Tag Archives: inspiration

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leaning forward

Leaning Forward or Falling Backward?

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It is a difficult time, for everyone. The choices you make now will definitely make a difference. Are you leaning forward?

I’ve participated in many Zoom meetings recently. I watch a little bit of news, and read a bunch too. Ask anyone, you’ll probably hear that it is not a good time.

You still have choices though. You have the choice about whether you will act or react, follow or lead, or simply stay stuck.

Many people have suggested that it is not about how many times you fall; it is about how many times you get back up.

Here are a few important tips for navigating this difficult time:

  • News Sparingly. Watch, read, or listen to the news sparingly. Don’t completely avoid it, and don’t binge watch it. Get updates and get out of it.
  • Plan. Plan for what will happen next, and I’m not talking about doom and gloom. There will be another side to this pandemic. Where and how will you position yourself?
  • Appreciate. If you have some down time, use it wisely. Stop the music for a few minutes and just take life in. Consider what is precious, dear, and most meaningful about life. Cherish what you have and take a deep breath.

When you limit the negativity entering your mind you will find that you think clearer, have less anxiety, and can focus on what is in front you.

Leaning Forward

The very near future may look a little rough. However, what you focus on now will define what happens next.

Everyone has a choice to believe. It will guide what happens next for you.

I’m leaning forward, ready to accelerate.

What about you?

Make the choice for leaning forward.


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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Inspired employees

Inspired Employees Stand Out In a Crowd

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Look around you, do you see inspired employees? While there may be varying degrees of inspiration or motivation how would you size things up?

There are lots of paths that lead to inspiration and motivation. One sometimes challenging aspect is that people are motivated for different reasons.

Fear can motivate, although this is almost never a good idea. Money often becomes a discussion point, yet it seldom has lasting effects.

Are you naturally motivated or can you be inspired?

Here is another question to ponder, “Are leaders born, or are they made?”

I’m hopeful that you believe there are paths to more motivation and inspiration. I’m also hopeful that you believe leadership can be developed and is not just a natural talent.

Natural Talents and Abilities

Are you born with certain talents?

Perhaps it is a talent for music, for art, or for certain athletic abilities.

It may go other directions too.

You may have a talent or connection to mathematical problems, architecture, or be identified as a good book keeper. In still other ways perhaps you are mechanically inclined, exceptional with trade skills, or an incredible cook.

Do you have natural talents, or do you have skills that have been developed across time?

A good answer is perhaps, “Both.”

Developing Talent and Skills

The greatest talents often become recognized because those people work countless hours toward perfecting their craft.

You may be great with numbers, yet if you seldom exercise this capability, in a crowd you may be mediocre at best.

Perhaps you are a fast runner, or can run long distances. If you seldom run, you’ll likely be beat by someone with less natural ability.

Are you or your employee teams inspired to do more?

Inspired Employees

The key for everyone as an individual is to practice honing your craft. You must go all in, be dedicated and committed, and live up to what you are capable of delivering.

Abraham Maslow introduced us to the concept of self-actualization.

Are you all in, one-hundred percent?

When you go all in, and have the drive and determination to go all out, you may find yourself at the pinnacle of talent and skill.

Halfhearted won’t get you very far.

Especially if there is a crowd.


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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Change authority

Change Authority, Do You Need It?

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When you take a seat on the committee, board of directors, or task force do you have any authority? Working with your peers, serving the marketing team, or getting information from a different workplace department, do you have change authority?

Many people and employee teams will quickly suggest that they want change but how does change occur?

Change Authority

Some suggest that navigating the workplace environment and creating change only happens when you have the authority?

Other people may suggest that the person who chirps the loudest or most often drives change. They are the squeaky wheel.

There is at least one more camp. That is the camp that suggests the last person who speaks before a decision is made is the true champion of change.

Authority can certainly make things easier, at least on the surface. Command a change and people will likely respond, that is, if you have the authority. Hire, fire, or resource allocation authority will usually spark some action. Authority means power.

The squeaky wheel sometimes gets greased and the last person to speak sometimes seems to win.

What is the alternative?

Other Alternatives

Change often happens without authority. It often happens without complaining and blaming.

You don’t need authority, you don’t need to be the squeaky wheel, and you can skip the blame game.

Taking responsibility and initiative may spark change. You can start by providing positive contributions, offering alternatives, or getting involved through generous actions.

Not everyone quickly jumps on board with the idea of something new, but when it becomes an idea in action, it sometimes becomes a good idea.

Good ideas are a compelling. They bring about change through inspiration, curiosity, and group dynamics. They cause action.

No one forced social media, cell phones, or smart eating habits and exercise, yet they all get their fair share of action.


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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Motivation moments

Motivation Moments, Fear, and Desire

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Motivation is really interesting. People sometimes argue about motivation, what works, and what doesn’t. I often suggest that in the workplace people can be motivated through fear or inspiration. Of course, we should be compelled to motivate through inspiration. Have you thought about motivation moments?

