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By Erica Sweeney
August 14, 2017
Meetings...no one really has time for them, or so they think. We all have so much work to do that stopping for a quick huddle can seem counterproductive.But, this is exactly why you should be having regular foreman meetings: they actually make teams more productive. Productivity in the construction industry has stayed flat for the past couple of decades. That’s according to a report by McKinsey & Company. Would you agree? According to these researchers, most of the factors contributing to the lack of productivity revolve around communication.Not exactly surprising news, is it?In your line of work, time IS money. Neither of which you seem to have in spades, am I right? You’ve got important information to communicate daily, heck hourly, and no time to rally the troops every minute something happens. But, you do want to make full use of the time you do have with the teams on your jobsite. That’s where the rules to efficient foreman meetings can help you shave time and focus your important communications.We’re covering the most important five rules to organize efficient and productive meetings starting with your schedule.1. Let’s Make It Regular, Shall We?Creatinga regular schedule for meetings will allow all teams to plan ahead. Often, a variety of meetings need to be on the schedule: daily huddles, weekly meetings, and monthly rundowns. Huddle-style meetings should be held on the work site to maximize time. Stick to a set start time and always start on time. Try not to postpone meetings unless absolutely necessary. Daily meetings, whether held first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, need only be about 15 minutes. The most important thing is to include everyone on the team: foremen, superintendents, and specialists. That way everyone can discuss everything openly. Schedule weekly and monthly meetings to go over issues more in depth.Also, be careful not to go over the allotted time for the meeting. You know how busy everyone can be, and how strict that looming deadline is. Plus, people’s minds start to drift after a while. Are you still there?2. They Say The Devil Is in the Details...Having a detailed agenda for each meeting keeps everyone on task and makes the meeting productive, as long as you stick to the agenda. To help others prepare for meetings, send out the agenda ahead of time so attendees can prepare for the discussion and think about questions to ask.Spend time preparing the agenda—the more time devoted to the agenda, the more streamlined the meeting will be.Time is precious so don’t waste it on broad topics. Dive into the details. Discuss specific scheduling and safety issues, look over pertinent documents, and resolve any pressing problems. 3. Hang on a Sec… I’ve Got More Questions!Always leave enough time in the schedule for team members to ask questions or bring up issues that they feel are important. It is vital to a project’s success that everyone feels like a team player, and being inclusive is an assured way of making everyone feel like they are being heard and that their voice matters.Start the dialogue and keep it going. When workers feel like their voice matters, it fosters trust and camaraderie, which makes for a safe, productive, and enjoyable work environment.4. Scribble This DownDesignate someone to take meeting minutes, and you also need to take some notes. Record-keeping helps you track what was discussed and list items that need follow-up. Distribute meeting notes to the team and encourage everyone to read through them to make sure everything is correct. Involving the entire team fosters inclusion because everyone is empowered to bring up errors or make objections to the notes.5. Hold Everyone AccountableWhile regularly scheduled meetings are essential, following up keeps everyone accountable. It signals to the team that simply showing up to the meeting and nodding along doesn’t cut it. So, keep tabs on issues that come up during meetings and with the team member who raised the issue. Following up soon after the meeting shows that you are on top of things, organized, and value each team member’s contributions.Follow these tips to keep your meetings flowing and encourage everyone to participate. Your team will soon see the value in regular roundups, and you’ll hear less groaning. Ultimately, you’ll end up with a closer, more productive team and successful build.
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