Tag Archives: workplace

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Career futures

Career Futures Are Important Today

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In finance we’ve heard of the term, futures. What about career futures? How is what you’re doing today connected with tomorrow?

Careers last a long time. For many people, somewhere around forty-five to fifty years. Recognize, that is a half-century.

Much can happen across the course of a career. Economic changes, societal changes, and even changes in your self-interest.

You may go through periods of time where you have different monetary needs, work-life balance needs, and different expectations of job roles and duties.

It is always the challenge on the outside looking in. Wondering why or how what you are doing right now will impact your future.

Honestly, it is easy to get comfortable and complacent.

Learning for the Future

Many college students struggle to see why they are required to improve writing skills when they are not going to be a writer. Why there is a foreign language requirement when you are not planning to work in a different country. Once upon a time, typing was considered a secretarial duty, “Why should we learn how to type?”

The answer is easy, futures.

It may not always be a matter of now. It is more about a matter of when.

It is not just about students, education, or college.

It is happening right now, in your career.

Career Futures

People fail to make connections or build relationships. They skip on building a LinkedIn profile because they believe that it is only for job seekers. When there are opportunities to learn more about their job, they’ll pass them up, because, well, they already have it so there is no need to impress.

Then something changes.

The economy shifts, the business shifts, things grow or decline. Businesses are bought and sold. Leadership changes and so does the mission and vision.

Suddenly, they are not the right fit and there is nowhere to turn.

Why?

Because they haven’t paid attention to their career futures.

Managing the Future Today

Managing the future aspect of your career is simple. When you need to tap deep into addition resources, you must already have the resource, not start trying to build it or collect it only when the need arises.

All of your learning, growing, and being committed will matter. Career futures allow little tolerance for coasting.

You’ll need to be prepared for change.

The only unknown is, when.

-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 complacency

Workplace Coasting Is a Downhill Slide

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Is workplace coasting dangerous? It definitely may be a downhill slide.

Statistics show us that motivation and engagement drop drastically after the first six months on the job. That slide continues until about year six, seven, or eight, when somewhat surprisingly things start to pick up.

Of course, it is a stat, and not applicable to everyone.

Caught in a Trap

There is a trap. A trap connected to comfort and complacency.

Eventually, many people find themselves just trying to make it through each day. They show up, get some stuff done, and coast.

Certainly, they don’t always recognize that they are coasting. Their belief often is that they are making appropriate contributions. They insist they are committed and working hard.

In some ways, they might be. Yet, in other ways, they may really be coasting.

Workplace Coasting

Stretch a conversation about commitment and complacency far enough and you’ll find people who insist that their continued commitment outweighs any coasting.

I come in fifteen minutes early every day so I also leave fifteen minutes early.

What’s in the break room for breakfast? I’m hungry this morning?

Let’s find a conference to go to. I need a few days out of the office.

Harmless norms? Harmless, yes, in simple terms they probably are. Norms, I’m not so certain.

Nothing wrong with some flex scheduling, yet, often the flex becomes more favorable to the employee instead of the business.

Breakfast, as a general rule, should be consumed before the start of your work shift. Not used as an excuse to stall on the work that awaits you.

Conferences largely should be about employee or business development. Not a mini-vacation on the company dime.

These may all be considered forms of coasting. Just cruising along. Getting by.

Coasters Surprise

Often coasting is met with a surprise. The company is bought, sold, or now under new management. Jobs are changing. People are being rearranged. Perhaps a time of growth, or worse, a time of decline.

This is when coasters get burned.

While they were coasting others continued to peddle.

Life or careers don’t always seem fair.

Keeping peddling because coasting will only take you downhill.

-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 reciprocity

Workplace Reciprocity is Connected to Friendships

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Do you have friends at work? Many would quickly suggest that they do. Is workplace reciprocity the real force behind your connections?

We start to develop the basics of reciprocity at a very young age.

You give me your best Pokemon card and I’ll give you one of mine.

You pony tail my hair and I’ll pony tail yours.

Let’s switch bikes. You ride mine and I’ll ride yours.

All grown up and navigating a career many people carry the concept of reciprocity along with them. Everything is done, or not, with the expectation of reciprocity.

Transparency is great buzz word. People throw around the idea of being transparent as many times as they hit the coffee station before noon.

Are your friends at work really transparent? Do you know what their motives are? Are they genuine or more self-serving?

Workplace Reciprocity

Much of our success can be attributed to our relationships.

Make friends with the boss and she’ll help you get ahead. Make more contacts, always be friendly and kind, then people will refer you.

Relationships matter but the real question is, “Are they authentic?”

It may all circle back to the concept of reciprocity. What do you have that I want? What leverage can I build from our relationship?

Funny the values or techniques we develop in childhood. Funnier still how adulthood finds us not too far away from the earliest concepts we learned.

