Tag Archives: innovation

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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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excellence cost

What Does Excellence Cost?

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Many individuals and businesses strive for excellence. It is an admirable goal. Does excellence have a price? What does excellence cost?

It seems that there may be many potential ways to measure the cost of excellence. We can consider hours spent, hard costs such as tools or equipment, and perhaps the opportunity cost of trading one thing for another.

Popular Pursuits

Businesses may strive to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and have fewer than one defective part in every million produced. All good and meaningful goals.

What is the cost? Often argued is that costs are improved. Less waste, faster, and better-quality results in more profit. We can do the math on those costs to get to the end result. Are there other costs?

History Teaches

Perhaps post-industrial revolution we have some remnants of excellence. Things like John Deere tractors, Ford automobiles, and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

These are all companies that pushed hard for excellence. Perhaps long before manufacturing developed catchy terms and acronyms for process control. Even well before Toyota existed.

So, what about John Deere, Ford, and Harley Davidson? What price did they pay for excellence? Many have studied the Ford story, some have looked closer at John Deere and Harley Davidson. What are the lessons learned?

Are the lessons tighter controls, stricter specifications, and appropriate treatment of the human side of the business? Certainly, yes. Are there other lessons?

Excellence Cost

In your career or in your business have you thought about the costs of excellence? Not the tangible costs, but the intangibles?

Much of the best innovation, product development, and future growth doesn’t spring up from tight systems and restricted movement. It doesn’t happen when the mindset is to attain perfection and never change.

Preaching continuous improvement is a paradox when the real rules are no deviations.

Even the best sometimes struggle to get out of their own way.

-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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inner critic

Using Your Critic To Guide Your Inner Compass

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What guides your inner compass? What moves you more, the compliment, or the feedback that suggests improvement? Perhaps it should be some of both.

Recently I was using an experiential learning activity with a small group of people from many different parts of the United States. During the activity debrief I said, “compass” and one of the participants from the Chicago area said, “Wait, say that again.”

Unsure of what he was referring to I asked, “Which part?”

He politely said, “The word compass.”

There was a difference in our dialect. I didn’t notice, but he did. He pronounces the word different from me, more of “come pass.” He wasn’t trying to be a critic, but he did notice something different.

Blend In or Be Different

People often fear being different.

In our workplace, we are often taught to adapt, to blend in, and to be a good fit. Certainly, this has tremendous value. After all, the CEO insists on the hiring manager finding someone who will fit. I am not suggesting that is a perfect plan, but it does often happen.

Since we want to fit, we adapt, we learn that we should blend in. We believe we should be what the organization needs and not who we are. This isn’t necessarily bad, in fact, it is the norm. However, when we give the critic inside ourselves too much power we may lose.

Risk Assessment

There is risk involved. We may risk politely speaking up in a meeting, risk sharing our knowledge, ideas, or suggestions.

It is the critic we once heard, the person who corrected us. Corrected our language, our thoughts, and guided us to a way of doing things.

This is certainly important in society. It guides social norms and keeps in check what is right from what is wrong.

Does it also stifle our true abilities? Will it slow innovation and limit our contributions?

Inner Compass

Our inner compass is powerful, but you are still in control. What guides us is important. The trick is to know when to follow your inner compass and when to choose a different path.

Right from wrong, morals, and ethics, are probably good reasons to pay close attention to true North. Your creativity, ideas for improvement, and the chance to make a positive and impactful difference, you may want to consider a little freestyle.

Your critic is only as powerful as you allow.

– 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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Customer Service Best Practices

Do You Use Customer Service Best Practices?

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Organizations everywhere are trying to build their brand. Their image, reputation, and the work that they do are possibly the result of years of innovation. Has your organization considered customer service best practices? How will you build your brand?

In society, we are always using best practices and lessons learned. The same is often true for businesses and even to some extent our government.

Refining Products and Services

General Motors, Ford, and even Tesla use best practices. They are building and refining designs that may have started more than 100 years ago. Part of their mission is to improve the product, even the nuts, bolts, and welds. They strive to improve the reliability, durability, and power.

We can’t forget about comfort, safety, and the feeling of the ride. The features and systems that make the automobile what it is today are largely based on best practices developed across time. Engineers and experts learn from years of trial and error.

