Tag Archives: stories

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bright futures

Bright Futures Start With Your Story

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Are you a product of your story? The easy answer is, yes. Bright futures start with the story you are telling. Without a good story, the future may be dim.

The interesting aspect of any story is its purpose. We tell stories for warnings, pleasure, humor, advice, branding, fear, and especially to promote change.

Think about your conversation yesterday, and the one you’ll have today. What is its purpose? Is it for preparation, strategy, or change?

Social media tells a story. So does the mainstream news.

Your co-workers have a story, what are they telling?

Your boss has a story, so do the investors.

There is a story at the barber shop, a story on the radio, and a story in your email in-box.

Certainly, it makes sense to stay on top of some news. It also makes sense to think for yourself about the information you receive. Question the motive, the reason, and the purpose.

Everyone claims to want a bright future, yet what is their story?

Bright Futures

Is fear more attractive or interesting than success?

Is anger more desirable than peace?

What is your top story? What are you going to talk about today?

Maybe the story you want to tell isn’t the story that will help create the path to the future you desire.

Whatever narrative you are listening to, or telling, it will have a lot to do with what happens next.

What is your language describing? Does it matter?

Bright futures start with a story.

What is your story?

-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 confusion

Workplace Confusion, What’s Really Going On?

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Do you know what’s really going on? The end of workplace confusion starts by understanding the story.

“Get buy-in for the changes we just discussed.”

Have you heard this one?

As people we want to understand the story.

Stories Lead the Way

Someone asks, “What’s the story on this?”

Employee teams expect an understandable answer. It is often how the buy-in process starts.

We often wonder about the story. Without the story we feel sort of lost.

What may be worse is that without the story people tend to make up a story. Their quest to understand prompts them to create a reason.

Cindy is late for work. Oh, I’ll bet her car battery died again.

New orders are down this week. The marketing plan isn’t working.

Why does the boss have her door closed? I’ll bet someone is getting fired.

Every time we don’t have a story, we can easily create one.

Do you want to end workplace confusion?

Workplace Confusion

Your organization should have a mission.

A succinct mission statement would not only be nice, it is needed. You should have a strategic plan, goals and objectives, and the team should understand and be prepared with tactics for the pursuit.

The absence of a succinct plan means someone is probably making up stories.

Worse, no one knows the real story. From manager to manager the story changes.

When you have a solid mission and strategic plan and follow the metrics and measurements as outlined in the plan, teams know the story.

Knowing the story and having a united effort to accomplish it, makes a difference. It ends the confusion about what is really going on.

Employees shouldn’t have to ask, “What’s the story?”

Leaders should be making it come to life.

End workplace confusion.

-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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real world stories

Real World Stories Are What We’re Looking For

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The Three Billy Goats Gruff is a fairy tale. So is Rumpelstiltskin. When you’re trying to evoke positive change, it is best to start with real world stories.

Most change starts with a story. A story about the past, a story about hardship, adversity, or overwhelming success. The most powerful stories often contain all three.

Rocky Balboa is a story. So is The Pursuit of Happiness (2006). Many consider both to be motivational, heart touching, and potentially life changing.

Are they true? Perhaps not completely, yet they are founded in real-life, believable scenarios.

People are called to action, or they are not, based on the story.

Stories and Change

Change fails. Sometimes despite all the energy thrown at it, it fails.

People remember failed change. In many cases they avoided it, fought it, and refused to cooperate with it so strongly that eventually, it failed.

Humans tend to follow patterns. When something works, they stick with it.

Makes sense, right?

In matters of change, resistance is sometimes a learned behavior. Fight what scares you, fight what you don’t like or understand, and fight long enough, you’ll win. It becomes a pattern.

The fight against it probably starts with a story. The wrong kind of story. An unbelievable story or one that absolutely presents itself as a fairy tale.

A fairy tale might be fun. An escape from reality, the Sci-Fi movie, or a murder mystery. Drama stories might capture your heart, cause a tear, and have a happy ending.

