Recently I had the pleasure of running two segments during the spring training day for Cape Cod Tree & Landscape (  The co-owners, Chris and Virginia Smith, were proud to have most of their crew come back for another season and several of the people had been part of the company for a number of years. 

The focus of this year’s workshops were to give the crew tools to be successful within this company.  Chris and Virginia knew how important it was to create cohesive well-functioning teams from the very beginning of the busy Cape Cod summer season.

Here are three keys to success we covered (these can beneficial to any business).

Key #1 – Have a Positive Attitude

There are lots of different things that impact how an employee shows up at work, such as time management, the ability to handle stress, the level of confidence, etc. 

Often people underestimate how much their attitude and mood impacts the other people they work with. A great way to demonstrate the affect your attitude has on other people is to picture a pond that is as smooth as glass, then drop a pebble into it.  What happens?  The rings from the little pebble continue to expand and expand, eventually covering the entire pond. 

The same is true for how other people are impacted by our attitudes.  If we are in a bad mood, that ring of bad mood can spread across the people we’re working with very quickly, which can then negatively affect the way everyone is doing their job, which can negatively impact interactions with other people involved, etc.  The rings of the bad mood, spreads across the organization, just like the rings of water on the pond.

Now, if we’re in a good mood, eager to get to work and move things forward, that, too will spread across the people we’re working with. 

Who would you rather work with – negative Nellie or positive Polly?

Key #2 – Success is Built on Effective Communication

Poor communication can impact almost every component of a business. For example, it can lead to mistakes, inferior quality, hurt feelings, conflict, missed deadlines and unhappy customers…these are just a few of the potential negative results.

Communication can be complicated because it is comprised of several different modes. There’s verbal and written. Additionally, within each of those modes there are subcomponents. For example, verbal communication is comprised of someone talking and someone listening.  Both subcomponents can contribute to the success or failure of a business.

One of the big takeaways from this training was to be aware that everyone does not process information the same way.  For example, the same words do not always mean the same thing to everyone.  Just this simple awareness can help people to be more patient and thorough when they communicate.

Another key component to effectively communicating is to actually communicate with others in the company.  For example, if a customer says something good about the outcome they got, tell someone (e.g., one of the owners)!  If a customer was unhappy about something, work with them to resolve the issue and then be sure to tell someone (e.g., your manager).  Keeping the flow of open communication helps people to understand what is happening within the company, what needs to be improved and even what is going well so people can be rewarded.

Key #3 – Don’t underestimate the power of fun

Chris and Virginia want the people who work for them to work hard AND they want them to have fun, too. 

Adding fun to this type of workshop can often help solidify the learning and make it more enjoyable for everyone.  For example, after lunch we did a blindfolded, three-legged race to see which team could collect three same colored ping pong balls first.  How did this fun exercise reinforce the learning of the day?

  • Each blindfolded team had to rely on the directions given by their team member, who was the “caller”. This reinforced the importance of clear and accurate verbal instructions, as well as, ensuring the blindfolded team actually heard the instructions, since the room was noisy and a total of three teams were doing this exercise simultaneously.
  • The blindfolded team members had to listen closely to the instructions. This was reinforcing active listening to the directions they received and demonstrating how asking clarifying questions was critical for a successful outcome.
  • The entire team was invested in doing the best job they could do and they all needed to figure out how to work well together, from picking the right people for the different roles, to the successful completion of the task. This reinforced the significant role attitude played in being able to work together, instead of working against one another, which could have been very troublesome for the blindfolded pair who were also attached at the leg.

It is always exciting to do these types of workshops, especially for a company, like Cape Cod Tree & Landscape, that is dedicated to creating a work environment that is good for the business AND for the people who work there. 

Building successful practices within your company will make it much EASIER to reach the external success you have set for your business. 

Remember, these three keys to success apply to a company of one (a solopreneur) or a company with thousands of employees!

Be sure to check out the Team tab above to find out how Helen can help you get your team in tip-top shape!  

Helen Kosinski
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