Tag Archives: failure

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big attitude

Does Big Attitude Mean Big Enough to Fail?

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Charisma, confidence, and a big attitude, is that what it really takes? Selling or leading could benefit from all three, yet a big attitude could mean the beginning of the end.

Some organizations believe that they are too big to fail. They have too much in reserves, the strength of bold and powerful investors, and a market that never ceases to gobble up their products or services.

Perhaps they’ve scaled. They’ve built it from the ground up and now sit atop a high peak. Looking down they underestimate that their strength could be exactly what makes them start to tumble.

Big Attitude

It can happen to the local pizza shop. They run like a monopoly. The best pizza in town. The big attitude is, “If you don’t like it, try to find a better one.”

It can be true for the local convenience store, the car dealership, and even the specialty grocer.

Behind the scene, they make little investment. No need for a drone video, a fancy website, or a Superbowl commercial.

As profits surge, the care they started with begins to diminish.

Keep expenses low and keep the profits to yourself. The facade fades because it costs to keep it up. A new sign here, or a coat of paint over there, and it’s good enough.

Employees are tools, not an investment. Those at the top contribute less and the frontline is coerced to give more. Customers come and go, but they mostly come so who really cares?

Possible to Fail

It’s happened in business, in education, and even in healthcare.

Be on top, or you’ll be underneath. On top is easier, more rewarding, and requires a lot less time. Count the money, buy big stuff, show what you’ve got. That’s the attitude.

A big attitude can get you started. It can also take you places.

When a big attitude scales, it may mean you’re now perfectly situated to be big enough to fail.

-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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contingency plan

3 Reasons Why You Will Need a Contingency Plan

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Will your strategy work? Do you have an awesome plan? The truth may be that the better your plan, the more you are going need to develop another plan. A contingency plan, do you have one?

It is true that many small businesses get by without putting pen to paper for a plan. They don’t put data entry to digital document either. They stroll along for years based almost entirely on gut feel.

Sometimes this works, but normally it has some magical limitations. Of course, no one really knows those limitations because the plan is just a feeling, a fairytale, some magic.

Strategic Plan

Is a personal or organizational strategic plan the solution to become unstuck?

In my opinion, a plan is always a good idea. A very precise and detailed plan certainly helps avoid anything falling through the cracks. Are there problems with a tight plan?

Yes, but when you plan for the unplanned there is a good chance you’ll keep moving in the right direction.

Should you have a backup plan?

Contingency Plan

There are many reasons to have a contingency plan.

Here are three of my favorite reasons:

  1. Surprises. Things aren’t always going to go exactly as planned. There is a time to push or force the issue. There is also a time to go with the flow. Surprises have an interesting way of shaping a slightly tweaked direction. A direction that still gets us where we need to be.
  2. Specifications Change. The specs are the specs in the tightest plan. What if the specs aren’t the specs that are needed? Identification of a want isn’t always the same thing as the need. Fluidity in design should be part of the contingency.
  3. Missed Deadlines. The metric of time is valuable. Too soon can be nearly as problematic as too late. Along the way both surprises and specification changes may alter the timing. Sometimes the best question is not about, “what if,” it is about, “what we’ll do when.”

Tight, highly detailed plans are a good idea. The best plan almost never happens.

The perfect plan is one that is built with a contingency.

-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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perfect plan

Creating a Perfect Plan or Failure

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Most great efforts happen when there is a plan. Do you have a vision? Have you invested in creating the perfect plan?

Some people, and businesses, try to launch without a plan. Their plan is to go with the flow, let things unfold, take unknown risk or never consider the probability of success.

Risk of Failure

Why would anyone want to launch without a plan? Part of the challenge for why this occurs may exist in the idea that plains can fail. Even the best constructed plains may not turn out exactly as desired.

This may create an underlying fear, apprehension, worry, and avoidance. Who wants to be responsible for a plan that didn’t work?

Yet there are many other people and businesses who have realized that while plans work, they often don’t. This isn’t a surprise, in fact, it may be a realization that becomes part of the plan.

On any given day most people don’t know exactly what traffic will be like on their commute. Businesses don’t know who will call, who may postpone, or what equipment may break.

The emergency room at the local hospital exists and serves because they have planned for the unplanned. They don’t know what the next shift will bring. Who will arrive, how many, or with what problems.

