Tag Archives: learning

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C-Suite Learning

C-Suite Learning Will Mean Customer Satisfaction

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The smallest companies sometimes thrive. Not because they are the cheapest but because they are still learning. What about those in the C-Suite, are they still learning?

C-Suite learning may make the difference for customer satisfaction, growth, or stagnation.

Why pick on the leaders?

Leaders are responsible. Responsible for leading the culture of the organization. The smallest companies make it because the CEO is close enough to the customer to make the difference.

As organizations grow the leadership style starts to shift. The culture drives attention to the numbers and numbers are measured against numbers.

The castle is built and there is either a moat or a wall surrounding it. Sometimes both.

Metrics and measurement separate the connection between the product and the customer. The responsibility shifts to the front line.

The front line is stranded and stalled. They wait for the next meeting, the next decision, or the pivot that scraps it all.

Meanwhile the customer chooses a different path.

The company screams, “There is no customer loyalty!”

C-Suite Learning

C-Suite learning can make the difference. Yes, it is about the conference, the professional development, and the concept that leaders are readers. Don’t forget that it is also about connection.

When the C-Suite continues the connection with the customer the culture built will be inviting the customer to join. Remember, this is exactly why the small business succeeds. Front-line (and CEO) learning, passion, and connection.

Too often as the organization grows, it slows. It grows just big enough so that the chaos and disconnect fight back. The business finds itself positioned somewhere between stuck and stalled.

C-Suite learning often stops. The walls and moats shelter decision makers from the front line. Risk is measured differently. Insight becomes more about the numbers gap and less about customer satisfaction.

In the early days, customer satisfaction came first. It mattered more. Decisions were made by the influence of direct engagement. Learning made things grow.

Now a lack of learning makes things stop.

Learning how to make the numbers matters, but management by the numbers alone puts you inside the castle.

-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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finding solutions

Finding Solutions To Problems We Shouldn’t Have

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One problem for many managers is that they believe they shouldn’t have any. Finding solutions to problems comes with the territory. How would you rate your ability to find solutions?

Most workplace problems, the ones that are still a problem, exist because they aren’t easily solved. If they were, they would be solved by now.

We’ve all probably heard that when you learn from mistakes, and in the future do it differently you’ve found some value in the misfortune. It is a good argument and good advice.

Once Upon a Time

When we learned to ride a bike, we made some mistakes. We learned to balance, pedal, and lean into the turns.

Taking the math exam probably unveiled some problems. Things like accuracy, trying to solve the problems the quickest. Hurrying because you don’t want to be last. Sometimes even our own handwriting caused errors.

We had to learn to slow down, budget our time appropriately, and reflect on our own work.

Later in life we started to learn more about navigating situations that involved people. We learned about sharing, caring, and listening more to understand instead of just respond.

Most of what we’ve done has included problem solving. Hits and misses, mistakes made, and changes put in place, then we try again.

Life can wear us down. In grade school we probably proclaimed “not fair.” Then an adult adjusted for fairness. Was that fair, or just another twist to the dilemma?

Finding Solutions

Finding solutions isn’t always easy.

As a workplace leader, regardless of title, position, or organizational position, we may accept that finding solutions is part of our job.

The solution may be learning a new way to balance, pedaling different to save energy, and leaning just right into the curves.

Solutions may involve accuracy, patience, and organizational skills.

We may have to navigate differently. Listen more, learn something new, and change habits.

If someone suggested it would be easy, they were wrong.

That is the great thing about leading. You find a way, or you invent one.

Problems are just invitation to get started. They are opportunities in disguise.

-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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lifelong learning

Lifelong Learning and the Card Punch Myth

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Are you a product of lifelong learning? Many successful people will tell you that you are, or that you should be. Are you going for a new job? Is your card punched?

Card Punch Myth

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Get your card punched.” It is a catch-all phrase, designed to suggest that without a high school diploma, a two-year, four-year, masters, or doctoral degree you cannot succeed.

Certainly, it is unlikely that many would argue with the high school diploma. As the degrees get bigger and the requirements more intense the population with each degree gets smaller.

There are some occupations that require specific degrees or certifications. Medical doctors are an easy example. In these cases, there is a minimum requirement for entry.

