Tag Archives: organizational culture

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people centered

People Centered Approaches Build Better Culture

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What is the best leadership style? Will a people centered style will outshine other approaches?

The contrasting views of leading are enormous. I am sometimes amazed at the pockets of people and businesses that are struggling with organizational culture.

The struggle is often that so-called leaders, self-proclaimed leaders, inspire a culture focused more on self than the people within the workplace community.

Sometimes it is about the question connected with the golden rule. Do we treat others as we would like to be treated? That’s the rule, right?

A better question is, should we treat others as they would like to be treated?

It’s a rub, I know. Yet, how should workplace leaders navigate our socially challenging times? A time, when it often seems like argument is the only path for communication.

The answer not only connects to the psychology of work, it connects to the fundamentals of the leadership approach.

People Centered

Today, people centered approaches are building positive cultures. In contrast, self-centered leadership approaches build an environment of us against them.

The struggling organizational culture attempts to accomplish their goals through push. Push is a short run game.

The cultures that will survive the storm are more pull oriented. Create a compelling reason for why and we’ll follow.

People centered approaches create community. They create a belonging. People want to join and be a part of what is happening. Loyalty is easy. Retention numbers are favorable.

Don’t confuse bright lights and freshly painted break rooms as a shift in culture. Sure, a good environment matters, but environment is not the same as the culture. People will work in a dungeon if they feel that there is something there worth working for.

People centered is not self-centered.

-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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cultural deception

Cultural Deception and Why You Still Have a Chance

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We often try to find a place to put the blame. It’s the economy, it is low unemployment numbers, or it is the younger generations. Cultural deception is problematic and it may be part of your struggle.

It is easy to agree with or make assumptions that are consistent with what we wish is the truth. The danger of false perception and self-deception are problematic. In some cases, the more experienced we get the more these issues raise their head.

Here is a newsflash. In a strong economy with low unemployment numbers the best employees are going with the best employers.

Cultural Deception

Does a strong economy with low unemployment numbers impact businesses and organizations? Yes, of course, yet consider that the people are working somewhere. Why aren’t they working with you?

Many people then shift the conversation to pay, benefits, and flexible work schedules. Again, these situations are a reality, and how does your organization measure up?

Have you ever have discussed the aspect of, “paycheck only” employees? Those people who only come to work for their paycheck?

Certainly, money matters and it is important, but if your employees seem to be in this category you have a problem.

There is a simple truth. When employees don’t feel that the organization cares about them, they in turn don’t care about the organization.

Why You Have a Chance

Your opportunity is to see culture through a different lens. Gain understanding and wisdom about the psychology of work. Manage to the metric that employees are an asset, not an expense.

When you hire a person to do the work of a robot and expect that you can coerce the employee to commit to the organization you are likely wrong.

If you hire an employee to pack the box with widgets for eight hours a day and go home only to come back tomorrow and do it all over again, you hired a robot. Hire that same employee and invite them to help you find a better way, and you just hired an engineer.

Which culture will create more loyalty?

You have a chance. The question is, “Will you take it?”

-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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culture decisions

Culture Decisions Determine the Future of Fit

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There is little room for doubt that your organizational culture determines what happens next. Culture decisions drive what will become the future.

Culture is part of the long-run game. Or it could be the impact of numerous short-run games that build a long-run game picture.

One thing is certain, workplace dynamics vary a great deal from the manufacturing business in the industrial park, to the non-profit association across town, or to the new healthcare facility on the west side.

While many people and organizations believe that their culture is the best or perhaps the most appropriate, social trends will have something to do with the cultures that are most successful.

Different Cultures

One business believes that being a little gruff, leading with an authoritarian approach, and strong disciplinary actions for anyone coloring outside the lines is the secret formula for culture. It is a throwback to, “My way or the highway.”

Another business believes in open floor plans, building a community of employees, and being considerate of employees needs while maintaining accountability and of course profitability of the operation.

It may seem hard to find where these lines cross. If they even do, or if they even should.

Leading in our modern times has challenges, that is nothing new. The diversity aspect of navigating leadership roles continues to challenge the best cultures.

Leadership makes culture decisions. Known or unknown, it is happening around you.

Culture Decisions

The decision you’ll make today about accountability, responsibility, and a respectful (or not) workplace will shape tomorrow. Revenues, profit, and customer relationships are inclusive.