Perfect Plan

Perhaps the secret to creating the perfect plan exists not in what you’ll do to execute the plan, but what you’ll do when things go astray.

Planning for the unplanned may be the hardest part of the plan. It is difficult to know how much, how many, and whether to embrace or deny.

A few things are guaranteed when you create the perfect plan. Perfect plans will encounter setbacks, delays, and hidden costs. People in the system will need more time, get bored, or skip town.

Revenue goals or funding streams will be missed or worse, stop altogether.

Your vision and plan are important. Equally important is what you’ll do and how you’ll react to imperfection.

-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 RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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fear success

Do You Fear Change or Fear Success?

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We know change is happening, sometimes to our liking, and sometimes not so much. Fear change or fear success, which one do you fear, or is it both? What causes you to think twice about your next move?

Growth is Success

Years ago, I planted one hundred tiny twigs (Ligustrum amurense) in a row across the front of my property. It was going to change the front of my property. Privacy, beauty, and a lot of work.

Successful growth of the plants meant change. Cutting, trimming, care along the bottom, and care on the top. A great place for leaves to pile up in the fall.

Was there some fear of success? Certainly, I had an idea what was coming. There was going to be a lot of work and care involved. I planted them, it worked, things changed.

Fear Change

Any time we start something new, any time someone suggests a change, the fear of success may be just as important to consider as the fear of failure.

Most people blame the fear of failure as the reason people don’t like change. Certainly, failure is a possible outcome, but so is success.

The status quo is comfortable. People know and understand the workload. Groups have normalized (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Bruce W. Tuckman) and are performing. The outcome is generally known, the atmosphere feels stable. There is a sense of safety.

When a change is about to occur, the stability is threatened. There is new risk with an unknown outcome. Of course, if the change fails, not much will really be different.

Considering that change you see coming, do you fear success?

Fear Success

Vinyl, imitation clapboard, is popular for modern suburban home siding. It doesn’t change as often as the wooden clapboard of yesteryear. There is less fear of maintenance. A change that is desirable, no fear of more work, things stay stable longer.

The kids want a new puppy, with a new puppy comes change. Sure, who doesn’t love a cute puppy, but with the puppy comes a lot of care.

A house with a bigger yard, an apple tree, and a swimming pool would be nice. Well, on second thought, that seems like a lot of work.

Change is scary, it is really scary when it works.

-DEG

Originally posted on June 14, 2018, last updated on December 4, 2019.

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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stop listening

When To Stop Listening and Other Failures

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Listening is one of the most important parts of communication. It is also the most taken for granted. Do you know when to stop listening?

A few years ago, I was facilitating a session with a group of senior managers and executives about communication. During a subgroup breakout portion, I overheard the CEO say, “It is impossible for us to fail.”

It grabbed my attention and I listened more carefully. At first, I thought perhaps he was mocking a comment from someone else, soon I realized he was completely serious. It told me a lot. A lot about his Company and it provided the only answer I needed about why we were there in the first place.

Generations of Ownership

This business is in its second or third generation of family ownership. In terms of workforce generations this CEO is a traditional. It includes a disruptive workforce resisting a turnover to the next in line in the family tree.

I have often wondered about the long-term positioning for their future.

“Impossible to fail” can probably be translated to, “We have stopped listening.”

A service and technology driven economy have cause many shifts in many sectors. This business was an exception. An exception because there hasn’t been a shift. There hasn’t been a shift for decades. Sure, they’ve installed some technology, but only for metrics and measurements.

Don’t get me wrong, metrics and measurements are critical, but the culture of the organization is still in the 1970’s or 1980’s at best. Who wants to work there? It is an easy answer, very few. Pay scales also tend to match the decade correlation of culture, which makes it even more difficult.

Stop Listening

My presence with this team was really a recognized effort to appease and silence the management team critics. The C-Suite team was hearing the outcry of need, but change was really about everyone else. They weren’t listening.

My impression is that the Company is not doing any better today.

When should you stop listening?

The answer is easy, “Never.”

– 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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Good plans fail

Why Good Plans Fail And Judgment Inspires Outcomes

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What’s your plan? People ask that question often. What’s the plan, what are we doing? Have you thought recently about why good plans fail?