Is your card punched? Does it need to be?

Falsely, many people believe that a degree (or not having one) is what is limiting their success. Yet, everyday someone gets a job without the certificate, without the degree, and without their card punched.

The argument is that, “they knew someone,” or “they got lucky.” Both are potentially true, so perhaps balancing degree pursuit with relationship building is a requirement.

Ask Bill Gates or Michael Dell about the card punch.

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is an important idea. Anyone who wants to be progressive in their career should have the fundamental understanding that continuous and lifelong learning is a requirement.

What does lifelong learning mean? It means you’re continuing to grow. It may be through formal education. Perhaps through a mentor, coach, or professional training. It could also be through reading, video watching, and individualized study that is self-designed.

You can never stop expanding. Most people are not born into a specific career. They make their career. Some of that is based on formal education and some of it on relationships, hard work, and yes, even luck.

If you want change and advancement you’re going to have to learn more.

Evidence of degrees earned appearing on the wall, an acronym following your name, or a professional salutation are great. Keep in mind they represent evidence, not a ticket to the show.

What you can really do is so much more important.

-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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learning how

Learning How Is Not Where Things Start and Stop

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Learning how is a good step. People often think, “When I don’t know how, someone will help me.” Learning how is important, is it most important?

Today people jump on a Google search, ask Siri, or head over to YouTube to discover some do it yourself tactics. This may work, in fact, it does work for many things. However, the home mechanic, sink fixer, or roof repair skill builders may still be too much for many people and are appropriately given to a professional.

Are there things that you should learn and then turn into a new habit?

Habits Last

Many eager people in the workplace want to learn how. They want to learn how to navigate the system, how to be a better leader, or how to improve their communication.

People go to school, they may attend college, do an apprenticeship, or get formal on-the-job training. All these things can be good and beneficial but learning how is just where things start.

What we do every day has much to do with our knowledge but knowing and doing are not the same.

It is the habits that we form that will create the most momentum. Attitude can be a habit. Approaching work with energy and enthusiasm can be a habit. What we do first, next, and at the end of the day is often based on habit.

Learning How

Learning how is important, but it is also often quickly forgotten. When we find that we need to know we’ll ask again, check the manual, or go visit YouTube. None of those are a bad plan, but they are about knowledge that isn’t retained or practiced. A habit will last.

When we make learning how a habit, and back it up with knowledge gain turned into more new habits we find more success.

Often the secret for getting along, creating a better team, and being a better leader is not based purely on learning how.

It is based on learning how and turning new skills into a habit.

-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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good advice

Good Advice or Action Learning

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Advice is available everywhere. There are trouble spots though. Bad advice, advice no one pursues, and advice that is entirely unwanted. Do you have any good advice?

Good Intentions

Most advice has the best intentions. People trying to help other people. A good thing. However, being right, attempting to correct behaviors, or point out where the action went wrong doesn’t always result in positive future performance.

Trying to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels is a learning experience. Shouting from the sidelines about balance, pedaling, or how to steer doesn’t help much. Action by the person learning will make the difference.

The same is often true in workplace roles, attitudes, and how to navigate the C Suite. Offering the right answers, suggestions for a proven path, or how to have a different perspective aren’t guaranteed to spark new behaviors.

Good Advice

A difference for the learner is that discovery often changes the course of action more than advice. Could it be that the best advice is not so much about good advice but more about facilitating discovery?

Action learning, creating the ah-ha moments, and effective use of Socratic questions are likely more responsible for change when compared with the voice of good advice.

Action Learning

Perhaps instead of handing out advice we should grab the sissy bar and push little, stabilize a little, and offer encouragement while the action is taking place.

Advice is easy to find. The best learning often takes place when there is discovery and action.

Next time you set out to give some good advice, consider how you can facilitate discovery of the solution instead of just handing it over. Not because you don’t want to help, but because you do.

Hearing the answer is not as powerful as experiencing the answer.

-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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Interesting Story

Interesting Story, Now I Get It

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People have told stories for thousands of years. Is story telling the way we learn, grow, and become more successful? Do you have an interesting story?

