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1  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Interview with Angelina B. Laycock, author of "Strategies for Reshaping the Wor on: November 08, 2007, 03:59:37 PM
Reader Views would like to welcome Angelina B. Laycock, author of "Strategies for Reshaping the Workplace."

Irene: You recently published a book called “Strategies for Reshaping the Workplace.” Would you please tell our reading audience the gist of your book.

Angelina: There are many work/life books on the market today. Many are the results of great research in the field and others deal with success of work/life programs of major organizations. My publication is unique in that it takes an applied approach and offers a roadmap for developing policies and programs that are simple to implement, and are feasible for even small and mid-size companies.

Irene: In your book, you use the term “work/life movement. Would you explain what that means?” Angelina: The work/life movement started in the 1970’s. It is an attempt to make the workplace more family-friendly. It encompasses all policies and programs that employers may offer to their employees that help them better balance the demands of work and the needs of their personal lives. Wellness programs, help with dependent care issues and workplace flexibility are some of the key options within family-friendly programs.

Irene: Is child-care one of the key options that is gaining ground?

Angelina: It is a key option because it is only the availability of good childcare that enables people to go to work. More and more large corporations are recognizing this. However, small companies cannot offer on-site or near-site care but they can do other things that support the childcare needs of their employees. This includes offering pre-tax dependent care accounts and offering flexibility in their work schedules. I would like to add that the next big need is going to be care of elderly dependents. Businesses are only beginning to consider this need.

Irene: Why are organizations offering work/life options to their employees and what are the business advantages of doing so?

Angelina: Businesses that offer work/life programs are becoming aware of the predicted population demographics for the near future. It is estimated that by 2010 64% of the workforce will be at retirement age. While all of them may not choose to retire, there clearly will be less people available to work. There simply will be fewer new (younger) workers available to fill the needs of business and industry. Also, the new generation of workers is determined to have some balance in their lives and is more willing to move on if their employer will not support their needs. It is evident in much of the recent research that being a family-friendly employer means that your workers are more loyal, more productive and tend to stay with the organization. Retention of employees is important because turnover is very costly. Being able to recruit and retain workers is a key business advantage of being family-friendly.

Irene: What are the most important things related to work/life balance that employers can offer their employees and why?

Angelina: There are two options that employers can offer that are critical. One is helping with the dependent needs of workers and the other is offering flexibility. Employees with children and increasingly more often, those with elderly dependents need help in meeting the needs of those dependent on them. Offering workplace flexibility by allowing such options as modifying work schedules, telecommuting, working less than full time and job sharing are truly needed by people today.

Irene: It seems that family-friendly programs more prevalent in larger companies and organizations. What advice do you have for the smaller, sole-proprietorship companies, that feel they can’t offer family-friendly programs.

Angelina: This is a major point that I make in my book. Every company, regardless of size, can be family-friendly. There are many options that really do not cost much if anything. For example, to allow an employee some work scheduling flexibility doesn’t cost anything. It just rearranges the time when work gets done. Providing healthy food choices in company vending machines doesn’t cost the employer. In fact, anything an employer does t encourage health can save on medical insurance costs. In most communities there are public programs that can provide wellness programs free. County health departments often will do smoking cessation or nutritional and weight control programs as part of their primary mission.

Irene: You believe that there needs to be a change in how managers lead. Please explain your concept.

Angelina: Managers know that their job is to get work done through their people. To do this today, they must also help their team members with individual issues. Workers who are distracted with family problems are not productive, are absent from work more and often leave if the conflict between work and family become too great. Managers are not counselors but they can help their people with issues that interfere with work. Performing more like a coach rather than a director involves skills that many first-time managers don’t have but are needed in today’s workplace. The successful manager acts as a guide in helping individuals while also getting the work done.

Irene: How do you convince management of the importance of being worker-friendly when there bottom-line is profit?

Angelina: When they are shown that employees are more productive when they are not concerned by personal issues, when the cost of turnover is calculated) many companies in the past never kept track of these costs) and when they recognize that family-friendly policies attract the best workers, they begin to realize that a worker-friendly corporate culture is highly related to their profit picture.

Irene: If you recall, the normal workweek was 40 hours. It seems that very few employees, especially those that have major responsibilities within a company, adhere to the 40 hour a week concept. Most say they can’t get their work done within that time and often put in 2 to 4 hours extra per day. Isn’t this a road to burn out? And why do people continue to work those extra hours?

Angelina: In some organizations, with downsizing and restructuring, fewer workers are doing more work. Also, technology encourages us to work more since we are tethered to work by laptops and cell phones, etc. Workplace stress is a major concern today and it takes its toll. Individuals need to find ways to better balance their work and their family needs and employers need to consider how work is done. Sometimes, by eliminating some tasks or changing the way work is done can ease worker stress. Work redesign is currently a hot topic and I believe those organizations that look seriously at finding new ways to work will be the leaders in creating great places to work.

Irene: Yes, work redesign is a hot topic. What are your perspectives on the first step to resigning?

Angelina: Obviously, it depends on the kind of work that needs to be done. The first step is to ask workers how things might be done differently to achieve more efficiency in the process. Those who do the work are closest to the problem and often come up with the most innovative suggestions. Management needs to approach this technique carefully because change or the suggestion of change can be threatening.

Irene: You seem to target your book for human resources personnel. Do you believe they are the first line of change? If so, why?

