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Trust Your Team

trust“A team is not a group of people who work together.  A team is a group of people who trust each other.”      Emmanuel Giavarini, Managerial Comm. Mgr. for a French Transportation System 

This quote attributed to the person identified above was found on her Facebook page and immediately made an impression on me.  I suspect it may have that same effect on other readers.

We, in business, work diligently to craft teams that perform at acceptable levels.  This is true almost without exception across all kinds of business organizations if the organization has more than one employee.  We tend to think about this in terms of the word ‘teamwork’; we are taught this from the time we can remember throughout our education.

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork!

How often, if at all, do we translate teamwork into trust in each other?  When that is stated, it makes sense without much thought being given to it.  If we watch our favorite football team, we see that teamwork is obvious in the level of trust amongst the players.  There is a chemistry that is immediately recognizable.  The quarterback calls a play and everyone immediately knows what each of the other teammates will be doing during the coming action.  Each player trusts that each of the other members of the team will be doing exactly what is expected, where it is expected and when it is expected.  This is especially true in practice when there may not be an opposing team involved in trying to thwart the play.

trust-me

Do you trust each of your team members to be where they’re supposed to be. Are they doing what they’re supposed to be doing when they’re supposed to be doing it?

Of course you do since that is what it takes to produce consistent results.  This might be more easily observed in a manufacturing environment but it is equally as important in an office.

How often thotrust-e1400663980941ugh do we actually think of a team as being based on all the members knowing they can trust their other team mates?  If one member of the team doesn’t have implicit trust in each other member of that team, the team won’t function as well as it should. .  This is fairly easy to picture in a physical activity since there are physical actions that intertwine with the physical actions of the other team members.  Think of firefighters who instinctively know what every other person is going to be doing.

When we transfer this team trust concept to the office, it is potentially more difficult to picture. Thoughts are impossible to see.  Teammates know that there are things that need to happen but we are not necessarily able to see them happening.  We take it on faith that each step will occur as it needs to occur.

We trust each other; therefore we function as a team.  If that trust isn’t there, we do not function as well, if at all.  As the quote said,

A team is a group of people who trust each other.

021_phixr     Alan Campbell, Account Executive

 

Constructive Criticism

Contructive CriticismCriticism is something each of us has or will receive.  It is up to each of us as to just how we’ll respond to criticism, and it is up to each of us as to what we will take away from the experience.  There may be a way to avoid criticism, but that would probably entail each of us working for ourselves with no other employees, and then ignoring all the things we’d really know deep down that we should’ve done differently.  Our business probably would never really get off the ground if that were our approach.  We would probably become our own worst critic!

There are people who are able to criticize without that criticism feeling as though someone had stomped on your foot…or worse.  There are other people who seem to be able to criticize only if the message is hurtful, and we never quite know if the message was intended to be hurtful or if that person simply didn’t know how to make criticism feel better, or didn’t care one way or the other.

The people in our lives who know how to criticize without hurting us are showing us they really like our work and want us to do better for them and for ourselves.  That is a most valuable gift.  If you know someone who has that gift, try to determine how you might be able to copy their approach so your conversations with subordinates, even if somewhat critical of their work product, would seem to be meant to help them become better at what they do for the company.

I can remember working for a man who seemed to know when I was capable of a better work product and who would gently let me know he saw that in me and wanted to help me become even more important to his company.  I got the message and I wanted to please him with improved performance.

If you have the need to criticize, try to be professional in the manner in which you criticize and avoid any remarks that might be taken personally by the recipient.  If you are the recipient, try to be receptive to the criticism knowing that if the manager didn’t want you on his or her team, you’d have never been given the chance to improve.

By the way, this world of criticism is also at work for sales people who interact with prospects and customers.  Usually the sales person is the recipient, fairly or unfairly, but these are learning opportunities and can be turned into situations that result in a long-term customer with whom you have a good understanding.

 

Tom Krist

 

 

Tom Krist, CEO

Moving Forward Together

1913-Ford-Highland-Park-Plant-engine-installationThis quote from Henry Ford, a visionary and innovator in manufacturing and the automotive industry, caught my eye this morning.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Quotes that say so much in so few words are great.  Think of a marching band and think about the coordination of movement required to make it look so professional.  Think of a football team that can’t move the ball, isn’t it immediately apparent when there is someone not aligned with the rest of the group?

