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Posts tagged ‘teamwork’

Painting Methods: Adapting FOR the Environment

It is easy to paint, when the environmental conditions are optimal. The sun is out, and the air is dry and moderately cool.


On many occasions, painting must be done in less than suitable conditions. It may be overcast, humid, or confined.


Some of it is a matter of choice. Also, the pressure to get the job done promptly.


The ability to adapt to environmental changes and conditions allows a painter much greater flexibility, that he or she might not see in set conditions.



  1. When work is to be done outdoors, and whenever possible, select days that allow for the paint to dry properly, and you to work efficiently. Example: I’ve worked under humid conditions before only to see the paint run off the walls. The employer ignored recommendations to wait till conditions had improved.
  2. It is possible to enhance your working environment. Wear a hat when working in the sun. When working indoors, use a portable fan or air conditioner to improve air circulation. Some conditions, coupled with certain products, require the use of an organic vapor respirator, or a self-sustaining breathing apparatus. TIP: The driest possible air is essential for painting. At times, it is not possible.
  3. Minimize or adapt to toxic exposure by wearing protective head-to-toe clothing, gloves and safety goggles. Also, use a organic vapor respirator/fresh air supply system. Limit skin and breathing/respiratory exposure. Especially, chemicals, industrial solvents, and mold and mildew.
  4. Provide adequate ventilation, when working with chemicals. Even latex paints can cause breathing problems, and oxygen levels in the blood to decrease.


Working conditions can be altered in such a way as to not affect the quality or productivity of your work.

Take some time, forethought, and planning to improve where you work. And, to maximize the safety and health conditions in that work environment. On a daily basis.


Everyone in a painter’s work space plays a role in the health and safety of that environment.


Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s View: How to find something to like about every teammate, and project

Ground rule: Expect, demand and require nothing more from someone else than you would ask of yourself.





1. Put yourself in his or her shoes. What do you know the person values highly about himself or herself?


2. What does he or she know more about that you need to learn? Example: how to use Windows 10.


3. When your back needs to be covered in a specific way, who would know what to do? Example: Yesterday, you needed to leave work early because of a family emergency. Maintenance tech Joe finished repainting the guest room walls, then cleaned up the area and tools.


4. When double trouble hits the department on an already busy day, w ho tends to lend a hand in a hurry, though he or she is busy, too? Example: A main water pipe bursts. HVAC pro Rick drops everything to help take care of the problem.


5.Those passes in the corridor, on a sidewalk, or in the front offices are for a purpose. Take a minute. What resource can you tap from that person? Example: Kyle orders supplies form Lowes. He may know the current price of drywall sheets.


6. Discover what part of his or her job is liked the most. Then ask why.


7. What else is he or she very good at, that has nothing to do with the job description? Example: Front desk clerk Mario plans fundraising dinners for his 850 member church. Could he help out when the hotel’s event planner is swamped?


8. Who comes to work excited, and knows he or she is making even a little difference in the world?


9. Who makes mistakes freely and fearlessly, and does not apologize for them, but concentrates on getting things done anyway?


10. What is one of his or her favorite off-the-job interests? Do you enjoy the same thing? Or, are you at least curious about it?





1. What new product will you get to use? What special skill will you be applying that you’ve always wanted to use on the property? Example: To save money, your engineer and you will patch, then recoat the roofs, using a newer system you’ve wanted to learn.


2. What high-traffic area needs complete resurfacing pronto? And your bosses are counting on you to handle it right. Example: Suddenly, the paint starts to chip and curl off of the pool area’s gazebo floor. The hotel’s at full occupancy. Put your concrete coating experience to the test. Get that guest amenity up and running with minimal down time.



Sometimes to see a change for the better, you have to take things

into your own hands.   Clint Eastwood



Thank you, teammates of the world, that do your jobs right, and cover each other’s backs.


And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Stress Management in Poorly Managed High-Stress Environments

Managing your own stress is very doable. You concentrate on your own job, how you do it – and how you relate to teammates. While you’re doing your job.


Some workers, including painters, switch their priorities: people first, and their job second.


Whichever works for you, stress-wise, is fine. Hopefully, it will be fine with management, too.

As long as you get your job done right.


Tips to manage your own stress


1. Identify what is stressing you out at work.


2. Decide which stressors you can control. Which stressors do others control?


3. Create a flexible plan for changing those controllable stressors.


Example: Tense workday start? Get to work ten minutes early. Relax before going into gear.

