Luke Draeger (Seattle, WA) and Lisa Lavender (Reading, PA) are co-authors of Be Intentional: Culture - how the small things enhance or undermine your culture. In this clip from our "meet the authors" event, Luke and Lisa discuss their thoughts on whether role playing is an effective training tool in the workplace.
Is role playing effective for training in the workplace?
The typical training session at work is a mix of too boring to be engaging and/or too dissonant with the real world to be applicable. Intentional people in a position of leadership work to make their training time effective, engaging, and executable. Luke shares a story of how role playing was not an accurate gauge of whether someone was a good sales person. Role playing is awkward, but that does not mean that it isn't effective. Those owners and managers who set aside time for training and implement tools such as role playing, must work to ensure that these items meet the vision and objectives for the meetings.
What are your thoughts about role playing at work?
Role play at work is:
Be Intentional: Culture (2021) How the Small Things Enhance or Undermine Your Culture
Intro by: Michelle Blevins
Authors: Lisa Lavender Andrew McCabe Jeremy Watkin Dr. Leroy Nunery David Princeton Luke Draeger Jon Isaacson Christopher Stanley Elan Pasmanick
Editors: Jon Isaacson and Tiffany Acuff
Publisher: The DYOJO
Contact The DYOJO for bulk order discounts thedyojo.com/book2
Is soft skills training worth the time and investment - a discussion with Larry Wilberton & Eric Sprague
The DYOJO Podcast Episode 50 was recorded LIVE.
The DYOJO Podcast is sponsored by Be Intentional: Culture, written by a collaboration of talented authors from various service based industries. This book discusses real world examples of how the small things either enhance or undermine your efforts to develop a thriving workplace culture. Available in Kindle and paperback - thedyojo.com/book2
Property Restoration Podcast
Robert More - Mitigation Manager/Estimator in Boonsboro, MD
Mr. More is a newly awarded IICRC triple master for water, fire, and textile cleaning discusses the process of pursuing continuous improvement for yourself and the return on investment for your team members.
Soft Skills Training Podcast
Eric "The Tech Whisperer" Sprague and Larry "Pineapple Man" Wilberton co-hosts of Blue Collar Nation podcast and owners of MorningTechMeeting.com
The arc of return on investment for developing your team
Cleanfax Magazine conducted a benchmarking survey in 2020 which accumulates input from restoration contractors throughout the United States and Canada. Owners in this service based industry have stated that recruiting and retaining quality staff has been their number one challenge, over 80% consensus, dating back to 2018 (see infographic on their website):
Property Restoration Resources
Katie Smith, restoration owner in Raleigh, NC and president elect for the Restoration Industry Association (RIA)
Mrs. Smith discusses the upcoming IN PERSON RIA Convention 2021
The DYOJO Podcast - the weekly podcast for Intentional Restorers. Every Thursday at 9am PST on YouTube, Apple, and Spotify. Sharing The DYOJO WAY to shorten your DANG learning curve for professional development. www.thedyojo.com/listen
I share a story in my latest book about being hired to elevate training for an established office and then being berated for doing what I thought I was hired for; training. The experience of working in an environment with a supervisor that didn’t do much to help their team members with career development was a challenge but I want everyone reading to understand that it can be done. Career development in property restoration, as in most of the skilled trades, will require you to develop the right mindset and habits in customer service. We will address two key components of customer service in this article, communication and cleanliness.
Property restoration career development: Create your own opportunities
It may surprise some of those reading to learn that prior to 2008 we had specialists for almost everything. When I started in the industry in 2002, with the team in bright yellow, we had separate divisions. There was some crossover assisting teams when they needed help, but our primary functions and teams were distinct from each other. We had managers for each of our divisions, mold, water, fire/contents, repairs, and carpets.
When I arrived with the company listed in the opening paragraph, my role as production manager was expected to oversee all of the “divisions” similar to those listed above. As a side note, we offered trauma/crime scene cleanup but it was not a service we did a lot of. I saw bio-services as an opportunity to learn more about the process and market those services so that I could create a growth void that I could then fill. You may be starting over, like I was, or feel like you are stuck in career limbo, look for something that no one else wants to do and create your own opening. Whatever level you are at in your career, life is about opportunity, not convenience.
