Tag Archives: workplace

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workplace purpose

Does Your Team Understand Workplace Purpose?

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One of the most basic elements of building a successful organization is the ability to rally the people around a workplace purpose. Have you considered lately how that is working in your team or department?

Setting the Stage

The development stages of the organization are simpler. There are fewer people, less moving parts, it is easier to watch over the entire operation.

Across the months, years, or decades things start to shift a little. More people join, more problems have become apparent and more rules and policies are put in place. Without careful and purposeful intention, things often start to get lost in the shuffle.

Often larger work groups and teams are doing tasks or following guidelines that they either don’t understand, or worse, they misunderstand.

The big picture with strategy is out there. It may be in the publicized mission statement, unfortunately from the strategy room to the front-line things get lost in the translation.

Department managers sometimes become confused about the true strategy, the why of the business. They respond to measurement, metrics, and performance criteria, but their response lacks the understanding of purpose.

As time moves forward some disorganization may occur. The purpose is confusing, the front-line works towards metrics, but they often do not understand why. Managers insist somewhat blindly that this work, their work, is part of the strategy, however, they too suffer from understanding why.

Workplace Purpose

When groups of people and teams are employed to create work, provide a service, and do great things it is very important that they understand the purpose.

Understanding workplace purpose is everyone’s responsibility, yet it often doesn’t exist.

In the best organizations everyone leads at some level. Otherwise, you have a bureaucratic conundrum.

-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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bad workplace attitudes

Bad Workplace Attitudes Lack Purpose

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You’ve probably noticed a bad attitude at some point in your life. It may be at work, in the grocery store, or at the red light. Have you noticed bad workplace attitudes?

There are plenty of reasons why someone may be illustrating a bad attitude. Sometimes it is because something happened outside of work and this person is still dragging it around while on the job. In other cases, it may be connected to purpose.

Why Purpose?

Start a conversation about purpose and some people will perk up, but others start looking at their cell phone.

Purpose is critically important and often misunderstood. It is also linked to bad workplace attitudes.

When the junior executive doesn’t understand why she or he must change the verbiage in the quarterly report, an attitude may develop.

What about the staff member that must drop everything and go make copies for the upcoming meeting?

Does a bad attitude emerge when the project that the team pushed for doesn’t make the budget?

All these scenarios and hundreds of other examples are connected to a lack of understanding about purpose. Often purpose is taken for granted. Many people don’t understand the connection.

Changing Bad Workplace Attitudes

People often connect work with reward. The mindset is, “I do some work and I get paid.”

You can do the same thing with your dog. Teach a dog that when she sits, she gets a treat. I love dogs.

People are not dogs.

When you want to give people energy, excitement, and a reason for commitment and hard work. Give them a purpose.

People who understand why the verbiage in the report matters are energized to make the changes. When they understand why the copies will make a difference, they make them.

A project not making the budget is disappointing, but the team remaining intact to launch something new or different can be great!

-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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performance feedback

Performance Feedback, What Are You Serving?

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Many people dread the performance review. It is common that both the supervisor and the direct report have some anxiety connected with the process. How are you navigating the performance feedback process?

Whenever I speak to groups about feedback, one of the most fundamental but important comments I make is that we need to remove the word criticism from our vocabulary. This word alone can start the process off on the wrong foot.

Performance feedback is a delicate process. It can be powerful and motivational, and it can also knock people off their feet, derail positive performance, and be destructive for relationships.

No Picnic, No Sandwich

You may have heard of the sandwich model. This is an old managers tale of how to deliver a performance review. Start with saying something great, give the tough (negative) feedback in the middle, and end with something great.

Research exits on the results of both positive and negative feedback. You can study it (example research) and draw some of your own conclusions.

I’m a big believer in positive reinforcement. I believe positivity yields more positive results. When you focus on growing talents and stop focusing on fixing weaknesses amazing things can happen.

