Tag Archives: goals

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false start

False Start and the Lessons You Learned

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Have you ever experienced a false start? No, I’m not talking about football although that could apply. Have you ever started to jump forward only to jump back?

In your workplace there are often questions about motivation. Does motivation come from within or can you inspire motivation in others?

A closely connected cousin is, initiative. Are you willing to take initiative or are you more withdrawn?

Often there is an expectation for jump. Yet, the rules aren’t clear.

Perhaps there is a time from your past when you took the leap only to be later be criticized for the outcome.

Anticipation of criticism causes people to hesitate, step back, and withdraw. A leap may feel within reach yet as quickly as you spring forward, you hesitate and jump back. That’s a false start.

False Start

Have you ever let past experiences or teachings from a younger age hold you back or create a false start?

We’re often taught about patience. We’re told not to jump in line, let others go first. Hold doors, make room, stand back, and that, “life is not only about you.” Valuable lessons on courtesy, etiquette, and patience. Yet, sometimes patience results in lost opportunity.

Are you missing opportunities because you aren’t taking initiative?

Do you believe that you can and should take more initiative? If so, what is holding you back?

Could it be a childhood lesson?

Past Lessons and Learning

Perhaps it was show and tell, and people laughed when it wasn’t intended to be funny. Now, you fear the presentation.

Maybe you weren’t picked for the team, so you’ve decided you won’t raise your hand in an offer to join. It is too risky to expose yourself to that vulnerability.

Maybe you started eating dinner before a prayer was said, or ate all of the potato chips when you got home from school. You were instructed not to do it again.

We’re often taught to hold back, get back, or stand back. Probably meaningful lessons at the time.

As adults, we sometimes have to shake off some of the things that we’ve learned.

-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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realistic workplace expectations

Realistic Workplace Expectations and Your Work

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Are the expectations realistic? Realistic workplace expectations may start with your own personal outlook.

Sure, the boss may have some expectations that are a stretch. Customers may have some high expectations. Yet beyond the boss or your customers, often the expectations you place on yourself are even higher.

When you commit to the project what are your expectations?

High Expectations and Time

If the customer says, “That will work.” Do you stop there, or do you insist there is still more perfection required? More that can be done, more that should be done?

Many people are watchful for the critic. They have to get things just right because they know the critic is waiting right around the corner.

A critical eye ruins your masterpiece, so you spend the extra time to make it just right. In the absence of praise, you feel deflated and defeated. It must not have been good enough.

Your afterthought, “I could have done better with a little more time.”

Realistic Workplace Expectations

It is true for the school paper that is due, the academic thesis, or the project that will be presented to the board of directors.

It is only true sometimes though. The other option is to assume your work is superior to all other works. Anyone questioning the quality or accuracy is only envious or jealous.

Certainly, we may experience some or all of these scenarios. Have you asked yourself about the reality of your work? What is realistic?

Often realistic expectations start with yourself. You decide exactly how far you’ll go within the parameter of a specific amount of time.

At some point, we say, “Good enough.”

The best question then becomes, “Are you being realistic?”

-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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historical performance

Historical Performance is not Benchmark Performance

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It often starts with, “What did we do last year?” Many people and organizations set a course to measure future performance against historical performance. Win or lose, exceed the previous, or met expectations, is that high performance?

Measuring performance is always relative. Whichever team wins the championship has a different history when compared with the team who didn’t make it to the playoffs.

Historical Performance

Often people and organizations measure against their last performance or recent performance.

It is an anchor. Where we place the mark.

As people we tend to anchor to data. Initially people often frame according to the record. The record high jump, the fastest time, or the longest distance. Guinness has a book of records.

These records are valuable and important. A point of origin, a starting place, and a remembrance of achievement.

Is the act repeatable? Was it luck?

Benchmark Performance

Benchmark performance is considered to be different. A collection of data that specifies the approximate.

The average time for a marathon, lap times at a Motorsport event, and in golf, par.

There are many ways to set performance standards. Some of them feel more important than others.

Performance measurement may depend on what is trying to be accomplished. If the goal is to improve or get better, it may be connected to history.

