Are You Pulling Your Team or Pushing Them?

As owners grow their businesses, one challenge they face is how to remain connected to their team members and how to ensure the company culture does not get eroded as they add more and more people to the payroll. What comes naturally when you’re small gets considerably more complicated as you scale up.

I have certainly faced this challenge myself at Grunder Landscaping. One tactic I’ve adopted to help with this is holding short quarterly meetings with my whole staff where we focus on a single aspect that is central to our culture. These meetings provide me with a direct touch point with my team and they help instill and reinforce who we want to be as a company.

How Does Your Team Define Good Customer Service?

At our last meeting I focused on customer service. I have found that people learn best when you pull them along rather than push, and so I always try to elicit ideas from my team rather than proclaim mine. I started by asking them to think of a company whose customer service had impressed them. We heard about a restaurant who comped a team member their entire meal after they learned the mashed potatoes were cold, and a pizza place that gave another staffer their order for free when it took too long to deliver. These were small acts that cost these companies very little and yet they made lasting impressions on my staff as customers.

I then asked my team what words they would like for our clients to use to describe our customer service and I wrote their answers down on a whiteboard as they shouted them out: Exceptional. Detailed. Above and beyond. Knowledgable. Professional. Passionate. Clean. Effective. All great answers, to which I added one of my own: Consistent.

Small, Practical Steps to Put Your Ideals in Action

We talked about what we could do today and tomorrow to live up to these ideals and that, again, small acts can pay big dividends. Tuck your shirt in. Keep our trucks neat, and don’t park in a client’s driveway. Practice safety. Do detailed work. If you don’t know how to do something, ask someone to help you. Finish strong at the end of the day to ensure you did the job right. Leave the job site better than when you arrived. And be consistent in all that you do.

Do these quarterly meetings solve all our problems? No. But for us, they’ve proved to be a good tool in our kit to foster a cohesive culture. And hearing these ideas and ideals coming directly from my team makes me proud of the company we’re continuing to build together.

Have a great week!