Tag Archives: leadership

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understanding accountability

Understanding Accountability Changes Your Position

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We often wonder about accountability. Is it the missing link for teams? Does it affect morale? Understanding accountability has much more to do with success than many employees realize.

Nobody is held accountable.

It wasn’t my responsibility.

That’s not my job. 

You have probably heard all three, and have likely said at least one. Is this a problem with accountability?

Who is Responsible?

Accountability has a direct impact on culture. If few are willing to take responsibility, even fewer will be accountable.

Responsibility is a big job. There is much more risk involved with being responsible. Without responsibility no one really cares when the project gets delivered. No one cares about the quality, and why should anyone care about the customer?

The root of accountability starts with responsibility. A bad outcome may not be your mistake. It may not be your fault, that doesn’t mean you’re not responsible.

Unlearning the Escape

As children we may have gotten off the hook by claiming, “It wasn’t my fault!” We learned that when the blame shifts so does the responsibility. When we aren’t responsible we can’t be blamed.

It may have worked in your childhood because playing was probably more important than leading. You were fed and cared for regardless of the outputs of your actions.

Ready to make a difference in your career? Understanding accountability is critical for your advancement. It is critical for culture.

Understanding Accountability

Certainly, you can take more than one path. What you’ll need to realize though is that taking responsibility, even when it is not your fault, is being accountable.

When you are in a leadership role, you have responsibilities. Hold yourself accountable.

If you supervise other employees, lead committees, or make recommendations that guide outcomes, understand that people who accept responsibility will be much more likely to be accountable.

Accountability changes your position.

-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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great value

Great Value Is More Meaningful Than Price

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We know better, but we still do it. Every time we are about to make a big purchase we excruciatingly get stuck on the price. Great value is what we should really be assessing.

We may grab a snack from the convenience store, a coffee at the trendy shop, or feed a dollar or two into the vending machine and think nothing of it. Bigger ticket items often cause us to pause.

Value In Action

Yesterday, I joked with some friends on social media about buying a new Range Rover. The most consistent part of several threads across a couple of days was price.

Price can be an easy way of saying “no.” Why is that so easy? Often because no one is considering the value.

What are you or your organization buying? What are the big-ticket items that have your attention? How will you prepare your personal or departmental budget for the coming year?

Price, although often negotiable, is very apparent. We see the numbers and analyze the fit. Is it affordable? Will it work?

The CFO or your CPA may choose some deeper analysis. What is the anticipated life, the costs associated with ownership, and what will it do, if anything, to the balance sheet? Smart people.

Great Value

All these things matter, but many of them are more connected with price than value. Is value important?

Truly the Range Rover should be about value. The purchase of a personal computing device should be about value. Our home, our furniture, about value.

In the workplace when we bring on a new employee, about value. When we invest in employee training and development, about value. That large capital equipment purchase, it should be about value.

Beyond the technical or mechanical evaluation of price, there is often the intangible part of value.

One thing is certain. Be cautious of low price, it is often not connected with great value.

-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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culture distinction

Culture Distinction or Extinction, Which Should You Choose?

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We sometimes don’t know how things started, or perhaps worse, what caused them to end. What is the culture in your organization? Do you have culture distinction or is the culture headed for extinction?

The More We Learn

It seems like the more we learn, the deeper the questions become. Archeologists and anthropologists continue to dig up (sometimes literally) more details of a past that we often know little about.

There is of course the Inca civilization of South America in Southern Peru and Northern Chile, and the ancient Egyptian civilization of Northwest Africa in the Nile River Valley.

Both civilizations and geographic areas have interested many. The studies of their cultures, buildings, and activities are astonishing.

Stories, artifacts, and in some cases written or pictorial reflections give us some hints of the cultures that once were abundant and thriving.

What happened to them?

We may shrug our shoulders and say, “Who knows?”

Do you think the ancient cultures had a warning? Did they know that something was undermining their existence? Was it rules, greed, or even an overuse or abuse of resources?

What about the culture of your workplace? What is it about your culture or your environment that may go down in the history books? Is there a legacy being built or what picture (metaphorically or literally) will be left behind?

Culture Distinction

Most businesses today would suggest that they are building a culture of distinction. They want their story to be the story of success. The artifacts and pictures that line the walls of the lobby, the trophies in the showcase, and the press releases that put it all to a timeline.

For all existing organizations, the culture is their definition of success, failures, and the tenacity to withstand it all.

In all other cases, it is the case of extinction. Only the possibility of some artifacts remain. What will be the story?

What is the threat knocking on the door of your culture? Is anyone looking? Is there a warning that no one is considering?

Better not give it a shoulder shrug.

-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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project management

Project Management Done For Us Not To Us

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Many professionals can cite project management on their resume or curriculum vitae. It is often what people do, work together for a common goal. What are your experiences with project management?

Some people want off the committee, they grow tired of the project, the team, the conflict, debates, arguments, and turmoil. It may feel like little is being accomplished and no one knows the goal.

The truth is that project management can be done to us, or for us. How are you managing or leading projects?

