Agent Newsletter October 2017

Jokes of the Day

Boy-laughingTurning 30

I was having trouble with the idea of turning 30 and was oversensitive to any signs of advancing age. When I found a prominent gray hair in my bangs, I pointed to my forehead. “Have you seen this?” I indignantly asked my husband.
“What?” he asked. “The wrinkles?”

Living Will

I hate the idea of going under the knife. So I was very upset when the doctor told me I needed a tonsillectomy. Later, the nurse and I were filling out an admission form. I tried to respond to the questions, but I was so nervous I couldn’t speak.
The nurse patted my hand and said, “Don’t worry. This medical problem can easily be fixed, and it’s not a dangerous procedure.”
“You’re right. I’m being silly,” I said, “please continue.”
“Good,” the nurse went on, “Now, do you have a living will?”

Boat Rental

At a boat rental concession, the manager went to the lake’s edge and yelled through his megaphone, “Number 99, come in, please. Your time is up.” Several minutes passed, but the boat didn’t return. “Boat number 99,” he again hollered, “return to the dock immediately or I’ll have to charge you overtime.”
“Something is wrong here, boss,” his assistant said. “We only have 75 boats. There is no number 99.”
The manager thought for a moment and then raised his mega-phone: “Boat number 66,” he yelled. “Are you having trouble out there?”

The Big Sale

It was the day of the big sale. Rumors of the sale (and some advertising in the local paper) were the main reason for the long line that formed in front of the store by 8:30, the store’s opening time.
A small man pushed his way to the front of the line, only to be pushed back, amid loud and colorful curses. On the man’s second attempt, he was punched square in the jaw, and knocked around a bit, and then thrown to the end of the line again.
As he got up the second time, he said to the person at the end of the line, “That does it! If they hit me one more time, I’m not opening the store!”


CE Classes in 2017

ce-classes-headerClasses will start conclude with two offerings (6 credit day-choose one or both 3 credit classes).  There are a few spaces left so call today to reserve a place.  (320) 333/5383.

  • Tuesday, Oct 10th – Waconia on Hoarding and Ethics
  • Thursday, October 12th– St. Cloud on Water and Mold


We Can All Be Heroes          

Fred-McGuireby Fred McGuire

In spite of the tragedy that recently unfolded in Las Vegas, there are also stories emerging of amazing heroes.  These are heroes who saved lives at the risk of their own.  They are to be honored, but how about the rest of us?  Can we be heroes in some way?

Yes.  We are heroes when we serve other people.  Here are some everyday examples that make us heroes:

  • Doing the best we can at our job.
  • Serving our family by sharing our skills and life with them.
  • Helping a neighbor.
  • Sacrificing time to help someone make their life better.
  • Raising funds for a worthy cause.
  • Giving our money to help others in need.

Most of us will never be awarded for our efforts, but that is ok.  Heroes are like that.  They don’t need the attention, yet I salute you today.  Keep up the good work.

New Project Manager for SW Minnesota

Shawn RannowShawn Rannow is the new leader in helping customers with fires, mold, bio-hazards and more.  He is a proven manager who has lead teams for several years for our company.  He has earned high marks for helping customers after trouble sticks their home or business.  Congratulations to Shawn.

Question or concern?

Need help with a water, fire or mold situation?  Call someone you know.

Fred McGuire (320) 333-5383.


Now a Word from our Customers

What our clients have to say about our disaster restoration and cleaning services in Minneapolis and St Paul MNThe following are quotes from our recent customers:

  • “Was very good to work with, answered all my question and review with me on what they were going to do. Call me to let me know when they would arrive to do the work.” G.C.
  • “Friendly, comfortable staff.”N.
  • “The workers that have come to work on my claim from storm damage have been knowledge, efficient and respectful.”P.
  • “The employees were friendly and very flexible. They took the time to answer our questions.” F.


Movie to Watch

Hacksaw RidgeHacksaw Ridge (now on DVD)

The true story of Desmond T. Doss, the conscientious objector who, at the Battle of Okinawa, won the Medal of Honor for his incredible bravery and regard for his fellow soldiers.

We see his upbringing and how this shaped his views, especially his religious view and anti-killing stance. We see Doss’s trials and tribulations after enlisting in the US Army and trying to become a medic. Finally, we see the hell on Earth that was Hacksaw Ridge


Book to Read

It's your shipIt’s Your Ship   by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff

The story of Captain D. Michael Abrashoff and his command of USS Benfold have become legendary inside and outside the Navy.