Example: Headache, tense muscles? Walk whenever possible. It relaxes your muscles and brain, and improves your outlook. Note: So what if you need to wear your tool belt, and/or pull along a small supply cart.

Example: Isolation of job? Say “hello” or acknowledge teammates that you run into during the day. You do not need to stop and visit. They have their own jobs and time schedules to keep.

Example: Out-of-loop supervision? Allow 15 minutes a day to catch up with your supervisor. Separate from the time spent working together on a project or order.

Example: “Self-sufficiency syndrome”? Ask for or accept a little teammate help, at least once a week. It helps both of you feel like you belong.

Example: Teammate support? Offer to help a teammate out, at least twice a week. It helps both of you to feel needed.


4. Create an open plan for approaching stressors that are out of your control.


Example: Slow delivery of essential supplies? Let the purchasing manager know why you need certain supplies A.S.A.P. Eg, No-Traffic Zone paint; pool skirt tile grout and sealer.

Example: Frequent toxic mold exposures daily? Offer supervisor and housekeeping a clean-up schedule, that, respectfully, limits your daily heavy exposure to once a day.

Example: Manager criticism? Ask for a 10-15 minute appointment to discuss privately. Quietly and politely, decline and walk away from any public confrontation. It can be done.

Example: Manager and supervisor disagreement over your task? Suggest a three-way break time chat. First, listen to each of them express concerns and ideas for resolving. Then, offer a compromise, or your solution(s), if still relevant.


Your work stress can be managed simply and promptly. Whether its causes or triggers start with you – or someone or something outside of your control. The real choice is always yours!


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Decide to be wise. Develop common sense and good judgment. And, be kind.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”  Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.





Painting with Flexibility. Part 1: If you have this trait, consider yourself blessed!

When my mother tripped recently, she dropped to her knees. Literally. Fracturing the left one.


Instantly, she kicked into a different mode. She changed her plans for the rest of the day. She altered her schedule for the unforeseen future. Putting a hold on whatever couldn’t be handled from her loveseat, desk chair, or bed. Then, she set up her “spaces” to tackle other projects. Her modes operandi: one minute-at-a-time. Flexibility-in-action!


A hotel/facility painter must be very flexible. Every day. Ready to change course. Ready to identify and use a better method, product, and/or tool. Ready to follow a different order, from a different boss.


I lucked out in that trait. Somewhere, in my genetic pool, formed the ability to “turn-on-a-dime.” A remarkable skill that my grandfather taught his driving school students to do. Literally! To turn a car’s tire on a dime, placed on the pavement underneath.


Flexibility is one trait that goes much deeper than a skill. At least in some painters’ lives. In a way, it boils down to an acceptance of what is, and whatever will come along next. Or, instead. It’s all sort of philosophical. Aristotle talk.


By the way, flexibility cannot be learned that easily.


* Yes, if you’re the “impatient” type. You can learn to take a few deep breaths, and slow down your jerky reaction to whatever comes along.

* Yes, if you’re the “stuck-to-it” type. You can be ordered or pushed to use a better method, product or tool. By a boss, foreman, apprenticeship instructor, etc.

* Yes, if you’re the “self-security-deficient” type. You can find an astute, understanding mentor to take you under wing. And, gradually, teach you to feel secure enough that you make a little change, here or there, in your own modes operandi.


Changing your inflexibility trait into a flexibility trait can be a hard sell to your genes.


It’s worth the effort. During my mother’s “functional brace” phase, I’ve seen how high flexibility can empower a person. And, how powerful flexibility can become.


Just think about it!


* Able to change plans without notice.

* Able to adapt with little or no prep time.

* Able to rethink, refocus, redirect.

* Able to self-motivate and self-charge.

* Able to try new ways to do old tasks.

* Able to draw on old strengths and channel in new directions.

* Able to work with, and around, temporary setbacks, handicaps, and glitches.

* Able to team up weaknesses and strengths to get necessary tasks done.

* Able to collaborate under stress, and duress.

* Able to seek advice and help with a “will-do” spirit.


Two-and-a-half weeks after getting outfitted with the “functional brace”– and getting the doctor’s orders, my mother hit the pavement. Coming up with flexible strategies to (1) protect her healing patella, and (2) get moving more. And, a lot better.


