More about GreenPal

PERSONEL

4 Chapter
The People System –
You times 2, times 4 times 8 –
Get great when you duplicate

Have you ever heard that old saying about how if you start with a single penny and then double it every day for a month you’d end up with $5 million?

Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice. But how the hell do you double your money every single day? Sure, turning a single penny into 2 pennies is easy. But what happens when they grow to hundreds and even thousands?

It’s a nice little mental exercise, but in truth there aren’t many ways to do this. So in my opinion, it’s a dumb thing to think about.

So why’d I bring it up then?

Because while doubling a penny for a month is crazy… the idea of duplication isn’t. It’s at the very core of every successful business and is the soul of this guide. The reason we’re creating all these systems is so that when you hire helpers and move them along and promote them… they do exactly what you want and in the way you want it.

In simple language, all your systems are designed to make everybody that works for you a carbon copy of you. They do things your way every single time and you then have consistency, accountability and profitability whether you have a single employee or hundreds.

Think about duplication for a minute. There are lots of examples in the world around us. For me, one of the most obvious is good old McDonald’s.

You might say, “Yeah, but their burgers suck.”

Maybe you love their burgers... not the point, is it? They have over 30,000 locations around the world and serve millions of burgers, fries, sodas and other stuff every day and rake in tens of billion each year...

…and every joint is essentially run by teenagers!

How is that possible?

Systems that create a hard set of rules. Systems that train employees to work in a certain way so that no matter where you go, if you order a quarter pounder, it’s going to be the same quarter pounder whether you’re in Miami, L.A. or London.

See, what we’re doing with this blueprint is teaching you to build a machine.
Think about it.. The previous book was like boot camp. You learned how to do everything to create a solid lawn care business all by yourself. Now you’re taking that experience and translating that into a machine that does the job for you – whether you’re chasing a mower or working online to balance your books.

Think back to the very beginning of the auto age. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, only the rich could buy a car because each automobile was handcrafted by a team of people. It took weeks to build a Renault or a Mercedes or whatever. That’s a lot of time and a lot of skill.

So then along comes Henry Ford with a dream to create a car that the everyman can afford to buy. He knows that he’s got to invent a way to mass produce cars on an assembly line so that he can crank out several cars a day at his factory.

Once he does, your average working stiff can go out and buy himself a model A and all of a sudden, cars go from being a novelty to replacing the horse and carriage completely in a matter of a few short years!

Want another example?

How about electric light? We’ve had electricity powered lighting in one form or another since the 1880’s. Edison invented the first practical and long-lasting incandescent lightbulb and it changed the face of the world.

Before that, a guy called a lamp lighter would ride around the city with a long lighter and light the gas street lamps. It took a very long time. Once Edison perfected his bulb, he could light up Menlo Park, New Jersey instantly with the flick of a switch.

That’s what we’re doing for your business. And arguably, the most important system that allows you to duplicate anything is the People system which allows you to duplicate yourself.

Want another example?

How about electric light? We’ve had electricity powered lighting in one form or another since the 1880’s. Edison invented the first practical and long-lasting incandescent lightbulb and it changed the face of the world.

Before that, a guy called a lamp lighter would ride around the city with a long lighter and light the gas street lamps. It took a very long time. Once Edison perfected his bulb, he could light up Menlo Park, New Jersey instantly with the flick of a switch.

That’s what we’re doing for your business. And arguably, the most important system that allows you to duplicate anything is the People system which allows you to duplicate yourself.

The model Employee

Want to know a crazy and extremely powerful secret?

There’s no such thing as the perfect employee!

In fact, it’s often true that the person who seems to be the perfect employee turns out to be a huge pain in the ass. Sound strange? Check this out…

Let me ask you a question. Who do you think would be the best guy to hire as your first helper – a seasoned lawn care guy who’s been in the business for 15 years… or a brand new guy who has little or no experience?

Your first instinct might be to say the seasoned guy, right? After all, he knows the deal and you won’t have to teach him how to edge in a straight line, right?

Yeah… but on the other hand, he also may think he knows it all and has his own way of doing things. The green kid is far more moldable… and that’s what you really want. Now, there are exceptions on both sides, naturally, and we’ll get into that later.

Yet what you need to understand is that the people are almost irrelevant. That is to say that your best crew chief down the road may start out with you as the most ignorant fool when it comes to the lawn care business that you’ve ever met.

However, and here’s the big secret – when you plug the right raw material into your machine, what comes out on the other end will be a quality resource.

You see, it’s your hiring, training and incentive systems that generate a good helper, crew chief, regional manager or whatever positions your growing business may need in the future. The strongest tree in your field starts with a single acorn, am I right?

Now I’m not saying that every single person you plug in will be great. That’s just not realistic. As I mentioned, you’ve got to start with good raw material. Let’s take our example guys above.

Maybe the seasoned guy is a lazy shit who you constantly have to push to get off his fat ass. Sure, he knows equipment and whatever… but his work ethic sucks.

