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Leading Through Times of Crisis- Part 1


April 24, 2020

Leading Through Times of Crisis- Part 1

We’re excited to bring you our second podcast episode of Growing With North Carolina Farms! In Episode 2 (Leading Through Times of Crisis- Part 1), we discuss how to lead through a crisis by analyzing and optimizing our processes. Some of the highlights include:

  • What is the difference between managing a crisis and leading through a crisis?
  • What is tunnel vision, and why is it dangerous?
  • What processes can we put in place to stay focused on the important, not just the urgent?
  • How can delegation save our sanity?
  • How do you manage crisis in the here and now, while still planning for the future?
  • How can you be more prepared for crisis in the future?
  • How do you stay true to your core values or mission statement during crisis?

Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable. You’re about to listen in to a valuable 30-minute conversation filled with leadership wisdom from:

Mick– One of our owners, and our Director of Business Strategy

Jeremy– Our Director of Operations, a current Town Councilman, and former Fire Chief

Josh– Owner and Operator of a Chick-fil-A in Columbus, Ohio

If you aren’t able to give it a listen (or lost your earbuds), we’ve provided the full transcript below. Next week we’ll be bringing you Part 2, which covers Personnel. 

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Josh:  “Wherever you are sitting right now… What would I have done differently, if I had known about this three months ago? And then take that question and push it forward.”  

 

Intro: Welcome to Growing With North Carolina Farms.

 

Where we talk about people, processes and plants.  Because we are here to grow your business.  

 

Managing a Crisis or Leading Through a Crisis

 

Mick: Hey, today on growing together with North Carolina Farms, we are talking leadership- specifically leading through a crisis. What is the difference between managing a crisis and leading through a crisis? We’ve got so much great content coming your way! Today we had to cut it in half because we ended up talking about processes here on this episode, and then we broke out the last part of the conversation. We’ve got a whole new episode coming to you next week and it’s about people. 

 

So today we are going to talk about the process that Chick-fil-A uses to keep their leadership in check. We are going to talk about what the fire service has to offer. And next time we are going to look at, “How are we going to handle safety among employees and customers and also personally.” “How do we handle stress of running a business?”  I hope you enjoy it. Let’s get right to it.

 

Today we are joined by two fantastic individuals, and I’m real excited about the conversation guys. Josh, you are the Owner and Operator of a Chick-fil-A in Columbus, Ohio. Full disclosure, Josh and I are long time friends. He actually worked for the same mission agency. We both did. He was in Japan for 12 years and my wife and I in Spain. He’s come to leadership conferences with our team as we’ve grown. Just a great friend. Really excited to talk to you today.  

 

Josh:  Good to be here.

 

Mick:  Jeremy has been with us here at North Carolina Farms for a little over five years. He currently serves as the Director of Operations and part of his key result area is safety. So we are going to talk some about safety. He spent 20 years in the public sector in Emergency Services and he ended that career at the level of Fire Chief, so he’s got some management experience for sure. He is currently serving as an elected member of the town council in the community where he lives. Jeremy is a busy guy. Thanks for making time for us, Jeremy.  

 

Jeremy:  Definitely boss. Glad to be here.

Tunnel Vision: Why it’s Dangerous

 

Mick:  So guys, today we are really trying to talk to business owners and how our experience can maybe help them avoid pitfalls. Some of the things that we’ve seen in the midst of COVID-19. 

 

Jeremy, you and I share a little bit of a background. I used to be a police officer. In times of crisis, we were trained not to necessarily narrow our focus. It’s how we are really designed. In order to survive, we have been designed to focus on the thing right in front of us. The thing that could kill us. And we try to attack that one central problem. We used to call it tunnel vision. People use that same terminology, but in business that’s a risky thing because you miss clues around you. That’s a dangerous thing in business. I’m sure it’s a deadly thing in the fire service. Can you talk about tunnel vision and how we can avoid it?