Property restoration career development: Training for customer service
While I was not aware of the title at the time, I had to develop a process for teaching my team soft skills in addition to the technical (hard) skills of property restoration. If you are a manager and/or owner, when you train your team members to develop their mindset and habits, you communicate opportunities for growth which will also push you to continue to grow. This quote attributed to Richard Branson, is a strong encouragement to any organization that wants to thrive with their people, "Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to."
The chart below is the result of years of grinding out a process for addressing what I felt was important when training a diverse group of team members who had to master multiple service offerings. If you are committed to training, you have to budget time to focus on core principles and supplement scheduled training with on the job follow up by yourself and your team members. You don’t have accountability until you create clarity, develop consistency, and your team is committed to holding each other to the shared standards (culture). Accountability starts with the people in positions of leadership leading by example, without which it won’t exist.
Customer service, or better said, the customer experience, is essential to long term success in a service based industry like property restoration. You cannot expect that customer service is common sense or that your existing team will pass down everything that you hold dear.
Two key aspects of customer service that you have a direct impact on are:
Property restoration career development: Cleanliness is godliness
Cleanliness is godliness in property restoration. What is the first thing you should do when you meet a client, regardless of the time of day? If you are entering a home, you should be asking, “Would you like me to take my shoes off,” or slipping on protective booties that your company supplies you boxes and boxes of. Why is this important? Because it demonstrates to the homeowner that you respect their home, you respect them, and your number one priority is their experience during this process.
What is the alternative? You may walk in and the customer may be fine, but making this consideration known is key to setting yourself apart - even if no one else in your company does it. Obviously, if the whole house is flooded, you aren’t taking your shoes off and booties are useless. You can say, “Normally we would take our shoes off but it does not appear to be safe at this time.” One component of sales is ensuring you communicate how you and your company are different, not by putting your competitors down but by showing your client your unique values and habits.
Additional habits that demonstrate a standard of cleanliness:
I can remember early on, I was on a project where I had forgotten my vacuum cleaner (or someone had borrowed it and not returned it), and the day was wrapping up. Somehow the only tool I had was a hand broom and dust pan. My boss had made it clear that sweeping at the end of every day was important to him and would pay off with the customer. So, I swept my way out on my hands and knees. This wasn’t a detailed sweep as we were coming back to complete more demolition the next day, but that action won a lot of favor with the customer. Unfortunately, not every customer will vocalize their satisfaction, but your habits are critical as they establish your way of doing things.
Property restoration career development: Communication
Communication is more than just talking. If you are the one presenting the information, your integrity is essential. Unfortunately, there are too many examples of people who will speak when without thinking about what they are saying or about things that they don’t fully understand. You are not doing yourself or your client a good service if you tell them something just to ease the tension or sound important.
Whenever we would onboard new technicians, or in peak season when we would bring in temporary labor, I would give some variation of a speech about two great communication anathemas that weren’t to be practiced in our team culture:
Property restoration career development: Be intentional
What is a business? In order to have a sustainable property restoration business you will need two things: happy customers and profitable jobs. Too many organizations, and people in a position of leadership, focus on profits as though they are the cause and not the effect. This is not to diminish how important profits are, but to understand that it is much more effective to direct your team members to focus on what they can control. All team members play a role in achieving happy customers and this is where we should focus our training. If you teach your team how to produce happy customers, you will find ways as a team to achieve profitability. On the other hand, if you always preach profits first, you will struggle to achieve happy customers. One is a cause, the other is an effect. Al Erisman, author of The ServiceMaster Story, discussed how early leaders in this flagship restoration organization had the mindset that profits were the subject but not the object of their efforts.
As you develop your career in property restoration, use these three guides:
Being an intentional restorer starts with doing it right. Whatever your roles and responsibilities are, learn how to do them right. Once you have this foundation you can learn to perform these functions more efficiently. This does not mean faster. Yet, efficiency increases overall team speed without cutting corners or sacrificing quality (doing it right). In everything we do, we want to add that sizzle which stamps your work with your way (reflects your culture). When you arrive with booties, lay down flooring protection, set dust control barriers, and close every day with sweeping the worksite, you are showing your customer that you have a way; that you have pride in what you do (excellence).
The DYOJO publication announces book number two, Be Intentional: Culture, which is now available from Amazon via Kindle and paperback. This is a collaborative work with authors who are professionals in various industries.
