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Archive for the ‘Great Idea’ tag

Guest Post: The fruits of your labor

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Marty Grunder tells us this week to focus not just on our work, but what our work does for us.

I just got back from being on Spring Break with my family in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The fact that I have a team at Grunder Landscaping Co. that is so good I can leave for a week during the busiest time of the year says a lot about my leaders. I would not be able to do this if it weren’t for them. Our trip was not anything fancy; we drove down there; we stayed in a condo; we cooked some of our own meals; we went out to dinner with our friends who came down with us; and we did a whole lot of bonding and a whole lot of nothing. And, we enjoyed our success. My wife Lisa and I are lucky beyond belief. We don’t have more money than we know what to do with but emotionally we’re filthy rich! So, in the next week, make sure you take some time to enjoy your success. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; go to dinner; take an afternoon off and go home early; buy a new pair of shoes; get your car detailed; just do something that enables you to see some of the fruits of your labor. It’s spring and landscapers are busy now. We need to take a deep breath and sit back once in a while, even when we are our busiest.

You can read the full story – including what Joey Votto, the Cincinnati Reds and $220 million dollars have to do with it – here.


April 23rd, 2012 at 12:19 pm

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Great Idea: Short- and long-term action

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Here’s your weekly Great Idea from your friend and mine Marty Grunder. His advice today is, as always, pretty simple but profound. He says that, when you get stressed out and times get tough, you can feel pressured to do something new. Don’t. Keep doing what’s worked in the past and, most of the time, you’ll get there.

It’s spring, for many of you who receive this weekly great idea, you are stressed right now. You have more work than you know what to do with, clients are impatient, it’s hard to find dependable help, and so on. The list goes on. I think when we get stressed out and feel the frustrations, there is a tendency to try something new. In my mind, this isn’t smart if what you’ve done has worked well for you in the past.

Oh sure, you might have the wrong strategy and you may need to change course. But if you’ve sold residential landscaping and done well at it for the last 5 years, why would you stop doing that now just because you had a bad month?

If you have a plan that has worked in the past, don’t be so quick to give up on it. Keep your head down, do what worked in the past, maybe work at it just a little bit harder. Call clients back immediately, get them quotes immediately, take care of problems right away. I’ll stop. You know what to do; just go do it.

Have a great week, and good luck.


May 16th, 2011 at 11:54 am

Great Idea: 4 sales tips

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Here’s your weekly installment from L&L columnist Marty Grunder – four ways to tweak your sales calls to speed up the process and increase your closing percentage.

Good luck this week!

My buddy and mentor Ed Eppley is a brilliant sales coach. He was teaching us what we need to do to help ensure our selling efforts are successful with prospects. Here are 4 tips he shared recently with my team.

1.    You need to establish clarity around the expectations your clients have for a successful transaction.

2.    Begin the second call by establishing what changes, if any, have taken place since our first conversation” in the thinking of the prospect. (Done to determine if either the “current” or “desired” realities on which his proposal is built are still the same.)

3.    Consider asking what budget people have established for their project. (Not always a true indicator of what people are prepared to spend but it may help determine what value they place on your kind of work.)

4.    Be prepared to ask “closing” questions to help prospects make a decision so you can advance the opportunity further through the selling cycle. If they say no, it creates an opportunity to ID specifically why they are hesitating which should ultimately shorten the selling cycle.


April 19th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Great Idea: Setting expectations

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Another Great Idea from L&L columnist and die-hard Reds fan Marty Grunder. This one’s about taking initiative and responsibility for your lot in life (or business). Here’s to a good week.

One of my favorite sayings is: “When you do nothing, expect nothing.”

I don’t know that there is a more true statement in life than that one. When you sit on the sidelines and watch things happen, you get passed by. Activity moves things forward; sitting around does nothing. So, hence my saying, “When you do nothing, expect nothing.”

If you’re not happy with where you are right now, take some action. If you aren’t pleased with sales, don’t sit there feeling sorry for yourself; go make some calls. Go see some old clients. Get moving.

If you’re not happy with the performance of your team, talk to them. Just sitting there ignoring the facts is never going to change anything.

When I look back in life at all the mistakes I’ve made, most of them went on and on because I sat there and did nothing to change things. I just didn’t act. Learn from my mistake and take some action this week. Because the alternative, doing nothing just doesn’t work.

When you do nothing, expect nothing.


