Tag Archives: tactics

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problem fixers

Problem Fixers Are Proud Contributors, 10 Questions

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Are you in the group of problem fixers? Problem fixers are important but are they stuck in the mode of tactical assault or productive for the team?

Many workplace employees take great pride in being a problem solver. In fact, they may boast that they spend their day fighting the metaphorical fires.

Problem solving is a good and important skill but is it the answer for strategic momentum?

Unlikely.

Problem Fixers

I still remember the CEO of a group I was working with several years saying in a brainstorming session that, “We’re too big to fail. We have too much history and too much momentum to ever worry about that.” (Yes, he was serious and, yes, this did actually happen.)

Things changed for that organization on a dime about 18 months later. I’ll spare the details but it got really messy fast.

That same group took great pride in the concept that they were expert problem solvers and often spent their days tackling whatever problem popped up at the moment.

They were problem fixers.

Strategic Questions to Ask

Absolutely, problem solving skills are something that every person, especially leadership team members, need. However, when you don’t really have a strategy and you’re only executing tactically, you probably are headed for some problems you didn’t expect to find yourself trying to solve.

The questions you need to ask are the ones that are often hard to answer.

Teams should consider questions like:

  1. How long has this problem existed?
  2. Are we trying to fix the problem at the root?
  3. Are there similar problems popping up and we aren’t even aware?
  4. What is this problem costing us?
  5. Are these problems hurting our brand, image, and customers?
  6. What are we overlooking?
  7. Is this problem unique to our organization?
  8. What is this problem costing in productivity and efficiency loss?
  9. What is the specific challenge about this problem?
  10. Is the problem causing other problems?

Perhaps the best way to solve problems is to incorporate strategy so that the problem is eliminated and will not happen again. Drama filled problems or problems not solved at the root create an endless cycle of firefighting.

Be proud that you can solve problems but execute strategy every day. Firefighting is a tactical approach that should be used in emergencies.

If your day is filled with emergencies you probably aren’t being strategic.

-DEG

Small non-profits to large for-profits, do you want to think differently about strategy? Contact me to start a discussion.

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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sales distraction

Sales Distraction Inhibits Goal Achievement

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We all sell. Even those who are not officially in a sales role, sell. What sometimes seems like prospecting may be exactly what is causing a sales distraction.

Movement and motion are important, yet results are what matter the most.

Motion Isn’t Selling or Buying

People browse the internet, watch videos, and search eBay or Amazon. They don’t always buy; the activity of the search is a distraction. It’s window shopping.

In the summer, in suburbs or rural communities, there are often yard sales. People scatter their junk on tables and under canopies. The neighborhood gets involved, often there are cardboard signs, parking problems, and rubberneckers.

People who engage often don’t spend much, but they have some fun browsing. It gets them together with a friend or two, doesn’t cost much, and is more of a distraction rather than buying.

The same is true for many festivals, auctions, and community fairs. More of a distraction than commerce.

Those selling have a different role. Their strategy is to move the product, make a dollar, and improve their situation.

It may be for charity, to remove some clutter, or even a hobby business.

Sales Distraction

In the workplace, when trying to sell people sometimes seek an excuse or a distraction.

They claim they are prospecting, knocking on doors, and making calls. Yet, performance data still illustrates a pattern of coming up short.

There is blame towards a lack of collateral, the outdated website, or unfavorable economic conditions.

Sales tactics can become an activity. Check the box, do the labor, fulfill the role.

Have the goals been met?

Boxes checked are not always the same as goals achieved.

Rocking in a rocking chair gets you moving, yet you really aren’t going anywhere. It’s just motion.

Don’t get distracted.

-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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long run strategy

Short Run Savings or Long Run Strategy

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What tactics drive your business outcomes? Are you looking for efficiency, effectiveness, and low cost? Do you expect to be around for a while? Using a long run strategy may help.

Short Run Savings

A CEO buys a new full-size SUV every few years. It has a big engine and she runs the lowest octane gasoline. Washing, waxing, and maintenance are a low priority.

The logic may be that saving twenty or thirty cents per gallon add ups. The tank size is twenty-five plus gallons, so every time at the pump it is a few bucks less.

Washing and waxing are a waste of time and expense. In a day or two it will rain and just be dirty again.

Oil changes happen, but only when it is convenient. The warning lights or messages are just that, a warning, you have a few hundred more miles.

