Backwards thinking on certification

I have heard multiple employers complain that they sent their employees off to a certification class only to lose them in a short period of time to their competitors. These same persons in positions of leadership believe that the issue is 100% on the employee side. If we take a step back let’s dig beneath the surface to see if the symptoms give us more insight on the potential cause(s).

1. How do you approach training with your team? Is training a priority in the sense that you come prepared to meetings with relevant information? Often designated training time approaches with no preparation and is utilized by leadership to air out all their opinions on how the team is coming up short on execution. Do you value training?

2. How do you approach certification with your team? Is certification something that is earned and celebrated? Most organizations are one of two extremes – A) certify everyone from day one or B) certify as few persons as possible. Extreme A often puts the cart before the horse and produces employees who have the book smarts without any field experience which creates some tension with their trainers. Extreme B creates an environment without opportunity to expand knowledge or promotion within the team.

3. What do you do with certification on your team? If your competitors are lining up to pay your employees who have become more valuable with certification why are you not competing for your own internally developed resources? The most common approach to certification is to make employees fee guilty that they are taking time from the team (I’m only sending you because corporate is forcing me to send someone), belittle the value (They are just going to try to sell you products) and place bets on when the employee will leave. Rather than forcing an employee to sign an agreement that they must remain with company for X number of months post certification or they have to pay back the cost, why not set up a review following and increase their incentives?

Do you invest in regular training to develop your teams abilities and opportunities?

Do you celebrate certification both leading up to and following completion of the course?

Perhaps many organizations are speaking their future into reality when they view their team members in a negative light. If you are fearful or suspicious of your people leaving the organization rather than blame them for being unreliable work to create an organization that they wouldn’t want to leave. Easier said than done but clearly focusing on blame and complaining to your friends with similar negative views isn’t fixing the problem.

How much does office drama cost?

Organizational conflict, or office drama, creates a negative environment and it costs you money.

The need for clarity is foundational to functionality and trust within an organization. Where there is a lack of clarity, there will be conflict. Office drama is costly, CPP Inc. performed a study in 2008 which discovered that employees in the United States spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict which CPP estimated as costing over $359 billion in paid hours or the equivalent of 385 million working days (Lawler, 2010). Every business understands the need to watch the bottom line, so why are mangers unwilling to recognize the high cost of conflict? Think of it, if every employee in your office could increase engagement and efficiency by 7% by only changing one element, wouldn’t that be something a wise leader would be more intentional about?

If you want to quantify the cost of office drama, here is the calculation for the cost of organizational conflict:

Office drama cost calculator: (how many employees do you have) x (how much do you pay them an hour) x 2.8 (average hours per week spent dealing with conflict) = cost of office drama and organizational conflict.

If you had 10 employees and they were making an average of $15 per hour, then you costs for office drama would be $420 per week, $1,680 per month and $21,840 per year.

How can leaders reduce office drama to offset the costs of organizational conflict?

We dive deeper into the topic of the causes and cures for organizational conflict in our article by the same name that was also published in Project Management (PM) Times. The summary of solutions to office drama include:

  1. Recognize the cost of inaction as a leader when dealing with organizational conflict
  2. Realize the need to eliminate the blame game as a team when addressing office drama
  3. Reduce conflict by creating clarity as an organization

The second commandment of Xactimate estimating success

Learn the secrets to success writing insurance claims with the Xactimate estimating platform.

Adapted from full feature article with all Ten Commandments of Xactimate Estimating Success by Jon Isaacson.

Estimating with Xactimate Commandment Two

Thou cannot take too many photos. For those who started in the industry when we had to print photos or save them on 3.5 in floppy disks, there may be some hesitation to take too many photos. With modern digital technology this is no longer true. The more photos that you take the better. Always take photos of the front of loss, source, shots from all corners of affected rooms, affected materials, equipment and any unique components of the claim. Learn what carriers and adjusters are looking for as it is a terrible waste of time to have to run back out to a project just for one shot to justify a key line item.
What has your experience been with Xactimate and utilizing photos to support your scope of work?

The first commandment of Xactimate estimating success

Learn the secrets to success writing insurance claims with the Xactimate estimating platform.

Adapted from full feature article with all Ten Commandments of Xactimate Estimating Success by Jon Isaacson.

