Smart people, smart insights

Brian Horn, editor,
Lawn & Landscape

I’m on my way back from the inaugural Elevate conference hosted by the National Association of Landscape Professionals. It was great networking with all the attendees and vendors, as well as attending some of the educational sessions.

One session featured an executive leadership panel with LandCare’s Mike Bogan, Weed Man’s Jen Lemcke, Mariani Landscape’s Frank Mariani and Davey Tree’s Pat Covey. With that much knowledge and experience in one place, I’ll turn this column over to the insights I gathered from them.

The long haul

When someone interviews a potential employee at Mariani’s company, they interview them for a career, not just a job. “It’s huge if you start with the idea of switching jobs every 2-3 years, but we are not thinking that,” he said. “We have to articulate that message because people don’t realize it.”

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Being a leader is a time commitment. When the topic of finding balance came up, Lemcke said with a chuckle that the balance doesn’t exist. When her company needed her, that was the focus. In those instances, she made sure she was present for the big family things, but acknowledged that sometimes she had to miss the little things. “You have to forgive yourself for doing that,” she said.

Leaders in their role

Mariani acknowledged that along the way, he learned not everyone wants to be the CEO. You’ll have employees who are happy in their role, and you should embrace that.

Present tense

Bogan said you need to look at your career as a marathon and enjoy the journey. Early on he was too focused on the next step. “I failed to appreciate the role I was in,” he said. He learned to enjoy the step he was currently on. “It’s fun to be the CEO, but all the other roles were too,” he said. “Don’t race through, enjoy where you are at.”

Generation Gap

Lemcke and Covey both acknowledged that generations get painted with a broad brush, and we need to stop doing that. “Everyone is different,” Covey said. “Every person has a core need to feel needed…to make a difference day-to-day. I don’t think that goes away from generation to generation. You have to find out how to tap into that.”

October 2022
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