Tag Archives: meetings

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workforce connections

Workforce Connections Are One Way to Navigate

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Is your office or building shut down? As it stands you still have a great opportunity with workforce connections.

Overcoming adversity is something most workplace professionals are skilled at, whether they realize it or not.

Today you have an opportunity. An opportunity to retreat and withdraw or start a digital conversation.

What if everything was normal?

You may take a great in the vending area or break room. You may drop by someone’s office or work area for a small catch up chat. Many people have impromptu brainstorming sessions. All in the course of a normal day.

What is stopping you today?

Workforce Connections

You can spend it in absolute isolation or you can reach out for a digital connection.

Hold a meeting, schedule a chat, meet online with colleagues. Have your coffee mug in hand, your dog, cat, or your kids in the background.

Everything you do is made up of small steps. Small thoughts, discussions, and work efforts. When they are all put together you have something. Something bigger than just the tiny pieces.

Today is as good of a day as any.

Carry-on.

-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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louder

In The Workplace Does Louder Make It Better?

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Turn up the volume! That may be what we want when we listen to a song we love. In our workplaces, or in society, does louder make it better?

You must wonder, “Why do people get louder?” We notice it with the cell phone talker, in the drive through lane, or whenever verbal information seems just a little unclear.

Getting Louder

Angry people do it, someone with a point that they believe was not heard.

Distance makes people do it, down the hall is different from in the cubicle area built for two.

Impatience can cause people to do it, and they’ll likely get faster too.

We can even do it when we type. “PLEASE come to my office NOW.”

When there is confusion, our assumption is that volume will make a difference. Then we do what comes naturally. We turn it up.

It seems that it is easier to gain attention when we get louder. The question is, “Does louder make it better?”

Certainly, in some cases, it does make it better. When we turn up the television or our car radio, it may allow us to hear more clearly. The pitch, tone, or the speed of delivery doesn’t change, just the volume.

Interpersonal communication may be different.

Is Louder Better?

In our personal verbal communication typically, volume isn’t the only adjustment. Angry means we’ll talk faster. May we use different words to convey meaning. Does this improve the communication?

The lesson with louder is that it doesn’t mean you’ll always be heard. It certainly doesn’t mean that what you’re trying to communicate is more valuable or clearer. It may create attention, but noise doesn’t imply clarity.

Being heard often comes with more clarity not volume.

-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 frame

Personal Frame and Where We Belong

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We tend to put everything in a frame. Our favorite pictures, a diploma, and even our capabilities. Others put us in a frame too. What is your personal frame and does it help or does it somehow make you less?

Work Frames

We attend meetings at work. The entire meeting and its associated outcomes are often conditioned by a frame. Some like the frame, some strongly dislike it.

The frame helps give it all structure. It may speed up processing and at the same time it may limit positive change and prolong problem resolution.

The people within the frame, are framed.

After working with others for some time we tend to have a feel for what they’ll say and how they may say it. We have an idea how they’ll interact and where they will stand on a subject.

This too, is both good and bad. There are positive and likely negative consequences.

While you are inclusive in the frame, you also have your own frame. A place they have placed you. Psychologically, they have given you a label. Smart, silly, bossy, quiet, big ego, or even a push over. People believe they know what they’ll get.

The real question then becomes what frame have you placed yourself in?

Personal Frame

Do you believe you belong in the meeting? Are you good enough, too good, or growing into it? Are you more of an observer, just wanting to have a seat at the table to keep a pulse on the action?

You’ve given yourself your own label. It is the place where you fit. As part of the group you know the ebb and flow, you will likely follow it, always.

It may be confidence, or a lack of it. Your personal frame will guide everything that happens next.

Avoid labeling yourself as not good enough, inferior, or not belonging. Chances are good you’ll live up to your own expectations.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Have effective meetings

Do You Have Effective Meetings?

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Are meetings really just a waste of time? Organizations of all types and all sizes often believe that they get work done through meetings. They improve communication, adjust focus, and motivate the team. Do you have effective meetings?

Most likely, the difference between doing good work and doing great work has something to do with what happens between meetings. Are your meetings setting the stage for the proper outcomes?

