Tag Archives: focus

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hard part

The Hard Part, How Does It Impact Your Project?

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Have you been thinking about the hard part? Do you tackle the hard part first or do you get the easy stuff out of the way?

A better question to ask might be, “What is it about the hard part that makes it so difficult?”

Results are results. The outcome that you seek, or that the project commands is typically predetermined. Contrary to some scattered opinions, most projects have an end in mind.

Is the challenge about the time commitment or is it a skills gap? Does it require extra resources or financial support or is it just viewed as not so easy?

Have you considered what changes would make it better?

Hard Part

Sometimes the hard part feels like the scary part. It is the part that you have been procrastinating about. It might be avoided, put off, or granted the wish of disappearance.

Disappearance seldom occurs.

Perhaps breaking it down, creating smaller pieces would provide more focus and keep things moving. Would that make it better, easier?

One of the hardest things about the hard part is maintaining your commitment.

Doing the work is part of it, yet, having the skills and resources may also be a sticking point.

Making your work better will always have an impact on the project outcomes. When the toughest parts get easier the return on investment improves.

It seems that the magic of the project is always assessed by the difficulty encountered.

Making the toughest stuff easier is likely the pathway you seek.

Avoidance and delays always require more resources.

Don’t add to the difficulty.

-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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right attitude

Right Attitude, Is It About Your Mood?

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Do you have the right attitude? How would you measure that? Is attitude a mood, or is it a personality?

Describe the right attitude.

Would you suggest that means you should be friendly, kind, and have a propensity to serve?

You might.

What actions would illustrate those observable behaviors?

When you tell someone to have a nice day, in a pleasant tone of voice and while smiling does that send the right message?

It might, unless the conditions suggest that it may be sarcasm or ridicule.

When someone suggests a person has the wrong attitude it might be an observable opinion, which is much different from observable behavior.

Your mood may be a cause for your actions. Feeling angry, you may let other people know you are angry. Feeling happy, you may want to spread it around, get others involved, and share that experience.

How do you establish the right attitude or mood?

It may be what you focus on that creates the end result.

Right Attitude

Let’s assume you want to have a great day. Do you establish a pattern of actions, behaviors, and thought that conditions your day to be great?

The daily grind of your work can slowly erode the number of good vibes and replace them with thoughts of circumstances or situations that will ruin your day.

The boss is going to come look over my shoulder and tell me I’m doing this wrong.

I’m going to have to pick up the pieces and stay late because another team member is going to be goofing off all day.

The place across the street pays more, why should I stay here and have to work so hard?

How can you change this plight? How can you ensure a more positive attitude?

The simplest way may be stop counting the bad vibes and only focus on the good vibes.

You can do that by creating a win list. Write down the good stuff, regardless of how small. The act of writing it down will help replace any bad thoughts with more focus on the good. Better yet, put it on a whiteboard so the entire team can establish a similar focus.

Consistently being in a bad mood will create the perception of a bad attitude.

You can’t afford either.

-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 reach

Workplace Reach, How Far Can You Stretch?

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How far is your workplace reach? Are you navigating stretch goals or really just cruising within your comfort zone? What does your boss, the investors, or your valued customers expect?

Have you ever received motivational advice?

Shoot for the Moon.

Reach for the Stars.

Buck the odds.

Does it work?

In marketing efforts, a common perception is that more is better. More email messages, more website options, more visitors, and more sales. It only seems logical that having a great reach will yield greater results.

It’s popular for news casting television show hosts to write a book. They may mention their book once or twice on the air. Viewers are in the millions of people. Likely, it becomes a best seller. The numbers are in their favor.

Not everything always works with large numbers though. Large numbers can be a distraction.

Mailing a postcard to every household in your county might seem like a good idea. However, if its swimming trunks in Alaska the response might not be favorable.

Going hunting on a one-hundred-acre game preserve probably increases your odds. Going hunting on the open range of two-thousand acres, not so much.

Your reach often determines your results, yet more reach isn’t always better.

Workplace Reach

It’s a good idea to have stretch goals. Going big or going home seems somewhat inspiring in certain situations.

What would you sooner do? Cast a wide net into the ocean or use a hand-held minnow net in a 5-gallon aquarium?

There is a parallel to this for your success. It may be metaphorical, but it applies.

Focusing on specific items you know will please the boss may be a much better strategy when compared with doing a whole lot of things and counting on the idea that your boss might like at least one of them.

It’s true for customers too. You can add ten options to your product, yet that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll sell more. Add the one feature that is many agree is missing and it’s a big hit.

Your ability to stretch matters. Your ability to focus on the one thing that matters the most will probably yield better results.

Don’t waste your time or get caught up in more is better.

Often better, is better.

-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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workflow

Workflow Is What You May Need More Of

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It’s a catchy phrase. It feels meaningful, efficient, and has a sense of urgency. What is your workflow and is it both effective and efficient?

