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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Training cost

Training Cost And Other Expenses

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Have you evaluated the training cost? Have you evaluated the cost of not training? What about the time commitment, is that stopping you?

There are plenty of excuses why organizations shy away from training. Some popular excuses relate to budget, time commitments, and occasionally someone will mention a lack of need.

Measure Costs

What are the true costs associated with a lost customer? What are the costs of poor decisions made by supervisors, managers, and other workplace leaders? Employee turnover, what does that cost?

I’ve been told, “When we have a choice to ship the product or sit in training. We’re always going to ship the product.”

It is a statement that is hard to work with, yet it is a mindset that is associated with higher costs of doing business.

Shipping the product today matters. Conceptually it matters more than training. I should say, “More than training today.” Shipping the product without training is a short run game. It works while it works, until it doesn’t.

Training Cost

Most organizations deepest interest is to grow. Increase revenue, share the mission objective, touch more people, change lives, impress investors, and build, grow, build, grow.

In most businesses or even the non-profit, the long game matters more. A three-person company can ship the product efficiently, a three-hundred-person company may be different.

The infrastructure costs could be a few million, or rent or lease, is multiple tens of thousands per month. Salary and benefits, they are likely the largest item on the income statement.

Marketing and advertising, they are often paid months in advance of the collection of the accounts receivable from a possible sale.

Will you do all of that without training? That is just on the surface, dig deeper and you’ll discover more. What will shape your culture?

Every dollar invested in training accounts for many more dollars you’ll save somewhere else.

-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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needs improvement

When “Needs Improvement” Is All You See

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The best question to ask may be, “What are your expectations?” The answer can often be confusing. If you, your department, or the entire organization needs improvement what should you do?

We find out in the meeting. “This is a good start, but needs improvement.”

On the performance evaluation, “Work is satisfactory, but there are some areas that need improvement.”

“Next year your goals are higher.”

Needs Improvement

The role of many workplace professionals is to make improvements. That is what we’re always striving for, improve the process, become more efficient, and delight the customer. It is a constant effort to improve.

Yet we often face barriers and roadblocks, obstacles and hurdles, the so-called challenges of change. Most of the things in our pathway to improve are a residue of the organizational culture. The way the organization gets things done.

The management team is supposed to push, encourage, and perhaps passively shout to get the work done. Change is proposed, an action plan put in place, and people are watching and waiting.

You are only on the team because you fit, yet the design calls for change. Things are supposed to improve, yet we only do it our way, the way it has been successful in the past.

The organization seeks outside resources, advertises for new hires, yet whoever signs up doesn’t fit, so they are disregarded.

Clever words are selected, the mission is published and public. The branding video was expensive and demonstrates what it should. Everything is set.

Yet, on the inside, things haven’t changed. Cultural change is supposed to happen fast, but feels impossibly slow.

Things Have Changed

Since the industrial revolution, there has been a lot of change. Largely, we’ve addressed many of the “needs improvement” areas. If the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, the last 200 years have been phenomenal.

Don’t lose sight of the changes you’re making. Work hard and lead through the challenges. “Exceeds expectations,” is happening. It’s happening right before your eyes.

Seeing is believing.

-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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language matters

Language Matters Because It Builds Culture

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What is the language of your workplace? Is there optimism, excitement, and energy? Language matters because it sets the tone and shapes the environment for everything that happens next.

“Good Morning,” is different from, “Ugh, here we go again.”

“I’m ready, let’s go,” is different from, “I’m not awake yet.”

We never know exactly what each day will bring. Yet we have a choice to decide what we will bring to each day.

What are your contributions to culture?

Building Culture

Every workplace has a culture. Every organization, business, and group effort have language behind their energy.

What is the language of your workplace? It is energizing or creating fear? Does it inspire confidence or get hung up on doom and gloom?

We are people, people with personalities, emotions, and feelings. We leap forward with inspiration or make a choice about fighting or retreating during fear.

Today you will make a choice about what you see. You’ll look for the opportunity, or describe a problem that cannot be solved.

You will believe that what is unfolding is happening for you, or to you.

Most of that belief will develop from your language. Tell yourself either you can, or you can’t. You will be correct.

Language Matters

Belief is powerful. Our belief systems are often created from the language that surrounds us.

Your team and your organizational culture are built by this belief.

Suggest that there is nothing good about this day. Chances are you’ll have a hard time finding something. It is a self-fulfilled prophecy.

Think carefully about what you’ll say today. It will guide what happens next.

-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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hiring practice

Hiring Practice Is Shaped By Culture

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“We can’t find people.” It is a statement I often hear. Closely followed by, “Nobody wants to work today.” Is this about your hiring practice, culture, or the workforce generations?

Likely the truth is, it is pieces of all three. Working on one of these, will make a difference for the other two. Culture.

By now you’ve probably thought about pay. Not so fast, we’ll get there.

Uplifted Veil

Culture is about mindset. A corporate set of values and beliefs that resonates throughout the organization.

Culture isn’t entirely about what is published. It isn’t entirely about the values statements, the mission statement, or the slogan that appears on a plastic disposable pen at the job fair.

Certainly, all those things have relevance and in-part create the experience for onlookers, but you won’t hide the truth for long.

