Jesse, project manager for a large building company in southern Oregon, told Session 8B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"A project manager on the OSU stadium job had been very effective at recording our weekly owner / architect / contractor meeting minutes. He noted who was assigned and was responsible for each action item. He was very careful about taking thorough, detailed notes that supported the reasons for the decisions made and the logic of how the action items would move us forward toward successful completion of the job.
I had repeatedly asked him to enter these meeting minutes into “Prolog” which is our construction management software. By entering these meeting minutes into this program, everyone on the project would have access to the notes through our networked database. We would not be limited to his computer or worse, the file drawer at his desk. I knew if everyone could easily refer back to his meeting notes, it would remind us of our agreements, increase our accountability, and improve our overall performance.
After his failure to accomplish this simple task despite my repeated request to do so, I pulled up a chair next to him at his desk and asked him why he hadn't entered the meeting minutes into Prolog, which was supposed to be a standard procedure for this project. To my amazement, he replied, 'I really just don't know how to do it.' I told him I
would be glad to show him and decided that this would be the perfect time to use Turbo's 3-step on-the-job trainingmodel. First I entered the information into Prolog as I explained what I was doing. Then I had him enter the minutes as I slowly explained the procedure again. Then finally I had him enter the remaining minute notes as he explained what he was doing. When I was sure he was comfortable with how to enter information into Prolog, I told him that in the future I would appreciate it if he would begin to enter the meeting notes into Prolog the same day of our meeting. He said, 'No problem. I will be happy to.'
The lesson I learned from this experience is if something isn't getting done even after I have repeatedly requested it from someone, I need to take the time to talk to that person one-on-one and find out why the work isn't getting done, look for the root cause of the problem. The answer may be surprising.
The action I call you to take when you are not getting the results you are after is to take the time to sit down with the person and really listen to their side of the issue. The benefit you will gain is a quick identification of the root cause of the real problem. Instead of going around and around the issue and getting completely frustrated, the item you need to get taken care of will finally get resolved and you will be free to move on to other tasks that move your projects forward."