January 2018
Team Shift: The Two Ps to Changing Your Team’s Mind By John Kennedy

Discover how common passion and purpose are the two most important components of exciting your staff.

Use coupon code LGR200 to save $200 on your annual subscription to John Kennedy’s LeaderSHIFT and TeamSHIFT video series. Visit www.johnkennedymedia.com.

This past fall, I was grateful to be invited to present at the Garden Center Group (GCG) fall event in Burlington, Vermont. The approach to crafting the agenda and workshops was both insightful and innovative.

The “group” of participants gathered collectively to converse and commit to the direction and intention they would like to have the conference take. Then they voted on the top themes/interests/ topics they would like to be addressed — a true and unique team approach!

In essence, let the conference attendees build a buffet of insights that they find appetizing and not what an “industry expert” feels they should consume.

I salute Danny Summers for his courageous and bold new approach to what can easily become the same program re-packaged with a simple change of the year. Nice job, DS!

The value in this exercise was learning what pains the industry when it comes to the day-to-day operations of their lawn and garden retail locations.

Over the last two decades, I have worked to become more and more of a minimalist. I now say, “God gave me two hands to make my decisions and choices much easier.”

And in the case of any business, there are two perennial challenges — issues of process and issues of people.

Process issues are more easily addressed because they don’t talk back, don’t have attitudes and are rectified by changes in systems.

People issues on the other hand are far more difficult to address and dominated the feedback the conference-goers were interested in tackling. They are rectified by changes in minds (not behavior).

And at the very top of the list relating to people was: “How do I create a more cohesive and committed team?”

The discussion points and suggestions from the conference are being offered in this article — the two Ps to changing your team’s mind.


As owners in the industry continue to gray and contemplate retirement, and the next generation waits impatiently on deck to take a swing at the plate, the question of passion has to be placed front and center. Nothing galvanizes a team more effectively than a common sense of passion.

If I expect my team to have passion then I better make sure I am feeding them passion (we grow what we feed).

If you feed complacency, you grow complacency. If you feed “same crap different year,” you grow the very same.

So, the $64,000 question is: “What is your passion?”

One of my industry clients is now knee deep in the passion of genetics — awesome! Another is passionate about technological advances — amazing! And another is passionate about living — grateful!

As we begin the New Year, I challenge you to look deeply into your soul and ask yourself, honestly, “Do I still have the passion to ignite my team? Do I still feel how I felt 20, 30 or 40 years ago when I got into the business, or have I switched to ‘auto pilot’ and expect more from my team than I am willing to give myself?”

You grow what you feed. What do you want to grow?


The number of retailers that have yet to determine the mission, vision and values of their organization these days surprises me. Some still have dusty ones from the 1990s but have yet to upgrade their POS or their SOPs.

It’s time to upgrade to PURPOSE 2.018.

It’s time for a TeamSHIFT, and the second most galvanizing quality employees seek is a common sense of purpose, or a “Line of One” culture — the ability to create a solid and unified force of people and energy focused on accomplishing the same mission or purpose.

I love walking an organization through the process of formulating passion and purpose — discovering through engagement, questions and facilitation the mission, vision and purpose of the team.

“What is our why?”

Are we a sales environment? Are we a service environment? What do our customers expect? What do they say about us when we aren’t around? How is our reputation in the industry and community? Are we relevant? Do we adapt? Do we innovate? Do we engage our customers in how we can serve their needs better?

Or do we flip the pages of the calendar to 2018 and rerun the same plays, the same plants, the same processes, the same people and “hope” for different results.

The way to get a team to shift and change their outlook and purpose is to invite them to the table to define the why and establish both the processes and people to drive it. I call this concept “Thinking Inside the Box!”

When you align your team with both passion and purpose, the unspoken “P” will appear — profit.

Profit is the outcome of the team; it is not the purpose of the team.

Focus on engaging your team in each and every decision that drives both passion and purpose.

If it feeds those two aspects of your successful retail business, then the answer should be yes … you grow what you feed!

John Kennedy

John Kennedy is an international strategist, author and speaker focusing his energy and insight on growing healthy businesses through intention, measurement and accountability. He can be found at www.johnkennedyconsulting.com and now has a subscription-based video training program available at www.johnkennedymedia.com.


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