Bridge Firm Recovery May 2019

Recovery Reader The May 2019 (269) 359-0814




We have all probably heard that phrase at one point or another in our lives. Well, being a landlord is supposed to be just like that, per the 3 a.m. shows and these workshops that keep coming to town.

The reality is, it can! But not by the power of Mother Nature.

In order for your investments (May flowers) to bloom, you need to shower themwith the right kind of attention. What do I mean by that? Glad you asked: Do you have a solid application in place; one that asks all the questions, and the right ones? Do you know your risk tolerance and have a qualification standard in place? Do you know what to do when/if your tenant gets behind on payments? Do you know when it’s time to help that tenant move on? If you answered NO to any of these questions, we need to talk. Together, we can add the proper fertilizer (the answers) to those showers, and you will see your investments bloom. Do you have a quality lease?

Some Bad Behaviors Are Hard to Detect

Sometimes it’s easy to tell when it’s time to let someone go. When an employee is consistently late, refuses to deliver on their promises, or establishes a pattern of blatant toxicity, it’s obvious that you should send them packing. Unfortunately, sometimes the worst employees in your organization are the ones coasting by behind the scenes, covering up their mistakes and undermining your workplace culture without you realizing it. Here are three less obvious tendencies of bad employees.

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In business, errors are bound to be made — sometimes even catastrophic ones. But when your employee immediately rushes to point the finger at another individual — even one who is partly culpable — it’s a red flag. Any employee who genuinely enjoys working in your organization will form connections to their coworkers. If they’re quick to throw others under the bus instead of taking some responsibility, it shows that they do not value trust or community — or they simply care more about their own well-being than the well-being of the company. While it’s not ideal for an employee to take responsibility for an error that truly wasn’t their fault, acknowledging that they may have had a hand in the error — whether it was miscommunication or mismanagement — shows a level of self-awareness and strength that can go a long way in business.

Spring is finally here! We are looking forward to a great summer season.

Have a great month!

Dan Larson

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Cover story, continued ...

who shy away from honest communication and resort to talking smack weaken your entire workforce.

This is especially true in your management team. It’s easy for a manager to point out an underperforming team member and say they’re messing up, but in reality, it’s their responsibility to keep everyone on track. If someone is throwing around blame after a mistake has already been made, it might be worth asking why the mistake was able to occur in the first place. Playing the blame game in management will result in disgruntled employees and create a rift in company culture. Nothing damages workplace culture like unsubstantiated rumors. Your employees may complain from time to time about one another as a means to blow off steam, but you need to start recognizing when it becomes an insidious pattern. When someone is continuously talking about others, it shows a lack of character and an unwillingness to work out problems on their own. Face-to-face communication is always better, and those THEY NEVER STOP GOSSIPING.


If there’s one thing you should never tolerate in your office, it’s an unchecked ego. The best way to ensure success in your business is to hire folks who are not only intelligent and competent but who also play well with others and lift one another up. Teamwork is paramount at every stage, regardless of the business you’re in. Just because someone is a top performer doesn’t mean they got there alone. If they can’t recognize that and give credit where it’s due, it’s likely that those they’ve unwittingly leaned on, gossiped to, or complained about are getting fed up. At a certain point, it doesn’t matter how great an employee seems to be; if a substantial chunk of their team dislikes them, it’s time to start asking some hard questions.

Don’t let your own opinion of a high- performing colleague cloud your perception of their personal faults. Sometimes, they may seem to benefit the bottom line, but they bring everyone else down in the process. Make no mistake: These folks are not worth keeping around.

employees with a better work-life balance may be the secret to a happier, more productive workplace. After the successful trial, Perpetual Guardian opted to stick with the four- day workweek permanently. They provide several tips for implementing a four-day workweek at your company. Monday–Thursday Are 4-Day Workweeks the Secret to Productivity?

Could you get more done with one less day in the week?

Of course not! Most of us need more time in the week, not less. At least, that’s the assumption. But a New Zealand company recently proved that when it comes to company productivity, less may mean more. In March of 2018, Perpetual Guardian, a finance management company in New Zealand, began testing a four-day workweek for its 240 employees. Researchers from the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology studied the firm before, during, and after the trial. Perpetual Guardian isn’t the first company to test-drive a four-day workweek, but during the trial period, they did something unusual: They didn’t reduce employees’ salaries. Paying employees for five days of work while only requiring four days sounds like a surefire way to bankrupt a company, but researchers found the change had the opposite effect. By trimming the hours down and maintaining pay, Perpetual Guardian saw a 20 percent increase in productivity. The shorter workweek motivated employees to get their work done quicker by cutting down meeting times, becoming more self- motivated, and telling their colleagues when they were being distracting. After the trial, employees at Perpetual Guardian also reported feeling 7 percent less stressed and a 24 percent improvement in work-life balance. Considering the fact that burnout — and the sick days that come with it — is such a problem in the United States, providing

Let your customers knowwhat’s going on and assure them there will be no drop in service. Ensure the new employment structure doesn’t cut across legal requirements. Be clear that the aim of the initiative is to benefit the company as well as the employees.