To Us or For Us?

When the project is done to us it feels forced. The project is rooted in demand and command, not opportunity. This sometimes works. It is a push style. The authoritarian approach. Today, many would label this old school.

There is a different approach. It is a pull style. It is what draws people in, what inspires them, motivates them, and makes the project a delight.

The project feels like it is for us. The project is an inspiration. Engaged contributors want to start early, work long, and stay late.

Meetings are short and focused, people can’t stand to be away from the work at hand. Not because they hate the meeting, but because they can’t wait to get started.

Vision is shared, contributors are happy, the talk is of success and accomplishment.

Project Management

Does project management appear on your resume? What is your approach to projects?

Considering there are five generations active in our workforce today leading projects can be complex. Getting people on board, bought in, and motivated is critical.

Our highest job satisfaction often develops from respect. Pushed people don’t feel respected. Push implies forced. Push implies done to us, not for us.

Pull on the other hand can be a delight. It feels like it is there for us.

-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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your picture

Your Picture, Your Vision, Your Image Is a Thousand Words

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No, it is not that selfie you just snapped. What you picture, what you think or say about a picture will create the path that you follow. What is your picture?

Many of us have a camera in our hand or within arm’s reach. We snap photos of people, buildings, animals, and other cool things. Every photo tells a story, but is it a true story?

The Client

A few years ago, I was about to engage with a client and decided to browse their website to learn a little more about them.

Of course, I saw pictures and their logo. I read catchy slogans and about how they please customers. There were testimonials and expressions of longevity.

Then I watched their corporate video. Indeed, it was impressive. In the video happy employees were working hard.

The video included short clips as the videographer toured the facilities. There were drone shots, employee picnics and charity events. There was even a run through the woods to illustrate fitness and stress release.

Later, but before my first engagement, I privately asked my contact if I could ask a tough question. I suggested it would be important for my engagement with them and that it would guide what I delivered.

The response was, “Certainly, yes, please go ahead.”

I asked, “I noticed your video on your website. Is that culture, the culture it illustrates, is that real?”

The next words spoken by the contact were, “Hang on a minute. Let me close my door.”

I don’t think I need to explain what happened next. Honestly, I was disappointed. The video was a masterpiece, but it was more art than it was reality.

Your Picture

As you browse the pictures in your home, the pictures in your social media feed, or the pictures in the customer entrance of your workplace, ask yourself, “Are they real?”

Be honest, it is important for everything that happens next.

There is a good chance there is more work to be done.

-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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why cooperation

Why Cooperation Is The Better Path

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A popular workplace complaint. People can’t seem to get along. Often the trend is to take a different position, go against the flow, cause some havoc and get noticed. Have you considered why cooperation beats opposition?

Everyday Challenges

Diversity challenges us every day. When you break it down the real challenge with diversity is that we see differences as the other side, an opposition.

We often don’t agree, but believe we should. We believe we are practicing diversity. It is true across generations, sexual orientations, and protected classes of people.

This often breaks down to the agreement to disagree. That’s opposition, not harmony, not collaboration, and not teamwork.

Leadership and Connections

Individuals who are supported by the leadership style of some people move up while others move down creates an energy. Is that energy constructive?

Hierarchy has value and is important. So is respect and even authority. In a connected economy has that changed?

People often throw around buzz words. Things like servant leadership, emotional intelligence, and six sigma. Certainly, many components of these practices work. Do all components?

The climate of the organization conditions success.

Whether we like it or not we are living in a networked world. People converse all around the globe quickly, easily, and by desire. New contacts and relationships are made and older ones are reinvigorated or repaired.

Why Cooperation

Much of our lives and economies are being stimulated by connection. Push marketing still has value and deep roots, but the connected economy is much more about pull.

So when we see something different in our workplace and psychologically label it as the other side, we lack connection. Agreement to disagree is not a win-win.

Every moment as the organization moves across time, something new is created. What does that look like in the connected economy?

Cooperation reminds us of the value of connections. It reminds us that differences are not the opposition, but opportunity. Within any culture some differences are not tolerated. They never enter the system, or at least they shouldn’t.

The climate of your organizational success has an opportunity.

To become a force for the market, you must have a force within.

-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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using empathy

Leadership Habit 35: Using Empathy

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It seems that most people are promoted in organizations because they’ve shown strong technical skills. They have impressed the CEO with their knowledge and comprehension of business requirements. Are they effectively using empathy?

Technical Expertise

Technical skills are important. The newsflash is, they are not everything. One of the hardest things for emerging workplace leaders is understanding the soft skills side of leadership.

Workplace success typically happens for the most well-rounded people. Certainly, some will cite that playing politics, having friends in the right places, and even gender will play a role. True, they may all be factors, but long-term leadership success needs empathy.

Technical skills won’t take you very far when no one respects the work. Things may implode when no one understands the values, the hardships, and the beliefs required to carry on when everyone wants to quit.

