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Sometimes people misbehave in a meeting. And they do this with the best of intentions. So what's happening? And how can you fix it?

Why Would Anyone Do That in My Meeting?

Why Would Anyone Do That in My Meeting?Imagine that you open a meeting by saying, "We need to talk about the budget."And someone says, "I named my dog Budget because he's too big."After the laughter subsides, you wonder why anyone would make such a silly remark in your meeting.And this leads to a larger question: Why would anyone misbehave in a meeting?Everyone knows that misbehavior can ruin a meeting. It wastes everyone's time and squanders the opportunity to produce useful results.Here are some possibilities.1) They're uninformedMany people do not know how to plan, conduct, or participate in a meeting. They think that gathering people in a conference room represents holding a meeting. They believe that planning is unnecessary because they expect everyone to arrive with a common agenda. They think that hosting a discussion actually leads to useful results. These well-meaning attempts at holding a meeting are so counterproductive that they can appear to be misbehavior. In addition, a bad meeting irritates others, causing them to retaliate with misbehavior.Better: Show people how to plan and conduct meetings. Teach them how to use process tools that help people make methodical progress toward results. Schedule a workshop that shows people how to plan and lead meetings. 2) They're boredMany meetings occur with a few people talking while the rest watch. When this happens, the quiet participants entertain themselves by daydreaming, starting side conversations, or working on other tasks (such as preparing lists of things to do once the meeting finally ends). People with extensive experience in bad meetings have learned how to feign credible interest while being mentally absent.Better: Plan activities that involve everyone. Avoid relying on discussion for your meeting because it allows the more vocal attendees to dominate.3) They're madPeople can be mad for many reasons, such as they feel trapped in an unplanned meeting or they disagree with the results being obtained. They could also feel mad if others are preventing them from participating.People know that a meeting without an agenda will waste their time, and they resent this. For example, a man once told me that he and his friends would "sandbag" any meeting that was called without an agenda. They made inappropriate comments, introduced distracting considerations, and asked pointless questions. Of course, they acted with such professional sincerity that it seemed that they were being productive instead of disruptive.Better: Always prepare an agenda. Always contact key participants before the meeting to explain their role and to check if they are prepared for the meeting.4) They disagreeMeetings are an excellent activity to resolve disagreements. However, if people disagree with the issue, the process, or the results AND are unable to exert influence, they will rebel. This rebellion will appear as misbehavior in the meeting or (worse) sabotage after the meeting.Better: Use process tools in the meeting that involve all of the participants. Always contact key participants before holding a meeting on a controversial issue. Use these conversations to listen to their views, explain the goals for the meeting, and promote your intent for a fair resolution. Make sure that you seek a "Both/And" result instead of an "Either/Or" result so that everyone gets what they need.5) They misunderstandSometimes people misunderstand expectations. For example, an executive was surprised by the negative comments, ridicule, and hostility that occurred during his first staff meeting with a new group. After some investigation, he learned that his predecessor openly criticized and ridiculed people. Thus, this was the behavior that the staff had learned to emulate. The executive fixed this by a) stating new expectations, b) coaching key offenders, and c) setting an example of respectful conduct.Better: Cultural management is a primary leadership responsibility. Demonstrate the type of behavior that you want for productive meetings and provide private corrective feedback to those who misbehave.An effective meeting is a team activity conducted by a fair process that involves everyone. People respect this approach and will make positive contributions because they know that such a meeting represents a good use of their time.

