KASH Recollections

By Tim Kline, Area Manager, Baltimore

Editor’s note: The following was written by a recent graduate of our KASH management training course. In this article, Tim reflects on what he learned during his training and which concepts and lessons he has now begun to apply to his everyday operations and has shared with his team at the Baltimore, MD maintenance branch. We hope that you learn something as well and consider taking KASH in the future if you haven’t already!

KASH stands for Knowledge, Attitude, Skills, and Habits. The training is formulated to maximize leadership and management potential and equip attendees with the expertise they need to succeed at their job.

One of my primary roles as a manager is to build excellence in people, and that means being present and accountable for those you manage. I’ve learned that I need to eliminate the excuse “I’m busy.” Being busy implies that you are preoccupied and can be a crutch that keeps leaders from evaluating and improving their time management. Prioritize what is important, make time for people who matter, and understand that only you control your time. The next time someone asks you how you are or if you can assist with something, come up with a better reason than “busy.”

Here are a few other takeaways I learned at KASH:

  • Commit to the company’s culture and share it with your team. Culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs which govern how people behave in an organization. Great leaders learn the culture, “Hold the Line,” model the culture and train the culture. It’s ultimately what will hold the team together and pull them through in the difficult times. Often people will quit on themselves before they quit on the team.
  • Close the loop. During my time in the military, we had a similar procedure that we called an “After Action Review.” This was a time to reflect, discuss, and change actions based on valued team input. It can be broken down in the simplest of functions, even after completing a simple job. Take five minutes and review your plan of action, how it went, what can you improve, and implement change where needed.
  • Implement the “KASH box.” Maintaining focus and using this simple tool is a great way to evaluate a team member and quickly find areas of strength and weakness. It allows you to quickly assess these four areas when talking with a fellow team member about their performance. For me, attitude is the one thing that can really make a difference between a good team member and a great team member.
  • Understand what motivates you and your team. Everyone has different motivators and by understanding what inspires and drives a person to perform, we can help them achieve excellence based on their motivators. Communicating with and getting to know your team members as individuals is a critical piece of this process. Our job as leaders is to create an environment where every one of our team members can reach their goals and is passionate about what they do.
  • Don’t be afraid to have the tough conversations. Sometimes being a leader and maintaining a positive attitude means having difficult conversations with fellow team members—coworkers, those you manage, and even those who manage you. I encourage you to embrace opportunities when they arise; it demonstrates that you’re invested and that you care about the long-term success of the relationship and the team. Always approach a difficult conversation with the idea that it provides an opportunity for actions and behaviors to be adjusted and improved upon to help strengthen the team.
  • Use the four-step training process. Breaking down the training into the four steps helps to train your team to accomplish the task and enables them to learn in a manner that can then be taught to others. In short, the four steps focus on preparing, presenting the information, having the person/team demonstrate what you’ve shown them, and then checking their work. Using this method and keeping it simple allows people at all levels to acquire, develop and improve their skills.
  • Set SMART goals and work smart. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Having goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timebound is the key to success. Talk with your team about professional and personal goals and teach them to do the same with their teams. Time management is crucial in planning and implementing goals. When we’re busy, sometimes we jump in and just start doing. By taking the time up front to plan, you can dramatically increase your efficiency and cut down on the time you spend fixing things further down the line.

My biggest take away from KASH was just how much our leadership cares. It’s clear to me that everyone who presented believes what they’re saying and truly exemplify the Ruppert values. If you’d like to attend, get with your manager and express your interest!