April 11th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Great Idea: Spring has sprung

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Another great idea from L&L columnist Marty Grunder, this time on how you should try to keep things in perspective as the season gets started this year – and not start working 90-hour weeks.

I used to think that if I just worked a little bit harder, I could get everything done and everything would work itself out. I have learned that you can’t just keep working harder and expect things to always be better. As I often say, “The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.” (I did not make that up; I’m not smart enough to have thought of that, but I’m not exactly sure who did. The Internet does attribute a variation of it to Gerald Burrill.) If you feel you might in a bad spot, it’s advisable to stop and look at the situation. That’s my advice this week.

In the coming weeks, if you feel overwhelmed and aren’t sure what to do, take a deep breath and go to lunch. Get out of the office and go for a walk. Do something, but don’t neglect your health or your mental well being.

As I finish this up, it’s 4:00 pm and I am walking out the door to go work out for an hour. Years ago, I NEVER would have or could have done this. But, I’ve learned that my company pays me to think from the neck up and the only way I can think is if I get all the frustration and concern and, yes, stress out of me. Great ideas come to me when I am working out, relaxing and the like. They DON’T come to me when I am working. As CEO of Grunder Landscaping and Marty Grunder! Inc., I need to be thinking, not always grinding away at work.

Here’s to the start of a prosperous season. Good luck!


March 30th, 2011 at 9:56 am

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Get your head on straight

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Here’s another Great Idea from L&L columnist Marty Grunder on how to make it through the last few weeks of what can seem like a never-ending winter:

1. Get your truck detailed. You’ll feel better.

2. Start working out. Just 30 minutes a day of moving around can knock out the cobwebs.

3. Have an early dinner with a friend. Get the blue-plate special at 4 to catch up with someone, and you’ll still be home with your family by 6:15.

4. Plan a vacation. It doesn’t have to break the bank, but it’s something to look forward to.

5. Spend some time with your hobby. Or get a new one.

Look, you’re working hard. As the leader of your organization, it’s important to have your head on straight and relax enough so that some new ideas come to mind. CEOs need time to think, too.

Marty’s right. Even if you live in a place where it doesn’t snow, the above list can help you recharge and rejuvenate before the spring season starts.

Photo: ajcreencia


February 21st, 2011 at 12:46 pm

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Great Idea: Employee feedback

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Here’s another Great Idea from Marty Grudner to help get your week started:
What do you do about feedback from your team?
I’ve run my landscaping company for 27 years. Hard to believe. During those 27 years, I’ve learned a lot. The area I feel I have grown the most in is Leadership. Oh, I still have a lot to learn but I’m much improved.
One of the things I used to do, and still see a lot of leaders doing today, is asking for feedback when the decision has already been made. If you want to get your followers to check out and tune you out as a leader, ask for feedback on an important decision as an attempt to trick them into saying what you want to hear. People are way smarter than we give them credit for.
For example, if I have already made up my mind to get in the irrigation business, why ask my team what they think? If I have not made up my mind, then ask for feedback and listen to the feedback.
At the end of the day, you do not have to follow the feedback; you only have to acknowledge the feedback.
But, if a pattern forms where no matter what someone offers up, you do what you want to do, why ask for the feedback anyway? You only frustrate your followers to the point they won’t follow you.
And a leader without any followers is? Not much of a leader!

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January 9th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Make a stop doing list

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Fresh from my Sunday inbox is another Great Idea from our columnist Marty Grunder. You can sign up to receive these quick and useful reads at Marty’s site.
What’s on your Stop Doing List?
If you’ve followed me, you know I’m addicted to To-Do lists.
I do them for all things at work, at home and personally.
However, this week, I want to challenge you to get a “not
to-do” list. That’s right, a list of things you need to stop
Those who win at the game of business and life understand the
power of focus. The power of focus on the execution of a
select few tasks, rather than doing a ton of things
marginally well. It is imperative that you decide what you’re
not going to do to improve your effectiveness.
Here’s what I have learned from my mentors and from studying
other very successful people. They all work on the things
that have the biggest payoff and don’t do the things that
don’t pay off, no matter if they like them or not. At some
point they have a revelation that they’re not going to do a
lot of things, even if they do like doing them, because they
don’t have a payoff.
You can’t create more time in a day
unless you take some things off your plate. So this week, go
ahead and take some things off your plate. Put together a
“not-to-do” list and find an hour? Or 5 hours?  Or a week?
You’ll find more time and more happiness if you do.
Talk to you next week.

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January 3rd, 2011 at 1:12 pm