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30. Practice Transparency. | Mary’s Message

Mary’s Message:

This week as we Practice Transparency, we are working to be understood with our communication and actions. Not only are we practicing transparency but also Getting Clear on Expectations, Speaking Straight, Communicating to Be Understood and Sharing The Why. As we Practice Transparency we develop trust and respect with our fellow associates and customers. They come to understand that our main goal is to be honest and do what is best for everyone.

Here are six key actions to help develop transparency and build better relationships:

  1. Don’t be afraid to admit failure
  2. Have conversations to understand and explain the why
  3. Have discussions with respect and dignity
  4. Tackle real issues; don’t just have the conversation. Put forth the effort and take action
  5. Follow up with everyone involved
  6. Be a team. We cannot achieve our goals without the help of others within the organization

Practice Transparency to let others know your true intentions, with respect and dignity. Transparency helps to foster trust, teamwork and open lines of communication. When your intentions aren’t pure they are much easier to see through.

Over the years I’ve developed relationships with many people at Famous that are completely transparent with me. They Share the Why and offer tips for how to prevent mistakes from happening again. I turn to Bruce Raff, Cheryl Violet, Julie Wysocki, Jennifer Vanke and Kim Schiman when I have questions because I know they will help me continue to grow by being transparent.

MARY K. QUEEN
Customer Service Manager / Famous Supply Newark

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29. Be An Expert. | Jon’s Message

Jon’s Message:
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that has businesses in the HVAC industry. I learned a lot from my father when I started working for him part-time in my teens. I also worked a full-time job in the automotive/mobile electronics industry. Eventually, I went to work full time as a HVAC tech and installer. Throughout my travels to the various distributors in the area, one of them stood out the most. I bet you can guess which one…. Famous Supply! While I learned a great deal from my father, I always wanted to learn more. I wanted to gain as much knowledge as I could to become an EXPERT.

This is one of the many reasons Famous quickly became my go to distributor. I was impressed by the wealth of knowledge the associates had about the industry, and the classes they offered through Famous University. One person that helped me the most is John Frase. He is truly an expert at what he does. Not only did he offer his knowledge, he was (and still) is committed to offering top notch service and solutions to deliver the Perfect Order.

Now that I work for Famous, I still go to many people, like John or Jeff Rosenblum, when I have questions. Even though I learned enough in the field to be able to serve customers, working at Famous has still been a humbling experience. I thought I knew a lot! But shortly after starting I realized that I barely touched the tip of the iceberg. I strive to learn as much as I can every day and be a lifelong learner. I simply ask questions… MANY questions.

Famous is a very diverse company. We offer many services and products, and are expected to be experts in everything we offer. Education is key. Take the time to learn everything you can. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and learn from those who have the experience and knowledge. Famous University and ASA courses are great tools available to everyone. Your mind is the best thing you can offer someone… take ownership for your personal development.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

Jon

Jon White
Warren Customer Service Manager

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28. Think Safe. Work Safe. | Josh’s Message

Josh’s Message:

What is safety? Safety is about more than going through checklists and keeping things clean. It’s not about making sure everything is in its place, memorizing regulations or using scare tactics to get others to comply.

When we put people first, we can start understanding safety. Safety is about going home at the end of the day to your family and friends. It’s about helping others do the same thing. It’s about doing the right thing always. It’s about improving our processes, our environment, and ourselves.

People, relationships, and learning are all at the heart of safety. Safety is about living and learning. We must always follow regulations, make sure everything is in its place and get everyone educated on how to be safe. We have to put our people first and remember that everything we do is so they can be safe.

The CDC is a great example of safety being a learning experience. We have come such a long way in Sebring, and it’s exciting to see associates and friends take ownership of safety because they genuinely care about each other. Have we attained Safety Nirvana? Of course not! It can always get better! Safety isn’t an end goal, it’s a journey. It’s not something in your hands, or a process. It’s the mindset you bring to work each day!

Stay safe!

Josh

Josh Anderson

Famous Distribution Sebring

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27. Share The Why. | Jeff’s Message

Jeff’s Message:

I love the fundamental “Share the Why”. It is absolutely crucial to anyone’s growth. I use this fundamental everyday while on the phone fielding technical issue calls and at home with my kids. Explaining “The Why to my kids will help them understand what was done so they can learn from it. (Think: Don’t stick a fork in the outlet because…)

Famous Supply as a company embraces this Fundamental. “The Why is always shared as it relates to company growth, business ideas, new products, technical training and more. It helps everyone grow because they get a better understanding for why decisions are made. As part of the HVAC Technical Support Team, we are always explaining “The Why”. If all we did was give answers, nobody would learn. We want to teach as we investigate the issue. The most rewarding part of my job is finding out why something is not working properly and sharing what we learned.

I’ve told many technicians; everyone has an “aha” moment, it’s when something they have been struggling with starts to make sense. however, the technician’s job is not done. Now it’s their turn to share “The Why”. to help educate our industry.  

If I had to pick one person at Famous who demonstrates this fundamental well, I would say Mark Ham.  I get to sit next to him and he is always willing to explain to the contractors not only what is happening but why. 

