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Author: jwalters

Trust is not a commodity – you can’t buy it and trying to sell it is in direct contradiction to its definition. Trust, simply put, is “I’ve got your back, you’ve got mine. I feel valued and safe.” Employees who know their value and who know they are not in it alone are in a state of trust. The outcomes are measurable in customer satisfaction and the maximizing of time and money. When we started The Landscape...

For the second consecutive year, How to Create Your Own Landscape University went smoothly. Hosted on the beautiful Ole Miss Campus in Oxford, Mississippi, there were many details to manage and execute; such as scheduling the Double Decker bus ride, food orders, planning the campus-wide tour and gathering all the needed intense learning and training tools in one place. The entire program flowed smoothly, people were engaged and our staff were able to show off the...

I stepped into the warm, cozy conference room on a cold February day and looked back over my shoulder at the beautifully groomed golf course – in spite of the grey gloomy sky and brown dormant turf, it was stunning. My department took over the golf course landscaping and maintenance several years ago. We were already a bare bones operation, working with a barely adequate budget and minimal staff only to have one more property to add...

"If it is worth having, it is worth waiting for." - Jack London Mr. London said it well and over my years of working with teams of “Weeders” I have gotten a taste of what “worth” means. One good example comes to mind with an employee of mine named Victor. Victor had a problem – he felt detached, alone, set apart from the rest of the team. He dealt with this the way many of us do –...

In the early days of my management career, I remember a scheduled manager training session on weeding. It was the good ol’ get on your knees, bend over, and clean out the bed without damaging the plants exercise. Back in the old days, it was not uncommon to assign a new person the task of weeding to see if he/she had what it took to make it on the team. Not long into this unpleasant task,...

When people sense they matter, they instinctively become more engaged and more productive. Years ago, I attended a Disney Horticulture Conference and I remember hearing Katy Moss Warner, former Director of Disney’s Horticulture and Environmental Initiatives, say, “The standard is not what you expect, it is what you accept.” She was right. As a facility leader, I realized that our department had different standards for the same type of work from different crews. Not everyone saw the same standard...

A few years ago I met a very capable and qualified service manager at a major university who, on paper, could have worked at any college campus or small business in America. He was well-educated, he had a great memory for job facts, and his job experience was extensive. Although on paper the service manager was more than capable of doing his job, his biggest problem was himself. We have all met this guy. Maybe you work...

Have you ever said this? I have. Plenty of times. In the urgency of the moment, it is almost ridiculous to even think training will happen. The cycle of construction, school starting, and projects rushed to completion seem to always take priority over training. Middle level managers and frontline leaders are some of the busiest people I know. Have you ever thought that one day you would get around to doing some training? Me, too. “We tried...

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