Tag Archives: focus

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framed decisions

Framed Decisions Condition Future Outcomes

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Everyone wants to make good decisions. Are you decisive or indecisive? Will framed decisions make a difference?

The easy answer is, they always do.

Perhaps the next question should be, how?

Without careful consideration everyone is making their decisions or choices within a frame. Framing a problem is generally constructive, it helps create focus and piece together the best possible solution. Decisions are made within the frame.

When you expand or contract the frame, the picture and outcomes may change.

“I want a new cell phone,” is very different from, “I want a new Samsung cell phone.” It’s different because the frame is different.

How are you framing the decisions that you make?

Framed Decisions

The decisions you make and the frame you place around options and choices are part of a compromise. You are compromising on future outcomes and directions based on the frame.

The compromise can make a decision come to a conclusion, or it can prolong a decision creating a lack of commitment.

Framing your decision alters the possibilities and future outcomes.

It is true for deciding what you’ll have for dinner and it is true for the scope of your marketing plan.

It is always important to establish a frame. The frame helps guide clarity and it also will limit the possibilities. Limiting the possibilities can be constructive, or if brainstorming, perhaps not so constructive.

What you do next for your career or your organization will have a lot to do with your frame.

Consider setting the size of you frame appropriate for the pursuit of your vision. No limits doesn’t always mean no limits, sometimes it means reaching beyond your frame.

-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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work from home

5 Tips To Help You Work From Home

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There are some people who just realized their dream opportunity. Largely, this sudden shift may feel more like a nightmare to many people. Are you prepared to work from home?

More or less I have worked from home for the past 14 years. I’ve had part-time offices out of my home and spent many hours onsite at client locations. However, when I’m grinding out new content, writing, studying, and preparing for deliveries, I’m often at home.

Work From Home

First, let me say that there are pros and cons. I spent over 20 years working in conventional workplace settings. I definitely recognize both sides of this story.

Solitude can drive you mad. Yes, it seems kinda cool at first, but after some time you miss the interactions and sometimes the climate of a face-to-face team. There is also no one immediately available to bounce ideas off of, except for your plant or a family pet.

Let me jump right in. Here are five tips to help you get started, stay productive, and not feel like you’re totally alone.

  1. Set a schedule. Planning to do things when you get around to it is probably a bad idea. If you’re planning to do some wash, run the vacuum, or get a snack for the kids you are best to plan around a schedule. A schedule keeps you focused during high energy times of the day and helps you avoid time sucking distractions. Productivity is going to be important so set a schedule.
  2. Prepare a work space. A home office is ideal. However, you can also use your kitchen island, a coffee table, or a stand up desk by using your ironing board. Your best work is going to occur if you can establish a place to setup and keep it somewhat permanent. Using your laptop on your recliner may work for processing some email but your best work is going to occur from a little bit more rigid work space.
  3. Block out distractions. It may feel pretty cool to have the news on the TV, or be jamming to music so loud that the neighbors can hear it, but these are largely distractions. While everyone is different and some will think that they work better with these distractions I encourage you to think twice. Every time you pause to think about something else, something different, or throw in the next load of laundry you are wasting time and more importantly energy.
  4. Take some breaks. A break is not necessarily a distraction. It can be an energizer. It can also be very healthy both emotionally and physically. Your best-case scenario is to plan your breaks. Set a timer and forget about it until you are alerted. You could take break every hour or every two or three. They are important and don’t skip too many.
  5. Teamwork. If you you’re working remotely with a team a great energizer is to plan for team calls or video chats. One way is to plan a call for every two hours. The team quickly assembles at the appropriate time and in a round-robin approach you take turns talking about what you accomplished since you last spoke and what you plan to accomplish in the next time slot. This call should last no more than 15 minutes. It is a quick huddle, and energizer, and a great way to hold each other accountable.

Working from home is just that, it’s work. Yes, you may be able to dress down a bit and yes, you may have some additional flexibility but there is still plenty of work to be done so don’t coast.

-DEG

You may also be interested in the Managing Remote Work Teams or Master Your Work From Home Environment webinar(s).

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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urgent work

Urgent Work Is a Different Priority

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How do you decide what is going to get done? Are you doing urgent work or just work that feels like it should get done?