Estimating with Xactimate Commandment One

Thou shalt sketch accurately. Regardless of the tools that you use, make sure that you get your sketch right. An accurate sketch is the key to creating a solid Xactimate estimate. Sketching from the site is one of the best ways to ensure you get odd corners and turns in a unique layout accurate as well as capture all of your line items. Second best is utilizing sketching programs or a good graph notebook. If you are new to sketching for construction estimates, property restoration or Xactimate, check out this video on the foundations of a good diagram.

The cattle isn’t fatter on the other side

Loyalty is a hot topic among those in a position of leadership when discussing the troubles most industries face with regards to recruiting, developing and retaining good talent. In reference to management discussing the apparent fleeting devotion of employees the common saying is, “The grass isn’t greener on the other side.” Unfortunately organizations fail to realize that the reverse also isn’t true as, “The cattle ins’t fatter on the other side.” While the opportunities or culture with another organization may not be any better than the present ones for employees who might be tempted to leave their company, the talent on the other side may not be any better either.

Organizations need to understand that the cattle on the other side of the fence aren’t always fatter. Leadership may think that their employees can be easily replaced, but it may be harder than they think to find good talent. Additionally, their competition may not be working with any greater talent than they are but perhaps their structure, systems and culture enable people to thrive in their areas of strength rather than focusing on their areas of weakness. Good gardening and good management practices facilitate organizational performance by working with what you have. If leadership does not want good employees leaving for marginal increases then they will need to create workplace environments that communicate greater value in the person, position and development of their team members. Leaders have to care for their gardens.

More on this topic can be found in our full length article published with Restoration and Remediation Magazine – Garden Envy: Secrets Behind the Best Gardens and Businesses.

The grass isn’t always greener and other dysfunctions

How often do you utilize business quips and common quotables without giving much thought to their meaning or context? When it comes to discussions about the current landscape of recruiting, hiring and retaining employees, those in a position of leadership (PIAPOL) are fond of the phrase, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

Those in a position of leadership often lament how modern employees show no loyalty to organizations. A common phrase among short sighted leaders revolves around how employees will leave for fifty cents more to a sub-par competitor but they don’t realize, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.” Unfortunately the reverse isn’t true, its not as though organizations have remained distinctly loyal to their employees in a manner that would warrant reciprocal loyalty. In their book Insuring Tomorrow, Author’s Tony Canas and Carly Burnham discuss this workforce schism, “Millennials have a different definition of loyalty than previous generations did. For Millennials, loyalty means, ‘I worked very hard while I was there.” Both parties have grown to distrust each other and organizations that want to thrive will need to reinvest in means to demonstrate to their existing employees and recruits that they value performance.

More on this topic can be found in our larger article Garden Envy In The Backyard of Organizational Behavior.

Vision is key in business collaboration

How do you identify the right kind of consultant to align with your growth mindset needs?

Vision must be the foundation for a healthy business coaching relationship. Searching for a business coach can be like shopping when you are hungry. We all know you should never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. The grumble of your stomach can override your better senses and you soon find there are items in your cart that you don’t need. Hiring a consultant has similar dangers.

What does a business coaching shopping list to prevent purchasing services we don’t need on an empty stomach [in desperation] look like?

  1. Be clear about your vision for your business
  2. Be clear about what your strengths are
  3. Be clear about what your weaknesses are
  4. Expect the same from your potential consultant

Vision in business is the baseline for success

If you cannot answer what your vision is for your business, you do not need a business consultant. You may need a life coach. You need to answer this question. Why does my business exist? What is my purpose in pouring time and money into the entrepreneurial endeavor?

A growth mindset requires vision

Joel A. Barker puts it beautifully and succinctly, “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” If you have no vision you will struggle to propel yourself in any direction but downward.

  • Vision sets the direction of where we are going.
  • Vision allows us to assemble the pieces that will help us get to where we are going.
  • Vision enables us to see challenges as opportunities
  • Vision allows us to adapt to reality

Vision must be the foundation for the business coaching relationship

When you have a vision but need assistance to get there, there is power in collaboration. When you have no vision and you seek assistance, you can set yourself up for being taken advantage of. Before you enter into a consulting relationship, answer the three questions we outlined above and require that any professional you interview do the same.

If you are considering hiring a personal coach or a professional consultant to help develop your growth mindset, do yourself a favor and read these recommendations first.