It does not matter what business you’re in, you have definitely experienced demanding clients – especially in the unique economy that we have all be “involved” in the last 4-5 years. Last week, I shared how my friends at Lawn and Landscape Magazine asked me to give my thoughts on “Hires from Hell” – the challenge of employees and making bad hires. They also asked me to pen my own article (yes, thats right, I wrote it, they just edited it!) about demanding clients and tips and strategies to overcome those challenges. Here is the direct link to the article on L/L’s website, or you can click the link below for the PDF version.
Also, you’ll see that this article includes some of Lawn and Landscapes recently released Consumer Research – data that is a MUST READ for those in the landscape and green industry.
Here is a link to the article in PDF format: But I Want More!
Last year, I stumbled upon The HOLSTEE Manifesto, almost a verbatim prose of the way I try to live my life. It’s pretty amazing if you read it. Here is the latest installment on my thoughts… Enjoy!
The Holstee Manifesto, written by the founders of the Holstee company, has inspired millions of people across the country and the world to, as it reads, “Do what you love and do it often.”
Hey, I often refer to it, just for a little grounding and revitalization. It’s interesting to note that the first few phrases in the document start with the word “if” — “If you don’t like something, change it,” “If you don’t like your job, quit,” “If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV,” and so forth.”
Most of my entrepreneur clients have already gone “if” hunting, that is they’ve already turned a “what if” into a “what is” by taking a risk and starting a company. As their companies grow and the founders themselves become older, however, the seemingly innocent conjunction pops up more frequently to define an important business juncture, e.g., an expanded product or service offering, a new branch location, a new promotion or marketing strategy, and the list goes on.
The reasons for the onset of “ifs” are explainable. As businesses grow, they create more opportunities and decision-making propositions for owners, who themselves have more at stake and hence are slightly more conservative than in years gone by.
Not to say that every “if” should turn into an “is,” but I believe that the most successful entrepreneurs and business owners are those who are true to themselves and follow their instincts. They many not turn every “if” into a reality, but they continue to see the word as more of an opportunity and less of a barrier.
So my proposition to clients and friends is to go “if” hunting again – to step gingerly off the “if” plateau and continue to follow their dreams and, as the manifesto reads, “This is your life. Do what you love and do it often.”
By Scott Neave, president, Neave Group Outdoor Solutions, Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
Information starts crisp and clear on one end of a long string of people. As each child whispers the information to the next, slight alterations in message translation tend to occur so that by the end of the line, the message is never quite the same.
Sometimes it’s a lack of speaking clearly that causes the information shift. Other times, it’s a failure to listen. But many times, it’s the addition of a bias or expectation in our heads that causes us to hear a different twist on the original tale.
This classic communication lesson of speaking and listening happens in business, too. Whether it’s an issue with a customer or an employee, many situations I deal with on a daily basis seem to go through this type of grapevine. As such, how I deal with information that funnels to me is very important. I can’t ignore it; instead I have to piece it together based on incomplete data and ingrained biases inside the people delivering it.
I find the best way to get to the root of challenges that arise in business is to work the information backwards to the very heart of the issue – in other words, the start of the telephone game, where the information is its truest.
In order to do this well, I use what I call a “leadership filter.” This is where, being objective, I filter out the solid information to determine what the problem is in order to solve it swiftly and efficiently.
While we are all subject to the same noise and static as information funnels in for the most part, I’ve learned many times problems originate as a result of one of two things: a broken system or a bad attitude. From there, challenges can be conquered productively.
In addition to solving problems, I try to make each of these challenges a teaching moment for my managers – a chance where they can grow and improve the way they handle customer and employee situations.
This may sound trivial, but I truly believe that being a great leader or manager comes from the little things you do day in and day out to better your people and the company. I think you become a leader not because you want to be one but because of your integrity and your actions. In this way, leadership happens naturally.
Scott Neave is president of Neave Group Outdoor Solutions in Wappingers Falls, NY and Neave Pools in Cold Springs, NY. Scott joined his family business in 1998 after earning his degree from Penn State University.
Photo Credit: somaya (Flickr)
If you know any students enrolled at a recognized two-or four-year college or university, working toward a degree in horticulture, turfgrass management, agronomy, environmental science or other field related to a segment of the green industry, and you think they might be interested in a $2,500 scholarship – please send them this blog post.
Lawn & Landscape, and its parent company, GIE Media has established a fund to support academic scholarships and business internship placements for outstanding college students focused on leading in the green industry. GIE Media is giving away 2 scholarships of $2,500 each.
Lawn & Landscape is good friend’s business, and this program is designed to help develop some of the brilliant minds in the green industry, but the clock is ticking – applications must be postmarked no later than April 15, 2013.
The deadline to apply is April 15. You can find the application and more information here.
Successful companies are always looking to the future to find ways to develop the next generation of talent, ensuring the success of our industry. Kudos to Lawn & Landscape, and GIE Media, for demonstrating this level of forward thinking.
Everyone out there that runs, owns or manages within a business has had “Hires from Hell” – people that should have never been on the bus, yet got on the bus somehow. Several months ago, my friends at Lawn and Landscape Magazine asked my thoughts on the topic, as they know I do a lot of team building and hiring the right person. Here is the article that ran in their magazine – click the link below for the PDF version of my part only, or you can visit their direct link here for the entire article (with awesome tips about other Hires from Hell).
Here is my portion of the article in PDF version: Hires from Hell