Tag Archives: risk

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new ideas

New Ideas Are Not Your Normal

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Do you know someone who knows it all? Have you ever been accused of acting like a know-it-all? Are you receptive to new ideas or would you rather stick with the old?

Many people are risk adverse. They’ve tried risk, it is scary and often doesn’t end well. At least, that is what they’ll say.

Assessing Risk

People often weigh risk inappropriately. In the workplace their personal scale is off balance. They weigh the risk of personal discomfort as greater than needs of the team or organization.

When an employee has a great idea, he or she may be hesitant to mention it. If they have some information contrary to the CEO’s beliefs, they avoid the conversation. The risk of personal harm feels greater than the risk of speaking up and helping the organization avoid some certain disaster.

New ideas are often met with negative fantasies. The doom and gloom that you visualize seems far more real than the possibility of a better outcome.

This is often where instincts and gut feel gain traction.

Ideas that are not our own are a surefire way to invoke an assessment of probable outcomes. Some of those outcomes are rooted in negative fantasies. The assumed pending doom feels more real, than the likely actual outcome.

When we lack new ideas or new outlooks, we’re stuck. New ideas are different, that doesn’t necessarily make them wrong.

Getting to New Ideas

Being a know-it-all, or accusing someone of the same is sometimes a hint that new ideas are not welcome.

If everything seems to be perfect, goals are being met, professional growth is good, and the organization you work for is growing then for the moment it is probably OK to steer clear of any new ideas.

For everyone else, new ideas may be exactly what you need to explore.

-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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something new

Try Something New, That’s Learning!

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Are you interested to try something new? Are you the first one to taste the unknown dish at the picnic or try the unknown from the menu?

At the dinner event hors d’oeuvres are often served. The well-trained staff will likely explain the dish, the teenage volunteer will just hold it out in your space to see if you’ll take the plunge.

Fresh seafood in North Dakota may be risky, but the beef is probably a safe bet.

Exploration helps us learn. It may also be known as research.

Learning Moments

Many people will learn from mistakes. Yet sometimes they keep doing the same thing over and over. The fear of the unknown seems greater than the risk of the consequences of bad moves.

It may feel like there is safety in the known. Other times, the last thing we want is the known.

Hiring managers often have a choice between internal candidates and external candidates. It is common that they know the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the internal possibilities. Yet they are more interested to risk an outsider who they’ve spent an hour or two with during an interview.

When it comes to change, we often want safety.

Very few people are convinced that when they jump, the net will appear.

Something New

It is risk that we may evaluate incorrectly.

At the meeting, the risk of speaking up seems more threatening than the risk of watching the team make another wrong turn. You can help, or offer alternatives, but you may retreat to a place of safety.

Fear of separation may be a root cause, which then leads to action anxiety and ultimately negative fantasies. You assess the situation and become convinced that the worst outcome will result. It’s too risky.

Trying something new may be the exact thing that is holding you back.

Don’t make the same mistakes over and over. Give up some safety for calculated risk.

That’s how we learn.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace opinions

Workplace Opinions Determine Fit

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

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

That’s a Fact

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

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

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

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

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

Workplace Opinions

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

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

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

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

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

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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career stall

Career Stall: Feeling Stuck and Letting Go

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Have you reached a career stall? Have you found yourself wondering why, how, or where to advance?

Choices and decisions we make often become a habitual part of our life. This is what keeps us stuck, stalled, or stopped.

While there are potentially hundreds of variations or reasons why someone may feel stuck, the good news is there is something that can be done to get unstuck.

Uncertainty is Scary

Uncertainty may be a leading cause of being stuck. Feeling unsure about the future keeps people in their comfort zone.

The comfort zone is the norm. In a groove, even a mediocre groove, often feels better than the potential doom looming outside of the groove.

Outside the groove can be scary. Some may quickly say that fear keeps people stuck. Probably true, it can and it does.

Good Sized Ego

There are other things that keep people stuck.

One is ego.

Ego is not necessarily a bad thing. Another way to describe ego is confidence. Feeling confident and accomplished, some people allow their ego to keep them from seeking professional help.

Ego has halted many careers, one way or another, and it is sometimes connected with costs.

I shouldn’t have to pay for help. I’m a problem solver.

Weighing Costs

Perhaps you can navigate your situation to become unstuck, after all, you are plenty smart enough.

Is there a cost associated with not paying for help?

Keep in mind that cost isn’t always what you pay, sometimes cost is about time lost, missed opportunities, or mistakes.

How long will you stay stalled, stuck, or stopped?

Career Stall

When you have a full plate, a full day, and the clock is ticking, you have to make room for something different in order to create change. Otherwise, you are in a perpetual state of being stuck.

