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The Total Worker Health Approach

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The Total Worker Health Approach

Posted on 24 October 2016 by CRadmin2

ship-brandIt is widely known that the West Coast states (California, Oregon and Washington) have some of the strictest rules regarding the health and safety of workers, but these states also provide an assortment of publications and tools that are useful for any business anywhere in the nation. The latest of these tools is the Safety & Health Improvement Program (SHIP), which was developed in Oregon under the Total Worker Health (TWH) initiative established by the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH).

About Total Worker Health

For decades, NIOSH has been attempting to deal with the 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries that occur in the U.S. each year, costing more than $1 billion per week in workers’ compensation claims. In 2011, NIOSH launched the TWH Program in an effort to advance the health and well-being of workers in the United States, which benefits not only workers but also employers in a variety of ways, including increased productivity.

As part of the TWH Program, NIOSH established six Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health across the country. These centers, located in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado and Oregon, have been conducting research and publishing new materials for employers for the past five years, and this work has culminated in the development of the Toolkit Kiosk by the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center.

Benefits of SHIP

The latest addition to the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center’s Toolkit Kiosk is SHIP, and its primary goal is “to promote employee health, safety, work-life balance and team effectiveness.” When used properly, the program can reduce stress and work-life conflicts experienced by employees, improve company health and safety practices and increase job performance and team effectiveness.

Research shows that when employees have conflicts between their work and personal lives, they experience higher levels of work stress, burnout, health problems and turnover. These conflicts also decrease job satisfaction, commitment to the company and performance.

SHIP has been extensively tested in labs, workshops and the real world. The program was first validated in the construction industry, and it has been adapted to for use in several others. It made available through online manuals, printable materials and software downloads, and it was designed to implemented without external support.

Work-Life Support

SHIP tackles the problem of work-life conflicts by getting owners, managers and supervisors involved in the safety and health of employees. First, supervisors must recognize that the demands of the job can affect personal and family responsibilities, but showing genuine concern about the conflicts, being knowledgeable about TWH programs, resources and policies and sharing techniques for managing responsibilities can help to reduce the impact on the business.

In order for the program to work, supervisors must demonstrate a commitment to safety – which includes all of the following points:

  • Understand and communicate the company’s safety expectations
  • Train employees on safe practices and how to recognize risks
  • Ask for suggestions and encourage creativity in coming up with solutions
  • Ensure duties are safe and demonstrate concern for employees
  • Reinforce safety procedures and practices
  • Take action against unsafe behavior and conditions

Supervisors are helped through this process with the four components of SHIP:

  1. Supervisor computer-based training
  2. Supervisor behavior tracking
  3. Team Effectiveness Process (TEP)
  4. Regular check-ins and follow-up

For further information about SHIP and the TWH approach, check out the Safety & Health Improvement Program website, download the SHIP Start Guide or go through the SHIP Leadership Briefing Slides for Power Point.

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Seven Keys to Get Out of a Rut

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Seven Keys to Get Out of a Rut

Posted on 21 October 2016 by CRadmin2

By Paul Lemberg

Rut: a routine procedure, situation or way of life that has become uninteresting and tiresome…

And not surprisingly, unprofitable.

They say a rut is a shallow grave with two open ends. The good news (good news?!) is that the ends ARE still open, which means if you act fast, you just might get out of it.

How do we get into these ruts anyway? Who would voluntarily lie down in that grave, shallow or otherwise? Dr. Edward Debono suggests that thoughts are pathways that are literally etched into our brain as electrical connections that get strengthened each time we think them, thus limiting our mental options – just like cow paths.

It all begins when one of the cows wanders home from the field along a new path. Being cows, others naturally follow, nicely beating down the grass. The next evening our intrepid cow is a bit less bold and follows her own freshly trampled path with fellow cows in lockstep behind her. And so on, night after night, widening the path into a footpath, which over time, becomes hardened into a dirt road. More time passes, and the road is paved into a street, then an avenue, a two-lane highway and ultimately, an Interstate.

By the time you come roaring up the on-ramp in your shiny SUV, your direction is all mapped out in front of you. There’s no way to turn and nowhere to go but towards the next exit. If you want to chart a fresh direction, you are going to have to grab the steering wheel and give it a hard, gut-wrenching yank to the right.

