Tag Archives: workplace

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work agenda

Work Agenda, What Will You Accomplish Today?

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A working agenda could mean fluidity. It can also relate to the work that you do. Day in, day out. What is your work agenda?

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day may be common practice for many people. It is work to be done, and it gets done.

It is true for many household chores and everyday practices.

Things don’t change much with these activities. It is work to be done and it gets done.

It might be true for dropping a young child at day care or walking your dog. Work to be done, and it gets done.

It is likely true for your job. You have a routine.

What is on your agenda?

Daily Grind Factors

It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind.

On Monday you do these things, on Tuesday it is more of the same, and by the end of the week, you must be sure to accomplish everything that was part of your daily grind. You have month-end work, quarterly work, and what you’ll accomplish within the year.

Performance often gets measured by the movement of work each day. Some things may vary a little bit here and a little bit there, but in a general sense, it is all more of the same.

While this is performance, it makes change undesirable.

The opportunity to seek a better path, add in something new, remove something unused or wasteful might be missing on the agenda you work from.

Simply put, your agenda may be about continuous and consistent effort across time. It is not persistence to accomplish more, it is just another swing of the pendulum.

Work Agenda

Maybe it is time to take a closer look at your work agenda. Your routine work isn’t going to change much and as long as everything is routine, neither will you.

It is how 40-year old’s suddenly realize that they’ve spent 15 or 20 years doing a lot of similar things. It’s how 50-year-olds discover it is time to up their game on retirement savings. And it might just be how 60- or 70-year-olds ponder how fast life has passed by.

You may be capable of more than what you’re doing. You may never realize it until it’s too late if you don’t assess your agenda.

-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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smart forecasts

Smart Forecasts Change Outlooks and Outcomes

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Do you sometimes predict what will happen next? Are you making smart forecasts about the future?

It seems like everyone does it sometimes. You believe that you know what the person will say next, you know the behavior they’ll exhibit, and you know what the reactions will be throughout their network.

Do you get is right?

The best answer is probably, “Sometimes.”

Your confidence grows when you nail it. You may even be sort of proud about it and proclaim, “I told you so.”

We’re not always correct though. Sometimes we get it wrong.

Sometimes we finish their sentence and it isn’t where they were heading. Sometimes we suggest something was different about the circumstances that we didn’t realize and that is why the behaviors weren’t as predicted.

Are your forecasts useful?

Smart Forecasts

If people are expecting a sun-shiny day, their mood might perk up. If it starts to rain there is disappointment. Perhaps even some wet clothes or soggy shoes.

It isn’t that much different in the workplace.

Sensing that your computer will crash today is unlikely unless of course, it has been crashing frequently without resolution.

Worrying about the meeting your boss just called may not help your plight unless there is something overdue or some wrongdoing that you might be able to correct before the meeting.

Attitudes and moods are often conditioned by expectations. Expectations develop from communication.

Let’s not forget about self-fulfilled prophecy. What you think or believe will often have a strange way of unfolding.

That is precisely why smart forecasts matter so much.

There has to be accuracy, but it also should be backed up by optimism.

Smart forecasts have a way of coming true.

Predict more sunshine.

-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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normal people

Normal People Work Here, At Least We Think So

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Do you work with a bunch of normal people? Is the place where you work normal, or is it filled with a daily dose of abnormality? Is your team productive, efficient, and successful?

Could it be? Should it be?

Hiring managers are always striving for fit. The house builder probably has to be prepared to work in various weather conditions, understand foundations, lumber, and blueprints. When he or she does, they are probably considered normal and may likely be a good fit.

In the business of politics, someone representing the democratic party isn’t going to fit well in the republican party. Sure, people change their minds and their beliefs, yet in simple terms the fit just isn’t there.

Onlookers at the dynamics of groups of people will often see normalcy. At the same time people within the group see outliers. They see the outspoken, the shy, the backward, they see differences.

What is normal?