Angelina: Most human resource professionals know change is needed. They are confronted every day with the issues that employees face. They also are responsible for the hiring of staff and realize it is getting more difficult to fill positions. But HR people generally don’t make policy. I see them as the messengers who remain passionate about the issues, gather the available evidence and continually make the business case for why change is an imperative for success.

Irene: It’s a slow process to have a company change to include the work/life options for their employees. Do you have reference as to how long it would take to implement a basic program?

Angelina: You never finish. Becoming a family-friendly employer is an ongoing process. Things change, people’s needs change and the needs of the organization can change. My suggestion is to take one small step at a time and monitor the effects and outcomes. Is this what our employees need, want, and does it make a difference in meeting our business objectives? These are the questions to ask.

Irene: What option do you suggest companies start with?

Angelina: To determine where to start, first ask your employees what would it take to help them best balance the demands of work and of their families lives? Usually their requests are modest. One small manufacturer who put his shop on a four-day (compressed) workweek, found that it saved on electricity, helped shorten commuting time for employees, allowed workers more time for family and allowed for emergency customer needs by leaving Fridays open for these occasional occurrences. It cost him nothing to implement, made work more efficient, increased worker satisfaction and increased profits by meeting customer needs.

Irene: Thank you so much for your time to talk with us. Is there anything else that you would like our reading audience to know about your, your concepts, and your book?

Angelina: I believe that work/life balance issues are just beginning to have its impact on the workplace. Those organizations who want to be successful in our changing economy must create work environments that allow everyone, from top executive to each worker, to experience a balance in both their work and their personal life. It is good for people and it is good for business.

My book is available at and at I will be presenting at the national WorldatWork conference in May in California on this topic. Perhaps some of your readers connected to this field might consider attending. You may also contact me directly at: 734 663-6041.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views.

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2  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Confidential Operations Manual and Updating Manual in Franchise Companies on: November 08, 2007, 03:58:05 PM
One of the strategies that franchises often employ to maintain the integrity of the franchise system and insure control and consistency throughout the franchise company is to use a standardized confidential operations manual. Yet, we all know that the only thing that is constant use change. This is why the confidential operations manual in any franchisor company must be constantly updated. But, how do you know if all the franchisees have been diligent in updating their manual, so that everyone is doing everything the same way?

Many franchisors today put the manuals online in a company intranet system and the company itself makes the changes. This is a good strategy, however opens the door to downloadable theft of proprietary information. In our company we decided to use paper manuals, in binders, which were extremely hard to copy. To insure that our franchisees updated their manual, we decided to add a clause into our franchise agreements and make them agree prior to the commencement of their franchise to above all else keep the confidential operations manual up-to-date;

3.12 Confidential Operations Manual

3.12.1 Updating Manual And System

Franchisee acknowledges that the Service Marks, Confidential Operations Manual, and System, including any future amendments or modifications to them, have substantial value, and that the conditions, restrictions, covenants not to compete, and other limitations imposed by this Agreement are necessary, equitable, and reasonable for the general benefit of Franchisee, Franchisor, and others enjoying any lawful economic interest in the Service Marks, Confidential Operations Manual, and System.

Franchisor may change or modify any part of the Service Marks, Confidential Operations Manual, or System from time to time at its sole discretion. Franchisee will accept, use, and protect, for the purposes of this Franchise Agreement, all changes and modifications as if they were a part of the Service Marks, Confidential Operations Manual, and System at the time this Franchise Agreement is executed. Franchisee will bear all costs and expenses which may be reasonably necessary as a result of such changes or modifications. Under no circumstances will Franchisor be liable to Franchisee for any damages, costs, losses, or detriments related to of these changes or modifications.

Complete and detailed uniformity of the Service Marks, Confidential Operations Manual, and System under the varying conditions to be experienced by our Franchisees may not be possible or practicable. Therefore Franchisor reserves the right, at its discretion, to accommodate Franchisees special needs, or those of any other of our franchisees. These needs may result from the peculiarities of a particular site or location, density of population, business potential, populations of trade area, existing business practices, requirements of local law or local customers, zoning requirements, daytime population, landlord requirements or any other condition which Franchisor deems to be important to the successful operation of the franchisee's business. From time to time, Franchisor may allow certain franchisees to depart from normal system standards and routines to experiment with or test new products, equipment, designs, and procedures. In no event will any variance or testing be deemed a waiver of any of the Franchisor’s rights, or an excuse for Franchisee to not perform any of their duties under this Franchise Agreement. Franchisor may require Franchisee at any time to commence full compliance with the Confidential Operations Manual and the System. Franchisor will not be required to grant any variance to Franchisee under any circumstances.

In order to protect the reputation and the goodwill associated with the Franchisor’s trademarks and to maintain the Franchisor’s uniform standards of quality and operations, Franchisee must conduct their Franchised Business in strict accordance with the Confidential Operations Manual, as amended. Franchisee will update their manual via the Franchisee Forum intranet system, electronic mail, diskettes, CD-ROM’s, zip disks or other medium for their computer immediately upon receipt or insert new pages in their loaned copy of the Confidential Operations Manual. Any subsequently revised pages or old diskettes must be returned to Franchisor or completely shredded, burned up or destroyed immediately to insure confidentiality. Franchisor will advise Franchisee of what to do after each revision.