See “Painting with Flexibility – Part II: If that didn’t work, try this:”


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“It’s called flexibility; if we’re blessed, we learn it easily…” Philip Gulley

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Thank you, Central Florida painters, for the info. I owe you one.

And, thanks to everyone for visiting “Painting with Bob.” You’re all great!

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

How Teamwork Cut a Hotel’s Expenses by over $120,000

The hotel management explained, versus announced, to all staff the “need” to cut expenses “across the board,” as much as $120,000.


To kick off the effort, all managers – salaried staff – volunteered to take a 10 percent reduction in salary. “To start.” In addition, they agreed to pay 50 to 100 percent of certain expenses “out-of-pocket,” and non-reimbursable later by the hotel business.


Examples: Vehicle gas for local driving, association membership dues, event registrations and meals, and business entertainment.


They opted to fly 100 percent coach seats for all hotel-related business travel. Also, they gave up their vacation and bonus packages for one full year.


Then, the entire staff got accountable, and very creative.


1. Each department set a goal to reduce its budget by $10,000.


2. Management and all department directors and supervisors agreed, committed to, and announced: “No staff member would be let go.”


3. Then, the staff members in each department voted themselves pay cuts: 50 cents an hour for part-time employees; $1.00 an hour for full-time. Like the management they gave up their vacation pay for one full year. (A big sacrifice for employees with families.)


4. Each staff member assumed responsibility for reducing his or her supplies budget by at least 10 percent. The supplies had to relate specifically to his or her job description. Also, management’s productivity expectations for staff members was set in proportion to the reduction in supplies and materials available for them to do their work.


Examples: Painter. The “paint shop” expense reduction goal: 25 percent.

A. Less expensive paint would be ordered and used for low traffic and less visible areas.

B. Used rags still in good condition would be soaked, laundered and reused.

C. Worn, essential brushes would be replaced with mid-brand products – eg. Linzer, Branford, Arro Worthy, Merrit, Bestt Liebco, Proform. Worn, rarely used brushes would be replaced on an as needed basis during the tight budget year.

       Note: Read “Paint with Budget Cuts: Your Paint Shop Brushes,” posted March 07, 2015.


Examples: Maintenance techs. Maintenance shop” expense reduction goal: 15 percent.

A. All recyclable parts, from no-longer usable air conditioners, would be removed, cleaned, catalogued, and stored for making future repairs.

B. Parts, which were tarnished or mildly corroded, were cleaned instead of replaced.

C. Some parts were painted and reused, until replacement parts could be budgeted.


5. Each department group launched a “team support” program.

A. Whenever possible, team members shared rides to and from work.

B. Staff that were parents, especially of younger children, created a plan to save each other babysitter and transportation costs.


6. A related “Share My Ride” program was implemented interdepartmentally.

Example: Keisha, a housekeeping supervisor, picked up and dropped off PBX operator Elsa at her apartment complex’s front entrance, on days that both worked the same shift.


7. Departments shared supplies, tools and equipment whenever and wherever possible. This practice reduced overall purchasing expenses by 15 to over 20 percent with some essential items.


8. Monthly, each department hosted its own “carry-in” lunch. During every shift.


9. The hotel kitchen sent no good food to the dumpster. Especially leftovers or over-cooking from guest/conference banquets, dinners, buffets, etc.

A. The leftover food was made available to all staff members at meal and break times.

B. Depending on the quantity of leftover food, staff could pack “doggie boxes” to take home at the end of their shift.


The hotel management incurred no major problem – and no resistance – from any department or any staff member in meeting the budget cut needs.


Everyone pulled together to make it all happen. They protected their own jobs and livelihoods by helping to protect each other’s jobs.


They focused on need. They prioritized. They got very creative.


Two Engineering Department examples:


  1. A maintenance tech attended a technical college two evenings a week. To catch his connecting bus, he had to clock out one hour earlier those afternoons. A coworker passed the college on his way home each day. So, he offered the tech a ride to the college’s front entrance. The tech was able to work his full eight-hour shift, and could afford to pay a few dollars to the coworker for the rides each week.


  1. The painter generated free supplies from construction supply and paint stores where he did business. Also, he tapped the superintendents of several large commercial contractors that he knew. In kind, he arranged for the store managers to be able to (1) test out a few new product and equipment lines at the hotel and (2) videotape the new products being used. The construction superintendents received comp stays for their families at the hotel.


