Last year one of the things we actually did RIGHT was cross training.
Really, out of necessity it happened. I didn’t plan on cross training, but being short handed in certain positions I was forced to cross train.
We had planned on having a mechanic when we started the lawn mowing service business last spring. I advertised everywhere- local tech schools, craigslist, indeed.. I never found one.
The season was so crazy that I had no time. I had to play mechanic this year, but I didn’t have time to do it! So in the mornings, we would start out the day by servicing the mowers. I taught the guys how to sharpen their own blades, grease the mowers, clean the air filters, etc.
It took a lot of time at first, and they made mistakes, but once a couple guys got the hang of it it was a real eye opener for me. I was now not the only person in the company to be able to service the mowers.
During the peak of the fall cleanup season, we all had to switch gears. I hadn’t been doing much sales, but my guy that typically does sales had to shift to training in the field. So I ended up doing a lot of the sales- along with my regular duties- and needed help because I couldn’t get to them all. So I took one of my partially trained foremen and had him help me with the training.
Likewise, by teaching some of my best foreman how to use our software, they were able to help out when needed. Not that I wanted to pull them out of the field to put them on emails, but if the need be, it would come in handy! Moral of the story is never underestimate the power of cross training, and being able to use your resources in more versatile ways.