This is a short run game for a vehicle that may have a life span of fifteen, twenty, or more years. The argument may be that cheaper gas runs the same, washing and waxing are overrated, and maintenance is optional. The concept may be, this is money not spent, it is money saved.

Until the check engine light and the rust spots start to appear.

Long Run Strategy

As people we often do similar things with our technology products, our appliances, our homes, and even our health. We use and consume based on a short-run game.

In business, we can cut corners, save money, remove safety equipment, maintenance less, and push harder. In the short run there may be less expense, but are you doing it for the short-run game?

A couple of pennies saved may mean dollars wasted.

The long run strategy is what seems to make the most sense. Throwing away the slightly used to replace with new, just because you can, is an option. It is also a short-run game.

-DEG

“Ooh, I want to tell you, it’s a long run” Eagles (1979)

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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career coach

Resume Writer or Career Coach, Which Do You Need?

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Considering all the reports of a flourishing economy, many people are seeing an opportunity for a career change. Finding your dream job may still have its challenges. Do you need a resume writer or a career coach?

Some people believe that what they really need is a good recruiter.

Yes, these folks are out there and many of them are doing a great job. However, not every hiring manager or organization is utilizing these resources.

Setting aside the recruiter aspect, what do you need? What will help you land a better job?

Resume Writer

Your resume is important. It should be finely polished. It should be grammatically correct, use appropriate keywords, and unveil a good representation of your background, experience, and education.

Writing a resume can be a struggle. People often wonder how to best illustrate their experiences, show credibility, and appropriate professionalism.

It’s true that your resume is important. Its quality should be exceptional.

Is your resume why you’re not getting the job? Could it be your interview skills? Is it that short lapse in employment or lack of education?

Digital World

Nearly everything is digital today. This makes it extremely easy for hundreds of people to apply for nearly any job. A little tailoring to a cover letter (if it is requested) and your resume, press a button or two, and you’re done.

Certainly, it is not just that is easy. Often you are required to register with the hiring entity. You must enter some background information and jump through a few small hoops, but it is much easier than the old school paper and typewriter method.

As a result, larger firms are feeding your highly polished professional document through their software system that is scanning for keywords, filtering, and suggesting (only) some of the best matches.

Are you still wondering why you aren’t getting calls? Or are you getting an interview here or there but not being offered the job?

Some will still blame the resume, and it could be a factor. Perhaps there is something more.

Career Coach

Enter the career coach. A career coach is not a resume writer or a recruiter. They are someone who can help you set direction, consider where and how to search, and perhaps help you prepare for the interview process.

There are two significant roadblocks I often see.

The first is that job change seekers are often focused on their weakness. Therefore, they assess that everything that happens next, (or doesn’t happen) is based upon that weakness. A form of confirmation bias.

A second factor that inhibits most successful searches is the lack of a good plan. Having a plan to send out some resumes is not a plan. That is a tactic.

A good coach can help you fine tune your goals, develop an appropriate plan, and identify tactics that will lead you to success.

Your next job will require a good resume. It may also require a well-established and well executed plan.

-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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busy strategy

Do You Leverage Your Busy Strategy?

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Ask someone how things are going and they may simply say, “Busy.” Do you have a busy strategy? Is your intent to do a lot of things, keep the engine turning, and get to the next milestone?

Great Plans

Strategy is not just a schematic on a cocktail napkin. It shouldn’t be about that finely tuned ten-page document that hasn’t been accessed in your digital folder in the past eight months.

While both of those things may matter a great deal, the best plan is only a plan without proper execution.

Your daily tactical approach to accomplishing work will condition what happens next and more importantly how soon. Being busy is typically considered to be a good sign. The thought is, “Yes, I’m busy, and that means I’m making things happen.”

Going Places

Being busy reminds me of a metaphorical expression I once heard. Something like, “Busy is like a rocking chair, lots of movement but you really aren’t going anywhere.” A busy strategy has activity and motion, does it get you anywhere?

If you have a busy strategy you may be knocking things off the to-do list and that certainly may be an accomplishment. Do those things really matter? Your daily habits of do this, do that, and check the box, are they productive?

Most people would quickly agree we are living in a fast-paced, never slow down, World. A thriving service-oriented economy has service-oriented businesses popping up like weeds in grandpa’s vegetable garden.

Are you providing value? Are you leveraging your work?

