Quick question: have you gathered your team this week to assess production and to find solutions for the problems in your farm? If your answer is yes, congratulations! You are part of a still small group of pig farmers that started changing a critical cultural issue: the lack of time dedicated to discuss management.
We have observed that there often is communication among teams; however, in general, it consists of quick chats among a few workers during break time. The result is that much information and actions taken are lost, and consequently there is lack of coordination, increasing the chances of mistakes and rework, which negatively affects productivity.
To overcome this problem, we suggest you schedule at least one weekly meeting to talk about management, preferably on a fixed day and time to discuss farm workflow and production performance. You will soon realize the benefits of this simple practice: workers’ commitment with their tasks, better work relationships, problem solving, and goal achievement are just some of them.
What should you talk about?
One of the main concerns of managers with weekly meetings is wasting time. After all, everybody has always ‘other fish to fry.’ This vision is opposite to Thinking +1, because we are sure that every minute dedicated to discuss management issues and planning with the team results in time – and money – savings.
Once you establish the meeting schedule, you’ll realize that there is no lack of issues to be discussed. To guide the discussions, it is best to assess the deliveries of each sector, and particularly the points where the planned goals were not achieved. After identifying the critical points that prevent the farm from achieving its maximum production potential, you need to establish together a set of actions to solve each of the identified bottlenecks.
This process is much easier when visual management tools are used, as they allow all workers to understand and interpret information on farm productivity. For instance, when the whole team analyzes the Production Map during a meeting, the critical points are quite evident and it is much easier to define actions and the people responsible to solve them.
It must be noted that the objective of the weekly meeting is to produce alignment and harmony within the team – and not the opposite. As a leader, never allow the meetings to be associated with a negative time, of stress and disagreements, of looking for culprits for the farm’s problems. The aim is to look for solutions, not for someone to blame.
Another useful tip: stimulate the workers to express their opinions, as well as their achievements and difficulties. Some may be shy in the beginning, but once people realize they can speak out, that their ideas are welcome, they become increasingly at ease. When all participate, you farm harvests benefits!
What about you? Do you schedule regular meetings with your team?