Tag Archives: results

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business forecasting

Business Forecasting, Today Is Easier Than Tomorrow

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Do you know an expert at business forecasting? What you sold yesterday, or what is shipping today, is easy to report. When you can predict tomorrow you have something special.

Some might quickly argue that what happens today will be the predictor of tomorrow. Fair enough, perhaps, yet an actualized vision of tomorrow, knowing the future, seems more desirable.

When you attend the staff meeting, you’ll probably hear some reports about what happened recently, or across the most previous quarter. There may be a comparison to a year ago, or even two, but that doesn’t help anyone know for sure what tomorrow will look like.

Looking out your window right now you can describe the weather. You may also be able to access some weather data from yesterday, last month, or a year ago. Given the forecast for tomorrow or next week is risky.

Even our smartphones may show us historical photos which help us remember what we were doing one year ago, or two, three, or more.

Honestly, it is easy to describe right now, recently, or maybe even last year.

Can you predict the future?

Business Forecasting

Business forecasting is a great skill. It is not the same as strategy development, and certainly, it doesn’t have the guarantees of the report from last week.

Risk is always a factor. The wedding planner may have had a forecast for the 2020 wedding season. It probably wasn’t the doom and gloom that actually presented itself because of the unknown pandemic when the forecast was made.

Product and raw material shortages might be a forecast, or they may actually be factual data following the shutdown of a factory, mining, or harvesting operation weeks or months before. This information may not be a forecast or a prediction, but simply a report based on historical data.

It seems that most businesses seek is information of the unknown. Sure, historical data matters and it may be helpful, but it is unclear if it represents an accurate prediction for tomorrow.

The forecast for the weather is a risk, so is forecasting in your business.

Use the data. Call your best shot.

-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 appreciation

Workplace Appreciation, Are You Getting Enough?

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It is a great discussion point. It starts with a question. Are you getting enough workplace appreciation?

People come to work every day. If they aren’t going to a physical shared location, they are doing it from a home office, a makeshift kitchen countertop, or a small nook near their bedroom. Some might believe it is a café or a picnic table in the park, but these are unlikely.

In addition to the paycheck, what brings you to work? If your response is, “Nothing.” Then there probably is very little appreciation and there certainly is not a connection or sense of pride with the work you perform.

For everyone else, and I’m hoping that is you, your work matters. Even what appears as the lowest or dirtiest job has a reason and meaning because without it, the organization is not complete.

Beyond the paycheck, appreciation is probably the most important aspect of your connection with your work.

Is there enough appreciation?

Workplace Appreciation

You might be self-motivated, but for what cause? Why are you self-motivated? Are you building something for yourself or for someone else? What compels and drives you for customer satisfaction? If no one appreciates your work, will you still do it?

Some things are done for you. That isn’t selfish, it’s healthy. Sometimes you do things for other people that provide something in return for you. Something beyond a paycheck.

Everyday people are jockeying for position. They are jockeying for position on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. A post, a comment, and a like on LinkedIn may seem appealing for business connections.

Is it social? In some regards, yes, in other regards it is action that seeks position.

If getting one click or like feels good, ten is better. If you get ten, can you get 25, 50, or 100? And so it begins, the effort becomes the trick of the trade to get more. The level of satisfaction may actually weaken because the reason behind the effort may have shifted.

It shifts because the economy of scale becomes more important than individual impact.

This is why doing the work that matters and being appreciated for it is something special. It makes all of your work feel more important and valued. Certainly, you want many people to appreciate the effort.

Real appreciation is not about a chasing numbers or riding the algorithm wave.

When you realize the difference, everyone who contributes will be much more engaged.

They’ll care, and so will you.

-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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effort mindset

Effort Mindset is Part of Your Language

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Do you have an effort mindset? Don’t confuse effort with labor or effort with strenuous. More than anything, putting in the effort suggests a connection with the goal.

What is the fastest way to change the concept of what you can or cannot accomplish?

