The evaporation fog hovers thickly in an eerie mist above the swimming pool while the morning sun begins to destroy the night. The clouds become bludgeoned with broad blood soaked brush strokes that feather into orange as the darkness reluctantly surrenders its hold of the sky. The gate to the customer’s yard emits a spine tingling yowl as the Pool Tech lobs his hand forward forcing it to swing open until hushed by thunderous clap as the barrier folds upon itself permitting entry.
He grasps his weapon of choice. His head hung down, somewhat resembling a defeated javelinist, he carries the telepole listlessly toward the pool deck. Each step labored; heavy; as if his boots had become weighted by mud. His vision tunneled as he trudges forward, oblivious to his surroundings. He looks directly at the pool; his eyes dead; his stare a thousand yards.
“Poooools” he grumbles beneath his breath in a low and raspy tone.
Your company has just fallen victim to the Walking Tech!
It’s no secret that the best place for a service company to sell a customer a product is while you are standing in that customer’s back yard, but if your tech is your eyes and ears – How many opportunities are you missing when your employee becomes infected with zombie mode? How many potential problems could have been avoided? How many dollars in potential sales?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could clone yourself and have a dozen little yous out there servicing your customer’s pools? Of course we want individuals to be individuals – That’s the beauty and strength of a Team, but how about a Team of individuals that were fully engaged and handled their route with a sense of pride and ownership?
PREVENTING A ZOMBIE PANDEMIC: THE BASICS
CHECK YOURSELF FOR BITE MARKS
We need to first make sure that we, ourselves, have not become infected. This may be a little tougher than you think because we need to also make sure that it doesn’t seem like we are infected (Even if we are certain that we are not.). An employee will never be more engaged than the level of engagement they perceive that their immediate supervisor projects. What message are we sending?
A survey conducted by Dale Carnegie reports that 62 percent of engaged employees say their manager sets a good example
ZOMBIE DEFENSE TRAINING
Don’t just train your employees – training alone can give you Zombies. We need to make certain that we also educate our team. We don’t want mindless repetition. What we want is individuals that can problem solve, recognize opportunity and contribute on a greater level. Explain the “Why” behind the task; the reason a certain thing is done a certain way and the benefit to both the individual and the organization – An individual who understands the value in an action or method (especially to one’s self) is more likely to apply that method. Promoting self-thinking will empower your employee which will in turn will foster an increased level of ownership. An investment in education will pay for itself.
STRENGTHEN YOUR FORCES
Team meetings are an opportunity to encourage collaboration; create involvement; and, if done correctly, will further contribute to an increased employee sense of ownership within an organization. Use these meetings not only as an opportunity to share information and company successes, but as a think tank to elicit ideas and develop strategies regarding both solutions and opportunities. Encourage an upward line of communication in meetings that affords Team members the opportunity to identify opportunities and then allow them to assist in creating a plan to achieve these goals. Employees will give a greater level of support to plans and goals that they helped create.
ANTI ZOMBIE GEAR
You can’t expect your Team to excel and feel good about the job they are doing if they do not have the right tools for the job. Having to function with a lack of, or with subpar equipment will put your employees at a risk of becoming infected.
SECURE THE PERIMETER
As managers we are taught that employee errors and/or short comings must be addressed immediately in order to bring the undesired action to an immediate halt. Counselling forms and corrective actions serve as the tools we have at our disposal. Sadly, many save praise and accolades for the employee performance appraisals – These we conduct quarterly? semiannually? annually?
Motivation 101: Employees work hard and feel value in what the work that they do when they know the work they do is appreciated. If we address the errors immediately, why wouldn’t we address the successes immediately? An Atta Boy, Atta Girl, or Thank You can go a long way. If we praise successes as they occur there will be more successes to praise.
Employees who benefit from the success of a company will contribute on a greater level to the success of that company. You can’t expect a true sense of ownership if you are only looking to your team to contribute to the success of the company without seeing any of the rewards associated with that increased level of success. This doesn’t mean you have to divvy up the profits, however you can throw them a pair of movie tickets when the company meets its goals, or take the Team out for a celebratory breakfast.
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TERMINATE THE DEAD
Don’t be afraid to make the hard decisions. Sometimes an employee is just too far gone to save. If you fail to terminate this employee in a timely manner – you risk infecting other members of your team and developing a zombie horde