Tag Archives: fear

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traveling forward

Traveling Forward Is Your Only Path

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It’s your only path because you cannot go backwards. When you recognize traveling forward is your only route, embracing it becomes less difficult.

You can’t freeze time. It doesn’t stop. Fix a telescope on the constellation Orion and it keeps moving. In our view of the sky, so does the Sun and the Moon.

Returning to Normal, or Not?

There are certainly many lessons being learned during the spring of 2020.

One that perhaps hasn’t been fully considered is that there is only one path forward. You can’t stay exactly the same because you can’t freeze time. You can’t go back either.

There is not going to be a return to normal. A new normal perhaps, but not a return to the old normal. Things are different now.

Changed for a long time, if not forever, people will think differently about social gatherings. Commerce will be different. Certain fears are new or older ones rekindled or solidified.

Will there be an “all clear?”

Even if there is, or when there is, many people still won’t believe it. Some don’t believe it now, and some won’t believe it later.

Fear will impact the quality of decisions. There will be fear of a virus, fear of legal issues, and fear of the unknown.

Fear is always a motivator. Unfortunately, being fearful isn’t the design of the most successful organizational cultures.

Traveling Forward

Forward is your only choice. The cause and effect of decisions you make will affect today and tomorrow, but not yesterday.

Expecting that there will be a return to normal is thoughtless. It’s an assumption based on desire not on practicality.

Tomorrow will be different from today. Even if you tried to stop tomorrow from happening it’s still coming.

When you accept that traveling forward is the only path you should also consider asking yourself what you’ll change.

You have a chance every day to make tomorrow better than the day before. Assumptions about normal are simply a state of right now.

-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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good examples

Good Examples Are More Powerful Than Bad

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Our workplaces are full of learning moments. Often the moment centers around breakdowns, missed attempts, and other failures. Are good examples more powerful?

Logically, the bad example exploitation seems counterproductive, yet many people do it to themselves and others. As a result, a pattern of focusing on negativity sneaks up on people and teams.

Learning Moments

We can have 99 good experiences, things done right, customers happy, and goals met or exceeded. If on the 100th experience something goes wrong it seems to sour all that went right.

It is because our focus is wrong. We stop the presses, hit the panic button, or go on a witch hunt, but only for what is wrong, not right.

Learning moments are not only developed from bad examples, they can and should be developed from good examples.

Fear is an amazingly powerful emotion. It can make people spring into action. It can get the job done. Fear is also a short run game. Employees won’t be sticking around if they live in fear every day.

The same is true for disappointment, ridicule, and criticism. And for the record, no, criticism is not a good idea. Constructive feedback and performance improvement feedback, will help teams grow.

Good Examples

You can show a safety video where someone loses an eye, or you can show a safety video where a broken tool is stuck in the safety glasses preventing the loss of an eye.

You can bring the sales or customer service representative into your office and play back the call that they screwed up on, or you can have a meeting with the team and play back calls that delighted the customer experience.

Authority is important and valuable. It helps break the tie when people are sitting on the fence, it should seldom be used as an attitude of ruling a kingdom.

Yes, you may be the boss. No, you shouldn’t attempt to lead with an authoritarian approach.

This is especially true for learning moments. In learning moments good examples can be much more powerful than bad.

Calling someone to your office about the mistake they made earlier in the day may create fear and anger. Celebrating the behaviors that exhibit cultural values and beliefs may be just as powerful.

Certainly, corrective action is often necessary, but good examples lead to more good examples.

-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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compelling workplace opportunities

Creating Compelling Workplace Opportunities

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Are the employee teams at your workplace motivated? Would you describe their behavior as energized, engaged, and passionate? What are you doing to create compelling workplace opportunities?

One common truth is, not everyone is motivated in the same manner. Their interests, values, and beliefs may spark engagement, or may have them heading for the door.

What are the attraction points in your workplace? What gets people engaged and moving?

It won’t take long for the idea of money to arouse attention. Certainly, inspirational stories sometimes have value. What will really stick?

Compelling Workplace Opportunities

Here are a few simple things to think about:

Appreciation. It is really this simple, people don’t like to be criticized. Observe what they are working hard at, when they are trying their best, and show more appreciation.

Accomplishment. Sometimes people are inspired by finishing the job. Have you ever said, “That’s a good job done.” Many people take pride in finishing, it is an accomplishment.

Problem Solving. Although connected to a pro and a con, problem solving is a great skill to possess. Be cautious of being overly critical as you point out problems (con), yet at the same time effectively utilize the people who love to solve them (pro).

Change. Some people are motivated for change, others shutter at the whisper of the word. The truth is that some people really don’t like risk, while others thrive on it. Find balance in the energy of risk. Help teams actualize the vision.

Competition. Comparisons can sometimes feel depressing, yet competition will often spark motivation. Manage observations of competition by starting with competing against your own past performance, then work up to surpassing the competition.

Be More Compelling

Compelling is always better than force or fear. Yes, you can force people into action by causing fear, however, force and fear won’t help you with the long-run game.

