A group of approximately 82 individuals are gathered for a group photo at the Synergy 2024 Field Supervisors Forum. They are assembled in several rows, with some seated and others standing, in a spacious room with a modern aesthetic. The attendees, predominantly in casual to business casual attire, are smiling for the camera, indicating a positive atmosphere at the event. In the background, a large, abstract mural of a whale adds a pop of color to the setting. The Synergy logo is visible in the lower right corner, indicating the branding of the event.
Synergy’s 2024 Field Supervisors Forum, held from March 10-12th in Rosemont, IL, successfully concluded, drawing 82 peer group members from various industries to enhance their leadership and team management skills.

The forum kicked off with attendees dividing into small groups to discuss the significant challenges they face in their roles, interactions with people, and client management. This session highlighted the commonality of issues across different organizations, with Brian Puff (Soefker Services) noting, “It’s refreshing to see that my organization’s issues are not exclusive to just us. We all face the same issues.”

A highlight of the event was the Zoom Challenge, where participants were split into three groups and tasked with sequencing pictures in the correct order without viewing each other’s images. This exercise underscored the essential leadership skills needed to overcome such challenges, emphasizing the importance of seeing the bigger picture, effective communication, and collaborative problem-solving.

Austin Sauble (CSE) reflected on the experience, stating, “It really showed the difficulties of being given a task with a large group of people and gave us an opportunity to come up with ways to solve the puzzle.”

The forum also featured discussions on transitioning from being a doer to a leader, delegating tasks, and inspiring team growth. Participants shared strategies for building trust, training team members effectively, and ensuring customer confidence.

In the afternoon, guest speaker Steve Thomas delivered an insightful presentation on leadership, offering valuable advice on self-improvement and future planning.

Colin Burns (JM Brennan) commented, “Steve provided lots of information on being better for your team and company. There’s a lot to focus on with the future and self-improvement.”

On the second day, Synergy’s managing partner, Jim Bartolotta, initiated a role-playing exercise addressing real-world challenges, such as dealing with a technician’s departure for better pay and managing upset customers.

Timothy Donovan (Cox Engineering) appreciated the exercise, saying, “It was interesting to hear how the other leaders handled the ‘real life’ situations.”

Discussions also covered the financial impact supervisors have on their companies, with emphasis on labor hours, callbacks, and managing overtime. Jim Bartolotta’s demonstration illuminated the cost factors included in the hourly service rate, giving a comprehensive view of business financials.

Jose Lopez (Atomatic) remarked on the financial overview, “It was nice to see the big picture looking from the outside in on how the financials are distributed in an organization.”

The forum further explored the supervisor’s role in recruitment, the onboarding process, and in making new hires feel welcomed.

The event featured a panel discussion where Synergy members shared their training strategies. Max Arriaga (Phoenix) talked about fostering team leadership and continuous learning, Lou Coghe (Cooper Oates) highlighted career progression and training for junior technicians, while Bill Callahan (JM Brennan) outlined a holistic training program encompassing both practical skills and financial literacy.

Post-lunch sessions focused on maintaining team engagement, recognizing disengagement signs, and addressing them. The forum concluded with participants committing to actionable insights for implementation back home.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Access our monthly news updates, announcements for upcoming training events and webinars, and special best practices and ideas from your fellow Synergy peers.

Related articles