Extra Edition / Business Management

Hot Topics, Cool Solutions 9: The Power Nap, And More

October 31, 2004
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Al Levi
Editor's note: Consultant Al Levi helps contractors run their businesses with "less stress and more success." HVAC and plumbing contractors seek his advice regularly. Al has agreed to let us share with readers of The News some of the questions he gets and the answers he provides. The focus is strictly on problem solving and handling the day-to-day operations of a successful contracting business.

To send Al your own questions, which if selected will run anonymously, send him an e-mail at info@appleseedbusiness.com or fax him at 212-202-6275.

This column is meant to be a resource only. Please check with your own trusted business advisers, including your own attorney, to make certain that the advice here complies with all relevant laws, customs, and regulations in your area.

Dear Al,

The hours we work during the busiest times are extraordinary. I find myself struggling to stay awake at work or, worse yet, when I'm driving. But, I keep pushing myself because of the workload.

Is there someway to make this better?

Sincerely,
Eyes Wide Shut

Dear Eyes Wide Shut,

When I was a contractor, I too found myself exhausted and facing an ever-increasing demand for my time. The hours can be overwhelming. Fortunately, a good friend told me about the virtues of a "power nap" and I've been doing it ever since whenever I feel drained.

What you do is find somewhere to take a 15-minute nap during the day. It can be done by closing the door to your office and telling them to hold your calls or, if you're on the road, pull off to the side. Set your cell phone or beeper to wake you in 15 minutes. You'll be amazed at the renewed energy you'll have for the remainder of your day.

Try it and you'll agree.

By the way, any more than 15 minutes for a "power nap" and it'll just leave you sluggish.

Regards,
Al Levi

Dear Al,

With employees, I don't know how many times to speak to them and about what in order to get their best work or to correct their faults. I want to be fair and I want to avoid labor troubles by being consistent.

What should I be saying and when?

Sincerely,
Silent Movie

Dear Silent Movie,

I recommend a three-tier approach to interacting with your employees. There should be a system of rewards and consequences that automatically tells you when to have those conversations and when. Everyone needs to understand how this system works. Begin by defining what employees must do as a minimum to keep their jobs. To set this benchmark, use objective statistics and pick a level of performance that, if they actually achieve it, you'll be happy to let them keep coming to work.

Next, define what performance level below the minimum results in immediate coaching and what the consequences are. For example:

1. Being written up.

2. Being suspended.

3. Being fired.

With an operations manual, you'll be able to define what you do and how you do it, in writing, and that ends the arbitrary nature of how employees are judged. You'll also find it minimizes labor troubles.

Finally, define what level of achievement would get employees a reward that you'd be happy to give them because they increased efficiency, saved the company money, or generated additional income for the company. For example:

1. A bonus.

2. An award.

3. A promotion.

Remember, a well-designed reward system pays for itself.

Regards,
Al Levi

Al Levi of Appleseed Business specializes, as his Web site says, in "Making Contractors' Lives Less Stressful and More Successful." Through private workshops, on-site assessments, customized operating manuals, and staff training programs, Levi delivers the benefit of the experience he gained from years of operating a large family-run HVAC and plumbing business. Learn more by visiting www.appleseedbusiness.com. You may also contact Levi by e-mail at info@appleseedbusiness.com or by fax at 212-202-6275.

Publication date: 11/01/2004

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

2014 MCAA Annual Convention

Scenes from the 2014 MCAA Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Podcasts

Kyle Gargaro, editor-in-chief of The NEWS, hosted the 2014 ACCA CEO Forum. At the event, six well-known, highly respected company executives, Gary Michel, Ingersoll Rand/Trane; Chris Nelson, Carrier Corp.; Chris Peel, Rheem Mfg. Co.; Rod Rushing, Johnson Controls; Brent Schroeder, Emerson Climate Technologies; and Doug Young, Lennox; provided individual industry outlooks and fielded questions directly from attending contractors. Listen to the entire event on the NEWSMakers podcast. Posted on April 14.

More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

ACHRNEWS

NEWS 04-14-14 cover

2014 April 14

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

SERVICE CALLS POLL

Which statement on service calls best applies to your business?
View Results Poll Archive

HVACR INDUSTRY STORE

plumbing-hvac.gif
2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

 

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

DON'T MISS A THING

Magazine image
 
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con