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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.

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Old 08-22-2010, 09:57 PM   #1
High Q
is one Smokin' Farker
Join Date: 12-29-09
Location: Houston, Texas
Default New Job - Morale Needs a Boost - Recipes Needed

I started a new job on Monday. The office I manage has had a good bit of management turnover in the last several years, has had a tough time during this downturn (not making much money), and is suffering from mediocre morale and a general lack of energy. The company is committed to this office's success and there are some really good projects on the horizon for us but we won't be successful long term without a boost in morale.

Another fact that will become important later: Our company has very good health insurance. It has an interesting twist. If you have healthy lifestyle habits (nonsmoking, weight, etc.) the company pays more of your health costs. If you have mediocre habits but participate in the health education stuff the company pays what I would call a 'market' portion of you health costs (i.e. what you would likely get at another company). If you have crappy health habits and don't participate in the program, the company pays less.

One tactic I thought I might try to get people talking to each other (and to me - the new guy) was to start cooking them lunch one Friday a month. Because we have this health plan business, I thought it would be a good chance to highlight some healthy menu choices. A couple of menu choices come to mind:

-Turkey Burgers (blech)
-Bean Salad
-Smoked Turkey
-Smoked Chicken
-I've got an interesting lower cal slaw recipe.

I'm interested in your opinion on two things. 1. Do you think that this periodic office cookout for lunch idea will have the intended effect and 2. Got any good healthy BBQ/Smoker ideas that work for 60 people.

One good thing about being the boss is that I have the ability to make this happen as I see fit - meaning I don't have to fight for approval, beg for space, etc. I plan on cooking the meal myself because I like to cook and I think it will mean more if I do it in lieu of hiring it out.

I am very interested in your honest feedback - good or bad. Advice is also welcome.

It's a good company and it will grow to be great. This is one of many items we plan to implement but I thought it would be a good one to begin to build a more cohesive unit.

Mods - I put this here because I am ultimately looking for recipe help. If you think this thread should be someplace else - please move it as you see fit. Thank you for your help.
"Houston is a wretched little town composed of about twenty shops, and a hundred huts, dispersed here and there, among trunks of felled trees. It is infested with methodists and ants." -Emmanuel Domenech, Catholic Missionary, 1848
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:09 PM   #2
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Join Date: 09-17-05
Location: Mooresville, NC

I think it's great that you are concerned about moral... as a manager you should be.

my thoughts

Don't jump into this too fast...You need to build their trust on an individual level first - get to know them first before you jump into a group effort/exercise.. Even with the best intentions, it may come across as to forced or fake and they may not be prepared for what your style is.. Maybe even ask a few of them their opinion... this gives them "buy in" and if one likes the idea, he may be able to get others to more easily embrace.

You might want to read "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni.. a good business fable that may help in your new role.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:14 PM   #3
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I think it is a great idea, you are definitely on to something. Wish I had more to add, but I am not a very healthy
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:32 PM   #4
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Location: Pleasant Hill, MO

I would recommend that you start by getting to know your team and find out more about the people. I have done this a couple times and found that sometimes you have people on the team that don't help the morale. Additionally finding out more about the people and their families may help you more. One office I found that doing an office bbq where I cooked and and served them and their families and got to see them outside of work on a weekend did more for the office than just an office lunch. Just my two cents.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:54 PM   #5

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I've been in all kinds of work environments and seen morale go both directions. Always this seems personality driven. It only takes a couple bad apples to make things miserable. On the other hand it only takes one driving personality to bring people together. Seldom do new managers actually come by and talk, get to know your work and you personally. I find the places with highest morale have people doing things together outside of work. Bringing people together (like this) helps to get conversations going in another direction that can help people bond. Another great way is to ask people to help. It makes them feel important and they will bring pride in what they do.

Where I am now, we do a potluck a couple times a year and I think it really brings people together -- food always helps people bond. People take pride in their cooking and it is an opener. Of course our new, super-enthusiastic secretary took charge of cutting up my fatties and ribs I brought in last time. She said everything looked and smelled delicious, but she said she couldn't eat pork anymore. I assumed it was a digestion thing. Turns out she acquired a horrible food allergy the last couple years. To make a long story short, some of the juice got on her hand, and she couldn't breath and lost consciousness. Yeah, I almost killed our new secretary, and I didn't want to ask her about her not eating pork 'cause I thought it just made her gassy and didn't want her to be embarrassed It'll be beef and chicken I bring in next time!
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:07 PM   #6
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Become part of the team before you try to lead or change the team. Also, you may want to concetrate on healthy recipes that everyone can enjoy. I'd recommend shrimp po-boys. Everyone likes shrimp (unless they are some kind of PETA nut or one of those vegan types like Hitler or Mr. Spock from Star Trek). Here is a recipe for an awesome po-boy. The New Orleans "ketchup" recipe on the shrimp is worth the price of admission alone.
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