When we transfer that thinking to the production line, or the selling process, or the welding department or the grease and lube facility, we can see the merits of a well-orchestrated human element working in tandem with the equipment that goes along with each job.

Imagine the Project Manager losing focus on the need for all aspects of the project to be moving ahead in lockstep.  That would not yield a project being completed on time and on budget.  And it certainly wouldn’t create a happy customer.

Imagine the assembly line employee who misses a beat thus sending the whole line into shutdown.  That is not conducive to that “well-oiled machine” we all shoot for every time we undertake a job.

This simple concept is the most critical office machineof all the steps in any well-operating company no matter what the product or service of that company may be.  There is sometimes a tendency to focus on the stuff that seems more important when the really important aspects are that we are all on the same page at the same time and moving in the same direction each doing what we are responsible to do.

Another name for this coordination of efforts is teamwork.  We each have to be at the top of our game, with our minds focused on the important issues and we must be putting forth the effort required if we are to be part of the well-oiled machine we spoke of earlier.

 

 

021_phixrAlan Campbell, Account Executive

Your Role on the Team….

team 2“Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.”      

 Scottie Pippen, Basketball player

This quotation really hits home for many of us, and it is important to think about it whether we are reacting to a change made by others or we are the person making the decision to announce a change.  Our role on the team is critical to both the team and the players.  There is usually only one point guard to set up the play on the court at a time and the point guard doesn’t always call the play.  The plays available are usually called by the coach from the bench.  Sometimes the defense requires that a subtle change be made in the play, and the point guard has the responsibility to both decide when and how that happens, and is held responsible for the decision’s timeliness as well as for the outcome.

Similarly, we are part of the team in our workplaces.  We may operate day-to-day quite independently but we are still part of a team, and we are accountable for doing our part in making the team successful.  We may well need to alter our game plan given occurrences in our world, but we do so knowing we are responsible for the outcome.  Unless we are exceptional, we will not always make the right call, or even if we do make the right call, it may not always work out.

It is important that we recognize that we are part of the team, and that the rest of team may be affected by some action we take on the spur of the moment.  We need to be aware of the impact our action will have on the team if it fails, just as we need to be sensitive to the feelings of the others on the team whether it fails or succeeds.

Sales people may not have the authority to alter pricing or promise more rapid delivery without conferring with their manager.  Their manager may not have the sole authority team 4team 3and might need to confer with his or her boss.  Production line workers have little leeway in how they perform their jobs for obvious reasons.

If we have been around for any time at all, we probably can think of situations where someone took the initiative and made a decision impacting the entire organization.  We might have had the experience where that was a bold but successful move.  Or, we might’ve watched as that decision caused significant problems for the team.

If we have any doubt about when and where we have authority to make calls to change the usual approach or pricing or promises made to clients/buyers, we know those decisions require the approval of our manager, who may also need the approval of his or her manager.  If we operate in a more autonomous working world, these kinds of uses of individual authority may well have been part of the initial hiring discussions.  Even then, we need to be sure we have a winning track record when we make such decisions.

Too many bad calls may get us benched or traded.  Team players are a valuable commodity to the company and to their fellow team members.

 

Fred D'Amato

Fred D’Amato, President

 

Silver Tsunami

happy-retirement-150x150We hear about the impact millennials (those typically with birth years from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s) are having and will continue to have on the workforce.  But, there is another phenomenon that has been given the name “silver tsunami”, and that is the growing segment of employees nearing or at retirement age, and concerning just what impact the loss of that experience pool will have going forward.

Employers are faced with ‘silver tsunami’ issues such as who will retire and those who will want to continue working, and what those decisions will do to employee benefit practices for example.  If you haven’t given any thought to this, you might wish to engage your employee benefits broker or consultant to begin the planning for this possibility.

There is another very intriguing aspect to this ‘silver tsunami’ wave, and that centers in our world, the world of employment and recruitment.  ‘Silver tsunami’ workers have significant organizational wisdom that might be lost upon their retirement. Silver tsunami 34 There is also the intriguing potential for employers needing skilled talent no matter the age, to focus some recruiting efforts on the ‘silver tsunami’ group.

