Tag Archives: workplace

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describing culture

Describing Culture Gets Easier Once You Understand

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What is the culture of your organization or team? Is it well defined and can you easily explain it to others? Describing culture may have its challenges, but if you can’t identify what it is no one else will understand either.

People often want the short version. The short story. Sum it up for us because we don’t have much time.

Yet we would seldom laugh at a joke told if we were only told the punchline.

Interests and Understanding

People seem to be most interested when they like something.

They’ll discuss their hobbies, their quest for a new or remodeled home, a new car, or an elaborate vacation. They’re interested because they like it.

Not everyone may like what they like. Someone may believe you buy a car and run it until it does, a different person may believe that you should always trade it in within a two-year window.

It’s true for hobbies, vacations, and the choices made for what you call home.

Not everyone agrees, yet most people can respect why it might be important to someone.

What about your workplace culture, can you describe it?

Describing Culture

It isn’t always about trying to make someone believe what you believe. Sometimes it is about making them see what you are seeing.

Once others see it, they have a new choice. A choice to believe. Even if it isn’t their thing, they may be able to feel it. That is where the belief begins.

Shaping a culture is visionary. It is often fluid; it twists and morphs across time. It’s probably not exactly what is written in the strategic plan, it is probably not exactly what is illustrated in the company video.

You can tell it to everyone. Tell them what it is and how it will be.

Yet, what they feel will become what they believe.

If you’re going to have the culture that you desire, you’re going to have to work on understanding what the people of that culture feel. What they feel begins with what they see.

It’s not about the formal description. It’s not some fancy words, some clever jargon, or the video on the website.

You can suggest a joke is funny. Telling someone to laugh at the punch line doesn’t mean that it is.

-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 efficiencies

Workplace Efficiencies Are Different From Being Busy

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Efficient work is important work. Workplace efficiencies are not synonymous with being busy or productive.

Often when you ask someone, “How is business?”

They will respond with, “Busy.”

A similar response may be received for, “How was your day?”

Does Busy Matter?

People are busy. The workplace hustle keeps everyone on their toes. Whether you are WFH (Working from Home) or working in a more conventional setting, busy feels good.

There are variations of busy.

I’ve processed 100 email messages this morning.

It’s hard to get anything done with so many interruptions.

Today feels slow, but I’m staying busy.

None of these mean that you are working efficiently, or that you are productive.

Unknowingly, some organizations develop a culture of busy. In a culture of busy, work is often measured by motion. Who or what appears to be energized and active? When motion is observed, they’re busy.

This makes managing in remote or WFH settings even more interesting. What was once gauged as productive and efficient is now unknown. Although in reality, it may have never been known and certainly not efficient or productive.

Workplace Efficiencies

In service sectors, anything from Healthcare, to wedding planning, to pet sitting, efficiency matters. While you may be efficient, you may not be productive.

The dog walker may be efficient when taking your pet for a stroll, but productive may mean they can walk two or three dogs at a time.

Running a smooth operation means you need to be more than busy. It means that you should be efficient, but also highly productive.

Doing rework, work with a lot of motion but not going anywhere, or efficiencies that lack scale, are not necessarily productive.

Maybe we should change the answer.

How is business?

Productive.

-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 red light

Workplace Red Light, Green Light, and Your Goals

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Have you ever played red light, green light? It’s a real thing, a game of sorts. Children often become acquainted with it. Are you playing workplace red light, green light?

The project suddenly gets approval and it is game on. A full green light. In what feels like only moments later, the project is stopped.

It is sometimes true for the marketing campaign, product development, and a new theory on the best way to support customer needs.

Going full speed, and then slamming on the brakes. Starts and stops.

Have you ever experienced this?

Business and People

It seems to be a thing with both business and people.

People experience it when trying to improve by using new habits. It happens with diets, exercise routines, and even with structured learning. You can’t leave out commitments for time, relationships, and even family.

Green lights often turn red.

Commitment and dedication may come to mind.

Are you committed to your personal goals? On the job, in the workplace, or for your career, are you committed?

Starts and stops are part of how you successfully make it to the finish line.

Starts can be exhilarating and stops can be difficult.

Workplace Red Light

It doesn’t change the goal. Achieving the goal means you have to abide by the rules. The rules state that you must start over if you keep moving on a red light.

Workplace red light, green light, means that you are listening, paying attention, and focused. The on and off, and then on again may feel painful at times but the goal is still to make it to the finish line.

For your job or career, you must know and understand your finish line. The game of red light, green light, is just an obstacle along the way.

Play it right and you won’t have to start over.

-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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quiet monsters

Helping Quiet Monsters Get Tame

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Do you know where the quiet monsters are lurking? Chances are, there is at least one in every workplace.

It isn’t always intentional. Some people just don’t know what they don’t know.

Behaviors, actions, or in-actions are unrecognized, not thoughtful, or disrespectful. Honestly, some people just don’t get. And, of course, there are some that are intentional.

Navigating difficult personalities in the workplace is nothing new. Any time you have two or more people working together you’re going to have conflict.

Conflict is natural, and can even be healthy if it is well managed.

