Tag Archives: learning

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learning investment

Learning Investment, Is That What You’re Making?

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Many people invest in retirement programs. Some people invest in real estate. Buy a home and count on its value appreciating. What about learning? Are you making a learning investment?

You have daily, weekly, and monthly bills. Turn on the lights, drive to work, or pay for cable TV? These really are not investments, they are more in line with what you would consider expenses.

While some of those may be consistent with the cost of doing business or earning a paycheck, they really aren’t a direct investment.

Is learning an investment for you?

Have you attended college or some form of specialized training? Did you have to take out a loan, or save really hard in order to pay for it? If so, is it an investment or an expense?

It may depend on what you do next.

Learning Investment

Making a commitment to improving your skills is probably not an expense. It’s not the same as the cost of doing laundry or buying food.

An investment would suggest that you are spending time, money, or the energy to do something or create something that is going to provide a return later. The idea of course is that the return has more value than what it originally cost.

It’s an investment.

When you buy a book, and read it, it might be an investment. When you sign up for a workshop or take a class, it should be considered an investment.

If you join a trade association, a Chamber of Commerce, or some form of professional organization or club, it might be an investment.

Most motorized vehicle purchases are not an investment. They depreciate instead of appreciate in value. The same is true for your electronic purchases, such as your smartphone, laptop, or camera. They may be tools or toys, but they are likely not an investment.

Learning produces or enhances skills. It may add to your competence and your ability to earn more.

You can attend college or go to a specialized seminar. The act of going may feel like an expense. Being committed to learning and using the knowledge gain is an investment.

Learning may be one of the most economical investments you can make.

Do you see it that way?

-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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outcome commitment

Outcome Commitment, Do You Have It?

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Each tick of the clock or the change in the small series of figure eight shaped LED bars means time is in motion. Many people see their work as a race against time. Do you have outcome commitment or are you just running through the motions?

At the start of a shift, people are either looking to roll up their sleeves and get dirty, or they’ve thrown the switch, and the count down to the end of the shift has just begun.

Going through the motions is a terrible waste. It means that there really isn’t progress and that the outcome of yesterday is all that remains as a guide for today.

Things are different now. A switch was thrown in early 2020 with the Worldwide pandemic.

The switch meant that moving forward was going to require change. While some progress was hindered and government agencies forced closed doors and shutdowns, others were on the move.

There was change, a shift, and a pivot.

Outside of government forced closures, those with great commitment had to trudge on.

Outcome Commitment

Workforce sectors were forced to learn and grow all the while education is reportedly in shambles. Young people in traditional K-12 education systems are reportedly struggling, while in the adult world those who choose to make learning a priority have grown.

The difference might be a reflection of the commitment.

There is a chance that something better is on the other side. It’s on the other side of disappointment, despair, and devastation. The opportunity is there for those who are committed.

When you know where you are going and you can describe it, there is a much better chance you’ll get there.

-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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learning commitment

Learning Commitment Changes Your Job

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Commitment means commitment. It isn’t about a half-hearted approach. Having a learning commitment is often visible, and it’s always a game-changer.

Many small businesses start from a hobby, an interest, and lots of initiative. Some of those small businesses will grow very large, some not as much.

There are two reasons for the differences between small and large. The first is that the owner may not want to grow it big, and the second reason is that something gets lost in the commitment.

Although on a smaller scale, workplace employees have similar outcomes. Employees that are really committed to the mission often rise above the rest. Those approaching their work half-heartedly, not so much.

Many employees suggest that they are committed. Is that suggestion visible?

Learning Commitment

Spotting commitment really isn’t that difficult.

Committed employees study.

They study the actions and behaviors of role models. They also encourage and desire training, they study written materials, watch videos, read books, attend conferences, and are always committed to learning.

Change is an obstacle or a blessing. A hurdle to jump or an opportunity to capture.

Someone who is coasting backs away from obstacles and hurdles. The energy commitment is lacking, the drive towards creating more success doesn’t really matter.

If they’re on the clock, the clock continues to click and they are satisfied with that.

They are content and complacent.