There are ‘supply issues’ in the current employee talent pool and you probably know that as well as we do.  There are simply too few qualified people available in certain fields to meet today’s demand.  The ‘silver tsunami’ group might provide part of the solution.  Recruiting in that pool may provide more talent and better availability if the attained age is not a problem for the hiring employer.

We need to review our recruiting practices to assure that we can find those who may have ‘aged out’ in one company while they still want and need to work.  A recent Society for Human Resource Management and Sloan Foundation survey found that 66% of HR professionals said their organizations now employ older workers who have retired from other organizations or careers.  Of those people being hired from that pool, 58% said they went to work after retirement because they enjoyed it and needed to find something to do with all the time they suddenly had available.  Another 45% said their reasons centered on health care benefits.

Obviously, millennials are very important, but we need to be reminded not to lose sight of the value to be found among those in the ‘silver tsunami’.

 

Tom Krist, President

Tom Krist

Future 50

mmac-v2The latest edition of the Milwaukee BizTimes (Sep. 7 – 20, 2015) features this years’ Future 50, the fifty select growing companies in SE Wisconsin according to the rankings of BizTimes.  They’ve been at this for quite a while, and we admittedly are partial since we were selected for this prestigious group three years in a row culminating in our designation as a Master Mettle organization, so we naturally think they are on-the-mark with their selections.

The Master Mettle group members are lauded for sustaining their growth patterns in both good and not-so-good economic times.  The members of that group this year are Cornerstone Plumbing LLC of Waukesha, EmbedTek LLC of Hartland, KS Energy Services, LLC of New Berlin, SmartChoice MRI of Mequon, Transcendent LLC of Hartland and W.I.S. Logistics of New Berlin.

Afuture-50-v2ll these Future 50 companies represent a true cross-section of businesses in this area.  Of the fifty, 2 are in the finance/real estate/insurance arena, 3 are in the wholesale trades, 15 are in manufacturing, 8 are technology companies, 7 are constructions organizations, and 15 provide ‘other services’.

WFA Staffing is very proud to work with some of these Future 50 organizations in support of their growth through searches to provide additional team members as they expand.

COSBE, which operates under the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), stands for the Council of Small Business Executives, and Mary Steinbrecher, COSBE’s Executive Director, stated that capturing a Future 50 designation 3 times is a “significant accomplishment”.

WFA Staffing extends its congratulations to all the Future 50 companies and especially to those six Master Mettle award winners for this year.

All would likely say that they have gotten to this level based upon having an excellent group of employees with the knowledge to help drive their business forward.  WFA Staffing is in the business of helping to identify just those kinds of employees regardless of what skill set they may need.  Give us a call and give us a challenge.  We don’t get paid unless we perform.

Tom Krist, President

Tom Krist

Attitude

Having-a-Can-Do-attitude

The importance of pride in our accomplishments is often overlooked or just plain never thought about.  That is all too true when it comes to too many of us.  If you take a moment to reflect on some of the people in your life whose attitude is always great, you will very likely find a person for whom his or her position isn’t just a job.

People who exude that special something in their daily interaction with customers or clients or fellow employees may not even realize it, but they take pride in their accomplishment right down to each piece they produce, or to each sales call they make, or to each customer they help.

You can probably already pick out a couple of people you interact with for which this is quite obvious.  On the other hand, you can probably also pick several people with whom you interact for which this doesn’t apply, or at least doesn’t apply often enough.

We are the only person that can control our own approach to the outside world.  We can affect the appearance of a positive attitude even on days when we might not be feeling 100% positive.  That isn’t to say that we ought to only act like we’re positive, but that doesn’t hurt to get us over a day or two where something has caused us to lose a little of our ‘positivity’.attitude

I know of a  collector for Waste Management who is legend among his clients.  I have never heard a bad word about him or his service; actually all I ever hear is how he always goes the extra mile to please his customers most of whom he never even sees on a regular basis.  I see others who always have a smile on their face and who are eager to be of service whether they are scooping potato salad into a container for me, or they are administering an eye exam or telling how much my car repair is likely to cost. I also know those whose attitude leaves something to desire; I do my best to avoid them since I don’t want to be affected by their ‘bad day’.  Put a smile on your face and go face the world; it makes all the difference.