Normal People

Many things in life can be explained through a bell curve. A place where something starts, grows, gains momentum, and ultimately declines.

A new product has a life-cycle. It has a start, growth, and decline.

What happens in the middle is often what people call normal. The beginning and the end are uncertain, but during its peak, there are plenty of people both willing and interested to be a part of the norm.

Normal seems desirable, attractive, and a place to get comfortable.

By most descriptions, there are normal weather patterns, normal cars, homes, and clothing.

Normal is normal, until it isn’t. Until something changes or pressure is applied. Chaos may even be normal, and then serene is different.

You and your team may be more normal than you think. Even in a group of differences, that may be normal.

If you’re normal, right now is the best time to make something happen.

-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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Drama habit

Drama Habit, Do You Create More Of It?

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Do you have a drama habit? What about members of the team, do they seem to thrive on it? Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that people like to have more of what makes them feel comfortable.

Did you grow up eating breakfast or skipping it? What about lunch, have you made a habit out of skipping lunch or do you always eat?

The same questions might apply for morning beverages, after hour beverages, or even when you brush your teeth.

Workplace Drama

Many workplaces are full drama.

Drama about how to get the next customer or close the next sale may not be a bad form of drama.

Drama about what Susan is wearing or whether Jack will use micro-aggressions with the boss today may not be healthy.

Certainly, it may go deeper than that. The drama may be about workplace romances and who does what during their off-work time. It may even dip into discriminatory patterns with racial undertones, gender issues, age, and many other areas.

Can you stop it? Should you?

Drama Habit

It is a truism that many people do what they do because they are seeking comfort. Consciously or subconsciously, this is often the case.

People reposition in their chairs, follow a specific daily routine, and seek comfort in repetitive social patterns.

In 2020, you probably started to have a meeting or two either via Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft teams. In other cases perhaps you were still meeting in the conference room, only everyone was wearing a mask. Was this different? Was it comfortable?

Workplace drama can come and go. When a drama topic starts to slow down and interest is less, surprisingly, or not so much, new drama will take its place.

If you have witnessed this you may be wondering what can you do? Is there anything you can do? Is drama here to stay?

Plan for Change

A plan by workplace leaders to be a catalyst for shifting the drama may be the best approach. If drama is here to stay, shifting it to more constructive approaches may be your answer.

In short, if all of the talk, the focus, and the chatter are about production, services, and helping the customer there is much less room for negative, degrading, and disrespectful drama.

Communication is everyone’s responsibility. Consider what your communication consists of and how to regain focus on what matters the most.

Are you part of the problem? Creating drama about the people who are the most dramatic may mean you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

It probably isn’t about the flip-flops Susan is wearing or whether Jack is bashing the boss behind her back.

Change the discussion and leave less room for all the stuff that doesn’t really matter.

-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 uptime

Workplace Uptime Is Valued By Measurement

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What is most memorable, workplace uptime or the glitches, stumbles, and falls? Sometimes what is the most valued is also the easiest to take for granted.

Focus often starts with a surprise. Even at the birthday party the element of surprise seems to create a lasting impression.

When the shipment is delayed, unexpectedly, it’s considered a surprise. The same is true for the power outage, the broken heating or cooling system, and a shipping container full of faulty circuit boards.

Uptime and downtime are often discussed in technology. It is also relevant for manufacturing plants and traffic lights.

If you’re using WiFi or a wired system for internet access how do you measure it’s success? Is it measured by how long it has been up or is the conversation more about how long it has been down?

The State of Texas recently (Feb. 2021) had a deep freeze, one of the worst on modern record. Measurements of uptime, for decades, didn’t seem to matter. It was the horror of downtime that grasp the most attention.

Workplace Uptime

In the workplace everyone gains efficiency and effectiveness as a result of the system. There is a system of processes, there are rules, procedures, and policies. When everything clicks, it’s usually pretty good.