Having a learning commitment is a game-changer. Each successive learning experience is a win. It’s a win for the organization and it’s a win for the employee.

You can always identify who’s committed.

They’re uncomfortable with coasting.

-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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rebel leaders

Rebel Leaders May Make a Positive Impact

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Are you a little bit rebellious? Are you one of the rebel leaders?

I’m not talking about law-breaking, unpeaceful protests, or insurrection. I’m talking about coloring outside the lines, bending a few rules, or going a slightly different direction because you believe it will result in a better outcome.

Many people believe that being a little bit of a rebel makes you a good leader.

Could it be true?

Innovation comes to mind. If you always follow the exact same guidelines or style, what changes?

Learning something new comes to mind. If you believe that there is more to discover, something new to try, and you’re willing to step a little beyond your comfort zone, are you leading while learning?

Making the project successful comes to mind. When you pull out all the stops, do the things naysayers caution against, and show up with a project completed, on-time, and with a happy customer, is that winning?

Rebel Leaders

There are many characteristics of leadership. Having high integrity and ethics certainly represent some of the characteristics. So are things like being persistent, working within the bounds of the rules and regulations, adhering to safety standards, and being respectful to everyone.

Remember though, that leaders lead. Leadership often comes with the cost of a little more risk. A different level of challenge and a mindset focused on completing the mission.

Leaders don’t ignore well-intended feedback, they welcome it. They are always striving to make things better and more efficient. They’re ready to improve profit margins, increase customer satisfaction and grow sales.

Not leading means you’re avoiding new ideas, shunning all feedback, and being so locked in that you never change. It is being stuck and cowering away because out of weakness and fear.

Just beyond the limits may be the next big thing.

Leaders lead.

They might also be just a little bit rebellious.

-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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finding instructions

Finding Instructions May Be All That You Need

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Finding instructions may be the missing piece, except when the willingness to put in the effort is absent.

Some have considered YouTube to be a game-changer. The hobby mechanic likely loves YouTube. The same is true for the 1980’s era MTV crowd who want to have their own private stream of music videos. This online video-sharing platform is still evolving, from offers of amateur reality TV to fashion shows to home improvements.

One hundred years ago if you needed to know how to work on a gasoline engine you probably needed a book. Otherwise, the knowledge had to be handed down from someone else in the know.

Fifty years ago, if your clothes dryer broke a belt you may have called a repairman. Today, if you have the willingness to put in the effort you likely can discover how to repair it yourself from an online video.

This type of access to knowledge, information, and instructions has never been easier. Yet it still requires one important thing, a willingness to do the work.

Finding Instructions

Most people don’t lack the ability to source the how-to, they lack the willingness of the want-to.

One argument is time. The time it takes to learn or the time it takes to do the task.

A house cleaner, a yard landscaper, or a swimming pool caretaker all provide some type of service to the purchaser. It may not be necessary, but it is a convenience or luxury.

In your job or career, you may not have the same luxury.

Do you want to grow in your workplace? Do you want to advance your knowledge or skills?

It has never been easier to find the instructions.

There is still a question though, do you have the willingness to do more?

-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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personal growth

Personal Growth Is Your Ticket To Workplace Success

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Many people talk about personal growth. Likely, more than eighty percent of those discussing it stick with it long enough to make a significant change.

A lack of luck is often to blame. Yet, most people experience luck often. In reality, how you manage luck, good or bad, will make the biggest difference long-term.

Considering short-run management versus long-run change, are you able to balance both?

Plenty of short-run decisions have an impact on long-run change.

A bowl of ice cream on Saturday evening may feel good while satisfying the short-run. A bowl of ice cream every evening may have some impact on long-run weight management.

When you break it all down, nearly everything you do and the associated outcomes are predictors of what happens long-term.

Personal Growth

Most executives don’t start at the top.

A great car mechanic wasn’t born that way.

The fittest athlete didn’t get fit by laying on the couch all day, every day.

Your level of personal growth seldom just happens. It is a collection across time. A collection of little or nothing never gets very big. Yet a little bit collected often starts to add up.

