Tag Archives: skills

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workplace accountability

Workplace Accountability Starts With Purpose

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Frustrated, many employees feel that there is a lack of accountability. Have you sized up your workplace accountability?

As an individual, team lead, manager, or the CEO, are people accountable?

In the workplace people can be accountable for many things. They can be accountable for knowledge, skills, and abilities. They can also be accountable for their time and turning in good work.

There’s still more. People should be accountable for their attitude, commitment, and interpersonal relationships.

It’s not okay to show up and do nothing.

It’s not okay to claim, “I’m a little weird.” and then refuse to engage or form appropriate relationships.

Most of all it’s not okay to blame others, waste resources, or contribute less than what is expected.

How should you hold yourself or others accountable?

Workplace Accountability

It starts with a creating a sense of purpose.

People are much more accountable when they are connected with why their work matters.

For managers and other workplace leaders, showing them that you don’t care about them is the fastest way to have them not care about you.

Often, unconscious, thoughtless, or misinterpreted actions will undermine purpose and accountability.

Leaders who can transfer the feeling of ownership, connection, and purpose to every job seem to have an easier path to accountability.

It is easier said, than done though.

Accountability Pathways

Connecting people with purpose requires time, effort, and trust. It will not work for the person who doesn’t care about building lasting relationships.

You can’t treat people like machines. If you do, they may complete the task, but the organization will suffer from the high cost of employee turnover, low morale, and bad attitudes.

Accountability might be measured on a spreadsheet, but those results are connected to the human factor.

Connect everyone with purpose. Give them ownership in the work.

Holding people accountable can be a tough job. Creating a culture that inspires accountability lessens that effort.

-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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box checkers

Box Checkers Don’t Get the Value of Expertise

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Task masters like to check the box. Box checkers often forget or fail to understand one important thing.

The value of expertise.

People sometimes view education as a box checked. Get the certificate, get the degree, check the box.

In your workplace boxes are often checked. Did the data get entered, the messages sent, responses provided, and the calendar updated? Yup, boxes checked.

It can go much deeper.

What do you have a budget for? Office supplies? OK, great let’s spend some money. Budget spent; box checked.

There are boxes checked everywhere.

When it comes to employee growth, development, and career success you may want to pay closer attention before you just check the box.

Box Checkers

Expertise has value.

If it didn’t, anyone could fix their car. Anyone could build a house, fix their computer, or understand what is wrong when they feel ill.

They could solve their own legal problems, repair a dental cavity, and cut their own hair.

It is true for workplace culture development, employee training and coaching, and for the technical aspects of every job.

That free webinar? Not much with real value is free. Someone is paying or it is a sales pitch. Is there some value? Sure maybe, but it is likely very limited.

You can probably learn how to make a smoothie, change a setting in your software, or refinish an old wooden cabinet by watching quick video or reading a blog post. Yet, you probably haven’t mastered the craft.

People can stand in front of a room, or get on a Zoom session, and talk about a PowerPoint to the audience. Are they an expert?

If your goal is to check the box, you can consider it is already done.

If the anticipated outcome is a change in the results, a gain in knowledge or skill, or the timely production of an error free product, you may need an expert.

Skills and expertise are built by learning and practicing across time.

If you’re going to skydive would you want your parachute packed by someone who just watched a video titled, “How to pack a parachute”?

Can it be done?

Yes, box checked.

You’re now good to go.

-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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Inspired employees

Inspired Employees Stand Out In a Crowd

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Look around you, do you see inspired employees? While there may be varying degrees of inspiration or motivation how would you size things up?

There are lots of paths that lead to inspiration and motivation. One sometimes challenging aspect is that people are motivated for different reasons.

Fear can motivate, although this is almost never a good idea. Money often becomes a discussion point, yet it seldom has lasting effects.

Are you naturally motivated or can you be inspired?

Here is another question to ponder, “Are leaders born, or are they made?”

I’m hopeful that you believe there are paths to more motivation and inspiration. I’m also hopeful that you believe leadership can be developed and is not just a natural talent.

Natural Talents and Abilities

Are you born with certain talents?

