Professional Development

Why Mindset Matters for Success

No one is born an entrepreneur. But it also doesn’t happen by chance, instead they are driven to it. It’s all about having the compulsion to be a part of something that’s bigger than yourself and being willing to do whatever it takes to find that success. How “cut out” you are to be an entrepreneur depends on your perspective more than anything else. In my experience, both as a business owner and a coach...Read More

Emotional Intelligence During Remote Work: Leadership Tips for 2021

This year, business leaders were forced to quickly learn how to motivate and connect with their team members virtually. In 2021, we will face more of the same. The pressures of remote management can fray our emotions, stretch our intelligence, and test our patience. Our ability to make sound decisions under these trying circumstances requires emotional intelligence. Read More

Too Emotional? — How to Handle Yourself in an Argument

Emotion is a powerful tool of public speaking. A lot is happening on an emotional plane in terms of audiences accepting what you say. That's why going into a speech or presentation prepared only to convey "important" information is a losing strategy. How could it not be so? We can surmise that our species was able to convey feelings and intentions long before we could articulate our state of mind...Read More

Why Capable People Are Reluctant to Lead

“Resentment,” “competition,” and “blame”; “aggressive” and “pushy.” These are a sample of the words that respondents in our recent study associated with stepping up to lead. Despite the fact that most organizations desperately need people with leadership skills — and many employees and job candidates say that they are interested in leadership — when we asked people anonymously about...Read More

The Pandemic Shouldn’t Stop You From Emerging As An Innovative Leader

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” This famous quote from Karen Lamb certainly holds true in a time when many businesses have turned inward and become ultra conservative in the face of an unpredictable pandemic. But innovative leaders are not willing to allow even something as serious as a global epidemic to stifle their creative tendencies. If you’re struggling to find inspiration, stay the course. Read More

Advancing Your Career through Strategic Networking

Here’s a big question: Are you getting in your own way by putting a cap on your career goals where none exists? Here’s a bigger question: Are you surrounded by a network that empowers you to grow? These were two topics covered during the Women in Horticulture Event at Cultivate’20 Virtual, and they are substantial questions worth taking the time to stop and think critically about. Before creating a strategic...Read More 

3 Smart Tips for Successfully Managing Remote Teams

Consider for a moment the current nine-to-five, butts-in-seats paradigm of American work life. Where did it come from? The first wave of the Industrial Revolution took off in the textile factories of Great Britain in the 18th century. Workers were needed to operate looms that would spin cotton, linen or wool on a mass scale into yarn used to make garments, rugs, upholstery, and other products. Read More

How to Sculpt Yourself Into a Future-Ready Leader

Overnight, COVID19 changed the leadership menu from survival to evolving in a crisis. Leading through a crisis can feel like a heavyweight boxing championship — fifteen rounds to decide who will emerge on the other side. Change disrupts people’s expectations of the future, reduces their sense of control and their ability to process information. In times of high stress, Daniel Goleman coined...Read More

Why Mentoring Matters More During the COVID-19 Crisis

Mentoring is often a key part of what associations help foster, and what many younger professionals are looking for. And it turns out that’s particularly true now, even though people can’t be in the same room to accept such mentoring. Given the current state of the world right, it’s worth underlining exactly why that is, and why your organization should emphasize it, even if it means phone calls and Slack chats...Read More

5 Tactics That Will Help You Adjust to Your New Leader

Let’s say, you’ve been working hard, minding your own business, and suddenly you learn that you’re going to have a new boss. Maybe your old boss is leaving, or perhaps you’ve been reorganized. Whatever the reason for the change, you’re worried — which is both reasonable and practical — about how you and your new boss will get along, whether your work will be disrupted, and if your career will suffer or be supported. Read More

Six Ways to Build a Strategic and Powerful Greenhouse Industry Network

A panel of five accomplished women in horticulture shared how they have built strategic and powerful networks to advance and achieve their professional goals during the Women in Horticulture Main Stage Program that took place during AmericanHort’s Cultivate’20 Virtual, held July 13-16. The presentation also gave listeners a rare look some of the challenges women run into when trying to advance...Read More

Supercharge your Strategic Thinking

Maybe the better question to be asking is “Are you strategic?” How often have you overheard a group talking about a leader and saying, “She/he just doesn’t get it”? Come to think of it, are your colleagues or subordinates asking that same question about you? Well, are you tactical or strategic? Does it even matter? A survey conducted with 400 talent management leaders found that the No. 1 most-valued skill...Read More

Pursue Intentional Culture

Most of us spend the majority of our time at the office, actively working inside or as part of a human work system. Whether we are conscious to it or not, the corporate culture of an organization can make or break how we feel about the organization and our place in it. While most aware leaders say they want a constructive corporate culture, many are uncertain of what it really takes to shape it. Consequently, these executives...Read More

Leadership in the New Now

The coronavirus has shaken the nature of work to its core. While many are still anxiously awaiting a return to normal, what’s “normal” after the pandemic is likely to look very different from what we were used to before it began. As some parts of the world start to loosen restrictions, leaders need to move from crisis response to thinking about the role of organizations and leadership in the longer term. Read More

9 HR Leaders Share the Crucial Management Insights They've Learned During COVID

By now, we all know that Covid-19 has been an incredibly difficult experience in so many ways. The worldwide impact of the virus—on both people’s health and the economy—is something we’ve never really witnessed in our lifetimes. There are just so many unknowns, and with that comes a lot of fear and anxiety. It’s during these challenging times that great leadership is so crucial. We need people who can help...Read More

Why Introvert Leaders Excel During a Crisis

In crises, many leaders listen less because they believe immediate action is required. Usually, they are acting from a mindset that using techniques associated extroversion is the only way to get ahead. Unfortunately, those leaders often forget that employees, the people actually taking the action, are key to navigating challenges. During the coronavirus pandemic, when many people are working from home...Read More  

12 Ways to Keep Your Team (and Yourself) Energized in 2020

Since it’s the start of a new year, there’s no better time then to think of ways to keep you and your team supercharged throughout the year. That may not be on the top of your to-do-list. But, doing so will boost efficiency, productivity, and morale. And, along the way, it will help you and your team to continue to grow and become more well-rounded individuals. Keeping yourself and your team energized...Read More

How to Lead When Your Employees Don’t Have to Follow

How do you lead when people don’t have to follow? In a recent long-term leadership development program Karin and I conducted for leaders from around the globe, this was one of the most common questions participants asked. As work becomes more complex and people develop more specialized knowledge and skills, cross-functional teams, ad-hoc teams, and temporary project teams...Read More

Want to Grow? This 4-Step Plan Will Improve Your Leadership Skills Overnight

Today's leaders require vastly different abilities and approaches to guide tomorrow's workforce. Where yesterday's organizations and leaders were once hyper-focused on quarterly profits, leaders in 2020 and beyond must readjust to place greater emphasis on people skills. We need what Mark Brown, author of Outward Bound Lessons To Live A Life of Leadership, calls Expeditionary Leaders: "A leader who is willing...Read More

How to Reinvent Your Email as a Productivity Tool

It amazes me how many communication “solutions” are available nowadays–and yet, we feel more stressed than ever. We talk endlessly about focus and productivity but the very same tools that claim to offer these values appear to make the situation worse. It’s no coincidence that burnout levels are at an all-time high, and our attention spans are blitzed. How can we be expected to focus when alerts are constantly...Read More

Shake it Up

Make the plan then work the plan. How many times have you been given this advice? Planning is good and executing your plans is even better. But what do you do when nothing seems to be moving in the right direction? If you’re looking to shake things up in your business and try new things in the new year, then I’d like to make a small addition to the adage — one that has always worked for me. Read More

Get Back on Track

It’s the New Year and you know what that means. ’Tis the season for resolutions and goal setting. As we all know too well, goal-setting and making resolutions can be double-edged swords. On the one hand, if you don’t set specific goals, you can’t realistically expect them to manifest out of thin air. What’s the saying? It’s never going to rain roses, so if you want more roses, you’ll have to plant them. Read More

Invest Your Time Wisely

John Kennedy brought his typical energy and insight to The Garden Center Group’s Fall Event crowd. In his talk, “It’s time to manage at the speed of life,” the consultant defined several ways independent garden center owners can improve their time management skills. He began by explaining three ways organizations change: change by crisis, change by drift and change by design. Crisis is fairly self-explanatory...Read More

Are You at Risk of a Mid-Career Rut?

