MDD 2023: Together Towards Tomorrow

By Phil Key, President

There is always a lot of information packed into Management Development Days (MDD), our annual two-day training event, and this year was no exception. This year, we were able to bring over 675 employees from all 31 branches together to celebrate accomplishments, learn from one another, and grow together as a company. This year’s theme, Together Toward Tomorrow, focused on the power that exists by working together as a team and on the role that each of us plays as a critical part of that team.

It felt great to be back together in person once again after the last two years of virtual events. I always look forward to this time together with our managers as it gives me a chance to connect one-on-one and learn first-hand about the challenges and the successes that are happening throughout our organization. This time we spend together—focused on training and development and celebrating our team members—is a good reminder that our Ruppert values remain strong. We continue to put people first and are arming our front-line leaders and the teams they lead with the information and skills they’ll need for future success as we grow.

Our two days together were filled with a lot of information. We took an in-depth look at our financials, goals, successes, and challenges and we tackled training on software, planning, customer service and communication. We worked together in specialized teams—focused on division-specific information as well as position-specific topics for branch administrators, enhancement managers/designers, fleet personnel and our irrigation team. I was pleased to see that the time together was being used to share experiences and best practices, solve problems and create efficiencies. Most importantly, I was happy to see people forging new connections and renewing old friendships. It’s these connections across all levels of our company that give us a competitive advantage and will enable us to maintain a small company feel even as we grow.

Here are a few ideas I wanted to share as we do our best to apply what we learned:

  • Create and/or update your goals using the knowledge you gained from this training. By setting specific goals based on what you learned, you’ll ensure that your attention and resources are working together to enable you to achieve your priorities.
  • Use humor when you can—especially in challenging situations. One of our keynote speakers, Tim Gard, challenged us to change our mentality and find the fun, humor and human connection when dealing with stressors and the many challenges that are inherent in life.
  • For those who weren’t in attendance, we hope to see you at a future event. We recorded two of our sessions—one on personal finance and the other on one of our keynote speakers, Dennis Snow, who discussed strategies for delivering customer service excellence. We will be sharing these with each of you in the coming weeks.

Based on the surveys and feedback we’ve gotten from many of you who attended, this year’s MDD and banquet were a resounding success. We hope that this special edition Greensheet will serve as a useful reminder for those who attended, as well as a means of sharing the highlights with those who didn’t come. I’d like to leave you with a quote from basketball player and coach Phil Jackson: The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.

As always, our biggest measure of success lies in ensuring that our next generation of leaders are prepared and afforded the opportunity to grow with the company. Please do your part to grow your team and get them ready for that next step up when it arrives, so that we can continue to promote from within. By understanding the role that each of us plays as part of the larger team, and the strength that lies in working together, I have no doubt that we will continue to be successful and accomplish anything we set out to do.