The problem with historical data is often in its assumption of accuracy. Is the lap time unbeatable? Can you score under par?

Weighing a pound less on the scale after your workout is perhaps a good measure.

Bringing in one dollar more in sales revenue this year when compared with last year is better, but it is unlikely the limit. And, likely shouldn’t be the goal.

Becoming better or the best is often determined by the anchor.

-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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difficult change

Why Your Difficult Change Is Not Impossible

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Change sometimes feels impossible. The obstacles too big, the chances too small, and the time required not worth it. Confronting a difficult change is not impossible when you have a good plan.

What is your plan?

Where to Start

When we need to straighten up the closet, clean out the garage, or make a positive change in our life or career we may decide that we don’t know where to start.

Not knowing where to start doesn’t mean the change is impossible. It doesn’t necessarily mean the odds are stacked against you. Time may be required but appropriate patience and balance will bring it to fruition.

Too often people stop before they get started. They visualize the obstacles, the roadblocks, and the pain and effort required. The gap seems too broad or the road too long.

Difficult Change

There are three simple rules to learning how to get started and how to make a difficult change become a reality.

  1. Vision. A well-defined vision or goal works best. What will things look like in the end? What does it feel like and where will you be? Tidying up a closet is different from discarding eighty percent of the contents.
  2. Steps. When we see the challenge in steps it helps bring the reality to life. The bigger picture is sometimes too far away, it feels impossible. For the closet, we may consider one shelf at a time, or hanging items first. Apply this same logic to any change.
  3. Persistence. Many people talk with me about writing a book. They just don’t know where to start. By creating a vision and breaking it into steps they are underway. Replicating a little effort each day or each week adds up. In the early stages, count accomplishments more than the gap, as the gap closes shift reflection to what remains.

There is a big difference between difficult and impossible.

Leaping across the Grand Canyon in a single bound may be impossible. Getting to the other side is not.

-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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settling

The Evidence of Settling for Less in Your Career

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Often things start off with good intentions, how do they end? Are you settling for less in your career? What are the signs?

Newsflash, your career has a limit. It may seem like life goes on and on and on, especially when you’re shoulder deep in the daily grind. However, years pass by quickly and sometimes you may discover you’ve settled.

Not Everything

First, being average, or having what you may label as a decent career is perfectly fine. Not everything in life is about your career, or at least it should not be. So, it is OK if you haven’t reached every dream.

On the other hand, if you feel like there is still room for opportunity and growth don’t stop now.

Life tends to get in the way of progress. Days slip by, weeks drift way, a month here and a month there and suddenly years have gone by. Is this you?

Settling for Less

What is the evidence that you are settling? Here are three of my favorites:

  • Forgetfulness. Yes, forgetting may mean the years are passing you by in more ways than one. However, if you forget to stay on track with your goals it is probably a good sign that you are settling for the way things are. Being halfway finished eating a full-size chocolate bar when you remember that you are on a lowered calorie diet is an example of this type of sign.
  • Loss of Time. Good things take time. Honestly, you only have so much of it. There is a delicate balance between patience and wasting time. The years will roll around quickly. If you are not advancing towards your goal with notable milestones at least every three to five years you may be wasting precious time. This could be as simple as gaining additional responsibilities or as complex as a career change.
  • No Goals. Sure, you may have some idea of where you want to be. Have you been specific? Feeling like one day you want to become the manager is not really a goal. You’ll need some plans and checkpoints (milestones) that will help that vision become a reality. All milestones and goals should be regularly compared against time.

Have you been settling for less?

Do you need to get back on track or establish a plan? Coaching may help.

Did you forget about your self-commitments? Has time slipped away? What are your goals?

-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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goals matter

Why Goals Matter For Interpersonal Workplace Change

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Change surrounds us, all of us, that is important to keep in mind. Are you convinced you need a change but you can’t get your arms around how to make it happen? Goals matter for change efforts. Do you have a goal?

Sound Familiar?

Nothing ever changes around here.

Here we go again. I’m so tired of this.

He or she will never change. 

Three popular versions of a never-ending story. Why is it never ending? Because there isn’t a goal, it is the wrong goal, or the pursuit is inappropriately or poorly executed.

