Spring is right around the corner and it’s time for all of us to shake off the dust and get ready to get to work. Less thinking and planning and more doing. However, in your haste to get things done, don’t forget to take some time each week to slow down and train and educate your team. This is an important part of growing a company. Without skilled, well-educated and trained team members, you will never realize your utmost potential. And, understand this; your external customer service WILL NEVER exceed your internal customer service.
In other words, you can’t expect your team to treat your clients like Kings and Queens, if you don’t treat them like Kings and Queens. If you want to establish a competitive advantage in the marketplace, the quickest way to do that is with people. It is impossible for your competition to copy the way you treat your clients.
In our training circle, stolen from HighGrove Partners, we share our lessons using language that everyone will understand and being as clear as we can. As we teach our topic, we stop and ask questions like, “Am I going too fast?” “Have I lost anyone?” And we scan the group for nonverbal signs that say, “I don’t get this.” As we teach, we quiz the audience. For example, if we’re teaching about trailer safety, we might ask, “Jeremy, what is the first thing you do when you are to back up a truck and trailer?” If Jeremy is paying attention, he quickly responds, “You stop the truck, put on your flashers and ask your passenger to get out and help you back up. That passenger needs to be in view of the driver’s side mirror.” If Jeremy says, “Ah….um…..well…..,” you know he has not been paying attention and you call on someone else.
Then go back to Jeremy for the next question and try him again. Doing this keeps everyone on their toes and it makes the learning more fun. Fun is important; a joke here and there, something funny, especially if the joke is on the person training. Self-deprecating humor is the best of all for teachers; it humanizes you and makes others see that you do make mistakes and have failed.
Training and Education is a critical part to running a successful landscaping company, but it’s not a to-do list item; it’s serious stuff that ought to be talked about and treated like the important task it is.