And so it is with your thoughts and actions. Repeating them a few times all but insures you will comfortably repeat them indefinitely unless you take deliberate, and possibly disruptive, action to do otherwise.

Here are seven rut busters I use with my business-coaching clients that you can apply immediately to get yourself and your business out of a rut.

1. Shift your mindset from self to customer.
Most business people think of themselves first. They craft product and service offers from their own perspective and consider themselves the beneficiaries of their actions. While that’s not wrong, to get out of your rut, do this: Put yourself into the mind of your customer. Who are these people anyway? What are they concerned about? What are they trying to accomplish? If you were your customer, what would you think of that new product, marketing campaign or email blast? Are you selling your wonderful stuff, or are you providing them tangible, meaningful benefits? Ask yourself, “If I were the customer, would I care?” And if not, consider, “What WOULD I get excited about?”

2. Shift your mindset from customer to client.
A customer is someone who buys your goods or services. The original meaning of client is entirely different: someone who is under your care and protection. Now that’s a switch, isn’t it? If they’re customers, your goal is to get them to buy something. But if you were to think of them as under your care – would you approach your business from another angle? How would you take care of them? How would you protect them? What new programs would you want to implement immediately?

3. Revisit your vision.
Whenever I feel like I’m in a rut, I return to my vision and do two things. First, I make sure it still inspires me and that it is pointing me in the direction I want to go. Once sure, I put pen to paper and rewrite it – not just once, but over and over. And I keep writing until I can’t write it anymore because I’m jumping up and down with a new idea I must do something about right away.

4.Conduct a Survey.
If you don’t know what to do next, ask your clients. (They are clients, aren’t they?) Conduct a survey about anything that interests you. Ask them what’s bothering them. Ask them what they’re stuck on. Ask them what they like about your company and what they’d like you to do next. Ask them about new features, new products or new services. If you’re not happy with your current customers, conduct a survey among the kind of people you’d like to have as customers. And, if you can’t do that, conduct a survey online. Write an attractive search engine ad, promise something of value and drive people to a survey page. Ask them anything you like. The answers will almost always provide you with an interesting, and oftentimes surprising, mind-shift.

5.Focus on building your strengths and dump your weaknesses.
From the time we are little children, we are taught to better ourselves by working on our weaknesses. This is often frustrating and fruitless and certainly not as much fun as practicing our strengths.

Try this on: What if you focused 100 percent of your energy on being world-class in those few things at which you are already very good and out-tasked or outsourced those things at which you were mediocre. Imagine if you never had to face any of those things again, and you could spend all your time doing the good stuff. Would that change the way you felt about your business? Would that bust you out of your rut?

6. Not if, but how.
Think of that wild and crazy idea you had recently. The one where you said to yourself, “That would be great, but there’s just no way.” Well, I know there’s no way – you just said so – but if there was a way, what would it be? Answer that question as if you believed it was possible – probable even – and then get busy making it real. That’s power, you know: turning your vision into reality. Talk about a breakthrough!

7. What are you willing to sacrifice?
Some important things are more important than other important things, and trying to keep all those plates spinning in the air saps your vigor for the ones that truly matter. Dissipated energy – lethargy — is one of the reasons we lie down in that rut in the first place, and dropping a few of those plates can really help things break loose. So let go. Make the sacrifice. Clear your plate, and give up some of those precious things you’ve been holding on to. Focus your vitality on plans that will really rock your world.

Ruts? Who needs ‘em?

About the Author

Paul Lemberg’s clients call him “the unreasonable consultant” because he helps them see the unnecessary limits they place upon themselves and encourages, cajoles and, at times, beats them over the head to take bold, sometimes uncomfortable and often unreasonable actions to reach their critical business goals. He is CEO of Axcelus Consulting, the world’s only systematic business-acceleration program helping entrepreneurs and executives rapidly create faster-growing, profitable and sustainable businesses. His newest book is Be Unreasonable. Paul is available for keynote and executive retreats and can be reached via

Copyright ©2016, Paul Lemberg. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at

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Fabricator Profile: KAT Fabricators Stays Organized

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Fabricator Profile: KAT Fabricators Stays Organized

Posted on 14 October 2016 by CRadmin2

product-main-granite-largeKAT Fabricators is known as “your source for custom countertops” in the Dallas, Tex., area, and the company prides itself in keeping highly organized at all times. In fact, because the company does such a high volume of sales with big-box stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, staying organized is a crucial element in maintaining customer relationships and honoring schedules.

