Tag Archives: productivity

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staying curious

Staying Curious Outweighs Growing Complacent

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Are you staying curious? Is there more, or have you mastered everything in sight and now prefer to keep everything exactly the way it is?

The saying is that curiosity killed the cat. It may have killed the mouse too.

Do you enjoy debating issues? Is a good debate something that energizes you?

Debates can be seen through two different lenses.

The first is that debates create winners and losers. Political debates are often structured to attempt to determine a winner. The other, is the loser.

A second view is that a lack of debate causes complacency. More debating means more discovery, more information, and a better outcome.

For workplace engagement, it might be a well-orchestrated balance of both that leads to the best teams moving forward and growing together across time.

Is curiosity important?

Staying Curious

The lifelong learner is curious. Interested to achieve more, interested about what else might work, and curious about different ways of navigating rather than being complacent and stuck.

Those who are curious ask more questions. More questions require intellectual processing, seeing things through a different lens, and careful navigation of what comes next.

Many people strike up a conversation by asking, “What’s up?”

It’s generic, it’s open, and who knows what is going to happen next.

Alternatives might be, “What’s new?” or “What are you up to?”

Finding a new path isn’t always easy. It starts by remaining curious. Nothing is standing still.

Good habits replicated across time can lead to new ways of doing things. Piece by piece, bit by bit, one drop leads to another which eventually fills the bucket.

What you’re building doesn’t happen in an instant. It often just appears that way.

The curious keep building.

A valuable habit is, staying curious.

-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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time efficiency

Time Efficiency Starts With More Patience

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Time and efficiency are not the same thing. Time efficiency probably sounds a lot more like productivity. Is faster better, less risky, and more meaningful? Unlikely.

It is always a race against a clock.

We needed this yesterday.

It’s overdue.

Must be done now.

It’s true, time does cost. Yet, so does a lack of clarity, errors made in haste, and inferior quality.

Vloggers sometimes speed up their final product, a time-lapse of sorts, get through the slow spots faster. Someone might fast forward through the commercials of a recorded television show. Install a Chrome browser extension to speed up viewing of video content. Is it the same experience for everyone?

Of course, it isn’t.

Setting Pace

People have different life experiences, different listening and perception skills, and even a pace that feels just right.

Some people walk faster, others slower. Read faster, read slower. Enjoy the moment longer, or skip the moment altogether.

The result? Like most things in life there is a sweet spot in the middle. Outliers tend to exist on either end of the continuum.

Time management matters but it is more than just streamlining a schedule.

Finished first is important, but a nice-looking boat that won’t float has much less value.

For workplace leaders, sometimes you have to go slow, to go fast.

Time Efficiency

A team pushed too far will have more mistakes, more waste, and increased issues with quality. Worse, when the team learns more about the metric used for measurement and the pressure is high, integrity starts to slip.

A team member falling behind is often skipped rather than supported. It’s a harmful cultural scenario that applies more pressure to top performers as they make up for lagging contributors. Eventually, top performers burn out, feel abused and misused.

Individuals and organizations often need more time efficiency.

That often starts with more patience. Get everyone onboard. Run on all cylinders.

Don’t wait, get started.

The clock is ticking.

-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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procrastination

Procrastination Is Something You Own

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Do you struggle with procrastination? Does it haunt you, sabotage your productivity, and leave yourself or others disappointed?

Many people are busy. Just being busy doesn’t mean that you are productive.

Ask someone in your workplace, or ask a small business owner, “What’s up, how’s it going?” They may often reply with, “Busy.”

When you knock on the door jamb of a colleague’s office, you may ask, “Are you busy?” Commonly followed by, “I just have a quick question.”

Likely the most confusing part about busy is that no one is really inquiring about productivity. You can make yourself busy if you want to.

I’m too busy…

for exercise.

to get involved with a Zoom meeting.

to connect for lunch next week.

Busy is a state of being occupied but certainly does not confirm productivity or efficiency.

Everyone has the same amount of time each day. Seconds, minutes, and hours, it’s all the same. How are you spending your time? What will you do in the next five minutes?

Procrastination Ruins Productivity

Procrastination, in-part, may be a state of making yourself busy.

Nearly all professions and all workplaces have choices about what they’ll do next. What are the priorities? Who will do what, and when?

Busy never addresses the question of productivity.

Procrastination is the act of delaying something or putting it off until a later time.

You can learn to be busy. You can learn to look busy. Another different choice is to be productive.

Being productive is a skill you master. It comes with a few hooks though. It means you’re willing to measure the value of the work you are creating each day.

Everyone works from the position of 24 hours in a day.

What will you accomplish, or are you too busy?

-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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dennis e gilbert

Entrepreneur Productivity – PSU LaunchBox

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Entrepreneur Productivity
Tuesday, Nov. 17 — 6-7 p.m.