 

Jeremy:  Yeah, I hate to be any more grim than times seem to be, but I’ve got an unfortunate “for instance” that I’ll share. It’s just like you are saying about the tunnel vision. During my career, I had one chance- I wouldn’t call it opportunity-  but one situation where we lost a firefighter on the job in the line of duty. I can remember it like it was yesterday. We were at lunch and a call goes out for a house fire and our district is the one next door. We respond. We get there. There is a house on fire.There is clearly a large fire in the house and firemen are bred to put the wet stuff on the red stuff. That’s what you do and you try to save lives. 

 

We were in the infancy of teaching command structure and how to be an instant commander. Years ago, it was just whoever the first guy there was [was] the one in charge. But as things formalized and we came up with the instant command system, one of the key points was to do a 360 view. So whoever that is the commander was, walked the house in 360 degrees to see what’s happening. And that didn’t happen this time. 

 

There was fire in the side door of the house. It was a glass sliding door. Firefighters went in that door to attack the fire. Small house. Nobody did a 360. House had a basement. The basement is what was on fire. The crew went in the door and through the floor into the basement. Unfortunately, three went down. One firefighter did succumb to the injuries. 

 

It’s identical in business. If we are not looking at 360 degrees, at the business, the income, the expenses, what’s happening here, there or yonder… If we are just focused on this order has to go out immediately, we better go get it, we are going to lose down the road. Hopefully, it’s not a life, like we just talked about, but it could be the life of your business. It really could. 

Urgent Versus Important

 

Mick:  Yeah, you have so many pressures that you tend to focus on the very urgent thing right in front of you. It is that whole important/urgent quadrant. If you’ve seen that? You tend to live in the urgent and we don’t do the important thing. Like take one step back and look around to see if this place has a basement. In business, that might look like… I’m totally focused on my payroll numbers or I’m totally focused on managing the particular crisis we are in now and I forget all of those are lagging indicators. Revenue generation is a lagging indicator. I’ve gotta keep my eye focused forward as well on what would that leading indicator be.

 

Am I still doing marketing correctly? Am I still adjusting to the market pressures? And so there is a lot to manage.  There is so much urgency that you drop important to the side and you narrow your focus and you don’t have that soft vision that it takes to be a good leader. Josh, you kind of bring a unique perspective here. Most of our customers- and I would put ourselves in the same boat- we are small. We are dealing with a lot of mental overhead right now because we maybe don’t have the right systems. I think your perspective is unique because you have a large corporation behind you and you’ve got systems in place. Can you talk about some of those processes you have that kind of help you not to narrow your focus too severely? 

Processes That Keep Us Focused

 

Josh:  I think that you hit the nail on the head with the urgency vs. important. We struggle with our leadership teams to attack that in a normal circumstance. Man, it’s hard to stay in the “important” in day to day life when everything is peachy keen. Three to four months ago, I was having a hard time staying in the important and not the urgent because the phone is ringing, the emails are coming, and minor catastrophes. We use the word catastrophe. Three months ago that meant something completely different than it does today.

 

It is hard to stay in the important even during that time, and now the urgent has become even more domineering.  You know, I feel like I wake up daily to a new damage report of new regulations on the food industry, new things coming from Chick-fil-A corporate. They want to keep their name above reproach and food safety and employee safety. So one thing that we’ve done is enable- and you’re going to hear me talk a lot about this today- but letting go of the reins and enabling the leaders that you brought up to trust. Trust them to make the call. Jeremy mentioned that 360. Knowing that people can do that and you trust them. We just went through the Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni again. Just to say, “If trust isn’t there, we can’t move forward.” I can’t spend my time on all the urgent.  I have to trust the team to do it.

 

Mick: Yes, do you have some specific process in place to help you avoid that narrow focus?  

 

Josh:  So, essentially, we have five critical success factors of a business team. They cover different aspects of the business. So for instance, if somebody is in quality and guest experience, that is their domain. If they work their way to a directorship in that domain, we leave them to it. It allows me to stay in the vision aspect of it and let them handle that quality and guest experience. I can sort of delegate those responsibilities out.

 

Now, I know there are a lot of small businesses. My brother owns a chiropractic office and it’s him. His wife helps and he has a couple of employees. In those places, you are really going to see that no one can carry…  What we are going through right now, it is very difficult to carry it alone. So, the processes that we use are to bring people up with expectations in leadership and also give them to make decisions on the ground and trust those decisions. 

 

For instance, I will give you just one example. Ohio was one of the first states to sort of lock down. There were really no states ahead to see how to process this as a restaurant. So, when Governor DeWine made the announcement that we are going to shut down all restaurants…. Of course, I’m watching the press release and I’m thinking, “Ok, is my career kind of ended, or what?” Then he says, “But listen. These restaurants still need our business and we still need to eat out. We can’t afford to go to the grocery store. We’ll shut down the food system. So, drive-thrus and carryout is allowed.” 

 

Well, immediately my team put a situation in place, so we could have 14 curbside spots. So people could order and pull up and we would run the food out to them. None of that was my decision. In fact, I would have done it completely different. Watching my leaders make those decisions and realizing that in this time of crisis, I need to let go of the reigns or I’m going to go crazy.  

The Importance of Delegation

 

Mick:  Yeah, yeah, we have seen that too-  where people step up who maybe you underestimated or didn’t think they were ready, but they step up.  

 

Josh:  It’s hard when you’ve got an image and you know what you want it to look like. Like, for instance, we are a single lane drive-thru at my restaurant. Well, with no cars in the parking lot, we can easily make it a two-lane drive-thru, but that’s not the direction they wanted to go. They wanted to go curbside and I let them do it and we had great results.  

 

Mick:  We say in our leadership meetings sometimes, “No one is as smart as everyone.”

 

Josh: Yeah, right. That’s exactly right. “Stronger together” is a big Chick-fil-A line, right?

 

Mick:  Jeremy have you seen that? That same kind of delegation mindset? Either through the farm or over at town council?

 

Jeremy: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve seen it both at work and over in the village. Like you are saying, there are things that I certainly would have done different, but they got done and, in hindsight, maybe they got done better than if I had done it my way. If we are good leaders, we will take these as lessons. We don’t have to wait till the next crisis to let that happen. You know what I’m saying? Let them innovate, if they will

 

Mick:  I think that is a great point. Crisis is teaching us something about our businesses and we are going to talk about that a lot today. We’ve got to learn the lessons now, and delegation is definitely one of those things that a crisis gives you the focus to see, “Oh, man, this is where I need to delegate.” So, if you are really small- obviously, like Josh, with your brother- you don’t have anybody to delegate to.But if you’ve got people on your staff and you don’t feel like you can delegate, that is really a matter of trust, right?  You trust people over the three C’s of leadership: competency, character, and commitment. If you are not getting those things, then you’ve got to either retrain or rehire, because delegation is so important. I completely agree with that.Then, after you delegate, you have got to be careful not to take it back.

 

Josh:  That’s right. Let’s be honest. These small business owners… as small business owners, we worked really hard to get here.  This isn’t something that we just woke up to one day. It’s like a child. I care very much who watches my children, right? And it’s tough not to take the reins back-  but I think it’s crucial.

 

The side that I’ve seen benefits from is like Jeremy said, it was probably done better and I get to come to that leader and say, “Man, you knocked it out of the park. I would have never done it that way, but this is better than my plan was.”  To hear the owner say that is something they are going to live with and say, “Man, I’m really good at this,” and be encouraged during this time of crisis. 

 

Managing “Now” While Planning for the Future

 

Mick:  That is so true. We’re going to talk about communication styles here a little bit later because I think people do need more encouragement right now. They need a leader who is competent and confident at the same time. We will get that here in just a little while. What I would like to talk about now is managing and leadership. Those two things.

 

I read a really interesting article in the Harvard Business Review that talked about the coronavirus, specifically, as it unfolds in an arc. So, you’ve got the past- that is, three months ago where everything was stable and secure- and now we’ve got the present, which is chaos, basically. Then, we’ve got the future, where I hear people say, “I can’t wait till things get back to normal.”

 

As a leader, I’m thinking we will get through this, there is no doubt, but I don’t know if we are going to go back to where we were. We’re on a journey to a new kind of normal. So you’ve got to manage the current crisis. That is that cash flow thing for a lot of us- but you’ve also got to lead into a new future normal that is undefined. So Josh, I’ll go to you first here. How do you do that? How do you do both? How do you manage now and plan for the future as a leader? 

 

Josh: Yeah, we give an analogy to our leaders all the time about trailblazing in a jungle. We talk about the folks on the ground with the hatchets trailblazing, right? Those are the guys doing the work in the immediate and the present.  They are the ones in my business that are making the sandwiches, serving the guests, and working the registers. My leaders have to climb up some trees to get a little bit of an elevated view to see where they are actually blazing a trail. Because if no one is doing that, then we are just in the woods, right? My job, obviously, is to climb as high as I can and get as much of a vision as I can.

 

The blessed part of my job- and honestly what this network that you have does for each other as well is- I have access to 2,500 operators that are in the same boat as me. And boy, you get some innovation going. I just want you to think about waiting on someone in a drive-thru. What do you normally do? You drive up and you hand your credit card to the person. At Chick-fil-A, there is somebody out there with an iPad, and they are waiting on you. And then they ask for your card. You give them your card. They swipe the card and then give it back to the guest, right? Well, none of that can happen right now. We have to have six feet distance between the employee and the guest. It gets really complicated. So we duct-taped the card reader to the end of this long spatula-like thing and we hand it out so the guest can swipe their own card. 

 

Now, obviously, we go back to whatever normal we have. We are not going to be doing that, per se, but you mentioned the curbside. We are going to be adding that as a part of our business. It won’t be 14 spots. It will only be three. Let me use one more- Doordash. How many of you guys use Doordash? Up until three months ago, I had never used it and we’re doing it like once a week now. There’s nothing more convenient. As a business owner, I pay a pretty high commission to that company to come get my food and take it to the guest, but they are also bringing me all this business. People are not going to go back to going out as much as they were. I don’t think Doordash’s sales are going to drop after this goes back to normal. It’s just that people get used to the convenience.  

My advice would be to talk to other people that are going through the same thing. No man is an island and no business owner is an island either. So, reach out to folks that are forward-thinkers. Gather around those people.  

 

Mick: Yeah, I see the same thing. I would love to see that in our greenhouse community and on our Facebook page or whatever- people sharing information. Because the garden center in Columbus, Ohio doesn’t care if the garden center in Pensacola, Florida innovates in some way. And so we can share that type of information with each other… How are you winning and what are you doing? I think that is a great point.

 

Josh:  The last time we saw each other in person was at… was it Bloom?  

 

Mick: Cultivate, right there in your town of Columbus. 

 

Josh:  Why are all those people there? I mean, they are selling things, but it is also to share innovations. I think it’s just a great example.

What Do You Wish Everybody Knew?

 

Mick:  Jeremy, as you are listening to us talk here on the business side, talk to us from the public safety and town council side. What are the things that perk up in your ears that make you think, man, I wish everybody knew this.

 

Jeremy:  I think that we are on a call once a day with the county emergency management here in our county, and you read or you see these people talk on Facebook in our community talking about why is this happening and why is that happening? “Do we really need to social distance? Can’t we just get together for a little bit for a pizza gathering?” Or whatever… But whenever you hear the numbers and you truly believe in the people you are hearing them from- of the epidemic or the pandemic, however you want to label it- I tell Keri, my wife, at night, “I wish they would hear this and understand it, that this is pretty serious.” 