You may need to let go of your ego, habits that are tactical instead of strategic, or change your view on risk.

What is riskier? Staying where you are at for the next three to five years of your career or trying something different? Sometimes we weigh risk incorrectly. We weigh it for safety instead of opportunity.

What will you let go of?

-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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tight tolerances

Tight Tolerances and the Unexpected

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What happens when a ball gets dropped or a customer changes the order?
Are you prepared to face the challenges of the unexpected? Tight tolerances make sense, until they don’t.

Some organizations and people are expecting the unexpected. Emergency rooms in hospitals, your local fire company, and even having an umbrella in your car on a sunny day.

Unexpected Happens

Workplaces today thrive on being lean. They thrive on just enough, just-in-time and metrics that constantly measure their efficiency. Any more than just enough or just in time is considered waste.

What happens when the unexpected happens?

Being incredibly lean is fantastic when everything works. Having a system that is efficient, can be monitored, and has very low waste is good, until something changes.

The overburdened wedding caterer has an oven and a refrigeration unit go down. The tire sales shop can’t fit another car in this week because they are booked full with annual inspections. The pizza shop suggests a one-hour wait for order pickup.

Tight Tolerances

When the tolerances are too tight, there is no room for extra, no room for a malfunction, and no tolerance for the unexpected.

Busy with a wait list may seem like a good problem. It may be, until a competitor gets a chance.

So tight that there is zero waste, zero defects, and zero rejected work is good until something in the system breaks.

A team so small, that every minute of every clocked hour is utilized perfectly works great until the customer changes the order or an employee gets ill.

It takes a long time and a lot of effort to earn good business.

What carries more risk? Room to spare or no room at all?

-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 ethics

Workplace Ethics and the Perceptions of Employees

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Perceptions drive expectations, and expectations serve as the measuring stick of fulfillment. What is expected is both the frame and the goal. In matters of workplace ethics who decides the framework of expectations?

Ethical considerations are often quickly connected to the inappropriate shortcut, the sneaky cheaty perception of cutting corners, side deals, or even stealing. What are your ethical boundaries? What is tolerated or welcomed as acceptable in your workplace?

Decisions and Choices

The part-time assistant in the pizza shop may feel entitled to a slice at the end of his or her shift. Is that ethical?

A ream of paper from the office for your home computer so the kids can print stuff out. Is that ethical?

The company car, used for a family vacation. Is that ethical?

In many cases, your first response may be, “It depends.” If so, it depends on what? If others are doing it or if the circumstances surrounding the consumption or use seem to be permitted? Has it always been done this way?

Workplace Ethics

People are often willing to take shortcuts, or use or borrow something that does not belong to them. A popular mindset is that this ethical infringement is owed.

I worked hard during my shift so I get a free slice of pizza at the end.

Perfectly fine if this is a formal agreement as part of the compensation. Sneaking it while no one is looking may be a different story.

Boundaries exist, especially in ethics. A boundary broken may be viewed as a way to move ahead. A cheat, a steal, and against the law.

When someone is willing to cheat a little, will they cheat a lot? Is there a measurement for the allowable size of cheat? Is that the framework for ethics?

You may say, “It depends.”

The ethical question then becomes, “Does it?”

What is your perception?

-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 leaders risk

Workplace Leaders Risk More By Being First

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Many people believe that they are paving the way, instead they may be following. Workplace leaders risk more by being first and creating the future. Are you following or are you leading?

It is simple. Being the front runner requires risk that the others don’t have to endure.

Leading or Following?

I can tell you about yesterday’s weather. It is easy to get it correct. Predicting tomorrow’s weather is a little bit trickier.

You can observe a brand’s social media exposure, like, and follow. If they appear to be gaining momentum you can launch a similar campaign. If not, you can observe another. Only opportunity cost from inaction is really at risk. You’re not leading, but following.

The idea to put a camera in a phone, a credit card reader at the parking meter, or create a single cup coffee maker may have been created by people who were leading. The cost to follow after observing the success is much less expensive.

Very few businesses are truly front runners. Very few artists, authors, or architects are launching ideas that are truly original. In many regards, they are following or perhaps expanding upon ideas that they have learned.

Workplace Leaders Risk

Knowing yesterday’s weather report may be a reliable source of information. Describing the exact weather for a May wedding, several months in advance seems foolish, or at least extremely risky.

In the workplace, employees can report on all the historical data. They can produce charts, graphs, and apply a clever marketing spin for a compelling message. A competitive analysis of results may be helpful, but it doesn’t really make them a leader.

