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Video: Are You Putting Your People At Risk? June 21, 2011

Posted by Kevin Burns in accountability, build a better workplace, building a better workplace, business strategy, communication, corporate culture, customer, kevin burns, keynote speaker, leadership, management, safe driving, safety, safety attitude, workplace.
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Are You Actively Putting Your People At Risk? from Kevin Burns on Vimeo.

Workplace Expert, Kevin Burns argues that companies who do not care about their people enough to ensure that they follow safe procedures it could be argued do not care about their customers either. How you do one thing is how you do everything. How can you say you care about your customers but not the people who serve your customers?


Video: How To Fix Tardiness April 5, 2011

Posted by Kevin Burns in accountability, attitude, build a better workplace, building a better workplace, business strategy, communication, engagement, how to, kevin burns, keynote speaker, leadership, management, tardiness, workplace.
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When you let people get away with tardiness, you tell the rest of the staff – the other eighty percent of your workforce – that it’s OK to be irresponsible and you actually encourage more of the same behaviour. You, by not enforcing consequences, are making yourself look bad and ineffective as a manager.

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Video: Lessons Are Repeated March 23, 2011

Posted by Kevin Burns in accountability, attitude, build a better workplace, business strategy, communication, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, manager, workplace.
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Do you find yourself having to face the same problems and put out the same fires at work? Do you find yourself secretly questioning why does this keeps happening to you? Can I let you in on a little secret? It keeps happening because you’re just not getting it.

Video: Who Is To Blame for Employee Engagement? March 1, 2011

Posted by Kevin Burns in accountability, build a better workplace, business, business paradox, communication, corporate culture, Employee Engagement, engagement, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, morale, office party, workplace.
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Kevin Burns, Workplace Expert rants on the fact that it just doesn’t seem right that all of the blame for what is wrong with the workplace gets placed squarely on the shoulders of the disengaged employee.

How To Get Thrown Out Of An Expensive Italian Restaurant December 17, 2010

Posted by Kevin Burns in #fff, #filterfreefriday, accountability, assertiveness, attitude, complain, conflict, conversation, customer, customer relations, customer service, filter free friday, kevin burns, keynote speaker, mediocrity, service.
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On Filter-Free Fridays™ you get the opportunity to tell businesses, organizations and people how they are doing – in a non-hurtful way.

Last Friday, my wife and I headed out for some Italian at one of the city’s most expensive Italian restaurants. We had never been to this particular restaurant before but the reviews showed well.

We ordered a glass of red wine, the Caprese salad to start and my wife ordered the House Specialty Lasagna and I ordered the Veal-stuffed Cannelloni. They brought fresh bruschetta on crostinis as their welcome. Delicious – well as delicious as you can make tomatoes in December but well spiced and flavorful. The Caprese was alright I suppose – but again made with out-of-season tomatoes – it was good.

Then the main courses arrived straight from the oven in the same dishes. We had to wait several minutes before we could taste since it was piping hot. When we did, my wife thought the bechamel/tomato sauce (which the pastas were swimming in) tasted more like Campbell’s Cream of Tomato soup, both pasta dishes were overcooked (disintegrated when touched) and there seemed to be a lack of any sort of seasoning. Have you ever tasted veal or lasagna without seasoning? Well it’s tastes like … uh … nothing.

The “pepper girl” came by a few minutes later and asked if we wanted fresh pepper. I simply replied, “I don’t think that’s going to fix it.”

She immediately summoned our server (turns out he was the owner) and when asked, we simply said that the sauce tasted like tomato soup, the pasta was overdone, there was no seasoning and therefore no taste and perhaps it was the worst pasta I have ever had in an upscale restaurant (true).

“Well then this place is not for you,” he barked and angrily gathered up the dishes. “I will pay for what you’ve eaten. You can leave at any time,” he barked and then threw the dishes into a tub in the kitchen (really he threw them). And we left.

If it doesn’t taste good, don’t eat it anyway and then pay for it. Say something. The worst that happens is they ask you to leave. I suppose I could have said everything was “fine” but then I would have been lying and the next customer who ordered the same dish would get an expensive mouthful of nothing.

On Filter-Free Fridays™, you’re not just helping the business get better, you’re making it better for the next person. Tell the truth. They need to hear it.

Take The Christmas Party Away From The Office December 16, 2010

Posted by Kevin Burns in accountability, christmas party, consequences, corporate culture, corporate culture turnaround specialist, culture, culture of high-performance, high-performance, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, management speaker, manager, morale, office party.
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You can’t erase a memory because once that memory has been committed to … uh …memory, it’s there forever. And that includes the Christmas celebration drinks at the office and the consequences and responsibilities that follow.

If you want to toast with your co-workers, pick a neutral location away from the workplace. Do not, under any circumstances, allow alcohol to cross the threshold of your workplace.

In addition to being responsible for the behavior of your people under the influence, allowing alcohol into the office makes you responsible for virtually everything that your people do between the time they leave the office and actually arrive at home. That includes how they get home. But host an event in a bar or hotel ballroom, and then the responsibility is on the host facility to ensure their guests don’t get too drunk and disruptive.

Do not host a party in the workplace. Your workplace is for working. Bars are for drinking. If you want to have your people enter into a high-performance mindset when they walk through the doors each day, don’t allow them to come out of that mindset while they are in the office by creating a memory of drunken or lascivious behavior fueled by alcohol. Focus.

Build your culture of high-performance by keeping focused. Assess every activity (including the Christmas party) to ensure that you are not sending your people mixed messages. Doing so creates difficulty for managers and hurts your Culture.

If you want to celebrate with your people, take it outside.

How Managers End Up With Average Staff December 7, 2010

Posted by Kevin Burns in accountability, attitude, attitude speaker, coaching, communication, corporate culture turnaround specialist, culture of high-performance, Employee Engagement, engagement, high-performance, hiring, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, management speaker, manager.
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Take stock of your employees right now. You are about to separate your people into three categories.

  1. Category 1: how many of your people could you consider to be the best in your industry – the high-performers?
  2. Category 2: how many of your people would you consider to be at least average (competent) and do decent work?
  3. Category 3: how many of your people would be considered below average?

I will bet that the largest number of your people end up in Category 2.

So why is that? Why are you hiring and managing only average people to turn out average work?

Most managers will make the excuse that 80% of workers are considered average – when in fact it is 1% of workers who are average (right on the mid-point) and 99% either above or below average. It is nothing more than an excuse because it lets managers off without having to try harder to coach their people to become higher-performers.

This is how managers end up with an average staff – they accept that this is the hand they have been dealt and then make excuses for not wanting to make it better – because it seems like a lot of work. But then those same managers complain that their staff members aren’t engaged on the job. Huh. Imagine that.

It’s not workers who have an attitude of “good enough,” it’s their managers who have it. Good enough lets you off the hook of having to coach better, communicate better and to take more of an active interest in their development.

Yes you do have the time. You just have poor priorities. You’re not a paperworker or a meetinger. You’re a manager. So manage – priority one. Make your people better and want to be better. You are the coach – they are the players. Are you going for an average season or are you going to attempt to win the championship.

The job is “people-work not paperwork.” Re-prioritize.

How Speaking Up Saves Your Money December 3, 2010

Posted by Kevin Burns in #fff, #filterfreefriday, accountability, communication, complain, filter free friday, honesty, kevin burns, keynote speaker.
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I received my American Express bill last month as usual. The amount owing was a few thousand dollars – so I paid it, in full. Even though I charged nothing to card for the next month, I still received my American Express bill this time with an interest charge of $7.80 owing.

Huh? But I paid it all off last month.

I called American Express where they happily explained to me that the interest had accrued a few months prior and that was the reason that $7.80 in interest was still owing.

“Well then you sent a bill that wasn’t complete,” I offered, “and if you send me a bill and it shows an amount owing on it and I pay it before the due date, then we should be square. You sent me a bill that was not complete and I don’t think I should have to pay more than you billed me for.”