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of digital work with camera’s and recordings. While it is not my core competence, I’ve been working with pro/prosumer camera’s and voice recorders consistently across the last decade or so.

Today, with broadcasting and streaming being a requirement for education, training, and speaking I find myself consumed with technology. It’s welcomed and interesting and all the while I’m being challenged to learn more.

Professional photographers, cinematographers, and voice and sound experts commonly use the term workflow.

Workflow represents many things, but for most of them, this has to do with the skill and art of creating digital video and audio, moving it to post-production, and alas creating a video component suitable for public viewing. It’s workflow.

What does your workflow look like?

Good Workflow

Have you thought about how your days start, how they progress, and how you finish them up?

People will often suggest that your day starts with attitude and a plan. Are you good on both?

What things derail your performance?

Is it traffic, people, or the lack of a caffeinated beverage? Are you properly hydrated, fueled, and well-rested?

Staying focused, persistent, and energized can be a challenge. Slow starts and hard stops are often problematic.

Are you getting it right?

Everyone has their own version of workflow. It may be different for the construction worker, to the graphic designer, or from the baker, to the convenience store manager.

One constant remains though, they all move from point A to to point B.

Only some flow.

-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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wishful thinking

Wishful Thinking In The Workplace Is What You Need

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Wishing someone to “get well soon” seems helpful. Depending on the results, wishing for sunshine instead of rain, or warm weather instead of bitter cold may also feel good. Does wishful thinking change the outcomes in your workplace?

You may want to start with consideration for the reality of the wish. Wishing to lose weight while consuming several donuts and a sugared-up tall coffee may not make much difference.

It may not be realistic to wish for a winning lottery ticket, for someone to do your household chores, or that all the traffic lights will be green when you approach the intersection.

Wishing for someone to have a great weekend, a happy birthday, or a happy anniversary is a generous act. It is a kind gesture and it feels good.

Does wishful thinking help create business success, or is it really only for feel-good cheer?

Wishful Thinking

In the workplace, it may be beneficial to make wishes count. Certainly, far-out wishes that are unrealistic are not useful. In fact, they may even be counter-productive.

Wishing that sales will increase is a dangerous game without a strategy and tactics to pursue it. It’s similar to wishing that the quality will be good, customers will be happy, and that everything will go exactly as you expected.

If you don’t have a good plan, it is likely that very little will happen.

Wishing is not a plan.

It’s an act that provides focus, gives people something to look forward to, and may change future outcomes.

When there is a stretch goal, wishing for it to be achieved makes it much more likely than denying it as a possibility.

When others see the potential outcome as possible, team momentum gains strength. When people remove hurdles, go around customer satisfaction roadblocks, and strive to deliver the very best, positive things will happen.

Does wishing change outcomes?

Changing Outcomes

You aren’t going to change the weather, purchase the winning lottery ticket, or magically lose weight with a wish.

On the flip side, when you have a well-thought-out and well-executed plan that includes the necessary resources, one of the best things you can do is wish for great success.

A wish may be all that it takes to make others believe that it can come true.

Wishful thinking creates focus.

Focusing on the plan may be exactly what you need.

-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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focus approach

Focus Approach, What Has Your Attention?

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Do you have a focus approach? Do you decide what to focus on or do you allow it to simply unfold? Is it the squeaky wheel kind of focus?

Loud noises (or voices), shiny objects, and the things that are overdue. All of them may capture your attention. Are they all the most valuable areas of focus at the moment or are they distracting you from your goals?

Many people are conditioned to pay attention to the noisiest item in the room. Is that you?

Change often means discomfort. It is scary, it makes you nervous and afraid. Because of the heightened awareness, it causes you to focus on it. It is a good thing when the change is positive and can blossom from your added energy.

What about the things that never seem to change?

Focus Approach

Often the bad boss doesn’t get better, he or she simply garnishes more reinforcement that their behaviors are what gets the job done.

There are cliques at work. The drama king or queen, and those who seemingly escape the pain of effort while others suffer in silence.

What about the traffic at the intersection? The driver who turns to the left just before making that sharp right turn, or the people blocking the isles at the grocery store and causing you more frustration while seemingly wasting your time.

You may have your own list. A list of pet peeves, the things that really annoy you and yet they attract your attention. Your energy is spent on negativity as you look on with disagreement or frustration.

Do you have enough in your reserves to keep your goals in sight? Are you able to avoid the squeaky wheel that shouldn’t get the grease?

Instead of spending your energy on the co-worker with bad habits, or getting upset about the news media’s spin on a subject you feel strongly about, keep your own focus.

What if you worked harder by staying invested in the emotional labor of not being distracted from your true goals?

Whatever direction you are looking is likely where you’ll end up.

-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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communication rhythms

Communication Rhythms May Be Where To Start

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

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

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

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

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

It impacts everything, but how?

Communication Rhythms

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get a new beat.