This has something to do with why I chose the business name, Appreciative Strategies, and why I own the registered trademark for these words.

At the same time, we cannot always ignore areas that require improvement. How should that be managed?

My professional opinion is, “Differently for everyone.” Just like the most effective communication involves a flexing of style to best reach everyone, similar rules apply for communicating performance feedback.

Performance Feedback

When you consider that you may have three categories of performance, exemplar, fully performing, and those who are not adequately performing, you can make better choices about feedback.

Consider that the “sandwich” may not yield the best future outcomes for the exemplar or fully performing employee. Also consider that the sandwich may be too soft for those who are not adequately performing.

Most important is that performance feedback should be happening often, not just at the once per year performance evaluation.

Your best employees may be the hungriest. Skip the sandwich. Feed them well.

-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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daylight savings

In Your Workplace Daylight Savings Still Requires You

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People may ask, “Do we move the time forward or do we turn back the clocks?” Confused they may say, “Are we losing an hour or gaining an hour?” Are people asking you about the effects of daylight savings time?

I have two grandmother clocks in my home. They don’t run on electricity or batteries. You must pull the chains to raise the weights every week. The pendulum must swing and then the hands of the clock spin.

Telling time then is not accomplished through a digital display. There are not buttons to push or indicator lights.

Most importantly, the time setting in these clocks is accomplished manually. You can’t tap “Settings,” and then, “Date & Time,” and toggle, “Automatic.”

An Excuse

Surely, as the official time change occurs during the weekend people will show up at the correct time on Monday.

No, not everyone. A few will find it a convenient excuse to be running late.

Although we are in a digital age. An age where most of our cellular phones and computer devices will automatically spring forward, people still have something to do.

In your workplace, the people are going to need to spring forward. They are going to need to bring the energy, put in the effort, and bring the change to life. It won’t happen automatically. It’s not a digital setting.

Daylight Savings

Our digital age is part of society. Things happen for us and we barely even notice. It is all so automatic. Beyond that it is thoughtless, no real effort required. Follow the time on your phone or computer and you’re set.

Our lives benefit from technology. Things making life easier, simpler, and requiring less background knowledge to navigate.

On the human side of daylights savings, we still have a job to do. Spring forward will only happen when we pull the chains, raise the weights, and turn the hands.

-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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loosen up

Should Your Workplace Loosen Up a Little?

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What is better, tight or loose? So much energy is put into the concept of getting closer, tighter, or squeezing. Should your workplace loosen up a little?

Running a tight ship may be desirable but does it always make sense?

Tight Ship

Sales teams want to get closer to the client. Closer to understanding the customer needs and building closer, tighter relationships.

In manufacturing the push is on for closer tolerances, perfecting the output, and creating less space for errors or poor quality. Make it perfect, never deviate.

Savvy procurement teams may suggest squeezing the vendor. Forcing a sharpened pencil for the deal, extending terms, and decreasing shipping costs and time.

Accounts receivable teams may squeeze the other way. Perhaps attempting to force customers to pay faster, narrow the terms, and be less forgiving for late or missing payments.

Everyday workplaces try to squeeze out a little more work, do more with less, and get tighter. In many situations, the squeeze is on.

Is this what we need more of? Is closer, tighter, and with a squeeze always the best rule of thumb?

The logic seems solid, but is there something different? A different logic, a different way to perceive what needs to happen next?

Loosen Up

In some cases, getting a little bit loose, giving some slack, and allowing a little more time may be more productive.

When there is room to try something new, we may discover something new. That means innovation.

When we give someone slack, we may find more commitment, understanding, and gratitude.

Giving the customer some slack may create more loyalty. The vendor may decide you are more valuable. Trust improves, respect grows, and relationships matter more.

Pressure makes things closer, tighter, and creates the feeling of squeeze. Most people want to get out of tight spaces.

Maybe loosen up a little.

