Tag Archives: success

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false start

False Start and the Lessons You Learned

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Have you ever experienced a false start? No, I’m not talking about football although that could apply. Have you ever started to jump forward only to jump back?

In your workplace there are often questions about motivation. Does motivation come from within or can you inspire motivation in others?

A closely connected cousin is, initiative. Are you willing to take initiative or are you more withdrawn?

Often there is an expectation for jump. Yet, the rules aren’t clear.

Perhaps there is a time from your past when you took the leap only to be later be criticized for the outcome.

Anticipation of criticism causes people to hesitate, step back, and withdraw. A leap may feel within reach yet as quickly as you spring forward, you hesitate and jump back. That’s a false start.

False Start

Have you ever let past experiences or teachings from a younger age hold you back or create a false start?

We’re often taught about patience. We’re told not to jump in line, let others go first. Hold doors, make room, stand back, and that, “life is not only about you.” Valuable lessons on courtesy, etiquette, and patience. Yet, sometimes patience results in lost opportunity.

Are you missing opportunities because you aren’t taking initiative?

Do you believe that you can and should take more initiative? If so, what is holding you back?

Could it be a childhood lesson?

Past Lessons and Learning

Perhaps it was show and tell, and people laughed when it wasn’t intended to be funny. Now, you fear the presentation.

Maybe you weren’t picked for the team, so you’ve decided you won’t raise your hand in an offer to join. It is too risky to expose yourself to that vulnerability.

Maybe you started eating dinner before a prayer was said, or ate all of the potato chips when you got home from school. You were instructed not to do it again.

We’re often taught to hold back, get back, or stand back. Probably meaningful lessons at the time.

As adults, we sometimes have to shake off some of the things that we’ve learned.

-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 opportunity

Workplace Opportunity and Small Ponds

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What is your workplace opportunity? Does opportunity exist or are all things leveled up and there isn’t space or time for more?

It is an age-old story about big fish and small ponds. You know the one. The one that tells us it is easier to get noticed in small pond as compared to an entire ocean. Old news.

Yet, the small pond theory is certainly relevant.

Big Fish, Big Ponds

Does Apple really have to market the iPhone 11 Pro Max? Many would suggest that they’ve captured the market. If they own the market, is marketing necessary?

The easy answer is, “Yes.”

Apple sells the first iPhone 11 Pro Max to someone, perhaps after throwing a few prototypes to VIP’s, and creating a lot of marketing hype. They may even forecast production runs at more than 45 million in a quarter.

Yet, it all starts with that first sales transaction. After all of the marketing, the hype, and the brand reputation sets expectations. Sales begin.

They are a big fish.

It may be true for your workplace too. It may directly apply to your career.

Often it is assumed that people will go to the well-known resource. There is often a presumption of trust. In addition, people believe that they know exactly what they are getting.

Workplace Opportunity

There are two paths connected to workplace opportunity. One suggests you follow the known path. Assuming it has been tested and explored, there is an expectation for outcomes.

The second or alternate path suggests you know the shortcomings and limitations and as such, you must seek an outside expert. Bring in new blood. The known must be worse than the unknown.

Navigating workplace opportunity has its challenges. Being in the right environment (right pond) is important but should never be taken for granted.

Being the big fish in the smaller pond seems overwhelming attractive. Yet, the big fish wasn’t always that big. Either that, or the pond was smaller.

You’re branding and marketing yourself everyday. Costs are higher for larger ponds. Even for big fish.

One step at a time without any shortcuts.

Every fish has the opportunity to choose their pond.

-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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best effort

Giving Your Best Effort More Often

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What happens when you give your best effort? Does something change, does a spark ignite, or does your confidence grow?

Your first day on the job and you may not even be sure where the rest room is located. After a few weeks, which quickly turn to months, you start to find a rhythm and you get more comfortable.

Finding your rhythm as an individual, a team, or an organization is often the game changer.

Improving Confidence

Confidence is built through two primary channels, self-efficacy and self-esteem. Each small successive win and your confidence grows. Make a mistake and learn to improve for the next time.

The very first time we do anything is probably not going to be our best. When we try it again, and again, things start to improve. More results pour in, more discovery, and adjustments.

It is the fluidity of the process that helps us tweak things by drawing ever closer to building it better and better.

The first time we cook a steak is hard. The twenty-fifth time and things seem easier.

It is the same for giving a presentation to the board of directors, developing a process for closing the sale, or making a cold call. Practice seems to make it easier. Success also seems come easier.

Confidence improves.

Best Effort More Often

This is exactly why we have to give our best effort more often.

Doing so creates more demand. More demand means you’re having more opportunities and more opportunities to practice and hone your craft will make success look easy.

There really aren’t any shortcuts. The overnight success often occurs across five, ten, or twenty-five years.

On-lookers believe it was luck, fate, or personal connections. They can always help, but they aren’t as compelling as the story you write on your own.

Best effort matters. It matters more.

-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 currents

Workplace Currents and Getting To The Other Side

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Do you find navigating workplace currents a challenge? Are you fighting upstream, going with the flow, or simply trying to get to the other side?