Because KAT Fabricators does the majority of its business on the wholesale level, there is no need to maintain a showroom, and attention can be given to production and customer service. Stepping into the modest office, the company is all business. The customer-service department operates just behind the front door, and a few of the desks include state-of-the-art computer systems with dual monitors, which help to schedule up to 10 jobs each day with a high degree of accuracy.

Walking straight back through the office leads to the stone shop, which was originally dedicated to solid surface fabrication but now accommodates granite and engineered stone. Offering a wider variety of materials allows KAT Fabricators to act as a one-stop shop for dealers and builders with an assortment of jobs.

On the other side of the stone shop, is an open yard for warehousing slabs and remnants, and the solid surface shop is just past this. As of 2010, KAT Fabricators was using a CNC machine for sink holes while an advanced straight-line edger does most of the heavy work.

KAT Fabricators constantly and consistently works on improving efficiency and providing service and quality that surpasses that of the competition. This allows them to set competitive pricing without having to rely on low prices to gain new business.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: Tour of KAT Fabricators in Dallas

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OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

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OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

Posted on 29 September 2016 by cradmin

recordkeeping-ruleOver the last couple of years, there has been so much talk among countertop professionals about OSHA’s new silica rule, that it is easy to forget all of the other regulations that must be followed under federal and state law. Although most regulations are directly aimed at keeping workers in the U.S. safe and healthy, several administrative rules are also in place, including recordkeeping requirements, which are set forth in Standard 29 CFR 1904.

Less than two short years ago, the recordkeeping rule only required employers to report work-related fatalities and hospitalizations invoicing three or more employees, but as of January 1, 2015, the reporting requires were expanded to include all of the following:

  • Work-related fatalities
  • All work-related hospitalizations regardless of the number of employees
  • Work-related losses of one or both eyes
  • Work-related amputations

Who Must Report Injuries and Fatalities?

Some employers mistakenly believe that they are not required to report workplace injuries and deaths because they are exempt from having to keep routine records of these unfortunate accidents. However, recordkeeping should not be confused with reporting. The new rule clearly states that “all employers under OSHA jurisdiction” must comply with federal or state injury-reporting requirements even if they are exempt from recordkeeping.

When Must Reports Be Submitted?

To comply with the rule, employers must report injuries and fatalities relatively quickly. If a fatality occurs within 30 days of a work-related accident/incident, it must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours of discovering it. For inpatient hospitalizations, losses of one or more eyes and amputations, employers have 24 hours to submit reports.

How to Report Worker Injuries and Fatalities

It is recommended that employee injuries and fatalities are reported by telephone to the nearest OSHA office. However, these offices are only open during standard business hours Monday through Friday. If reports must be submitted outside of this time, employers must call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at (800) 321-OSHA (6742).

This reporting system, however, is set to change January 1, 2017. After this date, most employers will no longer be able to submit reports over the phone. OSHA will have an electronic reporting system available on its website, and all reports will have to be entered in the computer. When these reports are entered, they are saved in OSHA’s database so that they can be compiled for later research on workplace hazards.

This rule includes additional provisions that are meant to encourage employees to report all accidents to their supervisors, and it prevents employers from retaliating against workers who report accidents.

The electronic reporting rule only affects employers that have been deemed to run businesses that pose significant safety and health risks to its workers, and countertop fabrication and construction are among such businesses. However, if the company has fewer than 20 employees, reports may still be made over the phone.

For further information on the OSHA recordkeeping and reporting rule, visit or call the nearest OSHA office.