The reader knows a bad culture when we they it, yet it may not always lend itself to clear definitions. One common factor in the mindset and habits that lead to enhancing a strong and productive culture are these truths:
Therefore, developing, adapting, and caring for your culture is vital to your vitality as an organization. Your input of time, effort, and resources towards developing an intentional culture is directly linked to achieving optimal business outputs. Be Intentional: Culture digs into this subject matter, asking the question: What are some of the small things that have helped to enhance, or undermine, culture in the experiences of our talented group of authors?
Contributor Bio’s (in alphabetical order):
Technician, Property Restoration
Technician with experience in water mitigation, fire mitigation, mold remediation, contents packing and cleaning, and tarps. Can take a customer from initial loss and lead them throughout the process to the end. I also have experience with back-end tasks, such as getting the proper paperwork and communicating in office with estimators and project managers.
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/tiffany-acuff-21a525157
Editor in Chief, Restoration and Remediation Magazine
Award-winning journalist and communications specialist dedicated to top-notch, innovative writing to promote my company's brand while fostering strong B2B relationships and spreading knowledge among readers.
R&R is the leading publication for professionals in the restoration and remediation industry. As the thought leader in the restoration world, R&R provides expert information on a variety of topics including forensic restoration, drying, software, thermal imaging, moisture meters, media blasting, and much more.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-blevins-821bab22
Author page at R&R - www.randrmagonline.com/authors/2080-michelle-blevins
Michelle Blevins was a guest on The DYOJO Podcast Episode 25
Outside Sales, Aramsco
Outside sales representative for the largest supplier to the abatement and mitigation industries. Specifically, I have extensive knowledge of equipment and supplies pertaining to the disaster restoration field, ensuring I bring a high level of service to Aramsco's valued customers.
A·nom·a·ly: "Something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected."
I think this word - "anomaly" - describes me well. An English major with a heart for higher education, I found myself through a series of coincidences in the field of disaster recovery.
For eight years, I supervised and performed mitigation services in homes and businesses, encountering losses large and small. After nearly a decade of 2am phone calls, dealing with insurance claims, consoling homeowners, and swimming in lots and lots of raw sewage, I found I was ready for another challenge.
Through yet another coincidence, I found myself interviewing for the manager job at Interlink Supply of Seattle. The position proved to be one of the most challenging and rewarding of my professional life.
Following the acquisition of Bridgewater (Interink's parent co.) by Aramsco, I am taking on a new challenge as restoration sales manager for the Seattle region.
My approach to sales is unique. We hear all the time that sales is all about relationships, which is certainly true, and I greatly enjoy the relationships I'm able to cultivate each day, but I also think sales is about caring. I think sales is a lot about listening and responding with the heart of a teacher.
My truest passion is for writing. I maintain a blog at legionwriter.com, where I attempt to publish musings at least a few times a month. I also enjoy teaching others to write. I volunteer as a tutor through the King County Libraries.
Some day, that novel I've been pecking away at for six years will see the light. Some day.
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/luke-draeger-892b4022
Website - www.legionwriter.com
Host, The DYOJO Podcast & author, Be Intentional: Estimating
For nearly 20 years Jon Isaaacson, The Intentional Restorer, has exemplified consistent achievement in leadership roles within the skilled trades including property restoration, construction, and abatement.
As a business coach, Jon is able to assess issues, identify creative solutions, and implement processes that drive long term success in an organization. You can read his monthly column, The Intentional Restorer, in Restoration and Remediation Magazine (R&R).
Jon regularly speaks, writes, and consults through his organization The DYOJO. He is the host of The DYOJO Podcast and recently published his first book Be Intentional: Estimating.
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/jon-isaacson-izvents
Website - www.thedyojo.com
The Intentional Restorer monthly column - www.randrmagonline.com/topics/4576-the-intentional-restorer
The DYOJO Podcast - www.thedyojo.com/listen
Chief Operating Officer (COO), Restoration Technical Institute (RTI) and Berks Fire Water Restorations, Inc.
Restoration Professional that is passionate about serving others. As Chief Operating Officer of a full service restoration company and training center, manages daily operations so as to deliver services that have a positive meaningful impact on the lives of others.
