Tag Archives: focus

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future energy

Future Energy Spent Today is More Productive

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Do you have a full plate? Are you spending your future energy on something meaningful? Are you fighting today’s fires with little regard to what will matter next year?

Often work feels daunting. It is easy to get stressed out when pressure is applied. Anxiety levels go up and often your feeling of being able to cope with the rising challenge goes down.

What are you stressing about today? What is on your plate for this week, next week, and the coming month? Have you considered what emergencies might arise?

Strategic Outcomes

In your workplace, a sense of urgency can sometimes be helpful. It keeps people focused and gives a specific purpose to accomplish specific work in a specific timeline. Focus is good, it always beats the alternative.

How are you spending your energy? Is anxiety eating you alive or do you feel more in control?

Outside of a life changing event, can you remember any of the things that made you nervous or anxious a year ago? Is the analogy of fighting fires wearing you down?

For most people, looking back, they couldn’t tell you about a specific time when they were running late, had a typo in the client proposal, or blurted out something in a meeting that they later regretted.

Yet in those moments, a year ago, you spent a lot of energy worrying about those outcomes. Yes, the outcomes still matter, and yes, we should learn from mistakes and try to improve. Yet, there may be a better way to spend your energy.

Future Energy

The short-run game can be dangerous. It is a fire-fighting approach. When the emergency happens, we react.

Certainly, within the bounds of your strategy the short-run game is executed. Your strategy should allow for some fluidity, and as changes pop-up you’ll have to pivot.

The other end of the continuum is the long-run game. Strategy for the long-run game leverages future energy today.

Instead of looking back and wondering what mattered last year and then asking yourself, “How did I get here?” It may be better to ask, “What impact can I make today, that will still matter, or be even more important next year?”

Long-run games require more patience. They also require commitment and focus.

-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 comparison

Workplace Comparison and Judgement

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The conversation often starts with a workplace comparison. Someone else did it wrong, someone else had permission, or everybody does it.

Often it seems we live life in comparison. The grass is always greener. Someone else was lucky, or they must come from money.

The Illusion of Shortcuts

It may be a way to create blame or it may be a way explain shortcomings. It may also be a lure into the trap that shortcuts exist and the best way to get ahead is knowing how to navigate them.

When you look for the bad, the things that could go wrong, or a reason why it won’t work, you’ll likely find it. Finding someone or some circumstance to blame may be self-protection or it may create a reason to give up before you get started.

Careers have a beginning and an ending, and a whole lot of stuff that happens in the middle. You work for a paycheck, job satisfaction, or to make a difference.

You also probably wonder from time-to-time if you are getting left behind.

There are some guarantees. One guarantee is that when you compare your life’s work against another’s, you’ll find some differences.

Workplace Comparison

Some people are worn out, tired, and want a break. Some will cite fear, hesitation, and hurry as the cause for their outcome.

There will still be other onlookers who claim the shortcut was the reason.

The shortcut is an illusion. An assumption that because you know now, and didn’t before, you’ll be able to get there quicker.

Speed may matter, and so will timing.

Comparison over action may be similar to a dog chasing its tail, or the rocking chair on the front porch. Lots of activity, things in motion, but no one is going anywhere.

Shortcuts are often an illusion and so is the comparison.

Reserve judgment and stay focused.

-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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wide focus

Are You Using a Wide Focus or Narrow?

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There is a mindset today, more is better. Certainly, more can make a difference but it may not always be the path to greatness. Is your focus wide, big, or for everyone? What is better a wide focus or narrow and targeted?

Wide Focus

Bernie Sanders wrote a book and sold a lot of copies. Part of his recently self-proclaimed millionaire status seemingly developed from book sales.

Someone creates a YouTube video and they hope that it goes viral bringing fast notoriety and perhaps some wealth thereafter.

It is also true for many social media posts, the podcast, and the daily blog. More hits, a bigger audience, and therefore, success.

