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Archive for August, 2014

What’s Your Teammate Customer Service Success Score?

The quality of any facility’s external customer service – including at hotels, resorts and convention centers – often parallels that of its internal customer service. How teammates care about and serve each other!

Being part of a team – a teammate – offers many exciting opportunities, and reaps many benefits. With me, it has always filled my work day with immeasurable meaning. It has added value much greater than awards, lists of accomplishments, or a big paycheck.

Being a teammate has added a higher purpose to working and to serving others.  It has instilled a sense of responsibility for the ability of my teammates to enjoy their work experience, too.

What quality teammate customer service tips here can help you and your team thrive? By the way, I gleaned some of these quality tips from quality comments made on other blogs. (Many thanks to everyone.)

  1. Be a teammate that is confident, trustworthy, and trusting.
  2. Commit to the team, and commit as a team member.
  3. Put others first: the team and everyone on the team.
  4. Volunteer your support, one person-to-another. Follow your instinct. You’ll know when a teammate needs a little boost, reassurance, a good word.
  5. Help out without being asked. Lend a hand, some braun, brainpower, etc.
  6. Encourage! Share! Motivate! Mentor! Teach! Coach!
  7. Make “How can I help?” a regular and open-ended offer to teammates.
  8. Cover each other’s backs. Let them know you’re there for them.
  9. Be someone that others can count on, especially to meet team goals.
  10. Help the team look good in the eyes of the leadership.
  11. Help each other to fit in and to join in. (The sales-type and shy-type have much to share.)
  12. Look for good in every teammate. Promote their strengths. Accept their imperfections.
  13. Give teammates the feeling they can be “themselves,” and don’t need to wear a “mask” to be accepted by them.
  14. Help teammates accept you for who you are, and function interdependently.
  15. Be genuine, authentic, natural.
  16. Admit when you need help, don’t know something, can’t do it on your own. (“We’re here for each other!”)
  17. Understand more; judge less.
  18. Do things to make their jobs easier. Be optimistic. Help others be the same.
  19. Compliment teammates to their faces.
  20. See a situation or problem from a teammate’s perspective. (That includes a leader.)
  21. Respect others’ positions, needs, limits, dedication, commitments, hard work, etc.
  22. Take ownership for at least your share of a team problem – departmental, organizational.
  23. Do your part to clear up any team problems.
  24. Open and invite dialogue in times of conflict, disagreement, misunderstanding, mistakes.
  25. Consider others when making a decision and performing tasks.

INCLUDE TEAMMATES in work-related ideas, plans, changes, projects, etc. – even if they would not be involved directly in them. (A great tip for leaders, too.)

  1. Include others in the process.
  2. Learn from, and alongside, your teammates. Benefit from what they know more about than you do. A strong team draws on each member’s uniqueness.
  3. Share what you know; help them succeed.
  4. Ask for others’ opinions, input, suggestions, feedback.
  5. Listen to what your teammates have to say. Make it easy for them to tell what’s on their minds. Look at them when they are speaking, and vice versa.
  6. Do what you say you will do, especially for other teammates. (This includes leaders.)

Long list? Yes! So, choose what relates to you, and your team. And, run with it. That’s what teammate-ing, teamwork, team membership is all about. In any organization, whether the membership totals two, twenty-two, or two hundred and two.

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Stay supportive. When you don’t know exactly how? ASK! Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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What to Carry on Your Painter’s Golf Cart

 golfcarts   In July, a painter with a four-star hotel and resort e-mailed me about his recently inherited golf cart. He’d just relocated from the East coast.

“Two questions: What are the must-haves, good-to-haves, etc. to carry on my cart? What should I carry to be ready for anything? With the larger property and greater flexibility and autonomy in this job comes more time management challenges.”

Golf carts are the standard mode of transportation and conveyance for hotel and other facilities’ painters, as well as engineering techs. They’re compact, and a real back saver and life saver.

