Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association

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  • Tuesday, October 08, 2019 11:39 AM | Anonymous

    Texting and Driving

    Originally published: 02.01.16 by Joseph Dreesen & Catherine Cano

    Keep your employees' hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

    It's common knowledge that texting or using a cell phone while driving is dangerous. In 2013, there were nearly 425,000 injuries and more than 3,100 fatalities due to distracted driving. As a result, texting and driving is a primary offense in 41 states, and a secondary offense in five states. Hand-held cell phone use while driving is also a primary offense in 14 states. 

    Unfortunately, all you have to do is look at the car next to you at a red light to know that texting and cell phone use while driving is an ongoing problem. So, it's no surprise that employee cell phone use spills over into the workplace. 

    This article discusses scenarios in which employers have been found liable for injuries and what you — as employers — can do to limit liability.

    Workers' Compensation

    Employers can be held responsible for injuries resulting from an employee's negligent or reckless acts, provided the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment. Cell phone use or texting while driving likely falls into the category of negligence. 

    Workers' compensation liability may also arise if an employee is injured

    taking a work-related call while driving. For example, in 2009, a hospice nurse was driving home from a mandatory employer training. The employee was also on call at the time. She looked down when her cell phone rang, causing her to lose control of her car and sustain injuries. 

    The employee sued her employer for workers' compensation benefits. The employee claimed that she looked down at her cell phone because she believed her employer was calling. Although the employer did not actually make the call, the employee still won. 

    The employee argued that when she was on call, "her cell phone use effectively was reserved for contact with her employer." Thus, the court found the employee's "attentiveness to the distinct requirements of her job" (i.e., answering work calls while on call) caused her to look down when her cell phone illuminated. 

    The court reasoned that the test for employer liability for the injury was "not whether the actual call was from the employer, but whether an injury can 'fairly be traced to the employment as a contributing proximate cause.'" The court concluded she met this standard, because her employer "required her to monitor her cell phone at all times, including while driving." 

    Liability to Third Parties

    Employers are also routinely faced with lawsuits from individuals who are injured by their employees. Third-parties may allege respondeat superior or vicarious liability, which imposes liability on employers for negligent acts or omissions committed within the scope of an employee's employment. 

    For example, an employer may be held liable for an accident caused by its employee while driving as part of his or her job. Third-parties may also sue the employer on theories such as negligent retention or negligent training. Many of these cases settle, because the stakes are high for employers:

    ·       In 2009, a jury awarded $18 million to a couple who was injured by a truck driver who was using his cell phone while driving. The employer was found to be jointly liable for the damages.

    ·       In December 2013, a jury awarded $2.5 million for damages caused by an employee who was operating a work van during the course of his employment. There were allegations that the employee was using his cell phone at the time of the accident. The employer conceded liability and vicarious liability. 

    ·       In September 2014, a jury awarded nearly $3.4 million to a plaintiff who was injured by an employee who changed lanes while talking on his phone. The employee was traveling on business, and attempting to get directions at the time of the accident.

    ·       In January 2015, a jury awarded $1.5 million to the plaintiff who was injured when an employee looked away from the road to text a customer. The employee ran into another vehicle, causing serious injuries to a child. 

    Although there are many cases in which the employer is not found liable for the accident, the expense of defending a lawsuit is substantial. 

    OSHA Liability

    Employers should also be aware that texting while driving has garnered attention from the federal government. 

    On October 1, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13513 directing the federal government to demonstrate leadership in combating texting while driving. Executive Order 13513 prohibits federal employees from texting while driving government vehicles or while driving for government business. 

    The Executive Order also states federal agencies should encourage federal contractors to adopt policies prohibiting text messaging while driving in the workplace.

    In 2010, OSHA took steps to raise driver safety awareness. OSHA's Distracted Driving Initiative urges employers to prohibit any policy or practice that would require or encourage employees to text while driving. 