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Fabricator Profile: Aspen Design Focuses on Wholesale

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Fabricator Profile: Aspen Design Focuses on Wholesale

Posted on 27 September 2016 by cradmin

aspen-remnant-yard-300x110Aspen Design and Fabrication (ADF) in Denver, Colo., was opened by Dan Dugard and John Ragsdale in 2002, but they experimented with several different business models before the business really took off. In the 1980s and 1990s, Dugard was an employee of Makita Tools, but one day, a customer of his offered to sell him his countertop fabrication business. Although the deal fell through, it ultimately led to meeting Ragsdale at a scaffolding company where they both worked.

A few years after meeting, Dugard and Ragsdale decided to become business partners and opened a fabrication shop specializing in solid surface and laminate. In the beginning, they worked the shop themselves, and their only customers were walk-ins who needed new countertops for their kitchen remodels.

Soon, ADF landed a commercial job that was too big for Dugard and Ragsdale to handle themselves. They quickly scrambled to scale up the business to handle the work, and after hiring new employees, the company continued to grow and expanded into natural stone and quartz.

Aspen Design and Fabrication used the leverage they received from their million-dollar commercial job to jump directly into the wholesale market, and the majority of jobs come from builders and dealers. Today, the business has added glass and concrete to its offerings and is fully automated with laser templating, a CNC waterjet and CNC edgers.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: Tour of Aspen Design and Fabrication

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Optimize Effective and Efficient Behavior for Increased Success

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Optimize Effective and Efficient Behavior for Increased Success

Posted on 26 September 2016 by CRadmin2

By Anne Bachrach

“Time is really the only capital that any human being has and the only thing he cannot afford to lose.”
~Thomas Edison

Whether you are an employee or a business owner, it is your goal to be as effective as you can with the greatest efficiency. If you are an employee, the more effective and efficient you are, the greater asset you present to your employer. As a business owner, the more you can optimize these two factors, the greater return on investment you will realize in your business.

So how do you improve your career or business by improving effectiveness and efficiency? Let’s begin by reviewing the difference between the two terms:

Effective – Producing a decided, decisive or desired effect. Effective emphasizes the actual production of or the power to produce an effect or result.

Efficient – Acting or a potential for action or use in such a way as to avoid loss or waste of energy in effecting, producing or functioning.

Effectiveness is the building block while efficiency is the process of refinement. The better you become at effecting positive results with the greatest efficiency of effort, the bigger asset you become – and so does your business.

Optimizing effectiveness and efficiency doesn’t have any relation to IQ or intelligence levels. It’s really an awareness of your habits. It’s a delicate balance between effecting positive results with the least amount of energy expenditure. This essentially means that you expend the least amount of energy with the largest return – while effectively creating the desired result.

Quality Effectiveness and High Efficiency

Take Henry Ford for example, here is a man that was not well educated, but he knew that in order to build a successful business, he needed to be effective and efficient. Granted, Ford had other skills that contributed to his success, but he was obsessed with optimizing the effectiveness and efficiency of his assembly line in the interest of the success of his company. This obsession led to constant production procedure refinements that were unheard of at the time.

Ford understood that quality effectiveness and high efficiency were vital to building the best car with the least amount of wasted energy. Over a century later, Ford built one of the largest and most successful car factories in the world. While many of his peers at the time thought his ideas were impossible, his innovations still remain a standard in modern-day automobile manufacturing.

Optimizing Effectiveness

Optimizing your effectiveness and efficiency is vital to your success even if you are not a Bill Gates or Henry Ford. Your personal life depends on it and so does your professional life.

Let’s start by discussing improving effectiveness. What does this actually mean? In the most basic terms, you must first learn how to create positive effects, change or results even though by definition you could be effective at producing negative effects. However, our focus is on becoming proficient at producing positive effects. The better you become at effectively creating desired results, the better your personal and professional life becomes.

So how do you know if you are being effective? The first step is to ask yourself what kind of actions you are taking. If the goal is to produce a desired result, every step between the initial action and completed action needs to be in support of the desired result.

Evaluating Effectiveness

Recall a situation or project that produced a less than optimal result. If you go back through the series of actions that led to the result, can you pinpoint what might have triggered the shift from the direction of positive results to non-effective results? When the trigger can be identified, you are able learn from that experience and be more effective in future situations by changing or avoiding the action that created the negative result. Being effective is nothing more than a series of evaluations of past results to identify and separate the successful actions from the negative actions.

