Tag Archives: workplace

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Workplace event

Workplace Event Disguised As Workplace Change

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What happens when the change you believe you are experiencing is just a workplace event? How do you know the difference?

The big sales month, the surprising reaction to the video posted on LinkedIn, or a visit and tour from a high-ranking politician. Are any of these a signal of change or just an event?

Blip or Change?

Occasionally, the angler catches a big fish, the realtor closes a huge deal, and you just happen to catch every green light when you are running a few minutes late. Do you build a plan around these occurrences? Has something changed?

When the biggest customer, the biggest sponsor, or the biggest vendor change, often so does the organization. Is this the result of an event or calculated change?

You may suggest that it could be both, and of course, it could. Usually however, it isn’t.

Workplace Event

Events may be repeatable, but likely are not the norm. Winning the lottery may be an event, but you shouldn’t count on it happening every day. You can pretend it might, but a business model built around pretend is clearly an illusion.

You can pretend you’ll have the biggest sales month ever next month too, and with a good plan you might. Chances are good however without a specific structure and catalyst for this continued success you’ll find a lot of disappointment and misery.

It is valuable to consider how events shape the organization. A blip of success here and there really isn’t something that is calculated. While it may be a promising sign of being prepared to seize opportunity, it may only be an event may and not a sign of the new norm.

The glass of water fills drip by drip, the tree grows a little each year, and the organization that lasts isn’t built from the results of a single event.

-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 history

What Is In Your Workplace History?

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The past may serve as a guide, leading us forward to the next milestone, breakthrough, or dead end. How is your workplace history serving as a guide?

I have a good friend who loves research. He picks a topic and researches its origins, the good, the bad, and even the ugly.

One point he commonly shares with me is that there seems to be very little original thought, most new breakthroughs originate from a start long ago.

Role Models

In workforce circles the discussion is often about role models. Be a great leader, inspire, and build success.

Role models are really an extension of the past. Taking an original idea, mindset, or cultural value and building on it. Sure, things ebb and flow, shape and change, yet there exists an original idea.

What does your organization do? Does it build wheels, make tires, or sell them? Build a box, put something in a box, or deliver a box? Grow, process, or serve food? Does it in one way or another serve people? Nothing new here.

Workplace History

We role model what we do because our form of commerce has likely developed from something traded long ago. A service, a product, and help somebody do something, earn some food or shelter or become part of the group.

Today people role model through their workplaces, social media feed, and community influencers. The culture of each workplace develops its personality by watching, learning, adapting, and becoming.

The future of your workplace is developed largely through its history. Most thoughts are not original and are built upon across time. We shape what will happen next.

That is our responsibility. Stay accountable.

-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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peer trust

Rediscover Peer Trust In 3 Simple Steps

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Trust is a fundamental building block for workplace relationships. Restoring trust up the organizational ladder and down has both advantages and disadvantages. Peer trust, one-on-one, has some unique characteristics.

Can you rediscover peer trust?

The most truthful answer is, “Maybe.” Peer-to-peer trust is tricky because there is less formal authority to help nurture the process. There is also a difference in the perceived potential for gain, loss, or value.

Rediscover Peer Trust

Here are three important steps to consider:

  1. Acknowledge. This may feel like the most difficult part, yet understanding how or why trust has been lost is important. Sometimes it is as simple as miscommunication or suspicion and imagination run wild. Talk about what or why things happened. Honesty will be important. Attempt to see the situation from the other person’s perspective.
  2. Value. Discuss why a trusting relationship is important for your role. Consider the consequences of shutdowns or shut outs. Avoiding each other may feel better but it also may create challenges for being successful in your job role. Remember why you are there and what needs to be accomplished. You may discover you have common needs and those needs can serve as a stepping stone to get things started.
  3. Communicate. Keeping the lines of communication open will be important. Be more emotionally aware of triggers or sign posts that may disrupt your attempt to rebuild trust. Closed doors, snickering, smirking, and private jokes centered around serious discussions are some simple things to avoid. Show good faith that you are trying to keep things open. Be honest, transparent, and inclusive.

