Coach’s Corner: Quality Details

By Joe Ketterer, Director of Quality and Efficiency, Maintenance Division

During one of our MDD maintenance breakout sessions, we took a new twist on the traditional “Devil in the Details” quality training course. In an effort to make the classroom training more interactive and fun, we challenged each branch to come up with three examples of before-and-after shots displaying horticultural details addressed during spring operations (i.e. dormant pruning, specialty weed control, mulch bed consolidation, and flower maintenance). This tied in well with the MDD theme of “Pride in our Progress,” as each team had to explain to the group what work had been performed and how it improved the quality and appearance of the site. It also gave field managers a chance to practice public speaking and presenting to a group. They were each given 10 minutes to present in front of their peers and were graded by a panel of managers.

Jimmy Watson, area manager in our Mableton, GA maintenance branch, presenting his team’s entry in the Quality Details contest.

Criteria for judging included:

  • Overall visual and written presentation quality (an important skill for field managers who submit electronic property service reports to customers)
  • Speakers’ ability to verbally articulate the ideas in a clear, concise and professional manner within the given timeframe
  • Degree of innovation with respect to the knowledge, skill and creativity of the examples used
  • Degree of value added to the customer and to the company as a result of the operations

We would like to congratulate the top three winners out of 15 entries, Samuel Antes (TOM), Rob Horton (BAM) and Jimmy Watson (MAM). They were each awarded a small bonus and recognized before the entire group attending MDD.

Rob Horton (BAM) presented an example of how his crew dealt with mature ornamental grasses during spring perennial cutback operations. Instead of using gas shears to cut back the bulk of the grasses, they used a 36” WB mower raised to its highest mowing height, then used shears to clean up the edges. This technique improved efficiency and provided consistency throughout the site.

When we tap into our team’s competitive spirit, and combine that with a focus on lessons learned, we come away with valuable insight into the “Excellence of Execution” of our services. Not only was this exercise a valuable learning experience for those team members who were chosen to present, but it also helps us refine our processes and increase our efficiency for our customers.

Renowned NFL player and coach Vince Lombardi is quoted as having said, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” As your ‘coach,’ I beg to differ. I prefer to say, “winning is everything if everyone wins.” Moving forward, let us apply the ideas shared and lessons learned from this competition to create win-win scenarios with respect to quality and efficiency for our customers, first and foremost, and also for our company and each other.