Call the Play

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I don’t take much time to watch sports.

But when I do watch a sporting event on TV, I tend to focus on the coaching. As an implementation coach, I’m fascinated by how a team can do so poorly one year and do so much better the next, especially after they get a new coach.

What are the skills, knowledge, and experience a coach needs to bring a team to the playoffs? I found out that the average NFL team has 16 coaches in various roles.

In the centre

You likely know that the view from the sidelines is a lot different than it is from the centre of the play. Each football player is well aware before the game starts that the goal is to get the football into the end zone spacing points.

But I’m sure that the centre who snaps the ball to the quarterback is solely focused on getting the ball safely into the quarterback’s hands—then dealing with the four linebackers who are breathing fire in his face.

It’s easy to lose sight of the goal when you’re in the thick of a tough diagnostic challenge, or creating a complex estimate, or serving a brand–new customer.

As the shop owner or manager, you have the role of coach. You have the view from above; you can see the big picture. It’s your job to call the plays, set the direction, and help the team focus. If you were to ask a football player how often they have a team meeting, they would say, every play! Recently I’ve been working with many of my clients on developing their skills and practice of holding staff meetings. We‘ve found that quick “tool box” meetings have a significant impact on the outcome of the day, the week, or the month, and we discovered four things.

Important meeting tips

1. Have the meeting every day as close to the same time of the day as possible, usually early in the day. One manager sets an alarm on his computer daily to remind him to hold the meeting.

2. Keep the meeting short—five to seven minutes maximum.

3. The agenda has four points:

     A. Where are we at today?

     B. Anything you need to get your job done today?

     C. Anything unusual coming in?

     D. Focus on one change that you review regularly until it becomes a habit.

One shop wanted all the cars that were completed to be back into the parking stalls so that the customer had an easy time driving their car away when they came to pick it up. It’s a habit now.

4. Most importantly, don’t worry if not everyone can make the meeting every day. Hold the meeting daily at the same time for everyone who can make it that day. If someone can’t make it, don’t worry. Someone might be driving a customer, might be late for work, or might be answering the phone. Imagine what it feels like knowing there’s a meeting being held that you are not at. I think you’ll ask someone what was discussed at the meeting. The team will want to keep up. Call the play!

Categories : Mechanical


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