Appreciative Strategies helps businesses stay fresh

Though a place of comfort, the most dangerous thing a business can do is remain stagnant, according to Dennis Gilbert, of Appreciative Strategies LLC.

Since 2007, Gilbert has worked with a multitude of organizations to develop their workforce and develop strategies for improving their functioning.

“Businesses, of any kind, are usually looking for that spark, that motivation of why should we change,” he said. “I help them discover where to go, I don’t tell them where to go.”

Gilbert got his start as a computer programmer where he led a $35-million-per-year technology business.

“I had learned a lot about business through them, which was a great experience,” he said.

Then he worked for Pennsylvania College of Technology in an administrative role, where he led training groups. Eventually Gilbert moving forward into developing his own business around consultation.

Today, he is an author and certified public speaker through the National Speakers Association. Utilizing five books, most recently #CustServ: The customer service culture, he travels throughout the country to speak to businesses and strategize for long-term goals.

“(Employers) want people that can help them see the positivity, to making a difference, to make some kind of change,” he said.

Many employees are worried that any changes will affect their job security, but the change is necessary to stay competitive and thereby keep their job, said Gilbert.

For example, those in the healthcare industry, such as nursing homes, may need to adapt quickly to anticipate or adjust to new regulations.

“I’ll help businesses think differently, and open their minds to new opportunities,to make changes and decisions, through strategy and strategic planning,” he said.

Gilbert examines what those in the industry call SWAT, or strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. All business naturally have areas where they are strong, but Gilbert said they should work to improve their workforce by developing it.

Another aspect of Appreciate Strategies is working with young clients to take over a business, in what he calls succession coaching, which is common in more rurally adjusted areas such as Williamsport.

“We’re helping someone more junior grow up in the organization to take over a senior position and become the new CEO,” he said.

These type of maneuvers are more common in smaller sized “mom and pop stores,” said Gilbert.

Whatever the future goals may be however, now may be the time to implement a strategy to achieve them. When the economy is doing well, businesses of all sorts have the opportunity and available resources to invest in new ways to become competitive, said Gilbert.

“Change is somewhat of an overused word, but that’s the brutal truth of the day,” he said. “There are some people who get hurt in that boom, but largely, the clients that I see are feeling pretty optimistic about it.”

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