Tag Archives: opinions

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factual conversations

Factual Conversations, Opinions, and Leadership

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Do you have factual conversations? What about in the staff meeting, are facts being presented or more of just opinions?

Effective communication is a highly sought-after skill. One great thing about communication is that even just one person on the team learning to be more effective can help team performance.

Have you considered how you verbally communicate? What about your written word in things like email or text messaging?

Workplace Conversation

Imagine at the start of the staff meeting someone is late. Let’s assume that someone is named Susan.

Suddenly a meeting member blurts out, “Let’s just get started, Susan is always late.”

Always?

Nobody wonders whether is Susan is always late, or just late once in a while. Is always a fact or an opinion?

Multiply this concept to the daily narrative floating around your workplace. How much of the communication is factual?

There is an argument to factual communication. The argument is that it is often not as compelling.

Buy our new product, we recently sold 3 to the first customer.

As compared to:

Buy our new product, it’s selling fast.

Opinions are often disguised as facts when they are delivered in a compelling and impact-oriented manner. In addition, when you prey on the recipient’s emotions it often calls people to action.

Fear is a big seller.

Start using this product today. Act now before we’re sold out.

The fear of course, is that if you don’t buy now, there won’t be any left to purchase.

Factual Conversations

Leading in your workplace environment is always about communication. You are often selling. Whether it is selling your ideas, creating buy-in for a change effort, or selling motivation and inspiration.

One of the biggest underlying challenges of leadership is navigating balance. With everything there is a magical balance.

Are you having factual conversations? What is providing the most impact?

The most impact often exists somewhere in the middle. The exact facts matter and often spark action when communicated in a compelling manner.

-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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compelling belief

Compelling Belief Is Not Necessarily a Fact

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Have you been lured in by someone stating their compelling belief? Stated with confidence and vigor, it is often easy to believe.

People have strong opinions about political issues, yet they often can’t cite the framework of their opinions.

People have strong opinions about medical concerns. The 2020 pandemic has been the playing field for so-called experts.

Still other people have strong opinions about community activities, the size and style of your home, or even what you can do with your land.

When someone disagrees, goes in a different direction, or shrugs and walks away it is not necessarily a sign of intelligence. It may be a sign of different values or beliefs.

This is exactly why the narrative matters so much.

Compelling Belief

Doing something right now may not mean it is the wrong thing. It may just be the wrong thing at this time.

Expanding the marketing plan that has fuzzy results only makes sense when you believe.

Stating that the product doesn’t feel right is a belief. It may be factual to someone and understanding the feeling will get you closer to the facts.

Everyone believes something.

It may not be a shared belief because they haven’t heard the story behind it.

Is your story compelling?

The Real Story

If the story behind it is only based on opinions, it doesn’t make the narrative any more valuable.

Stating that you want someone to believe what you believe because it is a fact, may only be a matter of opinion.

It is only compelling when it resonates with the audience.

Uncompelled people may have different facts.

-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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your beliefs

Your Beliefs and My Beliefs Can Be Different

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A united workforce is a good place to start. After all, everyone is in it together. Are your beliefs different from some others? Is this OK?

What do you feel strongly about?

People believe deeply in many things:

Religion

Political views

The Universe

Parental values

Authority

Government

Urban or Rural Living

Apple or Android

Chevrolet or Ford

Tattoos or no tattoos

No matter which side you are on, you may have deep beliefs. You may believe your way is the best, it is the right way, the proper way, or even the only way.

In most of these examples it doesn’t matter for making Tasty Cakes, bottling water, or growing corn.

Sure, government, authority sources, and even something like the weather has an impact, yet largely you can have differences and still unite on something that matters to others in the group.

The strength and power of your beliefs are real. Those opposing feel just as strongly.

The passion that you have is similar to others, only perhaps, different.

Your Beliefs

You can fight about it on social media but you likely aren’t changing anyone’s mind. You can Tweet about it, make signs, and conduct protests, yet you’ll likely change very few minds.

Maybe the best thing is to focus on what you have in common.

In the workplace, it is the success of the business or organization that is a commonality.

Can you join together for that?

Is that something you can work with?

Your beliefs and my beliefs can be different.

-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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workplace opinions

Workplace Opinions Determine Fit

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Opinions, we all have them, right? Do your workplace opinions fit, or are they out of place?

For clarity, there is a difference between opinion and fact.

That’s a Fact

Suggesting that the pizza shop on the west side of town has the best pizza is an opinion. Unless, of course, the statement is, “Antonio’s Pizza won the best pizza in Clifton contest for the third year in a row.”

When we suggest that getting to work early is better than staying late, it is an opinion. The same is true for taking breaks, having background music in the office, and whether or not to have Hawaiian shirt Friday’s.

Opinions help form the culture. They help form what is symbolic about the organization, what stands out, and how outsiders remember or connect.

When you want to join the Facebook group, or when you choose to join an organized club or association, there is an expectation of conduct and fit.

Individual attitudes and perceptions help shape the image. They’re often based on opinions, not facts.

Workplace Opinions

There is more than a statement in, “This is the template for all corporate slide decks.” It is true for how visitors are treated, response times for customers and vendors, and how the pecking order of the parking lot works.

Organizations often promote the idea of change. Yet, largely, their opinions and beliefs about whether the clock pendulum ticks left before right, or right before left, is deeply rooted in the culture.

Opinions often determine fit. Opinions also tend to steer the direction of culture.

The next time you give a presentation to the C-Suite, request a lunch appointment with the CEO, or decide to wear flip-flops on Friday, you may want to check the culture for fit.

If it is important that you fit, it is best to develop an understanding of the cultural opinions first.

-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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facts matter

Have You Wondered if the Facts Matter?

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Nearly every moment of every day is a chance to tell a story. The story of the big fish, the trophy you won, or the co-worker who consistently turns out bad work. Do the facts matter or is the drama more valuable?

Workplace Stories

Stories often get embellished. Worse yet, they grow in drama bit-by-bit nearly each time they are told. The basis of the story may be founded in evidence and truth, but the way it is told magnifies the sweet spots.

Around the workplace people often find themselves living for the drama or wishing it didn’t exist. The culture certainly plays a role. When we inquire and investigate it is a chance for someone to tell their story.

Culture often decides what we will spend more time to investigate, understand and adopt, or what it will choose to ignore. The investigative process itself may be a cultural attribute. If the focus on work to be completed feels more important, less opportunity exists for stories.

Facts Matter

The story often told, and the story we hear, is a story riddled with opinions. The emphasis becomes about the wrong doing, the unfair act, and the less than truthful analysis of others.

Opinions are what we often share.

She never shows up on time and doesn’t care

He never does his part and is highly overpaid.

Opinions embellish the story. They shift the facts ever so slightly, or in some cases alter the truth in the message.

Listening requires energy. Hearing the message is not the same as listening to the message. We hear a voice talking, but listening takes things to higher level.

Down on energy from the work at hand we only listen when there is great interest. If we aren’t careful, we’ll process opinions as facts.

Now you are reminded, facts matter.

-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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bad data

The Consequences of Bad Data

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A data driven society? Yes, it’s likely we can apply that label. If we have a data driven society what happens when we have bad data?

As I write this, it is winter. Early February, in Pennsylvania. We’ve recently had some very cold temperatures, snow, and of course, ice.

In the winter months I mostly drive my 20-year-old Tahoe. Winter roads in the Northeast are not kind to vehicle life. I’m thankful for my Tahoe. It’s a trusty rusty machine.

Bad Data

Yesterday, it was around 60 degrees. Snow and ice melting rapidly. I jumped in my Tahoe to proceed to an event. Inside the vehicle it felt so warm, I had to crack a window.

Once underway and rolling down the highway, I glanced to my rearview mirror where there is a digital thermostat. It was displaying minus 36 Fahrenheit, then minus 37, eventually hitting minus 40. Should I trust these numbers?

At the event, I overheard people discussing the local temperature. Comparing the past week, to the current week. Funny how many different temperatures were being reported. Are these facts?

During the event, there was additional information exchanged. Opinions shared, research claimed, materials produced, and notes taken. People processing data.

In a recent workforce meeting I attended, an organization cited an employee turnover ratio of 56 percent. I thought, it must be incorrect, perhaps a decimal problem, or some other error. I asked, “Is there a decimal problem?” The answer was, “No.” Good thing I asked.

Part of the Solution

Our workplaces are often outlined and highlighted with data. Numbers, reports, infographics, facts, opinions, statistics, and presentations.

Be careful with your data. Know what you are presenting. Do appropriate research. We can be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution.

Everyone has a responsibility with data.

-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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trusted truth

Trusted Truth Is The Path For Consistent Success

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Persuasion seems to happen without purpose. People talk about what they like, what they saw, and how it felt. Are your messages trusted truth or just your opinions?

You have probably heard to be cautious when dealing with the used car salesperson. The used car salesperson is a stigma, a stigma often associated with getting you to buy in to just about anything that is being said.

Opinions are Slippery

In everyday life people typically speak through opinions.

We ate at the best restaurant.

We watched this movie last night, it was the best movie ever. 

I don’t go to Starbucks. I go only to Dunkin Donuts their coffee is so much better. 

In the workplace it takes on a different form.

The staff meetings are always boring.

He never completes his work on time and is always late.

I know the boss hates me. She criticizes everything I do.

All these statements may be far from fact. Are they trusted truth? Unlikely.

The best restaurant is an opinion. Words like always boring, never on time, and criticizes everything are probably nothing more than an opinion.