Most are based more on fiction rather than fact. The change they may spark is imaginary. It’s not real world.

Real World Stories

Workplace or organizational change isn’t launched with fairy tales. They aren’t about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, or Jack and the Beanstalk.

If you’re going to successfully launch a change, start with real world stories. They are believable and that is what makes them successful.

People want transparency and they want authenticity. They are attracted to those stories because they are real. They’re believable.

Belief is one of the most powerful engines in our psyche.

Is your change believable?

Belief starts with a good story.

-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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complicated stories

Long And Complicated Stories Affect Decisions

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About to make a big decision? Do you find yourself stuck behind long and complicated stories? What stories are you telling yourself?

When someone asks you about a project, a situation, or a surprising outcome that they’ve heard through the grapevine is there a story behind it?

In many circumstances, there is.

Whenever you are facing a challenging decision, especially one that appears to have long-term effects on the future, there might be a story.

That doesn’t make the situation any more unique. It does often mean that there are numerous pros and cons. So many, in fact, that it makes the choice that much harder.

Big Decisions

In decision making many people will often suggest listing the pros and cons.

When you make a list, you can more clearly see the appropriate direction. This does sometimes help, but what often happens is that this exercise brings more focus.

When you focus on the main point. The area that may seem to have the most benefit or worst consequence the story gets shorter. Shorter means you have less anxiety and less pressure on the decision.

Complicated Stories

Sometimes the decision that has been chronically delayed needs to narrow down to one point on either side. The reason for and the reason against. Everything else is just making it more complicated.

There is often a third point though, and that third option is to stay on course, don’t make a new or different decision.

Choices can be tough. Big decisions feel hard to make.

You always want to be sure you make the right one.

Sometimes it helps to consider that the next big decision you make will absolutely be the right decision at the moment you make it.

Life is fluid. Don’t over complicate 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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storytelling

Does Storytelling Work For You?

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Have you used storytelling in your repertoire of workplace skills? Storytelling can make a difference. What is in your stories?

Some people quickly scoff at the idea of a story. They consider stories to only be a fairy tale, an extreme embellishment of the facts, or just plain boring.

In some cases, people connect stories with the sales process, and, it might be true.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Everyone is in sales.”

What is important for your story?

Workplace Culture and Stories

Telling stories in the workplace can have a positive impact on not only performance, but organizational culture as well. People will often connect with stories. They have been hearing them and learning from them starting at a very young age.

Workplace motivation and culture are best connected with a compelling call-to-action. This is often defined as the difference between push and pull. Pull is much more powerful and a good story pulls the listener in.

Stories should draw connection points and can include many characters, including yourself. Always remember though, that for the listener it needs to resonate in a connection.

Storytelling Captures Attention

When you capture the attention of a listener through a story told the impact will make a difference. If the story causes the listener to self-reflect and builds a connection, you likely have experiential learning.

Attention is hard to capture in today’s fast-paced World. Pause for a few moments and phone surfing begins. A commercial in the middle of the television show, more surfing. A small group discussion that isn’t resonating and more surfing.

Your story, whatever it is, needs to capture the attention of the listener. Should it be embellished and dramatic? Should it be funny? Could it be sad? The easy answer is, “Maybe.” Know your audience and feel your way through.

Everyone is in sales and some stories are unforgettable.

Tell a good one.

-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 narrative

Workplace Narrative, What Story Will You Share?

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Ask anyone about their problems and you’ll probably be engaging in a long discussion. Do you have a workplace narrative? What is it? Is it positive or more of a dramatic drudgery?

As a coach, I hear a lot of stories. Many of them are unhappy. They expose an undesirable narrative and leave a path of doom in their wake.

Your Story

Sometimes we must tell our story to provide clarity to our situation. This is the path to address the need or evaluate the circumstances. The story may have importance for the resolution.

If no one tells or understands the story. The story doesn’t matter. It gets lost, no one cares, and certainly there is nothing to remember. The story is over. It stops, there is no additional focus.

