When the Going Gets Tough

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 5.33.12 PM.png

Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association
The Buckeye
May/June 2018
By Marty Grunder

What a spring—or, more accurately, what spring? The weather in Ohio has not been kind to our industry this year, with snow continuing to fall even in April. It’s safe to say we are all behind on our schedules, leaving us scrambling to make up for the time we’ve lost and hoping for understanding from our clients. It’s a tough spot to be in. But there are actions all good leaders take to meet challenges head on.

1. They maintain a positive attitude, no matter what. As the late, great Zig Ziglar famously said, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” If you think you can’t overcome adversity, you very likely won’t. Good leaders know they are always being watched. They set the tone for everybody around them. In times of difficulty, your team needs you to a be a calming voice and a motivating force. Assure and reassure them that you will all get through this, and that you’ll be the better for it from what you learn. 

2. They pull their weight. Take a good look around and talk to your team about how you can be most helpful. Sure, it’s your responsibility as CEO to set the vision and strategy for your company and to focus on the big picture. But that doesn’t also mean that you can’t roll up your sleeves and make yourself useful in the day-to-day when times are tough. Are there small acts or tasks you can undertake to demonstrate to your team you care? Maybe it’s driving a delivery truck for a couple hours, or straightening up a work area, or taking on Saturday sales calls so your sales designer can spend the day with her family. As the saying goes, if serving is below you, then leadership is beyond you. 

3. They find solutions. Clients don’t want excuses; they want results. But most of them also know we’re not superhuman and we can’t control the weather. I have personally called a number of our clients at Grunder Landscaping Co. to explain what we’re up against and to ask if they can wait a few more weeks for us to do their jobs. Most have been very understanding, and the calls have actually been a nice opportunity for me to reconnect with clients and see how they’re doing. 

4. They take the long view. Good leaders know there will always be ups and downs in business, times when your company is firing on all cylinders and times when nothing seems to go your way. Stay focused and true to your vision and strategy—to the company you want to be and to the plan you developed to getting there—and don’t let bumps in the road steer you off course. Keep telling your team you will get there, and if you focus and work hard you will.

I guarantee you that come July, when the thermometer reaches toward 100 and the sun is beating down on you, you’ll have forgotten all about the trouble this cold spring has brought.