 

But a lot of this stuff you can’t get through into folks minds. I think a lot of that is probably due to the tunnel vision of what they have to get done right now. Whether it’s go to Chick-fil-A and get food or whether it’s go to Lowe’s and get plants or wherever their thing is. Part of it, honestly-  I think too as a human- we don’t want to see or believe things are as bad as they really are. I’m not trying to be bleak. I hope we are on the backside of this thing. You know what I’m saying. But that’s what I see.

 

I would touch on… as a manager for your company… a leader for your company-  and Josh, I would think you would probably say the same thing for Chick-fil-A- it’s the old saying, “the cream rises to the top.” I know I have seen people at the greenhouse who I’m not sure prior to this that I knew their, I don’t want to say worth, but their ability or agility on the management side. I had an interesting employee last week. And I needed “x” number of orders and I needed them by noon the next day. And at 2 o’clock on the same day- she had them done. Completed. Whereas, I am not sure others would have done that. To me, that’s a leader. These orders have got to be done. They are pulled. They are up.They are ready for someone to pick up and ship them out. And we are a day ahead to our customer, which really makes the company shine. I think we have to identify those folks, especially when it is time to figure out your next leaders.  

Be Prepared for the Future

 

Mick:  Yeah, it’s such a good point because in the midst of crisis, you know, you are identifying weaknesses in your business and strengths in people that maybe you’ve not seen before. So, if you’re managing through this crisis and nothing changes, then the next crisis that comes along, you are not going to be ready. So, what can we be doing now that will prepare us for the next one that is coming down the road? 

 

Josh:  That’s an important question to ask yourself. Wherever you are sitting right now, if I had known it three months ago, what would I have done differently- right? What would I have done differently if I had known about this three months ago? Then take that question and push it forward and say, ok, not saying we are not going to go through another COVID-19 situation, but there will be something else. There is a reason that the Boy Scouts’ motto is, “Be prepared.” It’s because it is a piece that we are all struggling to grasp. If you think about the 1929 stock market, what companies rose out of that and had new procedures? I mean, look at our government. We haven’t been into a situation that is as bad, even though the recession has been worse, because we put things in place to guard against it. 

 

Individual companies as well, they have come out stronger. Jeremy, what you were talking about, most folks just kind of just want to ride with the times. And this adverse time is what makes us develop new strengths and new things. I have seen the same things you mentioned. It’s amazing in the last couple three weeks how much people… 

 

So we’re on “flexible schedule.” We pride ourselves on having a flexible schedule. We’ve been asking the question too long, “When do you want to work,” and now we are asking, “I need you now, can you work?” People’s availability has changed from when they have a whim to work and when they really need to work- and that has been a real eye-opener for me.  

 

Working From Your Core Values in Crisis

 

Mick:  OK, let’s transition here a little bit toward mission statement and values. I know at first glance that doesn’t sound like a process, but it really is a way (which is another word for process) to keep your business aligned. Josh, I will start with you here. I know Chick-fil-A has a very famous mission statement. Kind of a core value. How has that helped you to stay focused in the midst of a crisis and kept you from drifting off of what your business model really is?  

 

Josh:  Yeah, so, Chick-fil-A’s purpose statement is on a big stone pillar at the home office. Truett Cathy was very adamant about it. Actually, it’s a really cool story. In 1982, Truett had just purchased the land to build the corporate offices. They were filling one out of five stories. That’s how big the business was. One out of five stories of this building. Went into extreme debt. Home interest loans were about 40%. It was ridiculous because the economy was going through this 1980s recession. A terrible recession. So in the midst of all this, sales are down, everyone is struggling. And he, Truett, decided to pull back in the midst of this adversity and have a retreat and think about why they do what they do. And they came out of this retreat with no huge business plans. They came out with a simple couple sentences. The first sentence was, “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of everything they had been entrusted with.” The second one was, “Have a positive impact on everyone they come into contact with at Chick-fil-A.”