It might sound odd, but people need the most help not at the beginning of their careers, but in mid-career — especially when it comes to making decisions. That’s a key finding from a research study coordinated by one of us (Julia). The study asked 500 college-educated adults in professional careers (representative of 16% of U.S. adults) to indicate the degree of their agreement with statements about their behaviors...Read More

How to be a Leader of Leaders

I believe a quote by Ralph Nader in his book Crashing the Party sums up the role of a leader well: “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” If you’ve worked very long in the corporate field, you’ve likely been exposed to high-level executives who were strong, competent, insightful leaders. You’ve also likely been exposed to executives who weren’t. The difference...Read More

Don’t Let Limited Perspective Destroy Your Team

Recently, I’ve watched an organization of passionate and caring people disintegrate. The limited perspective of leaders and team members has frustrated communication and problem-solving. They’ve devolved into camps of us vs. them. It can happen to any team if you don’t pay attention to how you see the world. Read More

Technology Should Enhance Communication Skills

Did you check the weather app on your phone before getting dressed for work? Or turn on your favorite news station to catch up on current events over your morning coffee? Did you have your first exchange with a co-worker over Slack – before ever entering the office? The world is in the midst of a digital transformation that stands to impact every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Read More

8 Habits of Highly Empathetic Leaders

In a world where life is busy, complex, and filled with stress, empathy is the glue that holds great workplaces together. Empathy is the ability to detect other’s emotions and understand their perspective. When we feel accepted and validated, it builds trust and leads to better performance. Studies find that empathetic...Read More

Stepping In to Lead a New Group? Try This Process to Grow Trust and Gain Performance

People do make a difference. Or, more specifically, the right blend of the right people, coupled with the right leadership makes the difference. If you’re an executive or top manager staring at a new group you’ve been assigned to lead and concluding you’ve got a lineup that looks destined for last place, it’s time to take action. Of course, most of those actions involve the person staring back at you in the mirror. Read More

This is Why You’re Addicted to Being Busy

Why do we feel so compelled to always be busy? Why is it that the moment there’s not a mile-high stack of tasks or projects on our plate, we suddenly feel anxious and unsettled (when really the opposite should be the case). Busyness has become the new normal. And that’s a problem. There’s a paradox when it comes to busyness that goes...Read More

13 Guidelines for Navigating the New Decade Ahead

In 2009, after a speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Summit (Russia’s Davos), I wandered into a panel discussion on the topic of trade wars, led by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. My thought was: “why this topic?” Trade wars were not on most people’s radar, certainly not mine. But the question is: should they have been? Read More

11 Time Management Mistakes You Are Probably Making

Do you feel like you’re working all the time but not producing the results you desire? You’re not alone. It’s a problem that a lot of talented entrepreneurs must overcome. Unfortunately, some people, as a last-ditch effort, embrace time management techniques that only add to the time mismanagement struggle. Avoid these 11 common time management traps that most entrepreneurs make. Learn ways...Read More

The 5 Levels of Leadership

“Leadership is simply influence, nothing more and nothing less,” said Neal Glatt, managing partner of GrowTheBench and certified coach with Gallup and John Maxwell organizations. “How do we gain influence? We add value to people.” With his combined expertise at GrowTheBench — an organization that enhances brands through education and development — and as a certified coach...Read More

4 Sales Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make

As we all know, sales are to a landscaping company what gas is to a truck — without them, and a steady supply for the months ahead, you aren’t going anywhere for long. But succeeding at sales takes real planning and focus. This month, take a good look at your current approach and ensure you’re steering clear of these crucial mistakes when it comes to closing deals and building a sustainable future for your company. Read More

