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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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Why Are Employees Really Quitting?

Why Are Employees Really Quitting?
You Can Boil It Down to 6 Simple Reasons.

By Carl Phillips

It’s been over 22 years since the roll-out of The Garden Center Group Mystery Shopper Program. Over three thousand, 600 hundred (3,600+) shops have been completed that form the basis for great customer service benchmarking. Carl Phillips has been instrumental in the program development since its inception. He is known as one of the mystery shopper industry founding fathers and The Group is blessed by having his guidance. Carl shares a number of blog articles and the following is one he shared last month and we think it is timely for your review.


 


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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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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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Your Work as a Craft

Your Work as a Craft

by Danny Summers

Have you ever thought of your work as a craft? Not craft as a hobby, but as a craftsman. I often refer to our industry as having some of the most wonderful people and how there is something very special about people who grow or sell plants.

Horticulture, much like farming, has great assets in the people. For us, it is the people who call Nursery, Garden Centers and Landscaping home.

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What's Your SuperPower?

What's Your SuperPower?

by Danny Summers

A SuperPower is a unique force or gift – something that you’re especially good at or something you are recognized for. Just like Superman (or woman), we all have our SuperPowers (or strengths).

Recognizing each person on your team's SuperPowers can help unify and build upon these strengths. This also can help spread those talents across the entire organization. You already know who is "Super" in certain areas. Recognizing these SuperPowers will encourage everyone to learn and grow.

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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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Service Please!

Service Please!

by Danny Summers

Sir Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."

This simply yet powerful statement emphasizes the importance of serving. Whether serving our family, our faith, our community, our country, or each and every person we see each day, the act of serving has great value. This also relates to every Guest that enters your Center. On May 2 of this year you may remember a message I shared titled "At Your Service". In that message, I said there is one thing you and your Team can do to begin... (Ok, actually 3 things)

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Report Card Grade - Not Yet

Report Card Grade: Not Yet!

by Danny Summers

At first glance, you might think I am referring to Spring 2022 performance numbers and this title very well could be used to describe the late spring arrival and the numbers we are seeing in the Weekly Department Review (WDR). But I want to first ask the question... Have you ever heard of a Report Card Grade of "Not Yet"? I hadn't until a few weeks ago when I found a quote by Dr. Carol Dweck to use in the April 25th edition of GROUPtalk for the Quote of the Week. The quote is:

“The hallmark of successful people is that they are always stretching themselves to learn new things."  ~ Dr. Carol S. Dweck

Dr. Dweck is a renowned psychologist who introduced the world to the term “growth mindset”. She is the author of Mindset, a book that introduced the differences between a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset. As I read more and even watched several presentations of Dr. Dweck's work and her research on having a growth mindset, I realized this is not just for children and their development. It applies to all of us.

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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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Pride in Your Work

Pride in Your Work

by Danny Summers

We have known for years there were countless people who went to work everyday to a job they did not like, maybe even hated. I have often said, "Life's too short not to enjoy what you do." For those our us in the "green industry" I think most of us feel very fortunate to be where we are. We may have had some employers or bosses who we wished were different, but overall, people who work with plants every day have a different outlook on life and it makes this one of the most rewarding places to be!

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Customers or Guests?

Customers or Guests?

by Danny Summers

In sending all Group Centers Owners a reminder for the 2022 Group Mystery Shopper Program this past week, I started thinking about the typical Mystery Shopper and all of your customers.

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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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Teamwork!

Teamwork!

by Danny Summers

Very few activities exemplifies TEAMWORK like being part of a competitive rowing crew. Though I have never participated in this sport, I think everyone being so in-sync to produce the best (in this case... fastest) results is a great way for us visualize TEAMWORK.

What about TEAMWORK in your Garden Center? The goal of every Garden Center should be to create a fun and rewarding environment for each team member to be excited, motivated and inspired to be an important part of your team with the purpose to ultimately serve the customer.

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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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Find Your Work Zen

Find Your Work Zen

by Danny Summers

While the title for this message can be for you, I am really presenting this as an idea for our Centers to consider as a message to promote to prospective team members (new-hires) in the coming seasons.

Evidence is mounting that Garden Centers can be in a prime position to capture the attention of a large number of Millennials who have discovered over the last 18 months they really do not want to return to their typical work environment. I can see the job listing now... Find Your Work Zen at (insert your garden center name here)!

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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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A Culture of WHY

A Culture of WHY

by Danny Summers

Over the past two weeks, we have been experiencing Florence Williams' wonderfully impactful story of 'The Nature Fix.' It is the result of her multi-year work of documenting WHY nature is so important in the health and welfare of every human being.

Many of the details contained in her book support what we all have known for years about the importance of plants and the activity of gardening. We just did not have the science to back up our beliefs... until now.

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Building Relationships

Building Relationships

by Danny Summers

Relationships. It is the lifeblood of a successful career or business. It spans all aspects of your operation... Your customers. Your staff and management team. Your growers and hardline vendors. Other relationships you have are here within The Group. The relationships built with The Group's team of Service Providers and your peer Centers is something that is very unique today.

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