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View Full Version : "Team building" Define this Buzz word?


robert payer
10-08-2004, 09:26 PM
O.k., "team building" seems to be the new deal in corporate America. It is the latest tactic in getting employees involved and interested in an organization and its future. It allows them to feel as if they are helping to make a difference in the company. From what I understand you present a problem or a goal and have them work on structuring solution or a road map to reach a target. How can this be applied to the landscape industry? Is there any one who is currently involved in this principle?

SunSwept
10-08-2004, 10:07 PM
You pose as interesting question about how it can be applied to the green industry but I am not too sure about how. Team Building, as you said, is just the latest buzz word. I have heard other terms from 'esprit de corp' to 'sense of belonging'. It boils down to two basic components: teamwork and competition.

In order for it to work you will have to have enough people to have a team and then stage a competition. Some sort of prize or recognition follows.

SO ... that leaves solo operations out. No team although many times they compete against themselves. Two person teams will work so long as the owner (assuming that s/he is one of the two persons) is willing to listen rather than dictate what shall be done.

Three, four and up ... that is when you start getting into the team building but then there is a lot of time that you are paying for that is not immediately productive/profitable though it may prove to be in the futue. Don't forget, you would have to have a facilitator too. I am not sure that I could afford having a crew involved in a few hours of team building exercises several times per month along with the instructor or facilitator. They would have to come up with some very good ideas. Better than what I find here or in a few of the trade magazines that I have read.

Cash incentives for labor/money saving ideas has been around a long time and I think that I would try that first but that is only an opinion.

out4now
10-08-2004, 11:16 PM
When I think of team building Covey's 7 habits books come to mind. I really don't believe in a lot of that hype. The Japanese kiasan(not sure if that is the right spelling) is what is a better example of teamwork. Asplundh Tree Expert company has competions on a regular basis to push their guys. I guess you could apply it to Turf Industry. It's buzz word rather than actual practice. In Japan sacrifice of personal time and so forth to uphold the honor of the corporation is not an option but more of a rule. Here we seem to want to duplicate the process but get lost in it all.

SWD
10-08-2004, 11:32 PM
I don't believe in a "team" concept in a solo or limited landscape operation. By limited, I mean $250-$500K/yr. Show me on my compnay letter head where "team" is written. What I will demonstrate, and my customers appreciate, is quality service with no excuses.
So, to answer your question, No, I am not involved in this endeavor.
I occassionally solicite, and yes-even incorporate, suggestions from my employees with a subsequent reward; however, as long as my name is on the company it isn't a "team".

midtnstone
10-08-2004, 11:35 PM
the plant i currently work at is big in the team concept. the mangers are even called team leaders. one thing that we do that could possibly be used in everything which is a program called six sigma i forget what it stands for. but what you do is have different crews that come up with plans of cost savings. then the crew get 10% of the cost saving divide amongst them.
example: lets say gas cost you $10,000 dollars a year the crew starts figuring out ways to cut the cost of fuel wether it be new routes or what ever they come up with lets say they do a new route and it saves you $2000.00 per year then that crew gets $200.00 divide between them. this does two things it saves you money plus puts money in their pockets.
the money get them going to get this done.
but i have never done it on this small of a level it shoud work we usually working in the 6&7 figure range just think how we get when there is ten people working on this and you could save $40,000 to $50,000 a year and i have seen cost cut in the hundred thousand range. just start with the highest expense first and start working you waydown

rule of thumb: less overhead means more money in your pocket