A picture of a tree in the park, the one in the courtyard at your workplace, or outside your kitchen window. One taken now and one taken five years ago. Things have changed, yet you barely noticed.

Every tiny piece. Every bit of information. Successes, learning opportunities, and even every calorie burnt versus calorie consumed.

One nugget at a time, adding up across days, weeks, months, and years. That is the path to achieving more.

Many people like to focus on salary or money.

Your success isn’t always about what you get paid along the way. What you get paid for it may be stark in comparison to what you become for it.

Bit by bit, drop by drop, season after season, adding a little more across time is the surest way to achieve more.

Growth isn’t an accident.

-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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learning opportunities

Learning Opportunities Really Change The Outcomes

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Is attending the seminar a punishment or an opportunity? Education at all levels makes a difference. Do you see learning opportunities or do you see time wasters?

It’s sort of comical how several people can observe the same subject matter and see completely different things.

Values, beliefs, and trendy positions lead some people to appear to believe in something that they may know little or nothing about.

In the workplace, groups form, subgroups form, and there are workplace politics. Politics about who belongs and who doesn’t. Politics about who works, contributes and puts in their time, and of course, who doesn’t.

Many organizations are on a quest to enhance their culture. They want to build stronger more intact teams. They want to improve their communication efforts and get everyone on the same page.

How will they do it?

Learning Opportunities

The best organizations seek to learn more. If time matters, and it always does, the faster you can improve efficiencies, effectiveness, and productivity the better.

The best people in the best organizations make an investment in learning.

A seminar or workshop is not a punishment. It is an opportunity.

If you can learn something new, refresh on something you’ve heard before, or turn a habit slipped into a reinvigorated quest to get better, you’ve gained.

I’ve observed people who fight and argue to stay out of the workshop. At the same time, I’ve observed people who fight and argue that they want in the workshop.

The perspective is different.

Workplace cultures are different.

Learning is something you become part of, you’re pulled, not pushed.

Changing the outcomes means you’re changing the approach. A new twist, a fluid approach, or something different. It’s more than doing the same thing differently, it is doing different things.

Different things change outcomes.

It’s a learning opportunity.

-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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more education

More Education, Who Needs It?

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Do you need more education? Some people believe that they don’t need education beyond high school, and some even less than that.

Is education really a racket? Some people say it is.

Even Pink Floyd had something to say about education.

There are plenty of high salary people with what some would say is a limited education. Yet, it is probably safe to say that the more educated you become the higher your earning potential.

Is it about Learning?

When we swap out the word education and replace it with learning, things change a little.

One trouble spot is the concept of the quality of what is learned.

Learning how to dodge, weave, and play corporate politics may not be taught in a community college or ivy league business school. You tend to learn it from experience. For better or for worse, that experience often comes from role models.

Duck Dynasty is an American television series. Many view it as the name of a business. Although its true name is Duck Commander.

The Duck Dynasty brand, is an image, a role model, and although ZZ Top may disagree, it is quite possibly the spark that ignited the long-beard trend.

We also have images of what corporate life at Google looks like, what big government looks like in Washington, D.C., and some images of the chillaxed lifestyle of the rich and famous of Miami or Southern California.

There is also a reasonably good chance that you are none of those.

Yet, plenty of people will grow the beard, tote around technology like it is a picture of success, and politic on social media channels like a know-it-all from a prominent urban community.

It’s what they’ve learned or inspire to be.

More Education

You don’t need a formal education to learn how to run a Ponzi scheme. Although some college and university graduates decide to do it. The same may be said about the success of star athletes, business owners, and the Executive Chef.

Learning helps build your character. It shapes decisions that you’ll make.

If you decide to drop out of school and you achieve some success then school may appear to be a waste of time. You made a decision and got results.

If you decide to pursue post-secondary education by earning a certificate, a degree, or multiples of either, and you achieve some success, you may decide that formal education had something to do with it.

All of the decisions you’ll make today and tomorrow will have something to do with what you’ve learned. There is a good chance that as you make your next big decision, you’ll look at the presumed success and failures of your life experiences and your role models.

More learning is never a waste of time.

