Tag Archives: time

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workplace pace

Workplace Pace, Getting Things Right Before Fast

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Are you moving at the appropriate workplace pace? Is time part of the metric you’ve grown to love, or love to hate?

Time matters to everyone. It especially matters for the work that you do.

The business needs the metric of time to calculate and anticipate revenue, production, and quality.

Are you doing things fast or are you doing them with the highest quality? Do you measure quality first or speed?

Many people will quickly express quality comes first, yet, in practice if you sacrifice speed for quality the measurement of performance is suggested to decline.

Which way is it?

Time vs Perfection

A pastry chef creates a masterful wedding cake. From the nearby table it looks absolutely perfect. On the back side there is an icing patch, a place where the icing spatula slipped. Hard to see unless the lighting is just right and you look very closely.

The carpenter does amazing work. The house looks perfectly square. If you look closer and measure corner to corner you notice it is off by an inch on one side.

An author grinds out a book. The work is published. Twenty-five thousand words. The perfectionist notices two typo’s and some questionable grammar.

All of these scenarios share something in common. The closer you look the more problems you find.

You may also suggest that given enough time all imperfections may be able to be removed or eliminated.

There is an intersection with quality and time.

Workplace Pace

Everything you do, and especially the things you do well may be up for critique.

There are times when everything needs to be perfect. There is also what we call tolerance. An acceptable balance between perfect and trash.

In your job, whatever you are building, creating, or especially replicating, it is a race against time.

Time matters and there is a deadline because the quest for perfection followed by replication seemingly never stops.

Think more about what you’re able to accomplish within the dimensions of tolerance and time.

That is the pace you’re racing against.

-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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promised time

Promised Time May Be a Communication Blunder

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Is someone seeking your time? Is it a client, a customer, or maybe a family member or even a friend? Have you promised time?

It often feels like time is working against us. We struggle to get it all done, done right, and done on time.

There a pressure associated with the commitment and worse, expectations from the person who feels as if they’ve been promised.

Expectations Set

We all know the situation. If we promise something in 30 minutes and we deliver in 25 minutes we’re a hero. If we fail, and deliver in 40, 50, or 60 minutes we may be regarded as a zero.

Often it is the little things that count. The small details that add up to an overall experience. It is true with the customer and it is true with family and friends.

Across time, those experiences become the expectation. They become your brand. What you deliver and when, become a perception for others.

Experience Guides Us

In the U.S. you may be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know about the McDonald’s restaurant chain. For nearly everyone, you have and expectation of the menu. Perhaps a burger, french fries, and a drink.

Your perception of McDonald’s is based on your experiences.

Simple. Straight forward.

When it comes to time, are you holding up your commitment?

Promised time may be one of the hardest things for us to keep.

Promised Time

The people that you work with. The people who are present in your life. They have an expectation.

You often communicate expectations.

I’ll be back in a minute.

Let me finish this it will just take a minute.

Please give me until the end of the week, I’ll send it in an email.

If you are setting the expectation there is no one else to blame when you come up short.

Promised time is your brand. Make sure you keep your brand promise.

-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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building super teams

Building Super Teams Creates More Magic

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Is it all a matter of effort? Are you building super teams or only just going through the motions?

Will the time and commitment make a difference?

Creating Magic

Major events require a lot of effort. The Superbowl is a good example.

Planning across many months, perhaps even a year or more. People steering the arrangements, the motivation, and creating something that looks nearly perfect.

For many involved it is a one-shot deal. A once-in-a-lifetime, that special moment with millions of people watching.

The stakes are high, yet so are the chances for success. Not because it is easy but because the effort across time makes it look easy.

The investment yields a high return.

The same is often true for the well-manicured landscape, the wedding cake, or the handcrafted wooden boat.

It is all a culmination of effort, skill, and commitment put together across time.

It is definitely not for everyone. That is part of what makes it appear magical.

Building Super Teams

There are very few overnight successes, yet many appear as such.

Where and how you spend your time will produce an outcome.

When it comes to your workplace, your team, or the business that you own are you working smart and hard towards perfecting your craft?

Is what you produce a Mona Lisa or just a paint-by-number?

The effort and time you put in will have a significant impact on what comes out.

Is what you’re working towards today going to be worthy? Will it be super?

Magic often appears with great effort across time.

-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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finished

Are You Finished or Just Out of Time?

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Many people accomplish a lot during their workday. For the project, new product development, or the marketing campaign, is the work finished or are you simply running out of time?

Procrastinating students do it, they wait too long to start and they must turn in their work on time. It may be true for your workout, doing your hair, or brushing your teeth. There is a deadline, and then everything stops.

I believe it was the famous American football coach, Vince Lombardi, who said, “We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.”

It happens for the blog post, the graduate dissertation, and the cabinet maker. One axis of measurement for the product always seems to be connected to time. When time is up, it is finished.

If we are almost out of time, the quality or level of innovation may suffer.

