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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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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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A Bright Future

A Bright Future...

by Danny Summers

That's what I see ahead for Garden Retailing and the Horticulture Industry as a whole. We have several both direct and indirect evidence to support this vision for what's beyond the horizon. First, let's consider what almost every Garden Center has experienced the past 15+ months. Reports of seeing 20-25% new customers and a high percentage of them were young. And by the questions they asked, they are new to gardening. We have wondered if they would return this spring and most indicators point to YES, they have. These new plant and gardening enthusiasts are finding their own joy and passion in their garden activities. If we can continue to help them be successful and build upon this new-found relationship with plants and their garden, this may very well be the much needed bridge of transition between boomers and the next generation. These new young customers are one of the best pieces of evidence to support the vision of "A Bright Future."

Additional evidence to support a vision for "A Bright Future" can be seen in this year's nominees for Green Profit Magazine Young Retailer of the Year Award. In the December 14th edition of GROUPtalk, we announced a new Group effort to co-sponsor and promote Green Profit Magazine Young Retailer of the Year Award for 2021. The Garden Center Group, with support from our Partners for Success, are official sponsors of the 16th annual award, along with AmericanHort.

This past week, Green Profit announced the three finalists for this year's awards. They are:

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How About a Refill?

How About a Refill?

by Danny Summers

 

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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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What's Your Score?

What's Your Score?

by Danny Summers

What's Your Score?
From your customer's perspective... that is a very important question.

In a matter of days or weeks, your Center will see the normal surge of customers with that "Spring Fever" look in their eyes and this important question will begin to be answered by the only people that really matter... your customers. Many of you may already been seeing them. We all know it takes a lot of preparation and training to meet and exceed the customer's expectations and therefore receive their highest scores. High scores relate to repeat visits, and connected and loyal customers. If asked, how will they answer this question?

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