Do your own web and local research. Speak to your staff and be clear about your objectives. Ensure policy is well- supported and resourced. Create a policy that can flex depending on workloads, projects, or customer requirements.

Recognize that flexible working initiatives aren’t magic bullets.

If you’re interested in learning more about Perpetual Guardian’s four- day work week, check out the white paper written by The University of Auckland researchers at

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Not all exercises are created equal. In fact, there is one form of exercise that is better than many others: walking. Harvard Medical School took a look at various exercises and concluded that walking is up there with swimming and tai chi in terms of health benefits. Regular walking can help maintain good cholesterol and blood pressure levels and keep your bones strong and healthy. One study showed that 40 minutes of walking every day helped people reduce blood pressure from hypertension to prehypertension, and then eventually to normal over several months. Walking can even keep many different kinds of diseases at bay, such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition to these physical benefits, walking daily can improve your mood and overall mental health. As simple and straightforward as walking is, it can be difficult for many people to find the time. Most experts agree that you need 30–60 minutes of physical activity per day, but the good news is that you can split those The World’s Best Exercise

minutes up throughout your day. For example, you can take a brisk 20-minute walk in the morning before work, followed by another one at lunch and one more after dinner. Those 60 minutes also don’t have to be strenuous; they just need to happen. However, the more time you put into walking, the more you will get out of it. If you slowly increase your distance and speed, you’ll end up burning more calories and strengthening your legs over time. The great thing about walking is that it’s not particularly taxing on the knees, and you can move at your own pace. It doesn’t get any better than that! To get the most out of walking, schedule your walks for after mealtimes, especially the ones that come later in the day, like lunch and dinner. It’s a great way to aid digestion and burn calories —which can’t hurt your waistline!

Take a Break!

CLASSIC FRENCH OMELET Ingredients Inspired by

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3 large eggs

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


and scrape down any wispy bits around the edges. The top surface should be loose and creamy, but if still liquid, swirl skillet to bring raw egg to the edge where it will set faster. 4. Remove from heat. Tilt skillet up by handle. Using fork, gently roll omelet down over itself until nearly folded in half. Using fork, push omelet to edge of skillet so that the lower edge of egg just begins to overhang. Use fork to fold overhanging edge of egg back over, closing omelet. 5. Turn omelet out onto plate. It should have the seam on bottom.

1. Inmediumbowl, beat eggs with plastic fork until last traces of white are just mixed in. Season with salt and pepper. 2. In an 8-inch nonstick skillet, but not browned. Add eggs, stirring rapidly with fork, while moving skillet to agitate eggs. Break up all curds by scraping bottom of skillet as they form. Stop stirring when eggs are softly scrambled and creamy (but loose enough to come together into a single mass), 1–2 minutes. 3. Using fork, gently spread egg in an even layer around skillet melt butter, swirling over medium heat until foamy • 269-359-0814 • 3

Bridge Firm Recovery (269) 359-0814



PO Box 24 Grandville, MI 49468

INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Dan PAGE 1 3 Signs It’s Time to Fire an Employee PAGE 1

Is Your Company Ready for the 4-Day Workweek? PAGE 2 What Is the World’s Best Exercise? PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Classic French Omelet PAGE 3 The War PigeonWho Saved the ‘Lost Battalion’ PAGE 4

BRAVE LITTLE CHER AMI The War Pigeon Who Saved the ‘Lost Battalion’

shot down. When friendly fire began raining down on the 77th, Major Charles White Whittlesey felt he had no choice but to send the last pigeon, Cher Ami. The pigeon’s desperate note read: “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it.” As Cher Ami rose from the brush, she was shot down, to the despair of the watching soldiers. However, after a few seconds, she fought her way back into the air, flew through a torrent of gunfire, and made it to division headquarters 25 miles away. She had been shot in the breast, the eye, and the leg. Because of Cher Ami’s brave flight, 194 of the original 554 men of the 77th Division survived the battle. One month later, WorldWar I came to an end. Cher Ami survived the war as well, thanks to the surgeons who performed

Long before the invention of radios and cellphones, homing pigeons were used to send messages as early as the sixth century. During WorldWar I, war pigeons carried lifesaving messages past enemy lines for the American and French armies, often being wounded in the process. In 1918, Cher Ami, a black check hen used by the U.S. Signal Corps, became the most famous of them all. On Oct. 2, the United States 77th Division was trapped behind enemy lines in the Argonne Forest during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, a three-month push by the Allies during the final throes of WorldWar I to force the Germans to surrender. It became the bloodiest battle in U.S. history. For six days, the encircled division endured relentless attacks and suffered heavy casualties, but their orders were clear: don’t retreat and don’t surrender.

emergency surgery on her. One soldier even carved her a little wooden leg. She became a well-known hero to both soldiers and children in the States. For her service in Verdun, the French Army awarded her the Croix de Guerre, and she was inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame. Cher Ami finally succumbed to her wounds in June of 1919 and is now on display in the Smithsonian alongside Sergeant Stubby, a terrier who served 18 months on the Western Front.

The division dispatched two homing pigeons with requests for help, but both birds were

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