How Planning turned my JOB into a Career

field leadership life lessons

The previous blog was about my Body of Work, and it left me thinking about how it all started. 

Do you every think back about how it all started? As in what are the pivotal moments in your life, the point where something or someone entered your space  and your path after, was directly into a future you could not have seen before.

I have several of those monuments in my life and the earliest one that is a huge part of my business today was the "1 Week". The 1 week was one of several documents I received along with the first set of plans for the project I was going to be a foreman on. I had never been a foreman nor was there any training for the role, but I had worked with dozens of foreman over my 5 years in the trade. I learned a bunch, mostly I learned what not to do. I knew that I wanted to treat my crew better than most of the foreman treated me and I had a bunch of opinions that I needed to test out.

I want to be clear, the foreman role was a significant step in terms of opportunity for growth but it wasnt the core thing. The Core thing was that damn "1 week". Like I said it was just a piece of paper with little boxes that needed to be filled out, back then it was like four sections:

- Activity

- Make Ready Needs

- Days of the week

- Issues

Pretty simple, but I wanted to make sure I was doing it "right" so I asked my Superintendent for some instruction. He said "fill it out" and that was my training. 

Today that "1 week" is a little fancier

So I filled it out every week and things began changing for me. The "emergency" trips to the supply house went from three times a day to 3 times a week. The frequency of waiting for material or equipment got smaller. And because me & the crew had a plan, we didnt spend a whole lot of time standing around which translated into production, meeting the schedule, and eventually making money on the project. My stress levels went down, my sleep got better, and the bosses took notice.

Most importantly because my mind was clearer and the stress was smaller I wasnt as big a jerk to my team. I found space to care about them and their career growth. This led to the bosses inviting me to share my "best practices" on the 1 week. Which was a big surprise to me because I was a rookie foreman, I had only been with the company about a year and they were asking me to show the other seasoned foreman how Im using it.

The whole time I assumed all the foremen were filling out the dumb form, turns out I was the only one. Which made me the teachers pet😩 

What I discovered was by using the stupid form I had set myself apart. It was a powerful tool that helped me do my job, support my team, and get me visibility with the higher ups. The simple form transformed my career. but it wasnt the form, it was the act of planning and having a framework that was specific to the work I did that made the difference. WITHOUT training even.

Eventually I put together a training program that included the "1 week" that training helped installers transition into the foreman role. There was a bunch of other stuff in that training but the rest of the stuff wasnt nearly as impactful as the weekly planning was. It is the foundational element that took me and scores of other foreman from burnt out to balling.

So this is why The Field Leaders Planning Tool Box starts with the "1 week" and all the little cheat codes I learned that make for an actionable plan and a better experience out there in the field.

If you or someone you know could benefit from this 1 week thing, I got a gift for you. Click here to get your very own template to start playing with!

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