Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. ~Earl Nightingale
I have a large family, so I need a lot of dining room chairs (I have eight to be exact). They all have the cushions that have the light material on them. I’ve had four of the chairs for a few years and I acquired an additional four chairs when I purchased a used (but in great condition) dining room table. (I thought about refinishing my dining room tables – yes, two of them – but decided against it because they were just too old).
I had refinished my old chairs shortly after I purchased them, so they needed to be re-done again (badly!!). The new chairs I purchased also needed to be re-finished (badly!!). I also like to mix up colors while staying with a general color theme in my home. I recently purchased and hemmed new curtains in light green and off-white (shimmery) colors. I was lucky enough to have enough material of both colors to re-do all eight chairs.
I also cover them with clear plastic so that they are easy to clean up and don’t stain. I recommend this if you have children or use your chairs frequently. However, it is optional.
First and foremost, ensure your chairs can be taken apart with a few screws. To do this, just turn the chair upside down and look at how it is attached. These instructions are intended for the easy-to-remove cushions.
You will need:
Enough fabric to cover all of your seats
Enough clear plastic to cover all of your seats (optional)
Iron for the fabric
Screwdriver or drill
Step 1: Find material that you like that is enough to cover the chairs with the ability to wrap the material to the underside of the chair about three inches in. It can be all one type of material, or you can mix it up with your favorite colors. It’s your house – pick colors that you like.
Step 2: Purchase some clear plastic with the same measurements as the material. You can find the plastic in rolls that can be purchased by the square food at just about any fabric store. (I go to Walmart for mine – it’s usually more cost effective). **Hint: if you have small children I recommend the thicker plastic.**
Step 3: Detach the seats from the chair frames. There are usually a screws holding them together. (Don’t lose the screws!)
Step 4: Lay the cushion on the fabric and measure and cut it. I do it this way to ensure the pieces are big enough. Once cut, iron the fabric so you don’t have wrinkled seats.
Step 5: Repeat step 4 with the clear plastic (but don’t iron the plastic).
Step 6: Set the cushion on the fabric upside down (make sure the side of the fabric you want to look at is also face down on the table), wrap the fabric around the chair and staple one side two or three times to hold the fabric in place. Pull the fabric on the opposite side from where you just stapled and staple that side. **Hint: ensure you are pulling the fabric tight so that there’s no excess fabric bunched up.**
Then, turn the cushion so one of the corners is facing you and fold the fabric over the corner to your liking (every corner is different – just do what looks best to you). Pulling tight, staple that corner piece two or three times. Repeat on all corners.
For the two sides you haven’t stapled yet, face once side to you, and while pulling the fabric tight over the edge, staple it two or three more times to secure it in place.
Step 7: Repeat step 6 with the clear plastic.
Step 8:With the cushion upside down on the table put the chair frame on top of the cushion and align so the cushion is pushed up against the back of the chair and straight.
Step 9: Reattach the cushion to the frame using the screws. **Hint: you won’t be able to see the holes for the screws any longer because of the fabric and/or plastic. You can either cut the fabric/plastic to clear the screw holes, or you can drill the screws through the fabric. If you choose to go through the fabric it may pull the fabric. If this happens, pull the screw back out and then put it back in again.
You now have a re-finished dining room cushion. Repeat for all of your chairs. While the chair is taken apart you can clean the frame with soap and water, or even refinish that as well.
Depending on the type of business and business units being managed, it is sometimes better and more effective to create a hierarchy structure within the business units. This can help with communication effectiveness, training abilities, keeping the points of contact for one business unit to a minimum, and creating accountability among employees and leadership members.
First, determine what hierarchy is necessary and how many levels are needed. If there is one location manager and all others are employees, that hierarchy would be simple: employees > manager > you. However, if there are multiple departments at the location with department managers, plus shift or location managers, the hierarchy may get a bit more complicated.
Second, create a visual hierarchy ladder that clearly outlines who fits in to what role, the purpose of that role, and the specific reporting relationships at each level. The more detailed information provided, the better.
Third, define the formal and informal power each level has and to what extent. For example, what level determines who to hire or fire, conduct write-ups of employees, creates employee schedules, authorizes employee time-off, etc?
Fourth, define the flow of information through the chain of command. For example, if you send out communication to location or shift managers, do they pass it on to their employees, or are you expected to send that information on? Knowing exactly what is expected of them will help all employees understand their specific roles and responsibilities.
Fifth, develop a constant communication process so that information flows freely between you and your top leadership team.
Sixth, let your leadership team know exactly what you expect of them, how you will communicate what is expected of them (including deadlines), what response or acknowledgement you expect, how they will be included in decision-making processes in regard to their personal goals, their location goals, and the company goals. This will help everyone get on the same page.
Seventh, develop accountability throughout the chain of command. All employees should be involved in the company, location, and their personal goals, and they should be held accountable for those goals. Accountability should be kept for everything from ensuring all employees receive necessary communication to proper training to properly working with customers.
Eighth, conduct random on-site visits to ensure that company standards and procedures are being met, that the location is being run how it should be, and to talk with employees to hear (and act on) their ideas to make their location run smoother and increase production. After all, they are the one’s working the ground floor…and they really do know best.
All in all, developing and fostering a positive atmosphere where employees are included in developing goals, an atmosphere of high motivation and open communication, and where employees are comfortable going to upper management when needed will increase productivity and employee retention.
