Tag Archives: innovation

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Navigating Mistakes

Navigating Mistakes Is Part Of The Process

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How are you at navigating mistakes? Do you get hung up on them? Do you get stuck or worry about how things might look?

Some mistakes are catastrophic. Launching a rocket for a rendezvous with the International Space Station may not have much room or tolerance for a mistake.

Trying your skill at a new Excel formula or launching a new test marketing project may be about trial and error. Mistakes are easily overcome, and may even be considered part of the process.

You have a chance each day to decide how you will navigate mistakes you encounter. Certainly, not all mistakes have the same consequence.

The Slinky, Penicillin, and potato chips all originated from a mistake of sorts. Created by accident but later showing an unsuspected high value.

Every time you are trying to blaze a new path. Whenever you explore the previously unexplored, or you may simply be on a mission to lead, you have to realize that mistakes are part of the process.

Navigating Mistakes

You draft the important email message and review it twenty-five times.

Why?

It is a draft and you expect mistakes.

Yet the worry of imperfection often delays the process. Procrastination may set in, or you may decide to skip it altogether.

What happens when the effort is for the customer?

When the customer expects perfect, it is probably an assumption that the mistakes have already been made. The bugs or kinks have been worked out and the trial-and-error period is over. A warranty helps ease the risk.

Most great outcomes develop from a series of previously poor decisions, mistakes, or accidents.

Learning has both a cost and a value.

-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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unrealized change

Unrealized Change is Always Connected to Opportunity

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“What’s new?” is a common way to strike up a conversation. A common answer, “Not much.” Yet unrealized change is happening all around you.

Thirty years ago, on or around this same calendar date, I got up, went through a brief morning routine of hygiene and breakfast, drove to my office, grabbed some coffee, and started writing code.

At that time, there wasn’t the internet as we know it today. We didn’t have cellular phones, at least not enough to speak about. And if I wanted to read something it probably started with a newspaper, magazine, or book. A real-to-life book, not a digital version.

This morning I got up, walked and fed the dog, popped a K-Cup in the Keurig, grabbed a cookie, and reported to my home office.

My home office is much more like a studio than an office of thirty years ago. Three high-definition cameras surround my workspace, complete with professional-grade shotgun microphones, three lights on tripods, and two-monitors plus one flat-screen TV all surrounding my workspace as I type.

Today I’ll visit one of my university partners while wearing a protective mask, sign some certificates of completion for the participants of an online leadership development training program, and return to my office by Noon.

My afternoon will be spent developing more programs, catching up on some accounting work, and preparing for the delivery of five programs across four days next week.

What’s new?

Not much.

Unrealized Change

I can’t imagine life without change.

People feel strained by what they refer to as information overload.

Many people who are under thirty years of age, the place where this story started, don’t plan to read anything other than the gibberish coming across their 3-inch by 4-inch cellular phone screen.

Much of the workforce won’t go to what might be referred to as a traditional workplace. A human virus plus technology collided and changed things nearly overnight.

More and more people are paid to interpret and dissect information and make decisions or take action based on what they’ve discovered from a digital device than ever before.

Cable television and digital streaming services pour content into homes and workplaces at speeds barely imagined just a few short years ago.

What is known is online shopping is a booming business while traditional retail largely struggles in decline. Thirty years ago, it was called a mail-order company, today its a staple of the economy.

Things are still changing.

Opportunity in Change

What is most useful may not be realizing the number of people you can touch in a single day. The distance that your message, your voice, or image can travel as you work with people in real-time across town, or across the country.

What may be most useful is to recognize the value of change and to determine how you will use it to improve the scope of your life and your work.

Arguably, the pace may have been slower thirty years ago.

So was the opportunity to make a difference.

-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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mismatched expectations

Mismatched Expectations Will Get You Every Time

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Disconnects in customer service happen all the time. It happens for new hires, and it happens for the project. Mismatched expectations don’t mean that everything is lost.

As a young boy my son always loved my mother’s pot-pie. She had a special home-made recipe of beef pot-pie that seemed like the best comfort food on the planet.

When my son was in his early teenage years, we visited a restaurant and on the menu was pot-pie. Much to my surprise, instead of a burger and french fries my son ordered the pot-pie.

After the meals were brought to the table, I noticed him picking at his dish. He seemed displeased. It wasn’t the pot-pie that his grandmother made. It was a poor imitation.