-DEG

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


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focus forward

Focus Forward Because You Guide What’s Next

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Are you uncertain about what happens next? Your best choice is to focus forward.

Often people or entire groups are hesitant to make a change or perhaps they’re anxious about keeping things the same. Most of our human nature links us to favoring consistency. Many people find comfort in things that are consistent and unchanged.

What happens when you don’t know what happens next?

Next is Scary

Usually, you strive to find the answer, you analyze or over-analyze the possible outcomes. It may be easier to place emphasis on your fears instead of on the possibility of something better emerging.

To put it all another way, there is comfort in knowing for certain what the playing field looks like next. What the rules will be, and how you can interact to survive and thrive.

It happens when you get a new boss. It happens when you get a promotion or move to a different employer. When the company changes ownership, merges, or gets acquired by another.

Perhaps not surprising it even happens when there is only a threat of these changes.

In the presence of such a threat, there often becomes the unknown about what will happen if things don’t change? Will they remain the same, get better, or perhaps all of the rules will change since the threat was a close call?

What should you do?

Focus Forward

When you focus forward, you’ll rely on your core values. You’ll put your best efforts behind your belief systems and use your knowledge and experiences to make good choices about what happens next.

The vision should be forward focused, not dwelling on where you’ve been but on what you’ll need to do in the future.

When you focus on the possibility, and not the opposite, everything changes. With an optimistic focus, your actions and behaviors will solidify your future direction.

No one said what’s next will be easy. Even if things seem like they will stay the same.

It’s doing the hard work that makes a difference.

You’ll create the best version of what’s next when you show up prepared to do so.

-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.


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gone sideways

Gone Sideways and Self-Help For Your Efforts

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Have you ever felt like the project took a wrong turn? Have things gone sideways? Maybe you don’t even notice it, yet?

Committed people sometimes do some very strange things. Onlookers wonder why the commitment sticks even when there is evidence clearly illustrating it’s failing.

In all likelihood, there are multiple angles or points of view. One of the common yet somewhat unrealized traps is staying committed because of all the effort already put in.

It’s often hard to make the right choice. Someone wants to abort the project early and someone else wants to hang in there because, “We’ve already invested so much.”

Everyone recognizes hindsight often tells a different story, either way.

The right now is not hindsight and it’s also not foresight.

What should you do?

Gone Sideways

For the customer, you need to do the right thing. For the team and even your community, you must do the right thing.

Yes, even for yourself, you must make a good decision now.

Many people believe that every day they are in a tactical firefight at their workplace. So many things happening so fast, so many loose ends, and so much drama.

What do they do?

They fight the fire. They address problems as emergencies and face the wrath of whatever unfolds next.

Problem-solving is a key skill for leadership. If you are good at it, you should be proud. However, when tactical firefights are so commonplace that you fail to execute strategy everyone loses.

The project gone sideways either needs to stop, start again, or redirect. Stuck won’t work and neither will additional wasted effort.

The same is true with poorly performing employees.

Learning from the past is powerful. It goes hand-in-hand with knowing when to pivot.

A strategic focus needs a tactical approach.

Tactics only, without a vision for the future, are sure to send you sideways.

You don’t have to believe it now, but you will when you check your data.

Commit to the strategy. The tactics of getting there may need to be adjusted.

-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.


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right focus

The Right Focus Can Change the Game

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Are you focused? Is it the right focus? Many people are uncertain about those questions. A big driver of focus is certainty.

It seems that there is a lot of uncertainty. An election year and the chaos of a worldwide pandemic has many people scratching their heads. They’re uncertain.

Uncertain about what is next, what to do, or which direction to turn, they don’t know how to play the game.

As a kid a remember someone breaking out a board game. Often the first question was, “How do you play?” Then the last question before getting started probably was, “What are the rules?”

It was true on the playground, even for games like chase, or some version of football or kickball. Dodgeball had its boundaries and maybe an occasional exception.

Sometimes the rules were made up as you played, sometimes they were written on the box, or provided as a paper insert. And still, sometimes they were modified to meet the circumstances.

Then there was the ending of the game. It wasn’t uncommon to hear accusations of cheating. Tommy didn’t play fair, Jimmy cheated, or Sue didn’t follow the rules.

It was all fun and games until the focus deteriorated.

Right Focus

All grown up and being in the game of business or life, cheaters are typically not welcomed. The casino doesn’t like cheating. Football and baseball don’t like cheating, and neither does the IRS.

When everyone stays within the boundaries the game is more enjoyable. People engage because they see how they can participate and improve their skills or make better decisions to be more successful.

You might suggest that they are focused.

When you hear the phrase, “Be a team player.” it just might make sense to be sure you understand the rules.

Everything else is chaos.

Focus on ways to contribute to the system instead of breaking rules.

You may sometimes need to alter the system, yet no one really appreciates people who try to cheat it.

Having the right focus helps.

-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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