Many people have a wish that their boss, their co-worker, a direct report, vendor, customer, or other stakeholder will change.

Breaking news, you most likely will not force them to change. It is nearly guaranteed.

The real effort needs to be a focus on what you can do to change your circumstances or your interactions with those people who you wish would change.

Simply put, you likely won’t change other people but you can change your reactions or interactions with them.

Goals Matter

Your goal will matter. Your goal cannot be to get someone else to change to accommodate your interests.

You can get started by answering three important questions.

  1. What do you need to be different or change?
  2. What role do your actions or behaviors play?
  3. Do you have boundaries identified and set?

Define what needs to change. This is really your goal. Sometimes it helps to state the future in the present. Establish the goal and be specific.

Next you need to understand your role. What behaviors of your own have invited this scenario or situation to start, continue, or grow?

The third important part of your change is to define the boundaries. In the workplace it may be things like the use of your time, your personal space, or even noise.

Unfortunately, many people expecting workplace interactions to change do not have any of these items defined. You can’t create change without them.

-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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managing disappointment

Managing Disappointment Starts With Managing Expectations

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Are you working hard for an outcome only to later become disappointed? Have you given your best effort but someone only expresses their perceived shortcomings in your work? Are you effectively managing disappointment?

It may happen today, perhaps it happened yesterday, or maybe it even feels like a chronic pattern. What is the root cause of disappointment?

Great Expectations

It seems that the root cause is linked to expectations. We have a goal, or someone sets a goal for us. It could be related to vision. A great cake to me is chocolate, but a great cake to someone else may be vanilla.

Misunderstanding expectations are sometimes to blame. Differences in opinions, values, and beliefs may also be a cause. “When I discovered her political views, I was disappointed.”

So, the root cause probably exists in expectations. What is expected compared with what is received.

I worked so hard on that assignment, but I only received an 80% for my grade. 

I’m disappointed in my meal. It looked nothing like it did in the picture. 

My hair looks terrible. It came out completely different than I expected. 

Society is constantly shaping many of our expectations. Social media, traditional or digital media, and other informational sources are constantly changing our expectations. 

Today many of us have a camera in hand. The photographs are processed immediately, and are also easily filtered, adjusted, and cropped. What does this lead to? It could be higher expectations.

Managing Disappointment

Perhaps the best thing to always ask yourself about disappointment is, “Compared to what?” When there are feelings or expressions of disappointment you may have to consider the expectations.

If you work with your supervisor on goals, be sure of the expectations. When you get a new project, understand the expectations.

We tend to place too much emphasis on what didn’t work as compared to what did work.

Instead of assessing the output and being critical, consider how you will build on what worked.

-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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metric assumption

Metric Assumption and Measuring Intangibles

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Successful leaders and organizations often cite the creation and monitoring of metrics as the tool to track progress. Does the metric always provide the correct measurement? Are you operating using the metric assumption?

In the strategy meeting someone will ask, “What is the metric here? How will we measure our progress and result?”

It is a fair question.

Of course, the other option is that no one asks at all. No one spends any energy to think about the metric, they just want to roll up their sleeves and take a deep dive.

Either scenario may achieve some results. Either scenario may involve some risk, some guess work, and need to be fluid with outcomes.

Metric Assumption

It seems we may make a metric assumption. The assumption is that when we have metrics and measurements, we can more easily assess the results. While this is likely true, does it cover everything about the project?

People are sometimes suggested to remove the emotion, focus only on the result, and everything that matters is in the KPI (key performance indicator).

Do you have metrics or measurement for the aspects of the organization that make it an organization? Have you considered the organizational culture component?

Measure Intangibles

How will you measure commitment, trust, and perceptions? Is there a metric for purpose, community, or respect? What about the building blocks of confidence, things like self-efficacy and self-esteem?

Do they have a metric?

The most successful projects, work groups, and organizations are those who have deep roots in a culture that is emotionally connected to the work at hand. Purpose is a driver and the goal may be just as important as the paycheck.