They’re a necessity for (1) getting around the property fast, (2) responding promptly and efficiently to calls, (3) hauling materials, supplies and tools, (4) equipping oneself for completing scheduled and emergency tasks and projects, and, (5) performing those “other duties as needed.”

What things do you need to keep on your golf cart?                                     

1. The 24/7 basics

A. Products and materials: Joint compound mix, caulking, light-weight spackling, paint, texture patch, interior/exterior paint for touch-up work.

B. Supplies: No. 120 and No. 220 sandpaper, masking tape (3/8-inch, 1-inch, 1 ½-inch), masking paper, steel wool, “WET PAINT” signs, small bag of clean rags; dropcloths (clean), buckets.

C. Tools: Drywall pan, 6-inch knife, 10-inch knife, multi-sized screwdrivers, portable drill, drywall hand saw, caulking gun, assorted paint brushes and roller covers, utility knife, roller frame and screen, roller extension poles, wire brush, paint strainer.

D. Protective gear: Safety glasses, disposable bodysuits, gloves, rubber gloves, respirator, dust masks.

E. Disposal/garbage things: Plastic bags, rolls of paper towels.

2. Add: Painting-related work order essentials

A. Spray cans of fast drying primer (white, gray), latex caulking, joint compound

B. Small notebook

3. Add: Painting project essentials

A. Roll of plastic, garbage container, circulating fan, “CAUTION” Tape.

4. Add: Special painting and decorating project essentials

A. Sponges, cheese cloth, tack cloths, plastic wrap, masking tape

B. Glazing liquid, linseed oil, paint thinner, various faux finishing brushes

5. Add: Handy-to-have along items

A. Masking machine, heat gun, wallpaper steamer

B. Broom and dustpan, vacuum cleaner (portable, battery-operated)

6. Add: Engineering and maintenance tech basic supplies

A. Replacement parts for bathtub, sinks, electrical, light bulbs

B. Paint to touch up walls where necessary, caulking for tubs, sinks and counter-tops

C. Hammer, wrench, pliers, 2-4 clamps, sealant glue

D. Level, tape measure, picture hanging clips/fasteners

 7. Add: Containers, holders, etc. to keep things organized

A. Large portable tool container

B. Plastic tray (s) for small parts

Okay! What things should NOT be carried around on your work golf cart?

1.  Air compressor, pressure washer

2.  Anything that protrudes out from cart’s side or back, creating safety issue

3.  CAUTION: Hazardous materials should be removed from your cart as quickly as possible. Never leave them on the cart, when it is left unattended, or overnight.

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR GOLF CART CLEAN, AND LOOKING FINE!

1. Once a week

. Wash your golf cart and wipe dry with a clean, soft rag.

. Wipe down all other areas to keep them looking clean.

. Clean the windshield – as often as needed. Include windows, if cart is enclosed.

. Vacuum the floor, back areas, etc.

. Straighten out your supply and tool areas, while you’re at it.

. As a final touch, give the steering wheel and column, dashboard, etc. a good cleaning with a couple of disinfecting wipes.

2. Once a month, or more often

. Clean the seat upholstery. Spray on all-purpose auto upholstery product, or mixture of 1 part mild vinegar to 2-3 parts water. Wipe dry.

. Wipe down all surfaces.

3. Every six months

. Apply a coat of car/truck wax on metal surfaces. Buff out with soft rag/cloth.

. Apply a similar wax on plastic areas, such as the canopy.

A FEW GOLF CART SAFETY SUGGESTIONS…

1. Make sure the batteries are fully charged every day.

2. Check the tires for proper inflation at least once a week.

3. Always carry the ignition key with you. Never leave it in the cart.

4. Always park your loaded up cart as close as possible to your working area.

* CAUTION:  An unattended golf cart can be an “inviting enticement.”