When Captain Abrashoff took over as commander of USS Benfold, a ship armed with every cutting-edge system available, it was like a business that had all the latest technology but only some of the productivity.

Knowing that responsibility for improving performance rested with him, he realized he had to improve his own leadership skills before he could improve his ship. Within months he created a crew of confident and inspired problem-solvers eager to take the initiative and take responsibility for their actions. The slogan on board became “It’s your ship,” and Benfold was soon recognized far and wide as a model of naval efficiency. How did Abrashoff do it?


ServiceMaster Professional Services provides water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation and other disaster restoration services in Minnesota.

Agent Newsletter July 2017

CE Classes in 2017

Check our website at for the latest information.


Jokes of theBoy-laughing Day

Elderly Floridian

An elderly Floridian called 911 on her cell phone to report that her car has been broken into. She is hysterical as she explains her situation to the dispatcher:

“They’ve stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!” she cried.

The dispatcher said, “Stay calm. An officer is on the way.”

A few minutes later, the officer radios in. “Disregard.” He says. “She got in the backseat by mistake.”


Recently, I bought a cartridge for my printer. It came in a box mounted on a card and wrapped in plastic. When I took it apart, I found that the printer cartridge itself was actually quite small, but they made the packaging unnecessarily large to make it harder to steal and to make the customer feel better about the high price.

I pointed this out to my wife and mentioned how my weight gain over the years of our marriage should have the same effect: It made me seem more valuable and also made me harder for other women to steal.

She’s still laughing.
Aunt Emma

A couple’s happy married life almost went on the rocks because of the presence in the household of old Aunt Emma.

For seventeen long years she lived with them, always crotchety, always demanding.

Eventually, the old girl passed away.

On the way back from the cemetery, the husband confessed to his wife, “Darling, if I didn’t love you so much, I don’t think I would have put up with having your Aunt Emma in the house all those years.”

His wife looked at him aghast.

“My Aunt Emma!” she cried. “I thought she was ‘your’ Aunt Emma!”

Rambunctious Threesome

My twins were born when my oldest boy was just 16 months old. When the twins became toddlers, my brood had grown into a rambunctious threesome, and I relied on my mother for advice and moral support.

One morning I phoned her to describe how one of the twins had decorated the living and dining room walls with colorful, indelible felt markers. “I’ll have to paint everything,” I wailed. “I’ll never be able to scrub this off!”

Quietly, Mom said, “You used lipstick.”


Rose 2 smallTeam Work is Dream Work

by Rose Haag

There’s a difference between being on a team and being a Real team.

People who are on a team focus on their own goals.

People who are part of a real team focus on team goals first and their individual goals second.

Individuals on a team are committed to getting better and improving themselves.

Individuals who are part of a real team are not only committed to getting better they are also committed to each team player.

When you are on a team communication isn’t a priority.

When you are a real team communication is important to build trust, commitment and teamwork.

On a team, your time is more important than your team.

A real team makes time with the team a priority.

On a team, respect, integrity and accountability are not often discussed or cultivated.

Kid and a dog - SVMPS NewsletterA real team focuses on showing respect, building trust and to account for ones actions and ingrain them into everything they do.

On a team, not everyone is as receptive or committed.

A real team shares vision, focus and purpose.

On a team, there’s a lack of leadership.

A real team has strong leaders who develop other leaders.

So how about your team?  Are you just on a team or are you a real team?



We saved your clients over 3 million dollars - SVMPS NewsletterWe saved your clients over $3 Million Dollars

We saved over $3,865,000!* for policy holders, insurance agents and their companies for water losses in 2016.

Save and Not Replace

Water losses are one of the top causes of a claim for most insurance agencies and companies.  Our approach is to save time and money by drying most building materials versus removing and replacing them.

The cost savings is significant.  Why is this true?

  • Carpet was dried before it delaminated
  • Drywall, baseboards, & doors were saved
  • Furniture was not water damaged
  • Future mold was avoided
  • All is dry in 3-5 days
  • Little material if any building material was replaced because it was dried before it was damaged
  • Plus half the time needed to get your clients home back to normal.