    OSHA has indicated an intent to issue citations and penalties to employers who engage in such practices. OSHA's website provides employers with resources on texting while driving, including a model policy.

    Lessons Learned

    Employers should be mindful of their direction to employees as it pertains to cell phone use. One way to limit employer liability is to implement and enforce a cell phone policy. 

    While a cell phone policy will not serve as a complete defense for employee accidents, it shows that the employer took steps to prevent this type of harm. 

    In addition, the existence and enforcement of a cell phone policy may have a deterrent effect.

    Some employers wonder if a cell phone policy will expose them to more liability. It's true that an employer's failure to train employees on the policy or enforce the policy can be characterized by a plaintiff as negligent. An employer, however, cannot just bury its head in the sand. An employer's failure to maintain and convey a cell phone or electronic devices policy can also support a negligence claim. 

    Good intentions are not enough. For example, a court held an employer liable for a cell phone-related accident despite the employer's assertion that it did not permit employee cell phone use while driving. The court acknowledged that the employer "did not expect or intend for its employees to talk on cell phones while driving." The employer, however, did not convey or enforce that expectation. 

    In addition to limiting liability and potentially deterring cell phone use while driving, courts have denied unemployment compensation to employees who were fired for violating the employer's cell phone policy. 

    For these reasons, it's important for you to implement and enforce a cell phone policy. A good policy should set forth when an employee can use their cell phone on work time or for work-related matters. 

    Your policy should direct employees to use safe methods in responding to phone calls while driving for work purposes or while responding to work-related phone calls off duty (i.e., pull over or use hands free devices if appropriate). The policy should also contain consequences for violations. Finally, you should conduct training on the policy and diligently enforce it.

    Conclusion 

    While reining in employee texting (and other cell phone usage) while driving is likely not foolproof, a good faith attempt at it will certainly help you defend potential legal consequences down the road.

  • Tuesday, October 01, 2019 10:40 AM | Anonymous

    Legal Does Not Mean Safe

    Originally published: 04.01.15 by Jo McGuire

    As more states legalize marijuana, employers should know they still have the right to a drug-free workplace policy. 

    It happened again recently. I was at a social event in my hometown of Colorado Springs meeting new people, and the topic of legalized marijuana came up quickly. A woman who works with a local contractor said, "We had our first marijuana-positive employee drug test just last week."

    "How did you handle that?" I asked.

    "What could we do? It's legal!" she said, exasperated.

    Upon further discovery, I learned that she works for a national service agent, headquartered in a Midwest state that is unfamiliar with Colorado's recreational marijuana laws.

    When I asked if the contractor has a drug-free workplace policy, she was confident that indeed they have a strong policy and employees are well aware of it, "But no one knew how to handle this situation because the employee said he smoked two weeks ago."

    This happened to be a post-accident drug screen in which the company gave the employee two weeks off with pay, after which time they allowed him to return with a warning that he should test clean should this happen again.

    The problems with the above scenario are numerous. We can learn from several of the components to help ensure that managers, supervisors, HR personnel, general contractors and corporate decision-makers are better aware of more productive alternatives that will ensure work places are kept safe and drug-free.

    Know the Law

    First of all, what this company did exactly right was to perform the post-accident drug screen according to their company policy. That was a smart choice that could help decrease their liability, had a dangerous accident taken place. It's every employee's responsibility to report for work sober and capable of performing his or her work duties. Impairment of any kind is not safe or productive to the company mission.

    Our scenario above takes a turn when management proceeded in a fashion that shows a lack of understanding for the law. If you do any type of business in Colorado, please know that Amendment 64 (which allows the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado) clearly states, "Nothing in this section is intended to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employer to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees." 

    Colorado has a solid history of supporting the employer. The writers of Amendment 64 understood that a necessary component of their proposal to the voters had to contain a strong workplace statement. Although the recreational marijuana user has protections from prosecution under Colorado law, they do not have the right to come to work impaired, nor must the employer tolerate it.

