“It might seem a little hokey to someone else,” says Dave Paxton of Paxton Countertops in Grand Ledge, Michigan, “but I keep a bunch of $5 Subway cards in my desk. When somebody does something different or something good, I give them the gift card and say, ‘Thanks. Have lunch on me today.’”
Paxton explains it’s not the size of the gift that is important, it’s about showing appreciation to the people who make your business successful. And it’s not just his employees Paxton wants to recognize – he takes more of a world view when it comes to the impact other people have on his business.
“I don’t think it is in basic human nature for people to show appreciation to others,” he says. “What we are trying to do here is build a team, and we realize there are many layers that make up that team. The manufactures, the distributors, the bank, the people who work on your vehicles – they all have an impact.”
Paxton Countertops fabricates and installs laminate, solid surface, quartz and natural stone countertops for residential and commercial customers in Central Michigan. The company also fabricates specialty shower pans and accessories for the trade, which are shipped all over the country. In November 2013, Dave Paxton was named president of the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA), a post he will hold for one year.
Team Building Through Appreciation
Recently, Paxton sent letters to each of his company’s key vendors. They were printed on nice stationery and went to the bosses of his local reps. Each letter mentioned specific things that the vendor company does to provide a great product and/or service. Some of the letters also contained a line or two about areas that could use some improvement.
“It’s funny,” Paxton says. “Since those letters went out we are receiving a lot more attention from our vendors. That is important because these are the key brands upon which we are building our company.”
Put A Smile On Their Faces
Weekly production meetings, while promoting communication and team-building, can sometimes leave employees feeling stressed and under-appreciated. Paxton now ends every employee meeting by turning to the person to his left and saying two good things about him/her. That person then must say two good things about his/her neighbor. The process continues around the room until everyone has had a chance to say two good things about someone else.
“At the beginning of the meeting everyone is in a bad mood,” Paxton says. “By the time we go around the room they all have smiles on their faces. Whether they believe what someone says about them or not, it makes them feel good to hear positive things about themselves. People are so used to not hearing that. And now they are ready to go out and be in front of customers.”
Paxton says he believes showing appreciation to others makes a positive impact on his operation. “I don’t have anything to measure it with, but I think it makes a difference,” he says. “We do that at every meeting. It is the very last thing we do.”
Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. CounterGo is countertop drawing, layout, and estimating software. JobTracker is scheduling software that helps you eliminate the time you waste looking for job folders. RemnantSwap is a free place to buy and sell granite remnants with fabricators near you.