Friday, April 21, 2017

Communication Training

Jenny Ewert: Contractor Coordinator

A few weeks ago, Mitch and I attended a seminar focused on communication within a team. The main speaker was Laura Boyd, the founder and CEO of Leadership Delta. To begin, Laura had all of us participate in an exercise that tested our individual perceptions of a story she told. Then, with the people next to us, she had us go through statements about the story and see if our answers changed. From a short exercise, we found that everyone perceives information differently, making it challenging to work as a group at times. 

The next portion of her presentation focused on the definition of perception and the key learnings for understanding perception when working as a team. The main takeaways to remember when working with others is that people don’t see things the same way, different conclusions are drawn, and perceptions other than your own can still be right.

Laura also discussed the importance of face-to-face discussions vs. phone/email/text and the differences between one-way and two-way communication, which involves one of the hardest skills; to be actively listening. Listening is defined as the ability to accurately perceive a message conveyed by another person. To show the group or individual that you are listening, you should become actively involved in the conversation, avoid the temptation to evaluate, search for meaning in their message, and confirm your understandings with them. Those steps allow you to create a safe place for someone to feel comfortable when approaching you about any situation.

Here at City Wide, we utilize every form of communication every day. From internal communication within our own departments, ownership, department to department, and to the people doing the work out in the field.

Overall, being an effective communicator and active listener is crucial when working as a team or group.  Although a lot of the information presented was familiar, these info sessions can provide a great opportunity to look in the mirror and make a focused effort to improve on some key items.

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Jersey Market Visit

Mitch Brunette: Director of Operations

Last week, City Wide of MN welcomed our Business Performance Coach, Meredith Cimeno and City Wide of Northern New Jersey into our office. They came to spend some time with us, comparing best practices and reviewing our operations! It was a great opportunity getting to know Pat and Kara Hunt, as they learned more about our operation, and asked questions that lead to out of the box thinking!

We tend to visit other markets or have other markets visit us a few times a year, allowing us a chance to think differently about how we handle situations and improve our processes for our employees and clients.  One of the foundations of our culture is maintaining Positive Discontent, meaning we are always seeking a better way, always hungry to get better, while improving ourselves individually and professionally.  When we have visitors in town, this is the perfect opportunity!

The other main take-away I find from having visitors or us visiting others’ offices, is that we find ourselves teaching a process or program and realize that maybe we could be doing one piece or part of it more consistently. I’ve always known that when you are teaching something, you’re often reminding yourself of the core of “why” we do something this way or that way.  Best of luck to the Hunts in their business adventures! Now I have one more resource to reach out to for advice or help in the future as well!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Arcade Night

Mitch Brunette: Director of Operations

Who knew how much fun a bunch of grown adults would have playing ski ball, pop a shot, pac man, and motorcycle racing video games!  I suppose deep down I knew it would go well, but this turned out to be quite the hit of an event!  Our FSMs and Night Managers work as closely together as anyone that works such opposite schedules, but once in a while we just have to get together and have some fun!

The Mall of America has a couple of pretty awesome arcades up on the 4th floor, and as much as we would have enjoyed some indoor go carting, time just wasn’t on our side.  We gave the classic arcade a pretty good run for its money, won over 600 tickets, and had some solid competition amongst our teams as we often do.

There were some head to head billiards shooters in Ryan, Tyler, Jarrad, and Steve.  Speaking of Steve, he was the pac man king, not only within our group, but he also got the high score for the machine.  Vang finished strong in a stressful moment of deal or no deal, which came down to accepting 80 tickets and walking away, or hitting “no deal” where we had a 50/50 shot at either 1 ticket or 200 tickets.  Naturally, we all yelled “NO DEAL” and Vang smashed the button...200 tickets later, we were out of credits and went to cash them in for a Magic 8 Ball, a unanimous team decision. 
I appreciate this team and their hard work and contributions toward our success.  An evening out celebrating with a light dinner and some old time gaming, was well worth it and a lot of fun!