Perhaps it is a talent for music, for art, or for certain athletic abilities.

It may go other directions too.

You may have a talent or connection to mathematical problems, architecture, or be identified as a good book keeper. In still other ways perhaps you are mechanically inclined, exceptional with trade skills, or an incredible cook.

Do you have natural talents, or do you have skills that have been developed across time?

A good answer is perhaps, “Both.”

Developing Talent and Skills

The greatest talents often become recognized because those people work countless hours toward perfecting their craft.

You may be great with numbers, yet if you seldom exercise this capability, in a crowd you may be mediocre at best.

Perhaps you are a fast runner, or can run long distances. If you seldom run, you’ll likely be beat by someone with less natural ability.

Are you or your employee teams inspired to do more?

Inspired Employees

The key for everyone as an individual is to practice honing your craft. You must go all in, be dedicated and committed, and live up to what you are capable of delivering.

Abraham Maslow introduced us to the concept of self-actualization.

Are you all in, one-hundred percent?

When you go all in, and have the drive and determination to go all out, you may find yourself at the pinnacle of talent and skill.

Halfhearted won’t get you very far.

Especially if there is a crowd.

-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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half knowledge

Half Knowledge, Dangerous or Valuable?

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Do you decide based on half knowledge? In a World of skim, scan, and watch a short video, are people more likely to claim knowledge but lack a significant understanding of the topic?

We have a problem with our car, we watch a video, and diagnose.

Feeling a little sick, we check our temperature and search the web for our symptoms.

Workplace issues, management skills, and how to improve our career. Social media may have some answers.

It seems everywhere we turn today we seek information for self-help. People want free answers.

Free legal advice, free personal tax advice, and certainly no one wants to pay for investment or financial help.

One trouble spot for all of the free information is gaining enough depth in truth, facts, and evidence to be helpful, not hurtful.

Is having half of the knowledge more dangerous than having no knowledge at all?

Half Knowledge

Yes, it is true, that someone with some decent mechanical skills can probably fix something on their car by watching a video.

Yes, sometimes when we have a minor health concern, we can learn more from our web-based research.

We can also learn more about becoming more valuable in our workplace, enhancing our career, and working more effectively with others by self-study.

Is this valuable? Certainly, it is.

Dangerous Half

Much of the danger comes from half-study. We only understand a small piece of it and make a big mistake by not reading the fine print.

Ask someone with half of the knowledge for advice on fertilizer for your roses, you may accidentally apply a herbicide. Spread a little special formula on your lawn, and your lawn turns brown instead of green. Sorry, all you had was crabgrass.

Knowledge is power. Assumed knowledge may only be powerful until it results in a big mistake.

Know the difference between having knowledge, or having only half of it.

-DEG

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


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good listening

Good Listening Requires Great Effort

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As a general rule everyone can be a good listener. Good listening is not an instinctive process, rather it is a developed skill that requires great effort.

It is funny, observations of workplaces struggling with communication challenges. The first thing they often do is attempt to have more communication.

Meetings increase in size and number of occurrences. Email lists grow, making sure everyone is copied. Time spent communicating increases but does the effectiveness?

We use the words hearing and listening synonymously. Yet, they really are not the same thing.

Assuming no disabilities, we hear sounds, noises, and people. Hearing is an instinctual process. Good listening is a developed skill.

Good Listening

Many people are lazy listeners. It is probably safe to say that most people are lazy listeners. We listen only to what we want, things that require little effort, or things we find enjoyable.

Everything else, it gets tuned out.

In the workplace, many people have already decided it is not worth the effort. Someone is complaining, someone else is blaming, and the boss, well, he or she is just micromanaging. Tuned out.

Great listening comes from high energy people. It is sparked by interest, sometimes fear, and always takes effort.

Great Effort

Effort to sort the information, qualify it appropriately, comprehend, remove bias, stereotyping, and other filters. When our emotions get activated it can enhance our listening or have us applying filters that mean we absorb the communication different from its intention.

It is not impossible to be a great communicator. It is not impossible to be a great listener.

Are you committed enough to put in the effort? Do you care enough?