This evaluation process not only applies to your professional life but also to your personal life. Your career or your business is only as good as you are – which is why self-improvement is a vital part of your professional success. If you cannot learn to effect positive results, the success of your business will be limited. For optimal success, a dedication to improving effectiveness in your personal life is important.

Don’t ever think your career or business doesn’t have anything to do with you personally. Remember, the effects that are created in your professional life are a direct reflection of you. Every situation, whether professional or personal, deserves adequate evaluation for your improved success.

Refining Effectiveness

Now let’s discuss efficiency. Effectiveness is the building block and efficiency is the process of refinement. Think of it as a sort of horse and carriage. Improving efficiency isn’t possible until you actually learn how to effect results. While it is possible to be effective without being efficient, only having one of the two strengths is like missing the other piece to the puzzle. To be a true force to be reckoned with and to grow your business, you must be able to effect positive results with the greatest efficiency.

We all have the same number of hours in a day to complete our tasks, so you must learn to produce desired results with the least amount of energy lost. This is probably one of the most common concerns I hear from my clients. They wonder how they can do more under time constraints. I ask every client the same question, how are you spending your time? In order to make more time and become better at what we do, we must learn to improve our effectiveness and efficiency.

Calendaring and Scheduling

Although most people resist it, calendaring is a great tool for improving effectiveness and efficiency. When you put everything in your calendar and honor it, you’ll find your focus improves because you have daily tasks staring right back at you in black and white. Schedule everything in your calendar, including showers, drive time, calls, marketing time, client interviews, lunch and workouts. For every task, add a 15 to 30 minute buffer. This buffer will serve to add to peace of mind if unexpected delays come up. If you are actually running ahead of schedule, then you can get a head start on the next task and actually complete more in less time.

Improving effectiveness and efficiency may require improving organizational skills, maintaining a greater focus, task delegation, getting eight hours of sleep every night or any other number of factors. Although adjustments vary from person to person, the factors remain constant and comprise a set of success principles. Begin working on increasing your effectiveness and efficiency today and enjoy the benefits you receive as a result. You’ll find that you will accomplish more in less time and feel great about your progress every day.

About the Author

Anne M. Bachrach is known as The Accountability Coach. She has 23 years of experience training and coaching. The objective is to do more business in less time through maximizing people’s true potential and ultimately leading them to an even better quality of life. Anne is the author of the book Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule! and Live Life with No Regrets: How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives.

Copyright© 2016, Anne M. Bachrach. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at

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Job Stress: What Can You Do About It?

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Job Stress: What Can You Do About It?

Posted on 16 August 2016 by cradmin

By Todd E. Linaman

Today’s workforce faces a multitude of pressures: deadlines, office politics, nonproductive meetings, conflict, job ambiguity, miscommunication, increased workload, inadequate resources, customer complaints and long hours. . . to name just a few. On-the-job stress can be quite costly, too, because it often results in increased absenteeism, reduced efficiency, low morale, reduced effectiveness and high staff turnover.

Researchers have discovered that since 1965, the overall stress levels in the U.S. have increased nearly 50 percent, and it is estimated that 75 to 90 percent of all office visits to healthcare professionals are for stress-related symptoms and disorders.

We know that a certain level of stress can be good. Stress actually improves performance by sharpening concentration, focusing attention and increasing motivation; however, when the threshold of optimum stress is crossed, it can trigger a very negative domino effect. High levels of stress not only compromise your work performance, productivity and efficiency, but more importantly, they can seriously impact your health.

Common physical symptoms of stress include headaches, migraines, insomnia, back and neck aches, nausea, twitching, appetite changes and sweating. The long-term effects of stress can include heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, gastrointestinal problems and more.

In addition to the physical symptoms, stress can also cause serious psychological and emotional problems, such as mood swings, poor concentration, anxiety, irritability, anger, depression, forgetfulness, pessimism, confusion and self-doubt.

No doubt we all agree that it is important to manage our stress effectively, but how can we do it? Here are a few tips that will help you to keep your stress low and your performance level high.