* This number is based on:

  • 1,546 water losses completed in 2016
  • $2,500 average water loss when saving all building materials
  • $5,000 average water loss when all wet materials were replaced


Fred-McGuireBetter Meetings

by Fred McGuire

I find these tips make for better meetings.

  • Always have an agenda.
    • List the agenda items in order of importance.
    • Send it out prior to the meeting.
    • Review it as the meeting begins and stick to it.
  • Start on time, end early.
    • People will appreciate your respect of their time.
    • Try setting an odd time limit. For example: 18 minutes.
      • People will be intrigued and ready to help get done on time.
    • Encourage shorter agendas to be a “Stand-Up” meeting. Things will get communicated/decided and everyone back to the rest of their day.
  • “Park” ideas or concerns.
    • Make a note of items not on the “agenda” and make a plan to deal with them at another time.
  • Send a summary after the meeting.
    • Clearly define what was decided and who is responsible.
    • Use this as the basis for the next meeting’s agenda.


Now a Word from our Customers

A word from our customers - SVMPS Newsletter
The following are quotes from our recent customers:

  • They did a great job and were very professional. G.
  • The employees were very friendly and professional. When they were done with the demo that they needed to do, the area was left very neat and clean. M.
  • I live in three homes in different parts of the country and I see a lot of service men and I have never witnessed the kind of superb service and the wonderful attitude he represented to me.   S.
  • Fast and excellent service. The guy was such a gentleman and very efficient. M.


Book to Read

Without Warning by Joel Rosenberg
Without Warning by Joel Rosenberg (Political Fiction-Good Summer Reading)

As he prepares to deliver the State of the Union address, the president of the United States is convinced the Islamic State is on the run, about to be crushed by American forces once and for all. But New York Times foreign correspondent J. B. Collins tells the president he’s dead wrong. With the Middle East on fire, the Israeli prime minister dead, and Amman in ruins, Collins fears a catastrophic attack inside the American homeland is imminent. He argues that only an all-out manhunt to capture or kill Abu Kahlif―the leader of ISIS―can stop the attack and save American lives. But will the president listen and take decisive action before it’s too late?

Agent Newsletter April 2017

FredCE Classes in 2017

Classes for 2017 begin this month in Willmar and St. Cloud.   Check our website at for the latest information.

Jokes of the Day

Boy laughingAttending Church

When I asked my friend if she was planning to attend church, she just shook her head. “I haven’t gone in a long time,” she said.

“Besides, it’s too late for me. I’ve probably already broken all seven commandments.”

Shopping Advice

Kathy was shopping in the mall with her two children and a display in the window of a lingerie store caught her eye.

“Do you think Daddy would like this?” she asked the kids, as she pointed to the lacy pajamas with matching robe.

“No way,” four-year-old Rian replied. “Daddy would NEVER wear that!”

Found Cell Phone

When a customer left his cell phone in my store, I scrolled through his saved numbers, stopped at “Mom” and pushed send. His mother answered, and I told her what happened.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “I’ll take care of it.”

A few minutes later, the cell phone rang. It was “Mom.”

“Martin,” she said, “you left your cell phone at the convenience store.”

Life After Death

“Do you believe in life after death?” the boss asked one of his employees.

“Yes, Sir.” the new recruit replied.
“Well, then, that makes everything just fine,” the boss went on. “After you left early yesterday to go to your grandmother’s funeral, she stopped in to see you.”

Get Ready for Spring by Aaron Teschner 

Aaron TAfter being cooped up inside through the winter months we Midwesterners value the feeling of rejuvenation that spring brings us and giving your life a spring deep cleaning is a great way to kick start summer.

The common approach to spring cleaning is to pick up the yard, clean the gutters and garage.  That is a great start but deeper levels of cleaning will result in helping you really get ready for summer.

Start inside if the weather isn’t cooperating.  Addressing the areas of the kitchen only touched sparingly like the refrigerator including behind and underneath, the dishwasher and oven is a good start.  Then move room to room decluttering and organizing to relieve the old stuff weighing you down.  Once you are there revamp your wardrobe with some fresh styles for the season.

Once the weather is ready to cooperate power wash the house, sidewalks, driveway, and deck.  Now you are ready to get outside and get some exercise as the long summer days quickly approach.

