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15. Walk In Others’ Shoes. | Diane Kelly’s Message

Diane Kelly’s Message:

When I chose this Fundamental, two different ways to interpret it came to mind.  One way is from a business standpoint and the other from a personal standpoint.

Walking in our customer’s shoes shows empathy.  This allows us to establish rapport and create a trusting relationship.  Once the customer realizes you are on their side, they are more willing to work with you.  They will stay with you, tell their friends about you, and grow our business.

Yes, we are selling a product, but more importantly, we are providing a service to our customers. When we sell, pull, or deliver the wrong product or damaged product, a domino effect occurs.  The contractor or builder has his plumber or crew on the job who now cannot work.  The homeowner may have taken the day off to have the work done, so wasted time off occurs.  Internally, we also need to spend the extra time to repeat our processes to make it right.  As it is often said, “time is money”.

From a personal standpoint, everyone you encounter has a story.  Don’t be so quick to judge others as you have no idea what they are going through.  Step away from your own thoughts and feelings and think of the situation through their eyes.  What would it feel like if I were in their shoes?  Our own personal perspective isn’t the only way to look at a situation.  There are always multiple sides to every story.  When I get stuck in my own opinions, my husband tells me to turn the table and look at it through another set of eyes.  As Dr. Phil says, “no matter how flat you make a pancake, it’s still got two sides”.

Clint Burrows and Margaret Morgan are two associates who take pride in their actions.  They both show compassion for our customers and go above and beyond daily!

Thank you

Diane

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14. Be Humble. | Michelle’s Message

Michelle’s Message:

As I thought about this fundamental I pictured myself sitting at a desk, back in elementary school. It was fifth grade and the teacher had various posters around the room. I loved the animal pictures (she was the science teacher) but there was one that I often recited back to myself as I sat, staring at the walls between lessons. It was the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I have reflected back to the Golden Rule a lot throughout my life. Whether making new friends in middle school, starting my first job as a teenager, or today with my work associates and my family, I often think about how others feel. I look at not only how I can help them but more importantly how they help me. It generates a positive outlook rather than focusing on the negativity around us. Everyone has something about them that makes them unique, and listening openly and truly taking in what others have to say is the key to humility.

Each monthly conference call, Marc Blaushild goes over the work anniversaries. Some months there are 10 or more associates that have 20 plus years here at Famous. From those lists there are people on there that I speak to regularly, and it amazes me that despite having 3x or 4x as many years of experience under their belt, they always treat me like we are on the same level. When I was asked “who at Famous practices this fundamental well?”, it’s difficult to name just one. However, I would like to shout out to all the associates that have been here more than 20 plus years and say —thank you! It truly shows how open hearted and passionate you are for being here and for being mentors to each of us.

As you go about your day, try to think back to the Golden Rule and see if it changes how you proceed with a task, phone call, or conversation with a customer. Take a step back, be open-minded and show humility to others.

This quote from Gordon B. Hinckley summarizes all of what I just wrote in one sentence.

“Being humble means recognizing that we are not on Earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others.”

Thanks for reading!

Michelle

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13. Have Each Others’ Backs. | Betsy’s Message

Betsy’s Message:

I believe this fundamental is like a back bone in the journey to building relationships that last a lifetime. This is the fundamental I strive to fulfill daily, and look for in every aspect of my life. I do my best to have everyone’s back; from my marriage, kids, co-workers, friendships and even the places I do business with in my personal life!

The team that immediately comes to mind when I see this fundamental is the Multi-Family team. I’ve had the opportunity to watch this team work together firsthand. The nature of what they do can cause a large volume of work coming in at the same time, with deadlines, and limited hours to honor commitments. On one recent occasion, I noticed they all seemed to be feeling the work load. The team had a huddle, prioritized, worked to help each other out and kept it fun to get the job done. It was incredible to watch the stress melt off their faces as they realized they all had each other’s backs. Their work had not changed, yet the stress faded.

Now, think of a person in your life that has had your back. Have you ever forgotten that? How did you feel then? Who do you want and choose to give your time, money and business too? In business, does paying a few dollars less make it worth leaving? In such a competitive industry we need to remember this is a way we can stand out. It is a time to build that lasting relationship we strive for and really sets Famous apart from the rest.

Betsy

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12. Go Above And Beyond. | Sheila’s Message

Sheila’s Message:

From where I sit, I get to see quite a lot of the amazing people who “Go Above And Beyond” on a regular basis here at Famous. Going above and beyond is that little bit extra, taking time to listen when you may not want to or going out of your way to help even if you’re busy or it simply isn’t “your job”. Although there are SO many who clearly live by this fundamental, there are a few who stand out to me. These individuals always step up and do what it takes to help where they’re needed. When we receive packages or supplies for the office, there are a few people who will come and help if they are asked. Paul Ratliff never needs asked-he just shows up to do the heavy lifting. He doesn’t expect any praise; he just does what needs to get done because it’s the right thing to do. If you have a question where something goes around the office, Paul is there to help. Elio Andreatta is another one who always greets people in the lobby and helps with packages. Elio will even go out to the delivery truck to help when there have been a lot of packages.