Restaurant Scheduling For Success- From E-Book "How To Improve Dining Room Service"

Restaurant Scheduling For Success- From E-Book "How To Improve Dining Room Service"

This Tip will Help Maintain the Staff Schedule Keeping the Dining Room Service Staff Tight and Content which is Essential for Pleasing Paying Guests. Staff scheduling is closely tied to dining room customer service and crucial for keeping your staff tight, happy and well connected. In every way, a balance must be achieved by matching the dining room service labor needs to forecasted business. There should be a system whereby the staff shift availability days can be communicated in writing to the person who makes up the schedule. A simple staff shift availability sign-up sheet posted conspicuously will do. There was a schedule maker from one of my past restaurants who asked for shift requests on little pieces of paper. The main point is that constant communication with the staff while staying abreast of their available work shifts will facilitate the scheduling process immensely. Each staff member should work a balanced amount of shifts throughout the week. If the schedule maker is burning out staff members with extra shifts or scheduling too many staff members to work only 1 or 2 shifts, it will subtract from customer service. Usually, a restaurant will get more efficiency from staff members working 3, 4, or more shifts per week rather than only 1 or 2 shifts per week. Though at times, one may have to bend this guideline to keep the work schedule filled, but it should be kept to a minimum.The person who makes the schedule should be highly aware of the projected business in the restaurant. The schedule should contain the correct amount of labor needed to provide a proper level of service for each work shift. Seasonal aspects, (e.g. busy holidays/slow summers), special occasions, private parties etc. must be figured into the schedule. Any outside activity that may affect business in the restaurant such as food festivals, parades etc. needs to be taken into account. If there are separate dining rooms, the busy times must be properly forecasted for each room especially if one dining room is more popular such as showing off a special type of dcor or providing entertainment on certain nights. If there is outdoor seating, the weather should be watched closely for it can change quickly. Forecasting helps to schedule the correct amount of staff with the perfect balance always being sought. If there is light scheduling on a day that gets very busy, the dining room customer service will be slow and inefficient --affecting sales and reputation. On the contrary, if there is heavy scheduling on light business days, it will become frustrating for waitstaff who will be working very few tables while draining the payroll. Generally, the schedule should start Sunday; therefore it needs to be posted by Thurs. or Fri. of the previous week. Excel spreadsheet formats are great for scheduling organization. The schedule should be posted in an easily viewable location with enough copies available for all staff. Staff phone lists should be printed, copied and made readily available to all. This improves communication especially for work shift substitutions. This leads to the substitution process for staff work shifts. There needs to be a Substitution Book readily available with blank spaces for names, upcoming dates and work shifts for the next 1 to 2 months. If a substitution made, the information must be recorded with the date and shift time a.m/p.m. etc. It must be initialed by both parties involved and finally initialed by a manager ensuring no mistakes in communication. A substitution mishap may result in a shift not being covered. Scheduling may look great for payroll cost control, but it must be remembered that dining room service staff are real people with real lives whose cheerful and efficient service is what restaurants are dependant upon. The schedule maker needs to be understanding towards the staffs schedule requests, but should not roll over and play dead (again, balance). It is impossible to please everyone 100% all of the time, but a proper scheduling balance will truly have a positive effect on restaurant dining room customer service and staff.*** It is better for a manager or service consultant to handle the schedule at the initial phases of a new operation. Afterwards, it should be monitored by a second or third person-- especially if the restaurant has just opened. Some mature restaurants may let a senior member of the service staff handle the schedule because there is better communiqu with schedule concerns.Please use whichever system works best for the establishment for the staff schedule is a strong part of customer service and should not be taken lightly.

