Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Play pooper?

Live from the People Report Best Practices Conference. See the posts below for some context.

My favorite comment of the conference thus far came from Ken Schiller of K&N Management, operator of several franchised Rudy's and Mighty Fine Burgers restaurants. He was talking about the principles that earned his company a Malcolm Baldrige Award and distinguished it as one of the best places to work in Texas. One of those, he explained, is fun.

"This happens in spite of me," Schiller said in a complete deadpan. "I’m not a good role model in this respect. [Long pause.] But some of our crewmembers are really, really good at it."

During the session, it came out that K&N picks one aspects of its operations to address every year. Everyone in the organization, from CEO Schiller to the part-time crewmember, is expected to focus intently on that one thing.

Another unique aspects of K&N's operations: It has a staff chaplin. "If someone's worried about the lights going out because they can't pay the bill, that person isn't going to be very good at delighting customers," says Schilling.

A chaplin provides the care and attention that make employees better at the job. "How many of you spend time solving other people's problems?" asked his HR chief. A forest of hands went up.

The chaplin handles those situations so other people can focus on their job.

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