Thinking outside the bun (and the punchlist).

January 10, 2013


Pop quiz!
Since we know you didn’t study, we’ll keep it brief. Only two questions, graded on the curve.
Ok, ok, ok… Yes. One of them can be multiple choice. 
Name the 3 brands that make up YUM! Brands.   
How many employees does YUM! Brands have?
a. 188,000
b. 329,000
c. 466,000
d. 732,000
e. 1,000,000
How’d you do?
YUM! Brands consists of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut.
YUM! Brands employs 466,000 employees around the world.
Can you imagine being CEO of that behemoth?
Talk about a challenging job.    
High turnover.
Fast food every day.
Food safety nightmares. 
Lawsuits over hot coffee.
How would you even begin to motivate, reward, and recognize in this environment?
David Novak, Chairman, President and CEO of YUM! Brands has a suggestion. As you might imagine, he visits lots of fast food joints. Mindful of his feedback for low wage, but incredibly important front line employees, Novak has two standard phrases he uses.     
“This is great work.”
“I know you can do better.” 
That’s it. 
Brilliant in its simplicity.
Both phrases make the employees feel important. 
Both affirm his belief in their capabilities. 
In construction we’d be wise to use this Either/Or also. 
Start using these phrases more and your life will get easier. For Spanish-speakers and English-speakers alike, people will be more likely to help if you recognize and appreciate.
As we discussed yesterday, appreciation and recognition are often abandoned in the face of language barriers. So to help you with that, here’s your content for next week’s pop quiz.
“This is great work.”
To achieve the same effect with less thinking required, I’d recommend simply saying this:
Excelente, gracias. 
(ayk-say-LAYN-tay  GRAH-syahs)
Excellent, thank you. 
Excelente is an obvious Spanish Twin and you already know Gracias.
We’ll cover “I know you can do better” down the line, but take a moment tomorrow to recognize the effort of your front lines employees. 
El Presidente

Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente of Red Angle, a Spanish language training firm focused exclusively on the construcción industry. Hartmann has been successful improving Safety, Productivity and Profitability by speaking Spanish on the jobsite. Hartmann lived in Guadalajara, México, during his undergraduate studies and later earned his MBA. Hartmann also teaches Construction Spanish at Purdue University’s Building Construction Management Program. He has authored two books: Spanish Twins: Start Speaking Spanish on the Construction Site with Words You Already Know and Safety Spanish: Simple Spanish Skills for Solving Safety Problems. Hartmann would love to hear your thoughts digitally at or at 630.234.7321.