4 Tips To Ensure A Rewarding Experience When Hiring Others

4 Tips To Ensure A Rewarding Experience When Hiring Others

Hiring an employee can be a big step for many small business owners. It means the end of doing EVERYTHING yourself and passing off some of the work!In order to make the experience rewarding for both you and your employees there are a few things that every boss and leader should do1) Reward people for a job well done. Its frustrating working for someone who enjoys all the financial rewards of the efforts put forth by the entire team, especially if they don't recognize what everyone has accomplished and contributed.It doesn't take much to acknowledge the effort of your staff. It makes a HUGE difference in the working atmosphere when you take a few moments to acknowledge your team. People like to know that they've done a good job. 2) Always provide a balance between positive and negative comments. Your job as a leader is to recognize the talents of those around you and feed them with the motivation and positive energy to take YOUR ideas to entirely new levels. Help them serve you better by building up their confidence... not tearing it down.3) Step up and accept responsibility for your projects. At the end of the day if things don't go according to plan, in my opinion, the responsibility falls onto the leader's shoulders. Stand up and accept the responsibility should anything ever go wrong.If your staff always bear the burden of projects gone bad, it will drag people down and destroy your working environment. Start contributing to the emotional bank account of those around you.If you acknowledge the behavior you want to see more of, you'll start seeing more of it. Be positive and accept some responsibility when things don't go according to plan.4) When you have good people it's your responsibility as a leader to hold on to them. People with talent will take your company to entirely new levels but if they keep leaving, the growth of your company will be stinted.People with skills know that they have options. Hanging the carrot of a potential big pay day will only work for a certain period of time. After a while it wears off and they start looking elsewhere. The last thing you want is for them to end up with your competition.So the moral of the story is find good people, train them, treat them well, and your business will take off.

Planning a Team Building Day of Fun

Planning a Team Building Day of Fun

Planning a team building day of fun is a great way to revitalize your groups energy and enthusiasm, as well as improve communication and problem solving skills. There are many ideas for fun ways to increase your teams cohesiveness and establish better working relationships.Team building activities span the breadth of the imagination, from cooking to sports, wilderness survival type adventures, music and dance, and a wide variety of other games and group exercises. For the best results, try to choose something in a subject area that is likely to be enjoyed by everyone in your group. However, if picking a common interest is too much of a challenge, most "team building" activities can be adapted to suit your needs, and are designed to provide lighthearted entertainment, rather than overly daunting challenges.Find an activity that will require everyones participation and interaction, but without putting too much pressure on individual performance. The idea is to foster cooperative teamwork, not competition, and each persons contribution needs to be recognized as a valuable part of the combined effort. There are a number of reasons to consider bringing in an expert from outside your organization to lead these team building activities. It will put everyone on equal ground, and the consultant you choose should be experienced at putting people at ease, a necessity if the day is to be a success. They should also be able to help maintain a focus on the ultimate objective of the day, which is to both have fun and improve your ability to function as a team. A fun day of team building can serve many purposes, including:-an icebreaker for a new team, to quickly establish comfortable and effective work relationships-a break from boredom and routine for a group that could use some new energy-a non-threatening way to address interpersonal conflicts or other barriers to productivity-a treat for a job well done-a way to facilitate a smooth transition during a time of restructuring -preparation for a big project that will require enhanced teamwork-creating a more cohesive team out of talented people who just are not functioning effectively as a groupIf any of the above applies to your team, dont hesitate to investigate your options to kick start productivity and renew enthusiasm in your workplace. Team building is a worthy investment in your organizations present and future, and can help overcome difficulties of the past. Many great services and products are available to help you and your group get back on track and has fun at the same time. Take the initiative to improve workplace morale and productivity, the results will speak for themselves.

