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10 Steps to Empowerment 7: Recognition

1 Dec

Recognition works hand-in-hand with feedback.  The difference is that recognition is an actual reward for positive work performance, while feedback is a quick note on how work performance is progressing.  A One Minute Praising is good for both recognition and feedback.

Since a One Minute Praising might be the most effective low-to-no-cost method of recognition, I thought that this would be a good place to repeat the rules:

  1. Tell people up front that you are going to let them know how they are doing.
  2. Praise people immediately.
  3. Tell people what they did right—be specific.
  4. Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there.
  5. Stop for a moment of silence to let them “feel” how good you feel.
  6. Encourage them to do more of the same.
  7. Shake hands or touch people in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization.

What are some other methods you could use?  At my new store, we are instituting an employee of the month program.  We are also keeping notes about who does things consistently well and we are going to mail a thank-you note to that person’s house.  Each manager has to select an employee over the next two weeks for the thank-you card.

A special honor will be presented to one lucky crew person at the crew meeting on Sunday in front of everyone for outstanding help while the store was short-handed.

There are as many ways to recognize people as there are people.  Some pointers on effective recognition (adapted from 10 Steps to Empowerment by Diane Tracy):

  1. Be sincere.
  2. Recognize the people as well as the achievements.
  3. Make sure the recognition is appropriate for the achievement and consistent with recognition for similar achievements.
  4. Tailor the recognition to the person.
  5. Make sure the recognition is timely.

10 Steps to Empowerment 6: Feedback

30 Nov

I once heard it said to seek first to understand, then be understood.  When giving feedback to your employees, this statement is very true.

Feedback is the lifeblood of the fast food industry, and quite possibly the most important tool in the manager’s arsenal.   Feedback should be immediate, tailored to the individual, and continuous.

Feedback that is given too long after the fact is ineffective.  To alleviate this problem, the feedback must be given as close to the behavior as possible.  The feedback must be specific.  Always target the behavior and not the person–even when giving positive feedback.

Here is where One Minute Praisings and One Minute Reprimands come in handy.

Feedback should be tailored to the individual for two reasons.  First, generic feedback will seem insincere.  It will seem as if you don’t care enough to observe performance. I’ve been over this in previous posts.  “Good job!” is not nearly as motivating as, “You make a perfect Whopper every time.  I appreciate that, and so do our customers.  Keep making those beautiful sandwiches!”

Specific, positive feedback can be very motivating.  Not only will the employee keep up the good behavior, but they will feel good about it.  Once people start taking pride in their jobs, it will make the entire restaurant run much more smoothly.

To tailor feedback to the individual, it is first necessary to understand each individual’s motives and reason for being in your restaurant.  Managers with hearts are so rare, and the manager who puts in this extra effort will earn people’s commitment.  This pays huge dividends in the running of your restaurant.

Continuous feedback is important because it will keep the employees focused on the customers.  We all know that once service goes awry, it will be very difficult to get back under control.  In really high volume restaurants, service goals are impossible to attain if your staff suffers even one misstep.

But don’t overdo the feedback.  You don’t want to be a micromanager.  Everyone hates those guys.   The real trick to good feedback is finding the balance between too often and not enough; positive and negative.  Master that, and feedback is a powerful tool.

One Minute Praisings

22 Nov

I received word today that I’m going to transfer to a different location within my company.  This becomes the perfect time to use One Minute Praisings.

One Minute Praisings work like this:

  1. Tell people up front that you are going to let them know how they are doing.
  2. Praise people immediately.
  3. Tell people what they did right—be specific.
  4. Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there.
  5. Stop for a moment of silence to let them “feel” how good you feel.
  6. Encourage them to do more of the same.
  7. Shake hands or touch people in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization. (One Minute Manager, p. 44)

The real tricks to a One Minute Praising are 2 and 3: immediate, specific feedback.  Wendy’s used to call it “laser-specific feedback.”  It was one part of a long-forgotten acronym.

“You did a good job today.”  That isn’t a feel-good praising.

“You made all of the sandwiches according to procedure today, and I didn’t get a single callback or customer complaint at the counter.  It’s good to know that I can count on you–thank you.”  Short pause, then: “I trust I’ll see even more of the same from you as we go into our lunch rush.”

The second one feels better because at least this time, the employee knows exactly what he did right. That’s what’s important: that the employee knows why he’s being praised so that he can continue the same behaviors in the future.

These are good to use at the beginning of a new store assignment because the crew isn’t going to know you, and they are not going to know what you’re looking for–unless you tell them.  Through the magic of One Minute Praisings, you will be able to communicate to your new crew what behavior you want to see from them.

If you’re generous with the praisings, you won’t seem like such a hard ass when you must do the inevitable One Minute Reprimand.

Applying the Tricks of the One Minute Manager

20 Nov

Yesterday, I started to apply the tricks I learned in Dr. Blanchard’s book, The One Minute Manager.   I think that it was a little bit weird for my employees to be told exactly what I think of them and to always know their standing.  I know that this is something that isn’t seen too often in the world of work.

I have a few things I can be proud of.  Overall, the service time for dinner was awful, 183 seconds (goal is less than 150 seconds).  But, we did enough business to warrant seven people in the 4:00pm hour with only four people on staff.  Needless to say, at 5:00, the service time was higher than I care to report–over 240 seconds.

Using One Minute Praisings and One Minute Reprimands, I was able to motivate people who are normally slow beyond words to move faster and to get the time down.  That is a very good thing.

An employee, normally lackluster at best, was my “enforcer” yesterday.  He’s interested in a management position.  I’d have to see much more consistency from him before I’d consider recommending him to my boss, but what I saw yesterday, combined with the fact that he is the only one I don’t have to ride constantly to get quality pre-close work and that he is available to work days and nights, means that he might be management material in a few more months.

I have another potential manager in the crowd, too, and she is a very hard worker.  But I’d like to see if she can influence others to step up in the same way my first employee was trying.

Which is why Maxwell’s book, Developing the Leaders Around You, would be such an appropriate Christmas present, if anyone was wondering what to get me.