Beef Tips

Category: Management Minute

Do’s and Don’ts Upon Returning to Work

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Many businesses and organizations are now beginning to reopen after several weeks of modified operations or closures. A recent article – https://agrilifetoday.tamu.edu/2020/05/01/returning-to-work-post-covid-19/ – highlighted several items that both employees and managers should consider when returning to work. Continue reading “Do’s and Don’ts Upon Returning to Work”

May 2020 Management Minute

“Return to Normal”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States has affected the workplace in many different ways over the past few weeks. As many states and counties begin to ease restrictions, many employers in KS are now beginning to consider the necessary steps to “return to normal”. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has several resources for businesses posted on its website (https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/). The resources on this page range from details on the current plan to re-open the state to how to properly clean and disinfect your business. As we transition back into the workplace, our “return to normal” will likely not be the normal we once knew and will likely create anxiety for both employers and employees. Experts suggest that one of the most important things employers can do to ease the transition is communication. Employers must communicate social distancing and cleaning protocols, as well as expectations regarding working remotely. Some employees may have safety concerns, especially if they or a family member falls within a high-risk category. Employers will likely have to make reasonable accommodations on an individual basis, which is challenging. However, there have been many challenges associated with this situation and most organizations/employers have demonstrated that they are more resilient than they ever imagined and that we will “return to normal” even if normal looks a little different.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

Circumstances and Assumptions

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist, Garden City, KS

The recent outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the United States has affected the workplace in many different ways. The current situation has many of us, like myself, working from makeshift workstations located in spaces formerly known as dining rooms, living rooms, or bedrooms. These unforeseen circumstances have come with many challenges and made us appreciate items like our desks and office chairs designed for optimum functionality and long-term use. As humans, we often erroneously assume that everyone’s resources/environment (circumstances) are similar to our own. In this “new” work environment, that we find ourselves we cannot assume that people have the same resources available in their homes as they would have had at their former workstations. Continue reading “Circumstances and Assumptions”

March 2020 Management Minute

“It’s not Always about the Money”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

If you have an employee who seems to continually be bothering you about not being paid enough, there are usually two possibilities: 1) You are a tightwad and you’re not paying them enough; or 2) the person is disgruntled about their role in the organization. To find out if the answer is No. 1, make a few phone calls to managers you trust in your general geography and find out what your neighbors are paying for similar jobs in your industry. If you’re within 50¢ or so per hour, then move on to answer No. 2. Some people are just better employees than others. If this person is worth more than the ‘scale’, you had better pay more to keep them.

But “pay” can come in many forms. You can “buy” an employee’s loyalty and general job satisfaction with many perks other than another few cents or bucks per hour. Make sure your insurance, savings investment, and/or profit sharing plans are at least in line with the industry. This is especially important if this person has a family to look after. Non-monetary benefits include things like flexible time off. Those early mornings and long days are a lot easier to take if a person knows they can take Thursday afternoons off for a child’s ball game or whatever.

What about goals? Have you asked your employee what they want out of this position? They may want to move up in the organization or have opportunities for a management role elsewhere. You can be selfish about this or you can take on the role of mentor and teacher. By taking care of your employee and training them for a leadership role they will most certainly be a better employee, and will have a harder time leaving for a different job. And even if they do leave for a different opportunity, they will give such a glowing report on your leadership and team approach, you can be certain to find a good, young person to replace them.

The question you need to ask yourself is “Do you really want this person around for the long haul?” If you DO, take some time to privately evaluate your plans, and then take some more time one-on-one with this employee to find out their long-term needs and goals. If you DON’T want this person to remain in the organization, you still need to get your plans in order because after you inform this person they are not what your organization needs, you had better have a pretty good plan set up to attract a quality person to replace them.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

 

February 2020 Management Minute

“Failure”

By:Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Leadership and management are evaluated by an organization or operation’s successes. However, the path to success often involves failure. Everyone hates to fail. However, failure is an excellent teacher and the simple truth is that we learn more from our failures than we do our successes. One of the traits many successful people possess is that they did not let fear of failure exceed their desire to succeed. History is full of leaders who were quite familiar with failure. However, when they made a mistake, they learned from it, moved on and didn’t let it happen again. Additionally, great leaders in the business world recognize that department or unit managers don’t always succeed and that failure is an unfortunate, but necessary component of empowering and cultivating good managers within the organization.

