Tag Archives: workplace culture

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winning vision

Winning Vision for the Work You Do

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Nearly everyone believes they have a winning vision. Except for those who willingly admit that they really don’t have a vision at all.

Organizational or career vision often comes in two distinct flavors. Short-term or long-term. Sure, there are variants of either and some visionary behaviors may exist somewhere in the middle.

What is your vision and is it winning?

Short-term vision

On the short-term side people strive to win at all costs and do it as quickly as possible.

They’re often looking for the shortcut, the corners to cut, and the fast track. This angle exists, sometimes, but it also has residues or side effects from the behavior that drives it. Often, it is analyzed (or scrutinized) through the continuum of ethics.

More pressure driven by short-term goals or immediate gratification push people towards the high-risk side of ethical behavior. Trust is tested or harmed and the underground climate often appears more corrupt than it does transparent.

Long-term Vision

The other side of course, is a longer-term path. This path also recognizes the constraints of time, but on this path, time is viewed as more of an asset than it is an expense.

This scenario often wins because it is more patient and calculated with less irresponsible risk. Urgency is as much about doing things right as it as about how long it takes.

This climate is typically well respected and is tastefully seasoned with integrity.

Winning Vision

Fifty-two sprints are not equal to a marathon. The thought may be, what we can do fast must be better than what we can endure.

It’s unlikely.

The vision you have for your career, your team, or the entire organization will have outcomes based on the cultural aspects created by leadership.

How do you apply cultural values to your vision?

You can lead. There is still room for more leadership.


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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people centered

People Centered Approaches Build Better Culture

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What is the best leadership style? Will a people centered style will outshine other approaches?

The contrasting views of leading are enormous. I am sometimes amazed at the pockets of people and businesses that are struggling with organizational culture.

The struggle is often that so-called leaders, self-proclaimed leaders, inspire a culture focused more on self than the people within the workplace community.

Sometimes it is about the question connected with the golden rule. Do we treat others as we would like to be treated? That’s the rule, right?

A better question is, should we treat others as they would like to be treated?

It’s a rub, I know. Yet, how should workplace leaders navigate our socially challenging times? A time, when it often seems like argument is the only path for communication.

The answer not only connects to the psychology of work, it connects to the fundamentals of the leadership approach.

People Centered

Today, people centered approaches are building positive cultures. In contrast, self-centered leadership approaches build an environment of us against them.

The struggling organizational culture attempts to accomplish their goals through push. Push is a short run game.

The cultures that will survive the storm are more pull oriented. Create a compelling reason for why and we’ll follow.

People centered approaches create community. They create a belonging. People want to join and be a part of what is happening. Loyalty is easy. Retention numbers are favorable.

Don’t confuse bright lights and freshly painted break rooms as a shift in culture. Sure, a good environment matters, but environment is not the same as the culture. People will work in a dungeon if they feel that there is something there worth working for.

People centered is not self-centered.


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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cultural deception

Cultural Deception and Why You Still Have a Chance

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We often try to find a place to put the blame. It’s the economy, it is low unemployment numbers, or it is the younger generations. Cultural deception is problematic and it may be part of your struggle.

It is easy to agree with or make assumptions that are consistent with what we wish is the truth. The danger of false perception and self-deception are problematic. In some cases, the more experienced we get the more these issues raise their head.

Here is a newsflash. In a strong economy with low unemployment numbers the best employees are going with the best employers.

Cultural Deception

Does a strong economy with low unemployment numbers impact businesses and organizations? Yes, of course, yet consider that the people are working somewhere. Why aren’t they working with you?

Many people then shift the conversation to pay, benefits, and flexible work schedules. Again, these situations are a reality, and how does your organization measure up?

Have you ever have discussed the aspect of, “paycheck only” employees? Those people who only come to work for their paycheck?

Certainly, money matters and it is important, but if your employees seem to be in this category you have a problem.

There is a simple truth. When employees don’t feel that the organization cares about them, they in turn don’t care about the organization.

Why You Have a Chance

Your opportunity is to see culture through a different lens. Gain understanding and wisdom about the psychology of work. Manage to the metric that employees are an asset, not an expense.

When you hire a person to do the work of a robot and expect that you can coerce the employee to commit to the organization you are likely wrong.

If you hire an employee to pack the box with widgets for eight hours a day and go home only to come back tomorrow and do it all over again, you hired a robot. Hire that same employee and invite them to help you find a better way, and you just hired an engineer.

Which culture will create more loyalty?

You have a chance. The question is, “Will you take it?”


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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culture decisions

Culture Decisions Determine the Future of Fit

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There is little room for doubt that your organizational culture determines what happens next. Culture decisions drive what will become the future.

Culture is part of the long-run game. Or it could be the impact of numerous short-run games that build a long-run game picture.

One thing is certain, workplace dynamics vary a great deal from the manufacturing business in the industrial park, to the non-profit association across town, or to the new healthcare facility on the west side.

While many people and organizations believe that their culture is the best or perhaps the most appropriate, social trends will have something to do with the cultures that are most successful.

Different Cultures

One business believes that being a little gruff, leading with an authoritarian approach, and strong disciplinary actions for anyone coloring outside the lines is the secret formula for culture. It is a throwback to, “My way or the highway.”

Another business believes in open floor plans, building a community of employees, and being considerate of employees needs while maintaining accountability and of course profitability of the operation.

It may seem hard to find where these lines cross. If they even do, or if they even should.

Leading in our modern times has challenges, that is nothing new. The diversity aspect of navigating leadership roles continues to challenge the best cultures.

Leadership makes culture decisions. Known or unknown, it is happening around you.

