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A Healthy Garden

Originally published
Originally published: 4/1/2020

If you know me, you know I’m a motorcycle freak. I enjoy riding motorcycles great distances, reading about them and even working on them. What may surprise you is that I also really enjoy gardening. I appreciate eating delicious food that I’ve grown, and I love learning about ways to increase my production and quality... all part of HVACR business strategy.

One of the main things I’ve learned about growing is that there’s a direct correlation between the attention you give a plant and the result it produces. If you ignore a garden, it may survive and produce some food, but if you nourish the soil, water it consistently and keep bad elements away, it will produce a better result. It will also produce more consistently.

If you’re over a certain age, you may remember a wonderful movie with Peter Sellers called “Being There.” Sellers played a character named Chance the Gardner. Chance was raised to be a gardener and knew nothing about life beyond that.

In the movie, Chance finds himself in the real world and his knowledge of gardening is interpreted by everyone he meets to be a metaphor for the real world. He is considered a wise and insightful genius. In reality, he only knows about gardening.

I’m bringing up this movie because there are some powerful parallels of how running your business is a lot like caring for your garden. You need to be like Chance — focused, dedicated and single-minded when it comes to improving your company. So focused, in fact, that you possibly even harbor genius tendencies. Let’s break down some of the essentials for your business garden.

Nutrients in Your HVACR Strategy

One of the nutrients that feeds your team is training. Without training, your team doesn’t have everything they need to prosper, and they won’t be healthy enough to overcome the obstacles that will come their way.

Consistently training your team to use best practices helps them deliver a fruitful customer experience that can yield predictable results season after season. There is no such thing as being trained, as if it’s a one-time event. Training is a daily, weekly, and annual practice, just like adding nutrients to the soil.


In this extended metaphor, I think of sunlight as the energy that makes talented individuals want to be a part of your company. Said differently, this is the culture. Sunlight is warm and feels good.

People flourish in warm, welcoming work cultures; prize-winning achievements are frequently the result of an ideal environment. And we all respond favorably to praise and encouragement — it brings out the best in us.


What are the pests in your business garden? What are the bugs and the weeds? Most often, these are the negative people we tolerate because we think we need them to fill a truck or answer a phone. If they’re bringing the rest of the team down, they’re harming your garden.

When you pull these weeds and pluck those hornworms out of your garden, the environment stays healthy and you have a lot fewer damaged plants. Other pests may be your reviews, your competition, or your problem customers. Let them wreck someone else’s garden! Yours is healthy and ready for the challenge.

As an implementation coach with Nexstar, I’m lucky enough to speak with a lot of our members regularly. One of the most rewarding activities for a Nexstar coach is to help someone see where they have an opportunity. It may be a call center challenge, a production challenge, or any area of a business that’s underperforming.

Most often, that area is underperforming because it isn’t getting the attention it needs. Quality training has dried up, or the wrong people have been allowed to grow like weeds. It happens, but now’s the time to put the gardening gloves back on.

When you focus attention on a neglected area of your HVACR business and nurture it, you can see it start to blossom. Then it’s on to the next row of plants!

To learn more about HVACR business strategy, click here. 


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