Tag Archives: workplace engagement

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cell phones off

Cell Phones Off and Engaging Your Team

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You’ve likely heard it at the start of the meeting, “All cell phones off!” Is this the best way to engage your team? Is it the only way?

It is interesting to see the differences in organizational culture. Some meetings invite you to BYOD (bring your own device) and others start with a command to shut everything off.

Attention is a Resource

Attention is often hard to capture. When we don’t get the attention we seek we tend to get louder, send more email, or hold more meetings.

In today’s social and workplace climate attention is scarce. We are always in a battle for what’s happening next on our cell phones, what short video to watch, or a clever .gif file capturing a few seconds of our time.

We have a hyper active society that has learned not to waste anything, especially time. Time wasters and energy zappers are quickly dismissed and the attention shifts to, “What’s next?”

Cell Phones Off or Trust

Should we be turning our cell phones on? What really captures attention and creates engagement? Is workplace trust a factor?

Trust becomes a bigger element in engagement. Since we consciously or subconsciously begin to feel more and more tricked into giving our attention.

We are apprehensive of the email tag line, the text message from an unknown number, and phone calls from unknown callers are seldom answered.

These are trust issues. Things that waste our time. It is the clever language, the trickery, or the click bait that makes us shy away.

For most organizations trust is a competitive advantage. Organizations with a trusting culture do much better when compared with their competition. Organizations lacking trust have much deeper problems.

Do you trust your team to give appropriate attention and use their time wisely? Is your culture engaging and focused? Tough questions.

As I write this we are about to launch into a new decade. Will it be a decade where we turn technology off, or on?


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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safety zone

Safety Zone and The Status Quo Approach

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Safety is something that most humans covet. It’s an inherent part of our evolution. We like to feel safe. Is operating in your safety zone or the status quo holding you back?

Safety and the status quo tend to keep everyone stuck.

Status Quo is Sticky

We don’t speak up at the meeting. It is safer to just observe. It saves embarrassment, perhaps revealing a weakness, or worse, getting blacklisted or fired for a bad idea.

We don’t apply for the new job. Maybe we aren’t that good. Maybe we’ll fail, or maybe they will decide they don’t like me so I better stay put. It is safe.

It is often suggested to represent the evidence of loyalty, commitment, or how we do it here.

Gradually, across time, our jobs and workplaces create the feeling of safety and security. There is a feeling of comfort in the status quo.

The Paradox

Yet, every day organizations are mostly looking to serve more, do more, create new, get bigger, be stronger, and last longer.

The contrast between safety and change is sometimes nearly invisible to the employee, yet the lingering feeling is often a cause for discomfort.

It is ever present in the job change. The increased workload. Picking up the slack for another person or workgroup, or the message from leadership that the economic climate requires change.

Safety Zone

It is ironic that the best organizations are the ones operating on the edge. The very edge of in control versus out of control. The organization that pushes the button, finds ways to become more efficient, and takes big leaps while others stand wishfully pondering the edge.

Everything is changing. Changing rapidly. The status quo is not safe.

True for the organization. True for the individual.

Excitement, engagement, and growth happen just on the other side of the safety zone.


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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