What strategy for navigating workplace currents would you recommend?

Survivalists Message

Survivalists claim that the best way to cross a stream in waist deep water is to face directly across the stream. They suggest you shouldn’t face upstream, or downstream, but you should stay focused on an exit point on the other side.

The logic seems to be that facing upstream could cause you to slip, lose your balance, and topple backwards, possibly drowning. Facing downstream may get you across but not where you need to be as you would slowly be drifting away from your exit.

Is this similar to navigating workplace currents?

Workplace Currents

Certainly, confidence and approaching obstacles head on has its value. Yet, going with the flow feels like the easier route.

Perhaps it depends on the goal. For many, career growth is very important, yet it may feel like a catastrophic failure will seal your fate.

Sometimes surviving the workplace current is the most important aspect. You still want to thrive, but first you have to get through the current.

Much of what happens next depends on how you choose to navigate. Our belief systems and what we tell ourselves will have a significant impact on the outcomes.

So will the idea of keeping your eye on the prize.

Sometimes the hardest part is not the obstacle itself, it is the concentration and focus required to stick with your goal.

-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 success

What Do You Know About Workplace Success?

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How would you describe success? Does everyone describe it the same way? Workplace success may be as individual as soda, pop, or cola.

Communicating in your workplace has its share of challenges. We are all experiencing things like too much, too little, and misunderstood communication.

Are the words you use effective?

Choose Wisely

We use words to communicate meaning, yet there are times when we blur those lines.

Someone says, “I need a pencil.” Then someone hands them a pen.

“I’m stopping for coffee.” May be as different as hot and black is to
mocha caffe latte, iced.

Most people wouldn’t dare to think about wearing (only) underwear on the beach. (I know I wouldn’t.) Yet, a bikini seems just fine. There seems to be something visually different, is there?

We use words to convey meaning. When we are thinking about the meaning of workplace success, there is more than one meaning.

Workplace Success

Success, respect, and good, all depend on your individual definition. We attempt to use the words to convey meaning, yet the image in everyone’s mind may differ.

Prepare for the meeting.

Arrive early.

Make sure you do it right.

We think communication is easy. We talk, we write, someone listens, and someone reads.

All our words, phrases, and especially our body language and tone matter.

When you suggest that your team should engage and communicate to create more success what is the meaning?

Success for some people is about a position, a title, or their paycheck. Still there are others that view success as the completion of a task, a reached milestone, or appreciation from the boss.

Sometimes the difference between what you want and what you get is based on the words you chose.

Define success. Do it carefully, descriptively, and with the correct image.

-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 work

Recognition For Doing Good Work

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Popular, famous, or good, which word is the most descriptive of your reputation. It is true for the business, the non-profit, and individual performance, are you known for good work?

Our society is riddled with opportunity for marketing. Social media, traditional media, and the world-wide web, opportunity is everywhere.

One problem spot is, how do we know what is really good? What is hype and what is the real deal?

Popular and Famous

As buyers, subscribers, and consumers, it is easy to confuse popular, famous, and good.

The Fyre Festival became popular, and now even though it was a big failure, it is famous. Was it any good? No, it is noted by most as a disaster.

There are automakers who invest heavily to advertise their product, it may create a feeling of being popular, does that also make them good?

In our workplace we have people who stand out, get promoted and are recognized. Are they really that good? Perhaps, yes, they are, and perhaps no they are not.

Sometimes our visibility is what makes the difference. Many workplace professionals feel that merit is the method to success. Do good work and you’ll be recognized, promoted, and grow in your career.

It does still happen that way, believe it or not. It just doesn’t always happen that way.

Good Work

Achieving recognition for doing good work sometimes also means you have to become more visible. You must do the work of the marketer, advertiser, and have good faith sponsors.

We know there are musicians, artists, rock bands, restaurants, chefs, engineers, authors, actors, and sports talent that go unnoticed, unrecognized, and that are underappreciated. They may be good, even exceptional, but they never become popular or famous. We shouldn’t confuse popular and famous for good.

When you’re doing good work, make sure your efforts are visible.

-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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organizational success

Organizational Success, Roof Repair, and the Mechanic

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What is the connection to creating organizational success, making a roof repair, and a fixing a car? Likely not much, and there probably shouldn’t be since each require different types of expertise.

One of the biggest mistakes I often observe with small businesses (less than $35.5 million in annual revenue and 1,500 employees) is that they can’t get out of their own way.

Field of Experts

Theoretically, small businesses are led by experts in their field. Engineers lead engineering firms, attorneys lead law firms, and the landscaping business is owned and operated by those who are experts in landscaping.

This seems to make sense, it is practical, and likely an appropriate pathway for success.

What happens when the landscaper needs legal representation, or the widget manufacturer needs an advertising campaign? What if the convenience store needs a new roof or the local insurance agency needs car repair?

If you are the executive leader of an advertising agency, city mayor, or the director of a thriving non-profit humanitarian organization you are likely not also a computer engineer, tree trimmer, or carpenter.

