The days are shorter, colder and wetter, which means it’s beginning to look a lot like the winter season around the nursery.
This time around the holiday season is a slower time of year. The greenhouses are all buttoned up for winter. The pipes are drained and winterized. We have the time to slow down and look back at the year, including what successes we had and what goals we want to set for the next season.
Last month’s OAN Convention featured a dynamic keynote speaker named Greg Wooldridge, a former commander of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight team. He talked passionately about how to build a successful team, starting with the essential need for trust.
For me, a key takeaway was his insight into the importance of debriefing sessions like the ones the Blue Angels conduct after each flight show. They go over what went well, and the not-so-great aspects, too. All members of the team speak up and take responsibility for their parts — the good and the bad. This instills trust that the team members can work together to improve and to achieve common goals.
Although nurseries are not working in life-or-death scenarios — like piloting planes at breakneck speeds, for example — we still can benefit from some of the lessons Wooldridge shared. Namely, we all need to take responsibility for our parts of the team and to continue to work toward common goals.
Looking back on this past year, I can see successes at our nursery. I think one of our most significant achievements was streamlining our order-pulling process. The team embraced the process change that we made. We will definitely build on this success in the coming year.
But when evaluating something, you need to be open and all-encompassing. That means looking for the good things along with the unfortunate. One area I see a need for improvement is in how we handle contingency plans in our deliveries.
While most deliveries can go off without a hitch, every once in a while, there’s a snag. In the hectic nature of spring, we don’t always have time to evaluate other options. I need to have a backup plan in place. That falls squarely in my lap. I wasn’t happy with how I handled that this past year, and I will work to do better this coming year.
It’s important to look toward the future. That can mean the next season, next year, the next five years, or even farther. This edition of Digger takes a look at how some nurseries have taken the time to plan their future and how they mapped out a transition from one generation to the next. By taking a proactive stance as these growers have, all nurseries can lay the groundwork for future success and smoother transitions.
I encourage you to make some time this season — or anytime the activity level seems to slow down a little — to reflect on your business’ successes and your personal successes. That also includes taking stock of deficits and asking how we can be better in this next year. It may even include thinking about the distant future and how that might look for your business and family.
The holidays are a great time to reflect with your family, celebrate with friends, and give thanks for another great year.
From my family to yours, enjoy the holiday season and have a Merry Christmas!