Case Study: How to Get Team Members Excited About Their Work

Here’s how business coaching helped lift a clients team output by 50% with daily team meetings…

Improving the efficiency of the typical Australian production team is possible… a team leader from one of our Melbourne clients just told me so.

Kal Baker is the production manager for precast concrete company, Southern Precast. And he’s been working there since the early days when owners, John Dobbie and Peter Myors, only had sporadic work for him.

But my, times have changed! Southern Precast is not afraid to take on the ‘big boys’ of the precast panelling business. They erect panels for many of Melbourne’s commercial builders, including Vaughan Constructions, Qanstruct, VCM Constructions, Australand, CMW Design & Construct, Hacer Group and Pellicano Builders. As well as attract some of the hardest working and switched minds in the game… but again, things weren’t always like this.

Southern Precast, like many production type businesses, had their fair share of employees who could improve. People who could take more initiative and responsibility, and allow the managers to do their job (i.e. find ways of the doing things faster, cheaper, and ultimately…. more profitably).

Now before you get ready to stone the team, let’s look at a key concept that actually makes sense and sets a framework for change:

Great leaders, grow great leaders

What this means is, if you’re not happy with your teams development – their workload, their engagement, their commitment to doing the job right – you better look in your own backyard first. Shock horror!? Sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.

Your team will follow someone. If it’s not you, it’s the guy who takes the extra smoko’s, takes person calls, and is MIA through frequent sick days. Give your team a leader; someone who they can trust and want to be like. Someone who will listen, set clear goals, and allow them to buy in on what you do… and you’ll notice a significant change in their productivity.

Now I believe Kal is a leader. So I’ve interviewed him and uploaded the transcript for you see how he got a 50% (he says it’s more like 60%) increase in output from a typical production team. But before you read his article, I want to warn you…. he’s about as upfront and to the point a guy as you’ll get.

I think you’ll like him.

Read on for a full copy of the interview

Client Profile

Business Name:Southern Precast
Description:precast concrete company, producing panels for warehouses, factories, and high-rise apartments.
Location:Melbourne, VIC
Owners: John Dobbie & Peter Myors
Interviewee: Kal Baker
Role: Factory Manager / Production Manager
Problem:whingers” – and underperformers (Kal’s words)
Coach: Geoff Currie

Interview Transcript

Q. How have you changed as a leader since working with Geoff as your coach?

Kal: Communication.

I let them come up with my ideas in daily meetings. Before Geoff suggested it I wasn’t completely sceptical about them because I was having my own meetings already. But those meetings weren’t regular, and were more about me talking than the boys. I would try to avoid them as much as possible.

Having a structured daily meeting in place has allowed us to form a bond, a trusting bond. Even if there’s nothing to say, we still sit as a group and chat.

In the early days, everyone had to basically form a trust with me before they would realise I’m not going to screw them, I’m not a hard-ass boss, where if you don’t like it f*** o**. Instead I reward what they’re doing.

The results have been great. Still a few people need to be pulled line, but there’s nobody pulling their hair out anymore because we can talk the problems and offer solutions.

Q. How has your team changed since Geoff put the right techniques in place?

Kal: The other people in the factory are looking down on people that are getting slack. It’s not me pulling them into line, they are. They’re having a say in it. There’s no whinging in the factory. The whingers have left. And because these guys here aren’t whingers, they don’t want whingers coming in. Now this isn’t me saying it, this is what they tell me!

So I just organise now. I just organise their jobs for the day and direct them. I work really hard on minutes, minutes/ time savings, I show them how we can do it and then they come up with their own ideas then.

My job has become easier. I’m the only authority figure on the floor, and I could still walk off the floor for a 2 hour stint, and know that everything was being done properly; the way that I wanted it done; the way they were shown it to be done.

Now the boys in my team are telling me they’re knocking off, and I go over and have a look and everything’s done. So to not have to worry on that side and concentrate on another and to know all the work is getting done with no authority figure out on the floor is just a godsend. It makes my life really easy.

Q. How much would you say they’ve improved by?

Kal: I’ve found that now everyone’s doing it instead of a few. So the ones that weren’t doing it, they would have improved by about 60%, the worst one would have improved by 60%. The best one hasn’t improved anything because he was always doing it. So now it’s become an even playing field.

Everyone in the factory works as hard as each other. They all look after each other. They’re not letting people lift something heavy without help. If someone’s see’s that they offer a hand.

Q. What would you say to someone looking to get a coach in to improve their team?

Kal: Employ me. Give me a call. My number is (040) *** ****. 🙂 (Sorry Kal: Luke)

No, no. I recommend Geoff, and already have recommended Geoff. Like I say, I’m not the owner. The owner has got him in to help with the office, to help them structure and run the office. And although I haven’t had much to do with Geoff, what he has had to do with me I’ve really been able to use. But you’ve got to understand also, I want to learn, and I want it to happen.

I mean, how long has Geoff been coming here? 6 months? And we’ve got the factory absolutely spotlessly clean, all improvements that we can think of have been done, the boys themselves are making time for someone to go and do maintenance, or someone to go and do building, or someone to do this and so on. The team now look for solutions themselves.


Want this kind of success in your business?

Geoff Currie is available to chat over a coffee and help you get the business you imagined you would. Stop dreaming about it, and start living it. Call 61 3 5338 1234 today.

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