Control your time. When you are over-committed, something has to give. Take time to identify your most important responsibilities or tasks and focus on them first. Avoid taking on assignments just to please others or to look good. Successful time management involves your ability to control the activities in your life – and the better you are at it, the less stress you will experience.

Minimize procrastination. Putting off important responsibilities breeds stress. Procrastination typically occurs for three reasons: You aren’t sure how to do the task, you can’t decide how to approach it, and/or you don’t particularly enjoy doing what you have to do. Avoid waiting until the last minute to complete jobs by breaking down a large project into as many small, manageable, “instant” tasks as possible. Write these mini-projects on a piece of paper and then include several of them on your daily to-do List. When you complete one of the tasks, treat yourself to a nice reward. Before you know it, the project will be done and you will feel energized as a result.

Take time out for yourself. The busy-ness of work life and constant interaction with others can create a very legitimate need for alone time. Making time in your schedule for solitude can be a big challenge, but make it a priority to set aside “down” or “quiet” time just like you schedule business meetings and lunch appointments. During this time, give yourself permission to take a mini vacation. Find a quiet place to relax where you won’t be interrupted and then mentally transfer yourself to a quiet and beautiful setting. Imagine taking a leisurely walk on the beach or dangling your feet in the cool waters of a lazy mountain stream. As you sense the warm sun on your face and the cool breeze in the air, you will feel the stress and worries of the day slowly drift away.

Practice healthy self-talk. You feel what you think. Negative, critical and hopeless thinking produces fear, anger, worry and stress. Practice maintaining a positive mental attitude about yourself, your work and those around you. Remember, you do have choices in life and you can change and control many of the things that you are dissatisfied with if you are willing to set your mind to it.

Reconsider all meetings. Unproductive meetings are among the worse time wasters in businesses today. Meetings should only be held when interaction is required, and only those directly involved or affected should be required to attend. Productive meetings serve an essential purpose – to share important information and/or to solve critical problems. But unnecessary meetings just delay the completion of important objectives, which ultimately results in more pressure and stress. A study quoted in The Wall Street Journal reported that if American managers started and ended their meetings on time and followed an agenda, they could save 80 percent of the time they currently waste in meetings!

Control your diet. If you put low-octane fuel in your car, your engine will still run but not at top-performance level. The same principle is true for your mind and body. If you regularly consume junk food or skip meals, you can still function but with much less efficiency. A healthy diet is key to maintaining good concentration, a high level of energy and a healthy outlook on life.

Get your heart pumping. Physical activity is one of the best stress busters around. A brisk walk, game of tennis or aerobics class helps you let off steam and distracts you from your source of stress. Exercise can also boost your immune system and help you to fight off illnesses that stress can cause.

Stop mulling it over – take action. If you’re overloaded with worries, sit down with a pen and paper and spend 15 minutes writing down your concerns and potential solutions to the problems. By the time you finish, you will realize that you don’t feel as worried because you are now better prepared to take action.

Recommended Daily Habits

  • Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself.
  • Do something nice for someone.
  • Share a laugh or a word of encouragement with someone you like.
  • Make a list of things you are most grateful for.
  • Take a leisurely bath or hot shower.
  • Rest your eyes for 15 to 30 minutes without interruption.
  • Relax outdoors, enjoying nature.
  • Revisit your accomplishments – even the smallest ones.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Get up 15 minutes early to avoid having to rush.
  • Watch a funny movie or television program.
  • Spend 30 minutes reading a good book.
  • Take a walk around the building.

As an Employer

If you are an employer, be aware of what your company or organization can do to help your employees minimize stress in the workplace. Here are just a few items to consider:

  • Provide a safe and comfortable environment in which to work.
  • Provide a workplace free from all forms of harassment.
  • Make sure adequate resources are provided to complete assignments.
  • Discourage excessive work hours over an extended period of time.
  • Develop management practices based on equality of treatment.
  • Provide reasonable workload allocation and feedback on performance.
  • Encourage staff to maintain and improve their physical and psychological health.
  • Strive to ensure good communication throughout the organization.
  • Provide information and training to enable staff to develop their skills and maximize their contribution to the business.

