Tag Archives: productivity

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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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work from home

5 Tips To Help You Work From Home

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There are some people who just realized their dream opportunity. Largely, this sudden shift may feel more like a nightmare to many people. Are you prepared to work from home?

More or less I have worked from home for the past 14 years. I’ve had part-time offices out of my home and spent many hours onsite at client locations. However, when I’m grinding out new content, writing, studying, and preparing for deliveries, I’m often at home.

Work From Home

First, let me say that there are pros and cons. I spent over 20 years working in conventional workplace settings. I definitely recognize both sides of this story.

Solitude can drive you mad. Yes, it seems kinda cool at first, but after some time you miss the interactions and sometimes the climate of a face-to-face team. There is also no one immediately available to bounce ideas off of, except for your plant or a family pet.

Let me jump right in. Here are five tips to help you get started, stay productive, and not feel like you’re totally alone.

  1. Set a schedule. Planning to do things when you get around to it is probably a bad idea. If you’re planning to do some wash, run the vacuum, or get a snack for the kids you are best to plan around a schedule. A schedule keeps you focused during high energy times of the day and helps you avoid time sucking distractions. Productivity is going to be important so set a schedule.
  2. Prepare a work space. A home office is ideal. However, you can also use your kitchen island, a coffee table, or a stand up desk by using your ironing board. Your best work is going to occur if you can establish a place to setup and keep it somewhat permanent. Using your laptop on your recliner may work for processing some email but your best work is going to occur from a little bit more rigid work space.
  3. Block out distractions. It may feel pretty cool to have the news on the TV, or be jamming to music so loud that the neighbors can hear it, but these are largely distractions. While everyone is different and some will think that they work better with these distractions I encourage you to think twice. Every time you pause to think about something else, something different, or throw in the next load of laundry you are wasting time and more importantly energy.
  4. Take some breaks. A break is not necessarily a distraction. It can be an energizer. It can also be very healthy both emotionally and physically. Your best-case scenario is to plan your breaks. Set a timer and forget about it until you are alerted. You could take break every hour or every two or three. They are important and don’t skip too many.
  5. Teamwork. If you you’re working remotely with a team a great energizer is to plan for team calls or video chats. One way is to plan a call for every two hours. The team quickly assembles at the appropriate time and in a round-robin approach you take turns talking about what you accomplished since you last spoke and what you plan to accomplish in the next time slot. This call should last no more than 15 minutes. It is a quick huddle, and energizer, and a great way to hold each other accountable.

Working from home is just that, it’s work. Yes, you may be able to dress down a bit and yes, you may have some additional flexibility but there is still plenty of work to be done so don’t coast.

-DEG

You may also be interested in the Managing Remote Work Teams or Master Your Work From Home Environment webinar(s).

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 sharing

Workplace Sharing Starts with Compromise

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Are you involved in workplace sharing? Do you negotiate for resources? Is everyone willing to share and compromise?

When we don’t agree in the meeting, we may feel the correct path is to compromise. Many believe that compromise means you’re getting less, you’re breaking things into pieces and distributing only part of the whole.

What if the part is the whole?

When FedEx delivers a package, it contains something of value inside for the recipient. Another person standing nearby, may need a corrugated box.

The person who needed the contents doesn’t need the box and the person needing a box doesn’t care about the prior contents. Is this sharing, compromise, or negotiation?

Some may suggest it could be all three.

You may share a bite of your dinner with your dog. Afterwards, you may also share a blanket, but likely not the water bowl. You share what provides value, you may both enjoy the blanket, but the water bowl is off limits.

Workplace Sharing

In the workplace we are always operating through frames. We condition what we’ll accept or reject based on the frame. The frame is largely defined by the organizational culture.

Sharing, compromising, and negotiating are part of a successful team. That team will be both effective and efficient when they are happily operating within their frame.

Sharing will matter. It matters for workflow and job duties. It matters for resources and the work that gets done. Sharing is framed by the culture.

One of the most important things to share is the idea that sharing is essential for team success.

It starts with you, or it may never start.

-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 curiosity

Workplace Curiosity and Why You Should Have More

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Do you have workplace curiosity? Is the culture creative, interesting, and inclusive? Are there good listeners?

Have you ever felt so busy that you completely miss something happening right in front of you? You are concentrating so hard that you don’t even notice?

That could be a very positive and intense level of focus. It could also be a signal that you to dig a little deeper in your patience reserves and pause for long enough to notice.

Work and Curiosity Matter

Businesses are about work. They work to create a product or service that is attractive and compelling to their audience. They may also serve society or do something for the greater good of mankind.

Yet, work is still about work. There is a job to do and it is always measured against time.

Productivity, efficiencies, and profit matter. So does your organizational culture.

Are you genuinely curious about what is happening in your workplace?

Workplace Curiosity

I’m not referring to drama filled destructive behaviors, political views, or what happened last year. I’m referring to curiosity about the work at hand, the difference to be made for the customer, and the things that could improve efficiency while also creating more opportunities.

Some of the best cultures have the most curious listeners. Those that listen with their ears, head, and heart. Hearing is not necessarily listening. Listening needs intellect and it needs heart.

Are you engaged with what is happening around your workplace? Do you listen for understanding and not to refute? Are you appropriately generous with your time?

Workplace curiosity doesn’t kill the cat, it builds the culture.

Be genuinely 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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