Safety In The Home Workplace: The Best Environment

One of the most ignored aspects of working at home is safety. Business offices go to all sorts of lengths to avoid any injury or harm to their workers (they don't want to get sued, after all). Meanwhile, you might not even know that it's possible to injure yourself with nothing more than office equipment. If you're going to avoid a lot of pain in your future, you need to read up on home office safety now.Your Chair.The chances are that you're going to be sitting on your chair for quite a long time each day. If you have a bad chair, or you haven't adjusted it properly, you could give yourself a back injury -- and they're painful, not to mention expensive to treat.When you're choosing your chair, make sure you sit on it for a while in the shop, giving yourself a chance to get used to the way it feels, and be prepared to walk away if it starts to get uncomfortable quickly. Don't pay a ridiculous amount, but don't get the cheapest and worst thing in the shop, either.Your Mouse and Keyboard.If you're using a computer mouse a lot for your work or doing a lot of typing, you can give yourself some pretty nasty injuries. This is because doing the same thing over and over again can give you a repetitive strain injury (RSI), such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. This is one of the most common problems amongst office workers, home workers included.You might have an RSI if you notice pain, weakness and fatigue in your muscles. One of the most common symptoms is pain when you're lying in bed. People tend to think that they must just be sleeping in an awkward position, or that they need a better bed or pillow, not realising that their office equipment is to blame. If you think you might be an RSI sufferer, go and see your doctor. Massages tend to be the most effective treatment, when given by a trained therapist.To protect yourself against RSI, there are a number of things you can do. You should take regular breaks from using your computer, and stop immediately if you start to feel any kind of pain. You may also wish to invest in an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, which are laid out differently to normal keyboards and mice in an effort to make them more comfortable and less dangerous to use.Clean and Tidy.Silly as it might sound, the second most common problem amongst home office workers is that they make a mess. Your home office might become cluttered with wires, open drawers, and various objects all over the floor. It's quite possible to trip and fall over all of these things, and if you walk around enough in a confined space then eventually you will. Do as much as you can to keep your home office uncluttered: always close drawers, keep wires in one corner of the room and don't put anything on the floor.Strangers in Your Home.An aspect of safety that many people don't think of is the fact that you could be letting strangers into their home when you agree to meet clients there, and this can be risky for you and your family. You might be especially worried if there will be children at home with you while you're working.The simple answer, of course, is to always meet new customers in a public place, until you know and trust them. Coffee places are good for this. As a bonus, you'll inevitably look more professional if they don't realise that you're a home business, and having a coffee each gives you something to do during any lulls in conversation other than just sitting there and looking awkward.First Aid Kits.Finally, one last note if you're doing manual work: you really ought to have a first aid kit in your workshop, as well as one that you carry around with you. You really shouldn't be doing anything physical as a business unless you've taken a first aid course -- they're quick, easy and inexpensive, so there's no excuse. It could save your life someday, after all.

Employers; Protect Your Employees Against Identity Theft

As more and more Americans are becoming victims of identity theft, many employers are increasing their level of security to protect their employees. A recent General Accounting Office report estimates that as many as 750,000 Americans are victims of identity theft every year. So, what can you do to protect your employees? Here are some ideas.Employee filesHR (Human Resources) professionals will generally have a set of standard operating procedures when dealing with employee information. Make sure employee files, both active and terminated, are under lock and key. More importantly, make sure that only the Human Resources office has access to this key. In normal cases, the Human Resources office will be the only department who has any reason to access the employee files.Information ReleaseUnless an officer of the court provides you with a subpoena, your company should have a strict policy not to ever release employee information to any individual except the employee him/herself.Clean Desk RuleDoes your company have a clean desk rule? If not, youd better make sure one is instituted. This rule ensures that any employee who deals with any type of sensitive employee data clears their desk and files and that this information is under lock and key whenever they leave their workstation. Many financial and housing institutions already practice this rule.Social Security MaskingIn the past, entire social security numbers were used to identify an employee. With the increase in identity theft, (and the methods by which thieves acquire this information), employers are now using number masks. In other words, instead of identifying John Doe as 123-00-4567, he is now identified as Doe XXX-XX-4567. This is what is used when sending information via mail or email and has dramatically helped employers reduce identity theft.Use It Then Lose ItAfter an employee processes data containing sensitive information, and if it is not required to be refilled, information should be destroyed. A common paper shredder can be purchased for about $50.00 at any office supply store and can be another weapon in your arsenal to protect your employees. Documents should be shredded either immediately after use or at the very least, the same day before the end of the work day. This avoids storing hundreds of documents that can cause your employees information to be stolen.Identity theft causes months of grief and potentially thousands of dollars to fix. Its up to employers to do their part in protecting them at the workplace. For more information, contact your Human Resources office or visit the social security administrations website at http://www.ssa.gov/

Summary

Sometimes people misbehave in a meeting. And they do this with the best of intentions. So what's happening? And how can you fix it?