Tag Archives: effectiveness

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communication rhythms

Communication Rhythms May Be Where To Start

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What are your communication rhythms? When are the meetings, how long, and how often? Do you call, email, send text messages, or leave post-it notes?

Many workplace professionals express the need for more effective communication. Have you really thought about what you communicate and how it conditions everything that happens next?

It matters for identifying priorities, it affects the sales funnel, the supply chain, and even involves stalled work and dead ends.

Sometimes knowing where to start gets its start by simply starting something. It may be as simple as picking a place and digging in.

A good place to start improving your workplace communication may be by developing a more thorough understanding of exactly how it works and what it impacts.

It impacts everything, but how?

Communication Rhythms

What gets discussed sets the tone, the mood, and the energy. This is the building block for how it works.

Are your meetings spent talking about wrongdoings, shortcomings, and poor behavior? Are they spent talking about why sales are down instead of where the next opportunity exists? Is there an analysis of gossip, rumors, and drama?

Certainly, all of those things are a part of the culture. Make them the smallest piece instead of the largest.

Focus on behaviors that are connected to where you want to be, not where you are now, and especially not where you were last month.

What you talk about, whether you are leading or following will be what develops as the focus. It creates a mindset for what happens next.

If you’re struggling and don’t know where to turn, it might be time to change your rhythm.

Get a new beat.

-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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measuring information quality

Measuring Information Quality and Outcomes

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Are you a good communicator? Are you or the people around you measuring information quality, and if so, how?

There is a tendency to measure information quality by its likability factor.

In other words, if you like what you hear or read, it is good information. If you don’t agree or dislike the information it is bad.

Information should not be judged by its likability.

Quality Judgement

In the workplace people tend to lack comfort in the meeting that puts them on the spot. The meeting that makes them more responsible and accountable, or the one that examines performance.

The information exchange in these cases may be considered good or bad, yet it is often judged by the likability factor. If you like it, it was good, otherwise it was bad.

If your doctor suggests losing some weight, or the dentist has to recommend a root canal. Was this bad information?

Quality should not be a measurement of its content.

Measuring Information Quality

Workplace leaders can and should take special care when delivering information. Especially information that may be unpopular or performance improvement oriented.

Telling people what they want to hear may create a happier moment, yet it is not sustainable.

The best communicators are able to deliver all information, good or bad, with professionalism.

They often do this with honesty, integrity, and with high levels of transparency. Trust becomes a long-term factor for information quality.

If you’re judging the quality of information by the likability factor, you’re going to face a lot of disappointment or the consequences of misleading those around you.

What is worse? Trust will diminish or be non-existent.

Measure information quality by its honesty and integrity. Consider the professionalism involved in both the passion and compassion of the message.

Care about the quality.

-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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experiential leading

Experiential Leading, Are You Doing It?

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There is a lot of talk about hands on learning. You’re reflective and learning something. Is there such a thing as, experiential leading?

Twenty years ago, when technology started to accelerate for on-line learning many thought it was the beginning of the end for traditional classrooms.

Sure, somethings changed, and perhaps more people are being reached with educational opportunities than ever before.

Enter the year 2020. A nasty virus spreads and the threat (or hype) create a run on supplies. Countries close borders, flights are cancelled, and ships are harbored. The fear is abundant.

Some K-12 schools close doors, some colleges and universities follow.

On-line classes they propose. Yet, will the students get the same level of education? It has been a question for twenty years.

I think the answer is both yes and no.

Some students, those who are really motivated, will learn. They’ll push the envelope cramming information and studying at a similar pace as always. Others will probably take advantage. Do little, make an appearance on-line, and get by.

The same is really true for practicing leaders.

Experiential Leading

Every day, virus or no virus, people in leadership roles have a chance to engage or just get by.

Some workplaces have closed. “Work from home,” they say. Yet, what are the metrics? Are accomplishments measured by timelines and milestones? Are they evaluated by past performance, benchmark data, or simply by subjective management oversight?

