Old friend, new role

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Change is inevitable and a healthy exercise in life, business.

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June 2, 2022

In late May, I flew to Arizona to help my dear friend of 42 years move her daughter into her first home away from home. She starts pharmacy school this summer and has never lived away from her parents during her first quarter of a century on this earth. Neither mom nor daughter are a fan of change. For the student, this represents a scary and equally exciting time in her life, but she’s experiencing it 750 miles away from mom and dad, and two states to the west.

Mom becomes an empty nester and a spectator in her daughter’s life. Daughter becomes a grownup, responsible for things like rent, electric bills and cooking. Oh, the cooking. Her mom is a phenomenal cook.

But like the old adage goes, the only thing constant in life is change. Instead of dreading it, they’re doing their best to embrace it and grow from it.

If you never change, you’re resisting the opportunity to learn and that is not healthy. It’s regression. This industry has experienced some of the wackiest changes during the last two years. Did you grow with it or resist it? Now is a good time to prepare for the next big change – whatever that may be – the economy, succession, legislation, consumer spending, the list goes on and on.

College basketball coach Geno Auriemma teaches a master class on change leadership. He says there are five qualities of a change leader.

  • Vision: Big changes require big, far-reaching ideas. To accomplish a transformation of your company, begin with a clear vision of where you want to go and consider the big picture as you lay plans.
  • Confidence: It’s natural to experience doubt about your abilities, especially when undertaking a significant change project. Projecting a sense of confidence will improve your chances of getting buy-in from those you rely on, from top management down the ladder.
  • Strategy: When working toward a major overhaul of your business, you need a way to implement your plan. It is imperative to develop a successful change strategy. Think carefully about each step and set clear metrics for the desired outcomes to help bring your project across the finish line.
  • Oversight: After initiating a change strategy, a change leader must closely monitor the plans. Pay attention to potential resistance from employees, pressure from competitors, optimization of workflow, and uncertainty from team members and other stakeholders.
  • Flexibility: It can be challenging for a visionary change leader to stop and reflect, especially considering how much forward momentum is necessary to achieve the desired change. It is crucial to listen to feedback from subordinates, trust the competencies of your team members, and delegate tasks to others. Being open to feedback and collaboration throughout the process is essential.

As we approach the middle of 2022, I encourage you to think about how you approach change and set plans in place to prepare your business for the next half of the year and beyond.

Speaking of change, there’s one here at Nursery Management. I’m thrilled to announce that Matt McClellan, who’s been a remarkable member of this team for 10 years, is moving into the position of head editor. He will now oversee the day-to-day operations of this publication. Please welcome him in this new role. You’re not getting rid of me. I’ll still be around overseeing the editorial direction of the pub and supporting the team. However, I’m adding a new role as head editor of sister publications Greenhouse Management and Produce Grower. It’s a change I welcome, and I want to thank each of you for supporting me all these years. Cheers to each one of you!

krodda@gie.net