Managing Your Business

Author Archives: Emily Beierle

Emily Beierle

About Emily Beierle

Emily Beierle-O'Brien is a Program Management Associate at Build It Green and works closely with the Home Upgrade Program to ensure quality and accuracy within the program implementation. She is passionate about green building and sustainable living.

Managing Your Business

Managing your business can be stressful, and leading others can add to that stress. If you are not conscientious of how your are projecting yourself as a leader, it can result in poor productivity and disorganization. Below are 20 ways to lead your team to a better place and promote a culture that embraces collaboration, ideas, and team vision.

  1. Give them the freedom to use their talents. The best leaders step aside and allow those on their team to do what they do best. Control leads to compliance, but autonomy leads to engagement – and, in return, unleashes greatness.
  2. Give them permission to make mistakes. Make sure your people know it’s better to fail than to be timid. If you are going to create great teams, ensure that those you lead understand that mistakes are part of the process – and they have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.
  3. Guide them to work together toward a compelling vision. Working toward a common vision is the beginning of progress for any team, and a sure sign they’re on the road to success. When your team learns to work together and instead of as individuals pulling in separate directions, things start to find meaning. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you work together toward a shared vision.
  4. Show up as the leader and develop leaders within. As the leader, you’ll find that your own habits ripple out to your team, so show up as a leader and lead by example. Make sure what you say is in line with what you do. Then, take the next step by encouraging your team to step into their own leadership. Give every team member the ability to move into a suitable leadership role by empowering and encouraging them.
  5. Give them what they need to be successful. There’s a simple way to find out what your team needs. Ask them. You may not always be able to give them everything they want, but you can always work hard to make sure they have everything they need.
  6. Create an environment of fun and enjoyment. Everyone performs better when they are able to relax and are having a good time. Fun is the element that allows people to make it through the difficult tasks and overwhelming deadlines. The best leaders know how to make it work without compromising the team’s work ethic or commitment to excellence.
  7. Model accountability and teach responsibility. Be the kind of leader people can trust to follow through on everything you say. Great leaders know they need to develop a reputation for being true to their word. It tells others they can count on you and shows the kind of behavior you expect from your team.
  8. Be decisive and purposeful. Decisions need to be made on a constant basis. Thriving teams with great leaders know how to act decisively and with purpose. Growth and success are contingent on determined action. Procrastination and perfectionism will constantly slow everything down. The best leaders have the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.
  9. Don’t underestimate the power of EQ. It can be hard to understand, but EQ is just as important as IQ. If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self awareness, if you cannot manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and effective relationships – then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far with your team or leadership.
  10. Teach them that everything is hard before it’s easy. Encourage your team to persist until something happens. Remember that they will never know their limits until they’re pushed to the edge. Great leaders know that when you push people to their limits, you are teaching them to always go further. When you exceed your limits often enough, you realize that there are really no limits.
  11. Give them something to learn and grow on. The best teams, like the best leaders, are never stagnant. Build plenty of opportunities for your team members to learn and grow – whether it’s a class, a conference, or even a reading group or lunchtime seminar series.
  12. Show them fearlessness, and encourage them to be brave. As a leader, you need to show your team to take chances and go out on a limb. Great leaders coach and teach their team. They are right there with them, not on the sidelines screaming and instilling fear, but showing them fearlessness and stoking the bravery within them.
  13. Earn their respect, and give them yours. The way to unleash greatness in your team is to both show them respect and give them a reason to respect you. Mutual respect is critical to any team, so set an example by treating everyone you encounter with respect.
  14. Admit you don’t have all the answers. Transparency is important, and so is showing your human side. Let your team see that leadership doesn’t mean having all the answers – or pretending to. Instead, focus on leading everyone toward greatness by showing them the benefits of collaborative problem solving.
  15. Create win-win situations. The highest level of success comes not from beating others out but from creating win-win solutions. Everyone benefits from little gains along the way, and the more opportunities you create, the bigger the benefit.
  16. Be agile and flexible. Great leaders embrace agility and honor flexibility, because they know things are constantly changing. Flexibility is a fundamental requirement for leadership. Being an agile and flexible leader aligns with the need for your team to be collaborative and cooperative, and it empowers teams to hold those qualities.
  17. Get personal as you are being professional. Sometimes, building a great team means building a personal relationship with each member of your team. It doesn’t have to be a close friendship, but a recognition of people as fully developed human beings and not just team members who get the job done. Make sure you spend time getting to know them. Show them that you genuinely care about them and have their best interests in mind. In return, you’ll have a team that’s ready to unleash their greatness.
  18. Be honest and encourage candor. A great leader is honest. They encourage their teams to be transparent and speak with candor. It is important that everyone feels that they can speak with honesty, especially when things go wrong. Honesty leads to problems being dealt with and difficulties being solved. Honesty is the best policy.
  19. Be accessible and available. Part of being a leader involves being there for your team. If they have questions or need advice, make sure it’s easy for them to access you. With mobile email and cell phones, there is no reason your team shouldn’t be able to reach you when they need to.
  20. Consistently praise them, and always appreciate them. If you want a great team and happy people, you have to praise them, acknowledge them, and praise them some more. When you let your team know you’re aware of what they are and what they can become, you begin reaping the benefit of their growing greatness.

HPHI (Ultimate Comfort) Brochure Available

We now have a High Performance HVAC Installation (HPHI) customer brochure available. Contractors performing HPHI installations can provide the brochure to customers to help them understand the benefits of a properly-sized system.

Download the PDF and view our other marketing resources in our Documents Library under Marketing.