Experiential takes on many forms. Hands on is just one example. The key for experiential is that the involved person is reflective on the work they are doing. They are seeking more knowledge, more information, they’re learning.

Today is a great day for experiential leadership. Tomorrow will be as well.

In some cases, where you work is not as important as how you work.

Great leaders’ practice, reflect, and learn. Even when no one is watching.

-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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meetings solve problems

Meetings Solve Problems, Or Don’t They?

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Should your meetings solve problems? It may depend on the type of meeting, but many meetings have some component designed around solving problems.

Some meetings are informational. Presenters deliver information. The information delivered is probably organized around solving a problem.

Some meetings are strategic. They attempt to organize the process of planning, creating vision, and improving an organizations competitive edge. No strategy, or poor strategy is a big problem.

Some meetings are task oriented. A committee leads, guides, and steers the direction of the group. Their challenge, or problem, is often ensuring the continuation of the cause or charter.

There are many other classifications or variations of meetings. Most meetings are intended to solve problems.

Reason for a Meeting

Each day decisions are being made by team members. Each day new problems arise. The rise of a new problem, and often it is quickly solved. A process so common many professionals take for granted the act of problem solving.

The problem that makes it to the meeting is different. There are many variations, considerations, or people affected so the calculation on solving it drags on.

Big problems are big problems because they aren’t easily solved. In some cases, attempts are made to solve them, only to see them repeat or continue.

Root cause analysis matters. It matters because addressing a problem with solutions that are not at the root means the problem will continue.

Is that a reason for the meeting?

Meetings Solve Problems

Do your meetings seem to focus around the same problem over and over again? Perhaps it is because of a lack of critical thinking, root cause analysis, or patterns of inappropriate interventions.

Usually the only problems that hit the meeting are the ones that are tough to solve. Everything else has already been taken care of.

Make your meetings count, it is why you’ve assembled in the first place. Meetings that count, have a plan.

The next time you attend bring a proposed solution for every problem you plan to present.

-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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long run strategy

Short Run Savings or Long Run Strategy

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What tactics drive your business outcomes? Are you looking for efficiency, effectiveness, and low cost? Do you expect to be around for a while? Using a long run strategy may help.

Short Run Savings

A CEO buys a new full-size SUV every few years. It has a big engine and she runs the lowest octane gasoline. Washing, waxing, and maintenance are a low priority.

The logic may be that saving twenty or thirty cents per gallon add ups. The tank size is twenty-five plus gallons, so every time at the pump it is a few bucks less.

Washing and waxing are a waste of time and expense. In a day or two it will rain and just be dirty again.

Oil changes happen, but only when it is convenient. The warning lights or messages are just that, a warning, you have a few hundred more miles.

This is a short run game for a vehicle that may have a life span of fifteen, twenty, or more years. The argument may be that cheaper gas runs the same, washing and waxing are overrated, and maintenance is optional. The concept may be, this is money not spent, it is money saved.

Until the check engine light and the rust spots start to appear.

Long Run Strategy

As people we often do similar things with our technology products, our appliances, our homes, and even our health. We use and consume based on a short-run game.

In business, we can cut corners, save money, remove safety equipment, maintenance less, and push harder. In the short run there may be less expense, but are you doing it for the short-run game?

A couple of pennies saved may mean dollars wasted.

The long run strategy is what seems to make the most sense. Throwing away the slightly used to replace with new, just because you can, is an option. It is also a short-run game.

-DEG

“Ooh, I want to tell you, it’s a long run” Eagles (1979)

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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Wrench

Can You Hand Me The Wrench Please?

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Tools make our work easier. They improve the quality, the volume, and the effectiveness. As you navigate your business, career, or life, are you looking for a wrench or trying to get by without any tools?

If we need a hammer, we may be able to find a rock. Lacking scissors, someone may try their teeth.