True for stories of drudgery and anger. True for stories of inspiration and optimism.

What stories are you telling?

Workplace Narrative

Are you sharing the story about the time a co-worker stabbed you in the back? Are you sharing the one where office politics left you out in the cold? Of course, we can’t forget the one about your boss delivering unfair treatment, or when he or she gave someone else credit for your work.

These stories are over. They can be retold, repeatedly, but it will never change the outcome of those past situations. Reliving them only keeps people stuck.

In contrast, the stories of passion, purpose, and possibilities can be shared. They too can be told repeatedly. If no one tells this story, it ends, it is over.

Everyone has a choice about their workplace narrative. There is a choice about the type of story you’ll repeat, dramatize, or embellish.

The stories that you repeat become the stories of your life. They may also be a predictor of the future.

Learn from all the stories. Don’t repeat mistakes.

Tell again the stories filled with optimism. Share them with everyone.

-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 stories

Workplace Stories, What Is Your Story?

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Conversations are everywhere, even digital text-based conversations. Workplace stories are path setting. What is the story trending around the office, the plant floor, or the job site today?

Much of the World as we know it is based on a story. Not everyone believes the same story, but regardless there is a story.

There is a story behind our evolution, there is a story that grounds our universal coding for years (B.C. and A.D.). There are religious stories. Stories of great leaders, army’s, wealth, and devastation.

Story Incubator

In our workplace, any ordinary day may continue with the same old story. When there is a change, a shift, or the pattern of the environment slides the story may change.

There is the story of who will be promoted and why. The story of the philosophy of the new boss. And even more personal drama such as workplace romances, who is getting divorced, or who has trouble at home.

Any business that has been around for a while may have cyclical shifts in revenue. Some expected, and some perhaps a surprise. In a downturn, there will be stories about what is happening, who is to blame, and the tribe will start discussing who should go.

Many organizations set out to squash the story. Stop the discussion. They’ll attempt to break up small groups and they will disperse hoovering supervisors.

The challenge really isn’t to stop the discussion. The challenge is to change the story.

Workplace Stories

Certainly, there may occasionally be some misfortune, some economic hardship, or drama fueled rumors. There also may be growth and expansion rumors, who is getting promoted, who is getting hired, and who just got a raise.

There is one thing true about all stories. Stories drive our actions and behaviors.

Today, tomorrow, and for the legacy of your career or the organization, have you thought about the effects of the stories you tell? Keep in mind, you’ll be remembered and identified by your stories.

What is your story?

-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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customers telling

Who Are Your Customers Telling?

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Historically word of mouth has been considered to be one of the best forms of advertising. Do things right and your customers will tell others, who are your customers telling?

Today with our robust social media channels, it is possible for your customers to tell the world. Instead of word of mouth, we now have world of mouth. This is nothing new to most, but it may be new to some.

The biggest question, or the most difficult to answer, may be who or what are your best customers telling? Do you have a way to measure or index the customer who spreads the word about the great products or services you provide?

Customer Stories

Two days ago, I received a direct tweet from an airline. At first I was confused, was this some type of scam?

After a moment or two, I realized that a colleague had a bad flight experience and I added on comment on his thread about customer service being about culture. The airline was trying to be sure to capture any of the bad news and correct the problem.

Personally, I’m undecided about tweeting out bad experiences, but I may not be the norm.

Think about the last customer service story you heard about. Was it a story about how incredible the service was or how delighted they were? Chances are pretty good that you hear more disappointment stories as compared to those of delight.

Customers Telling

A customer who recommends you, tells the delightful stories, provides referrals, loves connections, and participates on social media platforms may be one of your best customers. They may not spend as much. They may not generate the most gross revenue. What they do however, it may be priceless.

What key performance indicators (KPI’s) are you monitoring?

Knowing the big spenders and high profit customers are absolutely important. Identifying the ones that sell for you shouldn’t be forgotten. In a world of mouth environment, do you know who your customers are telling?

– 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 Respect, Navigating 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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