In some of these cases, the popular approach or thought is, “Go as big and wide as possible, attract everyone!”

It seems to make sense. Create a sensation, a wave, and an overnight success.

Is Narrow Better?

If mom and pops dinner, with seating to accommodate 75, suddenly had 250 people show up for breakfast, it would be a problem.

When the small bar in Nashville reaches capacity, those who can’t enter have a different experience.

When the Boeing 737-800 reaches 162 passengers, no more will fit. The flight may be oversold. Anxious and angry passengers are the result.

Imagine the disappointment for all the kids who didn’t get a Cabbage Patch Kid, a Teddy Ruxpin, or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle because the stores sold out during the holiday season.

Wide or Narrow?

The work that you are doing right now may feel like it needs a wide focus. Yet there will still be many people and businesses who focus narrower.

The commitment is different, they scale differently, the goals and objectives hint more about quality than about quantity.

The mom and pop restaurant may win big by always being near capacity but not over. The flying experience for passengers is probably better when the flight is slightly less than sold out.

Sometimes being just right is better than being too much.

Just right will probably win the long game.

What is your plan?

-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 endurance

Workplace Endurance or Getting Through the Day?

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People often say, “I just have to make it through this day.” Does this feel like a challenge you’ve faced? Do you have workplace endurance and what is most important?

Funny, I often ask seminar participants about workplace motivation. Somewhere the obvious initial response is about money, “We have to pay the bills.”

Another question, or rabbit hole, is related to focus. Focus is critical, focus on the wrong things and you get poor results. Focus on nothing and you may get nothing.

Getting Results

In order to make it through the day people often break down their tasks or duties. Shorter vision, get through the hour, past the lunch break, and now you are more than half way through.

However, the organization often measures results across more than a single day. Results are the outcomes of each minute, hour, and day, repeated across time.

Making it through the toughest of days often conditions your success. The day we feel most challenged is the day we either decide enough is enough, or we make it through, adding to our continued contribution.

The challenge of all of this comes down to vision and focus. Often the frustrated employee has a very short vision. They believe in just making it through the day.

Workplace Endurance

What is important to keep in mind is that while making it through the day is critical, their workplace life or career is really about a bigger vision.

The contribution that you make today may be assessed, but it is your endurance, the long-term, that ultimately has the most impact.

One thousand jelly beans get in the jar, bean by bean. Your glass of water fills from the bottom up, one drop at a time. A tree grows each day, but we seldom notice, only gaining appreciation after years of making it through each day.

You’ll do something today. It is important, yet your endurance will matter the most.

-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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job appreciation

How Long Does Job Appreciation Last?

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Is appreciation important? At your workplace is job appreciation plentiful?

As with most things in life, job appreciation may be the result of our efforts.

When was the last time you heard, “Thank you, nice work!”?

This is a question I often ask in leadership or cultural development seminars. Reactions vary, but largely it stumps the group. They can’t seem to quickly remember when they’ve heard it, or said it. Some will scoff and shout, “Never!”

Good Focus

We have good days and bad days. When was the last time you said, “Thank you, you just made my day!”?

The best workplace cultures have the determination to place value on appreciation. Not to the extent that praise is overcooked and it becomes a mild form of sarcasm. It must however, have significant emphasis and focus.

We seem to remember vividly the last time someone hurt our feelings, harshly criticized our work, or when we somehow missed the big opportunity.

As a natural human reaction to avoid hurt and pain, our brains try to learn. Yet to learn, we analyze and replay those memories much more than our successes. Some would suggest we are hard-wired this way. It is our evolution, it is in our genes.

Job Appreciation

Should we make job appreciation last longer? Should we try to consciously use our energy to remember the good, relive the success, and focus vividly on accomplishments? Is giving encouragement and praise a cultural value?

The answer seems clear and easy.

In order to do this though, it requires effort and strength. It requires us to put emphasis on the positive. We need to use our energy wisely, share success, and congratulate others.

