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The Heart is a Muscle!

The Heart is a Muscle!

by John Kennedy

As we kick off the new year with high hopes of projected profits along with extra expectations of customer counts, I thought it important to bring out an oldie but goodie.

Past:
A few years back, I wrote and presented to The Garden Center Group about a healthy business being equivalent to a healthy body. The similarities are easy to see and the approach is easy to execute.

When we go to the doctor’s office for our annual check-up (or unfortunately when we are sick), there are a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or body metrics that they measure---Blood Pressure, Height/Weight, Temperature, Pulse and BMI (Body Mass Index). These provide a window into your current condition and are usually compared to your last visit.


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Becoming Great

Becoming Great – Fall Event Thursday Morning Presentation

By John Kennedy

As the dust from The Fall Event settles and the lessons and blessings found in Cincy are applied back home, I thought it important to share the message I delivered on the final day to all of The Garden Center Group members who may not have attended or had to catch a flight home.

Ultimately, the presentation centered around the common threads of excellence found inside of great leaders, athletes, business owners, and garden centers in the world. Three attributes that they all share which place them at the top of their game—the best of the best!

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The Power of Asking

The Power of Asking

By John Kennedy

A few years ago, a grower client was trying to come up with new ideas to improve and innovate the customer experience within their business model. My suggestion set off a chain reaction of ideas and improvements by the simple (yet somewhat complex) approach—why don’t we ask the customer?

Note: Don’t ask a question if you’re not prepared to hear the answer!

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Talent Development is All Math!

Talent Development is All Math!

by John Kennedy

As we see the initial signs of the 2023 economy play themselves out in April’s numbers, and forecast for May, June and July are just around the corner, we should never underestimate the investment in your people.

One of the Centers within The Garden Center Group has committed to a “People First” vision for 2023. Another has committed to “Build the Bench!” in 2023, and both are poised to propel themselves into the future of their businesses by focusing on the soft skills just as much as the hard goods of their retail operation.

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Getting To YES!

Getting to YES!

by John Kennedy

Years ago, I stumbled upon a great book that highlights the importance of the word “YES.” And a few years later, I came upon another book that also focused on the importance of the saying “YES.”  When I hear the same thing twice in short order, I believe I should pay attention.

Both books, as well as many, many others, have been influential in my mind set on strategic planning, training and consulting, as well as the necessary skillsets of leadership and sales.

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We Grow What We Feed - 2

We Grow What We Feed - 2

by John Kennedy

My very first job that I can remember, that was not chores on the farm for $5 a month, was stuffing church mailers in Alice Springs, Australia. Between 1972-1974, our family lived “Down Undah” and they remain some of my most cherished memories as a child.
In exchange for working a few hours on the weekend, we were compensated with candy. That candy was the only time I was able to eat it other than Easter and Christmas.

So, I guess you can say I ate candy, religiously! (I’m here through Friday…tip your bartenders!)
Another job I had in my teen years was at a pizza shop--Vennari’s Pizza in Columbia, Maryland. My High School friend Kyle got me the job and taught me everything I “kneaded” to know…from making the “special sauce” to spinning the pizza, I was in my element working there, and not only paid in pizza but also made $3.15/hour! After 2 summers, I saved up enough to buy a purple 1974 AMC Gremlin. Yup…I did!!

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Get Your Kicks, on Route 66!

Get Your Kicks, on Route 66!

by John Kennedy

When you finish this thoughtful message about Route 66, enjoy a version of It's Wonderful and Route 66... performed by Diana Krall and Natalie Cole at the end.


Over the last four years, in the Northern Virginia area, there has been a flurry of infrastructure improvements nearby our home in Centreville (a bustling DC Suburb). A crazy, constant cacophony of construction and chaos.

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Permanent Decisions Made Over Temporary Problems

Permanent Decisions Made Over Temporary Problems

by John Kennedy

Years ago, before The Garden Center Group Fall Event was in Nashville, I took a flight down to see my favorite band—Counting Crows. They were playing at The Ryman Auditorium,  and I had never seen a show there before. Toad the Wet Sprocket opened for them and it was a delightful evening and amazing venue. I wanted to make it an extra special experience over all, so I booked a room at the famous Hermitage Hotel (I felt I had earned the gift to myself with nearly 15 years on the road) and it became the first official check on my newly scribed “Bucket List.”   Seeing U2 in concert was next, and I am happy to report I earned another Bucket List Check Mark the following year!

As I walked back from the show with my newly purchased merch-- a Counting Crows Tee Shirt with “I am Color Blind” printed on it--- I approached the hotel, and the doorman kindly opened it, smiled and said: “Oh, are they in town?”

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Your GroupSpace – A Preview for The Fall Event 2022

Your GroupSpace – A Preview for The Fall Event 2022

by John Kennedy

As we inch closer to The Fall Event 2022, we wanted to highlight some of the presentations, people and products that will join us in Kansas City.

