I Was Dealt the Death Card…

leadership May 14, 2018

I could smell burning incense as a curly-haired lady in a long skirt led me to the back of the building. We brushed aside the beaded curtains and walked into a dimly lit room with one table and two chairs.

After a meticulous shuffle, she began swiftly placing large cards in front of me and simultaneously informed me what they described.

 

First card – “your past”

Second card – “your current state”

Third card – “your near future”

 

As she flipped the third card, my eyebrows raised when I saw this:

 

 

Without hesitation, she continued flipping card after card, describing their meanings, but I wasn’t listening. I just kept staring at my impending doom.  

This was my first psychic reading experience, so I kept quiet as she began to interpret them in depth.

Good news friends...It turns out I’m not predicted to die.

The death card in this instance was faced towards me representing significant...

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Are Betta Fish Swimming In Your Company?

leadership May 07, 2018

 

Earlier this year, a client told me his lead field supervisor, Emilio, quit and was going to work for a competing company.  

 

I could hear the pain in his voice as he thought aloud about finding a replacement for a local, bilingual, skilled individual who had been with him for 11 years.  

 

Fast forward three months...

 

This same leader was invited to a fiesta hosted by one of his up and coming leaders, Juan.  And, what he found out there was that Emilio was a Betta fish.

 


 

Betta Fish, ie: Betta splendens, are highly territorial and it’s not advised to put two males in the same tank as they often will fight each other to the death.

 

But, in the wild, Betta spar for only a few minutes before one fish backs off. Once a fish retreats, the match is over. *

 

Emilio had been “top Betta” at the company for so long that he deterred all the other individuals from stepping up.  Turnover wasn’t an...

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I Fell Off My Mountain Bike

leadership Apr 30, 2018

I tried mountain biking for the first time this weekend... 

Started on a 10.5 mile trail that I learned today is rated "Intermediate/Difficult" (rated 4/6 on the difficulty factor). 

Needless to say, I crashed. A LOT! 

And at a certain point, I flipped over the front of my bike going downhill and found myself laying on the ground, bruised and scratched up. 

This is when I wanted to quit.  I wanted to lay on the floor a little while longer and just walk my bike back to the car. 

But, I got up.  I finished the loop. 

And today, as my body is sore all over, it reminds me that falling... as much as it hurts... falling is a necessary part of life.  

It means:

you're taking risks

you're gaining knowledge

you're building resilience 

you're growing & improving

Today is Monday, a great day to start fresh and push yourself. 

What "intermediate/difficult" trail will you tackle this week?  

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Becoming a Thick-Skinned Solution Finder

Recently I got fired by one of my first clients.

I've only been in business for about 3 months...how could this happen so quickly?

That was a tough pill to swallow, but it's not the first time I've lost a client, and it won't be the last. I've given a lot of thought to it over the past couple of weeks. 

The ability to swallow your pride and accept blame, criticism or negative feedback is crucial. We're all human, we all make mistakes, and things will go wrong. And even when things go according to our plan, some clients will still perceive them to be wrong.

It's our job to prepare for any type of feedback not just operationally, but also emotionally.

So I came up with a few tools...

How to Become a Thick-Skinned Solution Finder:

1. Separate fact from fiction. 

Don't fall into a trap of thinking, "I suck and I'm bad at my job." Instead, realize that there is a process that can be improved or a system that needs to be established. You'll likely solve this problem for another...

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What to Do When H-2B Falls Through

green industry recruiting Apr 10, 2018

For over 30 years, employers throughout the United States have utilized the government issued H-2B program.  As seasonal businesses, this temporary work visa program fixed a problem of finding enthusiastic workers who are able to work according to weather constraints and/or periods of increased demand.

The Rise and Fall of the H-2B Program

The success of the program quickly caught on and hundreds of employers were benefiting from employing legal immigrant workers during the active growing season; later waving goodbye as they went home to spend time with their families while our work was slow.  

At its peak in 2008, nearly 95,000 visas were issued from the Department of Homeland Security.  

But, whether we saw it or not, the H2B program came with a cost.

And not just following the intricate job posting rules, or jumping through legal hoops in a timely fashion, or paying fees that increased each year.

The biggest cost, was that without realizing it, we abandoned all...