Busy Strategy

One of the best questions to ask yourself when you are busy is, “Does this effort produce outcomes that can be leveraged to support the long-term plan?”

When the answer is, “Yes.” Then you should be considering how you are making that leverage a reality. Unused leverage doesn’t really have much value.

Building the spreadsheet, attending the meeting, or checking email may get something knocked off the to-do list but it also may be movement that isn’t getting you anywhere.

-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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tactics more important

Are Tactics More Important Than Goals?

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Developing and executing a good strategy is important. So is avoiding tactical firefighting approaches. What will get you to where you want to be? Are tactics more important than goals?

Strategy, Vision, and Goals

One of the most important concepts for creating individual or team success is to have a good strategy, a clear vision, and appropriate goals to get you there.

At the same time, it is important to recognize that having any of those, or all of them, won’t create the end result you’re looking for. You’ll need well executed tactics.

Ask three busy workplace professionals about their day and there is a good chance one of them will tell you that they were busy fighting fires. Fighting fires is a tactical approach to fix whatever pops up. This is a bad habit to get into, but you still need tactics.

When I help groups with formulating strategy we always develop tactics that will lead them to their vision or goal. Having a vision and strategy isn’t what gets you there, it is the tactics that get you there. This is not tactical firefighting though. There is a difference.

Here is how this breaks down. You have a vision or goal, where you want to be. Then you need a strategy for how you will get to that goal. Next in line are the tactics that you will use to pursue that strategy that will take you to the goal.

Sounds pretty simple right? The challenge might be that people often confuse the level of importance for goals as compared to tactics. You can have a fantastic goal. You can even have a fantastic strategy, but without the continued tactical pursuit, you just won’t get there.

Tactics More Important

Are tactics more important than goals? Think of tactics as your daily habits. A collection of good habits might be exactly what is necessary to get you to your goal.

Don’t slip into a habit of fighting fires and don’t have a vision and strategy without tactics.

Tactics might be the most important. Your daily tactics produce your results, with or without specific goals.

Reminds me of the fundamentals of computing, lesson one, garbage in, garbage out.

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Can Millennials Sell To Boomers?

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The easy answer is, yes. The harder answer is that selling across the generations may require a certain amount of interpersonal finesse. Many people quickly recognize that there are some differences when selling across the generations and some will quickly jump on the idea that the use of (or lack of use of) technology is a big reason for gaps between earlier generations and later generations. Perhaps technology is a barrier, but even the rival political baby boomers, Hillary Clinton, and Donald J. Trump, tweet.

business woman with her staff in background at office

So what works best? The psychographics associated with any generation can certainly keep the best of the best on their toes, but here are five tips that will help millennials reach across the generational framework when selling to boomers.

  1. Eliminate hoops. Most buyers don’t like jumping through hoops and the boomer generation will quickly get frustrated with any hoops they are expected to jump through. Technology is big for this; things like automated telephone systems, website pop-ups, and multiple log-ins for information are a definite turn off. Most boomers are also not inspired by the mobile phone app craze.
  2. Social proof is not a big factor. Depending on what you are selling, social proof may not be all that important to a boomer. While there is a trend towards seeking information and reviews on-line before making buying decisions, the boomer generation will often resort to old school word of mouth when considering their final buying choice.
  3. Place experience over technology. Millennials and generation 9/11 (Gen Z, iGen) will likely have the most interest in technology oriented solutions while boomers are going to feel more comfortable with what has proven itself in the past. Boomers don’t necessarily want new, they want tested, proven, and trusted. For this reason, talking their language instead of forcing yours will yield the best results.
  4. Believe in what you are selling. This is universal for selling to any generation, including your own. When you are passionate and truly believe in what you are selling others feel it, and for you, it may feel like you aren’t selling at all.
  5. Don’t give up quickly. Boomers have a soft spot for demonstrated effort. Of course, that doesn’t mean they like being pestered, but being appropriately persistent can be a plus. Remember that some stereotypes exist throughout the generations that the more recent generations don’t work hard or value hard work. Be resilient to impress the boomer.

Lastly, remember that many factors go into conditioning the values and beliefs of any generation, including things like rural versus urban living, espoused parental values, and geographic location. Not every person in any generation will fit the generalized values and beliefs the experts often describe, but popular wisdom supports the notion that many do.

Consider these tips and watch your sales to boomers, boom!

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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