-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 worry

Workplace Worry Is An Overrated Mindset

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Are we a society of anxiety? Do you suffer from workplace worry? Our mind is powerful and we often convince ourselves of some pending doom even when doom is unlikely.

Worry is really a generic label for anxiety. We often fight hard for perfection. Perfection is the worry of not being good enough. Do you believe that your anxiety levels are higher when you’re on a mission for perfection?

Workplace Worry

One problem is that we don’t see the positive outcome. Instead we anchor our thoughts, actions, and behaviors through the belief that we need to thwart the pending doom.

“We need ten copies of the proposal. Does it look good? Should I use a 12-point font or 13? I’m not sure. They aren’t going to like it if they can’t read it.”

Some of this has value. It removes sloppy behavior. It may also improve our performance. Let’s face if we really don’t care we probably won’t try very hard.

On the other hand, our minds often allow us to take it too far.

“The V.P. just walked past my desk. She looked very unhappy. I shouldn’t have asked that question in the meeting yesterday.”

Like most things in life, somewhere in the middle is the proper balance.

What’s the Trick?

The trick is, and yes, it is a trick. It is to change our self-talk. Of course, quickly our worried self will tell us that in this case, we should be worried.

We worry because the outcome we are forecasting is of failure or negativity, not one of possibility or positivity.

The best question to ask yourself is, “Will my worry change the outcome?”

Worry is overrated.

-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 engagement

Workplace Engagement Starts with Respect

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The chicken or the egg? Everyone wonders. Workplace engagement isn’t as challenging, but it may not always start in the manner that you think.

I didn’t like green beans as a kid, probably because they weren’t sweet enough. Today, I value their importance in a well-balanced diet and I’m sure to eat a few.

When it comes to the work at hand, people are often not sure whether they will like it or not. Can there be situations where after they explore it, check it out, and give it a try, they’re interested to do more?

Workplace Engagement

Engagement doesn’t always start with the notion that it will be fun and engaging, sometimes people grow into it.

It’s common for someone to dislike the new software release. “It’s awkward. Where is my old screen that showed everything near the top?”

The same is often true for the process change. “We’ve never done it this way. I don’t think this is going to work.”

Engagement doesn’t always start by making it attractive enough. It doesn’t always begin with confidence and a roaring stream of energy.

Sometimes engagement develops by getting ingrained in the process. Passion develops from the understood purpose. The feeling of accomplishment.

Many people want to understand that their work will make a difference, that it matters, and as people, they are needed and valued because it does.

Connect with Respect

Dressing up or sugar coating that there is work to be done and let’s get motivated about it doesn’t guarantee engagement. In fact, once that excitement wears off, people are waiting for you to excite them again. And bigger this time.

Respect will go a long way towards the gratitude of the offer for work to be done. Consider, “We could sure use your expertise on this one.”

Engagement forms when there is a connection to the contribution. It all starts with respect.

-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 microaggression

Was That a Workplace Microaggression?

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Things have a funny way of going full circle. Trendy behaviors, buzzwords, and even politically correct phrases. Are you delivering a workplace microaggression?

The term microaggression goes back to the early 1970‘s. Chester M. Pierce, is known to get credit for coining the word. Chester passed away in 2016, but his societal impacts live on.

Full Circle

Now, nearly 50 years after the introduction of the term, it is gaining additional traction. The term is echoed around college campuses, high schools, and yes, of course, it is rapidly emerging in the workplace.

Defining a microaggression may not be as easy as you think. In a society seeking to either find or ignore political correctness in every breath it may be hard to understand what is acceptable or what is not.

If you look up the definition of the term it doesn’t necessarily provide much clarity. Here is a segment of the definition from Wikipedia that seems to resonate, “[words, phrases] …whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group.”

Workplace Microaggression

Are you delivering a microaggression?

Let’s assume you meet a person who may appear (visually) to be Hispanic. A stereotype, yes, indeed, but that isn’t the point here. After an initial greeting, you say, “Wow, you speak good English.” Congratulations (sarcasm), you just delivered one.