Build relationships and make good friends. Keep in mind that business will always be business.

-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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team sprint

Does Your Team Sprint at the Beginning?

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We’re always running against the clock. When is the best time for a team sprint?

A glance at the clock often feels counter intuitive for effectiveness.

If we are hurried, we’re going to give up something in quality. The notion is that corners will be cut to allow the box to get checked in the same amount of time.

Makes sense. There is a good chance this is often true.

It is also often true that we coast into the project. Then we only sprint if we must. Ultimately, we often end up hurried at the end.

Motivation Comes from Sprinting

Some people may argue that a sprint motivates, energizes, and excites.

You may hear:

I do my best work under pressure.

Why worry, there is still lots of time.

If we get in a jam, we’ll bring on some part-timers or interns.

Have you heard any of these arguments?

Team Sprint

Let’s assume for a moment that you buy into the concept that sprinting works for motivation, increased energy, and more excitement.

Shouldn’t we sprint at the beginning not at the end?

This may not apply for the runner’s marathon, but in your workplace imagine if you sprinted at the beginning, walked at the end, and finished before the project is due?

Is that a better position to be in?

Imagine if you didn’t have much to worry about as the deadline approached? What if you didn’t have to hire more help or could save on overtime costs?

Is that a healthier workplace culture?

When do you prefer to sprint?

If there is going to be a sprint, I suggest you get a good start.

-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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Easy change

Easy Change May Be Only a Workplace Dream

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Are you expecting an easy change? Are your expectations realistic? What is the biggest challenge?

People are always trying to create buy-in for their point of view or path. They often view their way as the best, the only, and of course, obviously, the correct path.

Being Correct

We see it in politics. One side has a set of values and beliefs, the other side differs.

Businesses spend precious hours debating change.

There are even two sides to probable outcomes from a debate.

One side suggests that a lack of debate leads to complacency, so we must debate. The other side suggests that debates only create winners and losers so be cautious of your approach to entertaining debates among teams.

Who is correct?

Easy Change

The CEO often urges middle management, “Go get buy-in for this change!” How do you create buy-in? Do you tell people what to think?

Leadership may mean telling a story. Bringing the situation to life. Allowing for reflection which promotes experiential learning. This act of telling can be very compelling.

Did someone say it was easy?

Certainly, it depends somewhat on the circumstances. We have a lot of small scale change each day. So small it probably goes unnoticed. It’s the big changes that throw up flags.

Getting buy-in for change often starts with belief. It may be the belief that it is necessary. The belief that it will make things better. In nearly all cases, the best belief is that it will work.

Change gets easier when the path is clearer. The path to any great accomplishment starts with belief.

The hardest part of change may be changing minds.

-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 generosity

Workplace Generosity and What It Means for the Team

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If asked, could you honestly suggest that there is generosity in your team? Workplace generosity is often suggested as a core value, but what actually occurs may be something different.

Generosity is an interesting aspect of organizational culture.

Giving Culture

Many people believe that every day they are giving. Giving, giving, and more giving, but never receiving in a reciprocal manner or amount.

This is the first fallacy of generosity. Generosity is about giving first, and not expecting something in return.

People can give in many ways. Most of them are not monetary.

We can give our attention and be a good listener. We may give new ideas or give valuable advice. In some cases, we are even giving respect, transparency, and appropriate consideration for others contributions.

These are all generous aspects of your culture.

Workplace Generosity

Do you view your teams as being generous? Are they giving on a supportive and emotional level? Are they keeping commitments and are they authentic?

Reciprocity is a nice compliment to generosity, yet if reciprocity is expected it changes the value.

When the cultural value is giving without reciprocity, and everyone participates, it seems that giving comes naturally and reciprocity may simply be a residue from the effort.

Be sure you’re using the correct labels. Generosity does not mean reciprocity. Reciprocity has an exchange expectation.

If generosity is your goal, give without conditions. Most of all, stay consistent and carry out the values that you are suggesting.

Your employee teams will thank you for it.

-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 heroes

Workplace Heroes Can Leap Tall Objects

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People spend enormous amounts of time waiting. Waiting for a change in the weather, waiting for their accumulated vacation, and often, waiting for workplace heroes to take charge.

Instead of waiting you always have an option. The option is for action.

Nearly every axis, of every chart, has a relevant coordinate or scale for time. Time is the universal metric.

How many donuts can be made per hour?

How many customers served this month?

What does sales revenue look like this quarter?

And so, some choose to wait. They wait to see. They wait to see if the superhero will appear.

Waiting for Superheroes

It is often because people are conditioned to wait.

They wait for an answer from the boss, wait until the next meeting to bring up the problem, or wait for the customer to appear.

The truth is that it may be your responsibility for taking action, not waiting.

What happens next in your workplace is driven by culture.