Story Value

Go to any museum and you may wonder about the story. The artifacts are there, they are clearly visible and on display. We can often read a short version of history on a plaque or push a button to get an audio version. This helps us connect, but we still don’t always know the story.

If we are shopping for a used car, we may want to know the story. When we go to a new small town, or a mom and pop restaurant we may wonder, “What is the story here?”

Better yet, watch an episode of American Pickers or Pawn Stars. When they buy something, they want to know the story. Often you’ll hear the stars of these shows ask about the story and declare a perceived value based mostly on, you guessed it, the story.

Interesting Story

In the workplace, our connection with purpose, why we do what we do, is meaningless without the story.

When we are in training seminars or workshops the value of the training is increased with the story.

You’ve likely heard of death by PowerPoint. You’ve witnessed the endless slide decks that could simply be displayed while the participants watch and read. There is not really a need for the so-called, presenter.

When you want buy-in for your change. When you want your employee teams to learn more, be more, and connect more, you may want to consider the story. Most employable people can talk about or read a slide deck.

When you attend the meeting, go to a seminar, or take a seat in the grand ballroom at the conference the question you really want to know the answer to is, “Do you have an interesting story?”

– 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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learning moments

Learning Moments From The People Who Get It

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Telling someone isn’t the way the most meaningful learning occurs. Knowledge transfer and retention are much more impactful in learning moments, which are much different from telling moments.

Frustrated workplace leaders discuss it with me often. They insist that they have instructed employees dozens of times, but still they do the wrong thing at the wrong time. Certainly, there may be many reasons for this, but one reason is that telling an employee may be different than helping them learn.

Learning Stories

People love stories. Some of the best storytellers are in fact great teachers. Stories can ignite learning moments when listeners connect with it emotionally.

In other cases, people are stuck in their habits. They hear the story but they really aren’t listening to learn, they are only listening to hear. There is a difference in the outcomes.

What happens when you believe you know the answer? Do you suggest a different path for those involved, but still they make the wrong choices? Logic often suggests that we must tell them again.

Whether we like to admit it or not, much of the power in learning comes with an emotional connection. When people are open to change or they desire change, it can occur easily. Sometimes we have to create learning moments, that moment when someone else becomes captivated enough to be inspired for change.

Evaluating Answers

Telling someone the answer is not nearly as powerful as when the person can evaluate why it is the best answer. Sure, we can teach to the test. When those being tested care enough to learn the answer, they can store it in their memory.

Many can argue, this is learning, but learning the correct answer is not always the same as understanding it.

This is precisely why advertising is designed to connect with your emotions. In the 1950’s or early 1960’s smoking was considered cool, and advertisers helped create that image. In the 1980’s we had the fried egg commercial that advised against drug use.

Today training programs or advertising campaigns may include gory safety videos, car accident scenes demonstrating outcomes of driving while distracted, or even active shooter programs that ignite fear in an attempt to make a difference for saving lives.

Learning Moments

Sometimes the best way you can help someone learn is by helping him or her discover the answer, not by telling them.

Good advice can make a difference, but often, learning moments don’t come from the mere act of advice.

Advice connected with personal experience is often much more valuable. Help someone figure it out and you’ll create a learning moment that sticks.

– 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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filtering information

Are You Filtering Information, Should You?

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What is your understanding of information filters? Should we be filtering information? If yes, what or how should we be doing it?

When you shop online, browse eBay, or look for a book on Amazon, do you use filters? The information filter in these cases helps us to narrow our search, be more precise, and find the stuff we really want.

We may find the shoes we like, the good deal on something gently used, or be sure that we are reading what we want to read. The same is true for the podcast listener and video watcher.

Filtering information may make it easier, better, and faster for us to get right to the information we want. Is this a great thing or a limiting factor?

Easy Filters

What if we only listen to what we agree with? Imagine we only read what makes complete sense or suggests a position that favors our perspective. What about when we only watch news or access videos, movies, or documentaries that we are comfortable with and believe to be the truth?

Are these filters helpful? Information gets in our head, it helps steer us in a direction. It likely guides or persuades our buying patterns, the brands we love, and our view of life as it should be.

