Country Club Bank: Partnerships make business FUN!

By Gina Stuelke, CEO of Kenton Brothers

Country Club BankAt Kenton Brothers Systems for Security (KB), one of our top core values is creating meaningful partnerships. These include partnerships with our internal customers, our external customers, our vendors and our professional resources such as Country Club Bank.

Country Club Bank (CCB) is local, they’re homegrown and they understand what it means to live in Kansas City. They understand what it’s like to do business here and to raise a family here. These are characteristics we share and part of the reason that they are a key partner for Kenton Brothers. As family owned and operated organizations, we’re both built on the importance of doing what we say we will. That is a trait deeply engrained in how we work, and has been passed to family members from generation to generation.

Our Country Club Bank Team

I’m especially proud of the CCB team that supports KB, led by Joe Close and Daniel Zinser.  I’ve watched them as they have grown and contributed to the CCB organization. We’ve worked with Joe since the early 2000’s and have watched his leadership elevate to the role of bank President. He’s played a major role in mentoring our current point man, Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending, Daniel Zinser.

Daniel Zinser

Daniel Zinser

I talked with Daniel about the impact Joe Close has had as his mentor. “Similar to sports, our mentors/coaches have a huge impact on our futures. I have been blessed to experience that in my personal and professional life. Working under Joe Close, now President of CCB, early in my lending career taught me many valuable skills which I seek to share each day to the benefit of my teammates and clients. His trust empowered me to take ownership of our clients which in turn, allowed them to be better served on a daily basis. Although bumps were encountered along the way, his positivity and support kept me focused on the days ahead. As he would say, onward and upward.”

I also asked Daniel about the best part of working at CCB. “During my time as an intern, and the 14 years since, I have interacted with many different people throughout the bank. I first noted the longevity and commitment numerous employees had made to the bank and the Thompson family. I knew this would not be possible unless the organization as a whole and its goals were aligned. Furthermore, I saw the impact and reputation Country Club Bank had in our city and that resonated with me. Byron Thompson (founder) had a quote – surround yourself with good people and good things will happen – I think this epitomizes the CCB culture.” (I totally agree!)

One of the most impressive differentials that sets so many of the CCB team members apart, is that they care. Care and concern are rare qualities in today’s business arena! Kudos to the Thompson family and the quality organization they have built. You should be proud!

The Breakfast Club! Quarterly family meetings at Kenton Brothers.

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers

Kenton Brothers Breakfast ClubQuarterly Family meetings at Kenton Brothers Systems for Security are in a word: AWESOME!

Yes, we call our quarterly meetings Family meetings. Why? Because we’re a family business and our connection to each other is more than just an employee/employer relationship. We’re connected, like a family, through the best of times and the worst of times. When you go through good and tough times together, it creates a bond. Stronger than friendship… we’re family.

Last year (2020) was a tough year for everyone including our family members. Kenton Brothers Systems for Security is a critical infrastructure protection company and an essential business. We were open during 2020, but it was very different. Our field personnel couldn’t be in the office for meetings. And there were strict protocols in place for sanitization and social distancing that made contact and communication difficult.

Our teams had to sanitize before entering job sites in the mornings and their homes at night. They had to brace for the unknown each day, and they did it without wavering. 2020 was tough, but it brought out the best in our teams. Even though we weren’t able to be together, the teamwork was never stronger!

Kenton Brothers Quarterly Breakfast Family Meetings Kenton Brothers Quarterly Breakfast Family Meetings

Welcome Back!

Fast forward to 2021 – It’s looking a lot better. Recently, we were able to hold our 2nd quarter family meeting. The night before we held a “getting back together celebration, that included a happy hour with board games and puzzles as well as a tasting of offerings from Boulevard Brewery, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. (Thank you Boulevard Brewery for your support and for being a great customer!)

It was a great bonding time. Seeing everyone together again was awesome. The laughter filled the showroom and the gamesmanship was in full effect. This is a competitive bunch!

The next morning, we had our traditional Family Breakfast complete with French toast, bacon, eggs, potatoes and fruit. Breakfast Club is what we call it and there’s nothing like starting off a day of updates, collaboration, training and learning with bacon and good coffee!

Kenton Brothers Quarterly Breakfast Family Meetings Kenton Brothers Quarterly Breakfast Family Meetings

Where we’re at, where we’re going and how we’re going to get there!