Best practices and lessons learned hold tremendous value. This is true in building science, agriculture, and even in technology management. We make things better, stronger, and more efficient. In part, because we’ve learned from the past.

Innovation and Design

We can’t ignore the other side of following best practices. This side goes to the innovators, risk takers, and all of the artful approaches for something new.

The risk is different for innovation. The costs are sometimes higher; the time to bring it to market may be longer. Even this work is based somewhat on what has come before it. It is different because it pushes beyond the limits of past experiences.

This form of exploration considers trends in style, taste, and even color. It doesn’t always follow. It often intentionally goes a completely different direction.

Customer Service Best Practices

The best practices that you put in place to build your brand are important. Your culture of customer service and creating the best customer experience should build on lessons learned.

Additionally, the best will consider how to go beyond the norm. Beyond the norm considers how direction will be set and how to risk developing something new, something more efficient, and most of all, tasteful.

The most important part of best practices is that they are always evolving, it is innovation after the learning.

You can ignore the past if you wish, but nearly everything we build is based on an earlier idea that has been modified.

– 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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customer experience mathematics

Customer Experience Mathematics

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People often suggest you’ll find greater understanding when you do the math. Does the budget fit or will the return on investment be enough? Someone may suggest that you should do the math. Will customer experience mathematics work?

In some cases, people are just trying to make a point through rhetoric. In other cases instead of telling someone to do the math, we may suggest, “We have done the math.”

Right Answers

What we really mean is that we know the right answer. We understand both the problem and the solution. So much so that now that it is apparent, it feels silly that we were once on the wrong path.

Doing the math is interesting though because there really is only one correct answer. In a field of infinite answers, the probability of a wrong answer is much more likely.

Many Possibilities

When seeking correct answers for how to do the marketing program, the advertising campaign, or close the sale, doing the math is more difficult. Sure, you can apply some math but there may not be only one single answer.

When you want innovation, a new direction, or to capture a new audience for your product or service doing the math may be a detriment, it closes options.

Although sometimes it becomes clear that we have the wrong answer. It still doesn’t mean that there is only one correct solution.

Customer Experience Mathematics

It seems that when we are trying to make an impact, be innovative, and creative, we have to know the difference between right answers, wrong answers, and the possibilities in between.

If you are planning to deliver the absolute best, customer experience mathematics may not matter so much.

The objective should be to avoid the wrong answers, but finding the right one may not happen by doing the math.

– 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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Progress isn’t Always Perfect and Perfection is Temporary

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Is progress always perfect? Is the concept of perfection permanent, or only temporary?

always perfect

Many people get stuck on the concept of perfection. They are stuck because perfection is often not what is required, but progress is.

Always Perfect

We might paint a picture or look at a piece of art and say, “perfect.”  If we are launching a rocket or satellite we might need perfect weather. A manufactured part that is within tolerance might also be perfect.

What we sometimes lose sight of is the fact that many of our jobs or the reason for a business is because things aren’t perfect. Many businesses exist because they solve a problem. The problem exists because the system or outcome isn’t perfect.

Consumers often measure costs. They compare the price to fix against the price to replace. Perfect is seldom permanent, it is often temporary, or only perfect for right now.

Therefore, perfection might have the highest price tag of all.

Perfect is Temporary

What is your job or your business?

If you repair, maintain, or fix something, it is because perfect was temporary.

If you change, innovate, or search for better ideas it is because perfect was temporary.

The lawyer, the doctor, or the road construction crew, they’re all employed because perfect is temporary.

Perhaps the risk is not that something will break or become outdated and useless. The bigger risk is the tragedy that occurs when it sits on the shelf, gets stuck in R&D, or just never becomes perfect enough. It never exists.

Some will discover that the risk of existence, like perfection, has the heaviest price to pay. If you don’t believe me just ask a Kodak historian (or former employee) about bringing ideas to market.

Progress

Many people believe that they have an idea for a book. The manuscript is floating around in their head.

Start to write it and eighty percent of the contents would spew out very quickly. Perfecting it, the final twenty percent of the contents, would take much more time. That final twenty percent of the contents likely requires eighty percent of the time and effort.

Some will never produce it, because it’s not perfect. So it will never exist.

Paint your picture, build your product, or write your book. If perfect is temporary then the failure to exist always has the highest price tag of all.

I believe that progress might be more important.

It isn’t always perfect.

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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