Point the way to solutions

Darin, Foreman, for a full-service mechanical and plumbing contractor in Wilsonville, OR, told Session 3B of Turbo Leadership Systems’ Leadership Development Lab:

“In early the spring of 2019, I was working at a new school inAlbany, OR. We had foremen job progress meetings every Monday. Due to unplanned for conditions, the carpenters, who worked for the general contractor, were having problems getting materials needed to the start their parts of the project. I had said several times in our Monday meetings that we needed a job flow chart for all trades to reference, that started from the beginning of the project forward. Unfortunately, this was not happening there was no flow; instead the project was plagued with fits and starts. Twenty-five year’s experience has taught me executing a project at high levels requires smooth flow for all trades to move successfully through the job.

I decided I needed an official email to show my boss and the project PM. I began my email with praise about the things that were working, then I stated my concerns about the flow problem and followed with my recommended solutions. I ended by pointing out some of the strengths of the project team. I was happy with the email and hit send.

“Fifteen minutes later, I had the superintendent in my face yelling about my negative email. He said, ‘You just made me look bad! We should be talking about issues like this at the foreman’s meeting and not writing emails.’ I told him we had talked about the need for better flow in our Monday meetings and that my email was a positive, not negative. After a few calming words, I was able to get the superintendent to understand my frustration and how with a few small changes, we could achieve smooth project flow for all trades. This would move the project faster and make us all look good.

“Twenty minutes later the superintendent moved ten guys back to the first area to work on getting that area completed and the next morning he moved those guys to the second floor area that was still not finished. In a few hours, they were able to complete that area as well. With one good email I was able to help get the job flowing more smoothly. Now, I could get more of our men on site and move through the framed areas faster.

“The lesson I learned from this experience is a well thought out, positive email can move mountains.

“The action I call you to take is when you see project problems that seem to be ignored, speak up, take action, be sure to begin with praise and encouragement.

“The benefit you will gain is your jobs will run more smoothly and you will be seen as a true leader who gets things done.”