The restaurant was very popular and served fantastic food, but to him, the dish seemed barely eatable.

Similarly, in high school, I had some friends who loved the boxed macaroni and cheese that their mother often prepared. What they didn’t realize that she often bought a low-priced generic brand. One day she splurged and bought a well-known and popular brand. My friends hated it.

In life, or in food, what you experience is often embraced or rejected based on your previous best experiences.

Have you ever had mismatched expectations?

Mismatched Expectations

It is true for the food you eat. It’s true for the new marketing plan, the process improvement, and even your job.

It is also true for everyone else, only sometimes in the opposite manner.

Often there may be room to compromise, negotiate, or allow for a fluid process. Of course, the level of satisfaction will always be compared to what was the previous best experience or taste.

Thus, the saying, “Those are big shoes to fill.”

Navigating your job, career, or the customer may not always be easy. It is a dance between your best delivery and the expectations of someone else.

When they align, everything feels like the right fit. When they don’t, the impulse is to discard it.

Keep in mind though that the right fit for someone may be the rejected mismatch by another.

Sometimes the best option is just on the other side of your expectations.

The challenge then is breaking the cycle.

It is a test of sorts. A test for the reliability and authenticity of the disambiguation, what you see is what you get.

-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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project details

Project Details Bring It All To Life

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Are you working on a significant project? Have you revealed the project details?

In the seventh grade, it wasn’t okay to only have the correct answer on the Algebra exam, the teacher insisted that you show your work. On the vocabulary test, you had to express the exact verbiage. Skimpy answers didn’t show comprehension.

In your workplace, giving answers, much like giving your statements about your beliefs, is not always enough. Proving the concept or theory behind the work justifies its validity.

Bringing your ideas forward in the product development meeting, marketing meeting, or the strategic planning session may be more factual and justified when you provide the details. Sometimes the vision for the finished work is hard to believe unless you know the details.

Certainly, there are many situations when it is important to only provide the highest level. Details take time, require energy, and of course, comprehension.

Project Details

When you present the details, you’ve proven your work. Others can follow the logic and get committed because they see what you see. Once they understand, they believe.

Sometimes it isn’t always about history. Sometimes it has never been done before. When you help others follow the logic it brings the picture to life.

Logic often develops from best practices. Components that can stand on their own, and when combined, create a new end result.

Standards apply too. Standards have been proven and feel safe. Outcomes feel more certain and less like an enthusiastic guess.

In many cases the new project isn’t rejected because it was a bad idea or simply won’t work. It is rejected because no one believes in the outcome.

-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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new workforce normal

New Workforce Normal Is For Now Only

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Is there a new workforce normal? If yes, what does it look like?

If you haven’t seen any change, you’re still not accepting reality in 2020.

How is our current normal affecting the workplace and the workforce?

Welcome the New Fleet

There is an entirely new fleet of WFH (work from home) employees, and they aren’t going back to the traditional office any time soon. Never is a strong word, but it may be true for some operations.

Some aspects of the conventional workplace will continue. Manufacturing sectors, healthcare sectors, and retail, distribution, and many of the service sectors.

What will happen for the new office space? Will it be bigger with more people spread out, or simply smaller with large chunks of the workforce working from home?

There is no doubt that what is happening now depends largely on the nature of the work to be performed. Conditioned of course by the fear of the Coronavirus pandemic.

It’s change.

Navigating Change

Large scale and rapid change really isn’t anything new. It’s just that we often engage by choice instead of by force. There has been a lot of change in the past two centuries and many suggest that the pace of change is much faster. Perhaps that is true.

What’s next and what does the new normal look like?

The new normal looks like any other new normal. It’s change.

Change brings about uncertainty, uncertainty means fear.

Change happens and people transition.

There are some common themes to the stages of transition. It may start with shock, denial, and maybe some anger. In the middle of a change event people are often confused, stressed, and skeptical. As the transition moves on, acceptance begins and new expectations develop.

There is a new status quo.

New Workforce Normal

Change is constant and, in most cases, the new status quo only lasts for a short while.

Everyone operates in the now.

Before automobiles, the horse and buggy travel was the now. Before personal computers, typewriters were the now. We can cite lots of technological changes. Radio, television, cellular, satellite, and digital everything just to name a few.

What is the new workforce normal?

It is the now.

Look around you to see what’s happening.

Are some or nearly all employee teams working from home? You can expect that to continue for now.

Are members of the workforce social distancing and wearing masks some or most of the time? Expect it to continue for now?

Are services you provide or receive experiencing more and more technology driven accommodations? Expect it to continue.

The new workforce normal is what is happening right now.

Seize the moment.

-DEG

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


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good jobs

Good Jobs Are Not For Robots. Not Yet.

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Are human jobs at your organization in jeopardy? What are the good jobs?

Ask a group of people if they believe things in the World around us are rapidly changing, and many will say, “Yes.”

Automating Job Tasks

In nearly all business sectors humans are being replaced by machines. You can go to a movie theater, a retail store, or to a bank and you’ll find jobs being replaced by machines.

It is nothing really new. Have you ever used a car wash or an ATM?

Vending machines have origins back to the late 1800’s. Since at least the 1940’s you have been able to drop some money in a Coke machine and get a Coke. Some sales transactions haven’t required a human to do each and every task for more than a century.

In manufacturing environments efficiency, speed, and accuracy are paramount. Human jobs are being replaced, yet again, this is nothing new.

Some suggest the replacement is because of a lack of skilled labor. Yet, having the skill to add or subtract, file a piece of paper alphabetically, or move the box to the freight truck is easily automated.

Also automated are job skills connected to welding, gluing, and machining. Are those labor skills?

Yes, our World is changing. What are the best jobs?

Good Jobs

Job security really exists most in the platform of projects and not tasks.

Granted, you may be able to proclaim that a project is made up of many tasks but the task will likely be the first victim of automation.

Still today projects largely require human intervention. The human must think, act, and decide about how things will proceed. A task itself may be completed by a machine, but often only after human intervention has made the choice to put the machine into action.

When we query the data, that’s an automated task. Using the Keurig to make a coffee, is some form of an automated task. That remote car starter on your key chain, yes, an automated task.

Good jobs are for the project manager, not the task doer. Slowly bit by bit, tasks are being replaced by machines. It is nothing new. Only it is happening faster and faster as great minds strive to do more in less time or with less effort and more accuracy.

Good jobs are still out there. Human to human transactions still have value over human to machine in many ways. Only it is about navigating projects and not about doing tasks.

At least for now.

-DEG

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


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workplace innovation

Workplace Innovation is Peanut Butter and Chocolate

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Have you ever wondered who first connected peanut butter with chocolate? Perhaps it was the other way around chocolate with peanut butter? How does this connect to workplace innovation?

You must wonder sometimes, how does real innovation occur? Is it by luck, by chance, or perhaps an accidental connection?

Exploring Different

Who decided to put ketchup on potatoes, cheese with eggs, or little tiny marshmallows in cereal? Was it all intentional, or was it an accident?

When someone takes the chance, takes a risk, and is willing to explore it changes the norm. It creates the unexpected. Somewhere deep inside the unexpected exists the breakthrough.

When we want to make something different happen the belief is that we need a plan. People and companies develop a plan. They form a strategy, design tactics, or establish a new procedure.

Does that happen by chance?

Workplace Innovation

Most of our plans develop through brainstorming. A strategy discussion, an idea dump, a throw things on the wall and see what sticks.

When you are looking for a breakthrough you can’t expect to color within the lines. You can’t expect a rigid system to have enough flexibility to allow for innovation.

A plan or a system strives to eliminate surprises. It is a rigid guideline for creating an anticipated result.

There isn’t much room in rigid systems for innovation.

We don’t get peanut butter with chocolate unless someone breaks the status quo. There isn’t an opportunity to spice up our potatoes, add a little cheese to an omelette, or find the marshmallow in a breakfast cereal.

If you’re looking for workplace innovation, seeking to find a breakthrough, or to change the results, you’re first going to have give up the rigidness of the current 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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powerful culture

Building a Powerful Culture or Watching Things Fade

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We have much more power today, as compared with twenty, thirty, or forty years ago. Are you or the organization you work for taking advantage of the opportunities to build a powerful culture?

Is it possible? Are the opportunities there?

What’s Changed?

Forty years ago, much of the mainstream view for a career was to secure solid employment with a well-known or reputable company. The idea of job security and working your way up the ladder was prominent.

Forty years ago, people who were mid-career would likely stay for the duration. For many, that was the safe bet and the honorable and loyal way to a well-respected career.