I was asked to hold for a moment. The clerk then returned telling me that he had waived the interest owing.

How many people would have simply accepted the convoluted excuse about interest accruing months previous and simply given up. If every month, 100,000 people were to do that worldwide, then the credit card company would generate $780,000.00 of new income monthly.

The first excuse is to test to see if you’ll go along with it. When you don’t go along, you get rewarded.

Speak up. It’s Filter-Free Fridays™ – a day when you speak the truth – to help, not to hurt. Stop being taken advantage of. Stand up for yourself. Use your voice.

How Managers Get Labeled Racist and Bigot November 30, 2010

Posted by Kevin Burns in accountability, assertiveness, boss, communication, confidence, conflict, corporate attitude expert, corporate culture turnaround specialist, culture of accountability, culture of high-performance, honesty, integrity, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, manager, middle manager.

It would so easy to blame your life circumstances on your mediocre teachers of your childhood. Hey, if they had no real understanding of success and how to achieve it, how could they possibly prepare you to be successful right?

So why is it that people are so quick to blame their bosses for not getting ahead at work? Nothing irks me more than hearing that incessant whining of “not being recognized” or “my boss plays favorites and I’m not it” or “it’s because I’m (gender, sexual orientation, race, age, weight, etc.).”

Those comments are the result of owning an “entitlement” mentality: you think you are entitled to be further than you are and now you are blaming others for not just giving it to you. Truth is, you are also entitled to be unemployed.

Managers who give credence to the people playing this game for fear of being labeled as a bigot, racist, etc., are just as guilty of keeping this entitlement mentality going.

Look, people who say this stuff do so because no one has told them any different. If they are not being promoted because they aren’t competent, then they deserve to be told they are not competent. Saying nothing for fear of offending allows employees to pull stuff out of the air, to make stuff up in the absence of information – and then you have twice the work to do in straightening it out.

If you speak with your people every single day (and that really IS your job – not paperwork and management meetings, contrary to what you might think) and let them know how they are doing in simple ten-second conversations, you end up eliminating a lot of the backlash that could come later. People want to know how they are doing and in the absence of information, they will make stuff up based on what they THINK is the truth. My Tweak™ – The Future of Management program addresses exactly this.

If this is happening to you as a manager then you’re not managing, you’re defending. And you can’t help your people get any better if you’re constantly defending yourself. When this happens, you are in the way of your people getting any better. Now you need a new manager to start over. Maybe you should have just told them the truth: that their work is mediocre and not worthy of promotion.

How Managers Poison New Hires November 17, 2010

Posted by Kevin Burns in accountability, attitude, boss, career, communication, corporate culture, corporate culture turnaround specialist, culture, Employee Engagement, engagement, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, manager, mentor, middle manager, onboarding, performance.
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managers poison new employees while onboardingThe truth is, new hires will get sucked into the Culture of the workplace faster than formal training will stick.

Managers who welcome new employees on their first day then promptly hand them off to any employee because they have a meeting to run to, run the risk of doing two things:

  1. giving a very poor first impression that staff and their contributions don’t matter – meetings do, and
  2. potentially poisoning your new hire by foolishly choosing some random employee and having them learn the real “attitude” of the place from someone disgruntled or actively disengaged.

You say you want to increase employee engagement and reduce employee turnover, yet you hand off a newbie to other staffers without a plan. What are you thinking?

Who is the employee with the best attitude, the best performance, the best engagement and the best intentions? That person is your new on-boarding mentor. Have a conversation with the potential mentor and tell them that because of their performance, you are placing new hires in their care to learn the correct way of doing things around here. Give your people positive responsibility and you will find that they rise to the occasion.

The first relationship that a new employee strikes up is usually the longest lasting relationship. Make sure your new hire gets mentored by the right attitude, the right work ethic, the right performance and the right engagement levels.

If you want to ensure the future Culture of your workplace is headed in the right direction, don’t just willy-nilly leave new hires with your staffers. The first few days are important learning times for new employees – especially for improving Culture. Make this a strategic move. You will have made your own job much easier down the road.

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