Belief About Meetings

Often the belief is that meetings are held to improve communication, yet the dynamics of the group often create an environment that doesn’t share, but chooses to withhold information. Yes, it is true.

The other common belief is that more communication will improve miscommunication. This is of course, very unlikely.

Show me an organization with a staff of more than a dozen employees and I’ll show you an organization that likely believes they have some communication challenges. Do meetings really make this better? It may depend on the purpose, but it will always depend the preparation.

Organizers and Planners

In order to make the most of what happens between meetings you should ask some questions before getting started on planning your next meeting:

What is the purpose of this meeting?

What is the desired outcome?

Who should be invited?

What is the best use of everyone’s time?

Where should the meeting be held?

Who will monitor or pursue accountability for recommendations, actions, solutions, to-do’s, measurements, metrics, and goals?

Who has the authority to make the decisions, are they invited and are they attending?

What is the budget?

How will priorities be set?

Is this a recurring meeting? Is it a task force, committee, or project management gathering?

Meeting Participants

And for the attendees:

How will you prepare?

What solutions have you thought of?

Have you met or exceeded the objectives?

What is the most constructive recommendation you can bring forward at this time?

Are you committed to outcomes and keeping the meeting productive?

Have Effective Meetings

Most important of all is when a meeting lacks focus on measuring effectiveness; chances are substantially higher that participants have labeled them a waste of time. Mind-set is critical and recurring meetings become part of the culture.

If you’re working for what happens between the meetings, keep them brisk, effective, and performance measurable.

– 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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productivity questions

5 Productivity Questions Everyone Should Ask

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It seems common in many workplaces. Groups of 5, 10, or 35 people have work to do, often a lot of work to do. One common criticism is that the workload isn’t evenly distributed and pay grades do not align with output or responsibility. Certainly, those may be issues, but have you asked any productivity questions?

It is sometimes funny how time changes things. What was once critically important is sometimes quickly replaced or the originating reason is completely forgotten.

Pick a workplace, any workplace that has been around for 5, 10, or more years. You might find things that were once a good idea that people simply stopped doing.

Perhaps you will find the opposite too, things that were once good ideas but no longer apply and people are still doing them. Yes, it’s true, chances are good you’ll find some of these.

Every job, every task, every part of building, creating, designing, documenting, storing, and filing, is it necessary? Does it have relevance now?

Productivity Questions

Here are five questions to ask about what you’ll work on today:

  1. What is this used for?
  2. Who will use it?
  3. When does it get used?
  4. Is it the right design?
  5. Does it make a difference?

Just because it is a tradition, just because it once had value, is it still necessary? What has changed and is it important now?

Meetings, Marketing, and More

You can ask yourself about the meetings you’ll attend this week. Who is in the meeting, are the right people attending? Who is absent from the meeting and how does their absence affect the outcome?

Have you thought about the marketing materials, their timeliness, the message, the brand promise, and the mailing list? Are all of those things up to date, still relevant, and accurate?

Why do we do what we do every day and more importantly how does it contribute to the bottom line?

Productivity matters, and so does the workload distribution. Start with understanding what really makes a difference for the group and the organization. Ask questions, revisit choices often.

– 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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Do You Bring Solutions to the Meeting?

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month and Andy who is an outnumbered millennial team member finds himself sitting in a monthly managers meeting. He is nervous and his anxiety levels are through the roof. His baby boomer boss Robert is about to call on him for his monthly report and Robert has little tolerance for anything short of stellar results.

Visionary employee thinking of development

This meeting has gradually become more uncomfortable for Andy, any time that he hasn’t achieved a goal or completed something to Robert’s satisfaction Robert leaves him feeling like he might be only one step away from the good bye door.

Andy is frustrated. He works hard, puts in extra time, but doesn’t always meet the high expectations of Robert. When Andy asks for advice on how to do it better or to learn more, Robert typically delivers a non-supportive and chilly response leaving him with the impression that he shouldn’t have asked.

