Many of us who are owners or managers teach our teams to stand out from the competition by always doing a little more for our clients—taking their trash cans in, picking up their newspaper, saying hello, please, and thank you. But how many of us regularly and reliably apply this same approach internally? How many of us look for and remember to practice small acts of appreciation for our team members?
In my 35 years of running Grunder Landscaping and another 20 or so running a green-industry consultancy, I have toured more landscaping companies than I can count. And yet I never, ever tire of it. Why? Because, in my experience, it is the single fastest way you can learn ways to make your own business better.
With the ongoing labor challenge in our industry, nearly all of us are in a continual state of flux, losing team members and adding new ones. Many of our new hires do not have a lot of experience in landscaping, and sometimes it turns out that those that do have it learned bad or insufficient practices at another company that now have to be unlearned. This makes having a deliberate and . effective training program critical.
If your crews are heading out in the morning and stopping at McDonald’s or elsewhere to load up on breakfast or snacks before going to their job sites, you’re losing valuable time and money. We used to have this same problem at Grunder Landscaping, until w came up with a way to solve it that benefitted everyone.
One lesson we’ve learned over the years at Grunder Landscaping Co. is just how much poor communication can get in the way of great performance.
No matter how much energy and effort you devote to installing and maintaining landscapes, if your team members aren’t communicating with each other and with your clients, you’re going to have problems.
Recently, I was conducting an onsite consultation for a landscaping company whose owner had an ambitious vision for his business. He thought they were doing okay but he knew he could accomplish so much more if only his team were more engaged and invested in the company’s success.
Sound familiar? I hear this a lot. And every time I do, I ask the owner what it is he or she is doing to foster and drive that engagement.
We can’t grow our companies without hiring and nurturing young people, and without being open to their ideas and insights. I was reminded of this again this week when I headed out to Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City to spend some time sharing what I know about our industry with the students in their top-notch horticulture program. As much as I hope I helped them, they helped me to see the challenges we’re facing at Grunder Landscaping in new ways: