Well, here it is, newsletter time, and Ray is MIA! Due to our fearless leader taking a few well-deserved days off for a little fun (Hey! We’re fun!) and recreation (Who says spreadsheets aren’t a sport?) I have been asked to be guest author for this month’s “Ray’s Ramblings”. I am both honored to be asked and terrified as I sit before my computer to dive into what I can bring to you to inform and inspire. Information is huge, isn’t it? Ray and all the COOs have been phenomenal in candidly sharing timely updates and shoutouts during this season to keep us as connected as possible. It is a lot of work putting those communications together and I am so thankful they have dedicated themselves to supporting all the Lone Star folks in every way they can. Ray wants to remind everyone that with the recent serious uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases being reported, it is STILL the Lone Star policy that all unvaccinated personnel shall continue to wear masks in public areas of our buildings and adhere to all requirements in place by our Customers. H-F-S Hands, Face, Space is still the SMART practice to keep you and all those you care about as safe as possible. Update: Due to the latest COVID numbers, all offices are back to wearing masks in all common areas within all Lone Star offices and buildings. Friday’s company update will focus on COVID.
YOUR FACES. The biggest success for me during July has been seeing your beautiful faces live and in person again! The energy level in the offices is sky high and I really enjoy hearing the spontaneous interactions going on…well, ok. Sometimes it does get a little high on the decibel meter… we will get back in the hang of using “inside voices” again with a little practice. There are multiple collaboration areas available for privacy and noise control, some require reservations, and some are first come, first served. Please discuss any access issues with your COO. They may have a good short-term solution. Telling them also helps them with long-term space planning.
COMMUNICATION. When I first came to Lone Star 25 years ago, one of the Service Techs told me something along the line that, even though we were named Lone Star Communications, “Communication” was not always our strongest trait. Since that day, I have made it one of my goals to help us become OUTSTANDING communicators. One of the first steps was to find better ways for everyone to share information to the correct folks. We had to understand how to properly use email, voicemail, & phone calls. Email etiquette is something Ron Kruse has been instrumental in teaching us. “To” means “This email is for YOU, don’t ignore it.” “Cc” means “The information in this email may impact you in some way and you need to be aware.” “Bcc” is well and properly used when sending out GROUP emails so when the recipient hits “Reply” it doesn’t go to 60, 100, or 250 people. Voicemail isn’t used as much as it was 10 years ago, but with the enhancement on some mobile phones that provides a transcript of the voicemail message, I don’t hate it as much as I used to. With the virtual environment we now live in, thank goodness for MS TEAMS! We were just getting this launched within the Company when the pandemic struck, and it has certainly raised accessibility and streamlined communication. I love not having to dig through dozens of emails to find what you asked me to get back with you on. A good old-fashioned phone call is still one of the BEST forms of communication short of face to face. Whenever someone says to me, “They haven’t replied to my email yet” you have almost always heard me say, “Well, give them a call.” Funny how folks will ignore your emails, but not your phone call.
Talent Development will soon launch a Customer Service training module beginning with around 100 LSC folks being invited to the courses, and as they give feedback on the units they find most valuable, we plan to expand the invitation to more customer-facing employees. Our customers are precious to us. Seriously. I know this for a fact. Remember, I was once a Lone Star customer! It is the reason I felt completely confident making the huge transition from schools to a business environment… and I have never looked back. I am proud to say now as an insider, this Company LOVES its customers, and we want to do everything we can to exceed their expectations. Knowing great Customer Service skills and enhancing our current skills will only help us continue receiving those amazing, unsolicited comments we receive regularly praising YOU.
MAKING ROOM. The construction in the Grand Prairie office is coming along with spectacular results so far. Dan Hiett has been relentless in managing the progress. Ultimately adding more restrooms, training space, product development lab, and more; many of the new office spaces have been created, old conference rooms reclaimed, and the earth is literally being moved preparing for the added parking spaces (Woo Hoo!) which will have us in great shape for the big 30th Anniversary bash October 23rd! We will have room for the big tent, booths, bounce house, and the food and beverage trucks. It is going to be epic! Remember, this is a family event so bring the crew! If you didn’t RSVP for enough folks, don’t worry. Just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her how many more to add. If you are coming from out of the DFW area and WILL need a hotel room but DID NOT already notify us of that, please do so NOW to secure a room.
CELEBRATIONS. Speaking of that, WOW! Two of our LSC locations, LSC Houston and LSC Central Texas, have already held amazing gatherings with lots of fun activities, gifts, food, and of course FUN! This month Ray, Justin, Michelle, and I were able to join in with the Central Texas team for an evening of food, great conversations, and BOWLING! Yeppers… I am paying for that decision now… you can catch me for the next several days with my trusty crutches! Thanks a LOT, Jeff Banks, for setting the bar so high my competitive spirit kinda crashed and burned. It was worth it to spend those hours with the impressive group from Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Georgetown… employees, spouses, sweethearts, and kiddos. I think I enjoyed seeing your kids the most (sorry!). They were so engaging. Gives us hope that they may grow into the NEXT generation of Lone Star folks. Patt
-Guest written by Patt Bowles, ESVP | Chief Operating Officer