The Most Important 5 Minutes of Each Workday

7/18/2012

As a landscape company owner or manager you may have a clear idea of what needs to be accomplished each workday. Can you confidently say the same about the rest of your team? Or, have you felt that more direction and communication (inspiration?) each morning would produce better results day to day?

If you answered "yes" to that question, how about considering implementing a short huddle for your front-line employees before they head out to customers' properties each morning? Huddle?

Don't assume that just because your employees arrive on time each morning and check out your shop's schedule board that they're going to be fully engaged with the day's program. Hey, a very short get-together before meeting the day's challenges works for other teams, and it can work for yours, too.

What do football teams do before each game's first snap? They gather as a team, verbally encourage each other and prepare themselves for what they want to accomplish. Did the players of the world-champion NBA Miami Heat look at the schedule on the locker-room wall, then, trot out to the tip-off ready to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder? No, they gathered as a team, locked arms and reminded themselves, in their own spirited way, of the task at hand.

While nobody's suggesting your employees are going to greet the prospect of 8 hours of mowing lawns or laying pavers as enthusiastically as Dwayne Wade and his teammates got ready before each game of the NBA championship playoffs, it's unlikely they'll resent five minutes in the yard with their foreman or field supervisor to review each day's goals. It will give them a clearer picture of what to focus on and what needs to be done each day. It will remind them of the day's objectives -whether they're about safety, material use, operations, customer service or operations. Obviously, the message shouldn't be the same every day. After all, a quarterback doesn't call the same dive play or pass route in each huddle.

Here are some suggestions to make it work for you:

Keep It Short: Five minutes or less should do it. The best place to conduct it is in the yard with everybody standing. That will guarantee that the meeting is short.

Review Yesterday's Results: Recognize and applaud the wins, and briefly review what didn't get done and why. This helps instill a sense of accountability in your employees.

Focus on a Few Key Points: Production goals. Proper equipment usage. Safe driving.  A brief review of safety gear. These are all good topics.

Review the Day: Get your formen or field supervisors in the habit of preparing a short review - their team's successes and any suggestions for improvement - at the end of each day.