Today, things are largely a bit different. Certainly, there are still pockets of organizations and people who commit for long-term mutually loyal employment relationships. However, many suggest the mainstream view point has changed.

Many organizational cultures are stuck somewhere in the middle. They are stuck between the identity of an image of being a DuPont, Colgate, or JP Morgan Chase, and the lure of a hot startup.

What has really changed is the power of innovation, technology, and opportunity.

Powerful Culture

People and organizations alike have the power to get things moving. They have the power to communicate to the world, one post at a time. The power to make a difference for others, to build something new, or to shape their own future.

What do they do?

More people read posts rather than create them. YouTube has many more viewers than they have content creators.

What is at stake? Is it the risk of criticism, ridicule, or embarrassment? What keeps people stuck, only watching, and seldom engaging? The opportunity is there.

Organizations can break ground, lead the charge, and become a best in class, but instead many choose to stay stuck, follow the competition, and shoot for becoming number two.

Powerful cultures are built by the pursuit of opportunity.

Forty years ago, shopping malls were a bit hit, so were VHS tapes, and landline telephones.

What changed?

What will you do?

-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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standout sensation

Why You Should Be a Standout Sensation

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Often the goal is to fit in. The successful job applicant is largely successful because they’ve convinced the hiring organization that they are the best fit. Is this the correct logic or should you be a little different? Should you be a standout sensation?

We’re not going to easily rewrite the golden rules of job applicant success. I’m not even sure we should. However, sometimes what moves us forward is not being the best fit, it is being different.

Does Different Sell?

I’m not suggesting different such as purple hair, or different such as violating every societal trend, or even different such as refusing to adapt and normalize with appropriate etiquette. Not at all.

What about being different by being a standout sensation? Does this sell? Is it valuable? Yes.

What has contributed to Zappos success? Being a standout sensation in the art of customer service.

What about Amazon, eBay, or Apple products? Whether you are a fan or not, whether you agree or not, something makes them stand out.

It is hard to get noticed in a crowd of average. It is hard to be selected when the perception of value that you bring is just like everyone else.

In nearly everything that we do, the difference may be in the testimonial, it may be in the recommendation, and in a connection economy it may be your activity within the group. Any or all of these may lead to an opportunity to stand out.

Standout Sensation

Sitting in the dark corner all dressed up at the prom is safer than busting it out on the dance floor. Until Footloose changed the perspective.

You can struggle with positioning and hide away with fear. The fear of fitting in, being accepted, or being chosen.

The alternative is putting in the extra effort, the practice, and the risk of innovation to become a standout sensation.

One will get your somewhere, the other is just part of the crowd.

-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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job frustration

Job Frustration and the Comparisons We Choose

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Feeling frustrated? Wondering where the six figure jobs are, how to get one, and why it hasn’t happened for you? Whether it is salary, perks, or a better office, job frustration is really about comparisons.

Compared to What?

If you were in the workforce prior to 1985 there is a good chance you started your career without much concern about Gigabytes. Much has changed.

Were you in the workforce prior to 1995? If yes, cellular phones were somewhat rare, texting phone-to-phone didn’t exist. Much has changed.

We can find data points and comparisons for 1975, and 2005 too. We are always living in a, “compared to what,” environment.

Perhaps comparison is the root cause of frustration.

Greener Grass

Many know about the, “grass is always greener,” or “keeping up with the Joneses.” We once wondered about comparisons and societal standings with the hit sitcom, The Jeffersons. Today it may be reality television with the Kardashians.

We can compare our lives, style of living, and even our career with reality television in a variety of flavors. If that doesn’t rattle our emotions we can tune in to an even broader perspective through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Does this lead to job frustration? It certainly can, and often does. We hear of six figure jobs, we see job advertisements with big promises, and we even check published public records just to see how the other side is living.

Frustration can lead to innovation.

A better can opener, coffee maker, and a convection oven. Are these innovative or mostly marketing hype? Many would likely suggest some of both.

If your job and career is important to you, great. What about doing a good job, finishing within budget, and delivering quality work? Is that important, if yes, great.

Does it make you happy?

Job Frustration

Comparisons often don’t make us very happy. Many times, there is some myth, the untold story, or a wild exaggeration. These comparisons make us frustrated.

Job frustration may be about the comparisons we choose. If it isn’t innovative, helping, or making you happy perhaps you need a different comparison.

Consider that there should be a difference between your personal data points and the ones that society suggests.

-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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