Do you have a foremen peer group at your company?
If not, you may be missing out. You may be wondering, “What is that, and why do I need a foremen peer group?”
Here are the two main reasons I promote this as a management tool:
Benefit 1. To help leadership better understand the employees’ needs and perspectives, from the view of the troops on the ground.
This is especially important if your employees do not speak English well.
It’s a way to build trust and gain a bead on what is being discussed (gossiped) in the field. And it’s a way to deal with issues before they boil over.
Benefit 2. To encourage foremen to take on more responsibility for their jobs and projects.
With that said, let me describe for you the two different kinds of foremen peer groups, each has a different purpose:
The Foremen Advisory Council
This is a group of crew leaders from across your different departments who are pulled together––with a translator if needed––to give regular feedback and input on different matters:
- Their needs
- Tools and equipment
- New ideas you want to roll out
- etc, etc.
Case Study from Greg Semmer, owner of Semmer Landscape, Chicago IL.
“In the foreman advisory council, we do not have their direct boss in the meetings. We do that so they can completely open up about what’s on their mind. We listen to them and try to validate their concerns and implement their ideas if we can. It has been a couple months and is gaining traction and speed. Thank you, Jeffrey. Wish I would have done it earlier!”
The Super Foremen Scheduling Group
This is a particular group is used just in installation dept, where the foremen are included in the weekly scheduling process and encouraged to take responsibility and give direction to their needs in the jobs they run.
It teaches them to act more like project managers, the very definition of a Super Foremen.
Case Study from Brandon Lair, co-owner of The Site Group, Dayton OH.
“Our Super Foremen model continues to work well. After 3 full years in this system our foreman continue to grow in responsibility and gain a much clearer picture of what efficiency means in terms of our global goals. Having them in the schedule meetings has forced them to look much further ahead than just today or even tomorrow. The impact has been eye-opening, especially when the foreman are affected by limited resources. They can now control the best use of these resources to stay on schedule. This foremen peer group creates accountability to each other and increases both their engagement and our progress.”
My Observation: Brandon has been a member of my peer group for a few years, and has transformed himself and his company in the process. He’s a brilliant leader. It has been a pleasure watching him implement his Super Foremen model and bring heightened operational success to his company.
Your challenge: Gaining more buy-in from your field leaders, even if they speak a different language.
It’s a sign of respect to ask someone’s opinion.
It’s a sign of disrespect to not acknowledge and follow their feedback as best as possible.
So when you go down this path, be prepared to follow through.
With all the trouble you have attracting and even retaining employees, why not employ your field leaders to improve your operations from bottom to top.
The same goes for you: join a peer group for landscape business owners, and find out what you are missing! To learn about my high impact groups for landscape business owners, go here.