As you may have known from previous GROUPtalks, John & Souny Kennedy have created a wonderful digital platform that allows a busy Garden Center to run at maximum efficiency and engagement. It was originally created specifically for our Garden Center Group Clients and is called GroupSpace.

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Water the Bamboo

Water the Bamboo

by John Kennedy

 

As Danny’s article, The Final Stretch, and the featured video shows, closing strong is always vital to any mindset in business and life. What a stunning finish. The heart & soul of a champion!

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We Grow What We Feed

We Grow What We Feed

By John Kennedy

As we continue into the busy season, we want to ensure that we are growing our people just as well as we are growing our plants. We know what a plant needs to thrive (water, fertilizer, and sunlight) but what about our people?  In this short video, you will learn that there are three important fertilizers your people need from you in order to thrive--To be Heard. To be Valued. To be Respected.

The majority of employees who leave organizations claim the top three reasons they left are lack of appreciation (catching them doing something right) delegation (teaching new skills to improve their personal and professional development needs) and communication (being in the know and understanding the “why” relating to their work).  To be heard, valued and respected are outcomes of these efforts…we grow what we feed!

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Circle... The Circle Back

Circle…Then Circle Back

By John Kennedy

As we “spring forward,” we hope to not fall back into old habits!  One bad habit many managers and owners have is the habit of saying too little…until it’s too late.

The opportunity to say more up front and explain not only “What” needs to get done and “How” it needs to get done, but the “Why” with new and existing staff, can lead to less confusion, stress, and frustration—a recipe for disaster in a busy spring with an already uphill fight for employees.

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Plant Your People

Plant Your People

By John Kennedy

 

As the road in this new year is currently being paved, and 2022 slowly appears on the horizon of your garden center’s windshield, it’s always a good idea to reflect on the past year that is disappearing in the rear-view mirror quickly before the lessons and blessings are forgotten.

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Two Types of Leadership

Two Types of Leadership

by John Kennedy

As we round out the year with the holidays, it’s always important to begin to think about what 2022 will shape up to be…will it be like 2021? 2020? 2019? Or will it have a personality all of its own?

Whatever the story is to be told, having a plan that will address it is always better than having no plan at all.

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The Gig is UP!

The Gig is UP!  Adopting and Adapting to Change

by John Kennedy

As we all know, the pandemic accelerated our need to embrace technology, e-commerce and innovation. From curbside pickup to on-line ordering, our garden centers jumped from 2020 to 2030 in just one year. It’s like we took a Quantum Leap (great TV show!) into the future, and are now wondering if we stay, or “leap back” to 2021.

That is the great big question for all of us.  Go back to the way it was, embrace the way it is (a great song) or embark on the way it will become?

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The Brutal Truth of the Cost of Non-Productive Labor

The Brutal Truth of the Cost of Non-Productive Labor

by John Kennedy

One day, I stopped by a job site of a landscape client of mine. The two crew members were sitting on the client’s patio furniture taking a break (Bad Start!). One was smoking (he quickly tried to hide his poor judgement). I sat at the table with them and asked to have some" fun with numbers" (a hint of sarcasm floated over the wrought iron table…)

 

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Rooms and Runs - Alignment 3.0

Rooms and Runs – Alignment 3.0

By John Kennedy

As we continue the theme of Alignment in 2021, here are a few more thoughts I would like to add to the discussion in the month of May.

Let’s consider the big three pillars of any retail shop—average transaction, number of transactions, and customer experience rating. Studies show that there is a direct correlation (read alignment) from the customer satisfaction metrics and the average transaction metrics.

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The Year of Alignment - Part Two

The Year of Alignment - Part Two

by John Kennedy

As we move into the marketing magic of the year, driving focus and attention to our garden centers, which in turn drives foot traffic and the return of new found “fan-demics” (I just made that up) as well as our existing client-base, I thought it might be nice to take a good long look in the marketing mirror.

Each morning before coffee, I take seven steps to the WC to throw some water on my face, brush my teeth, and take a good long look at the drain and damage 56 years of being me has brought to my face--wrinkles from smiles and sun damage, baggy eyes from the six hours of sleep, and a blank stare into the possibilities the day will bring as I slowly kick the cobwebs to the curb, and embrace a deep and spiritual sense of gratitude that I am on the right side of the grass today.

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2021: The Year of Alignment

2021: The Year of Alignment

by John Kennedy

Happy New Year and Happy New You. The previous year (formally known as 2020) has left an impact on all of us, and to not have been affected, changed or transformed would be both unrealistic as well as unfortunate.

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By The Numbers: The Four Stages of Building a World-Class Team

By The Numbers: The Four Stages of Building a World-Class Team

by John Kennedy

 

As this year comes to a close, and we review our lessons and blessings from 2020, we should already be looking to what 2021 will become for your Garden Center and your team. This edition of “By The Numbers” focuses on how to build the team that you will need to tackle the known and unknown elements of the new year ahead.

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