There is an old saying, “People may not remember what you said but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.”

This is true about your culture. People are human, not a machine. Societal trends will determine many of the feelings surrounding your business culture.

In a low-unemployment economy people are going to work at the best places.

-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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being average

The Frustration of Being Average

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Are you planning to excel in your career? Is being average the norm? By definition most people would fall into the average bracket.

It seems funny to me how controversial the subject of being average can be. I’ve had people unsubscribe and delete me from social media because they didn’t like a discussion about being average. It’s true.

Is it okay to be average? Certainly, but if my work was geared to just becoming average there wouldn’t really be much work to be done. My business depends on people who are working for something more.

Being Average?

When you consider the definition of average, you have to think about the middle. In manufacturing, if you build to spec, you are really building to the middle. In any service sector, most of your transactions are probably average.

This is a simple concept, because what falls below spec or is less than spec is poor quality, and once in a while if we stretch, we can go beyond average.

Most organizations are actually trying to hire for average. They look for what they define as “best fit.” Best fit is really about being average. Lousy work and you fall below, exceptional work and there isn’t enough room for you. At least, that is how things seem to shake out.

Frustration of Average

The argument for average is that we need certain levels achievement, but not so much achievement that you blow away the spec.

For most careers then, the goal of excelling in your work is counter intuitive. That is, unless there is room for advancement.

This is one of the cultural frustrations for the organization. It is what causes work in motion to slow down. It causes quality to be only about good enough, not about as good as it could be.

Sometimes we have to look beyond best fit. Yet, that is a risk that many choose not to take.

-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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employee retention agony

Employee Retention Agony and Your Brand

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Are you finding good employees? Are you feeling employee retention agony? Low unemployment rate challenges are real, but is that the only difficulty?

There is a lot of chatter about employee retention rates and finding the right employees to join your team. Every organization faces this potential problem.

How do the best navigate this challenge?

Root Cause

Like solving any problem, it is important to get to the root cause. It is easy to place blame on surface problems. Sometimes we call these, the presenting problem.

Unfortunately, these symptoms are typically not at the root.

Do low unemployment numbers mean that there is a challenging labor pool? Absolutely. Are people working? Yes. Are there people not working by choice? Yes.

It is easy to look at the trend data, throw your arms up and say, “We can’t find anybody to work for us.”

In a thriving economy, great people are gravitating towards the greatest organizations.

Employee Retention Agony

I’m not suggesting that the data isn’t real. I’m not suggesting that there are not challenges. What I am suggesting is that often the struggle for talent or labor starts with the organizational culture. It is the root.

There are several trends:

  1. Government agencies meet with desperate CEO’s to discuss the labor shortage. Government agencies ask CEO’s because they assume they know. CEO’s ask themselves because they assume their workforce doesn’t know, or they ask fearful employees who give answers that they assume the CEO wants to hear. Often the conclusion is that there is a tough labor pool.
  2. Some organizations attempt to change, to become more attractive by making some improvements. They will install new lights, buy a few new desks and chairs for the office, paint the walls, and upgrade the break room. This is changing the environment, not the culture.
  3. Human resource teams attend or host job fairs to recruit. Good and helpful idea, still not addressing the root.

As a result, nothing really changes.

Certainly, there is not one stand-alone reason for the tough labor pool or retention challenges.

Unfortunately, one of the last things many organization leaders consider is the culture and reputation of their business. This probably has more to do with their challenges than what they realize or are willing to admit.

A coat of paint, freshened up facilities, governmental awareness, and job fairs all matter, yet they do little to nothing to help improve the culture or world-of-mouth. (Yes, it is more the word, social media reaches farther.)

The unknowing, asking the unsure, is a surefire way to have a discussion. Results are questionable.

In a tough labor market, the best employees are going to work at the best organizations.

-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 civility

Workplace Civility, Does Your Organization Have It?

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There are those organizations that don’t believe they need workplace civility. Often this is because they don’t recognize that there are differences between their culture and what the front runners know to be more civil.

While workplace civility is subjective, the results are often reflected in employee performance. Employee performance is reflected on the income statement. It may be hard to develop a metric for civility. However, it is easy to develop a metric for other areas of human performance.

The organization that practices civility is diverse. Not because they claim that they are, but because there is evidence that they are. Evidence would include employment of protected classes. However, that is really just the beginning and may be viewed as a technicality, not a true reflection of organizational culture.