Time Blocking Tips Top Experts and Scientists Use to Increase Productivity

From the moment you wake up to when your head hits the pillow, entrepreneurs spend their days jumping from task-to-task. We’re also rushing from meeting-to-meeting. Putting out fires. And, getting distracted by emails, phones, and answering a question from employees. Starting a business is exhausting. With so much going on, how is it possible for us to get anything done? Read More

Great Managers Make a Hard Job Look Easy - Here's How

Let’s face it when someone loves their job it shows in their demeanor and actions. If that someone happens to be a manager, the positive perspective comes through in everyone’s demeanor and actions. Given the nature of my coaching work, I end up engaged with a disproportionate number of confident, motivated managers, and I love it. They are individuals who find joy in creating something...Read More

Communication Practices of High-Performance Management Teams

I’ve spent a good portion of my working life participating in or working with senior management teams. The experiences range from fascinating and exhilarating to the stuff of waking nightmares. Some senior management teams have it all going on. They tackle the tough topics, debate options constructively, celebrate wins, agonize together over misfires and then find a way forward. For other groups, well...Read More

5 Steps to Handling a Crisis Like a Boss

It’s wonderful when everything in your business runs smoothly. You know those days -- sales targets get smashed, you win new business and an IT upgrade actually finishes on time. But, we often learn more about ourselves and our businesses in times of trouble. I sincerely hope your crisis never happens. But if it does, here are my tips for handling a crisis like a boss. Read More

How to Get Through an Extremely Busy Time at Work

You’re an accountant deep in tax season, a junior doctor in residency, or an entrepreneur juggling a startup and an actual baby. Many of us go through seasons of life when we have very little personal time. Others may be committed to jobs that regularly involve intense and long hours, creating a long-term lack of rest. While this kind of overwork is not ideal, there are undoubtedly situations...Read More

When Managers Break Down Under Pressure, So Do Their Teams

As a leader, much of what you do is relatively forgettable. We don’t mean to insult, but your routine actions on routine days are experienced by your direct reports as, well, routine. But for non-routine days — the days when you are under the gun, feeling the heat, or pushed to your limits — how you respond under the pressure makes an indelible impression on the people around you. Our latest research...Read More

How to Lead a Team on Different Schedules

How do you build a high-performing, cohesive team when people are working on different schedules? Clarity is even more important as you get everyone working toward the same goals and it takes extra effort to build relationships with little face-time...Read More

How Listening Can Narrow the Gaps Dividing Our Teams

Leading in today’s environment is tough. One of the factors which makes leadership today challenging is the generational diversity around our offices and across Slack channels. Every organization and business today has to fight the same battle – four or five generations are at the table, looking to be heard and valued. Builders, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z all see the world very differently, and the values...Read More

Why Empathy Is The Most Effective Leadership Skill

If I’ve learned anything from starting my own company, it’s that entrepreneurship starts with an individual’s desire to solve a problem or problems. But as the company grows, one also has to grow into much more than just an entrepreneur.  In order to succeed as a company, I have learned that it is less about your individual need or desire, but more about surrounding yourselves with talented people...Read More

Do These Things if Your Employer Puts You on a Performance Improvement Plan

A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is a tool used by managers and HR to help employees identify and create an action plan when there are deficiencies present in your performance. While receiving a PIP can feel scary, they should not always be perceived negatively. If you receive a PIP, then it seems your organization is truly interested in helping you improve. To help you turn the situation around...Read More

To Improve Your Team, First Work on Yourself

A colleague and I were recently meeting with a CEO and his leadership team, observing them as they discussed how to improve their annual planning process. As the team of ten explored their current process, the conversation got heated. The team had been talking for 45 minutes, but it wasn’t clear who was leading the discussion or what their objectives were. Many comments were off-topic, and they were not getting...Read More

The Next Sign Of Great Leadership: Emotional Intelligence

Over the last few years, the business landscape has morphed, forcing companies and leaders to transform in many ways. Honesty, intelligence and empathy are required. And those who hold those as ideals consistently rise above the rest. We buy products and services from people who we admire and respect. How companies show up in the world and how they communicate within it directly impacts...Read More

