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Don’t Miss The Phases of THIS Spring


There Has to be a Fire to Put Out Somewhere in Here!

I can tell that spring is coming quickly upon the readers of this blog. For the next several weeks we will focus on the here and just-ahead with brief postings of timely thoughts.

In my years enduring the spring surge of the horticulture business I’ve noticed the Phases of Spring that occur as we approach, endure, and emerge from this annual crisis. Regional differences put some of you deeper into spring than others, so adjust for your location.

There is a naturally occurring progression of events and associated emotions during the early spring to summer seasons. In the next few days I will briefly describe each of these in hopes that recognizing what you will be going through will help you counter some of the effects.

The three phases are:

  1. Survival
  2. Success
  3. Significance

Phase I – Survival

Spring begins with the confident feeling you are ready, or the extreme fear that you are not. If you are still feeling confident just wait a few more days or maybe a couple of weeks for your dose of reality.

It will eventually become apparent that some of your plans were not so important as to have them completed by this spring. It is time to purge those things we would like to have done from our task lists, and focus on what must get done. Priorities are challenging. Panic and chaos emerge – even if only momentarily. We are overwhelmed at times. Breathe. As the clock ticks and calendar pages turn put one foot in front of the other and proceed. It is all you can do.

We so often fall into fire-fighting mode in these times. Habitual reactions take over for new planned ones. For better or worse, our habits do define us. Is there time to form new and better habits now? Not now. We had our chance. We will do what we have trained to do, which most likely has more to do with the dirty work of retail – plant, unload, stock benches, water, spray, weed, load cars, ring register, and repeat. You are well-qualified, motivated, and skilled to do all of those things and after all, they must be done.  You might as well do many of them yourself. Too bad. You will do those dirty work things right, but who will do the Real Work of Retail – the work of leading people through the battle? If this is not your job, then to whom does it belong? Yes, show that you are willing to do what you ask of others, just do not ignore the leadership job because it is easier to just do the dirty work. Make the conscious decision to pick up your baton and lead, guide, direct, and equip your people.

The natural tendency is to withdraw and hope people will do what you expect them to do. In times of crisis communication tends to go down when it should instead increase. Appropriate crisis communication means communicating clearly, thoroughly, and frequently. 

The trouble is that what you expect people to do and what they expect to do frequently are not the same. You must tell them what to expect and what you expect over and over.  Michael Benken, owner of H.J. Benken Florist & Greenhouse in Cincinnati Ohio said something to the effect of; “It is a new day. You may have said it yesterday, but today is a new day. Just get over it and say it again.” Remember that you are only beginning to be heard right about the time you are getting tired of communicating.  Do it anyway.

Is it time for that morning meeting?

Next we will be talking about Spring Success, and how to plan for more of it.

One Response

  1. […] Phase II – Spring Success Posted on April 8, 2009 by sidraisch Phases of Spring II – Success Mode This is a bit of reflection on my years of spring in the green business. I’ve noticed what I call the Phases of Spring, which occur as we approach, endure, and emerge from this annual crisis. Regional differences put some of you deeper into spring than others, so adjust for your location. First there is Phase I, Survival Mode. Click here to read about it, and be sure to leave your commen… […]

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