Challenging Filters

On the other hand, sometimes we need a different filter. We need to remove the unhealthy criticism, the social media aspersion, or the feedback that breaks us down instead of builds us up.

We need to get out of our head, stop reminding ourselves of failures, setbacks, and unlucky situations. A filter can prevent us from reliving past bad experiences that create a harsh negative fantasy of the doom that awaits or lingers.

Filtering Information

The truth is that filters can help make us believe everything is right, good, and provide the confirmation that our ideas are correct, spot on, and the way it should be. These filters are easy, comforting, and inspire confidence.

The other filters, the ones that cause us to question our judgment, assess our position, or force us to think differently are harder to work with. They test our character, integrity, and ethics. We may feel a pinch, some discomfort, and want to look away. Perhaps we can learn something or should we just ignore it all?

As We See It

We probably need some of both kinds of filters, but remember most of us are not seeing the world exactly as we should.

Occasionally every filter needs cleaned or replaced.

Listen more, care more, and learn. It matters for doing your best work.

– 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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learning customer service

Learning Customer Service Is Important

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There is always a critic about customer service. People say hindsight is twenty-twenty. Is learning customer service important?

Talk to anyone long enough and they’ll share a bad customer service experience. It is easy to analyze the game after it is over.

Customers Matter

It is in the mission statement, the plague on the wall, and clever meme that is on the poster. Organizations always claim that customer service matters.

Show the customer that we care.

Take care of the customer.

Our customers are number one.

Understanding the Critic

The critic does not represent the truth about customer service or the customer experience. What the critic knows, says, or does is not representative of the knowledge of the team.

Knowing how a screwdriver works and being able to use one with precision are two different things.

Delivering exceptional customer service is a skill. When we understand that it is a skill then we also recognize that it can be built, developed, and shaped.

People often quickly scoff at the idea of learning more about customer service because they believe they already know it, and after all, they can point out all the mistakes of others.

The loudest critics may need the most development. Not because they don’t know what it is, but because they aren’t on the field delivering.

Learning Customer Service

Sometimes the learning part is not about what the tool is used for, but it is about how the tool is used. This includes when, where, and the management of circumstances and situations.

There is a difference between screaming from the bleachers, yelling at the television, or commanding it from the C Suite.

Organizational commitment and a culture of the service experience starts with learning but it is only made possible from action on the field. It will take more than knowing what the tool is used for and being a critic when the tool slips.

Learning customer service is always important. It starts inside the organization long before it is delivered outside.

– 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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copycat customer service

Avoiding The Copycat Customer Service Trap

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When you want to become better, you often look for a role model. Someone may call it training, another person learning, and someone else may refer to it as coaching. Training, learning and coaching are a good idea, but make sure you aren’t falling into the copycat customer service trap.

Consciously or subconsciously sometimes we mimic what we believe is working. When we believe what we are already doing isn’t working, we often seek answers from what we believe someone else is doing to make it work.

Copycat Customer Service

When you aren’t sure which button to push on the new soda machine at the popular fast food restaurant you watch what someone else does. When you encounter a detour in an unfamiliar area while driving your car, you may decide to follow the direction everyone else appears to be going.

Some of these behaviors may lead us to get what we want, but in other cases, it may be the wrong path. Perhaps the person you chose to role model has it all wrong.

When we learn by watching, by reading, or by doing, it doesn’t guarantee that it is the right thing. In customer service, someone may be doing just enough to get buy. Is that the height of the bar you wish to achieve?

What is the height of your bar? Are you following the crowd? Do you do what others who have come before you have done?

Differentiate and Dominate

Winning the race by a tenth of a second is enough, but is that really much different from second place?

When you follow the leader the best you can hope for is second place.

The bar shouldn’t be yours to raise one notch higher than the competition. It should be yours to raise as high as possible.

You probably wouldn’t challenge an Olympic sprinter to a foot race, the bar is too high. However, you may challenge someone who with a good effort you believe you can beat.

Have you considered that being just a little better than the competition leaves a lot of open ground and invites others to join in?

When you want your brand to be known as the best make sure you avoid the copycat customer service trap. You may be able to jump higher than you think; which is completely different from jumping high enough to win.

– 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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