Culture Decisions

The decision you’ll make today about accountability, responsibility, and a respectful (or not) workplace will shape tomorrow. Revenues, profit, and customer relationships are inclusive.

There is an old saying, “People may not remember what you said but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.”

This is true about your culture. People are human, not a machine. Societal trends will determine many of the feelings surrounding your business culture.

In a low-unemployment economy people are going to work at the best places.


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 shift

Achieving a Workplace Culture Shift

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Interested in making some changes but struggling to figure out how? It’s not surprising that internal force is seldom as successful as consensus and buy-in. What can you do to achieve a workplace culture shift?

There are many factors that spark organizational change. Everything from government regulations, to economic conditions, to a change in organizational leadership.

Please, Not by Fear

Change is often attempted to be achieved by fear. The do it or die concept. The authoritarian approach. Make no mistake, fear can drive change but it likely won’t satisfy long-term needs or direction.

While there are many problems with change by fear, one big one is that change by fear is often not lasting. A second is, it creates a divide. An attitude of us against them. You don’t care about me so I don’t care about you. 

Picking a fight. Dominating with authority. Drawing a line in the sand. None of these will likely leave you with a prosperous and engaged team.

The drama may be interesting but unlikely to change minds, attitudes, or expectations.

Workplace Culture Shift

A better way to achieve a workplace culture shift is to find common ground. Explore options as a team. Discuss possible outcomes and be sure that everyone understands the strategic intent.

Your best shift will occur when the team has examined the options, understands the purpose of a new direction, and agrees that the new path is a good one. Easy and quick to achieve? No, not usually. Worthwhile? Absolutely!

Changing views and changing minds is hard if not nearly impossible. Having team members explore and understand directional choices while finding grounds for agreement is, as they say, “Priceless.”

Picking a fight or pushing people around with authority will likely not create the shift you desire.


Do you need some help with strategic direction, implementing a change, or getting buy-in? I can help. Please contact me to start a conversation.

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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Internal customer service

Is Internal Customer Service More Important?

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I believe that we learn the basics of customer service at a very young age. Before we are teenagers we probably know something about friendliness, kindness, and the power of a smile. We may not realize the linkages of our life experiences to business performance, but the fundamentals of customer service are often present. What about internal customer service?

workforce customer service

All grown up and active in the workforce we are often reminded of the need for enhancing these fundamental skills and in our job roles is where it really starts to count. We can recite cliché phrases such as “The customer is always right” or “Customer service is our core value,” and we quickly learn that anticipating customers’ needs before they ask is when we are performing really, really well.

No Rocket Science

In seminars I suggest that there isn’t any rocket science associated with customer service, but there is always plenty to learn. It’s more than just flashing a smile, being polite, and trying your hardest to meet or exceed expectations. I’m not surprised when participants quickly embrace all the fundamentals allowing us to dive deeper into skills related to examining needs and creating those lasting, unforgotten impressions. What does sometimes surprise me is that many people in the workforce don’t understand the need for internal customer service.

internal or external service

What do you think is more important: internal or external customer service?

Internal Customer Service

Internal customer service in its simplest terms is the practice of creating an exceptional customer-service experience–only instead of focusing on the external customer, we are doing it internally with peers, teams, supervisors, direct reports, and essentially everyone. Someone we’ve worked around for several months or several years doesn’t become someone who we should fail to serve, or disrespect, or in some way devalue or ignore. In fact, he or she may just represent the opposite. It seems easy to get onboard (wrongfully so) with the attitude that someone in another department, work group, or different corporate location really doesn’t matter all that much to our personal success; after all, we pride ourselves on putting our (external) customers first.

Communication customer service

Communication or miscommunication is often blamed as the root cause for sabotaging the external customer experience, and, of course, there is plenty of evidence lending support to that conclusion. However, one question worthy of finding an answer to is how the actions or behaviors associated with internal customer service influence the external experience.

Most Critical

Internal customer service is critical for

  • creating a “do as we do,” not a “do was we say” culture;
  • discovering problems first before they go external;
  • ensuring that respect and appreciation are core values;
  • building foundations for energizing positive experiences; and
  • uniting the team and creating a focus on the customer experience.

Perhaps the first step for any organization is to identify what internal customers means to its success. While there is likely a general workflow and specific positions or workgroups that are designated for internal support, sadly many employees fail to realize what internal customer service really means. Once the entire team understands and is committed to an exceptional internal service experience, the external experience will have the foundational support necessary to drive exceptional results.

World of importance

In a world of narrow profit margins, competing technologies, and a service economy, your most important product may be your ability to create a positive, lasting, never-to-be-forgotten customer experience.

Is internal customer service more important? I think it definitely comes first.


custserv book culture

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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 Respect,Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Too Hot

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Too hot or too cold and we are uncomfortable. In the U.S. most of us live life with the comfort and convenience of a climate controlled environment. Many people go from their house, to their car, to their job, to the store, or nearly anywhere else, in a controlled climate. Our workplaces sometimes get too hot or too cold, but I’m not talking about temperature, I’m talking about people, culture, and job satisfaction.


On the job things can get hot. People are exposed to discomfort through rapid change, unexpected outcomes, and adverse conditions. When things get hot, some people get uncomfortable. Others deal with the heat well, by being flexible, adaptable, and self-controlled. They are often the workplace stars, role models, and those about to advance.

Sometimes things can get cold. People shut down, shut out, or find themselves in an organization that has gone stale. Everything around us is changing; and in a rapidly changing environment, the worst place to be is in the status quo. The status quo is where people and teams grow cold, go stale, and freeze up.

If you’re going to make something happen, you better not get cold. Be prepared to turn up the heat because you can never get—too hot.


Photo Credit: Wesley Fryer

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