The winner of the Boston Marathon didn’t just lose thirteen pounds on the latest diet shake or meal plan. They haven’t made statements that they are training yet meanwhile they are secretively are doing something different.

The organization may have the best branding video on the planet. When you lift the veil, what do you see?

Clever marketing creates attraction. As some would suggest, it works. Yet what is inside the box or under the cover will ultimately make the difference.

Hiring Practice

It is one of the hardest things to learn about organizational culture. Culture is not just about what you say or the powerful showcase. It is also about what you do and the associated outputs and results.

Human resources and talent management professionals can help a lot, and they often do. However, if the departmental supervisor believes that leading is about how you demonstrate authority, the uplifted veil is something different.

Yes, there are dirty jobs, mindless jobs, and jobs that are dead ends. Yes, there are perfect fits, and mismatches.

Everyone wants to know what is really under the veil.

When what is underneath is unattractive, only pay will make a difference.

-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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risky decision

When Speaking Up is a Risky Decision

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We all play a role in the workplace. Even the person who is never asked plays a role. Everyone has an opportunity to contribute, the question is, “How will they?” Have you ever felt that speaking up is a risky decision?

We sometimes evaluate our circumstances in strange ways. Our contributions as an employee may find us offering opinions or retreating to silence out of fear. What do you do?

Fear as a Driver

Much of what happens in our workplace cultures is conditioned by fear. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, but it still happens.

What happened the last time someone was wrong? Did their contribution get labeled as a failure? Did they get uninvited from the team meeting? Are their chances of a future promotion now limited? Were they fired?

Perhaps none of those things happened but that is the message that is often floating around in our head. “I should say something but it is too risky.”

What is your measurement of risk?

Do you withdraw from contributing out of fear? Do you watch your team or organization make costly wrong turns which could have been avoided if you offered your perspective? What is riskier?

Risky Decision

No one wants to make a bad choice or a wrong decision. Sometimes our decisions turn out the wrong way because we lack information.

No one told me the caesar salad had anchovies. 

I didn’t realize how many calories were in the chocolate fudge brownie. 

They person I bought the car from never mentioned the transmission was acting up. 

What carries the most risk? The consequences of politely and appropriately contributing to the conversation or watching the disaster that may unfold if you don’t speak up?

Be careful with your risky decision.

-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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getting things done

2 Paths for Getting Things Done

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How do we get things done in the workplace? Should we push people, push systems, and use authority? Are you getting things done?

Organizational culture is driving what happens in your workplace. Is the culture supportive, or is it us against them?

Which Path?

One thought is that the authoritarian approach guides what happens next, or else, nothing happens. Without authority, without pushing, without using people as a tool, nothing happens. People will do little or nothing, they’ll wait.

This is the concept of, “because I said so.” This should beg a question though. The question becomes, “Is that the culture of leadership?” Unlikely.

Another pathway suggests that potential exists in everyone. Everyone can and should contribute. Instead of thinking about tackling work or challenges with an iron fist, we instead consider that properly empowered people will figure it out together.

This path believes that everyone has talent. This is how skills are developed, talent is grown, and leaders are made.

How will leadership utilize this resource?

Getting Things Done

One path ignites ownership, creates buy-in, and establishes responsibility. It is a natural system for accountability. It is an opportunity to recognize the potential that is in everyone and it highlights the potential of the team.

This culture pulls employee teams into action. There really isn’t a reason for push. Compelled by determination and responsibility teams will achieve.

In this system empowerment is the driver. It is a good way to get things done.

The other path suggests you wait to get picked. Dominance is about authority. Judgment of people happens based on their history, not the possibility for the future. Do as I say, not as I do. You’re never paid to think.

Every culture has a choice. Every choice metaphorically mortars another brick in the culture.

Make good choices because it is not only how things will get done, it is also how things will get built.

-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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marketing promises

Are You Living Up To Marketing Promises?

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People grow tired of being fooled. It is easier to not respond than to interact with someone determined to alter your desired direction. Advertisements make marketing promises and that creates expectation.

When we call for technical or customer support, we expect to get it. Instead, we sometimes get a sales pitch.

If the resume or performance evaluation reads, “Exceeds expectations,” it sets the tone for everything that happens next.

When the mission statement suggests that the organization is successful because the employee teams care, we expect to feel the proof.

Expectations are Created

Are the marketing teams creating expectations that can’t be met? What about when Betty is having a bad day? What if Travis decides it is just good enough? Not good, but good enough, and then ships?

At the high-priced hotel, the luxury resort, or a five-star restaurant, we don’t care that much about the condition of the staff’s job. We have our own set of expectations. Exceed them, or we’ll tell everyone with a photo and a hashtag.

Does the sign at the hospital really mean emergency care, or does it mean you don’t need an appointment? When I visit the barber shop, I don’t need an appointment, I wait my turn. Is that an emergency? What are the marketing promises?

Marketing Promises

The truth of it is that every person and every organization run on emotion and human interaction. Sure bots are emerging, but because they lack the caring emotion, it may only mean more frustration.

A promise is a promise.

The technical support team solves my technical problem without trying to sell me anything. The parcel carrier puts the package on the porch, beneath the roof, especially when it is raining. A five-star restaurant has exceptional staff, and if they are having a bad day, I would never know it.

Why? Because you promised.

-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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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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  1. Navigating Generations – Clarion University SBDC

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