Franchisor may, at its sole discretion, revise any or all contents of the Confidential Operations Manual to convey to Franchisee any advancements and new developments in sales, marketing, operational techniques and other items and procedures relevant to the operation of the Franchised Business. There will be no additional costs associated with updating Franchisee’s loaned copy of the Confidential Operations Manual. This remains a service funded by Franchisee’s on-going royalty fees.

----- ----- ----- ------

Each franchisor will need to determine the best strategy, which will work best for their company. It is well advised to talk to franchise attorney about the legal ways to go about this. There is more than one strategy and each franchise company will need to determine what makes the best sense for them. Consider this in 2006.

Lance Winslow

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3  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Consistency of Equipment and Supplies in Franchise Companies on: November 08, 2007, 03:57:28 PM

It is extremely important to a franchise company to maintain consistency throughout each franchise outlet. That consistency should include all equipment and supplies, which are to be used or sold at the franchisee level. Without such consistency you will dilute your brand-name and confuse your customer, thus you will lose one of the major benefits of franchising.

It is for this reason that I had determined that our company needed to add a clause in the franchise agreement to address is very issue before the commencement or signing of the franchise or disclosure documents. Also this information was backed up in our confidential operations manuals. Below is a clause in our franchise agreement that I came up with;

3.14 Equipment and Supplies

Franchisee will display, sell and use only such equipment and supply items of independent suppliers which have been approved by Franchisor in accordance with Section 4.6 hereof. In the event Franchisee desires Franchisor approval of a particular supplier, equipment or supply item, Franchisee will provide the documentation contemplated by Section 4.6 at its sole expense and will reimburse Franchisor for costs of further testing as contemplated by Section 4.6. Franchisee may not enter into or renew any agreement with a third-party vendor of services, supplies or equipment if such agreement requires that Franchisee disclose information regarding the identity of its customers or the Services performed by Franchisee for any of its customers. If, as of the date of this Agreement, Franchisee is already a party to an agreement of the sort described in the preceding sentence, Franchisee will not be deemed to be in violation of any of the provisions of this Agreement by virtue thereof for the remainder of the current term of such agreement.

-------- -------- --------

It would behoove serious franchisors to consult a knowledgeable and experienced franchise attorney to help them strategize on ways to control the consistency of their franchise system and how best to address this issue in the franchise agreement and the confidential operations manual. I hope you will consider this in 2006.

Lance Winslow

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4  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Great Decision Making is a Matter of Trust and Fairness on: November 08, 2007, 03:56:34 PM
One of the cornerstones of a productive and harmonious team is its ability to successfully make good decisions that impact the group. More important then that, it is critical to get all members to buy into the decisions once they are made. Whether you are deciding on your next budget cuts, specific project deliverables, or when overtime will be mandated, the decision process itself is as critical as the decision.

No matter how you think your team works, deep down leaders and workers both care about the fairness of the decision making process. In order for there to be buy-in, peace and support in your team the decision process must ultimately be perceived as fair.

Fairness is obviously a matter of who is making the determination, and so there are no set rules. But over the years I have found that decisions that are perceived as fair have some common traits.

First everyone impacted by the decision must believe they have had a real opportunity to contribute to the decision. Many fights and struggles in teams start because a decision was made without one of the members playing. How many times do you hear, “I can not believe you did that and didn’t even ask me…” If it happens a lot you need to check your process. It is probably doomed from the start.

Next all sides must feel the decision maker really listened to their input and considered their point of view prior to making the decision. This is particularly true when the decision will impact team members outside of the work environment.

More then listening, all members of the team must believe they had a genuine chance to influence the decision. If your team has developed to the point where certain decisions are made by the group, this is very important to stress. Team members need to understand that along with the ability to make decisions for themselves and others comes the responsibility to listen openly and weigh input. If you have modeled this behavior all along it will come naturally, so watch your actions and act consistently.

And finally, whatever the decision is everyone must understand the reason for the final choice. Early on in the process it is important to let everyone know if there is a pecking order to input. If there are outside forces that also will determine the choices to be made explain them up front. Help each member of the team understand why their position did not prevail.

One process you might want to try looks something like this:

1. Clearly define and communicate how the decision will be made and by who.

2. Next maintain an open mind set if the decision is truly open for discussion. Be very clear what the boundaries of each of the decision makers are.

3. Actively listen to all parties involved. Encourage everyone to ask questions for clarification. Regularly provide feedback to test for understanding. Above all, everyone needs to show respect for differing points of view, never interrupt to stop a dissenting opinion.

4. Once it is made, explain the decision and how you evaluated the information and made the choice.

5. Explain how everyone’s input was used. Clearly show how each team member contributed to the process, especially if their particular perspective didn’t prevail.

6. Last, openly and honestly recognize and thank team members for all contributions so they will want to participate in future decisions.

Obviously this is not the only process. Experiment, make your own. Just be sure to include each of the elements. If you do your decisions won’t be any easier but at least everyone on the team will understand them and believe they were treated fairly.

Steve Farmer is a leader in the field of Coaching. As a skilled professional coach, inspirational speaker and author he brings the power of individual coaching to everyday living. Steve empowers individuals to follow their dreams, achieve more in their current careers, and maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives. A busy entrepreneur himself, Steve understands the many demands and challenges facing today's busy adults. He also knows that amidst the chaos, people sometimes need support in maintaining both their sanity and a balanced life. With his innate listening and problem-solving gifts, Steve helps individuals find solutions to their difficult problems. Whether through one-on-one coaching, workshops, courses or keynote addresses, he helps people to better develop their personal talents and skills so that their journey to success and happiness is easier, more rewarding and less frustrating.