    Drug-free Policy

    The first step to ensure a well-defined message pertaining to employee drug use is a strong drug policy that is clearly stated and well communicated. Zero-tolerance policies are still perfectly enforceable in Colorado. If you have not yet notified your Colorado contract workers that marijuana use will not be allowed in light of safety priorities, this should be on your immediate "to do" list. You can request proof of compliance and require a contractor perform random drug screening to protect your own liability.

    Secondly, it's imperative that any and all staff members responsible for responding to a positive drug test result are prepared for next steps well in advance of an incident. 

    Knee-jerk reactions that stem from confusion and doubt are prone to land a company in hot water. The words, "we didn't know how to handle the situation" were an alarming response. 

    If your company has not yet had specific training on this issue or created a response protocol, do not wait until you are dealing with a situation before you decide how to handle it. And by all means, please do not be the person who says, "We will not deal with this issue." This is an unrealistic expectation that can catch you unprepared.

    In Colorado, we have seen employees who "know better" and have been long-term, loyal, trusted members of a safety-sensitive crew come up positive for marijuana, much to the chagrin of an employee who took for granted their team would never push the boundaries.

    This leads to another problem with the response from our example company in that the person responsible for oversight of the drug-testing program was confused how to respond because "the employee said he smoked two weeks ago."

    This is where some education is needed and why employers are finding themselves backed into needless corners of confusion. Although popular belief holds that impairment only lasts a few hours, the truth may surprise you. 

    It has been proven repeatedly in scientific studies that marijuana impairment has a clear 24-hour window. And previous studies were performed when THC content was much less than today's cannabis product. THC (the psychoactive property in marijuana) is the impairing factor and why that metabolite is used in a drug screen panel. 

    Know the Facts

    Not only are current marijuana products easily 10 times stronger than previous decades, but thanks to Colorado's unlimited THC allowance, we are seeing products that far exceed anything previously known where marijuana is concerned. Reports of impairment from edibles laced with hash oil have the users stating they felt the effects for 3-4 days. Additionally, sub-acute impairment from marijuana can affect the subject for a week or more. 

    THC content in the 1960s and 1970s was 1-3 percent in a typical marijuana cigarette. Today's products are commonly in excess of 20 percent. Colorado is producing oils and waxes that are upwards of 80 percent THC. 

    It should be noted that in Amsterdam, products containing over 15 percent THC are considered to be hard drugs, on par with heroin. Why is this pertinent for employers to know? Because we are dealing with an entirely different substance than the Baby Boomers used in college and that makes a difference where a focus on public health and safety are concerned.

    While the issue of impairment testing has become a hotly contested debate, those invested in workplace safety must understand that marijuana-impaired subjects do not "feel" impaired. This does NOT mean they are free from impairment. It simply means they're not recognizing the symptoms of impairment that affect their work, attention, response times and ability to multi-task.

    The decision-making should be based upon a clear understanding of marijuana impairment, and not cater to employees who can easily claim to have smoked two weeks prior. 

    Impairment is Not Acceptable

    Handling these situations consistently will strengthen an employer's position rather than weakening it, due to indecision and the appearances of special treatment. Taking an employee's word that the marijuana use occurred some weeks prior is not a solid policy practice for ensuring safety, nor is it a smart precedent to set for future cases. 

    Employees will often claim all manner of excuses and those with potential substance abuse problems will be highly manipulative and convincing. The issue should NOT be "when" did an employee use drugs, but that drug use occurred which impacted the safety of the workplace.

    Presence-in-system testing continues to be the gold standard available and best practice for determining outcomes based upon a drug screen result. 

    While an employee who chooses to use drugs may claim drug testing is unfair and threaten to sue, bear in mind that every case presented to a Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the employer's right to make decisions based on the drug test results, those decisions being in accord with that company's drug policy.

