October 27, 2015

You Just Know, Deep Down in Your Heart: This Blog Has to be About the METS Winning the World Series

By Paul Bieber

In my home office, which is about 90 square feet, I have about 1,000 different baseball treasures, including more than 300 signed or special baseballs, pictures, memorabilia and such. About 50 percent of these are related to the NY METS.

Yes, these are my boys. In 2004, I threw out the first pitch at a ballgame on a Sunday afternoon in front of 40,000 people. I threw a strike; my son called it a ball. I took 50 of my closest friends to the game, and they all called it a strike… I think that is because I bought their beer.

Why is this important in a blog about the glass industry? Read on, dear reader, and you will see how this year’s World Series winner, The NY METS, have a program that you can use in your business.

It is all about people. In baseball as well as your business. Sandy Alderson became the general manager of the METS five years ago. He said it would take four or five years to shape a winning team. He had a hundred million dollars in payroll with players who were either  way past their prime, or couldn’t hit a baseball more than 60 feet on a good day. It is now five years later, and you know who is going to win the World Series? (HINT: The METS)

Sandy replaced the weaker players by bringing in good players from our own minor league system, made a few good trades and here we are.

What about you? You can build your business by having good players. You need to train your workers, invest in them just as you would a new truck or a piece of equipment. There is no perfect glass installer or estimator. But you can improve every person on your team by teaching them what the company needs. Saying it once doesn’t work. Constant education and coaching. What is enough? To me, it is 5 percent of an employee’s time, or two hours a week. Maybe it is sending a foreman to a one-day seminar? Maybe it is taking your customer service team to your prime vendor for a day of education? Call one of the float companies and have them bring in a technical person to teach about the new low-E products. Call your aluminum vendor and get a couple of hours on installation techniques or new profiles.

This is all free to you. I guarantee that your vendors will be glad to do it at your company, on your schedule. Your only cost is the pizza for lunch. If you make the training mandatory, your folks are then on the clock. If you make it voluntary then you don’t have to pay their wage, but more importantly you will not get the training your team needs.

If a player on your team can’t cut it, then he or she has to go. If you have a couple of hundred employees, you can carry someone as a pinch-hitter. But the average glass shop can’t do that. You have to make tough decisions, that’s your job. And a lot of people tell me that there is a shortage of good workers now. So what? Go out and find one or two great ones. Walk around job sites and see a carpenter who is industrious and does good work. See a tin knocker who cares about safety. Ask them what they think about joining the glass industry. Your own experience will take you to the better workers. Don’t limit your field of view. A window installer may make a great glass guy. A customer service person at your local car dealership can be a great person in your office.

You CAN teach people about glass. You can’t teach work ethics or good manners. I would gladly hire a good person and teach them glass than hire a glass guy who is a slob.

Now, for the most important part of this blog: one of our own bloggers on USGNN.com™, Chuck Knickerbocker, who happens to live in Kansas City and is a huge Royals fan, has challenged me to a bet on the Series. I accepted. The loser will make a contribution to a charity selected by the winner. I do feel guilty about taking Chuck’s money, so if you use Technical Glass Products in the K.C. area,  please, please, please give Chuck some good orders. 

Enough already. Go METS!