Are you going to fix the bug in the software? Cut down the 85-year-old maple tree that is threatening the office, or build an additional room for your expansion?

Organizational Success

Creating organizational success comes from your expertise.

Just because you had a college class in psychology or business law, does not make you an expert.

Because you once participated in a strategic planning session you are not an expert at facilitating strategy.

Reading a book, watching a video, or attending a seminar to expand your knowledge on any topic is valuable. Becoming an expert requires hours and hours of pounding on your craft.

Organizational success develops from focus. Know your lane, leverage and outsource everything else.

As an organizational leader your job is not to do everything. It is to create the best of everything.

-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 endurance

Workplace Endurance or Getting Through the Day?

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People often say, “I just have to make it through this day.” Does this feel like a challenge you’ve faced? Do you have workplace endurance and what is most important?

Funny, I often ask seminar participants about workplace motivation. Somewhere the obvious initial response is about money, “We have to pay the bills.”

Another question, or rabbit hole, is related to focus. Focus is critical, focus on the wrong things and you get poor results. Focus on nothing and you may get nothing.

Getting Results

In order to make it through the day people often break down their tasks or duties. Shorter vision, get through the hour, past the lunch break, and now you are more than half way through.

However, the organization often measures results across more than a single day. Results are the outcomes of each minute, hour, and day, repeated across time.

Making it through the toughest of days often conditions your success. The day we feel most challenged is the day we either decide enough is enough, or we make it through, adding to our continued contribution.

The challenge of all of this comes down to vision and focus. Often the frustrated employee has a very short vision. They believe in just making it through the day.

Workplace Endurance

What is important to keep in mind is that while making it through the day is critical, their workplace life or career is really about a bigger vision.

The contribution that you make today may be assessed, but it is your endurance, the long-term, that ultimately has the most impact.

One thousand jelly beans get in the jar, bean by bean. Your glass of water fills from the bottom up, one drop at a time. A tree grows each day, but we seldom notice, only gaining appreciation after years of making it through each day.

You’ll do something today. It is important, yet your endurance will matter the most.

-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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making connections

Making Connections in the Connection Economy

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Many have labeled our current economic climate as a connection economy. Considering that is a fair label, are you making connections?

So often we are focused on the product, the service, or other tangible aspects of our business. Build the best product. Have the best quality. Deliver the best service.

We do it in our careers too. Get more education. Have the most credentials. Achieve the best title. Make lots of money.

Business or personal, all these things are important. Yet, many businesses and people struggle to close the sale, struggle to get recognized for superior service, or struggle to find a new job or get that all-important promotion.

Questions to Ask

The questions may become:

“In a connection economy what makes growing companies grow?”

“In a connection economy what is important for the new job, career change, or advancement?”

The best answers may be as simple as it seems. Connections.

Many people suggest that society is shifting. Heads down, many stare at a small device held in the palm of their hand. A technology prayer.

Yet, humanity still seeks connections. In-person, or through technology, the social interaction often drives what happens next.

Making Connections

It becomes about who we think of when we need a new employee. It becomes about the brands and products we choose in a sea of possible selections.

The fastest growing companies on the planet are doing more than making things, selling stuff, or delivering exceptional service. Again, all those things matter but what matters in a connection economy is building strong connections.

Make good stuff, deliver great service, be the best you can be.

Be sure to connect.

-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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contingency plan

3 Reasons Why You Will Need a Contingency Plan

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Will your strategy work? Do you have an awesome plan? The truth may be that the better your plan, the more you are going need to develop another plan. A contingency plan, do you have one?

It is true that many small businesses get by without putting pen to paper for a plan. They don’t put data entry to digital document either. They stroll along for years based almost entirely on gut feel.

Sometimes this works, but normally it has some magical limitations. Of course, no one really knows those limitations because the plan is just a feeling, a fairytale, some magic.

Strategic Plan

Is a personal or organizational strategic plan the solution to become unstuck?

In my opinion, a plan is always a good idea. A very precise and detailed plan certainly helps avoid anything falling through the cracks. Are there problems with a tight plan?

Yes, but when you plan for the unplanned there is a good chance you’ll keep moving in the right direction.

Should you have a backup plan?

Contingency Plan

There are many reasons to have a contingency plan.

Here are three of my favorite reasons:

  1. Surprises. Things aren’t always going to go exactly as planned. There is a time to push or force the issue. There is also a time to go with the flow. Surprises have an interesting way of shaping a slightly tweaked direction. A direction that still gets us where we need to be.
  2. Specifications Change. The specs are the specs in the tightest plan. What if the specs aren’t the specs that are needed? Identification of a want isn’t always the same thing as the need. Fluidity in design should be part of the contingency.
  3. Missed Deadlines. The metric of time is valuable. Too soon can be nearly as problematic as too late. Along the way both surprises and specification changes may alter the timing. Sometimes the best question is not about, “what if,” it is about, “what we’ll do when.”

Tight, highly detailed plans are a good idea. The best plan almost never happens.

The perfect plan is one that is built with a contingency.

-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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