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Bill Kinnard

By: Bill Kinnard (Guest Blogger)

This article was reprinted with permission from Grandy & Associates: www.GrandyAssociates.com.

Remember Bill – the Founder’s cousin? Well, we recently came across this post, which he wrote, and felt it absolutely needed to be shared with our super, fabulous, paralegal counterparts (a/k/a you). While Bill is not a paralegal, and his story takes place well outside the confines of a law firm, we’re absolutely certain you’ll find it relatable…and so true. We felt it deserved to be blogged based on the title alone! And what better day than Friday to cover the topic of fogged mirrors? Without further ado, here’s Bill…

I enjoy watching business owners to see how they operate their businesses. And what I do allows me to see inside many different businesses. At times, the teacher becomes the student and I learn while others, i just observe. All in all, it makes for some great stories and examples during my training classes.

I have some friends who own a restaurant in town. Occasionally, when they are short staffed, I will help them out in the kitchen. The first time I worked there, I was shocked. Never having worked in a restaurant kitchen before, I was amazed at the pace and coordination that goes into making the dining experience enjoyable. This is a very popular restaurant. For a place that is not real big, they will easily serve over 200 tables on a Friday evening. They have some of the best food in town and it’s not uncommon for them to have an hour wait for a table and they do it all while making the customer experience a true pleasure.

Last night, I helped them out again. They had a new employee working in the kitchen helping with the preparation of plates. She had been there for over a month now and still did not have the hang of things. With every plate that was prepared, she was asking what needed to be added to the plate instead of referring to the order sheet that was readily available to the kitchen staff. The process usually flows surprisingly smooth but you could just feel the friction last night as the dining room was filling up. After one of the other workers snapped at this employee for having to give direction with every single order, the slower one turned around and walked out the door. That was it – not a word, not a comment, she just left. Now with the heaviest part of the evening still to come, the kitchen was minus one and I was a fill in and as a result, didn’t work as efficiently as the regulars.

The rest of the night proved interesting. The rest of the staff – relieved that the bottleneck in the room was now gone, pulled together very nicely and I watched in amazement at how well the kitchen operated with incredible efficiency even though they were short staffed. Not only did the night end up with everyone in a good mood, all orders successfully filled and table after table of happy customers, clean-up was done in record time.

One Bad Apple
It’s amazing how one employee who introduces friction into the team, or does not get the vision of the company, or doesn’t feel that the rules apply to them, or just plain doesn’t have what it takes to do the job can infect the rest of the team and can negatively impact the productivity of the rest of the team. So often I hear business owners say I need the help so I’ll settle for someone who is less than I really want. Don’t do it. What does it cost your company in terms of revenue, unhappy customers, reduced productivity and team moral when you settle for just another warm body? It’s huge and if you actually put a pencil to it and figured it out, you would make a change immediately.

Bill Kinnard has 27 years experience in HVAC Sales, Service Management, Sales Management and Customer Service. He has worked with companies both large and small and has a unique ability to connect with people. An individual with a real passion for teaching contractors to better understand their businesses and help their employees become superior performers.

Bill has been recognized for “Best Practices” by Carrier Corporation for technical and customer service training. He has conducted over 10,000 student hours of technical training and over 2500 student hours of customer service training. As a result of his unique style and professionalism, Bill was awarded the Richard Theoret Training Excellence Award in 1993. He was the youngest trainer to ever receive this distinguished recognition.

Has your firm ever kept an employee on staff just to fill a spot? (Um, we bet every paralegal in the history of the world is engaged in an affirmative head nod right now). If so, has it been detrimental to your legal team? Tell us about it.

Happy High Heel Friday (and TGIF to all of the hard-working male paralegals out there)! We’ll see you next week, TPS readers.