Civil Organizational Cultures

Civil and diverse organizations work hard to keep everything and everyone together. Their habits are consistent with what they preach. Conflict is well managed. Patience is a core value, and if you can’t handle what is happening, a team member will be sure to help.

An underlying philosophy may be that we help each other do well and that is why we are growing.

Room for Improvement

An organizational culture lacking in civility will see things a little bit differently. They often have principles and core values connected with only the strong survive. Rewards are only at the top, bottom feeders are accepted as feeders only, and are feed just enough to prevent starvation.

There is harmful conflict. Those who can’t handle it, are not helped or reinforced, they are told to get out of the way and ridiculed for short-comings. Only the favorites or those who navigate organizational politics well are long-term survivors.

Workplace Civility

Certainly, organizations need all the demographic evidence. Evidence such as hiring across all classes including those that are protected. Yes, they’ll have the diversity posters in the lunch room and near the Human Resources offices, and of course, they’ll express no tolerance for harassment or bullying.

They’ll insist on safety, and they’ll understand that the person who occupies space at the workplace the longest is not necessarily accomplishing the most.

Meal breaks are honored, or better yet, insisted upon. Not because the organization feels that they should, but because they know it makes human performance better and the people healthier. The idea of skipping lunch means I’m working harder doesn’t apply.

Vacations are embraced, generosity is demonstrated, and the importance of family is well supported.

None of this means the people don’t work hard and none of it suggests that there is room for slackers. It is only a reflection of civility. Does your organization practice workplace civility?

A good question is, “What is your culture?”  A better question is, “What is your culture when you think no one is watching?”

– 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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cultural generosity

Cultural Generosity, Does Your Organization Have It?

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You can have all of the effort imaginable but it won’t take your team or organization very far if the culture lacks positive flow. Generosity has helped millions of people with many different needs. Your organization needs a positive culture to maximize ROI. Does your organization have cultural generosity?

Cultural Generosity

What is cultural generosity? Have you ever attended a workplace meeting where nearly everyone shows up physically, but mentally they don’t really participate or contribute?

Sure, they like to have their coffee, access to their device, and will grab a couple of cookies or a donut, but are they really present?

In many meetings, you can be the person who contributes. You can be the one who is engaged, participating, and taking risks with your contributions. You are not the naysayer, the wrench thrown into the wheel, or a dark cloud hovering over an otherwise sunny day.

Your presence, your ideas, and the contributions you make add energy. You’ve reviewed the agenda, you did the homework, and you have ideas, potential solutions, and enthusiasm for improvement.

You wave your hand to show you’ll help, offer assistance, or take on the new task. You exemplify cultural generosity and are a great role model.

Fence Sitters

There are also fence sitters. Those who don’t really contribute much but they are watching. Their mission is often not to decide for himself or herself but to follow the flow of the crowd, or follow the political current seems to make the most sense.

Are they contributing to a positive culture? Perhaps, sometimes, but often in efforts that require change it is easier to find the reasons why it won’t work instead of offering reasons why it will.

The fence sitters contribution is weak at best.

Naysayers

Of course, we cannot forget about the naysayers, the passively aggressive quiet one who is cloaked in the corporate uniform but leading a different charge. There is often a smile, but don’t mistake it for agreement. When a smile becomes a smirk, it won’t be doing much to support a positive culture.

In fact, the fence sitters, naysayers, and the passively aggressive watcher are probably taking away more energy than what they are giving.

Practice Cultural Generosity

What should you do? Practice cultural generosity. Make energy, build on others ideas, and offer solutions instead of problems.

Instead of a flow of why it is a bad idea, why things won’t work, or why failure is lurking at every milestone, make a plan to be part of the fix.

The best organizational cultures have positive energy. The secret is to put in more than you take out.

– 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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Motivation and caring

Motivation And Caring And Other Things That Move Us

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Do you believe you are motivated? Are motivation and caring connected? Understanding motivation may not be as simple as many people believe.

Things That Move Us

I have to keep pushing to get this done otherwise I may be fired.

We need the numbers for the meeting on Thursday; next week’s inventory purchases depend on it.

I dropped the customers fragile package but I don’t think anything broke we just need to get this shipped.

Is this about motivation? Is there a connection to caring? I may care about being fired. Do I care about inventory, or would I care more if it were about payroll? I’m measured by orders shipped not by customer satisfaction that is the salespersons job.

