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3 Things Ohio State Football Can Teach Us During COVID-19

When I think about College Football, the first image that pops in my head is the Buckeye Leaf sticker that adorns the helmets of Ohio State players.  My dad has always been an Ohio State fan and growing up I thought it was “neat” that players had stickers all over their helmets (and some had A LOT!) For those that don’t know, the stickers on a players’ helmet is a reward system for big plays made on the field – make a big play, get a sticker.  As the season goes on, players’ helmets accumulate stickers to the point that most starters have run out of space by the end of the season.  I was reminded of this 50-year tradition last week when I spoke with Dean Taylor, the President of TW Frierson, a Nashville-based firm offering a full range of construction management and design-build services.

 

TW Frierson, like every business throughout the country, has seen their business change dramatically over the last two weeks in ways they never could have imagined – included putting stickers on hard hats (more on that below).  Here are 3 simple things they’ve done that we should all do immediately in light of the COVID-19 pandemic:

 

First, nominate team captains. At TW Frierson, they created a COVID-19 Task Force that meets 3 times a week. This team is composed of their CFO, 2 Vice Presidents, HR Manager, Safety Director, and Director of Marketing. They are responsible for all strategic initiatives pertaining to COVID-19, have established communication guidelines throughout the organization (including 2 all staff town halls), and are continually reviewing their meeting rhythms to ensure communication is flowing throughout the organization.

 

Second, institute a “stretching” regimen to ensure that all players are safe before entering the field of play.  Under normal circumstances on every TW Frierson job site, all workers complete a physical stretching routine to prevent injury – that’s not what I’m referring to here.  Over the past two weeks, anyone who steps foot onto a TW Frierson job site has to answer the following 5 questions:

  1. Have you traveled in the past 14 days to any of the hot spots indicated as Level 3 or as shown in red on the CDC’s COVID-19 site?
  2. Have you or any of your employees/team members been in close contact with anyone that has traveled to any of those locations in the past 14 days?
  3. Have you been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient within the past 14 days?
  4. Have you been in contact with a person who is currently being screened or under COVID-19 quarantine?
  5. Have you been in contact with a person with, or do you have, the following symptoms: fever, cough, or shortness of breath?

 

For any answer of yes to these questions, the individual is not allowed to enter the job site until they have been cleared by their medical provider.

 

Third, create a culture of recognition. Once a team member or sub-contractor responds, “No,” to each of the 5 questions, they are provided with a 2” bright green sticker for their hard hat.  This visual indicator acts as a reminder for all job site attendees of the additional hygiene and social distancing practices that are in place across all job sites, in addition to enabling any visiting Superintendent to quickly validate all job sites are free of known COVID-19 cases.  Additionally, it has enhanced their positive culture (their NPS is consistently over 90!) during a time often synonymous with fear and uncertainty.

 

As you look at the steps you’ve taken throughout your business in response to COVID-19, remember to establish your Task Force of team captains, implement some basic “stretching”, and create a culture of recognition to keep your teams smiling. Doing these simple steps will ensure we all stay safe and healthy on our fields of play.