Managing stress in the workplace – or anywhere else in life, for that matter – is really a question of balance. If your work is very busy, hectic or noisy, balance it with quiet times and relaxing activities. If your job is mentally demanding or requires long periods of concentration, balance it with play and physical activity. Eat enough but not too much. Enjoy time with family and friends, offset with periods of solitude and reflection. The key is recognizing the value of activities that aren’t related to your work and giving them adequate priority in your daily calendar.

About the Author

Dr. Todd E. Linaman is a licensed psychologist and the President of Relational Advantage, Inc. Dr. Linaman is also a conference speaker, published author and expert in the area of personal, professional and organizational development. RAI provides quality coaching, consulting and training for family-owned businesses, executives, managers and other business professionals. Copyright© 2016, Todd Linaman, Ph.D. All rights reserved. For information, contact Frog Pond at

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Fabricator Profile: NF Granite Experiences Rapid Growth

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Fabricator Profile: NF Granite Experiences Rapid Growth

Posted on 04 August 2016 by cradmin

aa8de576-034a-4112-b40f-74019c6fabb1NF Granite in Pearl City is one of several Louisiana fabricators that is experiencing rapid growth and embracing shop automation. Only a few short years ago, the company relocated to a larger fabrication shop and began to embrace digital systems for both templating and fabricating.

The company operates under the principle that the needs of the customer are of primary importance, and the entire team is committed to providing the best possible service. Because of this ethic, most of NF Granite’s new clients are repeat customers and referrals from past customer.

To help the team serve its clients, several digital systems are used, including an LT-55 Laser Templator Laser Products Industries. This system creates a 3-D layout that can be given to customers showing exactly how their kitchen will look with new countertops. After the countertops are fabricated with the help of a Fusion CNC Saw/Waterjet from Park Industries and installed, a sealer is applied that is guaranteed to last for 25 years.

Even though NF Granite recognizes that customers are important, it also believes its employees are important because the number one factor in a successful business is “hard-working, friendly and motivated employees.”

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: Visit to Countertop Fabricators in Louisiana

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Building a Sum Even Greater Than Its Parts: Why It’s Essential to Create a Cohesive Sales Team

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Building a Sum Even Greater Than Its Parts: Why It’s Essential to Create a Cohesive Sales Team

Posted on 28 July 2016 by cradmin

By Becky Wenner

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.” Henry Ford, one of the great industrialists of the 20th century, said that about the importance of teamwork and of how it applies to businesses of all sizes.

Today’s economy is more diverse and more fiercely competitive than ever before, yet Ford’s insights still ring true today. Whether you are leading a small sales team, managing a large sales department or are part of a group of sales professionals, your personal success is going to hinge on building an ambitious, motivated team that can work together towards a common objective.

Even where sales targets are met individually, they are meant to be assigned to all members of a team. A team that meets and exceeds its combined targets is far more valuable than one where only a few succeed and the rest fail.

Work together for sales and against the corrosive effects of disunity. Infighting or squabbles with other departments isn’t just bad for morale, it also leads to lost business. Here at Engage Selling, we once worked with a company that had lost a quarter of a million dollar account because the sales and the engineering teams didn’t trust each other enough to communicate properly.

That’s a tough loss for any company. Worse still, it’s entirely preventable.

Ensure your group keeps meeting and exceeding their sales targets. Implement the following five tips on creating a cohesive sales team.

Choose people whose team skills even the balance.  When hiring sales professionals, be sure to look for people who demonstrate more than just a healthy competitive streak. They need to show they have team-oriented skills, too. These are not contradictory qualities. All proven sales people have the motivation and the tools to succeed on their own, but the truly exceptional ones are able to help others on their team succeed as well.

Open the communication channels in-house. Ensure you are communicating cross-departmentally on a regular basis. Bring in your engineering teams, your implementation teams and your customer service teams so you can have meetings that inform each group about what the others are doing in the common pursuit of serving the customer.

Eliminate ambiguity. Within your sales team, ensure everyone is clear about the sales structure and about how they are being paid. Sales teams can quickly become dysfunctional when staff is expected to perform well while dealing with unanswered questions (e.g., “Is that my lead or yours?” and “Do I get paid for this service I’m providing?”). Fill in the gray areas. Create well-defined sales agreements and compensation agreements.