One decision you make almost every day is closely connected to what happens next.

What are your priorities?

Your Priorities

Will you brush your teeth first, get dressed, or take a shower? What is your priority?

Will you grab a coffee at work, report to your work area, or discuss the latest news with a colleague? What is most important? What is urgent?

There are lots of ways to determine priorities. Often it is driven by some form of need. However, the need is not always the same as what you or others want.

You also likely factor in the concept of what you should do.

I should…

Go to the gym after work.

Tidy up this mess before doing anything else.

Finish the report before the meeting on Wednesday.

When you consider the should factor, you may discover that should isn’t always the most important or urgent. Should is often considered a nicety.

In the workplace, or in your community, you’re often challenged by trying to decide on the right things to work on. What is the most urgent?

Will finishing the report early help my coworkers? Does that rise to the level of urgency?

Is picking up trash in the park more urgent than working on a campaign to help shelter the homeless?

Urgent Work

People often decide on what they’ll work on next by the urgency that they perceive about the importance of the task.

Individual perceptions which are often driven by group dynamics, peer pressure, and even the media affect your sense of urgency.

The next time you want something to happen you may want to consider how others may perceive the sense of urgency. Urgent work always seems to take a priority.

It’s not the squeaky wheel, but it may be the sneaky wheel.

Understand your priorities.

-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 role perspective

Job Role Perspective Matters More Than You Realize

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What is your job role perspective? What is inside your frame, or what is out of bounds? Your focus and perspective will condition everything that happens next.

Many people have commented on the perception of how small our world really is.

Small World

You believe you have an uncommon name. You do a Google search and discover there are many others with the same name living in the same State as you.

Living in Vermont you decide to travel to Orlando. On the Disney Monorail you meet someone from your small hometown.

Your cousin who lives 100 miles away is getting married. You discover her future husband is the brother of your high school classmate.

There are so many things that make your world seem very small.

The same can be said of the work you do. It is true for your job role and your perspective.

Many workplace professionals feel overwhelmed with data. Too many email messages, too many database entries, too many options and too little time.

Your most recent Google search returns more than 2 million possible results.

It’s all so overwhelming.

Narrow Your Frame

What many people finally discover is that when they narrow their frame, things seem to fit.

It is about focus. Too scattered, too broad, and it becomes harder to comprehend or make sense.

Your job role has similar challenges.

When you choose to get caught up in the drama the information broadens. There is confusion between fact and opinion. What to believe and when?

Throughout the day, a meeting here or there, and then another right after. A conference call, an unexpected problem, and someone waiting to see you.

Overwhelmed, you seek shelter. A retreat, a pull-back, you just want to slow-things down for a few minutes.

This is all about your frame. The perspective of the work that you do.

Job Role Perspective

As you read this, millions of people around the world are reading too. There is no possible way you will ever read every sentence of every word they are reading.

People are typing, clicking, pressing enter or tapping send. They’re uploading content, downloading images, and calling a friend.

All of it is too big to get your arms around. The frame is too big.

When you start to feel overwhelmed remind yourself that you have the ability to adjust your frame.

One thing at a time.

Keep it all in perspective.

Stay focused. Millions of things are happening around you, but right now, for you, it is simply one thing.

-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 complacency

Workplace Coasting Is a Downhill Slide

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Is workplace coasting dangerous? It definitely may be a downhill slide.

Statistics show us that motivation and engagement drop drastically after the first six months on the job. That slide continues until about year six, seven, or eight, when somewhat surprisingly things start to pick up.

Of course, it is a stat, and not applicable to everyone.

Caught in a Trap

There is a trap. A trap connected to comfort and complacency.

Eventually, many people find themselves just trying to make it through each day. They show up, get some stuff done, and coast.

Certainly, they don’t always recognize that they are coasting. Their belief often is that they are making appropriate contributions. They insist they are committed and working hard.

In some ways, they might be. Yet, in other ways, they may really be coasting.

Workplace Coasting

Stretch a conversation about commitment and complacency far enough and you’ll find people who insist that their continued commitment outweighs any coasting.

I come in fifteen minutes early every day so I also leave fifteen minutes early.