    Giving consideration to allowing employees to maintain even small amounts of THC in their system while in the work environment is not conducive to promoting workplace safety and should not be an area in which employers are tempted to compromise safety standards.

    Think for a moment about the tasks your employees are involved in daily: climbing ladders, using power tools, driving vehicles, entering homes and job sites, working with machinery, etc. Most job descriptions in any industry-related type of work requires a level of multi-tasking and clear-headed decision making that should not be clouded by any impairing substance. 

    Be sure to take stock of the risks and liability involved in allowing or tolerating an amount of "acceptable" impairment. 

    Employers seem pressured to treat marijuana like tobacco — or to some degree alcohol — both of which can have some similarities (adverse health effects and steep social costs) thereby feeling the need to relent on policies, lessen penalties and reduce standards to make allowances. 

    Take a moment, however, to ask yourself, "Where do we draw the line? Is a little bit OK?"

    How do you measure a little bit versus a lot? If a little is fine, but a lot is not, how much is too much and how do you define the limitations? This is a serious conundrum. 

    In light of the fact that marijuana impaired employees have 55 percent more accidents and 82 percent more injuries — costing employers dearly in financial losses — it would seem that popular drug use trends are not an area for compromise, allowances or case-by-case "wait and see" approaches. 

    The answer is: safety is paramount and "legal" does NOT mean SAFE.

  • Monday, September 23, 2019 11:38 AM | Anonymous

    Commit Yourself to Becoming a Great Leader

    Originally published: 08.01.17 by Mike Abrashoff

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a Naval Commander in charge of one of the most technically advanced warships that’s ever been built, or an entrepreneur with the task of making sure your company, your customers and your employees are meeting the requirements required of a successful enterprise. Leadership starts with a personal commitment to excellence.

    When I was given command of the USS Benfold, it ranked near the bottom in performance for ships in the Pacific Fleet. If the USS Benfold had been a business, consultants would have been called in months earlier to try to salvage it.

    When I left the USS Benfold two years later, it was recognized as one of the top performing ships in the fleet. The leadership lessons I learned during those two years are no different than those required to run a successful business.

    Make a Commitment

    The first step in your leadership journey is not exactly a step. It’s a commitment.

    When I was preparing to take command of USS Benfold, I thought I was ready. I was the typical command and control leader. I was good at managing people. My results were good, but outstanding results were always beyond my reach, and I lost alot of good people along the way.

    Taking command of USS Benfold, I knew I could be a better leader. Up until that time, I had created “order takers,” not “owners.” Owners are crucial to the success of an organization. They’re passionate and engaged in their work.

    Outstanding performance is achieved by people who feel they have some ownership in the enterprise. They are not simply doers. They are owners.

    I had experience and preparation aboard other ships. Perhaps like you, I wasn’t totally new to managing and leading. But, I didn’t realize the commitment to change I needed to make until I watched the change of command ceremony as I prepared to board.

    The crew was cheering the departure of their commander, not because they were sad to see him go, but because they were glad to see him go — A sad commentary on his leadership.

    In that moment, I realized I needed to commit myself to being the kind of leader who would empower and engage people to achieve extraordinary results, and do everything necessary to make sure my team stayed on top.

    Set Your Course

    My crew was skeptical when I took command of USS Benfold. Many were unsure about the type of a leader that was taking over. I had a lot of ideas and wanted to change how things were done.

    Let’s face it, they were not sure if what they heard from me would be consistent with my actions. I had to move steadily, but with patience, to earn their trust and respect. It started becoming real when my actions really indicated to the crew that I was not doing things to line up my next promotion or to advance my career, but truly to make USS Benfold the best damn ship in the Navy.

    When you become number one, complacency can set in and the urgency to change dissipates. It takes a leader to prevent this from happening.

    My initial thoughts were that turning the ship around would be my most difficult assignment. I learned later that staying on top was an even bigger challenge. I was fortunate that the motivation to change was already present on USS Benfold. I just had to tap into it.

