Monday, February 22, 2010

Armando Estrada and his son .... Appreciate Workers

A beautiful message by Father and Son,
Denny and Armando Estrada


The article below is from an email my Dad sent to me.
 I did not see the television program, but he always
told me to treat the people who we think have the
 lowest skills with respect. As an Army officer, there
is a saying that, “you should never make your soldiers
 do what you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself”.

I know my buddy Manny Gallegos and I were once Privates in the Army before we became officers. We knew first hand on what we liked and disliked about our officers when we were Privates and I feel that we became better officers and were respected by our enlisted members due to our experience and “compassion”. We had more respect from our subordinates than those that became officers straight from college. We got the respect from them because we demonstrated the interest for their welfare. We know that they had the power to either make us look good or bad and we never forgot this. I think that perhaps if the top managers could sit for a week and perform the work that they demand from us, they would get a new appreciation of what we do for them.

Denny Estrada

P.S. My Dad was brought up very poor and lived in the “skid row” area growing up.
 As a kid, my siblings and I would always make fun of him, behind his back of course,
 that he exaggerated his low income upbringing. Having worked and visited this cluster,
I am glad that he worked hard to prevent us from experiencing the hardships he had to
 endure. I now have a deeper appreciation for his hard work and sacrifice he made to
provide his family a better standard of living. My Dad had his faults, but working hard
and demonstrating to us his work ethic was not one of them.


02/22/2010   By Armando Estrada

Yesterday evening I watched a program on T.V. channel 2 titled “Undercover Boss”.
 The President and CEO of a Company actually goes undercover and spends one week working as a new entry level employee for the Company. He does this at various Company locations without anyone at those locations knowing who he is. What the CEO discovers is what every CEO and management person should know – Front line employees, (those directly involved in doing the work), are the heart and soul of a Company and are a Company’s most valuable asset. A repeated comment of Sam Walton, WalMart’s founder was, “The person that can best tell you how to improve your Company is the stock clerk, cashier or even janitor; those on the front line of your Company.”

It’s tragic how this vital truth is almost totally ignored by too many Company CEO’s, management and supervision.

In my youth as I was striving to learn a trade, the doors to apprenticeship in most high paying trades were closed to me because of my minority Mexican nationality and the color of my skin. A friend got me into a slaughter house in Vernon, California as the “Bone Barrel Boy” on the grave yard shift. The people working grave yard were treated like “forgotten, non-existent no-bodies.” We were screamed at, cussed at and shown no appreciation or respect for the work that we did, (work that most people would not or could not do). A book title “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair tells a harrowing but true story about the brutal treatment of workers at a slaughter house in 1906. I lived and went through “The Jungle.” This is why as a Human Resources Manager I treat workers with dignity, respect and an open mind, (especially production workers who work the grave yard shift).

There are many vital jobs that are carried out by committed workers who do their jobs from their heart more so than for the pay. We need to do everything possible to back, support and appreciate them. If we do this the positive results will be astounding.

In closing, workers who are confident because they are given ownership in their jobs, are properly trained, motivated, encouraged, supported, appreciated and work as a team will make even a poor system work like a fine tuned watch.

If you are in Los Angeles, please tune in to channel 2 Sunday at 9:00 P.M.
and watch “Undercover Boss.”

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