Don’t compete against your own team. If you are a sales leader, make sure you are not selling directly to the customer. Some of the most dysfunctional sales teams I have coached got that way because the sales leader was competing directly against his own sales team. Your job is not to sell directly. It’s to help each sales person close more business.

Celebrate success. Dysfunctional sales teams stay that way because all they hear is bad news or negative feedback. Granted, a sales person’s commission is a fine motivator on an individual level, but what I am talking about here is what you can do to show that money isn’t the only reward for hard work. Good sales professionals leave organizations when they feel they’re not being recognized. So celebrate big wins. Ensure that every team member feels like they are contributing. Ask for their opinions. Celebrate when a new hire wins a new customer. If customer service or engineering has also helped in that win, make sure you include them in the congratulations as well.

A happy, motivated sales team that knows how it is going to be paid and communicates throughout the organization is the team that’s going to help you meet and exceed your sales goals…year after year.

Copyright ©2012, Becky Wenner. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at

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Top 10 OSHA Violations in 2015

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Top 10 OSHA Violations in 2015

Posted on 18 July 2016 by cradmin

Safety-SignsWorking in a countertop fabrication shop can be dangerous if safety precautions are not followed. Many of the most hazardous situations are very specific to the industry, but employees may also become injured or killed by general hazards that are common in all types businesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) makes its data available to the public, and the latest release is for 2015.

In 2015, federal compliance officers conducted 35,820 inspections and state officers conducted 43,471 inspections, and following are the top 10 most frequently cited violations for the year:

  1. Fall protectionFalls are, by far, the most common type of accidents in the construction industry, accounting for nearly 40 percent of worker injuries in the construction industry. In most cases, citations can be avoided by simply keeping floors clean, dry and unobstructed, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for falls and training employees about known dangers.
  2. Hazard communication standard – The hazard communication standard (HCS) requires businesses to label and provide safety data sheets for all hazardous chemicals used while on the job. All employees who are exposed to these chemicals must also be appropriately trained to handle them.
  3. General scaffolding requirements – Approximately 50 people each year are killed in scaffolding accidents while on the job. Injuries often occur when the planks or supports are not used properly. It is also common for workers to slip and fall or be struck by fallen objects while on scaffolding.
  4. Respiratory protection – About 5 million workers in the U.S. are required to wear respirators while working in environments with insufficient oxygen or harmful substances are in the air. For most countertop fabricators, the respirators are primarily used to reduce exposure to silica dust.
  5. Control of hazardous energy – Hazardous energy can from a variety of sources, including electrical, mechanical, thermal, chemical and hydraulic and pneumatic. Injuries can easily occur when employees are cleaning or maintaining heavy machinery. Examples include burns while repairing steam valves, getting crushed by a faulty conveyer-belt system and getting shocked while working on electrical equipment. The most effective way to prevent or reduce these types of injuries is to implement an approved lockout/tagout (LOTO) practice.
  6. Powered industrial trucks – Powered industrial trucks, more commonly known as forklifts, present several dangers, such as overloading, collisions with objects or people and falling off loading docks or trucks. Specialized training is recommended for all workers operating forklifts.
  7. Ladders – While ladders are common household tools, but they can be extremely deadly when care is not taken and proper procedures are not followed.
  8. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment – Because electricity is so deadly, federal and state safety precautions are very strict, very specific and designed to prevent several types of injuries, including shock, fire and explosions.
  9. Machinery and machine guarding – Heavy machines with moving parts are responsible for a great many workplace injuries and deaths. While many of these machines cannot be tamed, they can be sufficiently guarded to lower risk.
  10. Electrical systems design – In addition to components, wiring methods and equipment, you entire electrical system design could be a hazard.

Fabrication shops of all types are inherently dangerous, but injuries can be prevented by following all health and safety regulations. Even though compliance usually carries a high upfront cost, the cost of paying your workers’ compensation premiums is even more costly. For further information on common workplace injuries, contact the nearest OSHA office, a trade organization such as the Natural Stone Institute or a private compliance consultation firm.

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