    With competition always increasing, your challenge is to take your organization’s brand loyalty and translate it into long-term customer loyalty.

    “Engage your people who will engage your customers.”

    People make the biggest difference in the customer experience. And the customer experience drives loyalty. Transformation doesn’t occur overnight.

    I learned through my experience on USS Benfold that change is hard and takes time.

    Imagine your team’s performance if you were to set a course for change. It’s not as hard as you think. It will take making a commitment to leadership.

    All you need to do to get started is to set aside just 15 to 30 minutes a week to focus on elevating your leadership style and relationships with your employees and customers. You’ll be surprised at the impact of this exercise.

    Make it Count

    How we see ourselves may differ from how we are perceived by others. Understanding your own leadership style is an important first step. Think about your leadership style.

    Are you happy with the results you are getting? What legacy will you leave?

    Take a few minutes to review your leadership journey thus far and make a list of what you think is important to the following groups:

    ·       What is important to your customer?

    ·       What is important to your team?

    ·       What is important to yourself?

    Take Action

    Observe, listen and interact with your team.?At the end of each day, compare your list of what was important to what you actually saw. These experiences shape your vision for what’s needed to create an experience for your team and customers.

    Take a genuine interest in your people. Look for new ways to show them you care about their success. Keep track of the ways that have the greatest impact.

    The time you invest on this first step of your leadership journey will greatly return on the back end as the team and management takes on more responsibility and become accountable.

    Set High Standards, Build Confidence

    Even if you’re satisfied with your current results, continue to look for places where you can raise the bar even more. Look at how you interact with your people.

    Are you building confidence in them that they can do the job? How do they feel after your interactions? People need to know that you believe in them.

  • Thursday, September 12, 2019 1:26 PM | Anonymous

    Energize Your Workforce

    Originally published: 12.01.15 by Brady Wilson

    10 Ways to Take Your Employees Beyond Engagement

    Today's employees — even those who may be engaged — are exhausted. Depleted of passion, resilience, verve and excitement, they are devoid of the personal energy that compels them to consistently go above and beyond the call of duty.

    To create a sustainable, innovative and high-performing organizational culture, businesses need to focus on both engagement and energy — essentially, moving "beyond engagement" as we know it today.

    Brain science provides us with an understanding of how to get there. Here are 10 ways you can change the way you approach engagement — and put energy first.

    Manage Energy, Not Engagement

    When we're low on energy, we lose our ability to focus, regulate emotions, make decisions and take action. By managing energy instead of engagement, leaders protect employees' executive function. 

    This can unlock energy that fuels enthusiasm and innovation — generating sustainable engagement.

    Deliver Experiences, Not Promises

    When elaborate recognition/reward programs and intricate performance management systems don't deliver on leaders' promises, this creates workplace cynicism — leading employees to see employee engagement as a con game. 

    But by delivering on experiences, leaders can create a happy, productive, frequently energized employee base.

    Target Emotion, Not Logic

    We live and work in a "Feelings Economy," where feelings — not intellect — drive employee behavior. In fact, research shows that emotional engagement trumps rational engagement by a multiple of four. 

    Understanding what matters most to employees — and then acting upon that information — is an effective way to show compassion and support.

    Trust Conversations, Not Surveys

    Annual engagement survey results only provide a small glimpse of a very large picture. 

    To really understand and energize employees, leaders must shift to frequent, face-to-face, meaningful conversations with employees. Why? Quality conversation releases all kinds of high-performance hormones in our brains.

    Seek Tension, Not Harmony

    The brain's natural response to tension is to interpret it as a threat. However, we are actually energized by tension. Many opportunities for innovative breakthroughs exist between the current and desired way of doing things. 

    The trick is for leaders to learn to stand amid that tension — not to avoid it — and effectively manage competing priorities.