Yes, accountability matters and it is sometimes the missing link. Keep in mind though, pull is better than push.

Are you in this for the short-run or the long-run?

-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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changing times

The Workplace Impact of Fear During Changing Times

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People will often quickly agree that their workplace is affected by changing times. Times, they are changing, yet what is really happening in your workplace?

Do people fear change? Largely, yes, many people are very nervous and afraid of the impact of change on their job. Everything from promotion to demotion to the possibility of being terminated.

Fear can cause action, that is an absolute. Fear as a tactic to motivate people is usually not a good idea.

Changing Times

The less people understand about change, the more likely they are to fear it. Out of fear they may suggest there are ulterior motives. Yet perhaps, they just don’t want to face the truth.

Clumped together in a group, people may feel more power to slow down the change and shift it to a different direction. The presenting factor is that the change is a bad idea, the truth may be that they fear what is proposed to happen.

A mindset of, hide in numbers, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few is their anchor.

Those who are responsible for the change have a different view. They may look for resistors. Spot them. Ask questions. Get them talking.

In this manner the resistors become known, they’re spotted, and a designated action or reaction can occur.

It is the silent resistors that are the most troublesome. They cause fear for the change leaders. The change leaders wonder, “Who doesn’t agree with this change and what do they plan to do about it?”

Truth in Change

Perhaps if there was more truth, more transparency, and more concern about the impact on human capital our workplaces wouldn’t be so harshly impacted.

People are not just a tool. They are an investment.

In a World of constant change, the status quo may carry the most risk. Protect your investment by allowing change to happen for you, not to you.

Be honest.

-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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workplace culture shift

Achieving a Workplace Culture Shift

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Interested in making some changes but struggling to figure out how? It’s not surprising that internal force is seldom as successful as consensus and buy-in. What can you do to achieve a workplace culture shift?

There are many factors that spark organizational change. Everything from government regulations, to economic conditions, to a change in organizational leadership.

Please, Not by Fear

Change is often attempted to be achieved by fear. The do it or die concept. The authoritarian approach. Make no mistake, fear can drive change but it likely won’t satisfy long-term needs or direction.

While there are many problems with change by fear, one big one is that change by fear is often not lasting. A second is, it creates a divide. An attitude of us against them. You don’t care about me so I don’t care about you. 

Picking a fight. Dominating with authority. Drawing a line in the sand. None of these will likely leave you with a prosperous and engaged team.

The drama may be interesting but unlikely to change minds, attitudes, or expectations.

Workplace Culture Shift

A better way to achieve a workplace culture shift is to find common ground. Explore options as a team. Discuss possible outcomes and be sure that everyone understands the strategic intent.

Your best shift will occur when the team has examined the options, understands the purpose of a new direction, and agrees that the new path is a good one. Easy and quick to achieve? No, not usually. Worthwhile? Absolutely!

Changing views and changing minds is hard if not nearly impossible. Having team members explore and understand directional choices while finding grounds for agreement is, as they say, “Priceless.”

Picking a fight or pushing people around with authority will likely not create the shift you desire.

-DEG

Do you need some help with strategic direction, implementing a change, or getting buy-in? I can help. Please contact me to start a conversation.

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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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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need training

They Need Training, As The Leader I Don’t

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More common than you may think, the finger is pointing the wrong way. It seems pretty silly, but authority often gives the power of the point. Pointing to this, or pointing to that, and proclaiming a lack of change is the problem. Does your organization need training?

Adapt or Change

One often forgotten part of training is that training means change. Sometimes the boss will point out who needs training, but in his or her mind that means everyone else needs to adapt to their style and way of doing things.

This could be a great idea. It could also be a voice that screams divide and conquer. Conformity under duress is not consensus.

Scorned Employees

Many organizations have scorned employee teams. Employees who have been punished for trying a new way, expressing a different thought, or not abiding by the directions of the boss. Certainly, this may be a balancing act for any employee, and for their boss.

The best path, the one that feels safe, is the path of not too much or too little, just the right amount.

Why are employees sometimes punished for trying to make things better? Is it fear that causes the punishment?

Fear of Inferior

I will never forget the boss who wouldn’t participate in the playful online IQ test. The boss who shared with me how he will have to, “knock her down a few pegs,” because she spoke out of turn in a meeting. And a boss who advised your only role in the meeting is to listen, not contribute.

Another all-time favorite for the list are the bosses who want assessments for the team but are absolutely not interested the same assessment for themselves.

There are countless times that a business owner has recommended training when the front-line team is not the only place that training is needed.

Need Training

There are so many ways to engage, to inspire, and to lead. The small business owner, the boss, or the otherwise noted workplace leader should recommend training and be open to employee development. Not doing so would be such a waste.

One question the leader should always ask, “Are WE getting better?”

Training applies to everyone.

– 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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Customer Service breakthroughs

Customer Service Breakthroughs Are Limited By Fear

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Often we are told to confront our fears, try something new, something different and to break bad habits or worn out traditions. Could it be true that customer service breakthroughs are limited by fear?