Alan Campbell, Account Executive

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To the Class of 2015- Attitude is your key to success

GraduationGraduation ceremonies are occurring or have recently occurred across our state and nation.  Many young men and women will walk away from high schools and colleges with diploma in hand.  Some will move on to the next higher step in education while others will have reached the point of seeking employment or marriage or both.

Employment is something with which our firm is intimately familiar; we are involved in that world daily.  We see the wants and needs of individuals and recognize that employment is among the keys to the satisfaction of those wants and needs.  We also are exposed to the wants and needs of employers and we learn daily from that exposure.

Regardless of the level of education attained, there are important criteria that determine, or help to determine, employability.  Employers seek some basic things in prospective employees almost without regard to the level of education attained.  Employers seek honesty, good judgement, a set of solid human values, and the willingness to work hard, be reliable and be able to perform the duties that are part of the position.  Employers expect that we will be at work on time, that we will do our level best every day, that we will be cheerful with others with whom we work; and, very importantly, that we will be conscious of what the customer expects.  All of these attributes are important no matter in what position we are working from the delivery driver to the company president, the receptionist to the surgeon.

Attitude is a simple thing, but it is a critical thing, too.  If our attitude is not what it should be, we will not be employed for very long…or we won’t be very successful in whatever it is that we’re doing.  Attitude is important regardless of one’s position in life.  With a good attitude, we attract people because they want to be around us.  With a bad attitude, we do the opposite; no one wants to be anywhere near us…and who could blame them?

Alan Campbell, Account Executive

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Wants vs Needs

wants_needs

Two of the most powerful drivers in today’s world are what we might simply call ‘wants and needs’.  When we ‘want’ something, we are thrust into the race to obtain that something whatever it might be.  When we ‘need’ something, we are thrust into a similar race to obtain it.  Each of us would probably define wants differently than others; and, each of us would define needs differently from others.

WFA Staffing lives in that world of wants and needs, just as any other business or any other person.  We want to be successful but in order to be successful we must satisfy the needs of our customers.  One customer segment is our employer-customers that have needs for people with certain sets of experience and/or training.  WFA must find those people for the customers on an ‘as needed’ and ‘on-time’ basis with the basic attributes and the necessary experience that were ordered by the customer.

The other customer segment is that of people seeking a position who rely upon us to provide them with that position.  In those cases, we are the link in the chain that brings the needs and wants together in an efficient and effective manner to satisfy both of our customers.  We are the middle link joining the wants and needs of our customers.

We work to provide a turn-key experience for each of our customers.  When the telephone rings or the e-mail arrives, we have to be ready to move quickly in the case of both short-term and long-term temporary employees.  We have to move just as quickly to locate those people who might qualify for a permanent position that an employer needs to fill regardless of the qualifications required.

WFA Staffing conducts ‘job fairs’ occasionally to locate people with certain skill sets and certain experience.  WFA Staffing also conducts searches for people with very specific educations and backgrounds.  WFA covers the gamut.

We all have wants and needs, and WFA wants to be part of the solution no matter what you want or need in the way of employment, career enhancement, or team members.

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Alan Campbell, Account Manager

 

Feedback

FeedbackFeedback

is that annoying sound we hear when a sound system isn’t set up quite right.  It can send a shudder through your body.

Feedback is also what we hear when someone critiques us.  It is not uncommon for people to pull themselves inside their shell and tune out the source, but that is not the way we ought to think of this attempt by others to be helpful.

Most all of us have received feedback that has hurt at the time but from which we learned.  We learned as youngsters to stay away from the hot stove burner but it might’ve taken a painful lesson to cement that reaction in our minds.  The feedback we received as we grew to adulthood was equally as valuable if not more so.  Our business tends to deal heavily in feedback.

We learned early on at WFA Staffing that we need to be very capable communicators since we are in the middle of a transaction between an employer and an employee-to-be.  In order to be good communicators, we need to be excellent listeners.  Communication is a two-way street.

If you are a candidate for a position, we hope that you understand that our questions are as much for your benefit as for us and our clients.  If you are right for the job, we will do our very best to see that you have the opportunity to get an interview.  If you are not right for the job, we will also do our very best to help you understand what we think is needed to make you a stand-out in the future.

So, while feedback can be something we’d rather not hear, it can prove to be very important to us in the future.  We all can benefit from feedback.  Without it, we cannot hope to improve.

Al Campbell, Account Manager

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