Saturday, January 19, 2013

Getting a team on the right track

I had the opportunity to help out one of my fellow above restaurant leaders today.  He is having to work as a manager in a store that is without a general manager.  I was working in the store with him and he asked me to work with a team member who has been there for a couple years. He was having her do a task and he knew that she wasn't doing them correctly so he wanted me to work with her on doing them to standard. I work for a company that is a franchisee for a fast food chain. As I have said before - I will not discuss that brand - and will not promote it or criticize it here.  I like my job very much and if anyone whom I work with reads this blog - they will know who I am - but I am not here to talk about any one specific chain or brand.

What I did can and should be applied to any situation that is similar to the one I was in today. This person has worked in the restaurant long enough  to know how to do things right - or at least to know where to go find the information that tells you how to do it correctly - but she doesn't.  She is very negative about the job - doesn't like it when she has to be in the back making food instead of waiting on guests. She seems to really pride herself on her interaction with regular guests - the problem is that the regular guests are the only ones she is overly friendly with!  She over portioned one item that she made for them and I called her on it. I said that I understand they are regulars - but it isn't up to us to give them something they didn't pay for just because of that.

So we are in the back getting ready to do this food prep task and I explain to her what my approach is. Now I know that she has an excuse or a person to blame for anything that I tell her she is doing wrong so I have to get her to buy in to what I am going to teach her. I encourage you to put this type of statement into your own words and use it when you are in a situation like this.  I call this my Clean Slate approach:

"I know that there have been many things that you either weren't taught or that you were not taught the proper way to do them.  We are here to make sure that it stops today. I am not concerned about what happened yesterday and before. I am concerned about making sure that it doesn't happen anymore. It is a clean slate.  We don't own this brand so it isn't up to us to decide if something should or shouldn't be done a certain way. We have this book that has a standard procedure for all of these tasks. All we have to do is read the book -and do the task that way!  If you are doing it to the ___________ standard - no one can tell you that you are wrong. You will be doing it right."

She still argued a bit - saying that they don't do it that way but I kept on telling her - this is the right way - now you know you are doing it correctly.  She has a long way to go, but at least I have put her on notice that I expect her to do things the right way.  I also made it clear to her that I don't blame her or any other team member there for not knowing the right way - there used to be a manager there who wasn't training people and wasn't holding them accountable to the company standards and expectations.

If you take this kind of approach - you will find success with the good people who want to do the right thing. The people you don't have success with should go work somewhere else.  Clean Slate - you might not have done it right before,  but now you have been taught to do it right - so that is the expectation.

Try it - I have done it many times and it works!

Training is not a one - time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!

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