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Report Card Time

Dave Wilber


278319e27b94c95e014f6705c415dfe3-.jpgI'm pretty sure that the whole "what do you do in the winter?" thing has pretty much been beaten to death in the popular turfgrass press. After all, pretty much everyone knows that you spend your winters spinning tunes in the shop and inventing new ways to mow, blow and go. Right? Wrong!


It's almost like we have to tell each other that we really do actually do things. Sadly, we leave out the whole southern part of the US (and the world, really) when the notion is constantly entertained that all irrigation systems are blown out sometime in November. They aren't.


I have some kind of internal calendar function that has me wishing for the end of pretty much all grass discussions sometime in early November. One super told me it's like wanting a cigarette after sex. Not sure I buy that one. But surely, there is, be it post summer insanity or post overseed madness that lets most of the cool and warm season jockey, a need to gain some perspective.



We like to have a level of gratification that often comes in the form of whatever we are trying to get Judge Smails to stop complaining about. 


One of the things that my successful clients and contacts do before the memories fade or are erased by too many indoor paint fumes, is to really do a deep evaluation of their program. This many mean the ever popular SWOT Analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat) or perhaps just a Success and Challenge Summary or even a simple list that I like to call the Beavis and Butthead Evaluation... What Sucked and What Didn't Suck. Seems simple enough. Right?


3c717246e8282bc103034e52de2627a3-.jpgWrong. As it turns out, even the simple what worked and what didn't work seems to get worked over in the sticky glue of marketing. So I'm pretty strong on really looking at every application and every product used and making a report card. You can do this with your sales/service people as well. But prepare to make some bad evaluations when you try to mix the two. Human performance and product performance can be linked, but are often two different things.


Now, what happens when the promo monkey promised a lot of big things and your memory recall is that maybe big things didn't happen? Shoot him? Ban the product from your world? A whiff doesn't mean that the product was bad or that the salesperson was a crook. It just means that in the way you used it, it didn't fly for you. At this point, the evaluation can be to see if you really used it correctly or if you perhaps need a rate adjustment, etc. 


"I didn't see much from that", is a common story from all to many. We like to have a level of gratification that often comes in the form of whatever we are trying to get Judge Smails to stop complaining about. But what if the product or program change really does have value that can't always be measured in green grass or invites to the Judge's house for dinner because of the great greens? I'm reminded of a super who did a huge nozzle change and until he had time to really sit with his database and his water use records, he didn't know what a dramatic difference the new noz had produced. He was all excited to share this with me and that was nice, but the real share was with his committee and bosses who found the theory underwhelming until it was given to them in dollar savings format.


I really want to encourage you to look at your own world and do some real critical analysis. Time well spent. Learning from the smartest you know... YOU!



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