Tag Archives: strategy

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fluid approach

Does a Fluid Approach Seem Like a Good Path?

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A plan and a goal always seem to make sense. Are your goals rigid or do you use a more fluid approach?

Are you a little bit more of a perfectionist or do you scribble outside of the lines?

Most pathways start with a vision. It is a plan, of sorts, with directions, timelines and milestones. Spoken or sometimes unspoken they are all part of the plan.

Plans are designed to work. They are expected to achieve outcomes by going through barriers, leaping hurdles, and most certainly against all odds.

Some people identify with a system, a structure, and a protocol. It might be similar to a flight plan, a rocket launch, or a thousand-mile road trip.

Not everything fits inside the plan, and that is when the plan becomes even more important. The what if’s, or what to do when, are all expected to be part of a really good plan.

Have you budgeted for fluidity? Does a fluid approach make sense?

Fluid Approach

Sometimes people call it a backup plan. Plan B is often suggested for execution will all else has failed during plan A.

Those committed to the plan are hesitant to jump off plan A and switch to plan B. They may insist that plan A has not been exhausted yet and staying the course is most important.

Leadership requires resilience in the face of adversity. Plan A or plan B, both might contain a pathway for success.

When you plan for fluid approaches, it doesn’t necessarily mean one pathway must close in order to access another. It also doesn’t mean that one is right and one is wrong.

You still have a choice with your goals.

Stalls, delays, or dead-end stops are likely not as good as study movement.

When time matters, and it nearly always does, a detour around the block, and then right back on the original trajectory is probably much better than waiting for the traffic jam to free itself.

Leadership keeps things moving and makes way for a reason or logic to embrace a shift. Belonging often means safety, security, and a sense of accomplishment.

When getting there is the objective.

A fluid approach may be your best path.

-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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workflow

Workflow Is What You May Need More Of

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It’s a catchy phrase. It feels meaningful, efficient, and has a sense of urgency. What is your workflow and is it both effective and efficient?

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of digital work with camera’s and recordings. While it is not my core competence, I’ve been working with pro/prosumer camera’s and voice recorders consistently across the last decade or so.

Today, with broadcasting and streaming being a requirement for education, training, and speaking I find myself consumed with technology. It’s welcomed and interesting and all the while I’m being challenged to learn more.

Professional photographers, cinematographers, and voice and sound experts commonly use the term workflow.

Workflow represents many things, but for most of them, this has to do with the skill and art of creating digital video and audio, moving it to post-production, and alas creating a video component suitable for public viewing. It’s workflow.

What does your workflow look like?

Good Workflow

Have you thought about how your days start, how they progress, and how you finish them up?

People will often suggest that your day starts with attitude and a plan. Are you good on both?

What things derail your performance?

Is it traffic, people, or the lack of a caffeinated beverage? Are you properly hydrated, fueled, and well-rested?

Staying focused, persistent, and energized can be a challenge. Slow starts and hard stops are often problematic.

Are you getting it right?

Everyone has their own version of workflow. It may be different for the construction worker, to the graphic designer, or from the baker, to the convenience store manager.

One constant remains though, they all move from point A to to point B.

Only some flow.

-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 commitment

Workplace Commitment Results in Something

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The team doesn’t like the new announcement and psychologically they commit to finding ways to state that it won’t work. In contrast, they love the new announcement and push even harder for end-users to adapt to the new standard. Workplace commitment is often the difference between forward motion or being stuck.

Things are always changing. We’re in a world of constant change. If you are not changing, it is simple, you’re stuck.

Outside of values, ethics, and integrity, success for nearly every organization depends on forward motion.

In the early 1900’s people may have liked their ice box. Sticking with one today seems a little silly. In the 1950’s people in business offices were addicted to their typewriters. Around the turn of the century during the early 2000’s, many people only used cellular phones for shorter or on-the-road calls, not as a primary device.

Workplace Commitment

Outside of your box, outside of your frame, things are happening. Early adopters always have the benefit of the upside of the curve.

The upside of the curve carries risk. It carries a risk for how tall the curve will become, how flat it is on top, and how slowly it will start to down on the other side.

Everyone has a choice for which they will commit.

In most cases, they’ll either commit to some risk and forward motion, or they’ll commit to staying stalled. Stalled arguably, may also be seen by onlookers as decline.

It’s important to know your own strategy for tomorrow. What you commit to will impact not only your own fate but perhaps the fate of the origins of your paycheck.

New and improved may not always feel better, especially at first.

The refrigerator required electricity. I suspect this was thought of as a disadvantage by many.

-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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lane selection

Lane Selection May Be a Form Of Strategy

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Are you staying in your lane? Lane selection for your career path may be more important than it seems.

Many people are excited about new opportunities, and for good reason. Boredom is a leading factor in workplace disengagement.

Have you ever been advised to stay in your lane?

Of course, it is not highway driving that I’m referring to, it is analogy about your job or career.

There are plenty of ways to expand and grow. Plenty of opportunities to take some risk, try something new, or move in a different direction. Yet, beyond the somewhat apparent risk of needing to hone new skills, there is another risk.

The risk of doing everything you do poorly.

