The value we deliver happens in the field, on our customers’ sites. Unfortunately, the more you advance, grow and mature in this industry, the further away from the field you get. If you advance high enough, the only field exposure you get is what you can see from the conference room window.
But that doesn’t change the fact that most of the value, risk and opportunities are in the field, and you can’t neglect it.
Plan to get on a site once or twice a week. While you’re there, make it count. You can leverage that time in multiple ways.
1. Plan your field visits when there’s a crew on the site. At the very least, you’ll have an opportunity to thank them. You also may have an opportunity to guide, teach, train and coach. Walk around. The perspective is always different from the ground.
2. Keep your comments and feedback brief. Prioritize the top few things and communicate how to best handle them. Listening is also helpful. People get stronger, faster and smarter when they receive input.
3. Don’t go alone. Try to coordinate site visits so your operations leaders, account managers or rising star can join you. Let him or her hear your conversation.
A word of caution: Starting every field conversion with, “When I was in the field, I …” becomes tiresome.
4. Don’t freak out. Occasionally (hopefully rarely), you’ll arrive at a site where things are off the rails. Better that you saw it than your client. Call it out and help the team put a plan together to get things back on track. Going ballistic will make people more fearful and defensive than cooperative and concerned.
Finally, enjoy it. Landscaping is fun, remember? Take a minute, soak it in. It’s nice outside.