Learn more about Steve at his website

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5  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Future Prospects for Kodak on: November 08, 2007, 03:55:43 PM
Nowadays film photo cameras swiftly replace by digital ones. Despite of all advantages of digital over film cameras, professional photographers claim that photos from film cameras are better. But professionals of photography present the minority on the market of photo cameras and most customers on this market are unsophisticated amateurs, which most often do not see the difference between film and digital cameras photos. Moreover, amateurs consider digital photos better and of course they appreciate all other advantages of digital cameras such as: LCD, memory cards, additional functions, digital zoom, sound and video record etc.

Customers’ preferences drive the supply and thus camera manufacturers produce more digital cameras. Kodak Company, which is one of the world leaders of photo cameras, is not an exception and “is preparing a big strategic move away from traditional film and plans to bet its future on new digital markets”. Kodak’s administration claims that Kodak stops most investments into film technology and enter the digital market of photography. This market is already saturated with such companies as Nikon, Olympus, Canon, Fuji etc. So which arrangements will Kodak apply to occupy a worthy place on the market?

First of all Kodak decided to behave more aggressively in order to fulfill more market segments. Earlier Kodak used the following targeted marketing scheme: goods complex commercial activities receiving income because of satisfying customers – I mean that Kodak didn’t pursued customers and sold expensive goods. Nowadays it looks like Kodak shifts to another targeted marketing scheme – receiving income from the sales volume. Thus Kodak diversified its range with cheap digital products.

Secondly, Kodak does its best in order to decrease its costs. In order to achieve this they cut the amount of dividends for 62.8%. Of course, investors may sell their stock and find more profitable place for investments – this is weak point of the decision. But Kodak predicts that its revenue will increase significantly in the nearest years and thus investors have an opportunity to increase their incomes – this is the strong point of cutting dividends. The next step of cutting the costs – closing ancillary businesses and reducing the staff. The saved money Kodak invests into the development of the digital products.

Thirdly, Kodak developed a line of digital cameras, which already gained customers’ confidence and pretend to be leaders in two price segments simultaneously ($200 - $399 and $400 - $599 ). Additionally Kodak offers many other services for digital images – online printing, sharing and editing. These services are quite popular.

Of course Kodak performs many other activities in order to get success on the digital market (involving in joint ventures for example) and of course all these activities are stipulated by the increased demand on the digital cameras and accessories. Kodak chose not easy way, but even now it is already seems that the market “accepted the new player”. Kodak’s risks are very substantial, but the bets are high and it’s too late to recede.

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6  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Next Steps to Success on: November 08, 2007, 03:54:50 PM
What happens when progress slows right down - and nothing happens between you and your team?

There is a stifling stench of paralysis.

It's time to ensure you have next steps in place.

'Next Steps to Success' is a simple tactic to ensure that progress on a topic is made clearly, quickly and precisely.

Ken Blanchard has a great little (and as always, easy to read) book called 'The One Minute Manager meets the Monkey'. This is all about the 'monkey'.

By ensuring that there is always a 'next step' in any discussion, issue or problem, which is clearly defined, owned by someone and timescaled, you will be much more likely to have progression.

So what is this 'next step' and how does a monkey fit into all this?

Well, the 'next step' is some actual piece of activity that someone (and it is best if it isn't you! I'll come on to that later), takes accountability for delivering, demonstrably and in a certain timescale.

If you've come across SMART objectives, it's along those lines and very tactical. It happens and happens fast - usually.

This 'next step' in a process, means that things keep moving and someone is signed up to the progress by doing the next link towards the final outcome. Think of it as a monkey jumping from each person's shoulder to the next. The 'doer' takes the monkey with them - and you ensure that it isn't usually you!

By keeping this as the goal, step by relevant next step, the overall outcome is achieved.

Who is the 'doer'? Well, that depends on who is best placed to do the doing! In developmental management and team cultures, as many individuals as possible get involved in taking the 'next step' (carrying off the monkey!).

Whilst it is easy for a manager to take the brunt of these, it is very useful to help others take these 'next steps, even if they are not experts in that area of their work.

Using 'next steps' as a developmental exercise can be very valuable for individuals who want to stretch their experience and develop their capabilities.

Without just 'dropping them in it', by providing ongoing support, whilst giving them the accountability to deliver (a strong learning in itself), a manager can evolve a highly skilled and broadly experienced team around who will enable continuity when times get tough.

And a succession planning process which evolves without too much effort.

Things get done, people get developed, the manager delegates effectively, making the best of his or her time.

Now how great a solution is that then!

© 2005-6 Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He works worldwide, mainly by phone, with small business owners, managers and corporate leaders. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website,

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7  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Business Patterns - The Reservation on: November 08, 2007, 03:53:58 PM

Every time you enter a restaurant, you should check whether they use the reservation concept. Do you observe the little white card on the empty table, telling you that others are coming soon. Tough luck if it was the last table.

Business Patterns are very useful concepts. There are also many pattern and these are useful because they help you solve issues where others have been dealing with before. The queue is one of them that is used in nearly any business today

A reservation is another pattern. Why are reservations important, who will use them and what do they solve for your business...And what problem do they bring?