Another group who I see going Above and Beyond on a regular basis (even though they stay in the background, quietly doing their job) is our awesome IT Team. I can’t say enough good things about them. Associates’ desk phones, cell phones, laptops, desktops, iPads, and tablets are all maintained by our IT associates. We have hundreds of Famous associates, but just a handful of IT associates to take care of all of our technology. They buzz back and forth all day, jumping to help with every need. We can sometimes get in a hurry and simple things turn into big messes, and suddenly we need help. They don’t tell us to wait in line; they hurry to our rescue and fix the problem so we can get back to work. In the midst of it all, they have often answered questions about personal technology just to be helpful.

Of course there are many wonderful associates at all the branches who Go Above And Beyond each and every day, these are just a few. Look around and you’ll see what I see a lot of amazing people!

Sheila

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11. Speak Straight. | Brian’s Message

Brian’s Message:

If I’m going to share my thoughts on the importance of the fundamental Speak Straight, I need to come clean early… this is challenging for me.

Very few people want to share news or information that does not want to be heard. When I’m responsible for delivering that type of information, I have a tendency to sugar coat enough to give your ears cavities!

In all seriousness, speaking straight is not just about delivering a difficult message — it’s about effective communication. It makes those around us feel secure, because no one is manipulated and we know up front what is being done and why.

We know there is not just one thing we must collectively do in order to maximize our success. Our collective success — as individuals, as teams, as branches and segments of a business still going strong in its 85th year — is simply due to flat-out hard work at every level of our business.

Speaking straight is helping one another by providing not just accurate information, but also the correct amount. Without accurate information, realistic goals cannot be set. With too much information, “analysis paralysis” can delay important decisions. Speaking straight enables each of us to manage ourselves and the people we work with so that both the organization and the people profit from our efforts.

Marc Blaushild’s monthly conference calls and the transparency he displays are an excellent example of Speaking Straight. If we were a ship, he’d be the captain and we’d be the engine… a pretty big one, at that. The fuel for our engine would be Marc’s monthly message and the monthly reviews of our company performance. The information and numbers he presents are far more positive than negative, but sometimes the message he delivers isn’t what we want to hear — but it’s what we need to hear because it is direct and clear. Let’s give our captain a great ride by speaking straight to each other and enabling our goals to be reached.

Thanks,
Brian

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10. Listen Generously And With Patience. | Kay’s Message

Kay’s Message:

As a designer in the showroom, there are so many things happening all at once at any given time, and I constantly remind myself to stop, breathe, be present and pay attention. The overwhelming desire to multi-task and accomplish everything that I need to accomplish in a day is so prevalent that when I am on the phone, talking with a coworker, or speaking with a customer it can become very difficult to just STOP, and listen.

Not only in a professional sense, but also as a mother to four boys. I can honestly say that I know more about Pokemon, Monster Trucks, Construction Trucks, and Naruto than I ever thought I would know. However, being able to stop, turn off everything else that may be going on in my head and truly listen to my boys, or to my customers and those around me is truly a skill that takes time to cultivate. It is absolutely one of the most important attributes that we can have in our daily lives. It can be the difference between just another conversation that’s easy to forget, and a truly meaningful interaction that can continue to foster an even deeper relationship with the person you’re speaking with. Ultimately, it is our relationships in this life that truly make us successful people both professionally and personally. A contractor will always return to the person that provides them with excellent service and listens to them. A spouse or a child will always go back to the person that listens to them and makes them feel wanted and loved. A friend will always call the person that listens to them no matter what in their hour of need.

Stop, breathe, listen and understand. I’ve been amazed at what can happen and what we all can learn! Not to mention what we can learn from each other. When asked to think of a person within our company who truly exemplifies this fundamental, I can’t think of one…. I think of 6! With people like Tim Laird, Marla Iverson, Natalie Potyonek, Stacy Jackson, Katie Krafcik and Hannah Reed here in this company to listen to any issue I’m having, (and of course have patience with whatever confusion I may be causing). We have accomplished a work environment where you truly feel like your team is listening to you, and willing to help you with whatever issue you may be having. It’s just one part of why Famous Supply is such a breath of fresh air, and an enjoyable place to come to work every day.

Thanks,

Kay

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9. Get Clear On Expectations. | Jeff Mason’s Message

Jeff ’s Message:

The one thing I love about our fundamentals is that they all require us to fulfill multiple fundamentals when living out any one fundamental. I chose to write about this week’s fundamental, Get Clear on Expectations. We have many different departments responsible for many different functions in our distribution business. In order for our business to be successful and profitable, the left hand has to know what the right hand is doing. If we aren’t clear on what is needed OR what is required of us, individual tasks and larger projects may be subject to failure or mistakes.

We all must Speak Straight, Communicate to be Understood, Share the Why, and Listen Generously and with Patience. These fundamentals are imperative to help us Get Clear on Expectations and communicate directly and clearly with our teams. This also helps other departments and everyone understands the best way to help you help them. Listening to understand will help you understand what is expected of you.