    Practice Partnering, Not Parenting

    The brain perceives "shared responsibility" as a risk. Therefore, leaders may resort to parental-like behaviors — which, consequently, introduces negativity into the workplace. 

    By shifting to a "partnering" managerial style, leaders and employees can work together to create powerful solutions that both parties are willing to adopt and implement.

    Backstory, Not Action Plan

    Too often, organizations take engagement survey results at face value and create "one-size-only" action plans. This practically guarantees employee resistance to any engagement initiative. 

    Leaders who converse frequently with their employees can draw out the backstory behind engagement scores — and co-create conditions that generate meaningful, sustainable energy.

    Think Sticks, Not Carrots

    Leaders often gravitate to offering "carrots" such as recognition programs, cheerleading and inspiration. They should be "thinking sticks," however — that is, identifying and addressing psychological forms of workplace interference like bullying and conflict. 

    In doing so, managers can produce environments where employees can be their best selves — able to access their knowledge, experience, skills and strengths at a moment's notice.

    Meet Needs, Not Scores

    When employees' individual needs go unmet, they may act out in unskillful ways such as forming cliques and gossiping — permeating the organization with interference, which affects people's ability to leverage their executive function. 

    By focusing on individual needs instead of annual survey scores, leaders can inspire employees and sustain workplace energy.

    Challenge Beliefs, Not Emotions

    According to brain science, it is not our capability but our belief in our capability that affects how effective we are. 

    Leaders who engage in meaningful conversation with employees to identify and address negative beliefs (such as self-doubt) can create a much greater sense of urgency in their people.

  • Thursday, September 05, 2019 12:48 PM | Anonymous

    Embracing Change is Good for Your Business

    Originally published: 04.01.17 by Jodie Deegan

    When you commit to change, it’s important to put processes in place that keep the change working.

    Nothing ever stays the same. No matter how comfortable we are with a situation, it will not last forever. It’s crazy that our initial reaction is to fear change. But it’s human nature.

    Even if the change is for the best, we are skeptical. We look for all the reasons why this could spell out bad things for us.

    We will stay in a situation that we know is terrible, because it is easier than enduring the pain of change.

    When you are the leader of a business, you’re not simply wrestling with your own security issues. Most likely, you have employees that have a more difficult time adopting change than you. Identifying some of the underlying issues can help you make changes within your organization in a positive way.

    Your technicians will accept change much easier if they trust and respect you. Despite the fears associated with change, it’s easier to internalize and embrace a situation when the leader asking them to change has earned their respect and had their backs.

    This doesn’t mean the change is always better for the technician. They need to trust you’re doing it because it’s in the best interest of the company, and the benefit may be long-term stability or growth opportunities.

    Think of a general leading troops into battle: The situation may be bad, but the soldiers need to know their leader cares about them and the mission is important. If you’ve implemented change poorly or for the wrong reasons in the past, it has probably cost you some trust.

    Identify your objective. Why do we need to change, and will the changes make a difference?

    For example, if you have a high direct labor issue, it doesn’t necessarily mean the pay plan is the problem. Going through the pain of changing a pay plan can be difficult. You could go through everything involved in that change, only to realize the real issue was actively managing your team’s hours worked, production and overtime.

    Do your due diligence before jumping into change. Make data-based decisions and check to ensure your data is correct. Use all your resources, such as your management team, business coach or peers to evaluate your problem before shooting from the hip.

    Too much change, too fast can be difficult for some people to absorb. If you’re always “chasing the shiny object” and looking for the magic solution, your technicians learn to watch and wait until it blows over.

    When you commit to change, it’s important to put processes in place that keep the change working. An example of this would be rolling out a new purchasing process with a new vendor and later finding out everyone continued to purchase at the old vendor, because the account was not closed or the purchase orders were not scrutinized.

    If the old way is still available, then many will continue to use it.

    There are some techniques that will make change management a lot easier. If you make changes the right way, it can go smoothly. If you make changes the wrong way, it can be mutinous.