A pattern is a solution that has been used to solve a problem and the way it has been achieved could be used in other areas. A reservation is a very common business pattern. Where the Queue pattern belongs to the production process, the reservation pattern is often used in the business area of sales.

But although the reservation is used in sales, the concept of a reservation is much more an intermediary function; a broker in between the demand and the supply. If you are uncertain about the expectations of the sales, you could introduce a reservation mechanism to organize the pre-sales. Doing this will give you an idea of the demand, and helps to organize the real sales process.

Airline companies use the reservation in order to establish the price levels; if there are many reservations the price will go up, until the last minute flights where the reservation is no longer possible.

Yet, reservations also entail some problems. Figure yourself entering this little restaurant. The tables are all reserved. Yet most of them empty. A reservation can solve risks, but also carries new risks.

If the process you need to organize is neither massive nor complex, you shouldn't choose the concept of a reservation. Especially for this little restaurant with an authentic image; the reservation doesn't fit with the style.

© 2006 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account

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8  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Waiter Training - Rehearsing for the Restaurant Show Performance on: November 08, 2007, 03:53:10 PM

However sophisticated your training may be, its merits will soon be lost without effective and consistent reinforcement.

One of the most effective ways managers can reinforce training is through short and well planned pre-shift meetings. These are 10-15 minute sessions where managers can build confidence and gain valuable feedback.

Typically held just prior to a shift, the meetings are essential for improving customer care and boosting average spend as they present an opportunity to exchange ideas, test menu knowledge and highlight special dishes.

The most effective shift meetings are simple, informal and interactive. Interactive being the key word here. Attendees should be encouraged to do most of the talking, following the rule where you speak 20% of the time and they speak the other 80%.

Managers can control the meeting by introducing discussion topics, and encouraging participation through questions and role play exercises.

Here are a few discussion ideas:

-Test menu knowledge through role play, with the manager playing the role of the guest and server recommending menu items
-Discuss customer care, such as handling complaints or telephone etiquette.
-Describe the specials, and have waiting staff describe them back
-Review forthcoming promotions or advertisements, or discuss any large parties or groups coming in
-You can brainstorm marketing ideas, sales goals or review average spend.

When determining which topics to discuss at a shift meeting, it is important to consider the meeting from the employee's point of view or WIIFM (what's in it for me?). First you must explain the benefits of putting what they learn into practice. Second, you must identify the reasons why they should listen and participate. Typically employees benefit through an increased knowledge and the confidence to do their job more effectively.

Managers should also…

Be prepared- set out objectives for the meeting beforehand. Organize all relevant support materials and be familiar with them well in advance of the meeting.

Avoid distractions-hold meetings in a place where will not be distracted by events outside or inside the restaurant. Appoint someone to answer the telephone during the meeting.

Be enthusiastic- it is contagious. To develop enthusiasm and motivation, managers must lead by example.

Ask questions- direct questions to different individuals throughout the meeting. This ensures that everyone stays focused on the topics being discussed, and encourages dialogue.

Encourage feedback- ensure that employees understand the topics being discussed in the meeting.

To help you prepare your cast for the restaurant show performance, and as a small thank you for visiting the web site, I am offering a complimentary sampler of the Rehearsal Guide for shift meetings. The guide is an extract from the Rehearsal Guide which is included with A Role in the Show training package. I hope you find the information useful.

To view the guide or previous articles please visit the Archives page on our website.

My company, Lexington Interactive, provides eLearning courses specifically for the Restaurant & Hotel Industry. For a free trial of our wait staff eLearning course, visit

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9  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Restaurant Training - This is Show Business on: November 08, 2007, 03:52:13 PM

In our incredibly competitive hospitality industry, owners and managers are constantly seeking the answer to an important question- How do you recruit, retain, and motivate staff who are responsible for creating a "magical" experience which exceeds your guests' expectations? Some answers may be found by looking to successful companies that are consistently achieving these goals.

William Shakespeare wrote, 'All the worlds a stage, and all the men and women merely players'. One company that has exemplified that quote is the Walt Disney World Co. based in Orlando, Florida.

Disney is recognised as one company which creates such "magical"experiences. The Disney challenge is to ensure that all of the 36,000 staff are playing a role in a show which exceeds all expectations.

The Disney approach to people management has helped gain them the reputation of providing a leading benchmark for quality and service in America.

Disney does not just "hire" people for jobs, they "cast" performers for a "role" in the show. The emphasis is in finding 'people oriented' cast members who are willing to adapt to the high standards established, and not necessarily on the skills an applicant may have.

Their 'casting process' introduces each applicant to the culture of the company, and the important role which they will play in the future success. This way there are no surprises, and it is this approach which helps to maintain turnover at approximately 20%.

Success on the "Restaurant Stage" requires the development and choreography of many different aspects, such as a great cast, script, support and direction.

Quality 'Casting' or recruitment, is critical to everything else in the production.

As an owner or manager, you are more director and choreographer of a performance. Your front of house staff, are the actors, and your customers are the audience for whom they must perform.

The supporting crew is responsible for ensuring the script and show is executed as planned. As director, you have to prepare your cast to recognize guest cues, deliver their lines and improvise when it will add to the enjoyment of the performance.

Think of a typical theatre performance- the audience files in, the curtain goes up, the actors make their entrances and speak their lines. If each and every cast member, not to mention the writer, director, stagehands, customers, makeup artists, and lighting technicians, have prepared themselves and the theatre well, the audience enjoys the show and tells others about it.

