Poor communication can lead to a lack of motivation and productivity within your team. It can create a tense environment and low morale, which I’m sure no business owner wants. At its worst, poor communication can even result in accident or injury and damage to machinery or livestock.
We think it’s best to avoid these situations all together, as I’m sure you do too.
To help you out, I’ve included some of the biggest changes we’ve made to the structure of our week at Lifesolver.
As a growing business, we realised quickly that communication is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of creating a positive experience for both our clients and our team members.
So, we roped in Abundance Global, our business coaches in Brisbane. They shared some tactics with us which have helped drastically eliminate poor communication and increase our productivity as a team.
The most important change we’ve made is to introduce a daily huddle, a 10-minute meeting we hold at 10 am.
We call it our 10 at 10.
We have a strict format, which involves each team member stating what they did yesterday, what they’re going to do today, and what roadblocks they might have in completing the tasks. We also ask for the support we require from the other members of the team.
This is a great opportunity for everyone to talk about what they’re up to. It also helps with prioritising our most important activities.
We started this roughly 12-months ago and have found that it works really well. A daily huddle is a way to touch base and make sure the whole team is working toward the same goal.
It would be a great strategy for you on the farm because it doesn’t take long but is incredibly effective when attempting to improve communication.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but having multiple huddles per day when things are busy can help the team complete the work faster and to a higher standard.
When you get busy and you’ve got things going on, like harvest or shearing, or anything that’s hectic, that’s when you might have more than one daily huddle per day.
It helps redirect the team to focus on the priorities of the business and can help avoid mistakes or doubling down on work that has already been done.
Effectively, setting aside a couple of 10 minutes blocks per day can save you time and energy, which is what’s most important when you’ve got a lot of work that needs to be done.
Increasing the numbers of catch ups throughout the day, helps to make sure that everyone’s communicating and you’re working well together as a team.
The other thing we scheduled in is a weekly meeting, held on a Monday for about 45-minutes to 1-hour.
That weekly meeting has an agenda of its own.
We talk about the grand vision for the business, what our key goals are over the coming quarter in order to drive the business forward, and each team member needs to present the team with their high value activities for the week (HVA’s).
We’re only looking for three High Value Activities per week and that’s because our HVA’s align with our bigger goals for the quarter, which then align with our goals for the year.
If we have too many to focus on at one time, it can have the opposite effect and decrease productivity, causing things to move more slowly.
It sounds complicated but once you find your flow as a team, you will be kicking goals left, right, and centre.
Here are three questions to get your team started when determining what your High Value Activities are:
*If not, then your HVA may be to outsource the task to another person or team member who is an expert in this area. This will save you time, energy, and brain power.
If there’s anything else that needs to be brought forward, it needs to be tabled prior to the meeting so that we can go through it together.
The other thing we look at is all the jobs we’ve got on the go.
This might be any of the new jobs we’re working on and any of the existing work that needs to be completed. This way, we can make sure everyone knows what stage things are at, and we can pick up anything that may have been missed.
What we’re really doing in the weekly meeting is taking a step back from the busyness of our day to day and making sure we’re all focused on what we need to achieve together as a team.
We are cohesive, (as much as possible), and making things happen.
We also have a six monthly or quarterly review, or ‘check-in’, with each team member to make sure everyone is on the same page.
We ask a wide range of questions and have included a few below to help you with the meeting.
We ask questions like:
It’s important to find out what your team member is looking to get out their role and what their plans are for the future.
It’s important to get feedback. It’s important to sit back and listen to each team members and ask open ended questions, just to find out what’s going on in their head.
Doing this on a regular basis can help you plan for the future and avoid situations that may have otherwise created stress or had a negative impact if communication wasn’t a priority.
As a business owner, particularly in farming, communication is integral to success.
Growing operations require more team members, and while this is an excellent position to be in, having more team members means having more lines of communication, which can complicate matters.
We recommend getting ahead of the game and implementing strategies like the ones above before any real damage can be done.
As a business who has tried and tested these methods ourselves, and are still using them to this day, I can tell you right now, we’re in a much better position as a team than ever before.
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