Knowledge is the New Currency

Knowledge is the New Currency

by John Kennedy

As the Spring season begins to take shape throughout most of the US, and as IGC’s fill the new and returning roles of retail (hiring or re-hiring), this is the time to reinvest in training and development.

I recently had the chance to present a webinar for one of The Garden Center Group Partners for Success—Proven Winners, titled “Batter Up!” where we compared spring training in baseball to spring training in garden centers. The same “Back to Basics” approach is a wise way to kick start the body and the brain to ready for the season ahead.

BTW…Opening day for baseball is March 28th and some of you in the south have already started “playing ball” early! I love this time of year---Go O’s!!

What I find often times happens in the independent garden center space is some of the vendors visit and fill the brains of the team with awesome insight about their products and services, and that is a wonderful kick start to the season…and then we buckle up and “play ball” for the rest of the year. The retention of the lessons learned drops dramatically on a daily basis and is probably lost for good over a week or two.

The equivalent to that would be having baseball spring training in Arizona or Florida and then just hoping everyone remembers how to play the game. That would be setting up for a bottom of the league finish indeed. Professionals practice every day…and as stated at The Fall Event, it’s time to “Go Out and Be Great!”

There are many IGC’s that commit to training and development on a more consistent basis. Joey Bokor and his team at Kerby’s are a “great” example. They have a daily team huddle and a PK (Product Knowledge) presentation once a week, where a team member teaches everyone about a product or problem and offers the value or the solution. From there, those notes are then posted into GroupSpace to be available for review… building a Knowledge Kollege for future learning.

Forest Lake Greenhouses is currently building FLGU inside of their GroupSpace where associates that “learn more, earn more” by assigning points to the effort and investment made to become an MVP—"More Valuable Player” to the company… as well as the customer.

Their GroupSpace will be filled with vendor training as well as internal training to build the knowledge base and competencies of the stakeholders in FLG. By assigning a points system to their learning activities and then rewarding them through gamification, this creates a culture of curiosity, learning and rewards (See a mock-up of the program under construction). I hope you had a chance to read the October edition of Garden Center Magazine that highlighted FLG and their adoption of “The Great Game of Business.” They made the cover!!

Louisiana Nursery is also “swinging for the fence” with their three locations competing by adding up the points each team member earns by attending LNLA certification programs, by participating in the 2024 Proven Winners Certification Program, teaching a class, attending a seminar, presenting a “Deep Dive” during their Friday huddle to not only increase their knowledge, but also share the knowledge with other team members--“Each One, Reach One.”

Forest Lake Greenhouses and Louisiana Nursery both play “The Great Game of Business” through monthly mini-games. This year they will both focus on knowledge as one of their KPI’s.

The old adage that “knowledge is power” is not quite true, though. Shared Knowledge can become the new currency of your garden center team, each of them learning, sharing and growing together. 

Another IGC, Heinz Brothers Greenhouse has taken their GroupSpace and training to a whole new level with “One Plant A Day: 365 Days of Plants” videos by Summer Rayne Oakes, and by also tying the product and plant training programs to their marketing plan.

Each week, they focus their attention on items that are marketed out to the public with the product/plant knowledge training they offer internally, allowing each and every employee to be competent and confident in their ability to educate the customer.

Building confidence and capacity within your garden center should be the big focus in 2024.

We know that garden centers with an informed and well-educated staff, who can coach and consult the customer to success, are seeing better sales and enjoying better retention as well.

Leveraging your vendors, and encouraging and rewarding your team to learn more will absolutely foster the best chances to earn more for the garden center and the team.

My dad taught me at an early age to “learn something new each day…if you don’t, you wasted that day.” Creating a culture of curiosity within your garden center will drive your team to the pennant of profitability and the world series of sales and service. (I know, I know…a little too far…I get it!!)

Lastly, I realize many folks are hesitant to invest in education for their team out of fear that they may leave and take their newfound knowledge with them. I get it…I do.

However, the alternative is far more challenging for your business.

What happens if you don’t train them… and they stay????

Knowledge is the New Currency…are you investing in your team for a better ROI?  
Team Development, Plant/Product Training, communication and huddles should occur each and every day, not just during Spring Training…just like they do in the big leagues--Batter Up!

GroupSpace is now newly propagated with vendor training from many of The Garden Center Group Partners for Success…with many more on the way!

Plus, you can upload your very own training and development into the platform. Armed with her iPhone, Sonya Harrison at My Secret Garden is a Rock Star for doing this.

Take a test drive and see what’s new— and sign up today! Remember: The Garden Center Group members receive a $500 discount!!

John Kennedy is Co-Founder of BoomerWrangle, LLC. with his amazing wife, Souny.

BoomerWrangle is the new corporate entity that houses all of their talents & tools to support The Garden Center Group members.

From innovative solutions such as “Your GroupSpace,” customized on-boarding videos,  strategic planning and team engagement,  BoomerWrangle, LLC has become a single-source digital solution & strategic planning agency to maximize employee engagement, organizational excellence, build sales and service cultures, ease of ordering and operational efficiency!

for more information and insights into their growing toolbox of IGC solutions!

[email protected]
[email protected]

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as John Kennedy, Tim Quebedeaux, Sid Raisch, Jean Seawright, and of course Danny Summers are included in your retainer!

Share this post:

Comments on "Knowledge is the New Currency"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment