Tag Archives: decisions

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stopping pain

Stopping Pain Always Directs What Happens Next

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You may not even realize it, yet it is part of the goal. Stopping pain is what businesses do for their customers. They do it internally for the greater good of the organization, and if they’re really generous they do for their community too.

What are the problems?

They are the areas of pain. Often, they reoccur, stop the flow, and make managers and the CEO lose sleep.

The customer purchase is likely connected to an emotional choice. Rooted deep in their decision there are often some pain points. Even when the product or service delights there is almost always room for more.

New features, bugs fixed, or a problem solved.

The goal for most productive things in business then might be classified as stopping the pain.

How would you stop the pain? A miracle drug? An underground top-secret cure?

Stopping Pain

You can start by asking the right questions.

What keeps you up at night? (an oldie but a goodie)

What would make you use this product more?

Does it help you achieve your goals?

Stopping pain is your first priority. It what makes dreams come true. It builds success and shares in the process of what you tell yourself about what comes next.

You may also want to understand how it helps others. How it might change the outlook for families, financial futures, and make everyone look good.

It’s always connected to emotions and sometimes to social norms. People like to look good, feel smart, and be thrilled.

It is exactly why cost or price should be the last part of the discussion.

-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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participation costs

Participation Costs and What You Pay

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Have you analyzed participation costs? What does it cost you to participate and what if you don’t?

There are many things in life where the price listed on the tag feels like it makes it all very clear, but does it?

If you have a headache and you buy an over-the-counter pain relief medicine from the local pharmacy it has a price tag. Yet, that is not the true cost.

What about the cost of not buying it? Do you simply save the money or is there something else?

Of course, there is more. There is the pain that holds you back, keeps you down, lessens your patience and weakens your energy. What is the price of that?

On the job, you may have an option to voice an opinion in the meeting. You may get a voice about the potential new hire or whether you’ll participate in the pizza party. There is a cost if you do and a cost if you don’t.

What are the real costs of participation?

Participation Costs

Sometimes it feels hard to participate, even when there is not a monetary price to pay.

When you voice your opinion on the future direction, it costs. You are on the hook with your reputation and must face the onlooker’s opinions of your competence.

Sometimes it may feel easier to say nothing, to not get involved, or to relinquish the offer to participate.

It happens in your workplace every day. It happens when there is a political election.

Sometimes the price you pay for lack of involvement is greater than the price you pay for the hook you decide to hang your hat on.

Participation itself is often free, but not participating may present the biggest price tag of all.

-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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gone sideways

Gone Sideways and Self-Help For Your Efforts

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Have you ever felt like the project took a wrong turn? Have things gone sideways? Maybe you don’t even notice it, yet?

Committed people sometimes do some very strange things. Onlookers wonder why the commitment sticks even when there is evidence clearly illustrating it’s failing.

In all likelihood, there are multiple angles or points of view. One of the common yet somewhat unrealized traps is staying committed because of all the effort already put in.

It’s often hard to make the right choice. Someone wants to abort the project early and someone else wants to hang in there because, “We’ve already invested so much.”

Everyone recognizes hindsight often tells a different story, either way.

The right now is not hindsight and it’s also not foresight.

What should you do?

Gone Sideways

For the customer, you need to do the right thing. For the team and even your community, you must do the right thing.

Yes, even for yourself, you must make a good decision now.

Many people believe that every day they are in a tactical firefight at their workplace. So many things happening so fast, so many loose ends, and so much drama.

What do they do?

They fight the fire. They address problems as emergencies and face the wrath of whatever unfolds next.

Problem-solving is a key skill for leadership. If you are good at it, you should be proud. However, when tactical firefights are so commonplace that you fail to execute strategy everyone loses.

The project gone sideways either needs to stop, start again, or redirect. Stuck won’t work and neither will additional wasted effort.

The same is true with poorly performing employees.

Learning from the past is powerful. It goes hand-in-hand with knowing when to pivot.

A strategic focus needs a tactical approach.

Tactics only, without a vision for the future, are sure to send you sideways.

You don’t have to believe it now, but you will when you check your data.

Commit to the strategy. The tactics of getting there may need to be adjusted.

-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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meeting decisions

Meeting Decisions May Be The Hold-Up

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Is your workplace culture caught up in meeting decisions? Decisions that are always contingent on holding a meeting?

Meetings often feel necessary and certainly, many of them probably are. Meeting effectiveness matters because too many details, a lack of fact-finding, or the wrong people at the meeting can derail even the best intentions.

Most of the best work that you do comes when you find the right balance. The balance between too much and too little, too authoritarian or too relaxed, and even too fast or too slow.

Size Matters

In the smallest of businesses, the owner makes the decisions. There is a time to contemplate and study, and also a time to act. The owner can, at his or her descrestion, act fast.

Big companies have different hurdles. The decision-making process is often slower, seemingly more calculated, and often tied up with too many people having a hand in the pot.

Decision quality is often a concern. One side believes the decision was made too soon and without enough information. The other side believes there was analysis paralysis and too many details.

Who really suffers?

Meeting Decisions

Ultimately, it is likely the customer who suffers the most.

They have to deal with delays, less quality, and often rising prices.

Who has the bigger advantage? The big company or the small company?

While the big company has more market share and thus exposure and reputation, the smaller company is nimbler and more flexible. Decisions mean outcomes and outcomes mean action.

Your next decision and the time it wastes or maximizes may not only be holding you up, but it may also be holding you back.

Are you surfing the status quo or are you blazing a trail for future success?

It’s probably a balancing act.

Ending the meeting or holding one will help you find the right balance.

-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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observed success

Observed Success and Judgment Success Are Different

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A flashy men’s suit, a woman’s shoe with a red sole. A shiny high-performance sedan or a big tire SUV. Does this have anything to do with observed success?

Maybe.

Many people care a great deal about what other people think. As such, they condition nearly everything they do by what they believe other people will say, or how they’ll pass judgment on who they are.

Does it have anything to do with your ability to perform job tasks and duties? In some ways, yes, but is it all given too much weight? Too much judging and not enough focus on outcomes?

Observed Success

In the workplace, people aren’t necessarily good at a skill or knowledgeable in technology based on how they dress, where they live, or what kind of car they drive. Yet, as a society, we give a certain amount of credit or respect based on what we see.

We tend to stereotype and have bias.

The truth often is that looking the part and acting the part are somewhat different than the outcomes from the person who is actually in that job role.

Is the high school football star, the trigonometry expert, or aspiring runway model the best candidate for the job?

Many may quickly suggest that those things have little or nothing to do with workplace skill requirements. It doesn’t mean that they are good communicators, team builders, or budget managers, does it?

The things we do in life, in leisure or hobby, have a lot to do with skills that we build, yet, they may have little to do with our character, integrity, and ability to lead.

Judgment Success

It seems silly that we would allow exterior perceptions to condition job performance abilities.

Sure, all of it matters. And we cannot forget that perception is reality as observed by many in society.

Yet, you shouldn’t make the costly mistake of allowing your bias or stereotyping to have too much weight in your judgment of future outcomes.

Whether you are the business owner, the hiring manager, or the tenured employee seeking to improve your contribution, remember to apply appropriate weight to your observations.

Making a judgment is not the same as making a good 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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pressure decisions

Pressure Decisions Often Result in Costly Outcomes

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Do you make pressure decisions? Those that are hurried while being supported and cheered by peers? Will the outcome be good?

People often hesitate to make decisions. They’ve been burned before, slipped up, and didn’t think things through completely. Now, they hesitate.

There are at least two time factors connected to decisions. The assumed cost of making the decision too fast and the assumed cost of making the decision too slow.

Everyone making an important decision faces the analysis of the short run, the long run, and their own bias.

There are threats of poor information, peer pressure, and manipulation.

Are you making good decisions? What are the consequences?

Pressure Decisions

Stress and pressure seem to force decisions.

In the moment that you make an important and calculated decision, it is the right one. All of your information, analysis, and experiences draw you to decide.

After that moment, things can change. You can close on a mortgage and by the end of the week lose your job. When you made the choice, it was OK, suddenly, now, not so much.

It can be true about offering the price of a big contract to a client. True about seeing a medical professional if we just don’t feel quite right, or true about the best timing to buy a new car.

The pressure we face when making decisions has the consequence of the outcome. We also know the clock is ticking. Wait too long and bad things can happen, do it too quickly and bad things can happen.

Outside forces and gut feel often condition the decisions you make. Learning to control both can make a difference.

Yet, you’ll never escape the pressure of time. Too fast, too soon, or too slow and too late.

Sometimes you’ll get it just right.

Just right doesn’t last very long.

Learn to navigate time, not be pressured by it.

It costs less.

-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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bad decisions

Bad Decisions, How Will You Support Them?

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Empowered people make decisions. In the workplace, sometimes bad decisions are all that you have to work with. What should you do?

Leadership often has an interesting way of unfolding.

It’s common that employees at lower levels of the organization are faced with enduring the outcomes of poor decisions.

It’s about leadership, at all levels.

In many workplace scenarios, decisions are made by executive leaders and the middle managers are stuck with rolling out the new direction. When most agree with the direction, things can go well. Of course, the opposite is also true too.

If you are faced with supporting a decision you don’t agree with, what should you do?

Leadership has responsibility. Leadership comes from all organizational levels.

You should lead.

Navigating Bad Decisions

Some decisions are deal-breakers. Ethically challenged decisions or legally challenged decisions, those need to be weighed differently.

In most cases, your concerns over decisions or choices should be voiced. They should be voiced constructively and tactfully with those involved.

Once that opportunity, if it exists, is over, then your support will be required.

As an individual you should consider two high-road choices.

First, you can appropriately support a decision that you lack some agreement with and seek out the best possible results. Conduct business constructively and with a supportive attitude.

The second option isn’t as easy. If it is a major change and you completely believe this is the beginning of the end, you may have to make it the end by removing yourself.

Fighting what you feel is a bad decision with poor behavior and compromising team efforts, organizational culture, and lowering morale are destructive. Perhaps more destructive than the bad decision.

Great leaders at all levels navigate these scenarios tactfully and constructively.

Everyone wants middle ground on these two roads. Sometimes there are shades of grey. In other cases, it is straight forward, black and white, no grey.

The road you choose is a decision.

Make it a good one.

Two bad’s don’t make a good.

-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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Hard decisions

Hard Decisions, Bad Habits and Your Energy

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Are you facing some hard decisions? What differentiates the level of difficulty or is it only about comfort, risk, and confidence?

Organizations often make decisions about what things will look like next. They have some level of confidence because they’ve done the math, considered options, and set the timelines.

The decision feels good because they’ve prepared.

Yet it seems that somewhere in the organization there is a gap. Someone left out information, distorted the facts for their own agenda, or acted on impulse out of fear.

Real issues are not always brought to the table. There seems to be too much at stake.

If I speak up, my boss will dislike me.

I’m not really sure. I’ve learned to keep quiet.

Everyone else believes this is the right move, so I will just agree.

The end result of the avoidance to address real issues is often poor decisions.

Was the decision easy or was it hard?

Complexity of Habits

Decisions are more challenging when there are different ideas.

Go to a restaurant with fifty items on the menu, or go to a restaurant with five items on the menu. It is easier to pick from five rather than fifty.

There is one exception. The exception is knowing what you want in advance.

If you always order a cheeseburger, and stick with it, the choice isn’t hard. It’s about a habit, not change.

People and businesses can get stuck with habits.

They can get stuck when the decision feels harder than staying the same.

Hard Decisions

It’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to only half-listen. Listening is hard work and that is why so many people listen less. Because it is hard, and takes extra effort.

The same often happens with decisions. The extra effort feels like a waste energy. Energy to get through the day, put up with the nonsense, or listen during the meeting.

The hardest decisions are often the poorest decisions. Not because they were hard but because no one cared enough to put in the energy.

-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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professional contributions

Professional Contributions Will Change Outcomes

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There is always a choice at the meeting. Will you deliver professional contributions or just what feels required to get by?

The first time with a seat at the table and you may choose to just observe. Once acquainted with the audience you may proceed with caution but you’re optimistic. It is placing a toe in the water.

What is your long-term contribution?

Meeting Performance

People don’t know what they don’t know.

We’ve all heard, “Ignorance is bliss.”

There may be some truth to that idea. When you don’t know the background, the skeletons, or what has been sent to the graveyard and by whom, you’ll just openly contribute. You don’t know the history.

Your intentions are often good, yet, sometimes you learn that the outcomes are not so good. You regroup, hold things tighter to the vest, and become more calculated.

In other cases, you learn what people want you to say.

In the meeting, you respond to the affirmative. You agree, you do not tactfully challenge or question.

Decisions are made. It seems everyone agrees.

After the meeting, in a more private conversation, you truthfully admit the decision seems like a bad idea.

Why did you agree?

Professional Contributions

You have at least three choices.

The first choice is to arrive unfiltered. Arrive with innocence and express your best thoughts. Enter with the excitement and enthusiasm of involvement without the history.

It is the spirit of the novice. Sometimes, it is refreshing.

Your second choice is to arrive as a professional, making professional contributions.

You’ve studied the data, you know the history, and you’ll be brave enough and vulnerable enough to take greater risk. The risk isn’t personal, it’s professional.

Risk means you’ll push for what is right, do the right thing, serve the client, ask the customer, and deliver what is promised.

Unfortunately, sometimes the third option is the easiest. Just agree and move on. Meeting over.

Doing what is right is worth more than doing what is easy.

-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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boss decides

The Boss Decides How Service Will Look and Feel

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Front-line employees are expected to follow the path created for them. The boss decides what that path will look like and how it should be followed. Does this system work?

Sometimes.

Largely though, the path created has some flaws. There are unexpected obstacles and hurdles. The flow chart reaches decision loops and dead ends.

Systems and People

Consequences for a failed system are shown on the income statement, or dealt with by the front-line, or both.

A system working in the black doesn’t mean that the system is working, at least not as completely or effectively as it could.

What could go wrong? It’s designed by the boss.

Businesses are comprised of a system. They’re also comprised of people.

Are investments made in the people?

What is the hiring practice? Hire a friend of a friend? The bosses relative? Are these the best choices?

Are people in the system listening?

Does the system allow for empathy and compassion?

What is the culture? Are employees trained and invested in, or are they viewed as a tool to accomplish a task?

The Boss Decides

Most workplaces are held to a standard.

There is always a culture and likely sub-cultures. Those components are developed by the boss. The boss decides what the organization looks like.

Most employees only have a few choices.

They can role model exactly what the culture illustrates, in a failed system or failing culture they can attempt to role model something better, or they can leave.

When the employees care enough to try to make a difference will anyone listen?

The boss decides.

-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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