Understand What Your Team Is Up Against

We just had our second of three Grunder Landscaping Co. Fall Field Trips this week and honestly I can’t speak more highly of the folks we’ve seen come through this year and what they mean for our industry. Whether they’re from a small company just finding its wings or farther along and looking for an edge, they have all been eager to learn and to move their businesses forward. They have inspired me as much as I hope to have inspired them.

Many of those in this week’s group were not owners but team members, something I love to see. Why? Because, to a tee, the most successful companies I’ve seen and worked with in the green industry understand the importance of investing in their people. No matter how smart you may be or think you may be as an owner, you will never realize your company’s full potential so long as it rides solely or even mostly on you.

Part of developing your team is training and educating your people and providing them with opportunities for growth. But part of it is also understanding the challenges they face. If you’re an owner, do you know what your team members’ biggest obstacles are? Do you know what they like and what they don’t like about their jobs? What tasks they spend the most time on? What stresses they’re contending with in their day-to-day? I suspect a lot of us think we do, myself included, but the truth would probably surprise us all.

One of the smartest ways I’ve heard for truly understanding what your team is up against comes from my colleague Jim Cali, an MGI executive coach who facilitates several of our ACE Peer Groups. When Jim helped lead a landscaping company from $3M to more than $25M annually, he would take over the work of each of his direct reports when they went on vacation. Not only did this enable his team members to truly get away and rejuvenate, it also allowed Jim to see for himself the challenges they faced and to help them find solutions for overcoming them.

Now that’s how you build a winning team.

Have a great week!