Tag Archives: workforce

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best products

The Best Products Are Not Always Most Popular

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Do you choose the best products available? Are those products also the most popular? Is it true for the people in your workplace too?

Some products have all the rage. It’s true for household appliances, technology, and automobiles. You see it in fashion, hair styles, and vacation spots.

It’s also true with people. Performer’s, actresses, and sports stars. Even in your workplace there seems to be favorites.

Are any of these things or people the best? If so, compared to what?

What is the measurement criterion?

Popularity

Many people are sold on Apple products. Telephone’s, watches, and computing devices. Many will suggest they are the best.

Are they really the best or are they just wildly popular?

Cellular phones are popular, but which platform, Android or Apple?

You can discuss your reasons for either direction. However, much like a presidential election, choices and reasons get blurred by emotions, popularity, and opinions.

And similar to an election, if you going to discuss this, you’ll probably find argument from many that the most popular is also the best.

Is it true?

Best Products

When it comes to the best products, the best workplaces, or the best employee’s you often cannot have both the best performers and the most popular.

Most popular is a choice, the best performer is also often a choice.

Either of the two extremes seldom intersect.

Competition is a factor. How hard one product development team, an individual, or entire organization will work to beat the competition is always a factor.

You may want to reconsider the best versus most the most sought after.

With everything there is always a best kept secret.

-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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workplace robots

Workplace Robots and the Human Factor

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Hiring a robot may be a smart choice. Hiring humans to serve as workplace robots has some challenges.

What do you need from your workforce?

It seems that work always trickles down. An entrepreneur starts by doing it all, or at least, most of it. If she is successful, she starts to delegate the easier assignments.

Most organizations are structured in a similar manner. Labor intensive or low interest, repetitive tasks get shoved off to the lower levels.

Not that this doesn’t make sense, it does. However, what are employees or contractors expecting?

Gig Economy Workers

Many gig economy workers expect something for their thoughts or creative talents. Design and develop a website, create a new brand logo, or serve as a social media expert. Help us with marketing and sales, use your talents, and delight the customer.

What about part time or full-time employees? What are their expectations?

Many businesses face cultural challenges. The job opportunities that they have or require are often not attractive to job seekers.

When the organization needs someone to put something inside the box and seal it with tape and nothing more is required what do you get?

If you replace the word someone with a robot you have a solution.

Workplace Robots

Organizations sometimes wonder why they have a difficult time with on-boarding.

Society has suggested that people should do what they love.

Use your brain they said. Do something creative they said. Follow your heart they said.

One company won’t change society, yet one company can change its culture.

When the culture suggests that human beings should show up and do only the minimum requirements that are expected, then that is what they’ll get.

You’re not paid to think, you’re paid to put the product in the box and seal it with tape.

It often creates the feeling of, the company doesn’t care about me so I don’t care about the company.

Robots have a place, don’t expect humans to be robots.

-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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glamorous resiliency

Glamorous Resiliency Keeps Everyone Going

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A picture is worth a thousand words, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Having glamorous resiliency is important, especially when the chips are down.

What is your posture when navigating the rough waters?

The U.S. economy churns largely due to small businesses. It’s often hard to define a small business. Many believe it is those businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

When you try to find a concise definition, it is challenging. It may depend on the sector, it may depend on the size of the sector, and usually it is based on the number of employees and total revenue.

Small businesses represent the U.S. economic engine.

There is beauty in small business.

Glamorous Resiliency

Often there are fewer rules, politics and cliques are less intense or non-existent. Opportunities for fluid approaches, innovation, and employee flexibility are often greater.

Many small businesses run as they see fit. If it doesn’t fit, then they shift.

They are all fulfilling the needs of the customer.

This makes customer relationships better. They have stronger interactions, more meaningful conversations, and often the help is there exactly when the customer needs it the most.

Small businesses may sometimes be described as disadvantaged. They are known to be harder to scale, less resilient in the face of adversity, and less attractive for on-boarding the best talent.

In reality, this is exactly what makes them more attractive.

In life or in business, recognizing that your disadvantages may actually be your competitive edge, brings an entirely new range of opportunities.

Be glamorous.

Be resilient.

-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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local experience

Local Experience, Does It Really Matter?

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Is the best talent in your backyard, or must it come from somewhere outside of the normal reach? Does local experience matter?

In Pennsylvania, people believe they know their beer and potato chips. Popular beers come from Yuengling or Straub. Potato chips are often Middleswarth or Utz.

When you travel to Colorado or California, they’ll tell you about different beer and potato chips.

Who has the best?

It depends on who you ask.

Available Everywhere

In the 1970’s and 1980’s mail order companies started to thrive. The U.S. infrastructure supported reaching beyond local borders. A growing and thriving trucking industry and 800 numbers made a difference.

By the late 1990’s and into the early 2000’s a shift was happening. It was the infrastructure that supported the widespread use of the internet.

Our borders from county to county and state to state seemed smaller and less significant. Highways improved, automobiles got better, and more products began to fall into the category of a commodity.