Oversees operations of Technical Training center serving restoration, insurance, construction, cleaning and related technical industries. We BELIEVE in inspiring happiness, pride, and innovation in others.
Oversees the day to day operations of Berks Fire Water Restorations, Inc.℠, a local provider that specializes in the restoration and reconstruction of residential and commercial properties damaged by fire, mold, sewage, smoke, storm, water, wind, or any other damage. Our complete restoration approach involves the coordination and supervision of every facet of the project, ensuring the best possible service. We deal directly with the insurance provider, helping to satisfy the needs of the property owner.
We are fully staffed with a team of restoration technicians, carpenters and tradesmen, providing 24 hour/7 day emergency service with a one hour response time.
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/llavender
Restoring Success monthly column - www.randrmagonline.com/topics/4578-restoring-success
Lisa Lavender was a guest on The DYOJO Podcast Episode 36; you can read her monthly column Restoring Success in Restoration and Remediation Magazine (R&R)
Large Loss Claims Consultant & Xactimate Estimator, Claims Delegates & author, The 24 HR Tech
Andy has spent 20 years in the property damage restoration industry. He is an experienced water damage expert and licensed claims adjuster. He specializes in property damage insurance claims resolution and complex building envelope issues. Andy settled in Bend, OR which serves as his base of operations for national consulting operations.
"The simplest solution is the best solution." - Andy's derivative of Occam's Razor
Everyone has their own way of doing things. I'm always looking for the "right" way. That isn't always the popular choice. I would rather "get it right" than to be right. I'm poised to set the world on fire. I've been burnt along the way, but that just builds character. Don't you think?
I'm a property and casualty (P&C) claims expert, licensed property adjuster and Xactimate professional. I have served as an expert witness and appraiser in contractor disputes and insurance claim arbitration situations. My favorite thing is public speaking and education. I love to teach and inspire folks to be their best.
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/andymccabe
Website - www.claimsdelegates.com
Andrew McCabe has been a guest on The DYOJO Podcast Episode 5 and 37 (Pro vs. Joe 009)
Nunery II, Leroy, Dr.
Founder & Principal, PlūsUltré LLC
PlūsUltré LLC Background and Qualifications
PlūsUltré’s mantra of “Inspiration. Imagination. Innovation” reflects our approach to enhancing the strategic and operational capacities of educational, non-profit, and entrepreneurial entities. Our breadth of experience and competence is demonstrated through inspired, objective, and creative problem-solving. Our clients engage us because we think and act objectively and critically, and with their interests in mind.
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/ldn2educate
Website - www.plusultrellc.net
Mobile Equipment Repairs, Born to Repair
My mission is to transition the damage restoration industry to inhouse equipment repairs. Providing mobile equipment repairs for water damage equipment such as air movers and dehumidifiers. Born to Repair is also able to provide phone and video consulting to assist people outside of his service area.
Elan is preparing an online repairs seminar as well.
Website - www.facebook.com/borntorepairsd
Check out Elan Pasmanick’s water damage equipment maintenance and repair Tip of the Week as a regular feature on The DYOJO Podcast.
Principle Consultant, Advocate Claim Service
Specializing in Contract Analysis & Risk Management.
Results-focused strategist with 16+ years of progressive career growth in the Insurance and Risk Management field. Tenaciously persistent in determining and attaining optimal outcomes. Astute negotiator. Background includes value-added, comprehensive expertise in analyzing insurance contracts, claim practices, and managing complex claims.
Advocate Claim Service was founded to provide policyholders with a dedicated claim professional to develop a comprehensive claim presentation strategy. While ACS does not sell insurance, we do make it work for you. ACS's Principle Consultant, David Princeton, has resolved disputed claims resulting in total resolutions in excess of $25,000,000.
Specializing in the strategic presentation of claims, Advocate Claim Services looks to aid businesses in the presentation and resolution of doubtful and disputed claims. Our brand of advocacy focuses on the challenging claims that threaten to disrupt our clients' ability to do business.
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/davidrprinceton
Website - www.advocateclaimservice.com
David Princeton was a guest on The DYOJO Podcast Episode 1, 32 and 35 (Pro vs. Joe 007 and 008)
Founder, IA Path & author, Independent Adjuster’s Playbook (and many more)
We help new adjusters get to work in 90 days with our online adjuster mentorships.
