Building a Synthetic Turf Team
Creating a good turf team is crucial.
I have always accomplished larger goals in life while being part of a team. To be good at something, you must really care for what it is. A successful turf team requires installers that care and have passion for their work. But great turf teams have members that bring synergy to show their talents and blend their strengths. I feel every company should have a team vision. I often ask company owners what is their team vision and they look at me like I have a third eye. Team vision is when all members of the team share a common goal and understand each task that needs to be accomplished.
Experience is very important for a successful turf team. I have always believed: “You are only as good as your frontline.” If your installers are beginners, your installations may show this. It is important when building a team to know each other’s capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. When establishing a team, it is crucial to know how much experience each team member has. Interviewing and asking questions pertaining to synthetic turf is a must. There are a few basic questions that I recommend asking installers prior to stepping foot on any project.
✓How many years of experience do they have?
✓How many turf installations do they have under their belt?
I even ask questions regarding turf materials like:
✓What is a gauge?
✓What is a stitch row?
✓What is dye lot, and how can it affect your installations?
I even ask the installer:
✓“What are the “beginning to end” steps when installing synthetic turf?
I also asked questions regarding tools that are to be used:
✓What is a push cutter or a carpet kicker? And what is it used for?
Asking questions can separate beginners from skilled craftsmen and prevent costly mistakes out in the field.
If you want to have the best team, then you will need the best team members.
When creating team sizes, I recommend creating a team of 4 or more team members. This will allow the team to be proficient and productive. Teams may change in size depending on the complexity of the project, especially if the installation requires placement of large sections. Efficient teamwork is created when each team member takes on the responsibility for each task that they perform. When each task is perfected, it produces success.
When creating teams, chemistry is very crucial. Having good chemistry is like “mechanical gears.” If a gear is out of sync, then the teeth of the gears will not fit together and cause issues. Personality types must be cohesive as well; otherwise, performance may become less efficient. If team members exemplify poor communication, conflicts may arise and slow down progress, and/or quality of the installation. There must be continuous lines of communication to avoid all conflicts to keep the gears running smoothly. Sales members and office personnel, they are part of the team as well. Having good chemistry between the frontline and office is the key to fluidity. Teamwork starts from the beginning of sale, to the office, and out to the frontline.
I recommend having a team leader for every crew that must have experience at all levels at installing synthetic turf. He or She must understand the complexity of each project, and the ability to complete each project with high standards. Sharing leadership responsibility heightens teamwork. Equally sharing leadership positions not only builds team confidence, but it gives the team members the feeling of responsibility. It also makes each member accountable for their actions.
Planning is a big part of teamwork. If you don’t have a plan, then your team will fail. I recommend creating a plan for every project prior to stepping foot on site because, sometimes things don’t go the way you want them too. Often, we may be faced with obstacles that we didn’t plan for, which causes team leaders to make sudden decisions when things do go wrong, but with a plan in place they’ll be able to alleviate the issue at hand.
SAFETY & TEAMWORK
Synthetic turf may look like an easy profession, but believe me, I’ve had my share of mishaps. You would be amazed by the injuries and accidents I have witnessed over the years due to the lack of understanding of safety. When your team is established, it is important to create a team safety meeting. Team safety meetings are not only crucial for the company, but required by O.S.H.A. Safety meetings allows employees an opportunity to speak about safety, health concerns, and the workplace environment. I recommend creating a safety manual that will discuss safety concerns for each component that goes into your installations.
DELEGATION OF TASKS
When establishing a turf team, it is very important to create and break down each task for each member. I recommend dedicating tasks that match up with each members skill and experience. Being part of a team builds employee relationships, encourages personal growth, increases work performance, and reduces stress.
There is a process and sequence when installing synthetic turf. You cannot start to place infill if seams are not glued, edges cut in, and the turf completely secured. When a team is created, the team leader delegates tasks in sequence from start to finish. This includes who will be on a shovel, who will be wheelbarrow, the rake, or any other task that is needed.
I often speak about retraining team members. Take time to retrain team members between seasons. I recommend taking the time to retrain and ensure your team is up to date with the latest technology, tools, and machinery that are in the industry today. Never allow teams to become stagnant in craftsmanship.
There are so many exciting changes in the synthetic turf industry today that allows turf installers to hone their craft, plus you can always rely on me and my “ASK JW” columns, articles, blogs, vlogs and videos for all the latest tips, tricks, and educational information.
“Be part of a team or lead one.”
Until next time JW out