Andy is smart and quick on his feet and that is why his peers label him a fast tracker, but still when he is called upon to perform at manager meetings there is little tolerance for shortcomings. For Andy, the environment sometimes feels like a swimming pool, sink or swim.

The Story

This story and many others like it come to me from time-to-time. Sometimes it is through a training event, a consulting engagement, or coaching session. In other cases it might represent a friend of a friend, emailing or telephoning me with a question. The point is, this is fairly common, but what should Andy do?

The Real Problem

In his mind Andy knows he could make the argument that Robert should be more patient, perhaps be more understanding, and that he should provide Andy with some possible solutions or tips for improvement. Most people might agree with Andy’s argument, but that agreement doesn’t necessarily mean it is the most tactful solution.

Breaking this situation down it would seem that Robert expects Andy to find potential solutions, jump any hurdles and through any hoops to achieve the result. Andy needs to deliver.

Look For Alternatives

Andy might feel a little intimated, after all he is one of the youngest members of the team. Not only does he want to do a good job but he also wants to be respectful. It might feel a little uncomfortable to choose a more assertive approach.

If you consider that fear might be a factor, causing Andy to hesitate, stall, or procrastinate, I should remind you that personal or professional growth sometimes requires you to step out of your comfort zone.

Andy should seek to find some possible alternatives that will lead to more successful outcomes, but he’ll also have to risk speaking up to bring them forward.

His delivery should be presented with appropriate poise and confidence but yet be humble enough to achieve the acceptance, guidance, or permission from Robert that he has been missing.

Outcomes

Employees at all levels often bring problems to a meeting, after all that might be one of the reasons for the meeting.

So what do most meetings need?

Most meetings need solutions.

Bring some.

– DEG

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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Managing Multigenerational Meetings

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Meetings are an important part of your workplace life and if you’re involved in recurring, regular scheduled meetings, you know meeting management is important.

business people group on meeting at modern startup office

The meeting chairperson and participants alike often wonder about the frequency of meetings and also how to measure their effectiveness, but what about those meetings that have the added dynamic of being multigenerational? They’re quite common today especially as the more recent generations take a commanding position in organizations by bringing to the table a vast set of technology oriented skills coupled with fresh new ideas.

Enter the era of meetings that incorporate the entire spectrum of the five generations currently active in our workforce.

What It Means

If you have a broad multigenerational segment of employee representation at your meetings you may have to prepare differently.

First, if you are a traditional, a baby boomer, or  gen X meeting leader (chairperson) you might have to consider dropping your idea that meetings run without devices. Devices of course mean smart phones, tablets, and notebook computers. You’re already cringing but that’s not the end of it.

The second thing to keep in mind is that while true multi-tasking is very questionable, the most recent workforce generations, those representing the millennials and Gen Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) crowd, are accustomed to fitting in some listening skills while also actively browsing their device. Keep in mind that in many cases they’ve done this for what to them, feels like their entire life.

Yes, you can set the guidelines for the meeting to not allow active devices and yes they will sit there and listen and participate, but their best work might not happen. It’s true that much of this will depend on the type of meeting and the meeting objectives but it’s also true that this is something that old school meeting leaders need to carefully consider.

Getting Results

Your meetings are important. They are not only a vehicle for communication but they are also likely important for decision making, planning, and solidifying team effort. If this holds true for you and you want the most productivity from your meeting you’re going to have to consider not only bringing your best and brightest talent to the meeting but also allowing them the ability to carry in a few tools.

How often have you asked a question in a meeting but no one knows the answer?

The old school way is to write it down, go research it, and bring the answer to the next meeting. Millennials and gen Z simply do not understand this low efficiency method. They can probably find answers or possible solutions, and in some cases video tutorials within just a few moments.

Can you say productivity? Time is money.

Spaces

If you are conducting workplace meetings across the multigenerational landscape present in our workforce today not only do you want to consider how the meeting will operate but you’ll also want to consider the meeting space. Meeting space, like office space, is changing.

You’re going to have to think about more open space with fewer closed doors and stuffy high-back leather chairs. Don’t just think about a meeting room; think about atriums, outdoor spaces, and coffee shops.

Enjoy your next meeting.