I Look Forward to the New Challenges by Rose Haag

Rose HaagI had a bitter sweet feeling within me when I exchanged my PPE (personal protection equipment) tote and HEPA vac.  I relied on my equipment and supplies for over two years as a Disaster Technician.  But now they are exchanged for an iPhone and laptop to begin my travels in a new direction into Marketing at ServiceMaster. It is a new opportunity to serve our customers in their time of need.

Transitioning within the workforce can be challenging for those of us that have been in the game for over thirty years. However, there has been a unique and valuable asset that has followed me through my careers. I’m referring to the Great Team Members (GTM). These are the people facing the same fork in the road as me each day.

We could settle for average and choose the path of mediocrity or take the road less traveled and chase greatness.  We chose the path that hold each other accountable to the high standards and excellence our culture expects and demands.

When we work hard to be a great team member we make everyone and everything around us better.

5 Places That You Forget When Spring Cleaning

5 Places That You Forget When Spring CleaningThe time for spring cleanup is here again! Even if you vacuumed, mopped, dusted and organized each room of your home already, are you sure you cleaned every nook and cranny you can? Uncover five areas you might have missed when decluttering and clearing out your home this season by using the spring cleaning checklist for overlooked spaces from the experts at ServiceMaster Clean®.

Curtains and Upholstery

People hang curtains, and then completely forget about them. Even if you open and close them every day, your curtains will collect dust and other particles that, if left unchecked, can damage your décor and even your health. The same theory applies to upholstered furniture pieces, which accumulate germs from the air and from the people or pets who use them.

How you wash your curtains will depend on the material they’re made of. Consult the label or manufacturer for instructions. Like curtains, your approach to cleaning upholstery should depend on the fabric. Browse the ServiceMaster Clean® blog to learn how to clean drapes like a pro and get tips on cleaning suedevelvet and other materials.

Door Frames

You walk through them every day, but do you ever stop to wipe them down? Dust and other particles will settle on top of your door frames, and one solid slam of the door can make the dust go flying. At the same time, germs and smudges from dirty hands might start staining the sides of your doors. Keep the unsightly filth on doors and door frames to a minimum by wiping them down with a wet cloth or feather duster.

Ceiling Fans

Dust accumulates on fan blades and arms, and if you don’t pay attention, that layer of grime can quickly become a giant pile of gray fuzz – especially in winter when fans get less use. When it comes time to turn on your fan for spring, whoosh! The dust will scatter across the room. To clean your ceiling fans and avoid the mess, grab a handle extender or long-handled duster that can reach the fan blades.

Pro tip: Magnetize a static duster before use by wiping the fibers with a plastic bag. The charge will help the duster attract and retain more dust.

Dishwasher & Washing Machine

Everyone remembers to clean the refrigerator, but it’s easy to forget that your cleaning appliances need cleaning, too. Check your dishwasher and washing machine to see if they have automatic cleaning buttons. If so, follow the directions for your model. Otherwise, give each machine a good wipe down, and run a cycle with a cup of white vinegar and a sprinkle of baking soda. You can also use this time to wipe down and clean other overlooked appliances, like the dryer or oven.

Remotes, Door Knobs and Handles

You’ve tackled all the big things, but sometimes it’s the little ones that get the filthiest. Remotes, door knobs and handles all harbor germs that can transfer to your hands every time you touch them. As you check off each of your overlooked spring cleanup tasks, don’t forget to disinfect these smaller items with sanitizing wipes as you pass by.

After you clean these five areas, your home can truly shine for spring. Remember to follow up with daily, weekly and monthly cleaning checklists to ensure your home sparkles all year long.


What our clients have to say about our disaster restoration and cleaning services in Minneapolis and St Paul MNNow a Word from our Customers

The following are quotes from our recent customers:

  • The gentleman who came was respectful of my time and home. He was very detail oriented. We definitely use this company again. N.
  • Great communication!!! You called ahead of time and kept us in the loop on the next plan of action. Every tech had a very professionalism manner. B.
  • He was neat- and helpful and interested in getting cleaned up and there when we needed him. H.

The War LettersBook to Read

The War Letters

My dad, Reg Beckett, was a soldier with the Canadian army in WWI.  Recently we discovered letters he wrote home. They are a remarkable window into the challenges faced by a teenager who enlists, survives and returns a man, ultimately founding the company that bears his name, the RW Beckett Corporation.