Fear or Desire

Consider some of these of moments:

  • The biggest order you’ve ever received
  • Watching a co-worker being escorted off the property
  • A colleague being promoted
  • The CEO being fired
  • Announcement of hiring 10% more staff
  • A new computer system
  • It’s Friday, or Monday
  • A birthday party for Susan, but not for Jack
  • Anger about receiving too many phone calls
  • A calendar appointment for a four hour meeting
  • Your annual review is today
  • You just received your annual bonus
  • The company has been sold
  • People in business suits hanging around that you don’t recognize
  • Your job description was changed

Motivation in the workplace has much to do with the organizational culture and climate. It is the actions and behaviors of the group that produce the results. We may ask the question, “What is our focus?” Recognizing that what we focus on is what we get.

Movement is important, so is momentum. Your workplace should be filled with action. What may be most important is understanding the triggers for action. Fear drives change, but so does the hope, faith, and belief in positive change because it is admirable or desirable.

Motivation Moments

People may hurry across the train tracks because there is a something they are excited about on the other side. They may also move fast to get across the tracks when they see a train coming, not thinking or caring about what is on the other side.

Organizational leaders should think carefully about how they motivation moments. The message sent becomes part of the culture. Perception is reality, and fear as well as the desire for positive gain are both motivators.

Keep in mind that fear may cause action, but people sometimes discover what is on the other side is not desirable.

What motivation moments have you spotted recently?


Originally posted on October 5, 2017, last updated on February 7, 2020.

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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Leadership Skill – Does Fear Motivate?

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In nearly every seminar I give when the conversation shifts to motivation we have to cover the front end concept of whether motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic. Does it come from each individual internally or is it conditioned by external factors? There are some strong beliefs on either side, but I must say that I believe people can be motivated, and that people are not just naturally motivated, or not.


Many of my leadership seminars cover the concepts of motivation, inspiration, and purpose. My strongest belief is that purpose is the most important factor for workplace motivation, but it is not just that simple. Often hard charging workplace leaders, those who hold formal positions of leadership such as supervisors, managers, and directors unconsciously drive workplace performance from a position of fear. They often state the consequence of poor performance, failure to achieve goal, or why change should or should not happen from a position of fear.

They are known to make statements such as:

“Anyone who doesn’t achieve their sales goal is gone at the end of the month.”

“The other division is beating us on goals every month. I’m afraid top management is going to make some changes.”

“We always do it this way, if you don’t like that you probably should find a different job.”

Depending on the economy, unemployment rate, and the availability of a skilled workforce for a particular industrial or business sector (and geographic location) some of these fear oriented comments may cause people to spring into action. Some long-term supervisors actually make these statements with a certain level of pride, after all, once upon a time their boss told them something similar.

If you are still unsure, yes, fear can be a motivator, but it is likely at the demise of long-term, culturally efficient or effective teams. Fear as a motivator tends to create an, us against you, attitude. It is the idea of, you don’t care about me, and so I in turn don’t care about you. The long-term consequences are frightening. If you are familiar with the buzz phrase “pay check only” employees then you don’t need to look any further than fear being used as a tool to motivate. Employees need to be inspired and need to understand their sense of purpose to the organization and its mission. When this occurs the strength of the team has everything to do with goal achievement and performance excellence, sure pay is important and will always be a factor but motivating through fear is one of the most deadly workplace culture sins.

Don’t motivate through fear.


See related: 7 Reasons to Inspire

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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7 Reasons to Inspire

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Leadership isn’t about motivating with fear; it is about motivating through inspiration. I’m fortunate to work with many organizations of many different sizes and in many different sectors. It may not be surprising that most of them express similar challenges. Often they are concerned about improving workplace communication, processing through change, and maintaining an engaged and motivated workforce.

Small Training Seminar

A great workforce typically doesn’t happen overnight. Attracting and retaining a quality workforce has a lot to do with the leadership culture. Of course, there are other factors such as pay, benefits, and career path opportunities, but likely much of the challenge points back to culture which is predominately created through communication.

Many supervisors, managers, and formal leaders are unaware of how their communication shapes outcomes. Here are a few examples:

  • “We have to do better next month. I’m worried what will happen if we don’t.”
  • “This change is coming down from above me, it wasn’t my idea but I don’t want to be the next group to get downsized.”
  • “If we don’t do what upper management says, we’ll all be looking for a new job.“

On the surface some people may feel that these statements are not terribly harmful and may suggest that they express truth concerning any given situation. In still other cases there may be an argument that these statements do spring people into action, they get teams moving to get things done, and maintain efficiency, production, and high output.

Perhaps, but the action is based mostly on fear, not on inspiration. Motivating through fear will give you the following long-term outcomes:

  1. Lack of loyalty or commitment to the organization by employees.
  2. People who stay are often lower achieving, leaving management wondering why performance is poor.
  3. Higher employee turnover with continued expressions of wanting more money or benefits.
  4. Employees with the feeling of, “You don’t care about me so I don’t care about you.”
  5. Increased theft, unwise use of time, or negligence because of a feeling of, “The Company owes me.”
  6. Decreased quality in outputs mostly because of an “I don’t care” attitude.
  7. Unable to hire a quality workforce, due to a challenged community or regional reputation.

Great organizations inspire their workforce for high performance and they have teams that are engaged by a strong desire to produce quality outputs. Sure, nearly all employees care about wages, benefits, and career opportunities, but inspired employees also care about the success of the organization.



Dennis E. Gilbert is a keynote speaker, corporate trainer, and consultant that specializes in helping businesses accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. Reach him through his website at http://DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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