Not yet able to offer HPHI Installations?

Learn more about offering HPHI Ultimate Comfort and apply for training here.

#NiceWork Greiner – Achieving 15%-30% Air Sealing Target Reduction

Through a visual inspection of the building envelope and ongoing blower door testing, BIG staff provided specific ‘good-better-best’ strategies for Greiner to achieve 15%-30% air sealing targets. We also discussed specific applications of air sealing materials and the need for installing mechanical ventilation when the air changes at natural per hour are .35 or less. Underlying each part of the air sealing training was a cost-benefit proposition for Greiner’s staff in order to maximize their resources at a job.

Ongoing blower door testing. After every significant air sealing treatment, we retested to check our impact on the shell leakage.

  • 1st treatment: Caulking over gasket at sunlight (2284 CFM50, 1% reduction)
  • 2nd treatment: Weatherstripping mechanical room door and attic access (2219 CFM50, 4% reduction)
  • 3rd treatment: Sealing can lights, switch plates, doorbell transformer, and weatherstripping doors to exterior and garage (2198 CFM50, 5% reduction)
  • 4th treatment: Sealing abandoned vent underneath stove top, penetration at back splash/cabinets (2080 CFM50, 10% reduction)
  • 5th treatment: Reinforced skylight with duct sealing mastic (pookie) (1900 CFM50, 17.6% reduction, i.e. “FQC safe”)

Result: A 15% air sealing reduction target was achieved before lunch. (Expected to take 6 hours; it took 4. Achievable with a crew of 2 persons, i.e. 8 hours of labor total.)

#NiceWork Greiner team!

New Portal Live; Job Submission Videos Available

In order to help you navigate the new portal, we’ll be posting tutorials walking you through the submission process.

The 2019 Job Submission Guide is available as a resource in the Document Library under Submitting Jobs.

Your account manager will also be scheduling time to go through the new portal and answer any questions you have. Once you’ve been given access, you can start submitting jobs at https://portal.builditgreen.org/homeupgrade/s/.

Additional resources will be posted to the Library, so check back!

First up: Creating a Pre-Install Application.

Please check back over the next few weeks for any updates or additional submission videos. Thanks!

Changes to Whole House Combustion Appliance Safety Test Procedure, NGAT Action Guidelines, and Make Safe Procedure

What will happen:

Whole House Combustion Appliance Safety Test Procedure, NGAT Action Guidelines, and Make Safe Procedure have changed for the 2019 program year. Please read through the updated documents and update your processes accordingly in the field, as soon as possible.

When it will happen:

April 1, 2019: Updated field processes should be fully implemented

What is new?

The following is a summary of the key changes that have been made. However, please make sure to review both documents in their entirety.

Whole House Combustion Appliance Safety Test Procedure

  1. Instances of the CO ‘fail’ threshold of 35ppm have changed to 26 ppm in Addendum #1 (NGAT Ambient and Flue CO Action Levels for GSR Calls) of the Whole House Combustion Appliance Safety Test Procedure

NGAT Action Guidelines

  1. Line 44: The description has changed to IMPROPER VENT TERMINATION DISTANCE, including:
    a) Natural draft vertical pipe terminating less than 4 feet from outside wall and not extended above roof.
    b) Horizontal vent pipe outside a wall and not extended above roof.
    c) Direct vent wall furnace terminated within 10 feet of a window wall AC or evap cooler and not 3 feet above roof and appliance does affect the living space.

  2. Removal of CIP NGAT Fail Code column

Make Safe Procedure

  1. Immediate Response (IR) CO measurement threshold instances of 35 ppm have changed to 26 ppm.

Download the Whole House Combustion Appliance Safety Test Procedure.

Download the NGAT Action Guidelines.

Download the Make Safe Procedure.

Critical Dates:

April 1, 2019: All testing must be done using the new guidelines.

Customer Service Skills Needed by HVAC Technicians

The BLS reports that employers sometimes prefer candidates with technical training to those with no secondary education. In addition to having substantial technical expertise, HVAC technicians should also possess good customer service skills. Here are some customer service tips for HVAC techs entering the field.

Learn to Listen

Listening to customers about the specific issues they’re having with their heating and cooling systems helps technicians pinpoint problems more quickly. Being good means knowing which questions to ask and how to ask them. For instance, simply asking a homeowner to describe a certain sound that the system made prior to malfunctioning can provide you valuable information concerning the cause of the breakdown.

Communicate Clearly

HVAC repair and maintenance professionals should be careful not to use overly technical language when talking to customers, because most won’t be familiar with HVAC jargon. It’s essential to have the ability to explain the basics of how heating and cooling systems work in plain language. For instance, you should be able to explain clearly why regular filter changes help keep HVAC systems functioning smoothly without being overly technical.

Remain Focused

Besides knowing which questions to ask customers, it’s also important for you to ask yourself the right questions when you go on a call. Here are some questions:

  • What is the system is supposed to do?
  • What is the system failing to do?
  • Which are the missing or malfunctioning components preventing the system from working properly?
  • What steps need to be taken to solve the problem and get the system up and running again?

Be Patient and Understanding

Those with HVAC certification routinely find themselves in a variety of situations throughout the workday. Entering people’s homes to work on their HVAC systems can expose technicians to circumstances that require considerable patience and understanding. For instance, a hectic household with crying children and harried parents can be a difficult work environment. It’s easy to become impatient when trying to perform complex work in a distracting environment. However, it’s important for HVAC technicians to be handle these situations professionally. This increases the likelihood of getting the job done and keeping the customer happy.

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