Turbo Leadership Systems

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Issue 96 To our clients and friends October 10, 2006
Happy Face
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Innovative risks can help keep costs down and raise your profits

Jason, an HVAC foreman for a large general contractor in eastern Washington told Session 3 of the Leadership Development LAB:

“In April of 2005, I was asked to run the HVAC work on a job in Kent, Washington. This job was a new movie theatre called AMC Theatre Complex. At the beginning of the job, Travis and I were trying to figure out how we were going to install our ductwork in each of the individual theatres. All of the theatres ceilings were about 35 to 40 feet high and there was a pit in front of the projection screen wall. To get to the pit, we drove a scissor lift up a ramp to one foot above the main floor and then proceeded to go down three sets of steps on another ramp. The only way we could install this ductwork was to have one scissor lift in the pit and one scissor lift on ground level. This put the scissor lifts 25 feet apart from inside to inside. We decided to put together seven sections of ductwork all in a row, one extended piece. This duct was about 24 x 12 or so and when the sections were hooked together, it was over 35 feet long. We then wrestled the long section of duct up onto the scissor lifts. As we started to simultaneously raise the lifts we were worried because it was

sagging so much, it looked like an upsidedown rainbow. We then proceeded to install the duct as carefully as we could.

We set the first section of duct at the right height in record time and continued to do all fourteen theatres in that same manner. By taking the risk of installing the duct in these long sections, we saved a lot of time, shaving over 50% off of the estimated time for this part of the project. We saved the company a lot of money and it actually made the job more fun.

The lesson I learned from this experience is how important it is to create a competitive culture of support and encouragement, a culture that supports risk taking. I have never seen anyone handle a length of ductwork half this long. I have more confidence in my decision making now.

The action I call you to take is to ask your team for their ideas on how to save time, cut costs, and improve safety. Encourage your team to take innovative risks, get outside of the box with their process improvement ideas. The benefit you will gain is an empowered, innovative team that improves productivity and grows in confidence.”


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