During our Ask Marty Anything event this past summer, ACE Peer Group Member George Kennedy from Terra-scape Enterprises asked us: What was the worst day of your professional career in the last 40 years? What did you do to overcome it? What did you do to prevent it from happening again?
It wasn't a question we were able to answer live, and it was a great question so we thought we might answer your question for everyone, George.
The worst day of the past 40 years has to be March 2020, when our operations were shut down (temporarily) due to the pandemic. We had all of our trucks parked on a beautiful spring day. But, and this is a big but, that day was out of my control.
Owners and leaders will continue to face tough days no matter what is going on inside of our control or outside of our control. Things are never as good as they seem to be or as bad as they seem to be and keeping that perspective has always helped me.
1. I remind myself about the vision I have for my life and my company.
Having a clear vision for your company helps you and your entire team stay on the same page. We know where we are trying to go, we know how we want to get there, and ultimately, we have success clearly defined. We know what a win looks like. On good days, it feels like we are traveling a little faster toward success, and on bad days it feels like our bus is moving slower, but the end destination has not changed. We are still heading toward our goal, and we do in the short term what we would do in the long term.
2. I lean on my team and peers to help me. For owners and leaders, it can feel lonely at the top. You might not want to confide in the rest of your team, your other friends, or even your spouse. That is a lot of pressure you are putting on yourself and if you don't have an avenue to get those emotions out, it can amplify the stress you feel. I am lucky to have key men and women around me who I can talk openly about hardships with. Our ACE Peer Groups are an avenue to help share the things that excite and scare you with others who understand. The act of just verbalizing your concerns to someone else often makes you feel better and having peers and a team that can listen and identify with you makes this journey easier to go on.
3. I watch my metrics to ensure I am not letting emotion get the best of me. I am an emotional leader and it is easy for my emotions, both the good and bad emotions, to alter my reality. To keep me on track, I look at the metrics of my business and let facts guide me. Is cash flow actually tight? Or does it just feel tight because I am worried about something external? Just because I saw one team maybe not being as efficient as I wanted them to be doesn't mean all of our teams are behaving this way. I check our revenue, budget to actual hours, and I let facts and data give me the answers, not just my gut. I avoid making guesses and let the facts be the facts.
Nobody knows what will happen next in the economy and no one knows when their next good day or bad day is coming. What I know is that for my own sanity it's important to focus on what I can control and let things go that I can not.
We are keeping all of our friends and clients affected by Hurricane Ian in our thoughts this week, and praying for their safety and the safety of their teams. If our community can do anything to support you, please reply to this email and let us know.
Have a great weekend, I'll talk to you next week!
President & CEO
The Grow Group & Grunder Landscaping Co.