Workplace leaders take a risk of knowing when to follow, or when to expand on past ideas or results. They’ll take the most risk when they choose to do it first.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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risky decision

When Speaking Up is a Risky Decision

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We all play a role in the workplace. Even the person who is never asked plays a role. Everyone has an opportunity to contribute, the question is, “How will they?” Have you ever felt that speaking up is a risky decision?

We sometimes evaluate our circumstances in strange ways. Our contributions as an employee may find us offering opinions or retreating to silence out of fear. What do you do?

Fear as a Driver

Much of what happens in our workplace cultures is conditioned by fear. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, but it still happens.

What happened the last time someone was wrong? Did their contribution get labeled as a failure? Did they get uninvited from the team meeting? Are their chances of a future promotion now limited? Were they fired?

Perhaps none of those things happened but that is the message that is often floating around in our head. “I should say something but it is too risky.”

What is your measurement of risk?

Do you withdraw from contributing out of fear? Do you watch your team or organization make costly wrong turns which could have been avoided if you offered your perspective? What is riskier?

Risky Decision

No one wants to make a bad choice or a wrong decision. Sometimes our decisions turn out the wrong way because we lack information.

No one told me the caesar salad had anchovies. 

I didn’t realize how many calories were in the chocolate fudge brownie. 

They person I bought the car from never mentioned the transmission was acting up. 

What carries the most risk? The consequences of politely and appropriately contributing to the conversation or watching the disaster that may unfold if you don’t speak up?

Be careful with your risky decision.

-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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digital age stereotypes

Digital Age Stereotypes and The Challenge for Integrity

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How do you manage cold calls? Do you take them? Ever? Do you know who is on the other end of the call? What is the opportunity cost? Have digital age stereotypes contributed the challenge of sales or integrity?

Recently, I spoke with a client about the aspect of selling consulting or training services through cold calling. We chuckled a bit about how things have changed across the years. Things are much different now.

Digital Age Stereotypes

Once upon a time there wasn’t caller ID, there wasn’t voicemail, and it seemed like there was more time to politely address callers. Any caller.

Today it is the agony, I believe, that keeps us away from answering cold calls. The agony of trained callers who are not permitted to accept “No,” as an answer. They just keep pushing, and so it is easier to avoid the call.

It’s a stereotype. “All callers we don’t know are pushy sales people.”

Challenge for Integrity

Put up a website, create an eBay store, or sell on Amazon. There are basically not any rules of engagement or integrity.

If the website looks decent, and the content is compelling, we may buy. If the picture of the eBay item looks reasonable and there is evidence of a “good seller” we may place a bid.

Amazon is selling lots of product that never makes it to a retail shelf. We can argue that is good. It means more opportunity.

We can also argue that it is bad because what is being sold may be junk.

Social media channels are broadcasting get rich quick schemes, work from home and make easy money, or try this new diet with our eight-week meal plan.

Integrity and Risk

Digital age stereotypes have extended our feeling of risk.

It is true for the job seekers (and employers) who find themselves buried in the pool of thousands of candidates. It is true for the unknown caller, and it is true for the online shopper.

Remember, it may be a new age, but your integrity at every level still matters. Build a good brand.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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safety zone

Safety Zone and The Status Quo Approach

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Safety is something that most humans covet. It’s an inherent part of our evolution. We like to feel safe. Is operating in your safety zone or the status quo holding you back?

Safety and the status quo tend to keep everyone stuck.

Status Quo is Sticky

We don’t speak up at the meeting. It is safer to just observe. It saves embarrassment, perhaps revealing a weakness, or worse, getting blacklisted or fired for a bad idea.

We don’t apply for the new job. Maybe we aren’t that good. Maybe we’ll fail, or maybe they will decide they don’t like me so I better stay put. It is safe.

It is often suggested to represent the evidence of loyalty, commitment, or how we do it here.

Gradually, across time, our jobs and workplaces create the feeling of safety and security. There is a feeling of comfort in the status quo.

The Paradox

Yet, every day organizations are mostly looking to serve more, do more, create new, get bigger, be stronger, and last longer.

The contrast between safety and change is sometimes nearly invisible to the employee, yet the lingering feeling is often a cause for discomfort.

It is ever present in the job change. The increased workload. Picking up the slack for another person or workgroup, or the message from leadership that the economic climate requires change.

Safety Zone

It is ironic that the best organizations are the ones operating on the edge. The very edge of in control versus out of control. The organization that pushes the button, finds ways to become more efficient, and takes big leaps while others stand wishfully pondering the edge.

Everything is changing. Changing rapidly. The status quo is not safe.

True for the organization. True for the individual.

Excitement, engagement, and growth happen just on the other side of the safety zone.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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