More communication isn’t always the answer. In fact, it often makes things worse.

-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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Intentional listening

Why Intentional Listening is Different

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Listening is not instinctive. Hearing on the other hand happens without effort. We hear sounds, voices, and music. Intentional listening is probably not as easy as you think. It requires something more than just showing up.

Things People Do

Many workplace professionals feel stressed. They grow weary and tired of the everyday grind. Work isn’t always easy, but when we understand more about how to help ourselves things can (and do) get better.

Communication is a funny thing. People and teams often believe that when miscommunication occurs it means that it is time for more communication.

What do people do?

Often, they start with providing more communication. More meetings, more phone calls, and more email. Unfortunately, this often doesn’t improve the problem, it adds to it. Effective communication makes more sense.

Intentional listening is effective. What are your listening habits?

Intentional Listening

Why is listening such a valued part of communication? We can start with the idea that it is the other side of speaking. Consider that theoretically, there is only one speaker at a time, while the number of people listening can be quite expansive. A positive ratio.

At least two important barriers exist for listening. One is, do we have the proper skill? The other is, are we willing to put in the effort?

Skill is important. Carefully decoding and interpreting messages faces numerous challenges. As people, we struggle with bias, stereotypes, filters, and so much more. The more we understand barriers the better we can become.

Effort is often where the magic happens. Although there isn’t really anything magical about it, raw effort and intention may be the key. It requires energy. The question is are you willing to put in the effort?

Hanging out at the meeting may feel like you are doing your part. Listening and contributing must be intentional.

-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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skills rusty

Are Your Skills Rusty?

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Working hard to perfect your skills seems like the right thing to do. Learn it, deliver it, and live it. It seems logical. It is the discipline behind many quality control initiatives. Perfect it and protect it. In a World of constant change, are your skills rusty?

I’m fascinated with certain aspects of history. Probably, outside of news, my favorite television channel is the History Channel. I don’t always believe everything I see there, but a few of the shows are favorites.

Rusty Things

Recently, I’ve watched several episodes of the Curse of Oak Island. A series about an island in the North Atlantic Ocean where it is believed that there is buried treasure.

They’ve found some interesting stuff. Some of the items are at least a couple of hundred years old. Large iron spikes, and recently a large hook that may have been used to load or unload goods from ships. Interesting.

Another sometimes interesting show is American Pickers. Somewhere in their storyline they claim they seek, rusty gold. What they really mean is that finding old rusty metal is like finding gold, at least to them.

I have a car, and a Chevy Tahoe. My Tahoe is twenty years old. A lot of miles, but still runs well. The rust is catching up on it though, and it needs some work.

Skills Rusty?

What is it about rust? It just never stops. Eventually all the metal or iron artifacts not found and recovered on Oak Island will return to the earth. The same is true for what the pickers seek. My Tahoe, will likely one day be salvaged and some components recycled.

One the other hand, if we care for it, protect it, repaint it, or freshen it up it can last for a long time. Maybe, in some cases be better than new.

All this same logic applies to your job skills. It also applies to the organization you work for, its culture, the people, and the market it serves.

Rust is always working against you. Don’t get rusty.

-DEG

Note: The photograph is of an old bicycle frame with the manufacturers badge on the front of the steering stem. This turned up in August 2018 after heavy rains washed a deep mud and rock slide across nearly 40 feet of my yard.

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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personal growth learning

Why Personal Growth Learning Is Worthwhile

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Are you open to learning new things? Are you curious about the latest and greatest or would you rather stick with the tried and true? Personal growth learning may be the most important thing for your life and career.

Worthwhile Learning

As a freshman in high school I thought I wanted to become a mechanic. I loved working with tools, twisting wrenches, putting stuff together and tearing things apart.

Not so long ago, I was digging around in an old box and discovered a test I took in the eighth or ninth grade. The results chart indicated that I was well above the averages in mechanical aptitude.

All these years later I found that very interesting. There were a few other surprises too.

Today the biggest surprise is that I still apply so many skills that I developed at that very young age. I can fix and repair many small engines, do much of the work on my vehicles, and even unclog the vacuum cleaner. Handy.