Hotel budget cuts provide a great opportunity for teamwork in action. At its best! And, at every level: organizationally, interdepartmentally, departmentally.


It invites tremendous creativity, collaboration and cooperation on a small-to-large scale. Most important, at a particularly stressful time, team-driven hotel budget cuts bring people together.


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An early “HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY” to all ye Irish lads and lassies.

A special “Hello” to everyone in the Chicago area.


Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Both Experienced Engineers: Right Men for the Job

During my “hotel painter” career, I’ve had the good fortune to work under two very knowledgeable, highly-skilled directors of engineering. Men who thought clearly, problem-solved promptly and effectively, and managed their teams professionally.

“T” leaned toward the corporate-delegative management style. “B” represented the hands-on, we-can-do-it-ourselves management style.

Here’s my capsule view of what made each man the right person for the job. . .

“T” took a pro-active, organized approach. He managed the engineering department, and met the engineering operations and maintenance needs of every system and department, based on a well-conceived plan. Aimed at maximizing positive results.

He anticipated, then addressed predictive, preventive and emergency situations and problems. He assessed, planned, scheduled, and executed every project according to strict time, budget and manpower parameters. And, he applied a projectile for minimizing the potential for avoidable, repeat shut-downs and break-downs of facilities, systems, equipment, machinery, etc.

Strategically, he delegated responsibility for completion of any given project to whichever group – internal or external – that could provide the best, most cost-containing results.

Actively, he maintained a huge network, across trade and industry lines. One that enabled him to access whatever resources he and his department needed to handle any challenge.

He ran a tight ship. He expected close adherence to company policies, departmental procedures, time and budget limits, and job requirements.

From each person on the team, “T” expected loyalty, courtesy, honesty, and accountability. And, he returned the same in kind. He kept everyone in the loop. Also, he kept his team members informed of managerial and company changes, decisions and activities. Especially, those that affected them, and their – our – engineering department.

He promoted teamwork, and maximized the chance for individual and team success. He invited suggestions and input. He encouraged open dialogue. And, in all areas, he stressed manpower, resource, environmental, and cost conservation.

“B” took a more basic approach, which allowed ample room for flexibility, thinking-on-his-feet, and a very quick response. He was a master at troubleshooting and problem-solving.

He knew, instinctively, how to operate the hotel’s engineering department, and every engineering operating and maintenance system on the property, on a bone-dry budget. With “0” time allotment. He was a master at recycling: parts, supplies, and equipment. He was a master at “making due” with what he had.

He knew what management expected, and with what they’d be satisfied. He knew what guests wanted and needed, and what they would not accept.

He knew what every man under him was capable of doing. He pushed each one to his limit: physically, intellectually, creatively, etc. He let each man do his job. He knew what each needed to do it. And, he tried to see that those needs were supplied.

He required high energy, immense flexibility, loyalty, a common sense approach, and a total commitment. He expected, and got, total teamwork and complete cooperation from every man.That included assisting him, sometimes on very short notice, to handle whatever emergency situation arose. That included switching tasks or projects without notice.

One thing, in particular, won “B” high marks from his men. He led by example, never asking any worker to do what he was not willing to do himself. Dig a WI-FI trench; work five hours on a 100 plus degree, sun-exposed rooftop to replace a kitchen fan system; spray toxic bed bug chemical treatments. He was totally unafraid to get in the trenches with his men. Literally!

Recently, a relative asked if I’d work again under either man when given the chance. “Yes,” I answered. Good bosses deserve that kind of a following. And, good employees deserve those kinds of good bosses, too.

Clearly, both “T” and “B” earned my utmost respect, loyalty and cooperation. Each man stretched my skills and abilities. Each challenged my stamina and endurance. Each supported my strong work ethic; high production-and-detail-oriented style; project scheduling and prioritizing system; and, need for new opportunities, new ways to serve. And, each defended my value to the department.

Both treated me as a craftsman, and an important contributor to the organization. Both  taught me about running an engineering department under very tight budget, time, inventory, and manpower constraints. Both taught me how to help keep a hotel’s engineering operations and maintenance systems running, moving, humming, clicking, and breathing as efficiently and effectively as possible.

And, both showed me, by example, how to still walk out smiling, at the end of the day!

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy your day, and everyone with whom you come in contact.

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