However, despite the proven talents of individual members of the cast or the presence of an award-winning director or the skills of the backstage crew, the whole thing can be a magnificent flop if just one person fails to do a job on which everyone else depends.

Filling out your service cast with people who can star in their roles is the key to success. But casting for a restaurant show is far more involved and difficult than hiring just anybody to answer a phone, or take orders and deliver food.

The next article, 'The casting call' is about how to attract the right cast members.

For previous articles please visit the Archives section on our website.

My company, Lexington Interactive, provides eLearning courses specifically for the Restaurant & Hotel Industry. For a free trial of our wait staff eLearning course, visit

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10  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Waiter Training - Casting for Restaurant Show Business on: November 08, 2007, 03:51:17 PM
Quality 'Casting' or recruitment, is critical to everything in hospitality show business.

Think of a typical theatre performance- the audience files in, the curtain goes up, the actors make their entrances and speak their lines. If each and every cast member, not to mention the writer, director, stagehands, customers, makeup artists, and lighting technicians, have prepared themselves and the theatre well, the audience enjoys the show and tells others about it.

However, despite the proven talents of individual members of the cast or the presence of an award-winning director or the skills of the backstage crew, the whole thing can be a magnificent flop if just one person fails to do a job on which everyone else depends.

Filling out your service cast with people who can star in their roles is the key to success. But casting for a restaurant show is far more involved and difficult than hiring just anybody to answer a phone, or take orders and deliver food.

To get the right kind of people for your own service repertoire, you have to know:

-The characteristics you are looking for -How to attract and identify individuals that have the right characteristics

Attributes of a great cast member

People orientated, enthusiastic, outgoing and confident are all words we can use to describe a potentially good performer.

People Orientated individuals enjoy entertaining guests and orchestrating everything, from a simple meal among friends, to an extravagant celebration. On the restaurant stage the applause might not just come from the tip, but the appreciation and gratitude guests express as they depart.

Outgoing and enthusiastic individuals love a live show. On the restaurant stage, each night is a performance. Like actors, the cast play many roles and wear many hats. In the same night, the cast act as informal hosts, masters of ceremonies, food and wine guides, salespersons and informal concierges.

Like actors, your cast has lines to rehearse, scenes to orchestrate and props to use.

Confidence is the result of many things. Star performers feel good about themselves and their ability to perform their role well.

Next months article 'The Screen Test' will help you with the interview and selection process.

My company, Lexington Interactive, provides eLearning courses specifically for the Restaurant & Hotel Industry. For a free trial of our wait staff eLearning course, visit

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11  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / Restaurant Training - Choosing Your Cast for Restaurant Show Business on: November 08, 2007, 03:49:42 PM
The hospitality business is like show business.

When you are casting, it is important to place people in suitable roles. The costs involved with hiring an individual should be a strong deterrent to rushing into decisions you may regret in 1 weeks time. Remember, once the casting decision has been made, your entire productions' reviews are going to depend on the various people you have chosen for the performance.

Don't be fooled by first appearances and beware of being overly impressed by what appears to be an excellent Resume. Although these can provide a valuable insight, neither may be truly indicative of whether an individual is suitable for the role you wish to fill.

Obviously the show must go on, but it is important to invest the time and effort needed to get the right person- A well planned approach can go a long way in accomplishing this.

Here are a few casting tips to get you started.

1. Treat every vacancy like an open role in a play. Define the role you are auditioning people for in terms of the part the new cast members must play and how they will have to relate to the other members in the cast. Make people skills and technical knowledge of equal importance in your hiring.

2. Identify the skills needed for the role. Once the interview begins, it's too late to start thinking about what you want to learn. Based on the job description and your knowledge of the role you are casting, what traits or personal attributes do you want new cast members to possess? Friendliness? Courtesy? Optimism? Creativity? How will you judge the presence or absence of those traits to your satisfaction? Focus the various stages of the selection process on the real-world skills demanded by the part you're trying to fill.

3. "Screen test" your applicants. Consider the way applicants treat your staff, which may be a good indication of how they will treat your customers and their co-workers if hired. Try role-playing difficult customer situations with applicants, or posing "what would you do if" questions based on the kinds of situations likely to occur on the job. You don't want to listen just for "right" or "wrong" answers. You can train them to use the right words later. Listen for orientation and attitude.

4. Use multiple selection methods. Remember test anxiety in school? Job applicants get it too. Instead of sifting all applicants through one coarse screen, use a succession of fine ones to help you differentiate.

5. Ask the right questions. There are questions that can be very effective in determining the general suitability of an individual applying for a role in your show. Following are several that can be adapted to your particular requirements
-What does "great service" mean to you?
-When was the last time you experienced great service and how did it make you feel?
-In visiting the restaurant today, did you feel welcome- did you notice things we could improve on?
-The restaurant business is a people orientated business- What
-Characteristics do you have that you feel are well suited for this role?
-How would you handle a difficult customer?
-What do you like most about being in the hospitality business?

6. Emphasize mutual selection. Applicants need to make as good a selection decision as you do. Just as you want to pick the right person, you gain by helping them pick the right position and organization. If they make a poorly informed decision and discover it only after being on board for a while, you will end up with a competent but unhappy camper.

7. Recruit actively. Good people may not always find you. Sometimes, you have to find them. Where have your best people been coming from? Reward your people for introducing new candidates by paying a bounty for bringing in friends, former colleagues, even relatives who are capable of filling roles in your production.