Having a good strategy is important. There are plenty of ways to start developing one. There are also plenty of ways to overanalyze, and become paralyzed with fear.

One of the best questions but the one not often asked is about the quality of the plan. Is it a good plan? This is typically not asked, because instead it is judged.

Good Plans Fail

Most plans are judged. The gamble of working or not working, being fun, exciting, and the risk, or a lack of risk, that will generate the momentum required for success.

It’s all judgment. Typically, judgment based doubt, not on optimism.

When the plan is rolled out, doubt will appear. Doubt is often confirmed in the moments that immediately follow. When in doubt, the naysayer has your back.

Judgment Inspires Outcomes

The trouble with a lot of good plans is that they are judged by naysayers. If judgment is going to occur, perhaps it should be different. Judged for why it will work and not why it won’t.

What if it is a good plan? What if the judgment, the bias, and the stereotyping confirmed success instead of denying it? Would the outcomes change if it were judged by success and not the possibility of lurking failure?

Often good plans fail before they get started.

Lead Each Other

Suggest the opposite, look for what will work. Consider why things are different now, and the possibility of how this plan will make things better. This is a team who leads each other, a team who works with optimism, hope, and a good plan.

The team that believes they have a good plan and the one that does not are probably both going to be right.

The reality that the new plan might work will prevent a good plan from failing.

Somebody has to lead. Plan accordingly.

– 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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failure expensive

Is Failure Expensive, Compared to What?

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What does failure cost? Most people believe that the cost is significant. Is failure expensive and if so how, or compared to what?

On January 28, 1986, we lost the Space Shuttle Challenger reportedly due to an O-ring failure. The cost of this disaster probably easily exceeded $500 million. Some estimates are at more than $5 billion.

On April 10, 2010, we experienced the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Estimates on the cost of this manmade disaster reportedly exceed $42 billion.

Hard Costs, Hard Lessons

Oil spills, space shuttles, and nuclear reactor plants have all contributed to enormous costs of failure. Cost of life is of course, immeasurable.

Failure often seems to be measurable to hard costs. Have you considered the costs of doing nothing?

What if there were not any oilrigs, what if there was no nuclear power? NASA programs have also contributed heavily to technology development and innovation. What if those programs never existed?

Many of us won’t make decisions about oilrigs, space programs, or nuclear power, but we will make decisions about what we accomplish or don’t in our lives and in our careers.

What is the cost if you don’t take the new job, what if you didn’t attend college, or what are the pros and cons of starting your own business?

Is Failure Expensive

We can sometimes put a number on what failure costs, but it is pretty difficult to put a number on the cost of doing nothing.

For the individuals, businesses, or organizations that find themselves stuck, perhaps they only see the price tag of failure.

Failure may not be that expensive when you compare it to the cost of doing nothing, or worse, regret.

– 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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how change develops

How Change Develops and Early Adopters

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Some of the best businesses are not who they once were. They may still offer some of the original products or services but they aren’t the same. Have you ever considered how change develops?

Mention change and people are going to become nervous, uneasy, and likely afraid. Change feels like a risk to most and anything uncertain may create fear.

People often talk about, no risk, no reward, or they may suggest that the acceptance of change is better than staying in the status quo. Certainly, there is often value in shifting our thinking.

Everything Changes

Everything around us is changing. Given a little time, a lot of time, or sometimes in no time at all.

A vacant lot gets a new home.

The video store becomes a small medical office.

The computer system tells us when it’s time to reorder.

Sometimes change is perceived as developing from past failures. In other cases, it may be labeled as required progress. In nearly all cases, it sparks an emotion for someone.

There is a good chance that the emotions are the result of letting go of something that felt stable, dependable, or even desirable. Things that someone probably worked hard to create, establish, and cared for.

We used to have to make a call from a wired phone, percolate our coffee, or get our music on a record, 8-track tape, or cassette. Yet no one really considers early telephones, coffee percolators, or music records a failure. Perhaps they are not even obsolete.

How Change Develops

Change often develops from need, or an idea to improve.

If you’ve been around long enough, things have changed. As individuals, we learned to tie our own shoes, complete our schoolwork, and report to work.

On the first day of at a new job, it is all new. We don’t always know the people, the culture, or even where to find the restroom.

Just because change is different doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it, that the past was a failure, or a waste of our time.

What feels like progress to some may be undesirable to others but we are not stopping change.

Understand what to hold on to and what to let go of, because things will continue to change.

How change develops may not be as important as the bravery to be an early adopter.

– 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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Is It Worth The Risk?

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Talk is easy. There are a lot of people and organizations that talk about change, but change requires risk. Do you believe change is worth the risk?

Have a look

Many people operate in their safety zone. They never get too close to the edge, color outside of the lines, or risk something that they feel they might later regret.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about change is that by its very nature it requires risk. Staying the same feels comfortable, largely because you believe you already know the outcome, but outcomes change too.

People and businesses often believe that they want change, that they need different outcomes. They want something that works better, lasts longer, or is more efficient. All of those are noble thoughts and those who turn thoughts into action believe that they are ready for change.

Might the question then become, “How bad do you want it?” or for others perhaps, “How bad do you need it?”

Being worth the risk is often measured after the fact. It is measured in success or failure and is seldom measured for the performance against risk. Should it be?

  • A business might run one advertisement, on one television network for one month, or they might spring for a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl.
  • An employee might speak up adding one suggestion to solving a problem in a staff meeting, or they might spend additional hours at the office developing a corrective plan of action and then present their idea to the Board of Directors.

We’re often taught or reinforced with the concept of taking a risk which results in success is good, but a risk and then failure is bad. The trouble with this mind-set is that makes people risk adverse.

It makes them risk adverse since they often feel they can’t be wrong if they stay within the safety zone. Their confidence is higher for actions which occur within the zone.

Do you believe that change is happening all around you? Do you believe that change is happening every day? Do you believe that some of this change might be considered good, and that some of it might be considered bad?

If you agree that it surrounds you, then you can probably also agree that problems change too, and that changing problems require different solutions, and that new or different solutions require taking additional risk.

If you agree with all of that, then you might also agree that the value of risk should not be expressed as good or bad, it should be expressed as progress. Largely because a risk that results in change is progress.

It’s always progress as long as you are moving forward with your successes and learning from but not repeating failures.

Is progress worth the risk?

Some believe it is, do you?

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Is the Fear of Success Real?

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Nearly everyone recognizes the idea of being afraid of failure. Some people are so intent about never failing that they always play life extremely safe, never really taking any risks. Other people love the idea of risk and don’t worry much about failing. They recognize the possibility of failure but only at a level that keeps them pushing towards the pursuit of their goal. They also accept the idea that sometimes failure does occur and they are prepared to manage it.

040639451-business-people-talking-front-

On the other hand, there are also people who fear success. Sometimes when the suggestion of a fear of success emerges, people struggle to form the connection with success and fear. Is the fear of success real?

Fear of Success

Like its opposite partner, the fear of failure, the fear of success comes in various levels and for various reasons. Based on research and my experiences working with people, especially in coaching roles, here are five of the most common factors associated with having a fear of success.

  1. Maintaining a higher standard. The fear is that you’ll be unable to keep things up at this level. Because the standard will have become so high you will forever have to work that much harder. It feels easier to stay where you are comfortable.
  2. I’m not worthy or don’t deserve it. Self-esteem and self-efficacy are the two most important building blocks for self-confidence. If you’ve been told many times that you’re not worthy, or you can’t do it, or that it’s impossible. You may believe you are not worthy or that you don’t deserve to achieve your goal or obtain a higher level of success.
  3. I’ll lose friends and create enemies. Envy from others can be a major setback for those who have achieved more success. People may resist the idea of becoming more successful because they fear losing friendships or creating enemies. 
  4. Success requires great risk or luck. Many people don’t like the feeling of risk and believe that they are never lucky. Luck and risks are very different, but some believe they are unlucky at everything because they “never win.” The idea is the more successful I become the more my fate rests in risk or luck, so I’m afraid to become more successful.
  5. I don’t like being in the spotlight. This fear is rooted in the idea that the spotlight makes the person uncomfortable, if you don’t like to draw attention to yourself or your achievements you may try avoid excelling at anything or everything.

Surprising to some, the fear of success is real. While it is often deeply rooted in other unrelated circumstances or situations the fear may be enough to make people consciously or subconsciously avoid any scenario that may position them for additional success.

Do you fear success?

– DEG 

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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