The same is true if you say, “How can I be a racist? Many of my best friends are black.”

Perhaps in the workplace you say to a baby boomer, “We have many recent college graduates, if you get stuck with any technology problems just grab one of them for help.” This may be a microaggression.

If you listen carefully, much of our workplace chatter, regardless of age, race, or gender, may have roots in this problem.

Some will suggest, “You can’t say anything anymore. You’ll get in trouble.” That may be dramatizing it a bit, which is another, different workplace problem.

Be aware, improve your communication, help others.

-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 change

Workplace Change and Remembering the People

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Has your workplace decided to shift direction, pivot, or use new technology? Have you changed machines, relocated, upsized, or downsized? Have you been bought by another entity? Never forget that workplace change involves people.

Since I officially entered the workspace at the age of seventeen, I’ve been around more than a few decades. I’ve seen a thing or two.

As we grow and expand our knowledge and businesses, especially with more technology, one constant remains, people.

How does workplace change impact people? How do the people affect the process or outcomes? Sadly, these two questions are often forgotten or taken for granted.

Change and People

Imagine you give Tiger Woods a brand-new set of golf clubs. These clubs are the most advanced clubs ever made. They feature the latest in technology, they are efficient, effective, and they are smart. They are also very expensive.

You hand them to Tiger and send him out on the course. A course he knows well and has played many times. Weather conditions are perfect. Will Tiger’s score improve?

Likely, not at first. He has never used these clubs before, they are different, he’ll need to learn more about them, get a feel, and adjust his style and approach.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand this practical example of the outcome of change.

Why then do so many businesses, so many engineers, CEO’s, and other really smart people expect something different with workplace change?

Workplace Change

If you sense that I’m about to jump on the soapbox for a minute, you’re correct. I have witnessed too many business fatalities.

Smart people who have calculated everything about their new equipment or technology. Floor space, power, cost of ownership, and the specifications for throughput or output. They’ve done it all.

Except for one thing. How their people will navigate this change.

Sound silly? It is. I’m begging you. Stop the madness.

Have a plan for how you’ll integrate your change with the people. How they’ll know what to do, when, how far, how high, and how long. Plan for the costs and especially for the time.

You probably wouldn’t tackle heart surgery without a surgeon.

Hire experts who can help you with your people.

-DEG

Need some help with people? Contact me

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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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workplace narrative

Workplace Narrative, What Story Will You Share?

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Ask anyone about their problems and you’ll probably be engaging in a long discussion. Do you have a workplace narrative? What is it? Is it positive or more of a dramatic drudgery?

As a coach, I hear a lot of stories. Many of them are unhappy. They expose an undesirable narrative and leave a path of doom in their wake.

Your Story

Sometimes we must tell our story to provide clarity to our situation. This is the path to address the need or evaluate the circumstances. The story may have importance for the resolution.

If no one tells or understands the story. The story doesn’t matter. It gets lost, no one cares, and certainly there is nothing to remember. The story is over. It stops, there is no additional focus.

True for stories of drudgery and anger. True for stories of inspiration and optimism.

What stories are you telling?

Workplace Narrative

Are you sharing the story about the time a co-worker stabbed you in the back? Are you sharing the one where office politics left you out in the cold? Of course, we can’t forget the one about your boss delivering unfair treatment, or when he or she gave someone else credit for your work.

These stories are over. They can be retold, repeatedly, but it will never change the outcome of those past situations. Reliving them only keeps people stuck.

In contrast, the stories of passion, purpose, and possibilities can be shared. They too can be told repeatedly. If no one tells this story, it ends, it is over.

Everyone has a choice about their workplace narrative. There is a choice about the type of story you’ll repeat, dramatize, or embellish.

The stories that you repeat become the stories of your life. They may also be a predictor of the future.

Learn from all the stories. Don’t repeat mistakes.

Tell again the stories filled with optimism. Share them with everyone.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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