Quarterly Family Meetings are important at Kenton Brothers because they give us a chance to let everyone that makes up this family know where we’re at, where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.

This meeting allows us to celebrate our performance and reaffirm how important our core values are. It gives us time to talk about our boss… The Customer and how important they are to us. It also serves to reunite out satellite offices and help them know they’re part of something much bigger than their four walls.

This one in particular also helped remind us that we really missed being around each other over the last year. It helped us remember how blessed we are to have each other and to call each other Family.

How has your company culture fared over the past 15 months? Are you taking the extra time to encourage connection and celebrate reunions as everyone gets serious about going back to the office? We would love to hear your stories… and thanks for being part of our story by reading this one!

Kenton Brothers Quarterly Breakfast Family Meetings Kenton Brothers Quarterly Breakfast Family Meetings Kenton Brothers Quarterly Breakfast Family Meetings

KB Way Part 2 – Work Smart and Understand Core Values

By Justine King, Sales and Marketing Administrator at Kenton Brothers

Work Smart:

KB Way - Work Smart and Understand Core Values

Tim Mullins

Anticipate, be efficient and productive. Always stay five steps ahead of the competition.

As a company, Kenton Brothers takes pride in each and every new hire. We consider our employees a part of our KB family, therefore, we hold our new hires to a high level of professionalism. In order for us to do this, we know that we have to invest in each employee from the beginning. According to our KB Way trait, Work Smart, we must train each of our employees to anticipate, be efficient and be productive. This begins with how we train each new hire.

Ryan McCourt and Tim Mullins were two of our most recent additions to the KB Family. Each were put through an intensive two-week training of online courses and in person lab modules to ensure they were well educated prior to their first day in the field.

“Kenton Brothers was the first company that I was given the opportunity to have formal training in the first two weeks before being tossed into the field. Ultimately, I felt more prepared as a new hire now than I did when I started out with our two biggest competitors in the security industry.”
– Ryan McCourt

KB Way - Work Smart and Understand Core Values

Ryan McCourt

To help our technicians stay ahead of the game, we’ll provide anything and everything necessary for each of them to manage all obstacles onsite for our customers.

“I’ve needed power tools in the field. I asked. KB provided. Very accommodating for any and all tools or parts. Ropes for a specific job. I’ve gone through Ryan and Brinton or project managers with the same results.”
– Ryan McCourt

Know and understand KB Core Values:

Our values are the center of how the Kenton Brothers business is run. Instilling these values in each new hire is one of the most important things we can do as a company and Tim Mullins has lived up to and exceeded our Core Values.

“I make sure to deliver the same level of customer service to each of our customers on site, no matter how big or small the job may be. The customer is always our number one priority, and I never leave the site until they’re happy. I always give the utmost respect and service to every customer I encounter!”
–  Tim Mullins

KB Way - Work Smart and Understand Core Values

Tim Mullins

KB Way: Part 1- Be Respectful of your Equipment and Be Prepared

By Justine King, Sales and Marketing Administrator at Kenton Brothers

Be respectful of your equipment: Organization is a necessity for any great company.
Be prepared: Know your scope and be on time. Preparation is essential for every aspect of KB.

KB Way Part 1: Van Cleaning PartyOur technicians are constantly in the spotlight outside of the office as a direct representation of the Kenton Brothers Systems for Security name. Therefore, it’s crucial that our techs are prepared for anything that may arise before they leave the office for onsite services. This way, our team is prepared for whatever may happen on site – showing our customers the care we put into our craft.

A Van Cleaning Party?

Our techs gathered on a Thursday after work in the warehouse for a group van cleaning party organized by Senior Field Service Technician, Shawn Hamilton. The techs took the time gutting each van and deep cleaning every corner of their personal workspace. Because these vans and all of the equipment inside is KB provided, our techs took special care cleaning and reorganizing every tool and piece of hardware.

“I’m really picky about my own van and I love to have everything organized, labeled, and in the correct spot. I organized this event to share those ways with the other guys so they can find exactly what they need quicker and get the jobs done more efficiently for our customers. It really speaks volumes to the customers when we show up onsite prepared and don’t have to stop back at the shop for parts or supplies.” – Shawn Hamilton

KB Way Part 1: Van Cleaning PartyLabeling all parts and tools was a major task for many of the vans, but very important as well. Restocking was the last vital step to this full van makeover. Ensuring that each van was fully equipped with every part and tool is essential for the success of every onsite call.