CLOSING TIP:

What you carry on your cart depends a lot on your listed job description. Also, it depends on the other things that you may be responsible for handling. It depends on the size of the property. And, it depends on how much running you want to do – back and forth between your paint shop and the locations on your “to-do” list for the day or week.

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Enjoy your day!  Enjoy your life! And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Is There a Flaw in Your Wall? Part III: Repainting a Wall with Semi-Gloss or Gloss Paint

Recapping from Part II…

 For every type of finished surface you have in the area, there is a specific method of repair that you can follow if one of those surfaces has been damaged.

Generally, two types of repairs that can be made. The first method is the quick fix. It involves patchwork, with a little spackling or caulking. This method is suitable, if there is no real time to do the repair properly, or quality work  is not essential.

The second method of repairing a flaw in the wall involves cutting out the damaged portion of the wall or wood substrate, and replacing it with a new piece. To do this, one needs patience and a knowledge of patching methods where the surrounding surface is matched and blended to match the patched area. Having experience here will guarantee a detailed, and qualitative,  repair job. Remember: It should look like no repair was ever made.

Moving on…

Repairing a wall painted with semi-gloss or gloss paint.

One of the most difficult repairs to complete satisfactorily relates to a wall where the surface has been painted with semi-gloss or gloss paint. Have you ever seen a wall where something under the paint is magnified and stands out for all to see?  

You think,” What an eye sore.” And, you wish that you could do something about it. Usually, you don’t do anything. Common sense says “Good luck with that.” “I have no idea where to start.”

The hardest thing to do is to try and match the surrounding surface texture even if it appears to be smooth. Generally, if the surrounding area has a slightly stippled surface, the surface of your repair needs to match that as closely as possible. Then the sheen of the paint will blend in.

 Here are the steps to follow in this procedure:

    1. Begin by sanding smooth the damaged are, a using #220 or #400 sandpaper.

    2. Use a dry mix joint compound to patch the area. Wait for it to harden. You may have to make a couple of applications to complete this step.

    3. Sand in sequence in the area, with #220 and #400 sandpaper, until smooth and feather edged with surrounding wall.

    4. Apply an oil-based or latex primer with a small roller cover, 3/16or 3/8.” Make sure the paint is applied evenly over the repaired area.

    5. When dry, sand with #220 or #400 sandpaper depending on how the roller stipple dried. The patched area may have a slight difference from the surrounding wall.

    6. Now, take the #400 sandpaper and lightly sand an area which is at least twice the area of the original repair. This helps reduce the amount of flash from the difference in paint sheen.

    7. You can now apply the finish coat by using the same sized roller cover you used when priming. This time, roll the paint out past the point where you stopped sanding. Make sure the paint is rolled out thinly along the edges. This will aid in the blending process.

   8. Multiple finish coats may be need to be applied.

If everything has gone successfully and the area is now fully dry, you should be able to judge for yourself how the procedure worked. There’s a good chance that it has.

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Thanks for stopping by. Succeed at whatever you paint!

Is There a Flaw in Your Wall? Part II: How to Repair a Wall Damaged by Furniture.

Recapping from Part I…

Some wall imperfections can, and often do, occur when we are mounting pictures on the wall or moving furniture. It’s unavoidable if there is a lot of work to be done, and the walls and woodwork are completed.

Let it be known: For every type of finished surface you have in the area, there is a specific method of repair that you can follow if one of those surfaces has been damaged.

Generally, two types of repairs can be made. The first method is the quick fix. It involves patchwork, with a little spackling or caulking. This method is suitable, if there is no real time to do the repair properly, or quality work  is not essential.

The second method of repairing a flaw in the wall involves cutting out the damaged portion of the wall or wood substrate, and replacing it with a new piece. To do this, one needs patience and a knowledge of patching methods where the surrounding surface is matched and blended to match the patched area. Having experience here will guarantee a detailed, and qualitative,  repair job. Remember: It should look like no repair was ever made.

MOVING ON…

Repairing a wall damaged by a piece of furniture.

It involves making a repair to a wall where a piece of furniture was bumped against the wall, causing a minor dent in the wall finished with a custom Venetian plaster. In this procedure, the main concern becomes matching the custom plaster, once this type of repair is made.

   1.  First, sand the area around the indentation until it is perfectly flat. Use #120 sandpaper.

   2.  Mix a small amount of fast curing powdered joint compound (not the premixed spackle.)  Using a putty knife, fill the dented area so the compound rises slightly above the

   3. When dry, lightly sand the area so it blends, and is flush with the surrounding area. If there are ridges or texture, try to blend into it. You may have to use the edge of a drywall tool or rougher abrasive. Detailed workmanship is needed here. This is where your creative ability comes in.

  4. Applying a touch up using Venetian plaster can be done with a putty knife and a brush. Experiment a little. See how it looks, then wash it off. Keep trying until the desired effect is

You may have to apply a basecoat touch up, and let that dry. Follow up with an overlapping touch up of plaster color. If it’s still not quite right, wash it off and try again.

Added tip: When the damaged area is larger, you may have to use a trowel.

Success comes, of course, when you can no longer see the dent in the wall.  And, your plaster touch up is flawless. When done correctly, you should not be able to locate the damaged area at all. The Venetian colors and overlap of the textures aid you in this process.

Recapping “Final note:” It is important to remember that knowing how to repair a minor flaw in a wall is exceeded only by one’s ability to follow the procedures in order to guarantee, hopefully, the best results.

You can learn by making the repair yourself. If you have a professional do the repair, you will  learn virtually nothing at all. Of course, if you are a professional in a field other than painting, leave wall repair to someone else. It may your only reasonable choice.

Read: Part III: Repairing a Wall Painted with Semi-Gloss or Gloss Paint.

Is There a Flaw in Your Wall? Part I: How to Repair Wallpaper

When you walk into a room furnished with a beautiful decor, the last thing you want to see is a dent, or a scratch in a finely finished wall. Especially at eye level.

Some of these imperfections can, and often do, occur when we are mounting pictures on the wall or moving furniture. It’s unavoidable if there is a lot of work to be done, and the walls and woodwork are completed.

Let it be known: For every type of finished surface you have in the area, there is a specific method of repair that you can follow if one of those surfaces has been damaged.

Generally, two types of repairs can be made. The first method is the quick fix. It involves patchwork, with a little spackling or caulking. This method is suitable, if there is no real  time to do the repair properly, or quality work is not essential.

The second method of repairing a flaw in the wall involves cutting out the damaged portion of the wall or wood substrate, and replacing it with a new piece. To do this, one needs patience and a knowledge of patching methods where the surrounding surface is matched and blended to match the patched area. Having experience here will guarantee a detailed, and qualitative,  repair job. Remember: It should look like no repair was ever made.

EXAMPLE: Repairing a wallpaper sheet with a 4-inch long scratch.

On a wall in your dining room, there is a 4” long scratch across the surface of a sheet of wall paper. What do you do, besides look at it for days because you don’t know how to fix it? If you call a professional paper hanger, and you have some paper in reserve, he will repair it without blemish or any reminder that it was ever there. However, his time for such a specialized repair might cost you more than you bargained for.

With patience, you can do it yourself. You will need the following basic tools: two or more double-edged razor blades, a metal straight edge for trimming, a drywall or putty knife,  adhesive for attaching a new piece of wallpaper, and a wallpaper seam roller. Add a sturdy, even cutting surface – eg. a portable or old table.

The following steps are recommended to complete this repair:

   1. Remove the existing piece of wallpaper by cutting around the damaged area. Allow for a piece large enough that it can be pasted, will adhere suitably, and can be trimmed properly.

   2. Cut a replacement piece so it will align evenly, or match any pattern on the existing sheet.

   3. Apply paste to both the replacement piece and the wall area. Overlap the wallpaper piece on top of the cut out section. Make sure it is adjusted properly.

