Daily Huddle

Daily Huddle Tip: The No Phone Zone

Daily Huddle Tip – Make your meetings a “no phone zone.”

It’s hard to remember a time in our business before cell phones. When Motorola’s i530 Yellow Rugged Walkie Talkie flip phone came out, I remember thinking what a gamechanger that level of connectivity would be to our business. When I was able to access email on my phone, I felt even more connected. But as time has passed, I think it is fair to say that many of us are too connected to our phones: all day, making calls, coordinating, firefighting, responding to emails, texting, and using work-related apps like Procore or PlanGrid. It is non-stop.

But what’s worse is our servitude to our devices. It is typical to allow a notification alert, text message, or phone call to take priority over anything (and anyone) else. Do you keep your phone on the table in front of you while having lunch or coffee with a friend? How many times do you check your phone while you’re talking to someone who is in person with you? Have you ever checked email, sent texts, or taken a call in the middle of a meeting? How about in a meeting you are leading? (I am guilty on all charges).

Chick-Fil-A Cell Phone Coop

I recently had lunch at a Chick-Fil-A with one of our field teams, and I saw a sign for their “Family Challenge“. Here’s how it works: your group leaves their silenced phones inside the specially marked box called a “cell phone coop” for the entire meal and, if you’re successful in leaving them alone, everyone gets a free ice cream cone. The goal of the Family Challenge is to get people to disconnect from their devices so they can better connect with each other.

Daily Huddle Tip – No Phone Zone Benefits

It really had me thinking about how a No Phone Zone could be impactful for our daily huddles. As we have implemented this, we immediately noticed the following benefits:

  1. Faster Meetings – When the distractions that phones create are eliminated, the meeting picks up pace. Everyone gets in and out—and back to work—faster.
  2. Fewer Interruptions – I can’t tell you how many huddles I’ve been in where a trade foreman will answer a phone call and everyone waits for him to get off before getting back to the discussion. Every time someone disengages from and then reengages with the huddle, we have to restart to the topic at hand. Time, ideas, and productivity are negatively impacted. It’s annoying and counterproductive. Don’t let it happen.
  3. Better Decision Making – When the field leaders are focused on the topic at hand, they can add more value to the conversation. Having everyone paying attention allows for better decision making as well, because more input is being provided by all parties.
  4. Respect for People – The core principle of Lean is respect for people. To build a team culture on the jobsite, respect must be given and earned, and the daily huddle is a great place to starts. Allowing people to use their phones at the huddles shows a lack of respect to the entire team, because it sets the tone that whatever is happening on someone’s device is more important than the work and the conversation that’s happening right in that group.

The Importance of No Phone Zones

Think about your relationship with your device and how it might be negatively impacting your relationships with the people in your life. Creating “no phone zones” for yourself and for your team—at huddles and elsewhere—can build momentum and create positive change for you and the people you’re working with. Ultimately, your phone is a tool that’s meant to make things better, faster, or easier for you, and you’re in control of making sure it’s doing that job for you.

By: Keyan Zandy, COO
Skiles Group

For more from Keyan, see The Lean Builder – A Builder’s Guide to Applying Lean Tools in the Field or Connect with Keyan on LinkedIn.

Keyan Zandy is a longtime Lean practitioner, enthusiast, and advocate. As Skiles Group’s COO, he has a dual focus on client service and on nurturing a progressive company culture. He is ultimately responsible for the oversight of the firm’s daily operations and ensuring that their Lean processes are continuously improved and consistently practiced. He is the co-author of The Lean Builder: A Builder’s Guide to Applying Lean Tools in the Field, which simplifies and clearly articulates the benefits of seven primary Lean concepts, and delivers them in a highly-relatable, immediately-applicable, and field-friendly manner. Keyan also serves as CEO for Smart Safety, an award-winning crisis management communication and emergency response tool.

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