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What picking blueberries teaches about teambuilding

Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in From Mark | Comments Off on What picking blueberries teaches about teambuilding

bucket-of-blueberries
Every once in a while there is a moment or experience that you know is a lesson that will last and have an impact in other areas of a child’s life and yesterday was a day to remember. My 9 year old son and I went to a local Blueberry farm to pick some blueberries so we could get some delicious fruit and enjoy an experience together.

We each got one bucket to fill and the women that owns the farm told us that the first few rows were picked heavily and that we should go to the end and start from there. After a few minutes my bucket was about 1/3 full and my sons was about ¼ full and I noticed that he stopped and put his bucket down to pick out the few unripe berries that made it into his bucket.

At this moment I knew there was an opportunity to teach a meaningful lesson.

Me: Evan, what are you doing?

Evan: Picking out the bad ones, why?

Me: Just curious, can I ask you a question though?

Evan: Sure.

Me: If you only focus on the few bad ones, what do you stop yourself from doing and finding?

Evan: umm….. (A few moments of silence and contemplation)…well, I won’t find any good ones because I am only looking for bad ones. He said this in a way that sought my approval but I was glad to see he understood his actions could determine different outcomes.

Me: So do you spend more time looking for as many good ones as you can find and then deal with the few bad ones or do you spend more time looking for bad ones and prevent yourself from finding the good ones?

Evan: (He is quiet and thinking) “I think I’ll just look for the good ones and try to avoid picking bad ones, but I know I’ll get a few anyway, and when I do, I’ll get rid of them but I think I’ll get more better ones if I look more for the good ones.

Me: This was a nice father and son moment for me so I asked. How does this approach apply to building a team?

Evan: Well…….if I only spend time looking for bad ones, I’ll never find any good ones and I’ll work just as hard as you but my bucket will be empty. “Dad, is this you do in business when you travel and talk with people?”

Me: In many ways yes.

Evan: Why don’t business people just learn to look for the good ones and fill their bucket, I mean team faster? It won’t take long before they’ll see the ones that are no good anyway.
Me: Thanks Evan.

Evan: For what?

Me: For coming here with me, talking, and picking blueberries. Do you think Mom will make you some blueberry muffins?

Evan: I hope so. I am going to ask here as soon as we get home. Can we go now?

When we got home, we spilled out our bucket on the counter top, and there were thousands of good berries and only a few bad ones which we quickly got rid of and now we have only good ones.

I have to say, I never would have thought that picking blueberries would allow me to have such a conversation with my 9 year old son. It was clear that he genuinely understood how you get more of what you look for in life. Whichever you spend more time looking for, the good or the bad, you’ll find an abundance of it.

What advice would you give to an individual who is just beginning his or her Maintenance career in the industry?

Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in From Mark | Comments Off on What advice would you give to an individual who is just beginning his or her Maintenance career in the industry?

Golf Cart2This industry gets in your blood and you’ll know if it is right for you within the first few months. Often industry veterans will say something along the lines of, “I can’t imagine working in any other industry” and the constant changes and variety of challenges can make it more unique, fun, and entertaining than anything else I have ever done.

When you are new to the industry there are few things to consider if you want to get ahead and increase the chances of success and how well you compliment the team and industry you have just joined. The industry is unique in many ways but the most simple and universal “must do” rules apply first. Be a few minutes early or at the very least on time every day. Some of the biggest impressions you will make will be during your first few weeks so make sure they are all good ones that employers and teams want and hope for in a new team member.

The first few will be your ability to consistently show up on time, how positive or negative your attitude is, and how you dress for work. All of these are a true reflection of the pride you have for yourself and the priority you put on working with your new team in a new industry.

Then, a little further in the beginning of your career your technical ability and willingness to learn will become a very large determining factor for your success. Are you willing and eager to learn new trades and take on tasks outside of your job description? If you are a hard worker with a positive attitude that constantly seeks to learn how to improve you will be a hot commodity and will always be in demand.

Find someone that will teach you and learn all you can while you figure your path in the industry. In my experience the people that are truly great in the industry will be more than willing to teach an eager student. If you take sincere pride in everything that you do and work to become a proficient an ambassador of the industry success will gravitate toward you. See you in the field!

Don’t wait until it is too late. Get Ice Melt BEFORE it is too late

Posted by on Dec 5, 2012 in From Mark | Comments Off on Don’t wait until it is too late. Get Ice Melt BEFORE it is too late

Don’t wait until it is too late. Get Ice Melt before a storm or snowfall is mentioned on the news. Even when the possibility of a storm is mentioned you can pretty much guarantee it will be difficult or impossible to get. Be Prepared.

 

Photos from Chicagoland Seminare at Maintenance Mania

Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 in From Mark | Comments Off on Photos from Chicagoland Seminare at Maintenance Mania

Here are some photos from the seminars at Maintenance Mania!

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151345912207425.530408.222406347424&type=1#!/pages/Service-Team-Training/222406347424

One class and a single question saved a Manager over $50,000.00

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in From Mark | Comments Off on One class and a single question saved a Manager over $50,000.00

Much more than $50,000.00

Why Property and Service Managers should go to Maintenance Training and why Supervisors don’t always make the best trainers.