The pickle jar lid is stuck. You have a couple of choices. You can figure out a tool, ask a friend, or just break the jar.

Timothy Leatherman had an idea. Put many tools in a single device. It is popular, and it works.

The Right Tools

Tools make life easier. They simplify the complex, save energy, time, and broken fingernails.

When we’re stuck, do we pick up a rock as a hammer, or do we get the right tool for the job?

In business or in your career, what are your tools? What have you used?

Too often people forget about the tool. They try to cut corners, open the plastic bag with their teeth, and stand on a chair with wheels instead of getting a small ladder. Risky, unsafe, and perhaps very costly.

Wrench Please

As a kid, I remember my job was to fetch the tools. I learned their names, the intended use, and the value of organization. I also learned that without the right tools the job took longer, had a higher rate of failure, and often became more expensive.

What are the tools you require? What will save time, improve quality, volume, and effectiveness?

In the workplace we need effective communication, trust, and sometimes we need someone to hand us the wrench.

We can blunder around without the right tools. Get it done with our bare hands, use a rock, or try it with our teeth.

That doesn’t make much sense though.

If you don’t have the right tool, you should ask.

-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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meeting questions

Meeting Questions Without Knowing The Answers

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Meeting management, meeting etiquette, and the list of attendees, what drives the output from a workplace meeting? Often meeting questions feel responsible for the output. Should we already know the answers to these questions?

Meeting Observer

When you attend a meeting as an observer something strange happens. You aren’t really engaged, you are observing from a different seat. Sometimes physically and literally true.

As an observer, often your only expectation is to keep quiet. This different view allows you to have a different perspective.

What does an observer notice?

The group dynamics associated with meetings can become interesting. We know from Bruce W. Tuckman theories that groups go through four or five stages of development. What behaviors, if any, are conditioned by the dynamics?

An observer, with good listening skills, may notice that there is a flow to meeting questions and the associated answers.

Meeting Questions

Meeting participants may follow a certain question and answer protocol depending on the meeting and group dynamics. Here are a few examples:

  1. Questions are a test. There is a right answer and a wrong answer. Questions aren’t driving things forward they are responsible only to confirm or command.
  2. Status questions. These questions typical apply to paths of known engagement. What is the status of the project or what are the sales figures for the month?
  3. Direction questions. Where do we go from here? What path should we choose? What are the options?

Perhaps deeper consideration should go into the list of attendees, the purpose of the meeting, and are these meetings effective?

Questions that are a test can likely be managed without calling a meeting. Status questions can likely be answered without calling a meeting. Direction questions may be an effective use of everyone’s time.

What is the direction the meetings you attend?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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planning meeting

Planning Meeting, Will It Cause Action?

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A new idea seems to come out of nowhere. The competition launches a new advertising campaign, or sales are not reaching the goal. Do you have a planning meeting to discuss the next steps? Will your next meeting result in action?

Planning Meeting

Planning meetings, strategy sessions, or meetings for general updates, are any of these meetings effective? The best answer is probably, “Sometimes.”

There is value to talk. While we know that talk is cheap and it is much easier to say something as compared with actually doing it, there is still value.

Properly structured positive affirmation discussions can be inspirational and help to improve confidence. Both are often needed for high performance. Similar to the coaches talk before the big game, or the friendly, “You’ve got this!” before your big presentation, talk matters.

When you have a planning meeting to discuss what happens next, it may create the atmosphere that causes action. When teams fail to say it, it often fails to get done. So talk about it, and talk about it often.

Open Discussion

Are there items that should be said but are not discussed? Once again, the answer is probably, “Sometimes.” However, that may be a nice way of saying, “Often.”

During the planning meeting, it may be what is not being said that has relevance for high performance. Fear often prevents people from mentioning the forgotten item, the one that no one wants to do, or the new obstacle that popped up last week.

