Three wise men

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I was in Dallas last month at GROW!, the annual conference our columnist Marty Grunder puts on. He had more than 200 landscapers in a room for three days, teaching them about how to grow their businesses and their teams. It is, for my money and yours, one of the best educational opportunities for contractors out there.

As part of the event, Marty had asked three top professionals – Frank Mariani, Jim McCutcheon and Scott Jamieson – to sit down and talk about their most meaningful experiences and share advice for the assembled crowd.

They’re longtime friends of Lawn & Landscape, and have helped their organizations grow to the pinnacle of their field. And, they’ve given back to the broader industry – Scott is the current president of the National Association of Landscape Professionals, Jim is immediate past-president and Frank is joining the board later this year. I’m not overstating it when I say that the landscape industry would not be the same without these three guys.

At that dinner in Dallas, I asked them what advice they would give to themselves if they could go back to when they were just starting out in the business. What have they learned in the intervening decades that would have helped them so many years ago?

They all said they wished someone would have talked to them about their impact on people.

Their answer surprised me. They didn’t talk about how to calculate their gross profit margin, or the best skid-steer – not trucks or sprayers or mowers, or the best way to set up a holding yard.

They all said they wished someone would have talked to them about their impact on people. They said it took them a while to learn – sometimes through hard-earned, difficult and painful experiences – that as business owners and leaders of their organizations, they had a huge impact on the people they worked with and employed.

You don’t have to run a huge company to have that sort of impact on your own team. If you have 10 employees, you’re a leader of 10. If you have one employee, then you’re a leader of one.

As the owner of your business, you have the ability to help everyone you hire, not just with a job or a paycheck, but to be a part of a team and contribute to something larger than themselves. You’re different from Frank Mariani or Jim McCutcheon or Scott Jamieson. But you have their same opportunity right now.

– Chuck Bowen

March 2016
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