 

So, you have results. And you have people. And those two things come together. The cool part about it is that nothing about success in business, nothing about sales increases, nothing about profit. It’s about stewardship. And when I look at this catastrophe, that is an anchor for us. I can be a good steward during a pandemic. There is nothing about the current situation that eliminates me from being able to do that purpose statement. It’s funny that it came out of such a time of adversity. And here we are again, and that purpose statement rises to the top.

 

Mick:  The thing I love about that is as a business owner, we talk about mission statement and core values and I feel like, it is difficult to really get my head around all of that. But a corporation as big as Chick-fil-A, it really is boiled down into two words. Stewardship and community. That to me helps. It kind of lowers the bar. Not that it is a weak statement at all. It is actually very powerful. But it gives me the ability to say, “I could do that!” I could come up with a good statement.

 

Jeremy, at the farm here, I feel like we’ve done a great job with our central mission. We repeat it often, and I think everybody you talk to could repeat it and every employee who answers the phone understands it. We exist to grow our customer’s business. It’s just that simple.

 

We use the Simon Sinek thing.  If you’ve ever seen his wheel. In the middle, there’s our “why.” We exist to grow our customer’s business. Then the “what,” education and products and good shipping and those types of things. So I think we’ve got that nailed down. But the values… what our central value system is… things like generosity or loving our neighbor as ourself, serving our community, stewardship-  like Josh was just talking about.  While it definitely pushes me and how I make decisions, I don’t think we’ve done a great job at getting that written down and championed at this stage of growth- where we are. Where I would have hoped to be. Can you talk about that?  How has that impacted us? Having a strong central core and maybe not formalized it just quite yet.

 

Jeremy:  Well, I think you are dead on with everything you are saying there. The tagline: We grow your business.  We use it. I use it everyday in some manner in the context with the customer and even somewhat with our employees. I think that we, as you said, we have failed to formalize the others and to drive it home with our employees. I think where we have to realize… when we have a meeting- just like you did this morning- even though you speak fluent Spanish, we have you and we have Edgar. And you are speaking English and he is translating it into fluent Spanish. So, we’ve got a struggle there that a lot of other companies don’t have. And when we first started with the core values and thinking of how we drive them home and what to do with them. I’ve talked to myself back then that it will take some time and education to get everything that we want laid out. I think we’re striving in that direction. And we have been good stewards and we’ve been generous and we’ll talk a little bit later about the aspects and changes. 

 

But I don’t know- maybe every business did- I don’t know.  We bought masks, we provided masks for all of our people. Told them this is not just your work mask. Take it home. Wear it in the community. We are going a step above, I’m certain, of what other businesses are doing. It’s not that it’s a huge expense, but surely it means something to the employees to know that we care about them in that aspect. 

 

Mick: Yeah, I know internally, as the owner, how I’m going to run the business. I know what my internal motivation is.  It is actually very simple. It boils down to a verse in the Bible. It’s a couple of verses. Somebody asked Jesus to summarize the whole law. What is the most important thing to do? He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” The second one is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If we can do those two things- we are motivated by those- we’ll make good decisions. 

 

So, I’m not worried about making bad decisions. I just want to make sure that people understand where that motivation comes from. Like today, we had a meeting this morning. Because of COVID, we’ve had to put in some new policies. People’s families will sometimes come to eat lunch with them. Every person who comes on the premises, that’s one more touch point where everybody they’ve touched. Now I’m exposed by one step removed to that exposure level and so we’ve said, we’ve got these two competing values of “I want to keep people safe,” so I can’t let you come, and I also believe that loving my neighbor as myself… part of the reason why the business even exists is to create and support healthy families. You need to be able to make money to feed your family. 