What’s in the break room for breakfast? I’m hungry this morning?

Let’s find a conference to go to. I need a few days out of the office.

Harmless norms? Harmless, yes, in simple terms they probably are. Norms, I’m not so certain.

Nothing wrong with some flex scheduling, yet, often the flex becomes more favorable to the employee instead of the business.

Breakfast, as a general rule, should be consumed before the start of your work shift. Not used as an excuse to stall on the work that awaits you.

Conferences largely should be about employee or business development. Not a mini-vacation on the company dime.

These may all be considered forms of coasting. Just cruising along. Getting by.

Coasters Surprise

Often coasting is met with a surprise. The company is bought, sold, or now under new management. Jobs are changing. People are being rearranged. Perhaps a time of growth, or worse, a time of decline.

This is when coasters get burned.

While they were coasting others continued to peddle.

Life or careers don’t always seem fair.

Keeping peddling because coasting will only take you downhill.

-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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complicated stories

Long And Complicated Stories Affect Decisions

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About to make a big decision? Do you find yourself stuck behind long and complicated stories? What stories are you telling yourself?

When someone asks you about a project, a situation, or a surprising outcome that they’ve heard through the grapevine is there a story behind it?

In many circumstances, there is.

Whenever you are facing a challenging decision, especially one that appears to have long-term effects on the future, there might be a story.

That doesn’t make the situation any more unique. It does often mean that there are numerous pros and cons. So many, in fact, that it makes the choice that much harder.

Big Decisions

In decision making many people will often suggest listing the pros and cons.

When you make a list, you can more clearly see the appropriate direction. This does sometimes help, but what often happens is that this exercise brings more focus.

When you focus on the main point. The area that may seem to have the most benefit or worst consequence the story gets shorter. Shorter means you have less anxiety and less pressure on the decision.

Complicated Stories

Sometimes the decision that has been chronically delayed needs to narrow down to one point on either side. The reason for and the reason against. Everything else is just making it more complicated.

There is often a third point though, and that third option is to stay on course, don’t make a new or different decision.

Choices can be tough. Big decisions feel hard to make.

You always want to be sure you make the right one.

Sometimes it helps to consider that the next big decision you make will absolutely be the right decision at the moment you make it.

Life is fluid. Don’t over complicate it.

-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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clear focus

Clear Focus, Do You Have It or Need It?

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People often suggest the importance of focus. Yet, in many cases our efforts are more scattered. Do you have a clear focus?

Focus may be more than just concentration. It may be more than suggesting that the prize is right around the corner, more than when the number of pieces expected is realized, and greater than the goal that was suggested last week.

Your vision may be about focus, yet, people often find themselves wondering if their focus is appropriate.

Scattered Approaches

We can do many things in a scattered approach. Commonly, people believe that when they attack many things, they’ll get more done and success will be theirs. In contrary, they often come to realize that while pursing many things, they’ve failed to do anything.

We see it in marketing and advertising. We have an entire world of opportunity through social media. It seems the approach sometimes is to just spread the word. We have world-of-mouth, instead of just the old, word-of-mouth.

The thought is more people seeing our offerings will make more people connect. Yet, this is only true if it is of value or interest to them.

We see it in our workplace. People striving to get ahead. They want to make a difference for their career, increase their opportunities, and find greater success. Their plan? Try to do lots and lots of things, something will help me get discovered. The scattered result is that nothing sticks.

Clear Focus

Seth Godin, offers an interesting question, “Which is closer, the sun or Buffalo, NY?”

No matter where you live, Buffalo, NY is closer. It is a fact, a guarantee. Yet everyone living outside of Buffalo cannot see it. A quick glance to an unclouded sky during daylight hours and you’ll be able to spot the sun.

Offering ice to the Eskimo, milk to a dairy farmer, or steel toed work boots to a ballet dancer may not get you the results you are hoping for. Just because you can see them doesn’t mean it’s a good venture.

Focus will yield more than scattered chances.

It’s true for whatever you’re selling.

-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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work habits

Work Habits Help You Get Ahead

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Have you examined your work habits? Not the special things that happen once in a great while, but true habits?

Society is often focused on the shiny object. The person with the highest score, the prettiest face, and the most notable position. Similar to how things often go in our workplace too.