It is easy to state that you are trying to be positive. Much more difficult is putting it into motion.

In the workplace, it may start by seeing the value that everyone brings to the table. It may start by saying, “Thank you, nice work!”

-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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managing time

How Are You Managing Time?

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Time management sounds like a boring topic. It seems like everyone should just get it. We often think, “Do it right, do the right stuff, be effective and efficient.” Are you managing time properly?

What’s Your Focus?

The golden rule that we’ve all heard is that we all have the same amount of time. Certainly, it’s true. Twenty-four hours in a day, seven days a week, and we’re all counting.

Consistent with that thinking, time, it seems, isn’t really our problem. It is how we decide, or feel forced to decide, how we will spend it. What space will we occupy or what activity will we do during our time.

Here lies the real challenge. Do you have the dedication, the devotion, and the focus to really be productive? Are you committed to making the most of your time?

It may require emotional labor. Emotional labor feels hard, exhausting, and makes us question the return on investment. However, it may be necessary to make the best use of your time.

Managing Time

The first step to understanding how we manage our time comes from self-assessment. How are you utilizing your breaks? Are you taking a short brisk walk? That may be productive if you need better fitness.

What are your distractions? Are you creating them or are the result of others? Walking to the coffee pot or the break room may be a distraction. How many trips are you making?

Asking your co-worker across the cube if they watched the Grammy awards the night before, or the latest episode of the Walking Dead, or the Presidential Rally is likely inviting a delay of the real work to be done.

Assess the next three or four hours of your work. What are the time wasters? What activities are you substituting into the mix to procrastinate about the real work to be done? If you’re honest, you may be surprised.

Managing time, we all have the same amount.

-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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magic marketing

Magic Marketing for Business, Career, or Life

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It often seems like more should be better. More coffee, more dessert, or more menu options. How are sales? Are you satisfied with your career or life choices? Do you need more of something? Magic marketing could be required.

It is funny how our first approach to solving many problems is to do something more.

Is More Better?

In the workplace, when teams believe they have communication problems they often suggest more communication.

When we need more sales, we often contemplate how to increase the budget for more advertisement.

If we aren’t getting where we want to be in our career we think about more skills, more credentials, or just more job opportunities.

Sometimes this logic is known as the spray and pray approach. While I’m not sure of the exact origin of spray and pray, the analogy often described is the farmer spraying pesticides all over the field and praying that it keeps the insects away.

Another common analogy is the Chinese restaurant menu. Hundreds of options, so many that you don’t know what to choose.

More options, choices, people, jobs, careers, skills, customers, and products, none of these in more quantity may create the outcome you desire.

Magic Marketing

Is there such a thing as magic marketing?

Marketing is sometimes counterintuitive. People dream of that place where the lines of supply and demand, opportunities and sales, and job openings with applicants perfectly intersect.

In all these cases, more is not necessarily better. One job opening with the right applicant is perfect. A menu with three choices may be better than a menu with thirty-three choices.

Position your business marketing, your career pursuits, or nearly anything in life on not being more, but being better.

Magic marketing is about focus, not spray and pray.

-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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Next decision

Consider How You Will Make Your Next Decision

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We decide on things every day. What we’ll wear, eat, or do. How we’ll interact, if we’ll smile, and if we’ll take out the garage. Bigger decisions feel more challenging. How will you make your next decision?

It may come down to your list. The list you have floating around in your mind.

Our complex brain power often has us evaluating circumstances and situations through two possible narratives.

Good Narrative

One narrative is optimistic. It is the consideration of things that could go right. We reflect on possibilities, good fortune, and that it may just be our time.

We have faith and believe. In this case, at this time, luck just may be on our side. We’re due. In fact, we’re overdue.

We decide that we’ll focus on our advantages, who we can tap in our network, and we’ll see the inspirational stories flash through our mind.

By choice, we will anchor to the positive.

However, there is another narrative. It is the other side of the coin.