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3 Lawn and Landscape Leaders You Can Learn From This Winter

Jerry Schill

Schill Grounds Management, Ohio 

Jerry Schill is the owner of Schill Landscape Management a full-service Landscape Maintenance and Snow and Ice removal contractor providing services to Commercial, Industrial, Apartment, Retail, and HOA across Northern Ohio.

 

Company Expansion & Growth Without Pains 

He’s a mover & shaker in the Green Industry and this winter, Jerry’s top priority is successfully moving into his new location. They have 2 big branches and 2 satellite locations. The new office will be the largest branch for the team.

He laughingly admits he “over-did it” as he told me about how the ½ acre building is jam packed with a huge formal meeting room, a training center addition, full kitchen, and a robust fenced-in parking lot.

They found, purchased and closed on the property all within 30 days. Like you, I was wondering how he’s keeping his head on straight.

“We’re blessed to have our...

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The Full Exposure Challenge

leadership Mar 15, 2017

Think of the one or two people that you love the most. Does someone instantly pop into your mind? Maybe it’s a spouse, a kid, a parent, or a friend…

Chances are the reason you love them so much is because you know them.

You know their ups, downs, highs and lows. You know about their personal life, what they do for a living, and about their family or pets. You know what they’re good at, what you two like to do together, and their preferences on their favorite foods.

Here’s a challenge for you this week.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and expose yourself to those around you.  

Share a story with a prospect about a time that you were hesitant to make a purchase.  Paint a visual picture for your spouse about the things you think about them when they’re not around.  Explain how you feel at the very moment that you feel tension or conflict with a close friend.  Talk about what was going on in your...

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2017 Landscaping and Lawn Care Trends

green industry leadership Dec 05, 2016

I've grown up in the lawn care and landscaping industry my whole life, and nothing excites me more than seeing our company grow along with others like us who are living out the American Dream.

The best way that I have found to stay current, is to talk to people within the industry and see what trends they've noticed on the horizon. 

Here you’ll find a collection of ideas from thought leaders around North America on what they believe are going to be the biggest trends we see in lawn care, landscaping and small businesses in 2017.

Robust Water Management and Water Reclamation Efforts


Reduced water usage and water reclamation is growing in popularity especially in Vista California where Heaviland Landscape Management President, Tom Heaviland is located.

Here’s what Tom said about the topic, “California’s current drought is being billed as the driest period in the state’s recorded rainfall history. We are currently entering our...

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Customer Service is Not a Department

leadership Aug 04, 2016
 

Customers were asked, in a study, why they stopped doing business with a company and 43% named “negative experience with a staff person” as the main reason for taking their business elsewhere and 30% said because they didn’t feel like a valued customer.

Services are what consumers come to you and pay you for. (ex: lawn mowing, consulting, food delivery, personal training, etc) Customer service encompasses the entire experience. It’s what brings the human factor into a transaction.

Poor leaders see customer service as a department, something they can delegate to nice people that get along well with others.


But, customer service is not a department and it encompasses everyone in your company. 

Great service does not cost any more money than average or poor service. Yet the returns are spectacular.

Every single person in your organization is responsible for delivering exceptional experiences to your clients.  Choose today to go above and...

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2 Simple Ways to Attract Employees Online

recruiting May 18, 2016

RECENTLY I WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT SURVIVING MAJOR H-2B DELAYS AND HOW WE FOUND EMPLOYEES TO WORK FOR US JUST 8 DAYS BEFORE LAWN MOWING SEASON STARTED LAST YEAR.
 
One of the steps we took that has really paid off was to make sure that our website is appealing not only to customers, but also to prospective employees.

It’s baffling how many people miss this one important step for recruiting. Ours is not a perfect example and we’re always learning new things when it comes to digital marketing, but so this has worked for us!

HERE ARE TWO WAYS THAT WE’VE USED OUR WEBSITE TO ATTRACT MORE EMPLOYEES:


1. Posting job descriptions – posting the jobs that you have available is a great way to get job seekers to visit and stay on your site. They can learn more about your company and the possibilities they have when joining your team.

*BONUS TIP*  Who said they had to be in English? Cater to the Spanish-speaking demographic by...

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