Looking for a software solution to help manage your meeting? (BlueSky)

Goals that you expect to come to fruition require some discussion. They may require updates, the keep it on track analysis, and inspiration to leap beyond the rough spots. Instead, these areas are often silenced because of the fear of being the messenger.

Planning meetings are not a waste of time when the discussion sparks positive action.

It’s the huddle before the next play of the game.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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meeting cancelled

Meeting Cancelled, What Will You Do?

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In workplaces everywhere, there are a lot of meetings. Meetings for strategy, meetings for follow-up, meetings intended to improve communication, and so many more. Imagine if your meeting cancelled, what would happen?

In bad or difficult weather conditions, schools and businesses shut down. For some that is a good time, for others not so much.

Lost Forever

For the restaurant it often means revenue lost since people will still eat that day but not at their restaurant. It is a loss they won’t get back the next day because people won’t eat twice as much. It is gone, forever.

Similar situations exist internally in our organizations. Sometimes the meeting feels needed, and other times it is taken for granted, much of the time participants feel redundancy and wasted time.

If your meeting was cancelled today, or postponed until the next day what would happen? What would happen to revenue, production goals, or new client acquisitions? Does the sales funnel get a dent or a bulge?

When the meeting is cancelled certainly some will rejoice. Their excitement may come from a reduction in stress, a temporary reprieve from workload, or not having to listen to redundant chatter.

Meeting Cancelled

What would you do if the meeting were cancelled?

Would you take the time to do something constructive? What if you started early on your next task did that one thing that you’ve been procrastinating about, or helped someone else with a project that has fallen behind?

Imagine if you jumped in and started selling, invited people to participate, and encouraged productivity for time gained, not time lost.

Then the real magic starts. What if all of the activity gained, new opportunities explored, and bottom line results were better than what came before?

Would you suggest the meeting is rescheduled?

More Is Better?

When we work from the mindset of more is always better we may discover a hidden gem. Abundance often has two sides, gain and loss.

Perhaps the meeting wasn’t necessary after all. Maybe you should cancel more.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Have effective meetings

Do You Have Effective Meetings?

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Are meetings really just a waste of time? Organizations of all types and all sizes often believe that they get work done through meetings. They improve communication, adjust focus, and motivate the team. Do you have effective meetings?

Most likely, the difference between doing good work and doing great work has something to do with what happens between meetings. Are your meetings setting the stage for the proper outcomes?

Belief About Meetings

Often the belief is that meetings are held to improve communication, yet the dynamics of the group often create an environment that doesn’t share, but chooses to withhold information. Yes, it is true.

The other common belief is that more communication will improve miscommunication. This is of course, very unlikely.

Show me an organization with a staff of more than a dozen employees and I’ll show you an organization that likely believes they have some communication challenges. Do meetings really make this better? It may depend on the purpose, but it will always depend the preparation.

Organizers and Planners

In order to make the most of what happens between meetings you should ask some questions before getting started on planning your next meeting:

What is the purpose of this meeting?

What is the desired outcome?

Who should be invited?

What is the best use of everyone’s time?

Where should the meeting be held?

Who will monitor or pursue accountability for recommendations, actions, solutions, to-do’s, measurements, metrics, and goals?

Who has the authority to make the decisions, are they invited and are they attending?

What is the budget?

How will priorities be set?

Is this a recurring meeting? Is it a task force, committee, or project management gathering?

Meeting Participants

And for the attendees:

How will you prepare?

What solutions have you thought of?

Have you met or exceeded the objectives?

What is the most constructive recommendation you can bring forward at this time?

Are you committed to outcomes and keeping the meeting productive?

Have Effective Meetings

Most important of all is when a meeting lacks focus on measuring effectiveness; chances are substantially higher that participants have labeled them a waste of time. Mind-set is critical and recurring meetings become part of the culture.

If you’re working for what happens between the meetings, keep them brisk, effective, and performance measurable.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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