 

I say this sometimes in meetings, “If you make enough money to feed your family, but you never eat with them, we’ve missed the whole point.” So here’s one of those competing values, where having a good strong value system helps us understand and the simple policy we put in place is, if your family wants to come and eat with you, that’s wonderful, but let’s do it outside. So, if we need to move picnic tables in the parking lot… if you want to sit on a tailgate of a truck, do that. But don’t bring them inside for the time being. For the safety of everybody. I think that is one of those places where the value helps drive us in the midst of a difficult circumstance. Josh, Chick-fil-A has a big value: going the extra mile.  Can you talk about that?

 

Josh:  I was going to say real quick before that. Your point on that. As a business owner, whoever is involved in this business ownership managing. This may be a great litmus test to find out how strong your core values are. Because, Mick, you didn’t come up with that idea during the crisis. That seed was planted because of a value that you have.  So, if you are in the middle of this crisis and you are thinking, “I’m just swinging at the weeds and I don’t know what is going on,” it may be time to nail down some strong core values to direct you through the situation. 

 

Mick, you mentioned going the second mile is a driving force for the customer side that we provide. It comes from Matthew 5 when Jesus, back in those days, a Roman soldier could ask anybody to carry their bag for a mile. Their soldier equipment and everything for a mile. So that was a law. Required. Jesus showed up and said, “If someone asks you to go a mile, go a second mile with them.” The idea is what happens on that second mile. You are out of obligation and now you are in choice. If anyone asks me, what sets Chick-fil-A apart in their customer service? How do you guys do what you do? That is the simple answer. We go the second mile in some of the stuff we’ve done in our store. 

 

Just like when you mention about families meeting in the parking lot, there is some stuff that is not easy. So, for instance, we have had four distinct separations that we have had to create: dayshifts, nightshifts, front of house, and back of house. Back of house is making the food. Front of house is serving the guests.We’ve had to limit overlap from all of that because anyone, like you said, that overlaps with the day shift, potentially that’s a…  We have a separate entrance for the back of house employees. We’ve created a corral area in the dining room for when the new employees come in before the shift change they all sit. It is more than six apart. The first shift leaves and the second shift comes in. Then, we’ve hired a third shift to come in at midnight. They do all the lemon juicing. I don’t know if you know that all of Chick-fil-A’s lemonade is fresh squeezed lemons. It takes some time. So, they come in and juice lemons. They put up the truck so no-one has to cross those paths. We also have masks, like Jeremy said, it’s a great point. Just going the second mile. 

 

Honestly man, you mentioned it really quickly, but letting these employees know that this is for you to use in the community as well. That is such a second mile mentality. It is such a… how can I get creative and show my customers and my employees that I care? Those are some of the things we are doing. There’s about 14 other ones.  I won’t go into those. 

 

Mick:  I would say- what you were just talking about with business owners swinging at the weeds and not sure where they are going- that really goes back to this central idea of having a mission. If you’ve been able to define your mission it helps you to know which way to go, so our mission is simple: we exist to grow our customer’s business.  That is why we are having this conversation. We thought it was a great way to fulfill our mission, but if something comes along that looks like a great opportunity we don’t normally have as a default setting, we are going to analyze that opportunity through our mission. 

 

As a garden center, you may say, well, our mission is to beautify our community. You could just say it that way. It doesn’t have to be any longer. We exist to beautify our community. Well, then you get an opportunity to begin raising cattle and it doesn’t fit who you are. It doesn’t fit your mission, but maybe if your mission was broader: we exist to provide quality food and beauty. Now it fits. It gives you a framework in the chaos to stay directed.

 

Josh:  And you say many more nos than you do yeses. That’s what that leads to.

 

Mick:  You say no to the things that look interesting- or maybe even good things- but you say no to those to build some space to say yes to the right things, to the things that are great. The things that will lead you out of a crisis and lead you into the future.

 

Well guys, we are out of time for today. We are moving into our next part of the discussion on people and we want to look at personnel next time. Join us next time. We are going to talk about: how our core values help us in our communication style, the human factor- how do we keep people safe in the midst of COVID 19, and then, we will talk about personal stress- how do we deal with stress. We hope you will join us for that episode as well. You guys, thank you so much.

 

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