July 15, 2013
Keeping your stick on the ice
Prosperity Partners Program Manager
As I write this, I’m reflecting on the insane spring we had this year. The season started with a jolt, racing from winter headlong into summer. The soaring temperatures in early May brought landscapes and plants to the forefront of homeowners’ minds and everyone wanted their work done and plants in by yesterday.
It’s really hard to throttle back and regroup when you’re in the thick of it. And regroup is what you should be doing this month. Schedule a day for yourself to work on your business — look at financials, cash flow, and your customers’ experience of your service/product. Identify where to improve. Make a plan to close those gaps for the rest of the year.
This month, Bruce Morton, owner of Greenscapes Irrigation in Ottawa, has shared his thoughts on how the Prosperity Partners program helped him shift his thinking in a mature business.
How has Prosperity language helped you be intentional about how you run your business?
Bruce: It helped me recognize that the whole planning process (both strategic and tactical) is an important tool to get everybody rowing in the same direction. It’s a key factor in decision making as issues arise.
Can you give me an example of the type of questions you ask yourself as a result of the Prosperity Partners tools?
Bruce: Am I actually getting the real answer to a question I ask of my staff? Or, do I need to ask why a few more times to get to the real problem?
How has what you’ve learned through the Prosperity Partners helped rejuvenate your interest and passion, and keep you engaged?
Bruce: Using some of the program’s principles proved to me early on that it works in making good progress and getting momentum in the right direction. Even when we take a couple steps back, we now quickly find solutions. I originally started my business with passion. That feeling is re-kindled every time staff begins to do amazing things, and we perform as a team.
What is it about being involved with your LO Chapter that helps you in your business and to maintain a healthy work/life balance?
Bruce: Mentorship. I learn more from the people sitting around me at one board meeting, than I’d ever figure out on my own. The professionals I sit with at meetings all live the same issues I do, and all have slightly different takes on how to approach challenges (both business and personal). This opportunity to witness, have an ability to share and to learn is priceless to me.
What specifically has the Prosperity Partners program done to help you most recently with your business and work/life balance?
Bruce: I learned to keep my business challenges as black and white issues, that require decisions and subsequent actions, rather than huge emotional events that are to be avoided.
Prosperity thinking helped give me a framework to build a process to get things done more effectively.
Can you give me an example?
Bruce: We recently had a very talented employee completely mash-up an important job for which he was responsible. The optics were bad from my point of view. I felt he completely failed to follow process and had total disregard for both the client’s and the company’s concerns. The fix was expensive. I defaulted to the Prosperity thinking: step back and look at facts — no emotion. I discovered that the employee did his best with the information and resources provided. He had interpreted instructions from his point of view, and came out with the wrong answer. It was poor communication on the company’s part. Prosperity language helped frame it as a learning opportunity. We corrected the training and communication, and it hasn’t happened again.
What specifically has being involved in governance at Landscape Ontario done to enhance your industry relationships with peers, or access to knowledge, experience and information that you’ve recently used?
Bruce: Building the relationships I have with my LO professional peers makes it easier for me to get my job done. When I have a question, or a problem, I can just call any one of my peers and ask for help. They have repeatedly been happy to assist. And, I realize that the feeling is mutual. I will do whatever I can to help them succeed.
What did you like the most about the Effective Management Short Course?
Bruce: There was a ton of material in that course that I took back to my company and shared with my people.
If you could start your business all over again, would you include the Prosperity Partners program in your learning and business development plan?
Bruce: It seems we never figure out the smarter path until we mature and slow down a bit, gain wisdom and deploy hindsight. I can only dream of where I’d be now had I skipped the school of hard knocks and started with PP in 1987. Prosperity would have taught me early-on the basic business tools that aren’t as easily (and inexpensively) available anywhere else. It would have also taught me a better way of keeping my business in perspective from a work/life balance point of view. If I could start all over again, in 1987, I’d take PP, and would be typing this while sitting on my terrace in the Cayman Islands.
Going forward, will you continue to engage in the Landscape Ontario Chapter community, and if so, why?
Bruce: The more I’ve learned by being involved, the more I realize there still so much to learn. I wouldn’t want to lose one of my most valuable information resources.
Visit www.horttrades.com/prosperity for more information on the Partnership.
Jacki Hart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.