Not everything has to be difficult or time consuming; so today we are going to keep it simple!
Why do we make bad decisions? Because we make a mistake and repeat the process down the road thinking the outcome will be different. So how can we learn from our mistakes, avoiding bad decisions later on? If you want to learn and grow there is a powerful three letter word in construction, we should all be asking it's called "WHY", to help us learn from our mistakes. For example let's say you had a concrete pour that went ok, ask yourself:
Why was it just ok?
So after they did not show up, what decisions were made as far as schedule and the pour date?
By asking WHY you can see that the pour production was subpar. Because the finishers were not able to get the slab placed quickly with fresh concrete they had to work twice as hard to lay it down, because the carpenter crews were still placing rebar and fine grading the gravel, because the area was not turned over to them as scheduled because the dirt contractor did not finish on time because they were not on-site on the day they were supposed to begin the prep. So you can see one missed step cause a chain reaction of events to which caused the un-productive slab pour. If we focus on the problem at the first or second why we will never get to the route cause and will learn only half of our mistake. The problem is decisions, not being made right then, whether it's changing sequence of flow (maybe focusing on one area, a certain section so that one half was completely ready for the finishers when they show up, instead of nothing being ready and work needing to be done in all areas).
Once a schedule disruption happens, an action item needs to be implemented, it's like stacking concrete truck. You're trying to hurry and pump: old, dry concrete before time expires. However, this will cause a chain reaction with stacked trucks behind the one currently being placed, whereas if you remove one of the old trucks from the lineup the next truck will be fresher with more time to place out and so forth down the line, with remaining trucks. Flow is what we are trying to achieve to be productive and everytime there's a delay, well this disrupts the flow. So asking why allows us to find and learn from the route of the problem, as to not impact the remaining chain of events. Why is a powerful word if asked continually, will only help you learn and grow.
We need to change the term "construction worker" to creative constructer. We build awe-inspiring structures with advanced technologies, as such we should build our minds the same way: challenge our processes to create maximum efficiency on the job by asking, "is there a better way"? All it takes is one creative idea to simplify our process or procedures ultimately making your job simple and efficient. However, not all ideas need to be industry changers; it can be as simple as a new re-usable clip to attach edge-form or a different material to form footings, hangers for templates. One small idea can develop into limitless possibilities, this is where construction workers excel with crazy thinking!
It all starts with one crazy thought:
How can we develop a great idea?
It might be hard to justify lost production every day to meet with your entire crew for thirty minutes, but how much time is wasted if you don’t have a crew meeting? It will take them five minutes to think through what they were doing the day before, five minutes to think about what tools they need, another five minutes to talk to other workers to see whom they will be working with. Another fifteen minutes to walk to the area drop off tools walk to the office wait in line to ask the supervisor any information he needs for the day. As well as fifteen minutes to relay information to the other crewmembers, half of which will get lost in translation, so let's add ten minutes to refresh that information. Morning crew meetings, when done properly, will not only help the supervisor get organized, but help the crew plan their work where they can be efficient. Simple things like getting tools and equipment in one shot can save 15 minutes, and if everyone on the crew understands the directive and goals for the day, can help to eliminate delays, confusion and frustration that associated with poor planning. To have an effective morning meeting try the five "D's".
Morning crew meeting provide a perfect platform for a successful day when done properly. How you convey your message will decide how they perform! For example, if you use I in all your sentences then it will be YOU trying to get everyone to perform. If you use the word WE, then it becomes a TEAM pushing together to achieve the goals. Don't waste a prime opportunity to motivate, communicate and collaborate that a quick daily crew meeting offers.
Tomorrow as you walk the site, find something going as planned, as well as something behind schedule or causing you grief. Now create a list of ten items to evaluate, then split the list into a Why and What category. First Ask Why? Not the "Why Would You DO That" but "Why do/ dont the puzzle pieces fit". Next find out What! Not the "What Were You THINKING" but the "what are contributing factors". Use this as an exercise to help change how you evaluate task's and performance. Below I have listed 10 WHY's and 10 What's as examples.
WHY is it going good/bad?
What were the factors that contributed to the question Why.
Welcome to 2015! Designate this year to developing yourself: Meet new people, mentor and learn something about everything. So let's start with 3 steps to construction success for 2015.
Goal One: Be Social.
Goal Two: Mentor
Goal Three: Learn Something About Everything.
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