Tag Archives: workplace

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idea celebration

Idea Celebration Is Better Than Squashing

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Idea celebration is one way to elevate the good stuff to the priority list. What are you or your team doing with new ideas?

At the start of the brainstorming meeting, someone suggests that no idea is a bad idea. When the chips are down and the next path is hard to locate, you search. If the competition rises up and puts a stake in some new ground you wonder why you didn’t think of it first.

What happens in your team with new ideas?

Idea Celebration

It seems like finding the reasons why it won’t work is the mission objective for some. Every idea is quickly met with the discussion of catastrophes from the past and a clever pitch about the connections to this new suggestion.

Problems are often managed in a similar fashion. For some, it feels more exciting to drown over the impacts of failure rather than spend energy on the possibility of a viable solution.

Solutions are not always perfect. New ideas are not without risk.

What if at the start of the brainstorming meeting there is a focus on celebrating every new idea?

The idea doesn’t always be put to the test at the first whimper of its mention. Perhaps let it simmer for a while, allow it to occupy some space, and consider why it will work instead of why it won’t.

New ideas often gain traction, or they don’t, based on belief.

The group dynamics of belief are powerful. They often grow over time. Some will grow in the spirit of support. Some will grow in the spirit of being against.

Fence-sitters often wait to jump in. They often weigh the risk as being greater for likability than the merit of the idea itself.

Maybe it is time to stop looking for why not and start supporting something different.

It may be an idea worth celebrating.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. 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 stall

Workplace Stall Is Often Where It Begins

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What does it take to keep moving? Does forward motion carry too much risk or is it really just a workplace stall?

There are always risks associated with action. There are also risks associated with inaction. Which one creates change?

The easy answer is, both.

A better question is, which one costs more?

Delay or Stall?

Waiting on the proper weather pattern before launching the SpaceX rocket isn’t really a stall. It is a necessary action in order to create success.

The same is true for a cake baking in the oven, a watermelon growing in the field, or the traffic light that is glowing red. Likely, none of these represent a stall.

Stalling is more of a form of procrastination.

Maybe it would be better to wait until tomorrow.

Next week I start my diet.

There is still a lot of time to finish the project.

Are you guilty of the workplace stall?

Workplace Stall

Workplace stalling is more than a waste of precious time. It often allows other inferior work to continue to occur in the meantime. In many cases, the opportunity window may close.

Managers often stall when faced with employees needing performance improvement guidance. They stall because of the fear of conflict or because they are unsure of future outcomes.

Advertising teams often stall because they claim that they want to get the creative right. Someone needs to write copy, direct the photo shoot, or double check with the client.

People stall with continuing education, they stall with committing to a new car purchase, or they just can’t seem to find the time to schedule the dentist appointment.

Sometimes the invented roadblocks that create the stall are really about to cause something to begin.

It may be the beginning of the end.

There is a cost of both action and inaction.

Stalling often costs more.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. 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 wait

Workplace Wait and the Consequences that Follow

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Have you experienced workplace wait? It’s when someone or everyone wants to follow a plan but they are waiting for something else to happen first.

We’re going to improve sales, as soon as we get a new sales manager.

Our quality is off, but next year we’re getting some new equipment.

We need to fix this, but let’s wait until the meeting next week to discuss how.

It happens all the time. You often forget that the period of wait has a price. And like it or not, the organization, the employees, and the customers are paying.

When the organization pays, everyone loses.

Perhaps in some cases, the cost is pushed to the customer. When the customer pays and the value is not recognized, eventually, the organization loses.

Enough pressure on the organization and the employees lose.

What are you waiting for?

Workplace Wait

Opportunity cost matters, everyone gets it. There are also costs associated with trust and value for the customer.

Are there team trust issues?

Join our team, next year you’ll get a promotion.

As soon as we close two more deals, we’re going to buy everyone a new laptop to improve productivity.

We know the shipping department is in shambles but there is nothing we can do until sales improve.

The wait is sometimes really just a stall. It puts a blanket over the problem, covers things up, and creates a future based largely on hope.

Hope often has a timeline. Left unchecked and the people begin to lose trust.

What are your plans?

Future Plans

Planning for the future matters. Forecasting future revenue, customers, and growth help build energy and excitement.

The future comes fast. There are expectations. Missed goals or shifting timelines can delay the forecast.

Sometimes people begin to feel like they’re waiting for nothing. It is a balancing act. A tight rope. Navigation is tricky. Trust and belief wane.

What is the cost of now?

The cost of now is sometimes less expensive than the cost waiting.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. 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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unrealized change

Unrealized Change is Always Connected to Opportunity

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“What’s new?” is a common way to strike up a conversation. A common answer, “Not much.” Yet unrealized change is happening all around you.

Thirty years ago, on or around this same calendar date, I got up, went through a brief morning routine of hygiene and breakfast, drove to my office, grabbed some coffee, and started writing code.