Most new adjusters struggle to meet hiring companies' experience requirements and have no way of getting started. At IA Path we created a mentorship program that gets the experience requirements waived with over 20 companies so you can start working in the next 90 days.
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/iapath
Website - www.iapath.com
Chris Stanley was a guest on The DYOJO Podcast Episode 38
Director of Customer Experience and Support, NumberBarn
Proven visionary leader, seasoned manager, and lifelong learner experienced in building both customer service teams and customer experience programs. Capable of creating a customer service operation from scratch and technically savvy enough to scale it with a rapidly growing business.
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/jtwatkin
Website - www.customerservicelife.com
Jeremy Watkin was a guest on The DYOJO Podcast Episode 42
South Sound Connection (SSC) LIVE - Episode 008 - Part A
SSC LIVE is brought to you by The DYOJO Podcast (thedyojo.com) and All American Restoration Services (Tacoma, WA - allamericanres.com).
Recorded on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 9am PST - LIVE
Ken Brown - Community Relations and Engagement, Rexius (Eugene, OR)
Ken is active in his outreach efforts and has worked hard to make the Rexius name synonymous with community service. He is also the Executive Director of The Hope Project.
Mr. Brown shares his thoughts on:
I originally reached out to Alex Blagojevic regarding a post from LinkedIn on the importance of technology in the property claims assessment process, "I’ll be on site conducting a 360 degree scan of a water damaged unit. With my site scope and virtual scan, a control estimate will be conducted by our Xactimate team within a matter of days. It’s truly incredible what our new technology can capture in one quick site visit." We were putting together a multi-member panel for a discussion about Docusketch which turned into Episode 40 of The DYOJO Podcast.
As an independent commercial claims adjuster she shared her experiences with technology and integration with tools such as Encircle for categorizing photos from a loss and Docusketch for 360 degree captures that can expediently be transformed into a layout sketch for Xactimate. For those who aren't familiar with the property claims process, thorough documentation is key to empowering all stakeholders to communicate clearly and restore the affected to pre-loss conditions. Alex has observed these tools quickly becoming the standard for insurance carriers and restoration contractors.
She shares how her journey into the insurance claims world started with a position as a project managers assistant at a local ServiceMaster, helping those managing claims to maintain their documentation streams. In her pursuit of more meaningful work, increasing responsibility, and upward mobility, she pursued the claims side as an entry level broker. It wasn't long before doors opened to allow her to explore more direct involvement with helping people with property damages as an adjuster.
There are many nuggets within this discussion, of which managers should take note, on how young people entering the workforce are looking for opportunities for professional growth. Those organizations and people in positions of leadership who can connect growth minded individuals with the opportunities within their companies will find that there is a deep well of strong candidates eager to make a difference. Alex understood the process of earning her way by learning from each role while keeping her eyes open for experiences that would further her career. Seeing the claims process from "both sides" has helped her to have a greater perspective for how to serve the client to create a positive customer experience. Some of the best training she received was while she was at an entry level position with a brokerage and yet it would appear that organization was unable to connect their training with opportunities that would keep a strong candidate such as Alex within the fold.
We had a similar conversation with Chris Stanley on Episode 38 of The DYOJO Podcast. Chris shared how important it is for companies to create a direct correlation to training and advancement which is why his organization IA Path has developed a process that empowers those seeking a career in adjusting to get to work within 90 days. Alex notes the value of initiatives such as The DYOJO Podcast which is, "A platform that encourages collaboration while opening up discussions that directly effect our day to day work across the claims industry."
Alex encourages adjusting professionals, who want to create a positive customer experience with their brand, to remember that the claims process:
The market is always evolving and people in a position of leadership who want to remain competitive need to invest in their own training for soft skills to optimize employee recruitment, hiring, and retention. We discussed another great resource for growth minded leaders who want to develop their abilities for working with the incoming workforce candidates, the book Insuring Tomorrow: Engaging Millennials in the Insurance Industry by Tony Canas and Carly Burnham of Insurance Nerds. Seeking out employee input, reading books on vital soft skills, and listening to programs such as The DYOJO Podcast can help managers to shorten their learning curve for leadership development and employee engagement.
Topics and Guests for The DYOJO Podcast Episode 43:
Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is an 18 year veteran of the property restoration industry and a business coach through his organization The DYOJO.