“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”- Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

January 2020 Management Minute

“How to Find More Time in the New Year”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

One of the more common New Year’s resolutions is to find more time for family, friends, exercise or some new activity. However, the question becomes, how can we find more time within the day or week for the aforementioned activity of choice. One of the ways that many people try to find more time (including myself) is the “do I really need that much sleep” method of finding more time. Although, this method does work; it may also result in some undesirable outcomes, especially if the activity involves interacting with others. Time management experts suggest that the best way to make more time for any new activity is to become more efficient within our day. Efficiency is essentially organizing and prioritizing the daily “to do list” but it also includes looking for places in our day where we simply waste time. The most common “time waster” for many people involves a computer or a phone in today’s world. Procrastination is also another common “time waster” that reduces our ability to get things done. Many strategies have been developed to combat procrastination. One simple strategy that I recently came across is the two-minute rule and it essentially targets all those little things that we encounter during the day that eventually add up. This informal rule essentially says that when we encounter anything in our day that will take less than two-minutes that we should do it, be it a quick email response or cleaning up our computer files. It is difficult to find more time in our busy work schedules, but one thing is clear seconds turn into minutes, minutes into hours, hours into days and so forth, which proves that little things do add up over time.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

December 2019 Management Minute

“Winter Safety in the Workplace”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Winter is here and many agriculture workers work in the elements, which brings a new set of seasonal workplace hazards. Falls, slips, and trips are one of the most common causes of workplace injuries (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Although falls and slips can occur anytime, extra precautions are required during the winter months. Hypothermia is real, especially for those that work in the elements. Safety experts suggest that clothing should be layered to retain body heat. However, how and what type of layers those clothes are made of is important. At least three layers are recommended. Cotton or other breathable synthetic fiber should be the first or base layer, wool or down is suggested for the middle layer, and the third or outer layer should be composed of material that will block the wind such as a nylon outer shell found on many ski-jackets, etc. Portable heaters are often used as heat sources in many shops and barns. Portable heaters are one of the most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning and fires. If heaters are used in confined spaces, keep in mind that ventilation is required to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Additionally, the areas where heaters are used should be checked for combustible materials.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

November 2019 Management Minute

“The Power of Praise”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Praise is likely one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox of any manager, leader or educator. I recently came across a summary of a research project conducted by Elizabeth Hurlock, which illustrates the power of praise in the book “How Full is Your Bucket” by Tom Rath and Don Clifton. This experiment evaluated the subsequent math scores of students who received different types of feedback (control, praise, criticism, or ignored) regarding their work in the classroom. Initially, the math scores of students who were praised or criticized for their work were similar. However, by day five of the experiment, the relative improvement in the scores of students who were praised improved by 71%, while those that were criticized improved 19% and those that were ignored improved only 5%. What surprised me the most about this study was that it was conducted in 1925, 94 years ago. Praise is a powerful tool that can be used to motivate all of us to do what we do better and that should not be overlooked.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

October 2019 Management Minute

“Good Help is Hard to Find”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

“Good help is hard to find” which alternatively means that the “good help we have is worth retaining”. I recently had a conversation with a colleague who is changing positions, as we discussed some of the challenges associated with the transition, from selling a house, to placing children in a new school. I found myself considering why do good people leave positions? Given the magnitude of the challenges associated with making a professional change. In some instances, people do get the opportunity to pursue their dream job. In other situations, life circumstances such as children or being closer to family are cited as common reasons. However, according to www.thebalancecareer.com the most common people leave jobs are ultimately related to factors within the workplace, such as a bad boss or supervisor, lack of trust within the organization, failing to recognize the employee’s contributions or strengths, or the inability to use their skills. Many of these reasons come down to job satisfaction, and creating an environment where people want to come to work. We spend roughly 1/3 of our day at work, so creating a positive work environment, where employees feel valued and trust that supervisors and the organization cares about them can go along way towards retaining the good help we have today.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

September 2019 Management Minute

“Are you a Manager or a Leader?”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

I recently came across an article that contrasted management and leadership (Learning for future and personal and business success by Bob Milligan). Many of you, like myself, who always arrive at the most logical conclusion quickly are likely saying “a manager is a leader” and, yes, that is true. However, there is a difference between the roles and responsibilities of managers and leaders. Leaders give an organization direction. Leaders focus on the future by motivating individuals or groups of individuals. Managers tend to be less focused on the future, and more on the here and now. Managers organize, plan, budget and ultimately implement the vision of the leader. Are you a leader or a manager? Is it possible to be both? As organizations and businesses grow larger, structure becomes more important because of the established fact that it is “hard to see tomorrow, when you are buried in today.”

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.