What’s next?

When it comes to talent and business opportunity what’s next may be closer than it has been in 50 years.

Local Experience

What is happening in 2020 is a shift. A pivot to something different. It is not defined yet but people will shape the shift.

It will come down to who is right. Defined by people.

In Pennsylvania people are right. In Colorado or California, they’re right. The same goes for Texas, Alabama, or South Dakota. People are right.

How will things change for your workforce and talent acquisition? If you are in Mount Vernon, South Dakota how is that different from New Berlin, New York? What about San Diego, California or Boston, Massachusetts, are there differences?

If you are a job seeker, where will you look?

It seems plausible that people will do what they believe is right. Now more than ever.

Local maybe the biggest comeback of this century.

-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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workforce changes

Workforce Changes and Navigating Differences

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While many people wait for things to get back to normal some are already preparing for a different tomorrow. What is your forecast for workforce changes?

Things are going to be different. At least for a long time. Likely things will be different until you’ve adapted to the new normal. What will be normal?

Normal State

People are talking about the handshake, increased real estate needs, decreased real estate needs, and the most popular phrase, “social distancing.”

There are aspects of many occupations that are hard to visualize for the six feet rule. In many manufacturing environments, restaurants (kitchens), and many of the construction trades. Anywhere people are helping people physically get the job done.

While there are hundreds or perhaps thousands of occupations that once held normal as working close together, things will likely change.

In what is believed to be the interim for many white-collar occupations, people are working from home.

Don’t be shocked that many businesses who are currently adopting this new way of working will continue with it after the pandemic. Office spaces will change, business meetings will change, and conferences and conventions will most likely change.

We can imagine the sporting events, where everyone is sandwiched together like sardines in a can. What will they look like? Thousands of masked of faces? Stadiums or performance centers only one-third full because of the rules?

Workforce Changes

There is a simple truth for navigating the new workforce. Everyone who participated during or before 2019, is in for a change. The truth is, there will be a new normal.

Like nearly everything in life, there will be front runners, ground breakers, and leaders. There will also be followers, doubters, and those who fail to get on board.

Perhaps the most important aspect of what is happening now is to figure out how you’ll overcome the adversity and spring into action. Will you commit to change and be part of the construction of the new normal?

Somethings will never be the same.

Normal is always the current state of what works.

-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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workforce connections

Workforce Connections Are One Way to Navigate

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Is your office or building shut down? As it stands you still have a great opportunity with workforce connections.

Overcoming adversity is something most workplace professionals are skilled at, whether they realize it or not.

Today you have an opportunity. An opportunity to retreat and withdraw or start a digital conversation.

What if everything was normal?

You may take a great in the vending area or break room. You may drop by someone’s office or work area for a small catch up chat. Many people have impromptu brainstorming sessions. All in the course of a normal day.

What is stopping you today?

Workforce Connections

You can spend it in absolute isolation or you can reach out for a digital connection.

Hold a meeting, schedule a chat, meet online with colleagues. Have your coffee mug in hand, your dog, cat, or your kids in the background.

Everything you do is made up of small steps. Small thoughts, discussions, and work efforts. When they are all put together you have something. Something bigger than just the tiny pieces.

Today is as good of a day as any.

Carry-on.

-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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beyond monochrome

Beyond Monochrome It’s a Different World

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Do you see everything in black and white? Is the light on or off? Is it day or night? Once we’ve moved beyond monochrome things quickly become much more subjective.

In the mid-1980’s I was a computer programmer. Jokingly, I often ask people to not hold that against me. Largely, I loved my job. In the future, my path became much different.

Much has changed since my monochrome coding days.

Simple as Black and White

Back in the day you wrote code mostly using either Amber or Green monochrome screens.

The ability to understand how to make a single alphabetic character or numeral appear on the screen was a big accomplishment. When you could write code to draw a box on the screen you had highly advanced skills in the audience of most people.

While things seemed more complex, they were actually simpler. Choices were limited and people readily accepted the ability of the technology to do volumes of work previously unable to be accomplished in a timely manner by human personnel.

There wasn’t the argument over which tone of blue you were using. Nobody wanted their picture cleaned up before using it in the software application. Security was only about not giving someone your password. Simple.

Beyond Monochrome

Today it is a lot more complex. Everything is much more subjective.

This change is probably good, yet it is not without controversy. The improvements help bring our World to life, provide more meaning, and add more value.

It all costs. It costs us to learn the important skills of collaboration and conflict management. We have to communicate better, be more efficient and at the same time discover deeper forms of patience.

Opinions are often offered, not out of an attempt to be difficult, but because we have options.

Monochrome feels nice until we experience and appreciate life on the other side.

-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 culture denial

Workplace Culture Denial Will Cost You

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Do you have a great workplace culture? Are you the CEO, a front line employee, or somewhere in the middle? Is your assessment honest or are you in workplace culture denial?

Blind spots can be devastating. When we fail to see or to accept things that are happening right in front of us, the outcomes won’t be favorable.