    Identify

    Identify the biggest challenge you’re going to face when making a change. Write it down so you can make a plan to address it. If there is more than one challenge, then write those down as well. Make action plans to overcome them. Identify which or all of the following categories will be affected by this change:

    ·       People’s development

    ·       Process change

    ·       Personal growth

    ·       Technology

    It’s also important to do some self-evaluation to determine if the area affected by this change is aligned with your strength, or if someone else is better suited to lead the charge on this change initiative.

    For example, if you’re not technically inclined, you’d probably not be the best person to implement tablets in the field. You may not have a choice, but if you do have better options, use them or identify outside resources to support you.

    Whenever practical, beta test the changes you’re putting in place. One area where this is particularly important is pay. Changing a pay plan without having a thorough understanding of the effects it can have can be costly and make you look bad. Sometimes, we don’t know what we don’t know until a process is tested.

    Support List

    Make a list of the people or groups of people who will be supportive in implementing the changes you want to make.

    Determine how receptive they will be to the change and who will be your supporters. It’s helpful to enlist these supporters as “change agents” to help influence the rest of the team “that this is going to be okay” or “this is no big deal.” It helps if these supporters are respected leaders within the company.

    Next, identify who or which groups will be your biggest challenge in implementing this change. Sometimes these are technicians who have been with you a long time and who are more rooted in the old ways.

    Try to identify why they are resistant to the changes you are implementing, and look for ways to make the change positive in their eyes. This will not always be easy, or even possible, for that matter.

    Look for other areas where you may need to make a concession or have thought about changing. It will be easier for someone to absorb change they consider negative if there is some obvious upside at the same time.

    Communicate

    Make a communication plan. This is more important than it may initially seem. Have you ever heard something from someone and wondered, “How did they know that before me?”

    Not hearing about change before others can make a person feel negative about the change and maybe even a little disrespected. Think about who should hear about the change first. If there are different technician groups or employees who are affected, then think about the order of when each group should be notified — maybe the whole company should be notified in one meeting.

    If there’s a chance the change you make will be poorly received, you may be better off to have these discussions individually. You’re less likely to have an angry mob on your hands when you have sincere, personal talks with individuals or small groups.

    Again, consider the order of whom you speak with. It is advantageous to communicate the change with your team members who will support the changes and help bring the rest of the team around.

    Training

    Make a training plan. The more confusion that surrounds a change, the more difficult it will be to implement.

    Some changes are complex: software, hardware or procedural changes may require ongoing training until the team is effective in the process and comfortable. There can be a lot of training preparation involved in rolling out changes of that magnitude.

    Some of the training may be in classrooms and require training aids, PowerPoint, curriculum, etc. Other resources could be handouts and aids to help the technicians in the field. There may be outside resources to support the changes, such as help lines or online support.

    If any of those resources are not in place, then don’t be in a big hurry to roll out changes before they’re in place. You’ll set yourself up for failure or, at the very least, a rocky road. The better you execute, the more comfortable the team will be with the changes you implement.

    Measurement and Goals

    Set goals, tracking and measuring, whenever possible, that will support the changes you make. Tying individual goals to the company goal can drive performance and compliance. It also gives you a dashboard of the effects of the changes you make.

    Sometimes, the measuring tool is your income statement. Another way to drive change is to tie it to something competitive, such as contests or spiffs, when applicable. It’s a best practice to have metrics for one-on-one coaching sessions.

    These coaching sessions are critical to reinforce changes and get feedback you might not otherwise get about how the change is progressing.

    It’s natural to fear change in your company. You get in a comfort zone and, although certain areas could be better, you often accept performances you should not.

    As a leader, you have to learn to embrace change. Believe that better things are going to happen and that change is good. Change is going to happen, whether you want it to or not. You cannot always control it, but you can control how you react to it.

    Original Source: http://www.hvacrbusiness.com/embracing-change-good-for-business.html

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