Metrics are both valuable and important, they can also be a good motivator. If you assume metrics alone are what drives the project, I hope you are including all of the intangibles.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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what happens next

What Happens Next, You Always Decide

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There are plenty of financial experts ready to help you plan your savings, your retirement, and where you’ll invest. The idea is that in that near the end, you’ll end up where you planned. What about your career? Do you have a plan for where you’ll end up? One thing is certain, what happens next is up to you.

More Than Work

Work is more than the labor that you can see or touch. It is more than the numbers on the spreadsheet, the product ready to ship, or the size of your sales funnel. Everyone in the workplace is also processing some level of emotional labor. It’s hard to measure and hard to see, but it is happening, every day.

What do you spend ten minutes on each day, how about twenty minutes?

Imagine if you spent ten minutes each day to study something unfamiliar, what would happen? Perhaps it is about best practices for your trade, management skills, or knowing more about the healthiest foods. It could be about auto repair, landscaping, or fixing the kitchen sink.

It doesn’t really matter if it is about business skills, hobby interests, or fitness. When you spend ten minutes each day working on it, learning something new, and practicing it you’ll become better.

What happens next? If you do it long enough, most likely you can become an expert.

Expert In What

Of course, there is always the other side of how you’ll spend ten minutes. You can spend ten minutes complaining about being short changed, how things are unfair, and that the boss is a jerk.

You can spend ten minutes reminding yourself of where you came up short, the mistake from yesterday, or how much money someone else is making.

Alternatively, you could spend ten minutes asking questions about why the woman down the hall is wearing jeans, why the outside salesman isn’t wearing a tie, or how long the boss will put up with a lack of accountability.

What Happens Next

A penny, a quarter, or a dollar only seem small until you collect one each day for five years. Ten minutes doesn’t seem like much until you add it up for the week, a month, or across a year or more.

The difference between who you are today and who you’ll become is based on how you spend your time. It is conditioned by your emotional labor. The product is you. Will you end up where you planned?

Bit by bit, what happens next, is entirely up to you.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a 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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will you arrive

Career Advancement: When Will You Arrive?

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Finish school, go to college, do an internship, get a starter job, and be persistent. That is the advice of many. It isn’t bad advice but when will you arrive?

What do many people who are serious about their career do? They follow the advice of others. They observe those who appear to align with their definition of success. Perhaps in some ways they attempt to mimic or follow a similar path. Will this lead you to the point where you will arrive?

Faux Arrival

I remember in high school when I thought I had arrived. I had a full time job with benefits before graduating at the mature age of seventeen. At the time, I thought I had arrived.

Within a very short twelve-month period, I realized that I hadn’t really arrived. I needed to do something more. I enrolled in a community college, attained a two-year degree, got a full time job in my field. At the time, I thought I had arrived.

Life continued. Chasing positions, titles, and ever increasing income. Each time I thought I had arrived. Each time later, I realized I hadn’t.

As a non-traditional (thirty something) student I pursued a bachelor’s degree and got it. I enrolled in a graduate program, pursued that degree and got it. For sure, now I had arrived.

Still after each successive advancement, I felt the arrival hadn’t yet occurred. I started a business, pursued my passion, had some incredible experiences, made some money, made some mistakes, but still felt I needed to arrive.

Do you see a pattern here? It has taken me my entire career of more than thirty years to both see and understand when people really arrive in their career. When will you arrive?

Define Arrival

For everyone who is pushing, everyone who is dreaming, those goal oriented unstoppable people who are pursuing more in their career. The answer is simple.

Just like the GPS device offers, there is always another journey. Another chance, a different direction, an alternative route, the route someone else chose, the detour, the storm, the straight road, high road, swampy road, and the one with the most curves.

When you arrive, that is it. You’re finished, but only for now.

As it turns out, for many, it has never been about arriving, maybe because there is still something more, something to pursue, a goal or a bucket list.

On the other hand, maybe it isn’t about arriving at all. Perhaps it is much more about the life you lead along the way.

Will You Arrive

You can relax more when stop asking yourself when you’ll arrive. Your career really is not made upon arrival.

Your career is made each and every day you continue to pursue the arrival.

The journey is more important. You’ll arrive at your final destination only when you stop.

– 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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