Last week I was teaching an HVAC certification class and was very glad to see that a Manager came to get her certification so she could learn more about how the service side of her property works and get HVAC certified. During class she wanted to know if she could ask me a question that was not really related to this class specifically but it was an HVAC question so of course I said “sure”.

Her question was, “Is it true that you have to replace all of the HVAC systems every 15 years?”. I was a little surprised to be asked that by a Manager but at the same time very grateful she asked and could get an answer that would save a lot of time, money, and headaches. So, after a brief pause of surprise, I asked her why she asked the question and where she got that information. She said “My Maintenance Supervisor told me that every 15 years you are required to replace all of the HVAC systems and since ours are almost that old we need to start budgeting to replace all of them over the next few years”. She indicated that he had already begun replacing the HVAC systems on a consistent scheduled basis since last year but since the cost was so high she thought she’d ask me “just to make sure”.

After getting some more information, it became glaringly obvious why her property had unnecessarily high expenses. Unfortunately it was all due to a Supervisor with industry experience, but not much knowledge and skill in the HVAC trade. He was passing this inaccurate information on as well as other misinformation regarding repairs and maintenance expenses.  What was more revealing was this Manager expressed how little interest the Maintenance Supervisor had in attending training, which was at the core of this entire problem.

I can say that in my travels and experience I have come across many others with false or inaccurate information such as this particular Supervisor. After talking with many Technicians, Managers, and Supervisors, it is evident Supervisors should attend training from a subject matter expert and not always be the primary person training their team on every aspect of the business. It is even more beneficial when the Manager and Service Manager attend together.

Obviously we want good habits and accurate information to be taught, but unfortunately it can be very costly when misinformation is passed on, not only to the service team, but also to those authorizing the work and responsible for running an efficient and profitable multi-million dollar asset.

There are plenty and I mean plenty of fantastic Service Managers in the industry but when the Property Manager and Service Manger train with each other they develop a much greater sense of trust in the other person and demonstrate to the associates they are a team. Training together results in more informed decisions for the betterment of the team and property and most importantly situations like the one above can be totally avoided.

Fore more information or to schedule training contact Mark Cukro

 

It is still Smoking Hot outside so take care of your Service Team!

Posted by on Jul 26, 2012 in From Mark | Comments Off on It is still Smoking Hot outside so take care of your Service Team!

Keep them cool and Hydrated and watch out for Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke.

What are heat cramps and who is affected?   Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms – usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs – that may occur in association with strenuous activity. People who sweat a lot during strenuous activity are prone to heat cramps. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion. If you have heart problems or are on a low-sodium diet, seek medical attention for heat cramps. (more…)

How to Reduce and Prevent A/C Calls

Posted by on Jun 12, 2012 in From Mark | Comments Off on How to Reduce and Prevent A/C Calls

hvac

How can I reduce and prevent A/C service calls?

Preventive Maintenance = Savings!

Take care of your HVAC system, and it will take care of the residents and result in fewer service calls.

For many of us it is a hot and hectic summer and we want fewer A/C calls and for some reason they often seem to come in all at once. For anyone on call it can seem as if it is at 4:59 pm every Friday. An effective way to reduce the amount of A/C calls is to check the entire system during the make-ready process and label the outdoor units/condensers to identify which unit it is actually connected to. (more…)

How To Reduce Last Minute Service Requests During the Holiday Season

Posted by on Oct 28, 2011 in From Mark | Comments Off on How To Reduce Last Minute Service Requests During the Holiday Season

The Holidays will be here soon and here are a few tips that will not only reduce service calls but ultimately help your residents enjoy having guests over. Often times a resident may only use certain appliance a few times a year or less and they do not want to find out at the very last minute their oven or broiler doesn’t work. (more…)

Portable pools claim a child’s life every 5 days

Posted by on Jun 20, 2011 in From Mark | Comments Off on Portable pools claim a child’s life every 5 days

“Parents need to be aware that these pools can present the same risks for drowning, especially for young children, as in-ground pools,” which are typically thought of as a greater safety hazard, the study’s senior author Dr. Gary Smith said.

The research published Monday in the journal Pediatrics shows 209 deaths and 35 near-drownings of children under 12 from 2001 through 2009. Most of the children, 94 percent, were under 5, and 81 percent of the incidents happened during summer months. (more…)

Eight Manufacturers Voluntarily Recall Pool and In-ground Spa Drain Covers Due to Incorrect Ratings

Posted by on May 26, 2011 in From Mark | Comments Off on Eight Manufacturers Voluntarily Recall Pool and In-ground Spa Drain Covers Due to Incorrect Ratings

Pool owners and operators who have one of the recalled drain covers should contact the manufacturer to receive a replacement or retrofit.

CPSC recommends closing the pool until the drain cover is replaced. Dual main drain and gravity drainage systems, unless they are wading pools or in-ground spas, do not need to be immediately closed.

For more information, contact the Drain Cover Recall Hotline at 866-478-3521.

For more information click link below

Click here to view the CPSC press release on the recalled drain covers.