Now that each van had been completely cleaned, some of the guys took Hamilton’s advice and prepared general service bags for any basic service call. They also prepared more specific service bags ready to go for building access control systems, video surveillance, or safe work.

Following the van cleaning and organization event, Hamilton ordered pizza for the techs as they sat in the warehouse swapping shop talk of dos and don’ts for the jobsite.

Hamilton left the guys with the following goal: wash their van once a week and pick up and reorganize the inside after each job is completed.

Take care your equipment, and it will take care of you.

The “Butcher Paper Review”

By David Strickland, Chief Operating Officer of Kenton Brothers

Kenton Brothers Inc. Core Values: Continuous learning & Innovation

Kenton Brothers: Innovate or DieAt Kenton Brothers, we are always striving to be better. To give better service. To have better communication. To always work toward the next level. It’s one of our core values, it’s in our DNA. We have a saying here… Innovate or Die.

The Butcher Paper Review

The success of our company through 123 years is because we are constantly willing to ask the tough question… Where are we failing? The Butcher Paper Review is a very important part of this process.

You may have read something similar to this previously. Many people call it a brown paper process review. Normally, you start with a standard process or procedure, and then look for ways to make it more efficient by visually mapping it on a long piece of brown paper. The mapping is done by all the team members in a department. Why? So that everyone has a say, and some buy in on the improvements that happen during the exercise. This is a very powerful tool for many businesses. And at Kenton Brothers, like many things, we’ve put our own spin on it.

When we conduct a ‘Butcher Paper Review” we use long rolls of butcher paper. Much like a butcher – we immediately “Cut out” everything we historically know and hold on to. We literally throw it all away and ask the question: How should it work?

We don’t look at it as an exercise for creating the most efficient workflow – we look at it as creating the best experience – for our customer.

We believe that it all starts and ends with the customer. 

Kenton Brothers: The Butcher Paper Review ProcessIf something interferes with delivering a remarkable experience to our customers – we have to get rid of it or “cut it out”. Granted, many of our practices enter back onto the butcher paper as they’re good procedures and help us provide a remarkable experience. However, inevitably in every session, a procedure or policy will be dutifully challenged. This brings me to the next key point:

There are no titles in the room.  

One of the best rules about the butcher paper review is that there are no titles in the room. The goal is to create trust with team members to communicate honestly and transparently. This will take some time and repetition, but once the gates open – watch out!

True innovation comes from the ideas and insights of those doing the job every day. These ideas ring of truth as soon as they are spoken.  

In a recent butcher paper review, KB technicians brought forward a communication issue that was affecting our customers negatively. We were able to solve the problem in just a few minutes. The moment a technician spoke of it – everyone agreed it was truthful and began solving it creatively. By the end of the meeting, a decision was made to move in a different direction by creating a more in depth communication policy.

There were two wins in that moment. 

  1. The customer will no longer feel the stress or friction of the blind mistake we were making.
  2. The technicians just got a win – and now understand how empowered they are to affect company procedure and customer satisfaction.

Kenton Brothers: The Butcher Paper Review ProcessAt Kenton Brothers Systems for Security, we conduct these butcher paper reviews once a year in every department. These meetings can continue weekly for up to 6 weeks depending on how many follow-ups and deliverables are necessary.

At any time, any member of the team can call for a butcher paper review. This leads to the next important lesson.  

The leaders in each department must feel comfortable putting aside their ego.

Having true customer focus means that the customer is the boss. Again, the team members closest to the customer have the best perspective. Allow them to share and to challenge what you think you know to be true.

Finally, I wanted to share that we’ve seen a transformation in morale and engagement since challenging ourselves with the butcher paper reviews. The organization has greater alignment. All  layers of the organization have a clearer understanding of what’s most important – Remarkable Customer Service.

Tips for a great “Butcher paper review”

  1. Leave everything you know at the door
  2. There are no titles in the room
  3. It begins and ends with the customer
  4. If it interferes with delivering a remarkable experience, “Cut it out”
  5. Every department does it at least yearly
  6. The best ideas come from those that do the job every day