8. Hire people that are right for the role they need to play. Customer focused organizations have whatever kind of people it takes to dazzle the customer and bring them back again. It's very human to overlay personal beliefs, values, likes, and dislikes on the selection process, but it's seldom in the best interest of the customer to do so.

The next article 'Directing the performance' will help you prepare for the show.

For previous articles please visit the Archives section on our website.

My company, Lexington Interactive, provides eLearning courses specifically for the Restaurant & Hotel Industry. For a free trial of our wait staff eLearning course, visit

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12  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / The Basics of Business Process Management on: November 08, 2007, 03:49:05 PM
The key to efficiency in any business or organization is its processes. By processes, we mean the steps and actions that must occur for a particular outcome to be achieved. When those processes go wrong, occur too slowly, or simply don't work, the business or organization does not succeed.

Just as processes are the heart of every business or organization, business process management (BPM) is the heart of making those processes work efficiently. Understanding the basics of BPM is the first step in learning how the concept can transform your business.

BPM applications

Business process management is generally described in terms of three different levels of application:

• Software

• Suite

• System

Each level brings the concept of BPM to bear in a different way, expanding in depth and breadth of BPM as it spreads further and further throughout an organization. Let's take a look at each level in turn.


This level uses software tools to improve business processes. It allows the business to automate processes, execute them more efficiently, and monitor progress toward the desired outcome. BPM software brought a dramatic shift to process management because for the first time, information could flow freely between applications as well as between applications and people.

BPM software is generally used for simple, uncomplicated processes within a single group or department. It automates manual processes and streamlines inefficient processes, while allowing comprehensive tracking and analysis of execution. This information can be used for audit purposes and as a driver for continuous process improvement.


This level allows a business to apply BPM practices across multiple departments or groups. Because most processes inevitably cross departmental lines at some point, BPM improves efficiency and performance by streamlining inter-departmental connections.

Through the use of a work portal, multiple users can contribute to the process by sharing knowledge, task management, documents and more.

A BPM suite is generally used to help a business build composite applications that quickly and easily allow all users to view a process from start to finish, regardless of where they touch or affect that process.


This is the highest level of BPM application, designed to apply process management concepts across all aspects of an organization. It is a management practice that allows a business to use BPM concepts as a way to focus expertise, improve business structures or culture, and manage activities in a comprehensive manner.

A BPM system takes a holistic view of the organization and helps to bring structure and consistency to process management. The focus is not just on software and IT applications, but also on the organization's overall practices, policies and methods of operation.

Solving business problems

Put simply, BPM solves business problems by improving business processes. This is done using a four step method:

• Map an existing process or design a new process

• Execute the process by making the most of people and applications

• Manage the process by managing information flow as well as specific actions and activities

• Analyze performance and metrics to feed continuous process improvement

Let's look at a practical example of how BPM solves business problems.

Practical application

Consider the case of a small retailer that consistently receives complaints from customers regarding poor customer service. With a bit of investigation she discovers that employees are not receiving the training they need to be knowledgeable about the most in-demand products. To solve this problem she takes a BPM approach.

The first step is to map the training process. With input from employees, she creates a flow chart that shows how product information flows into the store and is disseminated to employees. The mapping exercise shows that product training is conducted on the sales floor at the beginning of each shift. Training time is short and because it takes place right on the sales floor, sessions are often interrupted to take care of customers.

The retailer decides to improve the process by conducting training in the back conference room fifteen minutes before employees are due on the sales floor. She assigns a floor supervisor to run the training sessions and collect feedback from employees on how well it works.

At the end of two weeks, she analyzes the sales performance and notes it has improved dramatically. She also notes that employees feel they are better informed than before, but would still like periodic opportunities for more in-depth training, especially when new products are introduced. This analysis prompts her to introduce monthly two-hour training sessions that feature product demonstrations and interaction from manufacturer representatives.

This is a simplistic example of business process management, but it effectively illustrates the basic steps that make up BPM, whether at a software, suite or system level.


Business process management allows a business or organization to improve and streamline processes to increase efficiency, improve performance, and boost profitability. It can be applied to a single process, to single or multiple processes that cross departmental lines, or to overall business management practices. The results can transform a business from just good enough to peak performance – all by paying attention to processes.

Peter Peterka is President of Six Sigma us. For additional information on Six Sigma Green Belt or other black-belt.php" target=_New>Six Sigma Black Belt programs contact Peter Peterka.

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13  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / The Art of Delegation on: November 08, 2007, 03:48:16 PM
Lets begin by understanding a little more about delegation

Hopefully this short piece will allow you to assess your own approach and review its effectiveness or otherwise.

Definition - Delegation is where part of your own job consciously passed to a subordinate whilst retaining accountability.

As management is really about getting things done through people, successful delegation is vital aspect of a manager's job. The more senior you are the more you really delegate and the more effective you become. You're doing more strategic work as you progress upwards within your organization and doing less transactional work.

Delegation is something one needs to make a conscious decision about. Looking at your own time and how successful can you be doing everything yourself? Perhaps delegating makes sense to clear your desk of things that you don't have to be doing yourself.

Select a subordinate who is not only capable of doing the tasks but will be able to use the experience to grow their own career. This is a win-win experience. Of course you may not have the luxury of selecting your own subordinate and have to take what you get.

Then of course strike a balance between delegating too little or too much.