Free E-Book:

Paperback version order here:

For the video watch here:


Agent Newsletter January 2017

Aaron-Teschner-SRM-NAMChanging your Routine by Aaron Teschner

As we begin another new year, gym attendance is going to spike, only to return to the crowd of regulars by the middle of March.  Everyone can make change within their life but, why is it so hard to form new habits?

Today the financial, family, social pressures lead us into routines that help us get through each day/week/month while simultaneously leaving us pressed for time.  With this feeling of being perpetually busy our routines give us comfort, which is why it is so easy for an individual to return to them when one feels stressed out.

New Year’s Day is a convenient time to attempt to implement change and that is the problem.  Change and convenience do not go together.

So, what is the key to making a change in your life?  Embracing failure is an imperative part of making a modification in your life.  Realize that with change comes struggle and failure.  When making a resolution, this year make overcoming the inevitable difficulties part of that plan.  In short, when it doesn’t work…try again.


tech-and-ladyThe High Deductible Answer to Smaller Water Losses  by Fred McGuire

However, we cannot give an accurate estimate without seeing it first.  Therefore we offer a Moisture Inspection for $180 for those who want a price before deciding the best course of action.Deductibles are much higher than 10 years ago.  Therefore when our phone rings at ServiceMaster with a new water loss, your clients want to know how much it is going to cost. Clients have real concerns about what happened but also are worried financially since cleanup may be near or under their deductible.

What do you get for $180?

  • Expert evaluation of the source (if that is still in question).
  • Learn exactly where the water went in the home. Under flooring, in walls, etc.
    • Using our non-invasive moisture level equipment.
  • An estimate for our mitigation services.
    • Should your client choose to use our company.
  • Sound advice if they want to do it themselves:
    • We will explain the best way for the do-it-yourselfer to successfully tackle the problem.

That is a great value for your clients who are wondering what to do next. Call us anytime for Moisture Inspection and Mold Remediation at (800) 245-4622.


Fred-McGuireAvoidable Insurance Claims by Fred McGuire

Keeping an eye on these parts of your home can avoid a claim later.

  • Washer Hoses
    • Check for any leaks monthly.
    • Replace them every five years.
  • Refrigerator water lines
    • Look behind your refrigerator every six months for a slow water leak.
    • Keep an eye on the ceiling on the floor below.
  • Hot water heater leaks
    • Flush it twice a year to remove sediment.
    • Most don’t last over 12 years. Replace before trouble hits.
  • Electrical Fires
    • Check for loose fitting plugs in electrical outlets.
    • Replace cords that are frayed or cracked.
    • Check periodically for loose wall receptacles, lose wires or light fixtures.
  • Cooking
    • Stay in the kitchen while cooking. Many fires start in an empty room.
    • This is the leading location of home structure fires.
  • Dishwasher
    • Check periodically for cracked or leaking hoses.
  • Slip and Fall Accidents
    • Keep steps and walkways in good repair and ice free.

Call us anytime for Fire Damage Restoration and Water Damage Restoration at (800) 245-4622.

Jokes of the Day

Boy-laughingThe Soup

WAITER: “Yes, sir, is there something wrong?”
CUSTOMER: “The soup. Taste it.”
WAITER: “I beg your pardon, Sir?”
CUSTOMER: “Taste it.”
WAITER: “But, Sir, I can assure you that the soup is excellent.”
CUSTOMER: “Taste it.”
WAITER: “Sir, the soup was made this morning of the finest ingredients.”
CUSTOMER: “Taste it!”
WAITER: exasperated, “All right, Sir, I’ll taste it.”
Then after a pause he said, “Where is the spoon?”
To which the customer replied triumphantly, “Ah ha!!”

Parachute Jump

I volunteered recently to perform a parachute jump for charity. On our first day of training, the instructor made an important point about preparing for landing at 300 feet.

“How do you know when you’re at 300 feet?” asked one woman.

“A good question,” replied the instructor. “At 300 feet you can recognize the faces of people on the ground.”

The woman thought about this for awhile before saying, “What happens if there’s no one there I know?”

Two Atoms

Two atoms are sitting next to each other and one says, “I’ve lost an electron.”

The other asks, “Are you sure?”
“Yeah,” the first replies. “I’m positive.”

A Lot Of Good That Did!

I spent more than two hours in the beauty shop getting my hair permed, cut and styled.