At that time, there wasn’t the internet as we know it today. We didn’t have cellular phones, at least not enough to speak about. And if I wanted to read something it probably started with a newspaper, magazine, or book. A real-to-life book, not a digital version.

This morning I got up, walked and fed the dog, popped a K-Cup in the Keurig, grabbed a cookie, and reported to my home office.

My home office is much more like a studio than an office of thirty years ago. Three high-definition cameras surround my workspace, complete with professional-grade shotgun microphones, three lights on tripods, and two-monitors plus one flat-screen TV all surrounding my workspace as I type.

Today I’ll visit one of my university partners while wearing a protective mask, sign some certificates of completion for the participants of an online leadership development training program, and return to my office by Noon.

My afternoon will be spent developing more programs, catching up on some accounting work, and preparing for the delivery of five programs across four days next week.

What’s new?

Not much.

Unrealized Change

I can’t imagine life without change.

People feel strained by what they refer to as information overload.

Many people who are under thirty years of age, the place where this story started, don’t plan to read anything other than the gibberish coming across their 3-inch by 4-inch cellular phone screen.

Much of the workforce won’t go to what might be referred to as a traditional workplace. A human virus plus technology collided and changed things nearly overnight.

More and more people are paid to interpret and dissect information and make decisions or take action based on what they’ve discovered from a digital device than ever before.

Cable television and digital streaming services pour content into homes and workplaces at speeds barely imagined just a few short years ago.

What is known is online shopping is a booming business while traditional retail largely struggles in decline. Thirty years ago, it was called a mail-order company, today its a staple of the economy.

Things are still changing.

Opportunity in Change

What is most useful may not be realizing the number of people you can touch in a single day. The distance that your message, your voice, or image can travel as you work with people in real-time across town, or across the country.

What may be most useful is to recognize the value of change and to determine how you will use it to improve the scope of your life and your work.

Arguably, the pace may have been slower thirty years ago.

So was the opportunity to make a difference.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. 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 beliefs

Do Workplace Beliefs Outweigh Documented Results?

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What are your workplace beliefs? Do you believe you and your team are doing your best work? Do believe in the quality, customer satisfaction, and the efficiencies of your goods or services?

Have you ever believed in something so strongly that you tend to ignore the facts?

People believe in many things.

Religion

Global Warming

Bigfoot

Aliens

Moon Landing

It only takes one of these to get people engaged in a discussion, and I haven’t even mentioned conspiracy theories, government transparency, and the age of the Great Sphinx of Giza.

Most beliefs are personal, that is why they are often said to be off-limits in the workplace or in mixed social settings. Religion and politics are two of the most commonly suggested to avoid.

Imagine a belief in any one thing. Imagine the belief to be so strong that you can’t see the facts, you deny the existence of evidence, and you push forward with your belief.

What effort or extremes might you go to in order to keep your belief alive?

Workplace Beliefs

Sometimes the missing element in the workplace is belief. Dreams are shattered, expectations squandered, and the future outlook appears to be more of the same.

Forcing people into a belief is unlikely at best.

It is compelling messages, forward motion, and the perception of evidence that help shape direction. Even when the data may illustrate something contrary to the belief.

You can present the facts, show the data, and tell the story. Personal commitment will always be based on belief.

People spend a lifetime trying to prove someone or something wrong. People spend a lifetime trying to prove something as correct.

Bring the documentation but it is not nearly as powerful as what each individual chooses to believe.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. 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 aggravation

Workplace Aggravation, Are You Creating More?

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How does your day start? Is it a mix of workplace aggravation? Are you a contributor?

Some people like to stir the pot. Ramp up the drama, or just get people negatively fired up.

They consciously or subconsciously want to create destructive tension. Sometimes the belief is that it is fun to aggravate people. In extreme cases it becomes a playful way of the culture.

It’s not a good thing.

Have you experienced this?

People may ask:

I wonder if Mark will leave early again today?

Has the boss made his micromanagement rounds yet this morning?

Did you notice Abigale is wearing flip-flops again today?

Will any of this launch the start of a positive outcome?

Unlikely.

Workplace Aggravation

These conversation starters don’t create connection or focus on anything positive. They add to the tension, build more stress, and work towards a cohesive environment of negativity.

Does the tension serve to create anything positive? Will it build something better for your customer or will it impact morale in a positive manner?

Are you adding to or detracting from negative tension?

Why do people want to stir the pot? Has it become part of the culture?

Building on Positivity

There are plenty of ways you can contribute negatively, and just as many ways to contribute with more positivity.

Our customers will love this.

I want to beat last week’s goal.

The new way is definitely better, it’s saving us a lot of time and wasted energy.

You have a choice about how you’ll contribute. Words are often used to create action and sometimes thoughtless words ignite anger, build negative tension, and derail positive performance.

Don’t waste anyone’s time.

Create something worthwhile.

-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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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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