What about the passive aggressive person, or that person that simply doesn’t want to cooperate? There are plenty of quiet monsters lurking everywhere.

Some people are hoarders. They hoard work, hoard information, and work to protect everything and anything that they feel gives them an advantage.

There is the person who dodges work. Avoids meetings, comes in late, and spreads rumors.

There are needy people. People who believe that work is about occupying the space and being social. They lack skills and waste time.

The list can be long.

Quiet Monsters

One of the most fundamental aspects of navigating difficult personalities is to recognize up front that you likely won’t change the person. However, you can change your reaction to their behaviors.

In some cases, a change in how others interact will prompt a change for the difficult person. Good role models and strong leaders immediately come to mind.

For the difficult personality, you can tell on them. You can tell the boss, complain to others, and share in the misery. Yet, that won’t do much to change your plight.

Sometimes the best thing to ask yourself is, “How is my behavior contributing to this situation?”

The psychology of work can be challenging to understand and even harder to master. A one size fits all approach will seldom work.

In order to tame the beast, you’re going to have to adjust how you interact or contribute.

-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 seniority

Workplace Seniority Has Lost Its Appeal

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Does workplace seniority matter? It seems that like a fairy tale, once upon a time it did.

There are as many flavors of job promotion philosophy as there are Baskin-Robbins ice cream, and then some.

Certainly, labor unions may have something to say about it. Aside from any organized labor structure what is the vibe on seniority in the workplace?

Is it a thing, or is it gone?

Organizational Purpose

Let’s get really clear. Whatever organization you work for, it is probably not in business to see that you get a promotion.

Employees are valuable. I’ve written many times about the importance of the human side of work. Workplace culture exists because of the collective psychology of work. It is always based on members of the group. It’s a human thing.

The importance of caring for organization members is vital, yet, can it be taken for granted?

Google doesn’t sell cellular phones because they are in the search engine business.

Dell doesn’t sell PC’s because they are trying to provide value for an accounting software package.

John Deere doesn’t sell new tractors because they are a collector’s item.

It is important for every employee to remember why they are there.

I’m fortunate to speak with many mid-level organization employees. Many of them are frustrated with their career.

My first question often is, “What do you want to do for your career?” And the response often is, “I’m not sure.”

It’s not unusual to not be sure. It is unusual to excel to greater levels when you are not.

In fact, by today’s standards, it may be unusual to keep your current position if you expect a permanent status quo.

Workplace Seniority

Many employees grow stale and stagnate while they expect the organization to take care of them. Yes, years of service matter, and yes, long-term contributions matter.

Yet, the organization is not in business to see to it that there is always a path forward for the employee. The path forward is about business. While these lines may occasionally cross, there typically are no guarantees.

Often the best thing you can do for your career is to figure what you want to do and what matters most for you personally. Then figure out how that knowledge and those skills can provide value to a business.

You may have to re-tool. Gain new skills, repackage yourself, and show a different kind of value.

Just because you have been around for a while, doesn’t mean that it is owed to you.

That is just a fairy tale.

-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 shift

Workplace Shift and the Forces of Change

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Change isn’t always about a choice. Chances are great you’ve experienced a workplace shift. How you choose to navigate the forces of change will have something to do with the outcome.

For hundreds of years or more, humans have been expanding their communities.

Communities once invested in rail service to bring desirable change to the people of a town. It formed a connection.

They built pathways, roads, and bridges. If not a bridge, then a raft, a canoe, or a boat. They have successfully linked people through transportation and technology.

Change is always happening around us. Sometimes change is a choice, in other cases the only choice is how you’ll choose to react to change.

Workplace change has both external and internal forces.

Change Forces

Externally we can be forced to change by technology, government regulations, and the conditions of the economy. Even popular values, social needs, and a pandemic.

Inside the walls of the organization change may happen because of leadership directives, workforce demographics, and performance failures.

It doesn’t take much to spark a workplace shift.

Workplace Shift

A choice that everyone has is connected to how he or she will respond to the shift.

When you think of the shift that is happening now in your workplace is there an opportunity to connect? Can you connect the people with the process or establish a more meaningful connection with the customer?

More often than not, when a connection is formed everyone benefits.

Change is an opportunity for enhancing the right connections. It may not make sense by rail, by boat, or by plane, but it still may make sense.

Force can launch a shift, and the opportunity created by the shift can also launch a force.

It seems that opportunity in change is still about choice.

-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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building workplace culture

Building Workplace Culture Takes Time

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Every organization has it, and it wasn’t built overnight. It’s difficult to know exactly where it started, and it is never finished. Building workplace culture is a fluid process, not one single event.

You assume everyone knows. You assume everyone is on the same page. Is it true?

What is Culture?

Culture is different from environment. Culture is not about the lighting, the color of the paint, or the size of the leather chair. It’s not about break rooms with X-Box, or fruit and vegetable offerings instead of candy bars.

People often confuse workplace environment with culture. While they may cross paths, they really are quite different.

Culture is has something to do with the rules of the game. It is the language, the tone, and the demonstrations of role models. You can describe the culture you want, yet it will still largely form on its own.