I’m not sure that I believe people are either motivated or they are not. In many of our workplace behaviors, I believe people either care or they don’t.

Motivated by Purpose

During leadership-oriented seminars, I’m often compelled to initiate a short discussion about how motivation in the workplace is connected to a sense of purpose. A purpose may be something we care about, or we don’t.

I want to get the data on the Excel worksheet to be exact, no errors. 

That customer has been waiting a long time; I’m going to expedite their shipment.

Jack needs some help and I’m going to stay late with him to get things caught up.

All are connected to caring. Either we care or we don’t. However, some may argue that most of our motivation comes from money.

Leadership Challenge

The challenge then for organizational leaders may come down to one of two paths.

Either our story is persuasive enough to get the employees to care based on a very compelling sense of purpose that is deeply rooted in our culture, or we pay very, very well and base both the principle of motivation and caring to be rooted in compensation.

A third but somewhat different argument may be that both the organization and its employees need some combination of both.

Motivation and Caring

Maybe we should look at it another way.

Do the restaurant employees care if our food that is intended to be served hot is cold? Do they only care if we pay them to care?

Perhaps the motivation for money doesn’t always connect with an organization that cares, but I’ll take the bet that the organization that cares is always motivated.

– 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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Perfect customer service

Delivering Perfect Customer Service

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Is perfect realistic? Can you deliver the perfect product, service, and experience? What is required to deliver perfect customer service?

Beauty may exist in the eye of the beholder and the same is likely true for the customer experience.

Moments of Customer Service

Most of our experiences are the result of moments. The moment you hold the newest smartphone, the moment you look in the mirror wearing the new outfit, or that moment when you test-drive the new car. All of our experiences are about emotions. Some feel perfect, at least for that moment.

Therefore, the customer service that we deliver, the things that delight and inspire customers, they are all about the moment. Those moments are often connected to people, places, circumstances, situations, and timing.

What is perfect right now, in this moment, may be a one-time experience. What is happening now probably isn’t the exact thing that will happen next.

Perfect customer service is situational. It is like leadership, communication, and delegation. What is perfect in this moment, for this person, in this situation won’t hold true for very long.

Circumstances Define Perfection

If you are insisting on delivering perfect customer service every time, you may want to think about the circumstances before planning for the outcomes.

Having an umbrella at the right moment may be perfect, holding an umbrella all the time, perhaps not so much.

Rules, policies and procedures are necessary, but they seldom consider every possible circumstance.

Perfect Customer Service

If you’re looking for perfection, you’re going to have to have truth. The truth is perfection is a moving target. Consequently, rules and policies are guidelines.

Organizational culture will shape the flexibility around the circumstances that will lead to the perfect moment.

What happens the next time, in the next circumstance is only perfect for that moment.

Your culture won’t define the moments, but the outcomes of the moment are defined by your culture.

– 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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Changing organizational culture

Truth About Your Changing Organizational Culture

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Times are changing. It seems every organization recognizes the business environment and climate are changing. Are you closely connected with some of the most fundamental aspects and ready to discover the truth about your changing organizational culture?

If everything in the business environment is shifting, the riskiest place to be is stuck in the status quo. When the environment is different, you can’t just do things differently. You will likely have to discover and learn, adapt, and do different things.

Discover Truth

Here are three important aspects to consider:

  • Facts. What is factual and true about your direction? What is the proof, or what can you prove through research or evidence?
  • Needed. What are the skills or expertise you will need for where you are headed? What will make the shifting direction successful? Consider what your team can learn or what should you outsource or hire?
  • Fears. Give honest self-reflection. What do you fear? What are you avoiding to face the truth? Consider what may be important but also out of your control.

Our U.S. economy has been shifting for decades. It has accelerated in this shift since 2009.

Do Different Things

Ask another question, what are you doing that is different, which is not the same as exploring what things you are doing differently.

This represents the truth in your path. Consider the culture, the habits, and the traditions.

Write it all down, put it on a flip chart or write on a white board.

When you step back and look at your situation more as an outside observer as compared to an inside navigator you may discover the real truth.

Changing Organizational Culture

Many believe their culture protects them and makes them strong. That is a truth, but a culture stuck in the status quo is actually falling behind.

That may be the hardest truth of all.

– 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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