Easy Peasy?

Who said it would be easy? Trust is a challenging subject, especially in a peer-to-peer relationship. When we develop a stronger understanding of why trust is important for our success there will be a much better chance of restoring it.

Be committed to doing good work. Be honest and connect work with your heart. When you love what you do or love the reasons why you do it you’ll do a great job.

Trust will matter. Put in the emotional labor, be patient, and work with integrity.

-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 leaders risk

Workplace Leaders Risk More By Being First

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Many people believe that they are paving the way, instead they may be following. Workplace leaders risk more by being first and creating the future. Are you following or are you leading?

It is simple. Being the front runner requires risk that the others don’t have to endure.

Leading or Following?

I can tell you about yesterday’s weather. It is easy to get it correct. Predicting tomorrow’s weather is a little bit trickier.

You can observe a brand’s social media exposure, like, and follow. If they appear to be gaining momentum you can launch a similar campaign. If not, you can observe another. Only opportunity cost from inaction is really at risk. You’re not leading, but following.

The idea to put a camera in a phone, a credit card reader at the parking meter, or create a single cup coffee maker may have been created by people who were leading. The cost to follow after observing the success is much less expensive.

Very few businesses are truly front runners. Very few artists, authors, or architects are launching ideas that are truly original. In many regards, they are following or perhaps expanding upon ideas that they have learned.

Workplace Leaders Risk

Knowing yesterday’s weather report may be a reliable source of information. Describing the exact weather for a May wedding, several months in advance seems foolish, or at least extremely risky.

In the workplace, employees can report on all the historical data. They can produce charts, graphs, and apply a clever marketing spin for a compelling message. A competitive analysis of results may be helpful, but it doesn’t really make them a leader.

Workplace leaders take a risk of knowing when to follow, or when to expand on past ideas or results. They’ll take the most risk when they choose to do it first.

-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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Tough choices

When Tough Choices Are Good Decisions

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People make decisions every day. We decide what clothing we will wear, what food to eat, when to get a drink of water and how much we will drink. How do you navigate tough choices?

Decisions, Decisions

Several family members trying to decide what they will eat for dinner can be a challenge. So can finding just the right movie to watch on Netflix. Picking the fastest moving lane in traffic without destroying your drivewise score, forget it.

In the workplace, we often must make decisions about priorities, the best person for the job, or even onboarding a new employee. Is there a perfect decision or is it about the best decision based on available choices?

If we wait, will a better choice emerge or will we start losing some of our already adequate options?

Tough Choices

If I skip the bread at dinner, I may be able to eat a small slice of pie. Diet soda is fewer calories than regular soda, but water is the healthier choice. My car will run on 89 octane gasoline, but the manufacturer recommends using 91 minimum, what should I use?

Around the office employees have mentioned that there is just too much drama. In order to deal with it they want more pay. Should we fix our culture or silence them with more pay? What will work best? (If you don’t know the answer to this, email me for help.) 

Sometimes it is hard to decide. We face tough choices. Delaying a decision can sometimes be valuable, so can a quick decision. In other cases, a decision to do nothing may be a good decision.

Waiting for the absolute, the risk free, or the one hundred percent guarantee is probably expecting too much.

We are always making choices. Keep making them. Yes, even the tough ones.

-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 action

Workplace Action Is About Questions

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How are things going? How is business, are you busy? At any venue where there is business networking, you may hear these questions. Is your workplace action about questions?

People expect to hear that you are busy. Of course, the often-unspoken question is, “Busy at doing what?”

Questions Drive Action

Whether you are considering individual contributions each day or if you are at the helm of a multimillion-dollar organization, being busy really isn’t the point. While it may represent a polite way to start a conversation, being successful is much more important.

Busy can be an excuse. We hear it when we ask for volunteers, when there are deadlines, or when there is grunge work to be done.