The associate who comes to mind who practices this fundamental well is Mark Mapel in the Sebring Central Distribution Center. I had the pleasure of working with Mark for a few years. I got to witness the organized chaos that is the CDC. It works because Mark communicates very well to his team to help them understand what they need to do to satisfy a customer demand. If he doesn’t understand or hs questions about the task being asked of him, he asks the questions needed to help him get clear.

Thank you for your efforts to get clear on expectations and let’s have a great week!

Thank you,

Jeff Mason
Inside Sales Building Products

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8. Honor Commitments. | Matt’s Message

Matt’s Message:

When reading through the 40 Fundamentals, none of them seem as obvious on the surface to me as “Honor Your Commitments.” Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it. Seems simple, right?

Today, it’s easy to get distracted by an email, phone call, text, or whatever it is that comes up. I struggle with this at times, and think back to some advice that was given to me when I was starting my career about the main commitment that we should be honoring every day. The advice was a simple formula:

Potential – commitment = nothing.

You may be the greatest driver, inside or outside sales associate, or the best admin in the world, but without commitment to your craft, it equals nothing.

In my 6 and a half years with Famous a couple of people that I work closely with on a regular basis that honor their day to day commitments, and the commitment to their career, are Elio Andreatta, Stu Bennett, and Tim Kiley.

Elio and Stu are always there for me, giving me different perspectives on situations and help motivate me to do the right thing the right way. Tim has a knack for getting things done for me, or lighting a fire to set the wheels in motion to help honor the commitments we have made for our customers.

Let’s all take a moment to think about the commitments that we have made to our fellow associates and our customers today. Also, let’s remember the commitment we have all made in our careers to be the best that we can be every day.

Thank you,

Matt

Matt Penn
Outside Sales

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7. Collaborate. | Mark’s Message

Mark’s Message:

What separates humans from primates?

Chimps and Bonobos are our closest relatives and have brains close to the size of humans. In fact Jay Blaushild and Chimps outperform humans on memory tests. What made humans take a different evolutionary path than primates?

Our brains are wired so we are able to Collaborate.

Chimps and Bonobos can work together to find food or protect the group but they can’t send a man to walk on the moon, explore Mars, create an international space station or deliver product to a customer. Once Chimps find food or fight off the invaders they don’t share and tend to fight among themselves.

Famous has a process to deliver an order and if it never changed or ran into an exception even a Chimp or Bonobo could do it. Delivering an order is easy if no collaboration is required. However, quoting materials for a Kitchen, Bath, HVAC System, Boiler System, Windows etc. requires complex collaboration between the customer and the entire Famous team.

One of the things that sets the Famous team apart from most of our competitors is our ability to collaborate. We have specialists and support staff in place in many areas and we all work together as a team to collaborate on projects from simple to complex. To single out a few people who are exceptional at collaboration would be difficult because the majority of our associates collaborate with others every day.

Remember that the primary reason we are different than other primates is our ability to collaborate and when we do we can create unique ideas and solve almost any problem

Mark Ham
HVAC Training and Technical Support

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6. See It, Own It, Solve It, Do It. | Matt’s Message

Matt’s Message: 

I have been with Famous just over seven great years now, and with National Accounts since the beginning. Not only have I seen Famous grow by leaps and bounds, but have also have seen National Accounts bloom into an important segment of our company. The reason for this is that we have great associates who practice this fundamental in our daily business affairs, and in our personal lives as well.

I take this particular fundamental to heart as I feel in today’s society people are so quick to come up with reasons why something cannot be done, as opposed to figuring out what it is going to take to get the task completed.

In my days prior to coming on with Famous I dealt with many contractors on a daily basis and the one common denominator I found with quite a few of my coworkers was they always had excuses as to why a particular task could not be done, or why they didn’t show up to complete the task at hand. As you can imagine, that can be quite a frustrating thing to deal with on a daily basis. After coming to Famous my perspective changed. Day in and day out I saw everyone put forth an effort to identify issues and take responsibility to make sure solutions were initiated. It was a breath of fresh air.

Many years ago, when National Accounts was in its infancy, we had growing pains with this new program.  One example I remember very vividly was our customer had forgotten to order 12 water heaters that they needed for the next day for inspections. Many people would say “Well they forgot to order the material. Not our problem.”  NOT Famous! We identified the issue, figured out the logistics, and made it happen. Some of our competitors would have said “We will get them out to you tomorrow.”  With no box trucks available, we put the heaters onto a pickup truck and made several trips to take care of our customer’s needs.  It felt great to work as a team to make it happen rather than saying “No, we can’t do that”.

SEE IT: Identify the issue.

OWN IT: Take personal responsibility for the problem at hand. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

SOLVE IT: Identify what can be done to solve the problem as well as identifying the root cause so a process can be put in place and the issue can be avoided in the future.

DO IT: Put your plan in motion and see it through till the end to make sure it goes off without a hitch.

Live this fundamental in your personal life as you would in your professional life. If you are a success at home you will be a success at the office!

Matthew Casey
Operations Manager / National Accounts

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