debates, and arguments are placing pressure on what may have once been considered a cultural norm.

Some people suggest a quieter reaction, or what may be considered to be no reaction at all. Play it safe, play it somewhere in the middle.

You are probably not going to stop change, cultural or societal shifts. They are always moving, some faster than others. There may even be evidence of ebb and flow, expansion, contraction, and a full-circle back to the way things were before.

The way you choose to navigate change will have a lot to do with what happens next.

You may not be able to stop or control the changes around you.

You can choose how you’ll respond.

-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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hours worked

Hours Worked Is Never a Good Metric

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Are you measuring your performance by your hours worked? What about the company or organization you work for, are they doing it? Is it part of the culture?

One of the great things about my business is that I get to see, hear, and feel a lot of pain points from both the organizational viewpoint, and the employee viewpoint.

Has your organization faced tough hiring challenges? Does it struggle with employee turnover?

You can blame it on all of the typical stuff. Too much free money, not a high enough pay rate, location, type of business, and so much more.

Most of those things probably have something to do with it and so does the business culture and reputation.

Hours worked is a lousy professional occupation measurement tool.

It is certainly applicable for hourly staff, paid by the minute, according to the clock. For everyone else, it doesn’t make a lot of sense and it may be just one of many lingering cultural problems your organization and team face.

Hours Worked

A few years back I was on a corporate coaching assignment. Which means, I was hired by a business to coach several employees. After a session or two, I found a common thread.

All of the employees being coached had corporate speak of, “he/she isn’t puttin’ his/her forty.” They weren’t talking about a 40-ounce bottle of beer and a brown paper bag. There was a culture of professional level positions (salaried) having some measurement based on observations or gossip of hours worked.

Something so simple. It told me a lot about the culture.

Certainly, I think that there is some value, in some professional occupations, to being present and not missing in-action during the normal workday. An old-school observable metric that has been tested to the max since the start of the 2020 pandemic.

At the same time, I believe sitting at a desk or being present in a workspace from 9 to 5 doesn’t mean very much about your contributions, value, or efficiency.

Having a talking point about hours worked doesn’t say much either. Often, the root of this is based in management team members who are resentful about the time they spend at work versus doing other things.

The metrics that you measure will have a lot to do with the results. Time is nearly always part of a metric, but hanging around the office for 10 hours a day and being productive for about 4 hours of that time doesn’t really say much.

A measurement based on hours observed at the workplace might tell a story.

A story your business can’t afford.

-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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cultural leadership

Cultural Leadership Demonstrates Upstanding Qualities

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Do you have cultural leadership in your workplace? Every workplace has a culture, but is it one of leadership or is it proclaimed leadership?

There is a difference.

Proclaimed leadership is self-described. It is the authoritarian approach. Leadership dictates and people listen.

The concept is that people listen because they are less powerful. They have to listen because they are not in the position of authority. Respect is expected because you have to give it or else.

Some people call this, “Kiss the ring.”

Are people expected to kiss the ring or are they engaged because of a cultural attraction that keeps them culturally committed?

Cultural leadership is different.

Cultural Leadership

Business leaders, at least those people who are identified as leaders on the organizational chart, have often been known to throw up their arms in disgust about employee teams.

They’ll claim that they have tried everything for engagement. They’ve tried pizza parties; they’ve tried brightening up the workspace with bright colored paint and bigger windows. They even have a special parking spot for employee of the month.

Yet, their frustration is often expressed as, “nothing works.”

It may be because people confuse the concept of environment with culture.

Painting the rooms in bright colors and adding windows feels fresh. It is a fresh environment. However, this doesn’t really indicate whether a change in culture has occurred.

Most likely, the culture is the same, it only looks different.

The rising star organizations have this figured out, at least in part. They are doing things that engage people in the purpose of their work. They constantly connect with a culture of service and they do good, high-integrity work.

-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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employee disconnect

Employee Disconnect Is a Challenge For Everyone

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Have you observed employee disconnect with your team? Have you noticed it for yourself? Is it possible to reconnect?

Many organizations report that part of their onboarding process is an attempt to find the right fit. Many candidates may have the appropriate technical skills, but will they fit?

I often talk with groups about what we call the golden rule. Most associate the golden rule with the concept of treating others as you would like to be treated.

The fallacy of the golden rule is that not everyone wants to be treated like you. It assumes everyone has the same view of values and beliefs.

News flash. People don’t universally have the same values and belief systems.

This may be the place where employee disconnect begins.

Employee Disconnect

Some people see an act of God, others see medicine that works.

Some people see luck and others see a calculated approach to success.

Whether it is coincidence or gut feel, observations on what happened, or predictions of what will happen next it is a unique experience.

No one has identical thoughts, experiences, and beliefs as you do. You may be able to connect with people who share similar experiences, yet your experience is still unique.

What you have lived and felt is always individualized.

This is exactly why connecting employees with purpose is the single best way to ensure engagement. Money matters, but it often is not connected with the willpower to make a difference or persevere.