Makes 8 large burritos, or about 16 small burritos
8 Oz cream cheese
24 Oz shredded monterey jack cheese
1 Package taco seasoning
3 Lbs chicken, cooked and shredded
8 Large flour tortillas or 16 gordita size tortillas
Shredded cheddar cheese, green onion, salsa, and sour cream for garnish
Preheat oven to 350༠. Stir together cream cheese, 16 oz of the monterey jack cheese, and taco seasoning. Fold chicken into mixture. Put a small handful of the monterey jack cheese and chicken mixture into tortillas. Tuck in sides and roll up burritos. Spray baking dish with cooking spray and lay tortillas in dish, seam side down. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn Chimichangas over and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve with cheddar cheese, green onion, salsa, and sour cream as garnish.
We’ve had a few rainy days here in SoCal over the past few days, which has brought some much needed rain to our dry state. I’ve been thinking about activities kids (and I) can do while it’s raining and muddy outside. While my kids like to play in the rain, it really doesn’t take long for them to get bored, cold, and soaking wet…then they want to be entertained.
Sometimes my kids like to do things as a family and sometimes they like to have their time by themselves. Here are an array of ideas that work well for my kids on rainy days.
Baking / cooking – we all love baking (at least us girls) and having the house smell delicious on a rainy day is so nice. Not to mention that when we’re baking or cooking we make the house cozy warm because we use the stove and oven. We love baking cookies, cakes, banana bread…okay, anything sweet. And I usually make a big, yummy dinner (usually in the crockpot because we’re using the oven to bake with.
Board games – this one is from my childhood, but it still works! My kids are living proof! I’m playing Scrabble with two of my kids as I type this (yes, I’m multitasking). Earlier I played Battleship with my youngest daughter. We also have Monopoly, Jenga, Uno, and an array of other board and card games. I have found that these games are good for a while, but then the kids really get bored with them and want to move on to something else.
Blogging – there are lots of kids out there who blog, and a rainy day is a great day to catch up on some blogging (I know I am!).
Movie / TV- we subscribe to Netflix and we pay the extra couple dollars to allow for additional users to be able to log in. If they want to be left alone to do their own thing they generally go lay in their beds and watch a movie or TV show on Netflix. This really decreases the arguing and contention in my home (especially with four teenagers!). Or, sometimes we watch a movie on TV as a family. I try to limit this (as much as I can) because I would rather my kids do something other than watch TV for extended periods of time.
Clean / Organize – most kids (mine included) don’t necessarily like to do a whole lot (okay, okay…not much at all), but this really is a great time to clean out that closet or drawer that has been cluttered and begging for attention for a long time.
Read a book – cuddling up on the couch in front of warm fire with a hot cup of cocoa and a good book is always a nice way spend a chilly, rainy day.
Window shopping- sometimes we just want to get out of the house on a rainy day. Window shopping can be a lot of fun. If you live close to a mall you could go window shopping and try on cute clothes or look at beautiful artwork.
Movie Theater- going to a movie is a great way to spend a rainy day if you need to get out of the house for a couple of hours.
These can be done when it’s snowing as well, but since I live in SoCal (and in the desert) I don’t see much snow…more sunshine and rain than anything else. And don’t forget to invite a friend over to join in the fun as well!
Think BIG. Dream BIG. Believe BIG. And the results will be BIG.
Working with multiple business units that are located close together is definitely a plus when training employees and holding team building events. If the locations are located within 50-100 miles of each other, it is possible to get employees together once or twice a year. However, if the locations are located across multiple states, it can be nearly impossible to get everyone together at the same time. After all, who will take care of the locations while those employees are gone?
The reason behind team trainings is to transfer knowledge from yourself and others in the organization to the employees who need the information to perform their job duties. This can include information on: how to sell a specific product, how to run a new machine or program, how to handle difficult customers, how to run and utilize a new report, etc. The information needs to get to employees, but it’s also all about the way it’s delivered.
No matter what your specific situation is, training and team building with your employees is still necessary. Here are a few ways I have found to offer both to teams in multiple areas.
Onsite training: I believe that going to the actual location periodically is extremely important for many reasons, but to perform some training and to hold team building sessions are two on the top of my list. Plan out the activities prior to arriving and get as many of the managers and a few of the employees involved in the planning as well. Getting their input on what would work well for their location helps to ensure everyone becomes engaged in the activities.
Leadership training: Hold semi-annual or annual leadership trainings with specific initiatives for your team to take back to other employees. Find a way to hold them accountable for performing the training (and always build in the team building aspect into the activities) with their employees.
Online training: I recommend this avenue for specific procedures or ongoing training for all employees, but I also recommend this as a follow-up to recently implemented on-site team trainings either by you or your leadership team. Use a program that allows you to include either an end-of-training quiz or some form of tracking so you can run a report to see who has completed it…successfully.
Weekly / monthly on-site team building activities: Create a weekly or monthly team building regimen and appoint specific leadership members to conduct these activities.
Different places: Not all activities have to be on-site. Depending on the type of business, it may make sense to host activities off-site, especially when conducting team building activities. Taking employees to a baseball game, out for a nice dinner on the company, going miniature golfing, or some other fun activity can help boost morale, increase employee retention, and help employees get to know each other better (which results in a better working environment for everyone).
Every company will have different training and team building objectives. However, each company needs to have them and a plan in place to implement them. Not all locations will be the same, nor will all employees. Finding out how employees learn and work with each other will help determine the type and frequency of activities for that location or team.