Your organizational culture is created by many gestures, acts, and behaviors. Add them all up, across time, and you’ll have the vibe and pulse of the organization.

Who are the superheroes?

Workplace Heroes

Perhaps it is your next action that will create something magical. It will make the difference to leap over the obstacle or start a movement that inspires someone else to do so.

Superman may have changed his clothes in a phone booth before activating his super powers.

You don’t have to.

You just have to stop waiting.

-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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authenticity

Your Authenticity in the Workplace

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People grow tired of fake fast. At least, on the surface this seems like a reasonable statement. Authenticity in your job or for your career may matter more than you realize.

Is your brand promise authentic? What about your value proposition? In the job interview are you faking it, to make it?

Real or Faux?

Once upon a time the wooden dashboard in most automobiles was converted to plastic. Plastic with the look of wood grain.

There are vegan chocolate chip cookies. How are they different from the real thing?

We even have Impossible Whoppers and there are some emerging chicken nuggets or boneless chicken wings that contain no chicken.

Why?

In all of these cases the product is design to simulate something else. A fake, an imitation, and arguably not authentic. Are they as good as the real thing?

There are people who ride stationary bikes. Some argue, “Why would I want to do that?” The same is true for the treadmill, stair climbers, or video simulation. Are these products authentic or faux, and if so, in what way?

Authenticity Reality

There is a battle for the creation and production of items that simulate a real thing. The desire is to get it as close to the real thing as possible. Make the experience the same, while the truth is different.

It is either the blessing or the curse of imitation.

The burger, chocolate chip cookie, or treadmill may not be the same experience as what people are expecting.

It leaves the door open for the greatest value of all.

Authenticity.

An automobile with real wood, probably expensive, but some will argue worth it. Some people want to cycle outdoors, with real hills, valley’s, and sunshine, not a simulation. Plenty will suggest that if vegan is so good, why all of the imitation?

For the purpose of your work and for the purpose of your career, authenticity may be the difference between high value or lousy imitation.

Accepting a fake seems okay, sometimes, yet it is never as good as the real thing.

-DEG

Interested in leadership, communication, or workplace coaching as it relates to authenticity? Read more…

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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exciting workplace change

Exciting Workplace Change Means Energy

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Things are going to change. Are you experiencing exciting workplace change?

A few months to a couple of years into your job and you may face boredom. The monotony of the day in, day out, repeated over and over again across time. Enthusiasm and energy often decline.

Many people have a favorite movie or a favorite song. They watch or listen to it many times. Eventually, nothing changes and the great hit is still a great hit but they need something new.

Everything you do on the job probably has a reason. It has a specific outcome that is necessary to create the product or provide a service that is of great value.

Is the team motivated? Are they engaged? Why is the energy of the new employee so high?

We know there is often apprehension about change. The fear of the unknown or the fear of future outcomes.

Will my job be eliminated?

What if I don’t like things this way?

I’m not sure this way will work.

Exciting Workplace Change

Changing just for the sake of change may not be the best idea. At the same time though, staying exactly the same until boredom sets in may be problematic.

Do you think things in society, technology, and perhaps even in values and beliefs are changing? Have you found yourself believing, “Everything in the World around us is changing.”

Could it be true?

One thing is probably always true. The longer we stay exactly the same the riskier our work becomes.

-DEG

Change, focus, and persistence, just a few of the reasons why I wrote this book. Grab your copy on Amazon.

Pivot and accelerate

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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beyond monochrome

Beyond Monochrome It’s a Different World

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Do you see everything in black and white? Is the light on or off? Is it day or night? Once we’ve moved beyond monochrome things quickly become much more subjective.

In the mid-1980’s I was a computer programmer. Jokingly, I often ask people to not hold that against me. Largely, I loved my job. In the future, my path became much different.

Much has changed since my monochrome coding days.

Simple as Black and White

Back in the day you wrote code mostly using either Amber or Green monochrome screens.

The ability to understand how to make a single alphabetic character or numeral appear on the screen was a big accomplishment. When you could write code to draw a box on the screen you had highly advanced skills in the audience of most people.

While things seemed more complex, they were actually simpler. Choices were limited and people readily accepted the ability of the technology to do volumes of work previously unable to be accomplished in a timely manner by human personnel.

There wasn’t the argument over which tone of blue you were using. Nobody wanted their picture cleaned up before using it in the software application. Security was only about not giving someone your password. Simple.

Beyond Monochrome

Today it is a lot more complex. Everything is much more subjective.

This change is probably good, yet it is not without controversy. The improvements help bring our World to life, provide more meaning, and add more value.

It all costs. It costs us to learn the important skills of collaboration and conflict management. We have to communicate better, be more efficient and at the same time discover deeper forms of patience.

Opinions are often offered, not out of an attempt to be difficult, but because we have options.

Monochrome feels nice until we experience and appreciate life on the other side.

-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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