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JANUARY 2013 Issue #008

Poor supervisors wing it when they train people, which means they mix up important steps, key points and reasons. It makes it harder for their people to learn and they make more mistakes. Great supervisors work from a written job instruction, and clearly present important steps, key points and reasons in a systematic fashion. As a result their people learn faster.

Why It Works?

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Welcome to the January edition of the First Line Training e-Newsletter. It is a new year, when many people make resolutions. There is lots of debate about how effective those resolutions are. Regardless, you can be sure that as a supervisor, you will have to train somebody this year about something. It might be a new employee. It might be new machinery you are introducing, or new customer requirements you are trying to meet. Whatever the reason, you'll be training someone this year. Why not do it the best you can. That will make your job and their easier. And that's something everyone can celebrate!

We hope you find this issue worth a few minutes of your time. We welcome your comments. Write to us at info@firstlinetraining.ca. And please feel free to forward this to anyone who you think might be interested.

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Tips for Supervisors - "Rounds" Part 1 of 3

What are "Rounds"? Rounds are used in hospitals. This is where doctors go around and check up on their patients to see how they are doing. What they are looking for is if the patient is improving or healing at the rate they expect. If not then they will intervene.

"Rounds" should be used in your daily operation as well. It's a chance for you to go around daily to see how the work is progressing. If it's doing fine, great, but if it's not then it's an opportunity for you to intervene so that you can solve the problems they are facing and get them back on track. So it's a very powerful process and produces a very interesting side effect. Once you've started doing "Rounds" for a while your people will start...

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Assigning work well can have an immediate impact on productivity. A supervisor, we'll call him Fred, was participating in our Job Priorities program. Fred had five guys in his crew. Like most supervisors, he had been in the habit of handing work out to each person as they needed it. One of his crew would finish his work, look for Fred, then Fred would consider his priorities, perhaps check into a couple of things, and then would assign the next task. Typically it meant that people on his crew lost 10 – 15 minutes at the end of each job.

An important step of the work assignment method is to assign work ahead of when it is needed. Fred started making a list of all the work he had on hand for the day. Then he considered his priorities, including which ...

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I was speaking with several managers the other day about the way work gets assigned. We were exploring how often the people we assign work to miss key points in the instructions we give them.

One fellow commented that it's rather like when his wife gives him instructions of where to find things in the grocery store. He's certain that she understands her instructions, but when he gets to the store, he can't find the things she has used as reference points. "In the next aisle after the ketchup" doesn't help if you don't know where ...

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At a recent seminar I gave people 180 seconds to write a job instruction. They complained that it wasn't enough time. But in my observations of supervisors in action, it is rare to see a supervisor spend that long telling someone how to do a new task. Most of the time, he or she hands over paperwork, may say it is like some other job, and they're gone. The employee is faced with paper and questions.

Not wanting to bother the supervisor, who is evidently busy with more important things, and not wanting to appear "stupid" or "ignorant" to the others, the employee goes to work, guessing what was...

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Blog Posts
January 21, 2013
About Supervising: Assigning tasks effectively.

December 6, 2012
What can how you squeeze your toothpaste tube teach you about supervising?

December 5, 2012
Number of simple exercises that you can do to increase your happiness, and, literally, infect those around you.

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