The Five "Why's" to Finding Root Cause

The Five "Why's" to Finding Root Cause

In the manufacturing world, I learned a very important technique to reach the root cause of any problem. It's called the 5 why's. The 5 Whys is a question asking technique used to determine the root cause of a problem. The 5 in the title suggests it should take no more than 5 questions to get to the root cause of the problem. Developed by the founder of Toyota Sakichi Toyoda, the 5 Whys Technique is used in problem solving, trouble shooting and improving processes. Here’s how to use the 5 Whys Technique.

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Crawford Landscaping Turns 13!

Crawford Landscaping Turns 13!

About 50% of new U.S. companies fail in their first five years (Gallop) and 96% of businesses fail within 10 years (Inc).  Doing what we've been able to do is nothing short of amazing.  I like what Walt Disney said: "It's kind of fun to do the impossible."  

Today is a very special anniversary.  On this date in 2004, I had the privilege of hiring Tanya Amo, (Tanya McCaskey in those days), as our first employee.  And with this first hire, Crawford Landscaping was born!  It's been an amazing journey, with much more to do.  We've achieved things I didn't think were possible.  We enjoy a fabulous reputation, a great culture, and we do excellent work.  And it's all because of our amazing TEAM!  So thank you to all who work for, or have worked for, Crawford Landscaping for making this dream a reality.

Happy Anniversary Tanya, and happy anniversary Crawford Landscaping!  

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Extreme Focus

Extreme Focus

"The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus." - Bruce Lee

Have you ever noticed when you're driving down the road and you look to the right for a few seconds how your car seems to start drifting right?  Think of that example when you think about focus.  Focus on something long enough, and you'll start naturally moving in that direction.  In an article entitled "How to Create the “Extreme Focus” Habit (without Feeling Overwhelmed)" by Joanna Jast, the author has some interesting thoughts on how to create focus.  I'll list a few below:

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Wooden and Emotional Leaders

Wooden and Emotional Leaders

John Wooden was an American basketball player and head coach at the University of California at Los Angeles. Nicknamed the "Wizard of Westwood," he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row. No other team has won more than two in a row. Wooden was renowned for his short, simple inspirational messages to his players, including his "Pyramid of Success." These often were directed at how to be a success in life as well as in basketball. Wooden's 29-year coaching career and overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim have created a legacy of great interest in not only sports, but in business, personal success, and organizational leadership as well. He is quoted in a book called The Intangibles of Leadership"

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Constructive Feedback Part II

Constructive Feedback Part II

Continuing with this important topic of constructive feedback (how to give it and take it), I want to list some verses from God's Word (Proverbs) to help bring home the point.  

"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will love you."  Proverbs 9:9.  Point: if you are a wise person, you will take instruction (constructive feedback) well to become more wise.

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Constructive Feedback Part I

Constructive Feedback Part I

Today's topic is very important as it touches on constructive criticism and how to communicate it.  At Crawford, it is our goal to continuously improve in all aspects of what we do, including improving each individual.  One of the ways individuals grow is through constructive criticism.  The sender must send the message effectively, and the receiver must receive it correctly.  A.C. Benson said “People seldom refuse help, if one offers it in the right way.” 

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Proverbs 3:27

Proverbs 3:27

I love the book of Proverbs and try to read from it daily.  It's easy as there are 31 total Proverbs, so I aim to read 1 per day based on the day of the month.  The book is full of amazing wisdom.  The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon and other wise men to the people of Israel during Solomon’s reign (970–930 BC).  Proverbs describes the importance of living wisely and in the fear of the Lord as opposed to following the seductive path of foolishness.  Today I chose a Proverb I read a few days ago that applies directly to leadership and how to treat people in general.

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is do." Proverbs 3:27

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Leadership

Leadership

The majority of people at Crawford are in some form of leadership capacity - even those who don't lead people! That's right, leadership doesn't necessarily mean you have to be the boss of another. Let's say you're a mechanic, and all you do all day is fix small engine equipment. You have no direct reports; it's just you and the small engine equipment. You're the small engine whisperer. You can still lead as you take ownership (CORE VALUE) of all small engine equipment and lead the charge in all things small engine: preventive maintenance, repairs, registering new equipment, etc. You become the guru of small engine world. When something thinks small engine, they think of you. You own that dimension of what we do. That's leadership.

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Ladies and Gentlemen

Ladies and Gentlemen

I read a great book recently called The New Gold Standard by Joseph A. Michelli, the best selling author of The Starbucks Experience.  The subtitle is 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Service Experience Courtesy of The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company.  Cesar Ritz founded the amazing hotel chain and was quoted as saying "The Customer is never wrong!

Did you know that Cesar Ritz grew up as a herdsman's son and started working in hotels at the age of 13.  While learning his craft, he was fired from various jobs and was even told by one employer that "in the hotel business you need an aptitude, a flair - you haven't a trace of it."

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Integrity

Integrity

Today's post relates to our credo: quality, service, and honoring our word (or integrity).  I chose to focus on integrity today, and today's quote comes from a great author Nicholas Sparks.  Many of his novels have become great chick flicks, including my wife's all-time favorite The Choice.

"In the end you should always do the right thing even if it's hard." -- Nicholas Spark (emphasis mine!)

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Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Almost everyone has probably heard of Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Apple Inc. Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak are widely recognized as pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s. In addition to being a great innovator, Jobs was known as a passionate leader who got the most out of his team. There was an article published on the Windsor Training Blog under the title, "Riding the Sh*thead-Hero Rollercoaster: six insights from the the leadership style and personal philosophy of Steve Jobs." The six insights are:

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Willpower

Willpower

Today's post is inspired by events from late 2014 and early 2015.  During that time frame, we lost a lot of maintenance business.  And what was so hard about losing this business was that the reason we lost it had nothing to do with our company or our work - it was due to only 1 thing - PRICE.  It was very frustrating and left me with a feeling of helplessness.  It also called into question everything I believed about who we are.

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Our Core Values

Our Core Values

CORE VALUES
Core values are what support the vision, shape the culture and reflect what the company values.  They are the essence of the company’s identity – the principles, beliefs or philosophy of values. Core values help companies in the decision-making processes.  Core values educate clients and potential customers about what the company is about and clarify the identity of the company.  Lastly, core values play a major role in recruiting and retaining good employees.  Roy Disney once said “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” 

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What does "Quality Focus" really mean?

What does "Quality Focus" really mean?

Have you ever heard of a landscaper that does not have QUALITY as part of its "sales pitch?"  Of course not; quality is the key word every potential customer is looking for when identifying potential landscape contractors.  And let's face it, quality really is the bottom line when it comes to doing what we do.  But, I would like to expand a little on the notion of quality and its priority in most companies’ operating philosophy.  

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