Small investments in training can pay big dividends
Carl, an equipment superintendent for a large general contractor in southern Oregon, told Session 9B of the Leadership Development Lab:
ďLast week I asked one of our mechanics to run down to the tire bay and change a blowout on one of our flatbed trailers. He said, ĎOkay, but I hate doing that.í I asked him why and he said that he had a hard time jacking the low trailer up because they were single axles, making them very low to the ground when a tire goes flat. I was surprised, almost shocked, by his answer. I took him over to where the trailer was and told him I would help him. I started out by asking him to show me how he normally performed the task of jacking up the trailer. As I watched, I was surprised to see that he did not adjust the jack to allow room to jack the trailer up in one swing motion. I showed him how to adjust the jack to low. He had never been shown how to make this adjustment. It is really quite easy when you know how, but if no one has shown you, trained you on how to do it, you donít know how! After I showed him how to do it, he completely understood and saw how easy it was, which made the job of jacking up the trailer simple. In fact, it is easier and faster by far than a double axle trailer.
ďThe lesson I learned from this experience is to take an interest in why a person might be resistant to doing any task. I learned the importance of being sure that people know how to do any job they are being asked to perform. The action I call you to take is to make sure you have taken the time to ask, listen and understand the knowledge, skills and attitude of your team
before assigning them any new task. The benefit you will gain is a job done right more easily and safely by happy, successful employees.Ē
And what is the rest of the story? This contractor has gained the competitive advantage of being recognized by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America as the one of the two safest construction companies in the United States.
Who do you know on your team who is being asked to perform mechanical tasks they havenít been fully trained to perform, use a computer program they havenít been trained on, perform customer service tasks they havenít been trained for, perform leadership tasks, such as coaching, correcting, on-the-job training, motivating, scorekeeping, running meetings, that they havenít been fully trained to perform? Give an honest answer to these questions. Redouble your training efforts today. You will get a great return on your investment in short order.