How to Make Sure a New Hire Feels Included from Day One

Beth was promoted to senior vice president at a Fortune 500 company. In addition to her existing responsibilities, she was given two new groups to manage. Overnight, her team doubled in size. Beth needed to hire senior executives to help manage her burgeoning division. Within five months, she had her senior management team in place: four external hires and six internal executives who had worked...Read More

Fear the Conversations You're Not Having

Challenging management and performance conversations regularly run off the rails. They are often muddled, mixed-up, and monumentally massacred. Nonetheless, at least people are attempting to talk about the tough topics—even if things occasionally go cattywampus (look it up!) with them. The conversations I genuinely worry about are the ones that aren’t taking place. As a leader, just thinking...Read More

3 Myths About Success That You Need to Stop Believing This Year

In your pursuit of long-term business success, you’ve likely adopted some false beliefs about what you and your business need to do to succeed. There’s no doubt that success is in the eye of the beholder. Numerous interviews with rich and famous entrepreneurs and corporate leaders prove that. To Sir Richard Branson, true success boils down to living each day fulfilled. For Mark Cuban, it’s waking...Read More

13 Dos and Don'ts of Business Email Etiquette

Few things can tarnish your professional brand quite like a poorly written, misguided email. One click of the "send" button can be the difference between a successful business exchange and a potential HR issue or co-worker conflict. And while Americans send hundreds of thousands of emails a day, it should not be taken for granted. Whether you’re a senior...Read More

Leadership Qualities that Promote Customer-Centric Success

There are a thousand different ways to lead a company. Some leaders thrive in chaos, while others prefer to micromanage. There are leaders that seek out the spotlight and some try to keep a low profile. Whatever leadership style is adopted, all leaders must focus on customers needs, wants and desires. There is an art to developing a business that’s both customer-centric and profitable. Read More

Are You Selling to a Professional or an Amateur?

A professional is going to buy from someone like you. They’re going to have a process to review the process, a method, an experienced approach to obtaining what they need. A professional isn’t going to think she can do it herself and isn’t going to make it an emergency. An amateur, on the other hand, may or may...Read More

Don't Get Left Behind: Five Ways to Be Better at Change

Remember the old days, when a "reorg" was something distinctive and rare?  Consultants would come in to your company and poke around for awhile, and then the change would get announced.  People would be let go; maybe some functions would get merged or scrapped; reporting relationships would shift; perhaps the brand would get a reboot.  Everybody who survived would breathe...Read More

I Didn't Do the Reading

This is a brave and generous thing to say. If you’re not able (or committed enough) to do the reading before you give your opinion, please have the guts to point that out. “I didn’t read the proposal, but my bias is…” We’re winging it. All of us. The world goes faster and faster, and so people are finding themselves unable to read the bill before they vote on it, listen to the entire album...Read More

Do We Value Attention Properly?

Every day, at the end of his shift, one of your employees takes three laptops out of the supply closet, takes them home and sells them on eBay, pocketing the money. If you discovered this, would you take action? At the very same time, another employee is busy spamming your house email list, relentlessly pitching...Read More

What's Your Gut Telling You

Have you ever experienced discomfort about a person, opportunity or decision? Did you listen to your gut? Or, like many who rely on quantifiable facts and what you can see, touch, taste, feel or hear, did you override your uneasiness with logic? How did it work out? I recently talked with an individual whose organization hired a Hacker (someone actively trying to cause problems in the workplace, described...Read More

The Self-Talk Struggle Is Real: How To Win At Work With Sports Psychology

In the 1998 NBA Finals, down by one point and with only 18 seconds left in the game, Michael Jordan tore the ball away from the opponent and made the winning shot of his last game with the Chicago Bulls. That pivotal moment would go down as one of the greatest in sports history, but the remarkable thing, besides the observable aspect...Read More

How To Be Your Most Productive Self: Let Go Of Being Perfect

We live in an era of overachievement, and in this era flaunting those achievements (we’re looking at you, social media) is totally the norm. Because pretty much everyone’s achievements are on full display at all times, it can be easy to get caught up in the idea that “perfect is the new black,” and if you want to be successful in today’s hyper-competitive culture, you need to be perfect, too. Read More

