Art of simplicity

April 19, 2013 -  By

With a husband who’s an Army sergeant, I’ve grown accustomed to military slang and acronym-speak. In our house we eat chow (food). We spell things in the phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…). We inquire about ETAs (estimated times of arrival), we rack out (go to sleep) and things don’t get misplaced—they’re MIA (missing in action).

Marisa Palmieri

Marisa Palmieri

Turns out, many military terms have infiltrated the business world. Have you been to a conference or meeting where subject-matter experts (SMEs) will be presenting? Or have you been asked about the SOP (standard operating procedure) for completing a task? Or maybe you’ve taken on a project that’s met a few SNAFUs? (Sorry, we can’t print that one in a family magazine). There are likely more than you realize.

As we were putting together the editorial content for this issue of Landscape Management, one military-turned-business acronym kept coming to mind: KISS. That’s right: good old, “Keep it simple, stupid,” compliments of the Navy’s Project KISS, dating back to 1960.

“KISS” is what many of the sources throughout this issue of LM seem to be telling us. As Senior Editor Beth Geraci points out in her column, a KISS mindset is what led Craig Ruppert, CEO and founder of Ruppert Landscape, Laytonsville, Md., down the entrepreneurial path. “I had a lawn mower and figured if I worked hard I could succeed,” he told her for the cover story.

Kelly Banfield, president and CEO of Banfield’s Lawn Care & Landscaping, is in the midst of establishing his second successful Green Industry company. He grew and sold his first one in Youngstown, Ohio, over a few decades before moving to Florida to try his hand in the panhandle. He told me, for the Lawn Care Market Report, “To me, it seems pretty easy. If you say you’re going to do something and follow through, I’ve never had a problem being in business. If you have a good product and stand behind it, wherever you’re at, you’ll be successful.”

Both men make running successful businesses sound like a breeze, and of course that’s not the case. Hard work and follow-through aren’t easy. Neither is any of the (very good) advice laid out in Bruce Wilson’s column this month. But all of these concepts are simple.

Think about it: In business and in life, is there any advice more practical than KISS? Maybe the Navy had it right. Or maybe they knew when you complicate things, you run the risk of the situation becoming FUBAR. (Sorry, you’ll have to Google it. Or, watch Saving Private Ryan.)

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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