A better question may be, “How is your prioritization going?”

You can sit in a rocking chair and be rocking, you are busy rocking, but you aren’t going anywhere. Doing the most productive things may have more relevance.

Shaping Workplace Action

Communication shapes the mindset of the team. If the question seems to center around being busy then demonstrating busy becomes most important.

You can be busy typing an email, busy walking to visit someone in a different department, or just busy looking busy.

The EHS specialist, the Sales Manager, and the Controller typically aren’t so reactive to busy. They are reactive to a different set of data. The question may be, “How are the numbers?”

Of course, the focus then becomes about the numbers, not busy. “Can you do lunch today?” may be met with, “Not today, I’m crunching the numbers.”

Communication is driving the culture of the organization. From buzzwords to bulletin boards, what is communicated becomes the focus.

Be careful what questions you ask.

-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 endurance

Workplace Endurance or Getting Through the Day?

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People often say, “I just have to make it through this day.” Does this feel like a challenge you’ve faced? Do you have workplace endurance and what is most important?

Funny, I often ask seminar participants about workplace motivation. Somewhere the obvious initial response is about money, “We have to pay the bills.”

Another question, or rabbit hole, is related to focus. Focus is critical, focus on the wrong things and you get poor results. Focus on nothing and you may get nothing.

Getting Results

In order to make it through the day people often break down their tasks or duties. Shorter vision, get through the hour, past the lunch break, and now you are more than half way through.

However, the organization often measures results across more than a single day. Results are the outcomes of each minute, hour, and day, repeated across time.

Making it through the toughest of days often conditions your success. The day we feel most challenged is the day we either decide enough is enough, or we make it through, adding to our continued contribution.

The challenge of all of this comes down to vision and focus. Often the frustrated employee has a very short vision. They believe in just making it through the day.

Workplace Endurance

What is important to keep in mind is that while making it through the day is critical, their workplace life or career is really about a bigger vision.

The contribution that you make today may be assessed, but it is your endurance, the long-term, that ultimately has the most impact.

One thousand jelly beans get in the jar, bean by bean. Your glass of water fills from the bottom up, one drop at a time. A tree grows each day, but we seldom notice, only gaining appreciation after years of making it through each day.

You’ll do something today. It is important, yet your endurance will matter the most.

-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 resilience

When Workplace Resilience Turns to Brilliance

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What does being resilient mean? It is a question I often ask in leadership seminars. It is a thought starter, something to get people thinking. Do you have workplace resilience?

Resilience may be described as the ability to bounce back quickly. We may suggest that a Nerf ball has resilient properties. Baby Boomers may think of Timex watch TV commercials, and someone may suggest that the character of Rocky Balboa from the Rocky film series was resilient.

Leadership Means Resilience

Being resilient is an important leadership quality. Whether you are a team lead, front-line supervisor, or a Senior Vice President, workplace resilience matters.

In any position where you lead, which by the way doesn’t necessarily imply that you have direct reports, all eyes are on you. What you say, what you do, and your attitude matter. People are watching.

Leading means forward motion, holding things together, and energizing the team.

Things are going to go wrong, missteps will occur, undesirable situations will arise. Are you going to bounce back quickly or become stuck? Are you going to dramatize the situation or move on?

You can aim to achieve the highest levels of six-sigma. You can even plan to make everything perfect. Working towards doing it right is never a bad idea.

What happens when things go wrong?

Workplace Resilience

Finding balance should perhaps be an organizational value. All of the effort towards perfection may not prepare people for resilience. Persistence matters, but persistence arguably may not happen if you are not resilient.

Too much focus on perfection may not prepare you for resilience. Too much focus on resilience may not propel you towards perfection.

Understanding that your work is likely always a work in progress tends to balance the scale. Even after the standards have been set, the tolerances calculated, and the metric is ready for measurement, something may fall.

Ensuring you are resilient is not a waste of time. It is brilliant.

-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 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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