There is a surprise when it doesn’t click. The flow is gone, the disruption is a threat. It’s an open door for competition, and many fear that if it isn’t quickly managed it may be the beginning of the end.

All of those may be true. The quest to minimize or eliminate downtime is real.

When you forget about the threat of downtime, it makes uptime seem so much less meaningful.

It shouldn’t take downtime to understand the value of what is being created on 99.999 percent of the other days.

-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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process matters

Process Matters, You Can’t Afford To Skip It

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In a rush, I pulled my thumb drive from my tablet device and the data got scrambled. It doesn’t even look like the same device in file manager when I plug it now. This is evidence that sometimes, process matters.

Innovation matters too. New ways of doing things, exploring for the best results. Taking some risk, trying something new. All are important yet you can’t really escape process.

You can’t wear a jacket before it is sewn together. You can’t really eat a slice of cherry pie before it is baked.

Some things just don’t work or are otherwise not possible until the process is complete.

The challenge for many innovators and product creators is to understand what happens when it’s mandatory that step A, happens before step B.

In haste to transform from an idea to a product, people sometimes try to skip a step.

Often, you can’t.

Process Matters

It is a challenge for everyone in the workplace. Following the guidelines of the build, the assembly, or navigating the structure for packaging a service requirement.

It is hard to forecast the schedule beyond the scope of the current funnel.

Client requirements flex, shift, and are impacted by their own unforeseen events. Supply chain interruptions, severe weather, and a missed deadline all impact stops and starts.

Waiting always feels like a big time-waster. Fear of waiting may cause the overly anxious to attempt to skip a step. Patience is a competency that cannot be overlooked or underestimated.

Process matters for everything you do. It can change, but it usually doesn’t mean it can be skipped.

-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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popular

Popular Isn’t Always Immediate In The Workplace

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Much of the work people do is an attempt to make it popular. It is desirable for ideas to become popular. The same is true about workflow, energy, and the secret formula that every business believes they have.

When it comes to workplace culture, it is unique. To the same extent so are the individuals who make up the culture. Each person is bringing a slightly different perspective of their own values and beliefs.

Culture isn’t immediate. It takes shape across time.

Slow Starts

Many great ideas aren’t popular at first. They take time, some proof, a story, and examples.

Umbrella’s, coffee, and even personal computers had many moments of not being popular. While it sometimes seems hard to believe, often great things require time to become great things.

Businesses, organizations, and groups of all sizes and styles experience new ideas. Some of those aren’t original, and most haven’t been tested or stood the test of time.

It doesn’t mean that those ideas, systems, or strategies are without value.

Becoming Popular

What may be required is consistent effort, devotion, and an undying level of persistence to bring them to life.

If the people involved care enough and demonstrate their commitment others will often jump on board. For every idea, there is an associated journey. Some are longer than others. Some flash in the pan and are then dismissed just as quickly.

The biggest ideas, those of great value, often aren’t catchy at first.

Being popular, or not, often has little to do with long-term success.

Not immediate almost never means, not worthwhile.

It may some day mean popular.

-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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improving attitude

Improving Attitude, Is It Possible Or Unlikely?

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Do you believe that improving attitude is possible? What is a bad attitude and how does it develop?

Perhaps arguable, but the perception of someone having a bad attitude is just that, a perception. It is probably a perception within the bounds of consideration for what a normal or good attitude should look like.

Attitude may be connected to values and beliefs. It might have something to do with your interpersonal network, your family, your inputs, and what is happening in the environment around you.

Emotional tensions are often like seasons. They come and go. It is the inputs and narrative that surrounds each individual that will influence behavior. Often it is a perception of right versus wrong.

For example, in a team meeting if there are differing opinions and the opinions are brought to a debate, one side wins, the other loses. That can be enough to shape an attitude.

We see it everywhere. At work, at home, with adults, and with children. It happens in government and politics and it happens anywhere there are groups of people.

Improving Attitude

There are two tricks to help shape a better attitude.