It is so easy to get stuck in a rut where you just want to do it yourself. Everyone has heard the old saying “If you want something done, you have to do it yourself”. While sometimes this may be the case, the true test to see if you understand something is, rather than doing it, explain it, and The Why! 

Jeff

Jeff Rosenblum

Technical Support – Training

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26. Work With A Sense Of Urgency. | Jen’s Message

Jen’s Message:

Have you ever been in a situation where you are the customer and have an issue with your order? You gather the details, take it to the proper person, and explain what is going on so they can help you. Everything that needs to happen to make this situation right is dependent upon the person you’re talking to. How would you want them to react? Do you want them to move slowly, or solve the problem with accuracy and speed? Whether this is the 10th issue that day or the first, you feel your issue is most important and requires immediate attention. 

Each of our customers deserves us to work with the same sense of urgency that we would expect if our roles were reversed. To our customers, their orders, questions, and/or issues are the most important ones and we must treat them that way. The more we practice this fundamental, the more our customers will come back to us because of how important we handled their situation.  This is crucial when forming relationships with our customers. It shows that we are willing to treat their emergencies as our own emergencies.

When practicing this fundamental, don’t forget about our internal customers as well. Our co-workers deserve this same level of urgency. Laura Burgess is a perfect example of someone who embodies this fundamental. She responds to every request and follows up to make sure everything gets taken care of. This is all done with speed, accuracy, and friendliness every single time.

Jen

Jen Heischman

Order Management Lead

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25. Be Relentless About Continuous Improvement. | Taylor’s Message

Taylor’s Message

When I think of continuous improvement, I think of the improvements recently completed at the CDC. We are constantly trying to achieve a level service that is beneficial to everybody who relies on the CDC functioning at its best.

One example of this fundamental in action is the new dock layout for our shipping/staging lanes. When the loading team was having issues loading trucks with speed and accuracy, everyone came together and developed a new approach for our dock layout. The dock now has numbered grids with bar codes within each lane to help our associates locate and verify the right product. This helps us load orders onto our trucks more accurately and efficiently.

While the lanes helped with accuracy, what truly has helped us with our goals of continuous improvement is the open line of communication that now exists between teams at the CDC. The associates picking and staging orders and associates that load product from the dock into the trucks give the other constructive feedback so they can improve their efficiency and accuracy.

The CDC team is being Relentless About Continuous Improvement!

Taylor

Taylor Gascon

Warehouse/Famous Distribution Sebring

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24. Embrace Change. | John’s Message

John’s Message:

In life, change is inevitable. That makes change the only fact of life guaranteed to never change. And these days change happens at a faster rate than ever before. Resistance is futile, but how you respond to it is entirely up to you.

We are dealing with new products, new procedures, different personnel, a different time clock system, new health and safety regulations, and more. Let’s say these changes are a bucking bull.  Do you: (A) jump off and run away, (B) hold on and try to survive, or (C) grab the horns and steer. In other words, do you resist change, accept it, or lead it?

There are three basic ways to respond to change:

  • Fear/resistance — Allow change to control you and intimidate you.
  • Acceptance — Try to make the most of what’s happening by adapting what you do.
  • Leading — It starts with acceptance but evolves into determining the outcome of change.

How do we lead change?

Step 1—Recognize that change happens.

Once you can accept that “different” doesn’t always mean “worse,” you’re on the right track. The more quickly that realization happens, the easier it is to accept the challenges the future presents. Eventually, you’ll learn to savor the new opportunities.

Step 2—Empower others to help you lead change.

You’ve got friends and family in life and work. Use them. Just as a politician surrounds himself/herself with trusted advisers, you should find a close contingent of people with the willingness, expertise, leadership prowess, and credibility to help you enact change.

Step 3—Lead change based on vision, mission, and values.

If we don’t know where we’re going, how will we get there? To lead change, we need to know where we’re headed. This means understanding our values (the Famous Family and 40 Fundamentals), our vision (the desired end result), and our plan (the steps necessary to get there.)

Step 4—Establish urgency.

People need a compelling reason to change. Without urgency, great ideas sit idle for months or years. To create urgency, show others the vision of what change can do and outline the steps needed to make that change possible, necessary, and desirable.

Step 5—Move ahead, regardless.

You’re going to encounter some sticks-in-the-mud along the way, people unwilling to accept the inevitability of change. Your approach, to paraphrase Dory in Finding Nemo, is to “keep swimming.” Bring everyone along for the ride, but let them sit in the back seat at first. As change occurs, they might come around, but they will eventually remove themselves if they don’t like where the car is headed.

Step 6—Create a culture that embraces change.

Whether we’re talking about a small team of people, a business, or an entire organization, it’s important to actively seek change. Those who stand still get left behind. So in your department, branch, and region, make sure you’re seeking out ideas. A good reminder: there are no bad ideas. Nothing stifles innovation faster than a brainstorming session where participants feel uncomfortable.

Step 7—Learn new things.