Relieved to be done, I went up to the receptionist to pay. “Good afternoon!” she said cheerfully. “And who’s your appointment with today?”


ce-classes-headerCE Classes in 2017

Classes will start in the 2nd quarter of the year. Check our website at for the latest information.



Now a Word from our Customers

What our clients have to say about our disaster restoration and cleaning services in Minneapolis and St Paul MNThe following are quotes from our recent customers:

  • “Matt was very professional, very detailed in his explanations, represented your company well and was on time.” B.
  • “Quick to respond. Further the personal calls regarding the updates/changes that occurred were appreciated.” M.
  • “The professionalism, knowledge and courtesy of the representative Jesse Schafer. He took his time and understood our concerns.”C.


Movie to Watch

Collateral BeautyCollateral Beauty

When a successful New York advertising executive (Will Smith) suffers a great tragedy, he retreats from life. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death.

When his notes bring unexpected personal responses, he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.



For every mess we've got the master - servicemaster professional services in Minneapolis and St Paul, MN

Agent Newsletter November 2016

Jokes of the Day


A kangaroo kept getting out of his enclosure at the zoo. Knowing that he could hop high, the zoo officials put up a ten-foot fence. He was out the next morning, just sauntering around the zoo. A twenty-foot fence was put up. Again he got out.
When the fence was forty feet high, a camel in the next enclosure asked the kangaroo, “How high do you think they’ll go?”
The kangaroo said, “A lot more, unless somebody locks the gate at night!”

Boy-laughingMike’s Blind Date

Joe sets up his friend Mike on a blind date with a young lady-friend of his. But Mike is a little worried about going out with someone he’s never seen before. “What do I do if she’s really unattractive?” says Mike. “I’ll be stuck with her all evening.”
“Don’t worry,” Joe says, “just go up to her door and meet her first. If you like what you see, then everything goes as planned. If you don’t just shout ‘Aaaaaauuuggghhh!’ and fake an asthma attack.”
So that night, Mike knocks at the girl’s door and when she comes out he is awe-struck at how attractive and sexy she is. He’s about to speak when the girl suddenly shouts:

What Is Fate

A young pupil asked, “Master, what is fate.”
“Ah, my son, it is what has brought great nations together. It has made the world a smaller place in which to live. It has inspired men of worth to work endless hours. It will someday enable men to span the universe and light years of travel will soon become mere seconds in time.”
“And that, my master, is fate?”
“Oh, fate! I thought you said freight.”

New Claim? Call someone you know.

Fred-McGuireIf you have a claim, call me on my cell phone for fastest, priority service.  If I don’t answer, call (800) 245-4622.

Fred McGuire (320) 333-5383


Great CE Classes: $10 each

Each course earns 3 non-company sponsored credits.  Space is limited.

ce-classes-headerNovember 8th, in Plymouth at the Comfort Inn/Lucky 13:

  • Best Practices for Water Clean-Up. Learning about the most frequent claim experienced by your clients.  And important principles to keep the costs down.
  • Claims: When Bad Things Happen to Good Homes. In this course you learn the critical things that every agent should know about the claims process.

December 6th, in Brooklyn Park at Edinburgh USA

  • Extreme Cleaning: Handling a Hoarding Dilemma. A fascinating look at the life/mind of those who hoard.  Plus the impact on the average insurance claim.
  • Framing Our Ethics. Attendees are saying this is one of the best ethics classes they have attended.   Not your typical ethics class!

For the full schedule for the year go to our website at   Each class is paired with a second one for a 3 or 6 credit hour day.  See you there.

A Word from Our Customers

What our clients have to say about our disaster restoration and cleaning services in Minneapolis and St Paul MNThe following are testimonials from our recent customers:

Quick and very nice. In my eyes Jesse went above and beyond with his job on my basement. -B.D.

Prompt attention to our problem, efficient and correct diagnosis. – M.B.

Best Resource as You Vote is the best resource for non-partisan information.  This website even gives us information on the “judges” we all see on the ballot.

