Tag Archives: workplace

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society shift

Society Shift, Is It Change You Can Manage?

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Is there a society shift? You bet, it has been happening for hundreds or even thousands of years or more.

Is the pace of shift or change different? Likely, yes, the access to information, thought leaders, news media, and even social media have likely accelerated the pace.

It is good, bad, or indifferent?

What are your thoughts?

Culture Change

People use the word culture to describe many different aspects of societal connections. Culture is sometimes linked with race, especially in third world countries. Culture may be linked with occupations, such as farming, artists, or perhaps even architects. And one of my favorites is, culture that is connected to workplace norms.

Culture can shift, things change, technology is a force that drives changes in culture. Other forces might include government actions, environmental concerns, and the economy.

There is also the force of the people.

Some people want to hold tight to older values and beliefs. An Amish community might be a great example.

Other people want to change the rules, insist that there should be more diversity, more fairness, and more generosity granted to those who might be labeled underprivileged or less fortunate.

Largely it’s a tug of war between old-school and new-school.

Society Shift

It is often suggested that there are two sides to any story. It may be true for the kids on the playground who engage in some disruptive behavior and it may be true in the workplace.

A natural reaction for many people is to become very opinionated about their side of the story. Emotions often run high and anger erupts.

Social media is a great example of a medium where emotions, debates, and arguments are placing pressure on what may have once been considered a cultural norm.

Some people suggest a quieter reaction, or what may be considered to be no reaction at all. Play it safe, play it somewhere in the middle.

You are probably not going to stop change, cultural or societal shifts. They are always moving, some faster than others. There may even be evidence of ebb and flow, expansion, contraction, and a full-circle back to the way things were before.

The way you choose to navigate change will have a lot to do with what happens next.

You may not be able to stop or control the changes around you.

You can choose how you’ll respond.

-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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recognizing options

Recognizing Options On The Way To High Performance

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What are your habits when it comes to workplace performance? Are you good at recognizing options, or do you follow the way it has always been done?

When you are trying to delight the customer, impress the boss, or simply check the box on your to-do list, do you consider the options?

A customer in a business suit and tie might have a different napkin requirement for eating an ice cream cone when compared with the house painter fresh off the job in a t-shirt and jeans. It’s an option to offer a few more.

If your supervisor has an urgent need for the report you’ve just finished, you’ll probably forward it by using email. It’s an option to also give a quick call, send a text message, or swing by the office to provide an urgent alert that it is completing and now arriving in the email inbox.

All of the items on your to-do list probably come with options. You have the option to do it exactly like before or exactly as described, or you have an option to enhance the product or service.

There may not always be options. The circuit board needs to be completed exactly as designed. It is true for the engineering of the house, the assembly of the gasoline engine, and the building the Model X vacuum cleaner.

Yet for many jobs, there are options.

Recognizing Options

The best performance may come from options.

Options that delight people will yield stronger future partnerships. In some cases, a customer is a customer. In other cases the customer becomes a business partner. And certainly, there is also a customer relationship with a supervisor and direct report. If you can’t spot it, you might be coming up short.

The difference between providing the least required value and the best possible value exists in the options you spot and deliver.

Your service performance will leave an impression. Whether it is in an official capacity that is recognized as an action of service, or whether it is the opportunity option you decided to explore.

Without any options, service (or job performance) is simply accepted. It’s never really great.

-DEG

Creating great customer service may be more of an art than it is a task. It is why I wrote this book:

#custserv

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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ultimate meeting question

Ultimate Meeting Question, Have You Asked It?

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Have you asked the ultimate meeting question? Of course this question may take on various forms.

Does this meeting make sense?

Is the length of this meeting appropriate?

Are the right people at this meeting?

One common fallacy of the workplace meeting is that it was created when the belief was that the communication hasn’t been clear.

In other words, we haven’t been communicating well enough so let’s have a meeting.

From my experiences most organizations believe that they have room to improve when it comes to communication effectiveness. They often don’t know exactly how to pursue improvement, but they believe that they would benefit from it.

