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The 4 Questions Foremen Can Answer to Win the Day

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Business Advice

It’s not uncommon for foremen to step out of the truck and right into the chaos of the day. A crew member didn’t show up, the mulch they submitted multiple requests for hasn’t arrived and a task from the day before isn’t finished. And that’s all before 8am. Foremen can boost productivity, compel their managers to act on their behalf and improve communication between the office and the field. In short, they can win the day and it all begins the day before at 4pm.

LMN’s FREE 4 o’clock 4 app has foremen answer 4 questions at the end of each day that get submitted to their supervisors. It’s a simple landscape productivity tool for foremen that reduces the endless texts, emails and phone calls back and forth. Here’s why foremen should start taking a few minutes to answer these 4 questions at 4pm.

Question #1: What are your top 3 priorities/goals for tomorrow?

It’s easy for foremen to get bogged down in the nitty gritty details of a job, especially when things go wrong. Goal setting forces you take a high-level view of a job in order to set attainable priorities for the following day.

Your supervisors will be impressed that you’re planning ahead and your crew will be more productive when they know what they’re aiming for.

Tip: Think about incentivizing crews with rewards when they hit key goals. It could be as simple as a gift card to your local coffee shop or movie passes. A little recognition goes a long way.

Questions #2: What did you get completed today?

Sometimes things just fall apart. Even on those days, foremen are able to identify small wins when they’re routinely documenting the items they’ve completed.

By taking a few moments at clock out time when everything’s fresh in your mind, you’re more likely to recall details from the day’s events. Because your supervisor will learn to expect these daily reports, communication gets standardized and more efficient.

Tip: Gather your team 10 minutes before the end of their shift to solicit input. Use that time to recognize individual, and team, contributions.

Question #3: What obstacles are slowing you down?

Whether it’s a sick crew member or a delayed piece of equipment, obstacles happen. And if they’re not being addressed, they can cause costly job delays. A day of pounding rain can’t be avoided but some obstacles can be controlled.

Identifying obstacles on a daily basis will surface small but recurring problems that are chipping away at productivity. It could be as simple as the poor placement of materials on site or a larger issue like the lack of proper equipment to complete a job.

Tip: Some obstacles might not be readily apparent, like a chatty customer distracting a crew member. Ask your crew to alert you to any obstacles that might be specific to their jobs.

Question #4: What do you need from me?

  • Information: Are you missing detailed instructions, documentation or regular communication?
  • Materials: Low on sod or still waiting on patio stone?
  • Equipment: Could your crew really use a mini ex or a new hedge trimmer?
  • Labor: Would the job be done quicker with some extra help?

When people are waiting on something, there’s clear accountability. If you submitted three consecutive requests for a material type or color selection and your direct supervisor never provided it – that mistake (and lost productivity) is on them. If you never requested the information, however, that oversight is on you.

Aside from the owner, you not only have one of the most challenging jobs in the company but you’re ultimately responsible for much of a job’s success. Your superiors will be eager to assist you in any way they can.

Tip: Read How to Drive Growth and Profits by Developing Better Foremen to understand how you should be supported for success.

At the end of the day, you and your supervisor have the same goals: Get the job done well, on time and on budget. By taking a few minutes to answer these four questions before you hop into the truck, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to evaluate the day in order to effectively plan for the next.

Incorporate the 4 o’clock 4 mobile app into your daily routine and you’ll notice a huge impact on productivity, accountability and overall communication, and so will your supervisor.

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