The Other Narrative

Any obstacles or past roadblocks will be strongly present in our vision. We’ll think more about a friend who failed, had bad luck, and the hardship and agony of things that don’t work out.

We’ll be reminded of the criticism that was on our performance review last year. The door that slammed before we could enter, and the goofy slip of the tongue that we believe cost us forward momentum once before.

By choice we’ll see the list of all the lucky people. Only we aren’t on it. We’ll choose to recite and focus that their luck is at the expense of our own.

We’ll recall the time that someone struck out at us, gave us the shaft, and made us feel like less.

Next Decision

We decide on things every day. The choices you make today will be linked to your narrative.

When you feel the big decision, have some doubt, or your instincts are kicking in. You’ll think about it over and over again.

Be aware of your narrative. Make your next decision, a good one.

-DEG

Originally posted on December 18, 2018, last updated on November 5, 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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correct lane

Are You Choosing The Correct Lane?

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For all the highway drivers out there, you know being in the correct lane is important. You would also quickly recognize that you can’t be in more than one lane at a time.

If you’re halfway in between, things aren’t so good. Not for you, and not for the other drivers sharing the road.

In business or in your career, many people talk about the idea of staying in your lane. It is a metaphorical expression mostly targeted at keeping a specific focus and not being spread or scattered to thin.

Focus is important, so is knowledge and expertise. I love the entrepreneur spirit of businesses, people, and ideas that are on the move, but is there a time to stay in your lane?

Yes, of course there is.

Which Lane?

I can read a lot medical information online. I can even manage a cut on my finger with some peroxide, antibacterial ointment, and a Band-Aid. I can tell friends to take a couple of Tylenol capsules and get some rest.

It doesn’t mean I can hang out a shingle and self-proclaim I’m a medical doctor.

Balancing my checkbook and managing a personal budget I’ve been doing since my teens.

In business, I’ve been responsible to manage multiple tens of millions of dollars. I have a solid understanding of an income statement and balance sheet. I can even explain it to others.

It doesn’t mean that I am a CPA and I should hang out a shingle and start an accounting practice.

Correct Lane

Today it is easy to hang out a shingle for just about anything. Buy a domain name, put up a website, create a Twitter and Instagram account and self-proclaim that you’re an expert and open for business.

Unless it is your focus. Unless you are committed to operating in that lane you may be better off staying positioned in the lane you are in.

Halfway in between doesn’t work out so well. Not for you, and not for others sharing the road.

-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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consistency

Consistency May Be Exactly What You Need

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People spend a lot of energy being persistent. They also spend a lot of energy being persuasive or influential. Those ideas are important but is consistency what you’re really missing?

For the marketer, the pizza shop, and the career builder, being consistent may be the most important factor you are overlooking.

Consistency matters in nearly any profession. It matters for your personal brand. It certainly matters for product quality and reputation.

Importance of Consistency

Why is consistency so important? Here are three of my favorite reasons:

  1. Trust. Consistency builds trust. When people know what to expect and when they are more trusting. It is one example of why surprises aren’t necessarily fun. It is also why the boy who cried wolf got in trouble.
  2. Accomplishment. When you have a confirmed path for a solution, consistently applying the process will allow you to achieve the goal. It is the deviation from the process, or a lack of consistency, which often slows results or creates a less desirable outcome.
  3. Promises Kept. Connected with trust, but not always the same, is keeping your promise. Your brand has a promise. You make a promise to complete the work, have high quality, and deliver on time. Insisting on consistency means expectations and perceptions become reality.

Not Scattered, More Focused

For your business or for your personal brand, consistency is sometimes overlooked or underrated. Being too scattered or lacking a focus may be exactly why your product is not chosen or the job opportunity is missed.

Consistency helps everyone understand and identify exactly what is in the box. It builds confidence. Confidence is connected to our emotions, so is the choice that buyers or hiring agents make.

Is consistency exactly what you need?

-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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