If you have one dozen people in your organization, you can probably call for a staff meeting without significant disruption. Sure, you may have to pause the operation, but wrangling up a dozen people is different from fifty people or five thousand.

Ultimate Meeting Question

The evolution of meetings is often interesting. They start with good intentions. They always seem to make sense in the beginning, yet, across time things shift.

The original purpose of the meeting may change. People come and go, often excuses for absenteeism develops, and conversations often stray off subject.

The Zoom meeting has experienced exponential growth in the past 12 to 15 months. Has communication improved? Has it declined? Have new meetings been created? Are they both efficient and effective?

Are the meetings you attend stressful? Why, or why not?

Are the meetings you attend mandatory?

What is your ultimate meeting question? Have you asked it? Will you?

-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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Unfair, Is It More Of An Opinion Or Fact?

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An unfair advantage? Is fairness subjective or is it a fact?

People often learn something about fairness at an early age. The accuracy of what they learn may be questionable.

The older sibling gets new clothes, the younger may just get hand-me-downs. The older gets their own cell phone, laptop, or a later bedtime, is that fair? Who would you ask, the parents or one of the children? Would each child have a different view on what is fair?

What is fair in business? Should one business slow down or limit business to give another a chance to catch up?

Is it unfair for only one employee to be promoted when three other employees wanted the job?

What about workload? Does every employee have an equal amount of workload?

There is a scapegoat. The scapegoat is, “Life isn’t fair.”

Unfair

Perhaps if things work out the way you imagined, it seems fair. If things haven’t gone so well, it isn’t.

If fairness is a mindset and you feel disadvantaged, can you change your plight? Maybe someone else controls your vision of fairness? A boss, a rule, or a law.

It seems pretty clear that fairness is much more of an opinion than it is a fact.

It may be your opinion that the client should have chosen you. Was it fair, or are you just disappointed?

When you feel like you’ve worked harder for the promotion, put in longer hours, and sacrificed your family and friends along the way, only to get bumped out of the role by a new hire, was it fair? Would you like another chance to explain why you’re the best candidate?

If the hiring manager could only see what you offer more clearly, would he or she have made a different choice?

Fair or unfair may be nothing more than your point of view.

In most matters for your job, career, or workplace navigation fairness is subjective. When you feel things are unfair, try to view it from the other person’s perspective. The solution for how to do it better or different the next time is likely waiting for you there.

And that should be, fair enough.

-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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respectful behaviors

Respectful Behaviors Keep People Engaged

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Is your workplace filled with respectful behaviors? What are the perceptions or attitudes of designated leaders? Is it a good environment and culture?

There are rules everywhere, there is also a guideline for behaviors. Some of the rules and guidelines may be published and public. Some of them are unspoken but are a vibe that suggests the people who work here do it this way.

It becomes part of the culture. It is a sign post for visitors and guests.

Guidelines and Vibes

When you visit a friends house are you permitted to leave your shoes on? Do you eat or snack on the furniture? Are there pets and are they permitted on the furniture, on the kitchen table or countertops? What is the language and what do people wear?

When you go to work each day there is an assumed guideline. Your first day on the job, you know what you’ve been told but you really don’t have a vibe yet. You’re not completely comfortable while you observe, learn the ropes, and adapt.

One thing every employee or every guest has in common is that they all seek respect.

Respect is earned and it is a two-way street.

Respectful Behaviors

When you invite a guest into your home and strong-arm them with a culture that they are not comfortable with, they won’t be in a hurry to come back.

When you bring on new team members in the workplace there is a similar vibe. Sure, some will navigate the discomfort and adapt. They don’t mind too much if it isn’t too significant, yet everyone has their own personal threshold.

Having a designated position in your workplace may give you some authority. Your behaviors, how you treat people, and how you lead will determine if there is respect.

The simple act of respecting others first may give you the respect you seek.

The use of authority to solve a problem or push an agenda is typically not considered to be a two-way street. It is my way or the highway.

Authority is important. It is seldom an indicator of mutual 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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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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