You change your perception of what will happen next.

There is often discussion about winners and losers, about those who did and those who didn’t, and those who had success and those who failed.

Being determined that you can, is much different from creating an expectation that you can’t.

I can’t add that to the report because I don’t have that data.

The team didn’t finish the project.

We didn’t hit the sales goal for this month.

What if you had more time? More time to seek the answers to the questions, more time on the project, or a few additional days to hit the sales number?

Effort Mindset

Deadlines sometimes signal it is over, done, finished. While a deadline is a deadline, it doesn’t mean the goal is entirely out of reach, forever.

In business, everything is a race against the clock.

Sometimes a deadline provides a reason to quit. Once the deadline is approaching or missed, it invites the opportunity to throw up your hands and call it over.

What if you changed your language?

I need a few more data segments and I will have the report ready by the end of the day Tuesday.

The team is totally immersed in the project. The end results will be better than expected.

We didn’t hit the sales goal yet, but by Tuesday we’ll surpass last months results.

Language is a powerful component of both motivation and culture.

How you talk, the words you choose, and the future that you predict may be the cultural shift that you need.

Many people quit because they believe it is over.

Many successful people see things a little bit differently.

They just haven’t finished, yet.

-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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focus matters

Focus Matters and Changes the Outcomes

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What are you focused on today? Do you believe that focus matters? Will it change the outcomes?

When your work is very scattered it is hard to know where things start, stop, and how to measure progress. Time and effort are always wasted in the act of engagement, disengagement, and reengagement.

Focus Matters

When there is a problem or a crisis on the job, it becomes an all hands-on deck situation. Everyone jumps in to fight the metaphorical fire. They’re focused and it makes a difference.

Focus is often connected with a timeline. It is notable in many of life’s events. On graduation day, everyone is focused on the ceremony, the totality of the grind that brought graduates to the moment. It is also true for major surgery, a wedding, and an election.

When all the stakeholders are rounded up and focused, everything else stops until the event is over.

The long-term outcomes may be more significant. What will the graduate do now? Will the heart surgery prolong life and what will that look like? Weddings are in the spirit of a lifetime and election results last for years.

Resulting Outcomes

The focus is often short-lived when compared with the outcomes. The culmination of the process leading up to the event and what follows are the outcomes of a lasting endeavor.

Never taking the moments necessary to focus, without interruption, in order to create what happens next is often the problem of a failed action.

The real-life firefighter doesn’t put down the hose to browse his or her cell phone, have a snack, or chit-chat about neighborhood drama.

Perhaps what everyone needs is a little more focus and a little less procrastination or interruptions.

Focus is efficient and effective. It matters.

-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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certainty

Certainty Is What You Are Looking For

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What decisions are you trying to make about the future? If you are looking for a slam dunk of certainty, you may not find it. Of course, you may be surprised how certain you really are.

Unprecedented times. You’ve read the headlines, heard it in the news, and watched it on TV. You’ve also been living it, every day since sometime in March 2020.

Most decision makers are trying to make comfortable decisions. Decisions that come with a guarantee. If no guarantee, you probably have a backup plan. A chance to punt, regroup, or pivot direction.

One of the reasons that many people and businesses lack action today is because they can’t decide. They are not confident in choices or directions. There seems to be no certainty of what will happen next.

What will you do? How will you spend your time? What is certain?

On a personal level, you could update your LinkedIn profile. You could make some new connections, rekindle some older ones, or find an article or video that provides some inspiration.

For your department you could look at your budget, compare it with expenses, and determine if your project or contributions are still making sense.

For the small business owner or entrepreneur, you could update your website add some new options or change something that has grown stale?

Are any of these things a waste of time?

Discovering Certainty

Some may argue.

LinkedIn has too much sales activity and I’m not looking for a new job.

Our department is here, we’re working, we’re just waiting to see what the new direction is going to look like.