Do You Have Email Standards?  By Steve Knutson, CTO @ Marco

Steve Knutson, CTO @ MarcoEmail was designed to be an efficient business communication tool. But if your inbox looks anything like mine, you’re beginning to feel like the efficiency is being lost in translation.
The answer is standards. Does your company have a set of communication standards particularly related to email? They can go a long way in helping your organization manage email internally and help keep it as an effective business communication tool.
At Marco, we have a set of communication standards and even those specific to effective email communication. We offer employee training on the best practices and have even shared best practices and tips in previous blog posts.
But we still fell short. We never put a set of guidelines in writing for all employees to see (and hopefully follow). Until now.
We recently adopted a series of guidelines on email (mostly used with permission from Heartland Companies Communication Standards). Here’s a look into what they are:

  • Reserve the “To” for people who need to take actionon the email.
    Whenever possible, we should limit the “To” field to one person. When several names are in the “To” field, it can become unclear who’s responsible or the emails get more convoluted.
  • Don’t just hit “Reply All.”
    When you are in the “To” box, determine who needs to be in the “To” field and included. People who need to take action should be in the “To” field and those who need the information should be in the “CC” field. When someone sends a question to an email distribution list, think twice before you reply all. Usually, only the person who asked the question needs the answer.
  • Put “Approval” in the subject line when asking for a decision. 
    This should be used sparingly and aims to help set a priority and even create a sense of urgency, when appropriate. In addition to including Approval Needed: (Insert Topic Here) in the subject line, be sure to identify the needed action item at the top of the email and use the remainder for the explanation. It is best to phrase the response in a simple yes/no format, so the approver can read your explanation and then reply to the suggested course of action listed at the top.
  • Create CC folder and use rule to organize.
    To help you assess and respond to emails more effectively, establish a rule that moves all emails with your name in the CC field to that folder. These emails can be reviewed less regularly, although daily is recommended.
  • Keep the body of your message simple and short.
    Make your point quickly and concisely. Type with clarity so your message is clear and easily understood.
  • Subject lines should quickly identify the topic or action needed.
    Do not send an email message without a subject. It makes them much more difficult to find in your inbox. Make the subject clear and informative about what you need and when. It’s best to limit subject lines to 3-5 words.
  • Don’t send one line thank you emails.
    If you send someone an email request to do a task and they let you know that the task is complete in an email reply, it is not necessary to reply again with “Thanks.” It is implied. We believe that all of us know that the person who asked us to do the task is grateful that we got it done.
  • Respond within 24 hours to all company emails.
    Business email etiquette is to respond within one business day or sooner when possible. We encourage prompt replies to email. The sender can assist by limiting one topic, question or action to an email.
  • When you’re away, set up an automatic Out of Office response.
    This helps to communicate that you will not be able to respond to an email within the typical 24-hour period and should direct people to someone they can contact if they need immediate assistance. Include the dates that you will be out of the office so senders know when they can expect a response from you.
  • Take your time when sending and proofing your emails.
    Email is a form of professional communication. Spelling, grammar and business etiquette all apply. Read and reread your email before you send it to avoid sending something that you could later regret.
  • Check who you’re sending your email to.
    It’s easy to accidently put the wrong email address and send it to the wrong “Steve.” Take a moment before you hit send, to be sure the emails appearing in the To: and CC: fields show the intended email addresses.

Adopting a set of written email guidelines as an organization is one of the best moves you can make to ensure unnecessary emails do not overload your employees’ inboxes and your organization’s storage space. There is a real financial savings for organizations in implementing email standards and your employees save time – and frustration – too. It’s a win-win.
Even if your organization hasn’t adopted these standards, start practicing them on your own and I bet your colleagues will thank you.

Winning is a lesson you learn through losing by Aaron Teschner, SRM NAM

“Failures are expected by losers, ignored by winners.”  – Joe Gibbs

Aaron-Teschner-SRM-NAMGrowing up I learned a lot about how to lose because my Dad does not have it in his DNA to let someone win and that fact was made very clear when we played basketball.
Backyard one-on-one basketball with my Dad is where I compiled one of the worst win loss records in the history of sports.
The contest was best two of three and though I won many games, taking two of three was another story.  I was a basket from winning many times but closing it out was another story.
My old man would summon an inner strength fending off my best attempts by pulling off difficult shots, blocking shots and even giving out an occasional bloody nose.
Before I finally took two of three games I estimate that my record was 0-353 and though we continued to basketball, it was never the same.
But the lesson was learned, “Winning isn’t about a single game it is about getting back up no matter how defeated you feel at the moment.”


For every mess we've got the master - servicemaster professional services in Minneapolis and St Paul, MN

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