An economic downturn may be as much to blame as an economic upturn. Both businesses and people alike are searching for what works best.

In a world of constant change, you may need to do more than just do things differently, you may have to do different things.

Lane Selection

You should make conscious choices and use specific strategies on your quest. Throwing a bunch of things at the wall to see what sticks sounds appealing. Especially, when you can’t see a clear path. However, this often quickly leads to being a master of none.

Whatever you do, choose your lane. Make conscious decisions about direction shifts or portfolio additions.

Pivoting matters, it always matters, largely because nothing stays the same for long.

In every field, and in every business sector, there are people throwing things at the wall to see what sticks.

This shouldn’t invite chaos. Choose your path, consciously, strategically, and don’t give up too soon.

Swerving benefits no one.

It’s reckless.

-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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formal meetings

Formal Meetings or Hallway Chatter, Which One?

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Many businesses want to make a choice, pivot direction, or start something brand new. The team is assembled. Often within formal meetings. Is that the best idea generator? Is it where the decisions are made?

When the conference room lights are turned out and everyone is gone are there continued discussions happening behind closed doors?

Is there a meeting after the meeting? When the Zoom session is over is there another meeting, a telephone call, or a long email message?

Formal Meetings

Brainstorming sessions can be very productive.

Unfortunately, it often takes advanced facilitation skills to bring everything out. Important items are left unsaid, others are strategic and prearranged to create a specific flow, or worse, they’re selectively designed to navigate towards a predetermined outcome.

Wouldn’t it be great to capture it all?

No manipulation, no behind the scenes strategy, and just open and honest flow?

Some of the best and most truthful ideas come from the hallway chatter. That is when the information isn’t being protected, guarded, or facing criticism.

Hallway Chatter and Cocktail Napkins

Many great ideas and inventions are said to have occurred on a cocktail napkin. Some appear on yellow legal pads, others in an executive portfolio, and still others are written in a spiral bound notebook.

As it turns out, many of the decisions made, policies adopted, and future directions are the product of the conversation outside of the meeting.

They happen when ridicule is less feared and the consequences are only fairy tales or negative fantasies. There seems to be less risk and yet more power.

Pay close attention to the new idea presented in the hallway. Take a look at the cocktail napkin drawing, or what is presented from the ruffled edges of the yellow legal pad.

Often these are the honest ideas and the ones having enough risk to actually spark positive change.

-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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gone sideways

Gone Sideways and Self-Help For Your Efforts

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Have you ever felt like the project took a wrong turn? Have things gone sideways? Maybe you don’t even notice it, yet?

Committed people sometimes do some very strange things. Onlookers wonder why the commitment sticks even when there is evidence clearly illustrating it’s failing.

In all likelihood, there are multiple angles or points of view. One of the common yet somewhat unrealized traps is staying committed because of all the effort already put in.

It’s often hard to make the right choice. Someone wants to abort the project early and someone else wants to hang in there because, “We’ve already invested so much.”

Everyone recognizes hindsight often tells a different story, either way.

The right now is not hindsight and it’s also not foresight.

What should you do?

Gone Sideways

For the customer, you need to do the right thing. For the team and even your community, you must do the right thing.

Yes, even for yourself, you must make a good decision now.

Many people believe that every day they are in a tactical firefight at their workplace. So many things happening so fast, so many loose ends, and so much drama.

What do they do?

They fight the fire. They address problems as emergencies and face the wrath of whatever unfolds next.

Problem-solving is a key skill for leadership. If you are good at it, you should be proud. However, when tactical firefights are so commonplace that you fail to execute strategy everyone loses.

The project gone sideways either needs to stop, start again, or redirect. Stuck won’t work and neither will additional wasted effort.

The same is true with poorly performing employees.

Learning from the past is powerful. It goes hand-in-hand with knowing when to pivot.

A strategic focus needs a tactical approach.

Tactics only, without a vision for the future, are sure to send you sideways.

You don’t have to believe it now, but you will when you check your data.

Commit to the strategy. The tactics of getting there may need to be adjusted.

-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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second thoughts

Are Second Thoughts Just Part Of The Decision?

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You’re facing a big decision. You feel like you’ve decided. Suddenly you have some second thoughts. Is this a bad sign?

Some people suggest that there are always second thoughts about the marriage, if not by the couple, by the onlookers.

It is also true for the home buyer, the new car purchase, or while you wait after ordering from the menu.

People often view second thoughts as the beginning of a wrong decision. What if second thoughts are merely part of the process?

You can analyze many different angles about second thoughts. You can bring confidence into the equation and with that comes past experiences or even ignorance. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.

Have you agonized enough? Thought it through, over and over again? Listed the pros and cons, yet still feel uncertainty?

Second Thoughts

Making the best choice often comes down to belief. Do you belief in the path in front of you? For employee teams, do they believe?

One of the greatest challenges of leadership is to develop a belief in the followers. It is not trying to develop a belief in the leader, it is about trying to develop a belief in the follower. Big difference.

Things will always change. A decision to leave your home without an umbrella can turn out the wrong way later within the same day.

When you make decisions in the present, or for the future, you’ve made the best decision you can make.