One of the biggest challenges for all this rhetoric is that those who are not really listening treat it as trusted truth.

It gets even worse when interactions are so opinionated that it is a truth when the message is delivered by one party, but another different party is shamed to not have any credibility with a similar message.

Trusted Truth

When you really want to make a difference in your conversations. When you want to bring trusted truth to your meetings and other workplace interactions you have to deliver facts.

Facts are much more consistent and reliable. Your operation, values, and beliefs when based on facts have greater merit. Operational systems work better and produce consistent results. Outcomes are more predictable and qualified.

Nearly always, your opinion cannot be a trusted truth.

-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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Understanding First, Offering Opinions Later

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When you master the skill of understanding first and offering your opinions later you might find some big changes in your life or career. Taking aggressive positions on subjects or arguments typically doesn’t lead the way to the best relationships, or the best opportunities for career advancement.

Understanding first appreciative strategies

For the Baby Boomer and Gen X population it might be Stephen R. Covey, who first brought forward the idea of, Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. This represented an entire chapter in his 1989 book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Understanding First

Whether consciously known to them or not, great communicators often follow Covey’s advice.

There is much more to be gained by being a better listener, seeking to understand, and evaluating the possible root causes of a miscommunication, a complaint, or a disagreement rather than quickly jumping to conclusions and assertively expressing your opinion.

When you’re seeking first to understand you’re either thinking to yourself, asking questions of others, or perhaps both. Here are a few thoughts or questions that might be helpful:

  • What makes them (the other person) feel so strongly about their point?
  • What background or past experiences have caused them to draw this conclusion?
  • Do they seem considerate for mutual interests and compromise or are they taking a position?
  • Are there any emotional triggers that anger them or make them adamant about their conviction?

Unfortunately current societal trends are sometimes supporting being the loudest, nastiest, or angriest you can be regardless of the consequences. Just because you can do it, doesn’t always mean it is a good idea.

Opinions Later

Read that email you just received carefully and without bias. Listen carefully during conversations. Do your homework, read the book, or study from the diagram. Do it metaphorically or do it literally, but make sure you do it.

Ask open and honest questions, appropriately engage with others, and avoid having expectations or predetermining outcomes that support only your own agenda.

Your opinions might be important, valuable, and serve your position well, but only deliver them with the utmost courteously and respect.

Do as Covey suggested, “Seek first to understand.”

– 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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Start Listening For Facts, It Might Change Your Career

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People talk, and sometimes people listen. Have you ever truly considered what you are hearing? Are you listening for facts?

Listening for facts

One of the biggest struggle spots with our communication, or perhaps miscommunication comes from our listening skills. Of course this is not a surprise but have you ever stopped to consider how you are speaking or what you are hearing?

Listening is not the same as hearing. We hear sounds, noises, and even voices. Hearing is instinctual, it comes naturally. Listening is a developed skill.

Speaking With Opinions

Many people speak with opinions. They offer their beliefs, values, or understandings as being factual even though they might be nothing more than their opinion.

  1. We went to the movies last night and saw the best movie ever!
  2. Try the peanut butter pie at Frank’s Restaurant on the corner of 4th and Elm. They have the best peanut butter pie.
  3. Sally is such a morning person.
  4. I’ve known Jack for years. He is a really nice guy.
  5. Please email me the report when you are finished. I need it sooner rather than later.

While we are navigating our life or our workplace, we often accept what we hear as being completely factual. In addition, misunderstandings often happen when our message is not clear.

Listening For Facts

Let’s consider the statements just presented, only this time, let’s look for them to be more factual.

  1. We saw a great movie last night. I thought it was the better than most because in the end the underdog came out on top.
  2. I’ve had peanut butter pie at many restaurants, the one I like the best is at Frank’s Restaurant on the corner of 4th and Elm.
  3. Sally always gets to work in the morning before I do.
  4. Whenever I see Jack he smiles and shakes my hand.
  5. When you finish with the report please email it to me. I need it before my 9:00 AM meeting tomorrow.

Clearer, more precise, perhaps a little longer sometimes, but speaking with facts helps everyone develop a better understanding. One problem is that many of us not only speak with our opinions, but we try to make it very compelling so the listener is accepting it as being factual.

Career Changer

There is great value in understanding more about facts and opinions, especially when buying or selling. When you are selling, you’ll want to be very compelling. Even when it is just your ideas being sold to your boss or the board of directors.

Listen to yourself, be aware of the messages you are sending. We might have strong feelings about many things in life, but if we want accuracy we should be more careful about how we communicate.

Consequences for not understanding the difference between a fact and an opinion can be big. Miscommunication and misunderstandings are costly for businesses and perhaps costly for your career.

When we are hurried or trying to do two things at once, we often don’t listen well. That is a fact.

Take the time, or make the time. Start listening for facts.

– 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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