What to delegate and to whom

Divide work into meaningful tasks and then allocate them to specialists or people who will benefit from the experience.

Allocate the work

This is the hardest and most important stage of delegation and generally involves a number of issues:

# The subordinate must understand why the work needs to be done
# Where the applicable the manger should set specific performance standards for output, time, cost and quality, and involve the subordinate in the process. Furthermore sub goals and monitoring and reporting procedures should be agreed upon;
# The manager should delegate responsibility, the subordinate must be allowed to make decisions to achieve agreed results
# The subordinate must be given authority or control over certain resources and people
# While the manager can delegate tasks and assign responsibility and authority for their accomplishment, he will always be held accountable for the tasks his subordinates perform

Monitoring performance

A manager should constantly monitor progress against standards and sub-goals. Recognition must be given for task accomplishment and preventative or corrective action instituted when targets are not being achieved. It's the monitoring of performance which keeps you in control and aware of the results of the work you delegate.

If tasks are delegated as part of a developmental program the manager should ensure that the subordinate receives proper training and guidance!

Benefits of successful delegation

Providing subordinates with the opportunity for growth and development

# Motivating subordinates by giving them the opportunity to make decisions
# Allowing the manager more time for relevant managerial activities such as planning and controlling
# Facilitation communication and understanding between a manager and his subordinates
# Reducing the time taken to make decisions
# Allowing the decision making to take place close to the point of action where the detail is known

Obstacles to successful delegation

There are a number of possible reasons which hold managers back from delegating. The reasons are;
# The fear that subordinates will do a better job and get the recognition
# Fear that the subordinate won't be able to do the job properly
# The fear of losing control over activities and tasks for which he is accountable
# A feeling that it is important for him to be seen doing the work rather than purely managing
# Preference for doing the work itself as opposed to managing people
# A manager might have the technical skill to perform the task but not the managerial skill to see that someone else does it. In the long run delegation is an essential skill to learn. Never be scared to delegate your ability to delegate will assist you in growing your career more than being an absolute expert in some minor part of your job. As a manager you'll be able to monitor the performance and still stay on top of the work you've delegated. You will reap the rewards.

Good luck in your delegation!

Best Year Yet Closing the gap from where you are to where you want to be!

By Graeme Nichol of Arcturus Advisors. Please visit their website at Arcturus Advisors works with business leaders and their teams to close the gap between great strategies and mediocre results. We use the Best Year Yet process to get you to focus on a shared vision and agree on how to achieve it. We get team members to value and respect the individual members and achieve results that far exceed individual contribution. (Newsletter [email protected])

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14  THE TECHNO CLUB [ TECHNOWORLDINC.COM ] / Management / The Compassionate Leader — Issuing Orders Without Making Commands on: November 08, 2007, 03:47:10 PM
As a leader, its your job to delegate responsibility to your subordinates. In the military structure, a subordinate is trained to follow an order without question, or face some pretty stiff consequences. But in the civilian world, people may carry out an order, but do so in protest or with subtle subterfuge in retaliation for that order. Why is that? It’s because emotions intertwine themselves with the order being given which block the path for cooperation.

Why People Hate Orders

One of the fundamental needs that people have is the need for autonomy—to have freedom of choice and control in their lives. When you remove autonomy from a person’s life, conflict will erupt until the balance is restored. Wars happen when the autonomy of a nation or people becomes restricted beyond what is deemed acceptable. The same holds true for individuals. As a leader, issuing orders to a subordinate restricts their autonomy in their life, even if they are getting paid to do it. Remember that whether the situation is professional or personal, emotions are never separate from the problem or the objective. Both the problem and the emotions need to be dealt with separately.

The Uncompassionate Leader—“Get it Done Now!!”

I’ve worked for several supervisors who had the military mentality. They issue an order and they expect it to be done without complaint or delay. Coming from a fairly strict upbringing, I never had a problem with this, but when these orders were barked at some of my co-workers, I could almost taste the heavy tension in the room. The uncompassionate leader who issues commands and orders is only looking at the problem and the solution. They are making the mistake of accounting for the emotional-factor into the equation. It’s just like if you were planning for a vacation trip and forgot to factor in your food costs. Dealing with the emotions of your employees is a critical part in getting an order done right.

Give Them Back Their Autonomy—Their Choice

Instead of barking out orders like a Marine Boot Camp Drill Sergeant, try empowering your employees by giving them back their ability to make choices for themselves. How can you accomplish this? Simple. Instead of making a command, ask questions instead. Ask them for their help, rather than telling them what to do. This works because by asking the employee for their help, you subconsciously restore the balance of power to them. They have the option of saying, “No, I won’t help,” but realistically they will never say this because that would endanger their ability to put food on the table. Also people are inclined to help because it makes them feel good and it increases the bond between both the asker and the provider of that help. The compassionate leader will always use questions instead of barking out orders.

Tristan Loo is the founder of Alternative Conflict Resolution Services, a management consultancy based out of San Diego County, Calfornia. Tristan is a former police officer, conflict expert, professional mediator, and negotiator. Tristan gained his experience by actively engaging conflict out on the streets, honing his knowledge and understanding of conflict during hundreds of dangerous encounters with hostile and violent subjects. Tristan is the author of Street Negotiation--How to Resolve Any Conflict Anytime.

For FREE Conflict Articles and Products, please visit our website at or email us directly at [email protected]

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