– DEG

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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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measure meeting effectiveness

How Do You Measure Meeting Effectiveness?

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How many meetings do you have? Are there too many? Do feel meetings help or hinder productivity?

Have you ever felt that workplace meetings are a waste of time? Many people I speak with at organizations believe that they are involved in too many meetings or meetings that last far too long. Meetings certainly have their purpose and of course are connected to the concept of ensuring effective communication, but how do we measure meeting effectiveness?

Why Meetings?

First let’s consider why we hold meetings. There are many different flavors from brainstorming and strategy, to information exchange, to organizing and planning for an upcoming event, and many others. When you ask around it seems that people don’t mind the strategy sessions as much as they do the repetitive information exchange with the same old details, problems, and unresolved issues.

Meeting Management: How Long Should Meetings Last?

In addition, workplace meetings might sometimes be labeled as staff meetings, sales meetings, or department meetings with varying formats, frequencies, and lengths of time. Do these meetings energize people?

Regular Meetings

Often these regularly held and traditional information updates do not energize. In some cases these meetings are managed to feel like sessions for bragging rights or workload comparison between people or departments that should feel camaraderie but instead feel more like they are vying for the most kudos or in some type of competition with each other.

regular meetings

Certainly, some friendly internal competition can be effective, but it also has to be managed appropriately and always should reinforce that the organization is most effective as a team and that everyone is in it together.

Measuring Effectiveness

Do you have too many meetings? In order to properly assess if you are having too many meetings you should first consider the value and productivity of the meetings you already have. You’ll need to consider if the right people are in attendance and if the meetings are the right length of time. You’ll need specific agendas, goals, and recaps along with accountability to ensure you’re getting the most from them.

There is a really good chance that the meetings you have in place are supposed to improve communication but you must keep in mind that the act of simply having a meeting will not necessarily improve communication. Additionally your meetings will need to have appropriate accountability, respect, and trust.

Do you have poor communication? Is it too much or too little?

You should also consider participant engagement. Today we might hold meetings that include BYOD (bring your own device) or we might attend a meeting that insists on no devices being active, and in others you might have something in between.

What is important to keep in mind is that some of your meeting participants will already know or perhaps completely understand the information being shared. The meeting becomes boring to them; they get disconnected, distracted, and often completely disengaged.

Meeting Evaluation

You must always evaluate how to best serve the entire audience and in some cases you might want to consider alternative formats, or meetings with different participants and different lengths of time.

Do you have effective meetings?

To measure effectiveness of any meeting at a minimum you must assess:

  • Frequency
  • Length of time
  • Number of participants
  • Appropriateness for each participant
  • Atmosphere, climate, environment, location
  • Rules or guidelines
  • Goals, objectives, desired outcomes
  • Performance assurance, accountability

Meetings that are not effective, last too long, have the wrong participants, or are held too often or too little will all be problematic for your communication efforts.

When is your next meeting? Will it be effective?

– DEG

Internal customer service matters just as much as what is reflected externally.

Are you delivering on customer service internally?

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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.

This article was originally published on November 21, 2016, last updated on November 26, 2019.


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Why Are There So Many Meetings?

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Meetings are traditionally used as a method to share information, brainstorm on issues, or build better relationships. Why do we have so many meetings?

business people group on meeting at modern bright office

It’s not uncommon that employees sometimes believe that their organization has too many meetings. It’s also trendy today that the more traditional meetings have changed to more technology oriented or to more informal settings. Many organizations though are sticking to the traditional closed door conference room live and in-person meetings. Are these meetings productive?

Productivity

Productivity in meetings really boils down to effective meeting management. It is not uncommon for a client to ask me to sit in on a staff meeting or a managers meeting to get a feel for what is happening at the organization. From those experiences I can tell you that some are managed very well, others are patched together with people coming and going, arriving late, leaving early, and repeating the same old habits of a focus on presenting problems with little or no attention to presenting solutions. If they aren’t productive why are we having them?

So Many Meetings

Often organizations intend for meetings to be a way to share information relevant to the entire team. There is great benefit to doing this and of course it makes sense that this is a fairly common practice.