There’s a reason they update the dictionary every year to add new words, such as “man cave,” “bucket list,” “mash-up.” The world is constantly changing. That’s why lifelong learning is such an important concept, and it’s the best way to embrace change at a personal level. The best leaders are the best educators. They seek out training opportunities for others, but they don’t stop there. They’re also responsible for seeing to their own continuing education to provide fresh perspectives and new insights.

John Mellor

Customer Service Manager/Youngstown Famous

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23. Think And Act Like An Owner. | John’s Message

John’s Message:

I can think of no better way to make work more meaningful and rewarding than to encourage all associates to “Think and Act Like an Owner”. How great of a company could we become if all associates would ask themselves “What would I do if it were my company? Or “What would I do if it were my money on the line?” before a decision was made? The great thing about this is that we are encouraged and empowered to do so! When associates are empowered to “Think and Act Like an Owner”, they become more engaged and productive. When these two things come together, enthusiasm thrives and business flourishes. After all, it is much more enjoyable to come to work knowing that you are empowered to make decisions as an owner would. This gives us a greater opportunity to create a memorable customer experience.

I started working at Famous almost 7 years ago. During my first week we had a situation with a new, relatively smaller customer that had purchased a hot water tank at the branch. Shortly after picking it up, he called from the jobsite saying he ordered the wrong one. This customer now wanted us to bring him the replacement and return the other one. I told him there would be a delivery charge of $35 for this since it was under our threshold of $350.00 for free delivery. During the conversation, I was fighting my instinct to deliver without the fee, but I wasn’t sure if it would be ok to go against the “policy” since I was new on the job. The customer got very angry and hung up on me. Tim Sloan happened to be in my branch that day and I told him what happened. Tim looked at me and said, “Now what do you think Marc Blaushild would do?” That was exactly the answer I was looking for. We immediately contacted the customer, then promptly delivered the tank to help the customer with his situation. The customer was very happy that day and has been loyal to Famous ever since. Tim’s answer that day, showed me this was exactly the company I was looking for. I was encouraged and empowered to “Think and Act Like an Owner”!

John

John Brock

Customer Service Manager / Famous Ashtabula

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22. “Bring It” Every Day. | Sam’s Message

Sam’s Message:

I’m going to start with some blunt honesty – I’m not a morning person! I barely cope with the English language in its simplest form before my first cup of coffee. When I come into the office at 8am every morning, I want to hit the ground running (even though I’m essentially a drone running on muscle memory). The world isn’t going to wait for me to wake up and get it together.

To help me “Bring It Every Day”, I make a to-do list of everything that needs to be accomplished tomorrow at the end of each work day. Then, I come in the next day, grab my coffee, and try to get through as much as I can by 10 AM. I challenge myself every day to see how much I can get done. Some days are leaner than others, but by 10 AM, I’m fully present and ready to tackle the rest of my responsibilities, and then some.

Someone who brings it every day is Kayli Bookman. It doesn’t matter what she has on her plate; she attacks it with a smile and a spring in her step, humming and singing the whole way. Jo Dangel from the Akron Canton Regional Food Bank said once, “Work will get done when it finds someone willing to do it,” and I remember that quote when I think about this week’s fundamental.

Our customers start their day early and their customers expect results. We have to “Bring It Everyday” to help them get their job done.

Sam Wysocki
Marketing Specialist

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21. Communicate To Be Understood. | Francisco’s Message

Francisco’s Message:

Communication is a fundamental that is essential to our day to day life. Whether it’s body language, verbal, or written, communication can strengthen or diminish our message. Therefore, Communicating To Be Understood, requires one to have a full understanding of their audience so the message is received.

Provide your audience with the necessary details that impact them. Do not overwhelm your audience with an excess of information. People can only interpret and process so much information at a time. Too much information can add confusion. This can result in repeated follow up after you have delivered your message. Take the time to practice a speech, proof read a document and seek out feedback from your peers to deliver an effective message with confidence.

Communication has many layers and requires a lot of practice unfortunately.  Establishing a rapport and genuine connection with your peers, direct reports, and customers helps tremendously.

I learned a valuable lesson on communication in one of my first leadership roles. It was the heart of the selling season at my previous employer and we had accumulated many broken or damaged bagged goods such as top soil, mulch, and cow manure. I took it upon myself to direct my team to “pull the broken bags and move them to a primary location for immediate sell through. Without following up with my team to clarify expectations and seek any feedback, I left for the day. The next morning, I received a welcoming message from my store manager, which was accompanied by beautiful photo of a 12-foot mountain of broken bags. To my complete displeasure, my team had followed the communication I had given to the letter. My lesson learned was use multiple types of communication to convey a message and always provide immediate follow up to clarify how your message was received.

Communication can be a strength or weakness depending on how it is delivered. Consistent and honest communication delivered in a kind and professional manner will garner the respect of one’s peers as well as one’s direct reports. A person that I feel strongly demonstrates this fundamental is Lisa Stacks. Despite her workload, Lisa takes the time to provide clear and concise direction and provides timely follow up to ensure her message was clearly received. Communicate To Be Understood is a fundamental that cannot be forgotten and will determine your ability to achieve long term success.

Francisco

Francisco DelBosque

CSM/Famous Supply Columbus

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