   4. Take a drywall taping knife or suitable straight edge, and smooth down the piece of wallpaper. Make certain to remove all bubbles and paste lumps.

   5. Using a straight edge and razor knife, make perpendicular cuts in the wallpaper through the area, where the overlap occurs between the existing paper and the piece you just replaced. The key:  Make sure you apply enough pressure on the razor knife to make a very “clean cut” through both layers of wall paper. No ragged, jagged, or frayed edges.

   6. Once completed, pull back the corners of the top piece of wallpaper. Remove the cut sections underneath the top layer.

   7. When all of the pieces are removed, you can begin to lay, or align, the two layers together, where the seam has been produced by your cuts with the razor knife.

   8. To complete the repair, use a drywall or putty knife to bring the seam together tightly. Then use a wallpaper seam roller to level out and draw the seam very close.

If you follow these recommended steps, your repair should be successful.  Possibly, you will have saved a few dollars for popcorn and soda at the movies.

Final note: It is important to remember that knowing how to repair a minor flaw in a wall is exceeded only by one’s ability to follow the procedures in order to guarantee, hopefully, the best results.

You can learn by making the repair yourself. If you have a professional do the repair, you will  learn virtually nothing at all. Of course, if you are a professional in a field other than painting, leave wall repair to someone else. It may your only reasonable choice.

Read: Part II: Repairing a wall damaged by a piece of furniture.

What Do You Do With a Hotel Full of Marooned Guests and Staff in a Hurricane?

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, have a way of bringing everything in an 80 percent occupied hotel to a life-changing halt. Disrupting schedules, and lowering moods in the process.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast on October 29, 2012, one hotel’s painter and engineering techs stepped up to the plate. Here’s a version of their story. . .

Torrential rain engulfed the hotel. Sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, with gusts of 100 miles per hour, whipped and slashed at the triple-thick windows and barricaded doors. Three hundred eighty-two guests and sixty-seven staff huddled together in a large meeting room, located in the middle of the conference center.

As everyone waited out the Category One hurricane, a man in “painter’s whites” appeared. He wore a pair of protective goggles on his eyes. And, he carried two, white five gallon paint buckets. Stuffed into each were brushes, rollers, sandpaper and sanding blocks, filled caulking guns, screw drivers, hammers, etc.

“We’re taking reservations,” he announced cheerfully, “for our first hurricane repair and repaint workshop. It’s free, and includes refreshments. It starts in fifteen minutes in the Lighthouse Room (not real name). First door to your right.” The man shook a few hands, then exited the room.

Out of nowhere, a second man appeared, wearing a chef’s white hat and coat.. His face was smeared with white whipped cream. A tomato was stuck onto the tip of his nose. The crowd roared!

He carried two more plastic five gallon paint buckets. One was filled with kernels of un-popped corn. The other held packages of Styrofoam cups.

“Follow me, please,” he called, pointing to an open door nearby.

Four “elves” filed behind him. Each pushed a large serving cart. One was loaded with a popcorn machine, baskets full of wrapped candy, and bags of small plastic cups. Another cart carried gallon containers of tea and fruity beverages. A third carried boxes of games, decks of cards, Crayolas and washable markers, packages of copy paper, stacks of activity books, etc. The fourth cart carried books, magazines, boxes of hotel logo pens, boxes of note pads, envelopes, etc.

Every guest followed the two men in “whites” and the “elves” to the adjoining meeting room.

Some adults participated in the workshops. Some played cards and board games. Some gathered in smaller clusters, read books and magazines, and wrote letters.

Others helped entertain the children. They played games with them. They colored, cut, stickered, and worked puzzles in activity books. They got down on the floor and played blocks, cars, dinosaur, and “dolls” with younger children. They held “story time” with tots. A few took over “baby care” duties from newer parents.