On the other hand, Kevin clueless may not even know what a pull starter is on his first day. Yet Kevin is a hardworking guy with a strong set of values and is appreciative of getting a job and learning something new. He’s also excited about the potential future he has with you.

You know why?

Because your business has systems, order and organization.

People like order, and Kevin is going to appreciate your proven method that you are going to train him with.

Let’s be honest, and I hope this isn’t offensive to you… but any moron can chase a mower around the yard. That’s a pretty easy skill to teach somebody. Yet try and get a lazy person to become a hard driving work machine and you’ll find that you’ve got an easier time trying to hold back the tide.

So your people system, at least in the context of these two chapters, is going to focus on 3 essential areas:

3 corners of the employee triangle

Sound familiar? Kind of reminds you of the work system components, huh?

Just like with the work system, we’ll break the people system into 2 chapters. The next one will go into detail on the 3 cornerstones mentioned above.

Before we do that, though, I want to go over what our goals are and what we’re after by the end of this guide. Also to set some expectations for you as we go forward.

No matter what, though, you want to stick with these 3 cornerstones. You want to create a solid system that lets you find and hire a good employee, train them on how you want the work done as well as groom them for greater responsibility. Another thing you’ll want to do is keep giving a good person a reason to stay with you from helper all the way up to whatever positions you create.

The goose who laid the golden egg

I’m sure you’re familiar with the story of the goose and the golden egg, right?

Most people understand what you mean when you say that, but let me quickly review the actual story for you because it really speaks to how to handle employees. Your employees are the life’s blood of your business as you grow, so you want to manage them carefully and accurately.

So one day this farmer goes out to find out if his goose has laid any eggs. To his surprise, he finds that she’s laid only 1… but it’s made of solid gold! Naturally, the farmer loses his shit and runs into the house to tell his family.

They really needed that gold, too. Things weren’t going well on the farm and the money it brings when they go to town to sell it is a God send.

Well, every day for the next few days, the farmer finds another golden egg under his goose. After a while, he gets greedy. He thinks, “Well, if she’s laying 1 egg every day, then why should I wait? What if I cut her open and get all of the eggs now? We’ll be fabulously wealthy.”

So guess what this Brainiac does? He slices her open and surprise, surprise… no eggs. Now all he’s got is a dead goose and he’s completely killed his stream of income.

It’s the old balance between production and production capability.

The moral of the story is that it was the goose, not the eggs, which was truly valuable. The farmer should have cared for his goose and she’d have produced golden eggs for a very long time.

Your employees are like that, too. When they prove to be valuable… keep them. We’ll go over that more in the keep em’ section, but I just wanted to make this point now. Value the good people because they’re going to make you rich.

What you always want to remember is that it’s the machine that makes you successful. It’s not about finding the perfect guy… it’s about training and keeping a guy who your system makes perfect!

If you can get your head around that then you can grow Mean Green into a multi-million dollar business if you want to.

Exercise:

I’ve got another homework assignment for you, but don’t worry you’ll be thanking me later. Just as with the work system, I want you to get what’s in your head onto paper.

Exercise:

I’ve got another homework assignment for you, but don’t worry you’ll be thanking me later. Just as with the work system, I want you to get what’s in your head onto paper.

Before, I had you keep a journal and make notes on all of the work-related stuff that you do every day. In this case, I’d like you to sit down and write a list of all of the qualities you’d like in an employee.

Because the goal of this section and the guide in general is to help you hire your first employee / helper and turn him or her into your first crew chief. By the end of this guide, and let’s say the end of year 2, you will be working with a helper and you’ll have an independent crew made up of your first helper and a helper of his own.

How long will that really take? That’s hard to say. This is going to be a learning experience as much for you as for this theoretical person. And don’t expect to hit a homerun on your first at bat, either.

There’s a little rule of thumb I want you to remember and we’ll go into it more in the next chapter. That rule is:

Now I know that firing somebody isn’t pleasant, but it’s going to happen. Maybe you’ll get lucky and the very first person you hire is a home run. Yet it may take you going through 2 or 6 people to find a good one. Creating a good system will help with that because you’ll quickly be able to separate the hero’s from the zeros.

So make a list of the qualities you want in an employee. Keep in mind that we’re not just talking about a day laborer here. Also list qualities you want in a person with some responsibility who will be working on their own like a crew chief.

I can give you the list… but I think it’s a good exercise for you to write it yourself. I’ll give you a hint, though – you’re trying to duplicate yourself!

A word of caution here

You may not realize this… but your people systems will begin and end with you,

What I mean by that is… your people will follow your lead and follow your example.

That’s potentially good and bad. Because you rarely ever overshoot a bar you set. So make sure that if you’re replicating yourself with a new employee that you’re worth replicating!

To put it another way. If you are sloppy then your people, your system, and your business will be sloppy, too.

Jot that list down, because in the next chapter, I’m going to refer to it. Ready? Okay, then let’s go forward…