At that time, at the exact moment, it often is the right decision. Sometimes later, after things have changed, it is easy to suggest it was a poor decision.

Second thoughts shouldn’t always occur. They also shouldn’t always be dismissed.

Second thoughts are often a test that you’re still on the right path.

In life and in business every day is a fluid experience. Things ebb and flow.

Maybe it really means that you’re heading in the right direction.

Keep going.

-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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mismatched expectations

Mismatched Expectations Will Get You Every Time

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Disconnects in customer service happen all the time. It happens for new hires, and it happens for the project. Mismatched expectations don’t mean that everything is lost.

As a young boy my son always loved my mother’s pot-pie. She had a special home-made recipe of beef pot-pie that seemed like the best comfort food on the planet.

When my son was in his early teenage years, we visited a restaurant and on the menu was pot-pie. Much to my surprise, instead of a burger and french fries my son ordered the pot-pie.

After the meals were brought to the table, I noticed him picking at his dish. He seemed displeased. It wasn’t the pot-pie that his grandmother made. It was a poor imitation.

The restaurant was very popular and served fantastic food, but to him, the dish seemed barely eatable.

Similarly, in high school, I had some friends who loved the boxed macaroni and cheese that their mother often prepared. What they didn’t realize that she often bought a low-priced generic brand. One day she splurged and bought a well-known and popular brand. My friends hated it.

In life, or in food, what you experience is often embraced or rejected based on your previous best experiences.

Have you ever had mismatched expectations?

Mismatched Expectations

It is true for the food you eat. It’s true for the new marketing plan, the process improvement, and even your job.

It is also true for everyone else, only sometimes in the opposite manner.

Often there may be room to compromise, negotiate, or allow for a fluid process. Of course, the level of satisfaction will always be compared to what was the previous best experience or taste.

Thus, the saying, “Those are big shoes to fill.”

Navigating your job, career, or the customer may not always be easy. It is a dance between your best delivery and the expectations of someone else.

When they align, everything feels like the right fit. When they don’t, the impulse is to discard it.

Keep in mind though that the right fit for someone may be the rejected mismatch by another.

Sometimes the best option is just on the other side of your expectations.

The challenge then is breaking the cycle.

It is a test of sorts. A test for the reliability and authenticity of the disambiguation, what you see is what you get.

-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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project details

Project Details Bring It All To Life

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Are you working on a significant project? Have you revealed the project details?

In the seventh grade, it wasn’t okay to only have the correct answer on the Algebra exam, the teacher insisted that you show your work. On the vocabulary test, you had to express the exact verbiage. Skimpy answers didn’t show comprehension.

In your workplace, giving answers, much like giving your statements about your beliefs, is not always enough. Proving the concept or theory behind the work justifies its validity.

Bringing your ideas forward in the product development meeting, marketing meeting, or the strategic planning session may be more factual and justified when you provide the details. Sometimes the vision for the finished work is hard to believe unless you know the details.

Certainly, there are many situations when it is important to only provide the highest level. Details take time, require energy, and of course, comprehension.

Project Details

When you present the details, you’ve proven your work. Others can follow the logic and get committed because they see what you see. Once they understand, they believe.

Sometimes it isn’t always about history. Sometimes it has never been done before. When you help others follow the logic it brings the picture to life.

Logic often develops from best practices. Components that can stand on their own, and when combined, create a new end result.

Standards apply too. Standards have been proven and feel safe. Outcomes feel more certain and less like an enthusiastic guess.

In many cases the new project isn’t rejected because it was a bad idea or simply won’t work. It is rejected because no one believes in the outcome.

-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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Planning tomorrow

Planning Tomorrow, and Every Day After

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Does your day start with a plan? Will what you do today include planning tomorrow?

You can plan for tomorrow or you can make part of your daily routine planning tomorrow.

Perhaps there is a difference.

Jobs and Careers

When someone starts a new job, begins a career, or finishes their primary education, they may need some tools.

One person may need a laptop, another a tool chest with relevant hand tools, and still others will need a uniform, appropriate footwear, and some personal protective equipment.

Having the tools is part of what is needed to operate within that system. It doesn’t mean the system will work or will last. It means at some level you are prepared.

Another level of preparedness is knowing how to actually use all of the tools.

Having a laptop doesn’t mean you can create elaborate formula’s using Microsoft Excel. It doesn’t mean you can update or create a website. Simply, you have one of the tools of the trade.

What is next for your life or career? Do you have a plan?

Tools, Trades, and Professional Careers

Many people move about their career carrying a tool chest.

They have some education and they have experience. Those credentials don’t always intersect. A degree in accounting may not matter much if your daily job is creative advertising.

The average job doesn’t have a very long shelf life. The average career is longer, yet still not always permanent.

If you feel uncertain about this, ask a typesetter, switchboard operator, or your local video store owner.

Why do so many people view it as they are all set, they’re completely prepared, now where is the work?

Planning Tomorrow

Planning tomorrow means that you’ll have the tools and the work. You’ll have accountability and reasonable expectations for your future.

It’s hard to know for certain.

Consider what you do know.

Tomorrow will be different from today.

Plan appropriately.

-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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