What makes a lawn care business successful? Learn why I don’t 100% agree with the EMyth for landscapers.
A very long time ago I read the book, EMyth, by Michael Gerber. It’s a really good book. It was a very influential book. It absolutely had an effect on how I think. But, thereare a number of reasons why I don’t completely agree with the EMyth for landscapers. At first glance, if you read the book, you will think that you need to create a process and a procedure and a script for every single thing in your business.
While a lot of that resonates with me, and it makes a lot of sense, and I do think you need a lot of that in your business, what I feel that possibly isn’t communicated is that in the world we live in today, where we are running McDonald’s type businesses, and what the next 10 years looks like, I believe that if you’re going to be a dominant company, your team will not be reading from scripts. They will not be following step-by-step procedures in most every activity. It’s not realistic.
Rather, the ideal is that you train your team how to think. You train your team how to talk. You invest significantly in the training process. This isn’t a new idea. This isn’t my own idea. This is what a lot of very savvy companies do. Take somebody like Zappos. It’s a very good company. Their individuals working the phones and selling new shoes are not reading from scripts. They are very well trained. Individuals that can figure out how to solve problems and are empowered to solve their own problems on behalf of the client.
Take Hilton. Hilton is not necessarily my favorite hotel chain, but take a Hilton-type hotel and better, Four Seasons. The individuals in that company have been very well trained. They know how to deal with problems. They know what the most common problems are that could present themselves. They know the most common scenarios that they might bump into in dealing with their clientele, and they’ve been trained on how to deal with those problems. Then they’ve also been trained on how to critically think and how to be aware of a situation. That’s what’s needed in our business. The idea of reading EMyth and creating a step-by-step checklist procedure has absolute value in the business and is needed in the business, but that’s not enough.
I think for many of us we think if we create a new procedure or add something to our employee handbook, problem solved. Taken care of. No. It’s not solved. Adding something to the employee handbook solves nothing. Nobody wants to read that stupid thing anyway. What they really need is communication. That’s what the team needs. They need training, they need instruction, and that’s very difficult.
It’s easier for us to tell ourselves, “I’ll just create a procedure around this. I’ll just modify the guidelines or the handbook, problem solved.” What I’m saying is that’s our easy out as business owners, and as managers. What we really need to be doing is reassessing how we are training, how are we communicating with our team so that our team can solve these problems themselves. The procedure, the process and the task list is an aid that supports a very-trained person that knows how to think critically, to solve problems, and to look out for the company and do what’s best for the company.
That’s my argument against the black and white implementation of the EMyth for landscapers. I hope that helps you really think about how you can train and make your company great through training.