In a service driven economy, the most important cultural value for your organization may be customer service. Many organizations say that they are excellent at this, no need to really change or improve, we’ve got this.

The reality is that the organization never decides about good or bad. They never decide about effectiveness or satisfaction, the customer does.

Best Work

The best organizations do the best work because they care. Not because they say that they care, but because they show that they care. It isn’t really a token, a free item, some coupons, or a survey. It is what the customer feels.

Creating exceptional customer service programs comes with a price. Often organizations know what needs to be done but they are afraid to absorb the cost. There is fear that the cost will not yield the return on investment.

Organizations consider that they could:

  • Wash the customer’s car after servicing it, but that costs.
  • Gift-wrap special purchases, but that costs.
  • Turn up the heat, or turn on the air conditioner, but that costs.

Good Service Costs

The fear in any of these scenarios is that once you start you have to continue. Often there is consideration in doing it for the exception, which seems like a good return on investment.

That is our best customer. Wash her car before she picks it up.

It is the holiday season; ask customers if they want gift-wrapping.

The temperatures are going to be really high today maybe we should run the air conditioner but only during the dinner hour.

Customer Service Breakthroughs

Organizations feel that they care, but when they only care sometimes, the customer often doesn’t share in that feeling. For the organization when it is a one and done, it feels okay, but replicating it over and over again feels like too much risk.

What your organization does next to create a culture of caring will not have much to do with what it knows how to do.

It will have everything to do with what it fears.

– 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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Fear become habit appreciative Strategies

Can Fear Become a Habit, Should It?

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Workplace motivation is stimulated by many factors. Leaders in the workplace are striving for good habits that have positive reinforcement so that success is achieved. Fear is an emotional response and is often an inappropriate motivator. Can fear become an inappropriate habit?

Fear is powerful. There really shouldn’t be much confusion about that. We see fear in action as a motivator all the time.

A storm is coming, better get to the store.

Get the flu shot; you don’t want to get sick.

I’ve heard sales are down, make sure you look busy.

All three of these examples may have relevance and the intended action may even be a good idea, but what is the motivator? Yes, exactly, it is fear.

Facing the Truth

Sometimes facing the truth can be fearful, but often fear will cause action. It is an emotional choice. We may confuse it with a business only (no emotion) decision, but it is still about fear.

Fear isn’t always a bad motivator. Sometimes we have to face our fears in order to achieve more. When we risk little or nothing about the same amount of growth will occur, little or none. Risk involves fear.

Fear and Growth

Admitting the risk, accepting the fear, even saying it aloud may not be a bad thing. Writing it on the white board during the meeting may be exactly the point you need to make. Groan through it or grow through it, warriors on your team will choose growth.

Scaring people into performing with threats is probably never a good idea. Facing fear for growth is powerful.

Should Fear Become Habit?

Moderation may be the key for success. Telling yourself or your team repeatedly to be afraid may make fear become a habit. It may signal the habit of, never leave the comfort zone because it is far too scary. This is likely a habit you’ll want to avoid.

Be brave, speak of the challenge, accept it and grow. Fear as a habit will likely leave you behind.

– 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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Motivation moments

Motivation Moments, Fear, and Desire

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Motivation is really interesting. People sometimes argue about motivation, what works, and what doesn’t. I often suggest that in the workplace people can be motivated through fear or inspiration. Of course, we should be compelled to motivate through inspiration. Have you thought about motivation moments?

Fear or Desire

Consider some of these of moments:

  • The biggest order you’ve ever received
  • Watching a co-worker being escorted off the property
  • A colleague being promoted
  • The CEO being fired
  • Announcement of hiring 10% more staff
  • A new computer system
  • It’s Friday, or Monday
  • A birthday party for Susan, but not for Jack
  • Anger about receiving too many phone calls
  • A calendar appointment for a four hour meeting
  • Your annual review is today
  • You just received your annual bonus
  • The company has been sold
  • People in business suits hanging around that you don’t recognize
  • Your job description was changed

Motivation in the workplace has much to do with the organizational culture and climate. It is the actions and behaviors of the group that produce the results. We may ask the question, “What is our focus?” Recognizing that what we focus on is what we get.

Movement is important, so is momentum. Your workplace should be filled with action. What may be most important is understanding the triggers for action. Fear drives change, but so does the hope, faith, and belief in positive change because it is admirable or desirable.

Motivation Moments

People may hurry across the train tracks because there is a something they are excited about on the other side. They may also move fast to get across the tracks when they see a train coming, not thinking or caring about what is on the other side.

Organizational leaders should think carefully about how they motivation moments. The message sent becomes part of the culture. Perception is reality, and fear as well as the desire for positive gain are both motivators.

Keep in mind that fear may cause action, but people sometimes discover what is on the other side is not desirable.

What motivation moments have you spotted recently?

– DEG

Originally posted on October 5, 2017, last updated on February 7, 2020.

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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