As I celebrate my eighth anniversary, it is natural to reflect on the time spent and the evolution of the Spring-Green support team. This special group has really developed into a group of compassionate professionals who take their responsibilities seriously but not themselves too seriously…and it did not happen overnight.
When I arrived Spring-Green was a first generation led, 28 year old company. The notion of getting the right people into the right seats on the bus was very appealing but it was not something that was going to happen overnight. (Yes, my vision of that bus was slightly enhanced). After all, I had accepted the responsibility of not only preserving the CEO’s long established culture but also of moving the organization forward. In some cases, as you can imagine, that provided a direct conflict of interest. Fortunately for me, like with many things, growth can help foster change.
This will be the first in a 3 part blog series about the areas that have resulted from our success:
1) The structure that allows team members the opportunity to become specialized.
2) Having the first hand experience in growing an organization through a recession.
3) Having a strong culture.
Creating a Specialized Franchise Support Team
I had read a few books on organizational development and respectfully took a few naps while trying to get through these often lengthy and complicated scribes. Many of these books were not written for small businesses but they were helpful to me in crafting my own vision for what our organizational structure needed to become. I knew that I wanted to create an environment where we could continue to invest in our people driving a positive work environment but also creating ROI for the organization. We broke our support focus into six main areas. These are the same six I referenced in an earlier post referencing our Wheel of Support and National Advisory Committees on going involvement. For this discussion I will only focus on Franchise Relations, Training & Support and Environmental. Interestingly we had one specialist already on staff that helped influence my thinking.
Gary Yunker - now a 30 year veteran to Spring-Green, is our equipment specialist. Gary handles all of our equipment testing and outfits all new franchise owners’ first vehicles. Because of his experience he actively is solicited by vendors to help shape improvements that will benefit not just our organization but the lawn care industry. Gary spends the majority of his day fielding questions from franchise owners in the field who are trouble shooting equipment or considering purchasing new or replacement equipment.
Brian Kish - now a 30 year veteran, was the stereotypical generalist. Everyone could count on Brian as he had seen and done it all. He was reliable, well liked and stretched way too thin to be effective in any one area. What an asset - but where could his greatest long term return come from? In Brian’s case it was an easy decision. We knew we were going to make a sizable investment to centralize our data and that technology was going to be a big part of our road to providing franchise owners with industry leading business and marketing intelligence.
Ted Hofer - Before Ted Hofer took over as CEO in 2010, he spent 5 years preparing for his leadership role. Ted spent time in the field working on lawns and interacting with customers. He worked to help build our national call center and has served in various positions over the years. Ted also owned and operated a successful full-service shipping franchise. Ted’s experience has made him a great CEO since he took over for his father, who remains company chairman.
This specialized staff is able to advise Spring-Green franchise owners on a variety of aspects of the business including operations, marketing and more. Several franchise owners have taken advantage of the corporate staff’s expertise during business planning sessions. We hope to see more franchise owners for business planning next year!