The first is, setting the expectations for how work teams will navigate disappointment. If you don’t get your way, will you compromise to give a different direction a try? Or is the perception that you fight back, you fight back with workplace politics, bullying, or bad behavior?

The second is that you have to set the expectation for attitudes and behaviors. This is best accomplished by a strong focus on the organizational purpose and by connecting each and every job task and duty to the organizational mission.

When leadership has a strong focus of commitment to the mission and purpose and emulates that throughout all levels of the organization there is much less room for a bad attitude.

Improving attitude is a skill. It’s a skill because everyone has a choice for how they will navigate. Perhaps, not everyone has the discipline, but that is self-fulfilling if there is only enough time and energy to focus on the mission.

Attitude can be improved.

-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 hide

Workplace Hide and Seek, Is It Derailing Performance?

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In the game of hide and seek, hiding is the fun part. Nearly everyone wants to be the hider. Is workplace hide and seek derailing performance in your organization?

What causes the game to go on?

Hiders and Seekers

As a hider, often you can watch the seeker, you know if they are hot or cold. If they are way off track perhaps you extend some additional risk, it is almost wanting to be found, but not quite.

A seeker on the other hand is determined to locate the hider quickly. Looking towards previously known hiding spots, searching fast and almost frantic. The anticipation of flushing out a hider can be exhilarating. It is destined to happen. It is only a matter of time.

Eventually the hider and the seeker collide.

For the moment, the game is over.

Workplace Hide and Seek

In the workplace it seems the game sometimes continues.

It continues with those who perform just enough to not be noticed. Quietly, they await discovery. In some instances, they’ll risk a little more, almost taunting the seeker and if not found, the boundary just expanded.

The seeker often announces that they are coming. This gives the hider a chance to tidy up, secure their spot, and watch as the seeker inspects.

When the seeker passes by without noticing, the hider feels relief. They are better than the others who are about to get caught.

It is a game of moments. Moments of hiding and moments of seeking.

No one ever really wins at hide and seek.

Games are often played to fight off boredom.

People with a well-defined purpose and goals seldom get bored.

-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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burned trust

Burned Trust and What It Might Be Costing You

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Have you burned trust through your workplace actions? Trust may even be burned by inaction. What does this cost the organization?

Trust is a tricky part of any business endeavor. Everything from negotiations to getting work done. Unfortunately, many workplace leaders and frontline employees fail to recognize or have poor awareness about the implications of trust.

Imagine the busy manager. Struggling to prioritize and get things done that result in positive momentum for the team. What should she do?

Delegate, right?

Burned Trust

What if she doesn’t trust anyone on the team to handle the project?

What if she only trusts one key team member?

This form of limited trust that has long-term consequences.

In the short-run things get accomplished. In the long-run, the key team member begins to feel used and wants to back off of the high-output he normally delivers.

Why? Because he has arrived at the conclusion that he only needs to work as hard as the lowest-performing employee.

Why do more while others goof off?

5 Tips to Restore Team Trust

The manager, with an unwillingness to work towards building more trust, simply moves around the issue. Blame for this inaction is often placed on a very precious resource, time.

It seems easy to place the blame on time. In addition, many busy executives easily buy-in to this story. Shipping the order now is better than a delay. It’s a (long-term undesirable) short-run game.

Trust can be burned in many ways from many different angles.

Have you unknowingly burned trust?

More Than Just Team Members

Shortcomings on trust with customers and vendors are costly too.

Advertise a product or service but deliver something less and it burns trust.

Negotiate so hard with vendors that it threatens their view of your value as a customer and they’ll fail to be there, perhaps exactly when you need them the most.

Burning trust is often easy to do and hard to recognize.

The most successful organizations, the ones that stay on top, value trust as a part of their competitive advantage.

It doesn’t mean they get everything right, all of the time. It means that they work hard to keep the scale on the heavy side of trust.

-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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