Standards or Efficiency?

Consider that your standards are your standards, and how you measure quality is conditioned by time.

It happens in manufacturing and it happens in healthcare. Time is always working against quality and is inclusive for the measurement of efficiency.

People claim, “We need more time.”

The response in one form or another often is, “Time is money.”

What is the most useful metric? What axis of measurement are you using?

Are You Finished?

The best work always seems to happen when the builder claims the work is finished. An alternate claim is, “I ran out of time, and so, I’m finished.” When this happens, something suffered.

For your next project, brainstorming session, or the report you are about to turn in to your boss, ask yourself how it would be different if you removed the axis of time.

Will it change the finished work? Should 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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training time

We Can’t Afford Training Time

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Does your company provide or encourage continuous learning? Is training time viewed as an investment or only an expense?

There are many small businesses with organizational leaders who scoff at the idea of training. One of the best excuses that leaders say, create, or allow, is that there is not enough time for training.

Certainly, the dollars spent for training can be a stumbling block, yet organization leaders may blame it on time.

Stuck, Stalled, or Stopped

Small businesses (and leaders) grow to the size or capability of management and then get stuck. They often get stuck because the theories and concepts they’ve grown accustom to only work up to a certain size.

The small business with fewer than ten people has a different dynamic from the business that employs one hundred and ten thousand. Leadership principles in these organizations are similar, yet strategic and tactical deployment may be different.

Examining costs for training in any business should not be based only on dollars spent or time made available for training. There are many other intangible costs that should be considered.

The list is long but here are a few:

  • Rework
  • Drama
  • Customer Experiences
  • Technology
  • Employee turnover

Some organizations that get stalled, stuck, or stopped, never recover. They stay there and slowly decline.

Training Time

I remember a rather successful CEO saying to me, “If we suggested people go to training right now, they would say they don’t have time and they wouldn’t be able to focus on the training because they would be too worried about the operation.”

On the surface it is hard to argue with that statement, yet, underneath the surface you have to question the culture (leadership) that drives that mindset.

Of course, there are times when every operation (especially small ones) need every hand on deck. The challenge may be determining when these times are real and when they become an excuse.

The real story here is that untrained employees are always more expensive than trained employees.

Trained employees will make decisions, they will make better decisions, quality will improve, commitment, engagement, and loyalty will all be better.

Training time may be the smallest price to pay.

-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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working holidays

Working Holidays and Other Addictions

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Do you get time off for holidays? Do you find yourself working late, working when off the job, or working holidays?

What about ice cream, chocolate candies, or some form of caffeinated concoction? Are those things that you need or just want?

Self-Control or Addiction?

Can you put your smartphone down? And keep it down? Are you constantly checking for text messages, social media updates, or incoming email messages?

Do you have self-control?

Certainly, there are many people who work holidays. Their shift is important to keep things going. It may be the maintenance crew at the manufacturing plant, hospital employees, and civil services personnel. Many people are paid to be on the job, sometimes especially on holidays.

Assuming that isn’t you, do you still work? Are you addicted to your work?

Working Holidays

I’m not referencing being devoted, committed, and caring, I’m referencing lacking the ability to break free. Some business owners, entrepreneurs, and other professionals use it as a time to get caught up or jump ahead.

There are always needs and requirements. And there are things that just feel that way.

I need something to eat, or am I just bored?

I need a coffee, a cocktail, or Big Gulp from the 7-Eleven.

Check my text messages, email, or social media feed…

Our habits make up much of our daily life. The difference between requirements and niceties is often hard to determine. The difference between “have to” and “want to” is also often confusing.

Are you working holidays? Is that on you or is that part of what you signed up for?

-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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time investment

Time Investment, What Is Your Return?

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Nearly everyone is worried about time. A question to consider is, “Am I making a time investment, or just spending time?” Most investments are measured by the value of their return.

Against the Clock

Is there time to stop for coffee, use the restroom before the meeting, and time to process a few email messages before digging into the next project?

We often wonder, how will we have time for family, time to celebrate a birthday, an anniversary, or simply enjoy life?

We struggle for time measured against the clock. Only so many minutes, so many hours, and the disruption of not knowing what will happen next.

There is the race against the navigation system in our car, the sprint to the deadline, or the marathon of the month.

Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Are you agonizing over what you will accomplish today or are you assessing your investment for this year?
  • Is what you are working on this week about building something great or really about attempting a shortcut?
  • How much time will you spend today reliving what happened yesterday instead of applying your energy towards tomorrow?
  • What lasts longer your celebration of a win or your agony about something that took a wrong turn?
  • Is there a return on worry, a return on procrastination, or a return on gossip?

What happens during our time?

Time Investment

We can manage our time like a budget. An hour here and an hour there. A few minutes to say, “Hello” to our family, a minute to pet the dog, and a bite to eat while we drive our car. That’s largely about calculating the spend, not assessing the investment.