Entrepreneurs may often struggle to achieve efficiency. They may be unsure of how to juggle priorities and deadlines. In this session, you’ll discover key points that will help you master turning chaos into something more manageable, such as:

  1. Avoiding procrastination
  2. Identifying time wasters
  3. Understanding critical tasks

Dennis E. Gilbert will be the speaker for the Hazleton LaunchBox’s Entrepreneur series during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. Gilbert, President of Appreciative Strategies, is an author, consultant, and Penn State alumnus with more than 30 years of business and educational expertise.


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work schedule

Work Schedule and Doing What Comes Next

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What’s your work schedule look like? Do you have one? What’s your plan?

Being a task master is an effective way to get all the boxes checked. It matters and can be productive. What about the things that derail the checklist? How do you get those things accomplished?

It is important to remember that there will always be rainy day projects. There will be projects that get started but never get finished. Work completed that sits around unused and unwanted. And stuff that no matter how much effort you apply you’ll just never see the end.

It’s not uncommon to be energized by something new. A small (or big) challenge that you know is achievable and you’re excited to jump in.

There is also often procrastination. The same old, same old, project or task. It’s boring, mindless, and hard to determine its true value, yet it must be done.

Many people enjoy a hands-off management style. A style that isn’t suffering from micro-management or looked down upon from the ivory tower with a pen in hand ready to check the box.

Work Schedule

How are you feeling about your work schedule?

Is it appropriately busy? Could it be boring, monotonous, or seemingly without meaning?

What about things that can never be finished? Things that once completed start all over again? Completing sales orders, engaging customers, or keeping weeds away from your sidewalk. All continue to add up.

You’ll never watch every minute of what’s on YouTube. You can’t read every blog or listen to every podcast. The bucket is being filled faster than you can consume.

Whether you manage your own schedule or are being observed by a task master, it’s important to keep a few basics in mind.

Lists of work and are important. Yet, checking boxes is not necessarily a sign of quality or efficiency.

Likely, there will always be more on the list than what can be accomplished.

If you’re going to manage by a list, don’t allow things that can’t be finished weigh you down. Some things never end, or end only to start again.

If you’re deciding what to do next, don’t embark on something that will derail the real work that needs to be finished.

-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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WFH Employees

WFH Employees Are Not Really Working

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No, they are excelling. WFH employees are not necessarily on easy street. Likewise, it doesn’t mean they aren’t getting in their hours.

When did the perception develop that hanging around the workplace for long hours meant your contributions are bigger?

After spending more than 20 years in traditional workplace settings, I’ve worked mostly from a home office for the last 14 years. Please believe me when I tell you, I’ve never worked harder.

Certainly, there are pros and cons, and many factors that differ.

Perhaps the biggest difference of all is that your productivity and accomplishments may be much greater than some would like to believe.

WFH Employees

For the manager, working with WFH employees means you have to manage differently. There are not many kudos for making it to work on time, being dressed appropriately, or having a smile on your face. It is all about metrics, measurements, and accountability.

It seems that some managers like to operate from perception.

Oh, Jack is here, and he is here early. He is working hard.

Betty was here and 6:00 PM when I left and was sending me email messages until after 9:00 PM. She is really putting in her time!

I drove by work on Saturday, and Kathy’s car was in the parking lot. She is so committed.

Perception is reality, right?

Unfortunately, yes, perception does play a role.

Today’s smart leader has already figured out that perception of effort doesn’t hold much weight in the boardroom. It is about results.

Personally, I believe there is a lot of value to both traditional workplace environments and WFH environments. And, absolutely, for now, not every job can be done from home.

A shout goes out to all of the supervisors and managers now working with remote employee teams.

Perception is not the same as results.

Set appropriate metrics, measure against them, and hold team members accountable. It’s true if you can see them at their desk and it’s true when you can’t.

Lead.

-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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rewriting work

Rewriting Work, It Is Happening All-Around You

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Many workplaces are confused about what the future of work looks like. Are you rewriting work as you once knew it?

Lacking a robot, a painter scheduled to paint your house or your front porch is going to have to show up.

Currently, the same is true for someone cutting your lawn, maintaining your pool, or delivering a package.

Does it have to be this way?

Perhaps in some cases it will be this way until more robotics gain traction. Right now, there are many things that require a human to physically show up. What about you, do you have to show up?

Like it or not, much of our traditional workplace work is being rewritten.

There are arguments about the value of face-to-face, live in-person interactions when compared with virtual, video-based interactions. This argument will probably continue for some time, but should it?

What is really necessary?

Truly, remove some of the traditional mental barriers and consider, are there alternatives?

As people adapt more and more with video-based interaction is there a need for live, in-person?

Many office-oriented jobs, probably don’t require in-person on a daily basis. Most everyone is retreating to an office or cubicle once leaving the coffee station anyway.

Rewriting Work

Having a remote workforce (work from home, WFH, telework) is truly a game-changer if it is embraced.

