Tag Archives: strategic

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tactical emergencies

Tactical Emergencies May Be Holding You Back

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Do you spend a big chunk of your day [metaphorically] fighting fires? Is it time to change the approach? Tactical emergencies happen, but when they are the norm there should be corrective action.

We could start with hiring practices, or we could jump into training approaches, and then we could even jump into egos, systems, and most of all strategy.

Do you have the best approaches to work or are you just getting through each day?

Every time you are fighting a fire you have temporarily abandoned strategy. Whether it is five minutes, five days, or five weeks. Both strategy and tactics are important, yet both require balance.

Are you doing too much tactical?

Tactical Emergencies

Workplace leaders are often out of balance. They feel trapped. Trapped in picking up the pieces for production or performance failures that are happening all around them.

What do they do?

They put out fires with little afterthought of how it started, why it started, or especially why they are continuing to pop-up.

In order to regain balance, they need to do something different. They need to stop the cause of fires.

Misbelieve 1 – No one is capable of providing the oversight that I provide. That is why I’m here. I’ve worked my way up by being the one who fixes everything from a hiccup to a catastrophe. Checkpoints: ego, training, aged cultural systems, or values.

Misbelieve 2 – Training takes too long and no one cares enough. There isn’t enough time. We need to get the people working not training, after all, we have a schedule to meet. My job is to pick up the pieces. Checkpoints: training is an investment, not a direct expense, culture, purpose, and long-term strategy.

Misbelieve 3 – It’s been done this way for years. That’s exactly how we’ve stayed in business. It’s hard to find new talent. Checkpoints: strategy, technology investments, skills, culture, business reputation.

Sometimes it feels like the only way to get out of a hole is to dig. Sometimes while you are digging you misunderstand how you got into the hole in the first place.

Being more strategic and less tactical may be much more effective than showing up with a helmet, an axe, and sirens blaring.

-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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managing problems

Managing Problems and Your Job Description?

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Does your job description include managing problems? For many, this is an assumption. A presumed duty and competency requirement.

There seems to be two schools to navigating workplace problems.

Which School?

The first school of thought is, managing problems is our job. As a supervisor, manager, or other workplace leader, we solve problems.

Having a strong awareness to solve problems can be a good thing. However, like anything, too much may be too much.

Are you spending your day fighting fires? Are you proud to be able to fix and solve almost anything? Being a good problem solver is great and something to be proud of. At the same time, always tactically fighting fires does not give the operation time to be strategic.

Another school of thought is that problems are not my problem. Some workplace leaders believe that problems are a distraction and that they shouldn’t have any. Theoretically, you can see how they may come to that conclusion. In reality, problem solving is always going to be part of their job.

Managing Problems

The best leaders are striking a balance between the tactical approaches of problem solving and deploying strategy. They understand that solving problems matters and is important, yet at the same time strategy will make a difference for better future positioning.

Is problem solving an assumption in your job description or does it literally exist? In either case your ability to solve problems may be a big part of why you have the job.

Never assume that problems are something you shouldn’t have.

-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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perfect plan

Creating a Perfect Plan or Failure

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Most great efforts happen when there is a plan. Do you have a vision? Have you invested in creating the perfect plan?

Some people, and businesses, try to launch without a plan. Their plan is to go with the flow, let things unfold, take unknown risk or never consider the probability of success.

Risk of Failure

Why would anyone want to launch without a plan? Part of the challenge for why this occurs may exist in the idea that plains can fail. Even the best constructed plains may not turn out exactly as desired.

This may create an underlying fear, apprehension, worry, and avoidance. Who wants to be responsible for a plan that didn’t work?

Yet there are many other people and businesses who have realized that while plans work, they often don’t. This isn’t a surprise, in fact, it may be a realization that becomes part of the plan.

On any given day most people don’t know exactly what traffic will be like on their commute. Businesses don’t know who will call, who may postpone, or what equipment may break.

The emergency room at the local hospital exists and serves because they have planned for the unplanned. They don’t know what the next shift will bring. Who will arrive, how many, or with what problems.

Perfect Plan

Perhaps the secret to creating the perfect plan exists not in what you’ll do to execute the plan, but what you’ll do when things go astray.

Planning for the unplanned may be the hardest part of the plan. It is difficult to know how much, how many, and whether to embrace or deny.

A few things are guaranteed when you create the perfect plan. Perfect plans will encounter setbacks, delays, and hidden costs. People in the system will need more time, get bored, or skip town.

Revenue goals or funding streams will be missed or worse, stop altogether.

Your vision and plan are important. Equally important is what you’ll do and how you’ll react to imperfection.

-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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stop fighting fires

How to Stop Fighting Fires

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It might be one of the most common metaphorical expressions in the workplace. The phrase, “fighting fires,” probably implies that many unexpected, urgent, and important to fix immediately issues are popping up in your workday. Have you ever felt like you want to stop fighting fires?

Many organizations that I work with on strategy development express that much of their daily workplace life is spent fighting fires. I’m glad we’ve connected, because it might be time to become more strategic versus tactical in their approach.

Having tactical skills is excellent. Identifying tactics that will help you pursue your strategy is also excellent. Being overwhelmed with having to quickly drop everything and tactically handle workplace emergencies might mean you need more strategy.

Stop Fighting Fires

Here are a few thoughts to help you move away from a fire fighting approach:

  1. Root Cause. Effective problem solving begins by getting to the root cause. When we don’t, the problem will likely occur again. Don’t just provide the patch or quick fix. Take the time to understand the root cause and fix it for the last time.
  2. Delegate. Are you the only person who can address this situation? Are you the best person to address it? The answer might sometimes be yes, and sometimes be no. Sharing the load with a peer or delegating to a direct report might sometimes be a reasonable course of action.
  3. Train. Is everyone appropriately trained? What information, advertising, or promises are leading people to a situation where everything is an emergency? Step back from it all and ask yourself why. Are you solving problems at the root? Provide appropriate training.
  4. FAQ. What are the frequently asked questions? What are the repetitive scenarios? Frequently asked questions might be signaling other underlying problems. Perhaps adding a frequently asked questions page to your website or contained within your product materials would be helpful.
  5. Focus. Sometimes we’re looking for an interruption. It is a strange way of procrastinating. Sure, you can’t stop the telephone from ringing and you definitely don’t want the opposite (never rings) but perhaps not every situation is truly an emergency. Stay appropriately disciplined and focused.

More Productive

The most productive and efficient people are probably also the most strategic. If you want to stop fighting fires and start getting more done you’re going to have to plan appropriately.

Look beyond the problem and develop a strategy.

– 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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Most Important, Most Strategic

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Many people and businesses believe they are doing what is most important. After all, they are doing what the customer asked for, what the department across the hall needed, or helping a co-worker to finish the project on time. They are convinced they’re doing the right things first, and the first things right. They know their priorities.

AppStratPhoto-Globe

Suddenly, or not so much, revenues are off, more customers are frustrated, and they can’t keep up with demands. They’re busy, but falling short of expectations.

Management decisions begin to feel counterproductive. The business needs more employees not fewer, they need to spend more time with customers not less, and the employees could fix things if they only had a bigger budget.

In the workplace every time you are fighting a fire, oiling the squeakiest wheel, or fixing what is broken you risk missing what is most important. A strategy of fix may become a strategy of fate, or equivalent to no strategy at all.

Most important is usually not the easiest, the loudest, or the most popular, it is the most strategic.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, corporate trainer, and keynote speaker that specializes in helping businesses accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. Reach him through his website at http://DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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