Actions and reactions will guide culture. Tolerance, or a lack of it, will play a part. And yes, in some ways the physical environment will either support or detract from the path of culture.

Money probably doesn’t buy culture, yet it may become a part of it.

Culture is about a vibe. It is about what you see, what you value, and what you believe. It involves socially accepted norms.

The big picture of culture is often hard to describe. You often feel it before you can see it.

Building Workplace Culture

The government has a culture, so does General Motors, Harley Davidson, and SpaceX. Institutions of higher education have a culture, and so does the family restaurant down the road, and the hardware store across the street.

Every person, every day, contributes. It shifts and people navigate. Everyone plays a role.

Sometimes the hard part about a plan to build a culture is that the plan itself becomes an obstacle.

A plan to fall love can’t really be built, it develops.

Its similar with culture. You can love the idea of what you want it to feel like, but it always takes its own shape.

You’re a part of it.

Do your part.

-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 robots

Workplace Robots and the Human Factor

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Hiring a robot may be a smart choice. Hiring humans to serve as workplace robots has some challenges.

What do you need from your workforce?

It seems that work always trickles down. An entrepreneur starts by doing it all, or at least, most of it. If she is successful, she starts to delegate the easier assignments.

Most organizations are structured in a similar manner. Labor intensive or low interest, repetitive tasks get shoved off to the lower levels.

Not that this doesn’t make sense, it does. However, what are employees or contractors expecting?

Gig Economy Workers

Many gig economy workers expect something for their thoughts or creative talents. Design and develop a website, create a new brand logo, or serve as a social media expert. Help us with marketing and sales, use your talents, and delight the customer.

What about part time or full-time employees? What are their expectations?

Many businesses face cultural challenges. The job opportunities that they have or require are often not attractive to job seekers.

When the organization needs someone to put something inside the box and seal it with tape and nothing more is required what do you get?

If you replace the word someone with a robot you have a solution.

Workplace Robots

Organizations sometimes wonder why they have a difficult time with on-boarding.

Society has suggested that people should do what they love.

Use your brain they said. Do something creative they said. Follow your heart they said.

One company won’t change society, yet one company can change its culture.

When the culture suggests that human beings should show up and do only the minimum requirements that are expected, then that is what they’ll get.

You’re not paid to think, you’re paid to put the product in the box and seal it with tape.

It often creates the feeling of, the company doesn’t care about me so I don’t care about the company.

Robots have a place, don’t expect humans to be robots.

-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 work space

Workplace Work Space What Matters Most

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Has your workplace work space been disrupted? Many have just experienced a big shock with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some believe it is what they’ve always dreamed of (social distancing) and others believe it is the beginning of the end.

Working from Home

Work from home. That’s the dream many people believe.

It might seem appealing. Dress in your pajama’s, sip on some coffee, look out the window and turn on the television. However, real work needs to get done or your appealing lap of luxury will come to an end quickly.

While the idea of social distancing and even solitude may seem appealing, for most that only lasts a few days. Then the idea of not communicating and interacting with fellow employees seems a bit problematic or even uncomfortable.

Workplace Work Space

What matters most for your work space?

Is it the plant on the window seal? The lighting, not too bright, but just enough? Does it have something to do with your chair, desk, or a standing workstation?

You can create an environment that physically represents the best you can do with what you have.

Don’t forget though, that how you will interact with others is going to ultimately matter. In fact, it may matter the most.

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean anti-social. In fact, the stimulation of people working together for a common cause can create a lot of energy.

What matters most may not be something you’ve dreamed about for many years. It may be something you’ve taken for granted all along.

-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 meetings

Workplace Meetings And The Big Takeaway

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People who join the conference are often curious about the takeaway. In workplace meetings, leaders are interested in the key points. What you takeaway is as important at what you bring.

The hope is that you enter the meeting prepared to be engaged. You’re curious about the key points, what you should remember, and why.

Most people attending are thinking about the information that they are about to receive. They’re sizing up the mood, the feeling, and the intensity.

There may be a joke, some laughter, and some anxiety. A sense of urgency, seriousness, or concern.

Retention Rate

Knowledge transfer has a retention rate. The rate is greater only three hours after the meeting as compared with three days. When it comes to weeks, months, or even years, the retention grows even smaller.

Worse, sometimes the retention is changed. It is the big fish story. The embellished version of what was really said.

If you are present and contributing what do you want people to remember about the meeting? Does it matter what color of shirt you wore? Will your behavior, gestures, or body language leave a lasting impression?

Sometimes what we have to offer, the information or the learning we intend to exchange, gets lost. It gets lost because our focus is on what we want to share instead of what we want to be remembered.

Workplace Meetings

Creating the big takeaway requires appropriate planning. It is suggested in the beginning, compelling during the middle, and reiterated at the end.

The best thing about workplace meetings is not when they are over. The best thing is about the opportunity you have to create or inspire change.

If your meeting reads like a dictionary not much will be remembered. Not because it is not valuable but because the expectation is that you’ll always have a place to look it up.

Information exchange is not about blurting it out, it is about the craft of creating retention.

-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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