Employee connection or engagement is exactly where the most successful organizational cultures accel.

It is not because the cultural connection is dictated. It is because it is experienced.

-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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voice matters

Voice Matters And It Counts, Use It Wisely

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Do you believe your voice matters? Have you ever thought that your communication is not heard or understood?

You’re certainly not alone.

It often feels best to be reflective of positive communication and positive interactions.

Have a great day.

Beautiful weather we’re having.

Great job in the meeting yesterday.

That is the type of communication most people are grateful for, they appreciate it, and welcome more of it.

Sometimes there are other forms of communication. Harsh, curt, or condescending.

And still, there are other forms, including aggressive, passive aggressive, or sarcasm.

Do all of these communications matter or only some of them?

Voice Matters

Your voice, what you say, what you do, how you act, it all becomes part of the organizational culture.

It is common that many businesses or organizations believe that their culture is only representative of what they want it to be. In other words, what they believe that are working towards is how it actually is.

This is often a root cause for why large-scale change efforts fail. When management believes that the culture, environment, and climate are representative of only what they say, and not what everyone does, it could spell trouble.

It is an easy trap to fall into.

Ask an organization leader how good their customer service is and they’ll probably tell you about a lot of success stories. Are they the best person to ask? Not really, the customers are the best people to ask.

Every organization is made up of both good and bad. While a focus on the good is favorable over a focus on the bad, pretending that the bad doesn’t exist often doesn’t make it go away.

Does your voice matter?

It matters either way.

You have a choice to make a positive and constructive impact or to become part of the problem.

You might think your voice doesn’t matter, yet every time your contributions are heard, that means someone was listening.

What happens next is conditioned by the people.

Good or bad.

Be the good voice.

-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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time efficiency

Time Efficiency Starts With More Patience

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Time and efficiency are not the same thing. Time efficiency probably sounds a lot more like productivity. Is faster better, less risky, and more meaningful? Unlikely.

It is always a race against a clock.

We needed this yesterday.

It’s overdue.

Must be done now.

It’s true, time does cost. Yet, so does a lack of clarity, errors made in haste, and inferior quality.

Vloggers sometimes speed up their final product, a time-lapse of sorts, get through the slow spots faster. Someone might fast forward through the commercials of a recorded television show. Install a Chrome browser extension to speed up viewing of video content. Is it the same experience for everyone?

Of course, it isn’t.

Setting Pace

People have different life experiences, different listening and perception skills, and even a pace that feels just right.

Some people walk faster, others slower. Read faster, read slower. Enjoy the moment longer, or skip the moment altogether.

The result? Like most things in life there is a sweet spot in the middle. Outliers tend to exist on either end of the continuum.

Time management matters but it is more than just streamlining a schedule.

Finished first is important, but a nice-looking boat that won’t float has much less value.

For workplace leaders, sometimes you have to go slow, to go fast.

Time Efficiency

A team pushed too far will have more mistakes, more waste, and increased issues with quality. Worse, when the team learns more about the metric used for measurement and the pressure is high, integrity starts to slip.

A team member falling behind is often skipped rather than supported. It’s a harmful cultural scenario that applies more pressure to top performers as they make up for lagging contributors. Eventually, top performers burn out, feel abused and misused.

Individuals and organizations often need more time efficiency.

That often starts with more patience. Get everyone onboard. Run on all cylinders.

Don’t wait, get started.

The clock is ticking.

-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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team culture

Team Culture, How Are You Involved?

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What happens inside the organization? Not what is the public perception, what is the internal vibe? The climate inside develops from team culture.

The team has arrival times, break times, or perhaps different, they skip breaks and look busy at all costs.

There might also be the language of the culture. Words chosen, repeated, and inside jokes about behavioral aspects of the people. What gets the boss fired up, who are the weirdos, and who will never go anywhere within the company.

You can’t rule out the price of admission. Joining the culture has a price. It has a predetermined minimum requirement. In some cases it is an education requirement, a box checked, or a resume that illustrates years of experience.

Joining is about adoption of the culture, yet each person contributes. Some for, and some against.

The culture is about what people within the organization do. It’s behavioral and it’s published.

Team Culture

Newbies join, others exit. The newbie doesn’t really bring in many outside ideas, their job is to conform and adapt.

This is how it’s done around here.

You’re not paid to think, you’re paid to work.

Don’t make waves, no one around here really cares.

The CEO is often asked about culture, or voices an opinion of how it should change.

Culture develops from stories told, yet at the same time is unlikely to be defined by a single story represented as a future forecast.

Shaping culture isn’t a task. It’s not a job duty.

Culture is created by the people. People in agreeance, people in dissonance. All aspects of social interactions are inclusive. The people decide. Knowingly or unknowingly, they’re involved.

All-Inclusive

The best way to examine the culture is to understand the focal points.

Are the focal points based on clock watchers? Is it the language that seems to take center stage? Does quality matter and how well respected is the employee population or the customer base?