Chasing Shiny Objects

Winners are important, but sometimes the person in the spotlight is not the only person working hard. Discouragement may come to mind when everyone other than the shiny object person gets the spotlight.

It’s important to consider because only a select few get the spotlight, yet the work contributions of the many have substantial impact.

Lots of students play high school sports, only a few go on to professional sports success. There are plenty of engineers, attorneys, and PhD’s, yet only a few may be highly recognized or achieve the headliner of, “Award Winning.”

You don’t have to be a farmer to have a patio garden. You may build a dog house but not be a carpenter. Driving to work every day doesn’t mean you’re ready for the NASCAR circuit.

Work Habits

As the supervisor, manager, or team leader in your workplace you may not get as much bling as the CEO or President. The same is true for every employee. Yet, your contributions every day will matter.

The work you’ll do today and every day across time adds up. It adds up for your career, and it adds up for the success of the business or organization.

Doing what you do matters. Doing it consistently across time matters even more.

When you want to get ahead, achieving the shiny object may not be the best focal point. Recognizing the outcomes from your efforts and contributions across time may be very rewarding, without even without the bling.

See it for yourself.

Help others do the same.

-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 calamity

Workplace Calamity Should Be Avoided

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Smooth sailing is what most people desire. Things are a lot more productive without workplace calamity. Are things going smooth?

I believe it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

Of course, we can find a lot of metaphorical truth in that statement.

Yet, what we typically try to construct are processes and systems to keep things calm.

Many years ago, there was a warehousing and manufacturing buzz term, “just in time.” It is still true today, only today it is often considered a common sense practice.

As an example, just in time inventory helps keep costs lower and efficiencies higher. Having only what you need when you need it makes sense.

In practice it is a system. A design that will keep everything running smooth.

Systems don’t always fit every scenario, but they often work well for operations.

Workplace Calamity

People factors can wreak havoc on systems. Assuming that the decisions, emotions, and experiences of people will fit nicely into a tight system can be a big mistake.

However, having a frame or guideline can still be helpful.

Systems, metrics, and measurements are helpful for keeping many things in check.

One of the biggest benefits to a good system is that it makes things easier. It keeps the sea’s calmer.

When you step outside of the system, and this happens often, it rocks the boat a little bit. The waters are not so calm. Things blow up, get embellished, and often become far more dramatic.

The key then, or so it seems, is to keep the calamity out of our workplace. It won’t be effortless, but it will be worth it.

-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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shiny object

Shiny Object Chasing and Your Focus

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Are you focused on what needs to be accomplished? Do you go after the shiny object?

Many workplaces are filled with drama. Stepping back and looking at the drama we may realize that it is the excitement or interest that is attractive. The gossip, the mismanaged conflict, or the turmoil.

 

It may seem polite to ask someone about their day.

How’s it going?

What are you up to?

Did you have a good day?

Sometimes we listen and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes the question is asked only in an attempt to break the ice. In other cases, it is asked to create a distraction, shift the focus, or break up the monotony.

Describing What’s Interesting

When people respond about their day, they are often telling their story. Perhaps an attention capturing story. Responding with my day is, “okay,” is very different from, “I’m about to flip out on the boss.”

The shiny object syndrome applies to our workplace life in many ways. It is often suggested that this syndrome means we can’t focus and we’re always chasing something new, different, or presumably more attractive.

As soon as you start a conversation about focus it won’t be long until someone brings up ADD or ADHD. Certainly, this could apply to those who truly have a professional medical diagnosis. However, for everyone, what you focus on is what you get.

Shiny Object Chasing

What you focus on becomes a core part of the story you tell. The story you tell is your narrative. It is how you see and describe what is happening for you and those around you.

Chances are good that everyone has a part of their day that is both good and bad. Sometimes the good things just don’t seem as exciting as the bad.

Instead of looking for what is bad, try looking for what is good. Don’t let the shiny objects be the ones tarnished with doom and gloom. Don’t allow the most exciting things to be made of self-destruction, or worse, team destruction.

There is nothing shiny about gossip, mismanaged conflict, and turmoil.

Stay focused on things that positively, not negatively, are shiny.

-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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