By: Larry Fish, President
During my business career, I had the good fortune to work for and with people whose approach to things could be best described as contrarian. Define a situation or show them a diagram of something and they always saw something different in it. They gave very little time to people whose thought processes were bound to the status quo, the way things are and a firm belief that things will never change. Many of them operated under a set of principles or guidelines that they defined in simple terms.
“Show me how a business selects its people and I will predict its potential to grow profitably and survive,”
one of them once commented to me. I never forgot those words. They are as true today as they were the first time I heard them a number of years ago.
People are no longer a renewable resource. The long term look at one’s career, the willingness to pay one’s dues, and sadly, in some instances, the traditional work ethic we all cherish are characteristics that are appearing less and less frequently in people we seek to hire.
Good people simply have more and different options open to them today. The notions of loyalty and long term commitment to a single employer are refuted every time we pick up a paper and read about another corporate giant trimming thousands of people from its workforce in order to become more efficient and profitable. Like it or not, these are realities that cannot be ignored. Smart businesses read these tea leaves and adjust.
The green industry is comprised of deceptively sophisticated businesses. The common product that the industry offers really has nothing to do with anything that grows or needs maintenance. It is all about one thing: value. Will the commercial or residential customer see enough value in what the industry has to offer to pay a price that will ensure a sufficient margin and continued opportunity for revenue growth for an ever growing number of providers? Think about something – – where would you prefer to own a landscape business, Atlanta, Georgia or Watertown, New York?
An industry whose primary offering is value and whose revenue stream is dependent upon the continued economic vitality of its customers is a very complex business to project and manage over the long haul.
Then ask yourself a question: Is the manner in which people are selected and promoted in your help wanted ads adequate to attract the management talent and vision necessary for long term survivability? If your initial reaction is hesitancy, then you will require some soul searching to get this important process right.
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