It doesn’t mean that there are not meetings. It doesn’t mean that there are no interactions. Absolutely, it does not mean that there are not goals, metrics, and performance measurements.

It does mean that office space requirements are reduced, it means that long commutes, traffic, and the risk associated with going to a physical location are minimized or eliminated.

Consider that it means the stress and fatigue associated with those traditional endeavors are gone, or at least significantly reduced.

It means that some interpersonal dynamics and difficult personalities take a new shape. There is less room for drama and who cares if Sally is wearing pink flip-flops or bunny ear slippers?

What is the energy and output gain for the employer?

Leaders are actually going to have to lead, not just occupy a position of so-called power.

Performance will be based on productivity and work accomplished, not on occupying office space for a set number of hours.

In a world fighting for diversity, empathy, and new rules; your traditional job may need to be rewritten.

-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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emotion binds

Emotion Binds, It Does Not Distract

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Do you let feelings get the best of you? Have you ever been told to stop being emotional? The truth is, emotion binds you to the experience. It may be the most important connection you make.

You’re driving in your car and an oldie comes on the radio. You remember a moment, a situation, an experience that touches your heart.

The high school or college graduation you attend. You remember a time when you were in a similar position and you wish for his or her dreams to come true.

It’s also true at weddings, first bicycle rides, first cars, and your first home.

It may even be true at your first job.

A bit of nostalgia.

As a person you connect to things based on emotion.

For your workplace, do emotions matter?

You bet that they do. We are an emotionally driven species.

Emotion Binds

I have a few clients who have been known to state, “Remove the emotion!”

When the opportunity is right, I’ll urge them to reconsider this statement.

The last time I checked, passion for the work is based on emotion. Caring about the customer is based on emotion, and accomplishing something new or different is aligned with emotion.

Do you want culture. Culture isn’t based on something tangible. It’s deeply rooted in emotions.

When you constantly remind the team to remove the emotion. You may be self-defeating the change or culture you’re actually trying to create.

Do you need buy-in for your change? Get people emotionally involved.

Are you trying to make a positive pivot for your culture? It’s connected to emotions.

Do you want people to do their best for the customer, put the customer first, and build strong relationships? It stems from caring. Caring comes from emotions.

Emotion may be the most underrated aspect of workplace productivity, efficiency, and employee loyalty.

It will be a positive influence on culture, or it won’t.

-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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drama decisions

Drama Decisions Are Not Productive

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Each day you have a responsibility. The responsibility to make decisions. Are you making drama decisions, or good decisions?

When your job, at least in part, is to make good decisions have you considered the information that guides those decisions?

Obstacles and Validity

It’s common that workplace leaders hear and see a lot. People run to bosses, especially middle managers, seeking an opportunity to have a voice.

They voice their opinions. Opinions that sound like facts, but are not facts. Some may be valid and reliable. Others may be nothing more than hearsay.

Your best decisions may come from careful analysis. It may mean examining the data, asking more questions, and even having the patience to allow things to unfold a little before jumping.

Some workplace leaders find themselves sandwiched between a variety of stories with little data. These stories are often embellished versions of the real story, and unfortunately an easy management trap is to listen to a few and then the last presentation seems to win.

These are drama decisions.

Drama Decisions

Drama decisions are fueled with unproductive emotions. Often arising from jealously, envy, or spite.

Voices get loud. Frequencies increase, and the outcomes feed the drama even more.

If part of your job is being responsible for making good decisions then it may be very important to consider the characteristics of the source.

Are you listening for facts and not reacting to opinions?

Is there any data to back up the message?

What is really the root cause of the scenario being presented?

You didn’t achieve a position responsible for making good decisions by often making bad ones, but could you still do better?

Have you considered the value of thinking more critically and making better decisions?

It may be a worthwhile exercise.

-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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work mode

Work Mode May Condition Work Mood

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Are you in work mode? Do you have your, “get things done” game face on?

Many things will condition what happens next for your productivity and effectiveness.

In case you haven’t realized it, there has been a disruption in what we do and how we do it. The disruption is based on an external event, and for many people, stress, worry, and anxiety have spiked.

Some people are still actively reporting to work, some have paid time off, and many have been furloughed or cut loose as a statistic of the disruption.

Maybe you’re working from home (WFH), and perhaps that is a brand new twist.

Work Mood

Are you able to get into work mode? What does it have to do with work mood?

We’ve probably all identified someone by their mood.

He is in a bad mood.

I wouldn’t go near her office today.

When he sees the results he is going to flip out.

Today and every day we all have an opportunity to condition our behavior and attitude. Certainly, external stimuli can add to the pressure for high performance, yet, the choice remains yours.

Work Mode

Getting into work mode is a responsibility. It is part of the job commitment for leaders.

What choices are you making about your work mode?

Don’t become one of the negative external events for your work team. Whether you are working remote or face-to-face, get yourself positioned for the proper work mood and share it. This is work mode.

Every day is a good day to be a positive role model.

-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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