Things have changed a lot, and sometimes I feel like I’m back at the beginning. Vulnerable, nervous, and afraid, but I know the long-term reward of learning is worth the fumbling and bumbling I go through at first.

Personal Growth Learning

Today the pace of technology is great. People are referencing things like Industry 4.0 and using the acronym IoT. The pace of change has been rapidly accelerating since the birth of many baby boomers.

Are you into personal growth learning or would you rather avoid the frustration? Learning something new means we’re at the beginning. We’re entry level, the lack of skill makes staying the same feel easier, safer, better.

Many people get to a point where learning feels like a lot of work, an unnecessary hassle. We’ve learned to live, and year after year, we’re reminded that we’re still surviving.

People sometimes decide that learning something new just isn’t worth it.

They feel stupid during the first stages of the process and that is frustrating, maybe even embarrassing. So instead, they chose not to engage.

What many quickly fail to recognize is that what they spend a half hour on learning today, may be the building block for something they’ll use for the rest of their life.

-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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scarcity

Why Scarcity Should Be An Abundant Career Philosophy

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Influence and persuasion are popular topics in consultative sales. Today it seems we often must have a good reason to make a business deal. There must be a need, but what really closes the sale? Scarcity may be the nugget you’re missing, especially related to your career.

Philosophy of Scarcity

There has been a lot of work on the sales process and the power of influence and persuasion. One of the front runners is Dr. Robert Cialdini, who is a leading authority on these subjects.

Dr. Cialdini, has included as one of six principles of persuasion the concept of scarcity. He is not the only person to study these concepts and many sales and marketing leaders live by the value of scarcity connected with selling.

Scarcity is a simple concept. The product or service is worth more or needs to be acted on now because if you don’t, you’ll miss the opportunity.

It is the road sign with, “Last gas for 150 miles.” or “Next rest stop 68 miles.” Suddenly, you’re considering your needs.

There is more spin off. The idea that the price will increase, there will be a rush on demand, or it will never be offered again.

In these cases, the value seems to increase. It’s an opportunity to close the sale and get good margin.

Why Scarcity

Scarcity should be important for everyone. It should be important for the commission sales person, the savvy marketer, and even for individuals who aren’t directly in the front-line sales process.

Because scarcity drives value it reinforces your need for skills. Not everyone is an Industrial Psychologist, not everyone is a Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA), and not everyone is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

While these occupational credentials may not be extremely hard to find, not everyone has them. As a result, businesses will pay more for their expertise.

When was the last time you considered the uniqueness of what you offer?

If you’re a commodity, easy come, easy go.

-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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learning how

Learning How Is Not Where Things Start and Stop

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Learning how is a good step. People often think, “When I don’t know how, someone will help me.” Learning how is important, is it most important?

Today people jump on a Google search, ask Siri, or head over to YouTube to discover some do it yourself tactics. This may work, in fact, it does work for many things. However, the home mechanic, sink fixer, or roof repair skill builders may still be too much for many people and are appropriately given to a professional.

Are there things that you should learn and then turn into a new habit?

Habits Last

Many eager people in the workplace want to learn how. They want to learn how to navigate the system, how to be a better leader, or how to improve their communication.

People go to school, they may attend college, do an apprenticeship, or get formal on-the-job training. All these things can be good and beneficial but learning how is just where things start.

What we do every day has much to do with our knowledge but knowing and doing are not the same.

It is the habits that we form that will create the most momentum. Attitude can be a habit. Approaching work with energy and enthusiasm can be a habit. What we do first, next, and at the end of the day is often based on habit.

Learning How

Learning how is important, but it is also often quickly forgotten. When we find that we need to know we’ll ask again, check the manual, or go visit YouTube. None of those are a bad plan, but they are about knowledge that isn’t retained or practiced. A habit will last.

When we make learning how a habit, and back it up with knowledge gain turned into more new habits we find more success.

Often the secret for getting along, creating a better team, and being a better leader is not based purely on learning how.

It is based on learning how and turning new skills into a habit.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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