Every business or organization is going to get more of what they focus on. Focus develops from messaging and observable behaviors.

People are part of everything that defines the culture.

You are involved.

One way or another.

-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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effort mindset

Effort Mindset is Part of Your Language

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Do you have an effort mindset? Don’t confuse effort with labor or effort with strenuous. More than anything, putting in the effort suggests a connection with the goal.

What is the fastest way to change the concept of what you can or cannot accomplish?

You change your perception of what will happen next.

There is often discussion about winners and losers, about those who did and those who didn’t, and those who had success and those who failed.

Being determined that you can, is much different from creating an expectation that you can’t.

I can’t add that to the report because I don’t have that data.

The team didn’t finish the project.

We didn’t hit the sales goal for this month.

What if you had more time? More time to seek the answers to the questions, more time on the project, or a few additional days to hit the sales number?

Effort Mindset

Deadlines sometimes signal it is over, done, finished. While a deadline is a deadline, it doesn’t mean the goal is entirely out of reach, forever.

In business, everything is a race against the clock.

Sometimes a deadline provides a reason to quit. Once the deadline is approaching or missed, it invites the opportunity to throw up your hands and call it over.

What if you changed your language?

I need a few more data segments and I will have the report ready by the end of the day Tuesday.

The team is totally immersed in the project. The end results will be better than expected.

We didn’t hit the sales goal yet, but by Tuesday we’ll surpass last months results.

Language is a powerful component of both motivation and culture.

How you talk, the words you choose, and the future that you predict may be the cultural shift that you need.

Many people quit because they believe it is over.

Many successful people see things a little bit differently.

They just haven’t finished, yet.

-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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belief systems

Belief Systems Impact Workplace Culture

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What are your belief systems? Do you have more than one? Chances are good your business or organization has numerous belief systems.

Does that sound surprising? If so, it probably shouldn’t.

Leadership is often identified as the catalyst for workplace culture. It is true, largely leadership has this responsibility. However, depending on the size and the complexities of the employee teams there is still room for more.

Beliefs, Values, and Profit

What people believe is often closely connected to their values. Those values and beliefs are commonly espoused by families, friends, or communities.

The beliefs that you carry into the workplace are met with organizational beliefs.

Someone who believes that businesses shouldn’t have large profits is not only sharing their belief upon entry, they are acting upon that belief through their contributions each day. The same is true for the opposite. And, let’s not overlook the idea that the concept of large profits is subjective.

It is true for everything.

It is true for volunteer work in the community, it is true for gifts or donations to non-profit organizations, and of course, it is true for embracing or rejecting other’s beliefs, even when they are opposing views.

Belief Systems

You probably won’t have a healthy culture if the beliefs of the people are in contrast with the beliefs of the organization.

This isn’t to say that diversity shouldn’t exist, indeed, there is value to a diverse organization. At the same time, a business that sells guns probably isn’t a good fit for someone who protests against gun ownership on the weekends.

Fundamentally, the employee base should be able to be in acceptance of the culture.

The responsibility of organizational leadership is to create and build a culture that connects people with the values and beliefs of that organization.

More Learning

Are people taught to love or hate? Are people taught to earn a living or to be given a living?

If what people are taught conditions what they believe, then it may be time to learn.

When you wonder why there is so much gossip, so many rumors, or just a feeling of bad vibes, it may be time to check your belief systems.

Actions that oppose the beliefs, hypocritical behaviors, or if there is a do as I say, not as I do doctrine, it may be time to look closer at the culture being demonstrated by the leaders.

Leadership has responsibility for culture, but ultimately it is a product of the followers.

-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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popular

Popular Isn’t Always Immediate In The Workplace

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Much of the work people do is an attempt to make it popular. It is desirable for ideas to become popular. The same is true about workflow, energy, and the secret formula that every business believes they have.

When it comes to workplace culture, it is unique. To the same extent so are the individuals who make up the culture. Each person is bringing a slightly different perspective of their own values and beliefs.

Culture isn’t immediate. It takes shape across time.

Slow Starts

Many great ideas aren’t popular at first. They take time, some proof, a story, and examples.

Umbrella’s, coffee, and even personal computers had many moments of not being popular. While it sometimes seems hard to believe, often great things require time to become great things.

Businesses, organizations, and groups of all sizes and styles experience new ideas. Some of those aren’t original, and most haven’t been tested or stood the test of time.

It doesn’t mean that those ideas, systems, or strategies are without value.

Becoming Popular

What may be required is consistent effort, devotion, and an undying level of persistence to bring them to life.

If the people involved care enough and demonstrate their commitment others will often jump on board. For every idea, there is an associated journey. Some are longer than others. Some flash in the pan and are then dismissed just as quickly.

The biggest ideas, those of great value, often aren’t catchy at first.

Being popular, or not, often has little to do with long-term success.

Not immediate almost never means, not worthwhile.

It may some day mean popular.

-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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