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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.


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.

3 Reasons To Build A Filter-Free Culture June 11, 2010

Posted by Kevin Burns in #fff, #filterfreefriday, attitude, attitude speaker, attrition, boss, career, communication, conflict, corporate culture, culture, filter free friday, health, hiring, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, manager, morale, performance, respect.
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two rows of employees staring and supressing their anger

For Filter-Free Friday™, lets discuss why a Filter-Free environment is good for morale and how it can save your organization money on Conflict Resolution courses.

Conflict Resolution seminars can actually erode a functioning corporate culture because they are based on the premise that a workplace or a relationship has conflict. But the truth is that conflict only arises in the absence of respect.

People who don’t respect each other fight with each other. They are not able to articulate their feelings, ideas and concerns without it escalating into conflict. A relationship or workplace devoid of respect will have many petty arguments about nothing mostly. Once a discussion escalates to conflict, then the original discussion is no longer the issue that needs to be addressed but the conflict instead – regardless of what the discussion was about. And once the conflict has been quelled, there still is no resolution on the original discussion – at which point it would likely be abandoned for fear of it escalating again.

Filter-Free Fridays are designed to articulate a truth to another in a non-hurtful way. Once a workplace gets used to articulating their issues without reprisal or escalation, there becomes a bedrock of trust and respect for them to work in.

Here are the three reasons a manager needs to create a Filter-Free departmental culture:

  1. People get along better and work together better when they know where they stand. There is no animosity and there is a trust that everything can be discussed rationally – without personal attacks.
  2. The dreaded “unsaid” is a killer to corporate culture. Always biting your tongue in order to avoid conflict creates stress and subsequent absentee days. People who don’t speak up harbor resentment and, worst case, can go postal.
  3. A department that respects its people enough to tell the truth is admired and envied by other departments. But the best news is that high-performing job-seekers will apply to work in an environment of respect. A Filter-Free workplace attracts better employees and helps reduce turnover.

Filter-Free Friday™ came about because the idea of speaking the truth to each other intimidates and sometimes scares the crap out of many. So instead of trying to build an overnight honesty culture, the thought was to start with one day a week and see how it goes. Once you get used to being honest in a non-hurtful way, every day eventually becomes Friday.

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