There is a lot of talk from CEO’s in small businesses about the challenges they face with hiring, employee retention, and finding the best talent.

The trendy answer is connected to blame. Many blame it on low unemployment numbers. Mathematically there is some justification for this, it looks good, and if you lift the covers for a peak at the data it seems to justify it.

Is that all of the problem?

Have a Meeting

I see media reports of government agencies holding roundtable discussions, events, and panel talks. They play the blame game and keep asking CEO’s what they need.

Soon the conversation will shift to culture. Proud CEO’s boast about everything from installing televisions and a pool table in the lunch room, to putting in skylights, or having a nature trail behind their building.

Do these things matter? Certainly, they matter and can be valuable. Yet, these material things on their own are not a culture change.

Culture Rich Means People

Some of the most culture rich organizations I encounter don’t have any of those things. Yet, they seem to get a lot of great resumes, have good choices for hiring, and are growing their business.

Here is the thing. In a very general sense, the best people don’t want to work for an organization they want to work with an organization. It is not inclusive of everyone, but largely this is about the mindset and culture.

CEO’s who believe the path to productivity, efficiency, and revenue are accomplished with robotic contributions, need to invest in that equipment. It is not a bad idea. It just isn’t a people oriented idea.

Workplace Culture Denial

People aren’t tools and tools aren’t people.

Technology is amazing. It certainly is our future.

Invest, invest, and invest! Then invest some more.

Yet you can’t expect to treat people like robots. You’ll find some who will work like that, but others will go to an organization where they feel valued and not like a tool to get the job done.

You can’t be in denial about culture.

The culture is what you make it. Largely it is connected to the highest leadership roles, yet people in the middle or front line can make positive contributions even if there is some denial in the C-Suite.

Install your skylights, brighten the work area, and build a nature trail. It really doesn’t matter if the feeling of the people stays the same.

-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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workforce relevance

Workforce Relevance or Self-Deception

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Once upon a time it mattered to ensure you stocked enough green bar paper. You were state-of-the-art. This may also be true for the number two pencil, the Rolodex, and the pink “While you were out” memo pads. Workforce relevance changes too. Skills, approaches, and service themes.

The sales funnel is important. Keep a good supply of potential leads, work them down into the yes and no pile. Keep going, keep moving, the sales funnel means life. Build operational support to keep the funnel flowing and you’re set.

Stay Relevant

Organizations often face irrelevance because the theme of keeping the flow moving becomes a standard. The idea is, when we do just this, and just that, and get everything just right, the flow will continue. Then it slows, or stops.

What built the organization and the teams that keep it moving, aren’t necessarily the same aspects or indicators of what will keep it alive.

Likely every organization that has worked to standardize and then lock it in, eventually stop, things slow and then end.

For the small business it is often the hard work of the owners, the second or third generation of family, or the subconscious vision of, “We finally have it all figured out.”

Workforce Relevance

It is safe to say that all organizations are driven by people. People are not tools; they are an investment. Manage them as a cost of doing business instead of the reason you have the business and you will have a short run game.

The relevance of your workforce will condition everything in the long game. The knowledge, skills, and abilities you will need to continue to grow, change, and adapt.

If you get stuck in the world of green bar paper, number two pencils, and your Rolodex, everything will pass you by. In a world of constant change being convinced your formula will stay the same is self-deception.

-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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showing up

Showing Up Seems To Make Sense

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There are many stories out there about the effects of low unemployment numbers. Some doubt the validity of the numbers, some suggest they can’t find anyone to hire. Others are just thankful that employees are showing up for work.

I want to ask, “Is that the best we can do?”

If our expectation as an organization leader is that we are grateful when people are showing up for work, something must be wrong.

Showing Up

I remember years ago when the chairperson of a community workforce meeting stated that finding employees was a challenge for local business owners. The chairperson asked a CEO in attendance, “Are you fully staffed, and if so, how are you doing it?”

The response of this CEO took me aback. He said, “Simple, we ignore the pot.”

What he meant was that through drug testing they were willing to overlook someone who tested positive for marijuana use. This was in the early 2000’s.

I’m not writing this to spark a debate about marijuana use. I’m expressing this scenario to ask, “Is this the best we can do?”

What is going on when organizations must lower their standards in order to onboard or keep employees? Worse, what is happening when they are happy they have succeeded? When they are overjoyed that people are showing up?

Tough Problem

I recognize that this is not an easy problem to tackle. I also recognize that there may be many factors involved.

Things that often bubble to the surface are things like, generational challenges, pay scales, and dirty jobs.

Maybe it is something a little more complex and less obvious. Perhaps there are connections to the organizational culture.

Does the CEO measure the value of employees as human capital (an investment), or are they measured as an expense (keep this number low)? There is a significant difference in the mindset.

When we are overjoyed that people are just showing up for work, we’re caught in a downward spiral.

Maybe the standards need to change. Maybe the culture, the business model, or the vision of leadership should pivot.

Just showing up, is that the best we can do? 

-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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