Rethink Your Relationships: Serve, Don't Sell

Last week, a client of mine went to three very different events in Texas, Florida and New York. One was with people in the trucking industry, another with top minds in the legal industry and a third was with hard-charging entrepreneurs. He told me, "Everyone was talking about the same thing. People." Even at the "technology" event, he said, the focus was on people. This is a critical insight. Read More

5 Types of People You're Likely to Work With and How to Manage Each

In a recent Gallup Poll of more than 80,000 American employees, 32 percent self-reported being actively engaged and committed to their work and work place, while 51 percent indicated being passively disengaged, and a terrifying 17 percent admitted to being actively disengaged and trying to cause problems. In order to maximize performance, productivity and profitability...Read More

Bring Your Mission Statement to Life

A few weeks ago, I conducted a team alignment meeting for a client. That’s where I get a group of supervisors and managers together with the company’s owner or president, and we create a structured discussion about areas that need attention and action. One of the topics that came up was the organization’s mission statement. Now my client happens to have an excellent mission statement. But the problem...Read More

What to Do When the Phone Won’t Stop Ringing

Accepting every new client who comes your way might seem like a quick way to make more money, but in the long run, it often leads to stretching crews thin on time and resources. That’s why Nick Cooper said he turns down roughly 95 percent of new business leads each day. The Greathouse Company business development manager told a LANDSCAPES 2018 audience that it’s essential...Read More

Great Ideas: Improve Your Time Management

“Until We Can Manage Time, We Can Manage Nothing Else.” These words of wisdom come from the late, great management guru Peter Drucker, and for me they really hit home. Because while there are many strategies for improving your business, you won’t succeed at any of them if you don’t first figure out how to manage your time, and your team’s time, well. Read More

Keep Your Millennials

As Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers all learn how to work together, it’s key to understand how company culture is changing. At a panel discussion at LANDSCAPES in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, three members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals Young Professionals group discussed what they look for in a workplace. Read More

Hard-Learned Lessons

It’s true in sports and it’s true in business: individuals win games, but teams win championships. Ross Bernstein, best-selling sports author and Fortune 500 award-winning speaker, shared his insights from years of talking with top athletes at the National Association of Landscape Professionals CEO Forum at LANDSCAPES Wednesday morning. It’s the little things you do every day...Read More

Keeping Good Workers Happy

Steven Cesare doesn’t mince words when it comes to employee retention. The Harvest Group’s human resources director said bad employees should go – they’re just sucking the blood from your company, or they’re deadwood. Meanwhile, he said employers shouldn’t pretend their best workers aren’t looking for better jobs elsewhere. Keeping those star employees comes down...Read More

Empowering your Employees Through Language

After 25 years in business, we realized we had an important challenge that needed to be addressed here at Designscapes Colorado. With more than 250 year-round and seasonal team members, we needed to address our communication problem. This was not a typical communication problem, such as a lack of clear direction from management, that typically impacts companies...Read More 

It's Time to Get Off the Roller Coaster

This past week I spoke to almost 40 clients—there is a general theme of personnel and recruiting craziness in the air. It is the economy and the macro trends in the work place. If you are feeling it...You are not alone! But how you choose to deal with these ups and downs is totally in your control.
Marcus Kerske from Nashville takes the approach of a very positive outlook and a can-do...Read More

Fear of Confrontation

Over the years I hear from owners that they are afraid to confront their employees (for poor behavior) because they fear they will offend and push out that employee, and they fear they won't be able to replace that employee. This fear is illogical and self sabotaging. Can you imagine any relationship worth having, where you decide to avoid discussing problems in order to save the relationship?!? Not only...Read More

Brand Positioning

The thing that beats price, quality, or service every time. Look around at the ads you see on TV, in the newspaper, or on social media. Most companies-whether they target businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C)-position themselves based on one of three main factors: Quality, price, or service. 1. Quality: “We have the best products or services around. No one can beat the things we sell!” Read More