Unintended Consequences of the 1 Week Plan

field leadership planning

Have you ever had an idea blow up in your face? 

Like you put in loads of effort, had great intentions then the thing turns into a weapon against the people you were trying to help. I hope not, but if you have you are not alone.

Thats exactly what happened when I started training my fellow foremen on using the 1 week plan. My goal was to help them reduce their stress level and improve production in the field. The first iteration of trainings usually took place after work at Coaches Corner, a little bar here in San Antonio. I was just sharing the little tricks I had been using. Eventually those trainings ended up being like a real thing, as in part of my day job. You can get the scoop on how that whole situation came to be in the Blog entry titled Designing a Life of Fulfillment. 

Anyhow the training was like super official as in we would bring groups of foremen for 4 hours of training every other week during regular work hours; Plumbing foremen, Piping foremen, and Sheet Metal foremen. Then believe it or not, one very special project manager started whining "what am I sending these guys to your classes for if our PPC (Percent Plan Complete) isnt getting any better." Of course this was irritating. 

Good news though, everyone that was in my class would send me their 1 weeks. The purpose of this was so that I could gauge what they retained and give them super specific coaching as they developed their skills. Then I noticed another crew became inconsistent in sending me their plans. I was like whats going on? They were doing super good and then they just ghosted. When I reached out them they explained that their PM, another special one, was bickering at them about their spelling and the size of font they were using in the spread sheet. 

So basically the guys did their part, even though they would have preferred not, and the very thing they were trying to master was being weaponized against them. Kinda like when my brand mother would tell me and my cousins "garra el tonico verde" which meant we had to pull a thin branch off the tree for her to whoop us with. That aint cool.

I reached out to the other foremen working with different PMs and found out they too were catching all kinds of grief about pidly stuff and even worse, they werent getting any help with clearing constraints. The PMs and some of the Superintendents were treating the 1 weeks as if they had no responsibility to the process. These goof balls basically got the completed 1 week and said "do better". Which isnt the point!!!


My mistake was in assuming the Project Managers and Superintendents new what their responsibility to the process was. I mean yes the foremen were responsible for most of the work in that they needed to:

  • Create the plan
  • Get the necessary items to complete the work
  • Share the plan with the crews
  • track progress on the activities

And at the end of the week determine what was completed and if any activities werent completed they needed to do a little digging to understand what kept that task from being completed. This is where the PM & Super get engaged in the process.

Because more often than not the reason the task didnt get finished was due to things outside the foremans circle of influence. And guess who has greater influence? yup the PM and Super

So to make a long story short, we instituted what we referred to as a "Production Meeting" the primary focus of the Production Meeting was to address constraints by answering these questions:

  • What is the issue
  • What is the necessary action to squash the issue
  • Who is going to take the action
  • By When

After we put this into play no one was crying about spelling or font size, because they were focused on getting the right things done. Well most of em wereπŸ˜‰

The crazy thing is this whole process revolved around one simple template and it had dramatic affect on project performance and team dynamics. Click the linkπŸ‘‰ for the magical template.

And when you get a chance, Invest in who you gotπŸ‘Š


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