Minutes or milestones, where is your focus?

When life feels like a stopwatch it may be worthwhile to reflect on your investment. Use a calendar.

-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 workplace decisions

The Best Workplace Decisions Are Made Together

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Everyone wants to get it right. Everyone wants to make good decisions. Are the best workplace decisions made together or with limited interaction?

Ask a boat builder how to get across the river and you likely will get the suggestion of building a boat.

Ask the bridge builder, it will be a different story.

When you are thinking of who gets a seat at the table have you considered the input of who doesn’t? What might be missing? Are critical components left out of the conversation?

Ask a crowd to individually cite how the best decisions are made, you’ll probably get many different answers. Some will suggest that decisions should be made quickly others may suggest that they should take more time.

Decision by consensus is a method of decision making. Have you used this tactic?

Decision by Consensus

Decision by consensus is not about a majority vote. It is not about persuasion. True decision by consensus is formed when all parties have had an opportunity to discuss their perspective and then everyone agrees with the same choice.

Certainly, some may suggest that the there is some persuasion involved. Perhaps some people who don’t care as much about a specific path will opt to roll with a compelling version of a different choice.

True decision by consensus is an effective tool. One drawback is that it typically takes more time. Time that some will suggest is being wasted and a quicker choice is more desirable.

How are the best decisions made?

Best Workplace Decisions

It all starts with getting the right people at the table. That doesn’t mean people who will necessarily easily agree or who have the same points of view. It should be a well-rounded group.

Boat builders and bridge builders would be a great way to start.

Keep in mind that time invested is better than time wasted.

Hear all the points of view and carefully consider the options. Often the most effective decisions are made together.

-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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productivity trap

Would You Believe Time Is a Productivity Trap?

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Ask someone if they are going to the fitness center, and they may say, “I don’t have time.” Ask about running errands, paying bills, or doing the laundry, people may suggest there isn’t enough time. Could it be that time is a productivity trap?

What is time costing you? When life is all about the opportunity cost, what are you paying?

Time Spent

We make a lot of decisions every day. Many of those choices have to do with the time we spend. There are opportunities that are either gained or lost.

What choices will you make about time today?

How much time will you spend:

  • In the drive through lane at the coffee shop?
  • Studying the quality of the selfie image on the social media thread?
  • Procrastinating about work to be done instead of jumping in?
  • Proofing an email that took you two minutes to write but you’ve been studying it for ten?
  • Picking up your phone, turning it on, assessing in-bound data, turning it off, putting it back down?

What if the cost of an hour changed? Instead of sixty minutes it became fifty? How would this affect your productivity?

Productivity Trap

Imagine you are on the job for eight hours, but you lose ten minutes each hour. Hours are now fifty minutes. The workload and opportunities remain constant.

You lose one hour and twenty minutes per day. That is more than six hours per week. On average then you lose over twenty-four working hours per month. That would be more than 288 hours per year, which is more than seven work weeks.

If you were absent from your work for more than seven weeks what would have changed? Would nothing change, or might you suggest that everything would change?

Taking time for granted is the biggest productivity trap of all.

Waste less.

-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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settling

The Evidence of Settling for Less in Your Career

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Often things start off with good intentions, how do they end? Are you settling for less in your career? What are the signs?

Newsflash, your career has a limit. It may seem like life goes on and on and on, especially when you’re shoulder deep in the daily grind. However, years pass by quickly and sometimes you may discover you’ve settled.

Not Everything

First, being average, or having what you may label as a decent career is perfectly fine. Not everything in life is about your career, or at least it should not be. So, it is OK if you haven’t reached every dream.

On the other hand, if you feel like there is still room for opportunity and growth don’t stop now.

Life tends to get in the way of progress. Days slip by, weeks drift way, a month here and a month there and suddenly years have gone by. Is this you?

Settling for Less

What is the evidence that you are settling? Here are three of my favorites:

  • Forgetfulness. Yes, forgetting may mean the years are passing you by in more ways than one. However, if you forget to stay on track with your goals it is probably a good sign that you are settling for the way things are. Being halfway finished eating a full-size chocolate bar when you remember that you are on a lowered calorie diet is an example of this type of sign.
  • Loss of Time. Good things take time. Honestly, you only have so much of it. There is a delicate balance between patience and wasting time. The years will roll around quickly. If you are not advancing towards your goal with notable milestones at least every three to five years you may be wasting precious time. This could be as simple as gaining additional responsibilities or as complex as a career change.
  • No Goals. Sure, you may have some idea of where you want to be. Have you been specific? Feeling like one day you want to become the manager is not really a goal. You’ll need some plans and checkpoints (milestones) that will help that vision become a reality. All milestones and goals should be regularly compared against time.

Have you been settling for less?

Do you need to get back on track or establish a plan? Coaching may help.

Did you forget about your self-commitments? Has time slipped away? What are your goals?

-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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