Why update the website, it is hard to know what direction things are going to go.

Uncertainty.

Yet, one thing is likely for certain.

You’re still going to desire a LinkedIn network in the future.

Your department may benefit from right-sizing expenses with budget and impact given what you know today.

That glorious website can always be better, more attractive, and provide higher value.

Those things are all, certain.

-DEG

H/T to my friend Mike Moran for igniting the idea of certainty for me.

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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shiny object

Shiny Object Chasing and Your Focus

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Are you focused on what needs to be accomplished? Do you go after the shiny object?

Many workplaces are filled with drama. Stepping back and looking at the drama we may realize that it is the excitement or interest that is attractive. The gossip, the mismanaged conflict, or the turmoil.

 

It may seem polite to ask someone about their day.

How’s it going?

What are you up to?

Did you have a good day?

Sometimes we listen and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes the question is asked only in an attempt to break the ice. In other cases, it is asked to create a distraction, shift the focus, or break up the monotony.

Describing What’s Interesting

When people respond about their day, they are often telling their story. Perhaps an attention capturing story. Responding with my day is, “okay,” is very different from, “I’m about to flip out on the boss.”

The shiny object syndrome applies to our workplace life in many ways. It is often suggested that this syndrome means we can’t focus and we’re always chasing something new, different, or presumably more attractive.

As soon as you start a conversation about focus it won’t be long until someone brings up ADD or ADHD. Certainly, this could apply to those who truly have a professional medical diagnosis. However, for everyone, what you focus on is what you get.

Shiny Object Chasing

What you focus on becomes a core part of the story you tell. The story you tell is your narrative. It is how you see and describe what is happening for you and those around you.

Chances are good that everyone has a part of their day that is both good and bad. Sometimes the good things just don’t seem as exciting as the bad.

Instead of looking for what is bad, try looking for what is good. Don’t let the shiny objects be the ones tarnished with doom and gloom. Don’t allow the most exciting things to be made of self-destruction, or worse, team destruction.

There is nothing shiny about gossip, mismanaged conflict, and turmoil.

Stay focused on things that positively, not negatively, are shiny.

-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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assumption decisions

Assumption Decisions Are Made In Every Meeting

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Meetings are often about decisions. They are also about information, thinking, and often about assumptions. Are you making assumption decisions?

At the very start of every meeting there are assumptions. The assumption about why Jane is missing, why Bob looks worried, and about how the meeting will evolve.

Most meetings expect reflection. Reflection is part of experiential learning and it is part of being a participant and contributor.

What are you reflecting upon?

Meeting Anxiety

Are you wondering what will happen when you’re asked to verbally contribute? Will you be called upon to vote, respond, or is the expectation to simply nod your head?

What is the elephant in the room? Is the elephant your imagination or do others feel the same thing?

Everyone knows that we shouldn’t make decisions based upon assumptions. However, when the data is lacking, when we’re lazy, or when our experiences tell us it is safe, we do it.

Technology and data are helping us get better. We have gauges and sensors that help eliminate assumptions.

The temperature in the room, made known by a gauge. A tire with low pressure on our car, known by a gauge. The amount of storage used on our computing device, yes, of course, known by the data or gauge.

Is valid and reliable data better than making an assumption?

Assumption Decisions

All of our modern conveniences help us do better by being smarter. We make better choices because the information seems irrefutable.

Occasionally, an assumption will get in the way. We’ll either choose to ignore the data or we’ll take a different path because the path appears more consistent with our gut feel.

What assumption decisions are you or your team making? And the outcomes, how have they worked out?

-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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best effort

Giving Your Best Effort More Often

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What happens when you give your best effort? Does something change, does a spark ignite, or does your confidence grow?

Your first day on the job and you may not even be sure where the rest room is located. After a few weeks, which quickly turn to months, you start to find a rhythm and you get more comfortable.

Finding your rhythm as an individual, a team, or an organization is often the game changer.