What about the meeting held after the meeting that contains additional information about the meeting, or the meeting that is held before the meeting that prepares strategically for how the next meeting will run? And that’s not all, there are the meetings that are held more privately with a select group of people to discuss how other people behaved in the meeting or to brainstorm or forecast what some of those people might do at the next meeting. Let’s not forget about the people who are not invited to the meeting after the meeting who are now nervous about the more private closed door meeting, and then they have a meeting to discuss their paranoia about what is happening at the behind the closed doors meeting.

Wow, deep breaths, deep breaths, and breathe.

One of the most common reasons that organizations are overburdened with too many meetings is because of a lack of trust. Sometimes this may be that people don’t trust that the work will get done, sometimes it is that they don’t trust it will be completed properly or with high quality, and in other cases it may be that they fear someone will cast blame that the people just weren’t informed enough (an excuse?) to be successful. Likely there are many other reasons too, things like gossip, lack of respect, and poor accountability practices. Does your organization have too many meetings?

How Many Are Too Many?

This is often hard to measure but some of this circles all the way back to the question of productivity. If meetings are truly productive it probably won’t feel like there are too many meetings. Keep in mind that much of the measurement also has to do with how many people are involved and the total length of time.

Most likely it is the people who do not recognize or see the value in meetings that are claiming that there are too many. If they see no value, then either the meetings are not being managed effectively or there are disconnects between the reason and the value. Poor meeting quality, or disengaged and disgruntled participants often creates more performance breakdowns, more blame with less accountability, and even creates less trust.

Perhaps most important is the quality not the quantity.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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poor communication

Poor Communication: Too Much or Too Little?

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Communication is such a complex topic. Often I talk with clients about communication, about factors that influence communication, and about trust issues or even about information overload. Is it possible to have too much communication? Is that poor communication?

Too Much Communication

Many people incorrectly make the assumption that communication break downs are the result of someone not providing a different person with information that they need to know. Here are a few common statements that might be misdiagnosed as a signal for more communication:

  • No one told me!
  • I guess I missed the memo! {sarcasm}
  • I wasn’t in that meeting.

While it might be true that there are times when important information is not shared, there are often many reasons which are not directly related to having an awareness of the need to share information. Things like trust, the fear of causing a conflict, and poor listening skills also substantially contribute to a break down in workplace communication.

too little communication

When a team member, the entire team, or the entire organization come to the conclusion that their communication problems are the result of not sharing enough information the problems sometimes don’t get better, they often get worse.

Too Much or Too Little

Too much communication is just as bad as too little. What happens when people decide to email everyone in the company, use to much courtesy copy, or get a little sneaky with the blind copy function? What if those people don’t necessarily need to be in that loop?

You guessed it, people grow tired of seeing email from a sender which doesn’t apply to them and so they just stop reading, and they don’t just stop reading that email, they stop reading all of them! After some time an email received from Jack or from Jane simply does not matter. The technology savvy employee might even set up a rule in their email management software to file them in a folder that they seldom view.

Communication and Meetings

Email is not the only pathway to providing too much communication. Similar to the email problem management teams sometime decide that they need more meetings or to involve more people in the meetings.

poor communication meeting effectiveness

This might work out okay if that is really a problem but if more people attend the meetings and the information being shared gets more restrictive because of low-trust issues then you have additional problems. Now you have more people removed from otherwise productive work and the meeting content is narrower and important information is not being shared.

So more time is being wasted and the communication has weakened. Should we go a step further?

Productivity Impact

Okay, so if the team has decided to invite more people and yet the additional people are not productive (because they are stuck in the meeting) and less information is shared with the people who definitely need to know then what happens?

You guessed it, another meeting happens because now people need to meet separately with the people who really need to know and of course they can’t disrupt the concept of more people in the original meeting because that is counter intuitive to the decision that they made to share more information.

Poor Communication

When it comes to poor communication, can it get any worse? You bet and often it does.

Yes, there can be too much communication and yes the wrong choices to improve communication in organizations can make things worse, much worse.

– DEG

Originally posted November 17, 2016, Last updated March 17, 2018

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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