Have you ever realized the opportunities you’re missing out on, possibly on a daily basis? If you don’t promote idea sharing and an environment of open communication, your crew is more likely to keep their mouths shut, even if they think of something that could help out. Around two years ago I started doing things a little different. I realized that for some tasks, the carpenters were more experienced at what we were doing in this phase of the job than I was. I started to ask them what they thought about our processes and sequences. At first, I wasn’t comfortable asking; I thought the crew might think lesser of me. Something in my head kept saying “they will think you’re inexperienced or lose confidence in you”. I persevered and pushed those thoughts further and further out of my head and started to realize what was happening. We were transforming into a cohesive team, evolving from a dictatorship only able to perform at my skill level alone into a production machine. It started out as a question here and there and eventually turned into an everyday conversation at the end of our shift that involved everyone. We would discuss that day’s work, what went right, what went wrong, and opened it up for improvement suggestions. I have been truly amazed on many occasions, the ideas that have come from these conversations. Some ideas sped our production by very noticeable rates, other ideas made our work safer and less strenuous. The open atmosphere also improved moral; everyone felt valued and as important as anyone else.
Long story short, involve everyone on the crew. Work at getting them to open up and really question their process, looking for continual improvements and prepare to be amazed!