Improving Confidence

Confidence is built through two primary channels, self-efficacy and self-esteem. Each small successive win and your confidence grows. Make a mistake and learn to improve for the next time.

The very first time we do anything is probably not going to be our best. When we try it again, and again, things start to improve. More results pour in, more discovery, and adjustments.

It is the fluidity of the process that helps us tweak things by drawing ever closer to building it better and better.

The first time we cook a steak is hard. The twenty-fifth time and things seem easier.

It is the same for giving a presentation to the board of directors, developing a process for closing the sale, or making a cold call. Practice seems to make it easier. Success also seems to come easier.

Confidence improves.

Best Effort More Often

This is exactly why we have to give our best effort more often.

Doing so creates more demand. More demand means you’re having more opportunities and more opportunities to practice and hone your craft will make success look easy.

There really aren’t any shortcuts. The overnight success often occurs across five, ten, or twenty-five years.

On-lookers believe it was luck, fate, or personal connections. They can always help, but they aren’t as compelling as the story you write on your own.

Best effort matters. It matters more.

-DEG

Originally posted on October 3, 2019, last updated on September 10, 2020.

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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measuring performance

Measuring Performance In Your Workplace

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Do you know where you stand? Often when we need to accomplish something the best way is through regular measurement. Are you measuring performance in your workplace? If yes, how?

There is an old saying, “What gets measured gets done.”

Motivation or Goals?

Sometimes the biggest reason for an apparent lack of motivation or energy from the team is because of vague goals or measurements.

Write a blog post for our Company webpage this week.

Write a 300-word blog post for our Company webpage, and please send it to me for review by the end of the day on Thursday.

There is a difference. Is this delegation? Sure, it could be considered delegation but it also includes metrics.

When we create attention to a detail or attach a specific timeline that is observable it helps improve focus. Improved focus creates results. If our focus is on nothing, we’ll likely get nothing.

The performance of nearly anything and everything can be measured. Even some of the soft stuff.

Measuring Performance

In manufacturing or service firms we may measure defect rates. This could include quality failures, merchandise returns, or even social media chatter.

Customer dissatisfaction can be very costly to any business. Metrics for measurement are critical. What do customers say? What percentage of customers will refer you?

Time is a popular measurement, so is the capital investment required per employee.

Certainly, there are common financial measurements such as sales revenue, gross profit, and balance sheet data.

Goals and values are closely connected to workplace performance. What you draw attention to will often receive the most effort.

Never underestimate what employees will deliver when the focus switches from drama and excuses to measurement and metrics.

-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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decide soon

Decide Soon, Waiting Wastes Time

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Are decisions really connected to productivity? They are, which is exactly why you should decide soon.

Certainly not all choices are the same. Some choices become better with a slower decision. We access more information, the picture gets clearer, the decision improves. What about your daily productivity?

Are You Productive?

An email response in haste may result in a bad decision. Emotions are often higher, the message riskier, the results sometimes misunderstood. On the positive side, you didn’t procrastinate, you did it immediately. Time saved or time wasted?

You can only put off the wait staff so long. They may advise, “I’ll give you a few minutes.” Yet, you still know you must decide quickly. They can’t wait too long and your friends and family are ready to order.

In the meeting you hesitate to speak. You have an idea, a point to make, or some additional information. Is the timing right, will the people understand, will you get blacklisted for making such a ridiculous suggestion?

Decide Soon

The truth often is that we waste time by waiting. Yes, not every decision should be made in haste, but the outcomes are not altered on many of your choices. Time is wasted and productivity is decreased.

What if you receive one hundred emails a day? How many do you glance at, open, close, and come back to later? How much time is spent in thought, consideration, and a careful response? Your conscientiousness is important and valuable, yet there is relevance to the speed.

One of my favorite time wasters? Deciding that responding too soon implies that you are not busy.

Decide soon, your decisions probably won’t change much, but your productivity does.

-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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