5 Lean Construction Teambuilding Tips discussed by Lean expert & co-author of The Lean Builder: A Builder’s Guide to Applying Lean Tools in the Field, Keyan Zandy.
5 Lean Construction Teambuilding Tips
A project superintendent once told me he was frustrated with the Last Planner® System. He reported that his trades were not reliably coming to pull plan sessions and daily huddles, and they offered no input even when they did attend. He believed the problem was that we didn’t require these activities as part of their contract, and that we would have better success if we added this stipulation in the future. I wasn’t so sure about this approach, so I participated in a huddle to better understand what was happening.
Here’s what I saw:
- The superintendent referred to the trade partners by their firm’s names.
- No communication between the foremen (except for when they were arguing with each other).
- A lot of nicknames (tin-bender, sparky, etc.) amongst the foremen.
- Goals or milestones of the project were not discussed.
- No trade-to-trade collaboration.
I was puzzled by this, and I asked myself: how come we don’t build teams in the field the way we do in sports? Specifically, I mean creating a bond between the foremen and focusing them on the project’s priorities and goals. The superintendent and I discussed this thought, and then he changed his approach with his team of trades. The outcome differed from anything he had ever tried before. Check out his tips below for building a solid team.
Teambuilding and Collaboration Tips
#1 – Learn more about one another
Don’t call your foremen by their firm’s names. Take the time to get to know them and allow them to get to know each other as well. Putting a picnic bench outside the trailer and asking the foremen to eat lunch together could be a relaxed, easy way for them to get to know each other. When the people on the team feel friendly and familiar, working together onsite will be easier.
#2 – Treat your foremen with respect
Every person on the project brings something unique to the table, and their expertise can be a great asset. Your job is to make them feel like their job matters. When you allow people to openly express their ideas, you might be surprised by what they come up with.
#3 – Promote collaboration
Can you recall a time when you had two different trades approach you separately about an issue that involved the other? Encourage those foremen to collaborate. Empower them to come up with viable solutions before they present their ideas to you.
#4 – Identify goals
Ensure your foremen know the project’s small and significant milestones. Make it fun by putting up a scoreboard. In order to meet the upcoming milestones, the team must have an overall understanding of the dates and feel in ownership of their commitments.
#5 – Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes
Publicly give a shout-out to people who pull a late shift or put in high-quality work and make a point to recognize when trades are working together well. It’s unfair to throw people under the bus when the team fails. The mentality should be that if one trade fails, we all fail. Engage the team to discover why they failed and what countermeasures can be implemented to prevent it from happening again.
Be sure and follow Keyan Zandy on LinkedIn for more Lean Teambuilding Tips!