It becomes part of your character. It isn’t forced, it’s welcomed and appreciated. The moment you decide you don’t need it is likely a moment that you made a decision that will limit everything that happens for you next.

Everyone needs to learn more.

Do they?

Do you?

-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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character depth

Character Depth Will Determine Leadership Decisions

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Life experiences matter, so does formal education, the deeper your knowledge and understanding the better decisions you can make as a leader. Character depth will matter, because it is part of who you are.

Character may be described as a sum of your values, beliefs, and knowledge. It is also connected to how you apply all of those. It shows itself through your words, behaviors, and responses.

Everyone’s path in life may be different. What people read, espoused values from family and friends, and formal education will have an impact. Today, beyond just reading we have other vast influences, such as video, television, and even virtual realities.

Your life choices and decisions will shape how you navigate the future.

This is why learning is so important.

Are You Learning?

People learn in different ways. Some argue that they don’t need a formal program of study. Perhaps, that is true. Yet, at the same time if their learning is limited to only their immediate surroundings or culture their depth is limited. Their frame may be too narrow.

There are also differences between reading, studying, watching videos, and listening to podcasts, when compared with learning directly from an expert.

In life, people drop out of high school, they drop out of college, or never finish other types of educational programs.

There are unexpected pregnancies, loss of loved ones, or loss of a job.

Many twists, turns, and surprising outcomes.

Does this matter? The easy answer is, yes.

It is not so much about what happened, but more about what you learned.

What you learned from any experience will drive what choices or actions you’ll take next.

Did you learn?

Character Depth

Nearly every day I hear stories about formal leaders making difficult choices.

Some stories are about bad choices and some are about not understanding options. Go a little deeper and it may be that so-called leaders don’t even have the understanding that they should be making a choice. They do nothing.

Doing nothing may be an option, yet if it is not a conscious choice it may be problematic.

Leadership often circles back to expertise. While much of the expertise may be technical in a given field, it also requires great depth in the human side of things.

In the workplace, great leaders understand the technical as well as the psychology of work. They understand people.

Those who lack formal expertise, those who lack education, are limited. When their frame is very narrow, of course, they lack depth.

Depth becomes part of your character and the decisions you’ll make are limited by the information (knowledge/expertise) that is within your reach.

Sometimes there isn’t a video to watch. Sometimes there isn’t a podcast to listen to or a book to read.

The best leaders build their character across time from a wide range of experiences and learning.

How deep are you?

-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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Skill building

Skill Building Is Asset Creation For You

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Are you skill building? Right now, today, for your job and your future, are you building more skill?

We know that one person’s trash may be another’s treasure. We’ve heard it many times. Perhaps we’ve even collected some of it.

When it comes to knowledge, skills, and abilities many people only want them when they are necessary on their resume.

Do you recognize skills as an asset or something to build only if you must?

Colleges and universities to try sell you an asset. Workplace training and continuous learning should also be considered an asset. Is that your view?

Malcolm Gladwell, has suggested that committing to 10,000 hours of work in a particular subject or discipline may make you an expert.

When you need your car repaired, an electrician for your home, or visit a doctor, you expect a pro, correct?

Being an expert or a pro is an asset. You build that asset. Across time, with discipline, and continued interest.

You likely string together many hours, make a few sacrifices, and leave the scene sometimes very tired and hungry. It’s growth, it requires effort and energy.

What if you don’t?

Skill Building

If you find learning to be a nuisance, a disruption, or a waste of time because there is other, real work to be done, then you probably are not on the road to becoming an expert.

In the workplace, it is common for the technical expert to get promoted to supervisor or manager. Does she have the skills required?

Technically, for the discipline of the trade or activity, probably, yes. However, the skills necessary to be a good supervisor or manager? Probably not so much.

The opposite can be true as well. Not every trade, production, or service area requires a manager who has the technical skill. In many cases it is just as effective to have a well-skilled, expert supervisor who can learn a little about the skills required for the work at hand.

What are your assets? Are you building them?

Waiting until you think you need a skill is too late.

Think about what you are spending your time doing and about the asset you are building.

If you don’t want to grow then don’t expect to be promoted or hired.

-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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