Power of Empathy

Often the hardest skill for the workplace leader is to understand and develop the power of empathy. It is often disregarded as not needed, too soft, or not logical and therefore not required.

In some circles it is common to hear, “Remove the emotion!” And every time a person in a leadership role says that they have just moved one notch farther away from a team who has passion.

Certainly, there are times when decisions must be made that are difficult. They tug at the emotional values of those involved but removing emotion from any organization may be a step in the wrong direction.

Using Empathy

So, it is really the emotional labor that leaders sometimes need to master. They are seldom chosen, at least not consciously, for this skill, but great leaders have it covered.

Engaged teams are running on emotion. Emotion has a lot to do with empathy. When we feel the mechanics of the job are covered what remains?

Using empathy is often challenging, it can’t be delegated, and the emotional labor involved will require patience and energy.

As a leader, using empathy is required. Your team needs it.

-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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perfect plan

Creating a Perfect Plan or Failure

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Most great efforts happen when there is a plan. Do you have a vision? Have you invested in creating the perfect plan?

Some people, and businesses, try to launch without a plan. Their plan is to go with the flow, let things unfold, take unknown risk or never consider the probability of success.

Risk of Failure

Why would anyone want to launch without a plan? Part of the challenge for why this occurs may exist in the idea that plains can fail. Even the best constructed plains may not turn out exactly as desired.

This may create an underlying fear, apprehension, worry, and avoidance. Who wants to be responsible for a plan that didn’t work?

Yet there are many other people and businesses who have realized that while plans work, they often don’t. This isn’t a surprise, in fact, it may be a realization that becomes part of the plan.

On any given day most people don’t know exactly what traffic will be like on their commute. Businesses don’t know who will call, who may postpone, or what equipment may break.

The emergency room at the local hospital exists and serves because they have planned for the unplanned. They don’t know what the next shift will bring. Who will arrive, how many, or with what problems.

Perfect Plan

Perhaps the secret to creating the perfect plan exists not in what you’ll do to execute the plan, but what you’ll do when things go astray.

Planning for the unplanned may be the hardest part of the plan. It is difficult to know how much, how many, and whether to embrace or deny.

A few things are guaranteed when you create the perfect plan. Perfect plans will encounter setbacks, delays, and hidden costs. People in the system will need more time, get bored, or skip town.

Revenue goals or funding streams will be missed or worse, stop altogether.

Your vision and plan are important. Equally important is what you’ll do and how you’ll react to imperfection.

-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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Aspiring Leader Seminar

Aspiring Leader Seminar – Williamsport, PA

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Today’s leaders are more than just supervisors or management team members. They are the heart of inspiration, team work, and create the atmosphere required for the pursuit of common goals.

This seminar covers many of the foundation skills that build great leadership habits. Participants will explore what it means to be a leader, not just a supervisor or manager. We’ll be covering change, communication, and motivating the team. Tough topics that are sometimes taken for granted such as resiliency, understanding priorities, and the difference between facts and opinions. In addition, we’ll examine some tough questions such as, “Where are you most vulnerable?”and “What is most important right now?” 

More Info / Register


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Employee development

Employee Development While The Pendulum Swings

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A refusal of the offer is not the same as rejection. It is common that small businesses and some larger ones too, will refuse the offer or opportunity for employee training. Is employee development important for your organization?

Behind the scenes, quietly, the label is sweatshop. The organization that believes employees are a tool, and only a tool. They are a tool to push the button, drill the hole, and fill the box. Jobs like that still exist, but largely, they are rapidly being replaced by robotics.

Scaling

Most for-profit organizations are attempting to scale. They are trying to maximize value, ROI, and increase sales. The most fundamental underlying principle of scaling in a service economy driven by technology is, building knowledge.

General Managers, Presidents, and CEO’s alike have suggested to me that they don’t have time for training. The messages spreads, it goes to Human Resources, Engineering, and front line teams. The knowledge gain stops, stalls, and the organization temporarily stabilizes, right before the pendulum starts a backward swing.

Questions Drive Direction

Not so long ago a G.M. stated a rhetorical question, “When you have a chance to ship product and fulfill orders, or sit in training, what are you going to do?”

Perhaps we need to look at it through a different lens, with different questions.

  • How did you become the G.M.? (Not sarcasm, sincerity.)
  • What mattered most for you to become a supervisor, manager, or business owner?
  • Who will you promote or seek to help advance the organization?

The questions are the tricky part because they answers will illustrate the future of the organization. Will the organization scale, or will it become another statistic of stop, stall, and temporarily stabilize?

Employee Development

Nothing will help the organization scale faster than employee development. Knowledge gain for those who seek it will guarantee a better future.

Information and knowledge are spreading more rapidly and easier than ever before. Perhaps the best part of all is that developed employees create other developed employees. Standards for work performance rise and so does the quality, customer service, and sales.

Employee development ensures that reputation, loyalty, and job satisfaction continue to rise. People on the outside want in and those on the inside want to stay.

Momentum is a hard thing to start, but it is also a hard thing to stop. Which way is the pendulum moving?

– 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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