Some helped pop the corn, and serve it in the Styrofoam cups. Some poured and served the beverages. A few others passed around the baskets of candy, and snack foods.

What could have been an even worse crisis was averted. What could have been a very fearful, traumatic event for a large group of confined adults and children was turned into a bearable experience. An adventure!

Hotel staffs, like airplane flight and cruise ship crews, are trained to serve and to protect guests in every type of situation. Some team members tend to respond – instinctively – in crisis situations with phenomenal speed, skill, tact, creativity, and empathy.

How would your hotel occupy hundreds of stranded adults and children of all ages?

The World of Orchids and Hotel GM William and Wife

William (not real name) served as general manager of the Contemporary Hotel within Walt Disney World in Florida. He and his wife grew hybrid orchids (orchidaceae). Periodically, they hung some, with special hooks, from the limbs of the only shade tree in their back yard.

From my mother’s Cracker House two doors down the street, I’d gaze at the couple’s beautiful orchids. Each flower so thin and delicate, like fine parchment. Its petals painted in graduated hues of pastel blues, purples, pinks, yellows, crèmes, whites. Some petals edged in a sharply-contrasted primary or secondary color, such as cranberry red.

I learned how orchids, like so many floral genus, are to be admired and displayed. Some look best as a hanging plant. Any of the tall, long stemmed genus make an impressive presentation in a tall, fluted crystal vase. The fuller clustered variety looks elegant in a wrist or shoulder corsage.

 William and I spoke little to each other between 1995 and 1998. We said or waved “hello” on the mornings that we left for work at the same time. From time to time, he asked for product advice related to painting specific exterior or interior areas of his home.

One thing was clear to each of us about the other: Respectively, we loved our work, and were very good at it.

Our mutual love of nature was apparent, too. Our shared interest in horticulture was referred to periodically. Our knowledge of ornithology – particularly, orchidology – was not. And, we never mentioned that orchids grew in each of our family trees.

I did know that the father of William’s wife lived on the East coast, and that he was recognized for his hybrid orchids. Breeding and cross-breeding them. Clearly, William’s wife possessed a keen understanding of the plant species. Its sensitive nature, its intricate relationship with the soil, and its precise requirements for planting, propagating, growing, and harvesting.

My exposure to orchids had been minimal. A sister, mother, aunts, grandmothers, etc. had only worn them. In corsages. For school proms, commencements, weddings, and anniversaries. No one in my immediate family had grown orchids. Or so I thought.

Credit: reichenbachiasmall.jpg. uflib.ufl.edu

ENTER: Heinrich Gottlieb Ludwig Reichenbach (1783-1879) and Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach (1823-1889). Over ten years after William and his wife sold their starter home, and moved the family onto a property with plenty of growing room.

Heinrich Gottlieb was a botanist, eminent ornithologist and orchid specialist. The author and illustrator of over fifteen botanical works, he had three orchids named after him.

Heinrich Gustav was an ornithologist, botanist and orchidologist, who specialized in the pollen of orchids. The world’s leading authority on orchids, he identified specimens from around the world, and recorded them in his “copious notes and drawings.”

By the genealogical “complacency” of my youth, I missed the opportunity to show William and his wife copies of the Reichenbach ornithology and orchidology works in my grandfather’s library. I missed the opportunity, at a later date, to present them with one of those books. As a special gift.

For certain, William and his family would have enjoyed reading and referring to Heinrich Gottlieb and Henrich Gustav’s notes. They would have enjoyed every opportunity to examine the many detailed drawings of the plants. They would have appreciated owning even a small part of that rare collection of ornithology works.

Postscript: It should be noted that Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach became the center of immense conflict. According to the terms of his peculiar will, Reichenbach’s entire herbarium was bequeathed to Vienna, vs. Kew, to be locked away for twenty-five years.not Kew. If Vienna did not abide by the request, the costly collection would pass on to Harvard, or finally to the Jardin des Pantes.

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