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Grow with Grunder: Why we feel like we’re building the plane and flying it too

April 19, 2022 -  By


Ever heard the phrase: “Build the plane while flying it?” That’s often what it feels like when we’re implementing changes at a small business, and it becomes even more acute as the busy season gets into full swing. We’re making changes and improving our businesses, all while managing client expectations on when their spring clean-up will happen, shuffling the schedule because it rained all day and training new team members on how we work.

As the 100 Days of Victory really heat up, don’t lose sight of your goals.

At GROW! 2022 in February, Taylor Milliken, CEO of Milosi, taught a session on change management. His tips for implementing changes are so helpful as we all work through our own changes. Here they are, along with other insights we gleaned at GROW!

Run the change through a filter.

The changes you make need to align with your core values and your company’s goals. At Milosi, the team makes sure everything they do aligns with their core purpose: “Let’s Grow Beautiful Together.” They ask what the impact will be on their clients and the whole team before deciding to implement a change.

Overcome fear.

People fear change because of the unknown associated with it. Your team members may resist change because they fear losing their title, pay, freedom or responsibilities they enjoy. You can combat this fear by showing your people what’s in it for them. Reassure them that these changes will benefit them and their peers.

Keep both client satisfaction and profitability in mind.

In a different session, Landscape Workshop CFO Christianna Denelsbeck Rudder shared a story about her dad’s part-time job at a hardware store after he retired. She went to see him at work and used the restroom. After noticing the soap dispenser was empty, she let him know that someone should refill it. He told her the store is watching its numbers, and they can’t refill the soap dispenser because it will be an added cost.

The store had put such a focus on profitability, it lost sight of customer service. In everything Landscape Workshop does, the company tries to balance improving profitability with having happy customers. When implementing changes at your own company, make sure you aren’t sacrificing profitability or customer satisfaction.

Never stop looking for ways to improve.

When we stop learning, we stop growing. We can’t do things the way we always have and expect to get different results. If a challenge stumps you at your business, or you’re looking for ideas to spark your creativity, get around people and companies who inspire you.

With that in mind, I’m so excited for this year’s Field Trip. In partnership with the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), we’ll be touring R.P. Marzilli in Medford, Mass. Their projects are impressive, and I know I’ll leave that event with ideas for how we can operate better at Grunder Landscaping and with design ideas to delight our clients. Sign up to join me there.

Prioritize the changes you want to make, run them through the filter, get buy-in, keep profitability and your customers top of mind and never, ever, stop learning and growing. Be a cheerleader for the changes you know need to happen and support your team through them no matter your position in the company.

It’ll be worth it in the long run. I’ll talk to you next month.

This article is tagged with , and posted in 0422, From the Magazine
Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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