As Nido Qubein, business expert, says, “The best time to train your managers and employees is when you feel your company is so busy that you don’t have the time to train them.”

Let’s look at the psychology of that statement. If your team is so busy that it doesn’t have time to improve the way it’s doing things, it could be stealing literally thousands of dollars off of your bottom line. Why? Because one slightly out-of-kilter practice by your staff could be wasting an enormous amount of time and resources. Engaging in a training program focused on a key result area can create a tremendous return on investment.

So, why don’t more green industry business owners invest in their managers and employees? Here are some of the answers I have heard from business owners when researching this question:

1. We don’t have the time for it.

2. We don’t have a budget for it.

3. Our employees don’t want to be bothered with extra learning requirements.

4. Our employees are sharp enough and they don’t need to learn anything new.

5. We are afraid if we train them and improve their performance they will leave and take their skills with them. (We would rather they remain less competent and work for us.)

6. We don’t see the value in it.

7. We just don’t believe in training and development.

8. We are just plain lazy.

If any or many of the above responses match some of your thoughts on investing in training your employees, please consider the following:

• Xerox Corporation reported that for every dollar they spend on training, they get a return of $22.

• IBM Corporation reported that they receive $26 for every dollar they invest on training.

• Motorola Corporation reported that they get a ROI of $33 for every dollar spent on training.

Imagine if your stockbroker could guarantee you those kinds of results. You would buy every bit of stock he recommended.

Not only does a regular training program for key result areas culminate in a more productive and profitable company, it is an excellent tool for manager and employee retention.

Like the saying goes, “When you are green, you grow, and when you’re ripe, you rot.” At the point of departure from their companies, most managers and employees who are leaving feel like they were going nowhere in the position they had and they want out.

Donna Fuscaldo reported in Ragan Communications that, “Nobody accepts a position with the intent of doing the same job for his or her entire career. People want to grow professionally; if they can’t, chances are, they will leave. If your company needs to attract and retain highly skilled workers, then you better make sure you are providing growth opportunities.”

One of my clients, Jim Zylstra of Tuff Turf/Molebusters of Byron Center, Michigan, knows the value of continually investing in the training of his employees as well as himself. One of the areas where he has invested money is in training his team to deal with government regulations. He realized that this is a costly but necessary area for development.

Another area where his company invested is bringing in an outside consultant to help with strategic planning. He realizes that in order for his company to grow effectively, they must continually upgrade their road map to success.

Still another area he continues to invest in is training his team to communicate more effectively with each other, as well as the customers. Jim Zylstra realizes that if he wants his company to stay on a continual growth curve, he must keep himself and his team on a continual growth curve. In addition to the aforementioned, he and several of his team members regularly attend the state association’s annual convention. It is no accident that his company is experiencing continual growth.

For another example of the benefits of training your managers and employees, we need only look at Major League Baseball. Let’s use the Detroit Tigers Baseball Club as an example. With millions and millions of dollars resting on the success of the team, it is no secret that this baseball club, like all Major League Baseball teams, invests heavily in training.

In my research, here is what I discovered: the Detroit Tigers employ the following full-time coaches and trainers:

• Bench coach

• First base coach

• Third base coach

• Hitting coach

• Pitching coach

• Bullpen coach

• Bullpen catcher

• Strength and conditioning coach

• Trainer

Their players and coaches report for spring training beginning in February and engage in an intense and focused practice initiative through the month of March. Once the season begins, they continue to take batting, fielding, pitching and running, along with strength and endurance training, on an almost daily basis.

Why do they do this? Because, like all of the other Major League Baseball teams, they do this in order to maximize their investment and their players’ potential. They are then able to compete at the highest level possible. They have to be consistently at their best. The stakes are high and so are the rewards. No stone is left unturned.

They are totally committed to the investment of ongoing training and development.

You don’t have to be a Major League Baseball CEO to understand and use training and development for your managers and employees, but it doesn’t hurt to think like one.

Here is a quick quiz to assess your commitment to maintaining a successful green industry company through an appropriate training and development strategy.

1. What percentage of your profits do you commit to training and development of your team on an annual basis?

2. What kinds of incentives do you offer to your employees and managers when they earn additional certification and skill sets (i.e., bonuses and pay raises)?

3. As a business owner, which business book are you presently reading? What will be your next one?

4. Do you have a company library of books, cds and digital downloads for all employees and managers to use? If not, when will you start one?

5. Do you encourage your team members to read the professional publications your company subscribes to?

So, as Qubein recommends, “The best time to train your managers and employees is when you feel your company is so busy that you don’t have the time to train them.” When you embrace this paradigm, chances are you will be on your way to leading your green industry business on a continually successful and profitable journey.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Borg works with small and mid-size green industry companies to improve customer acquisition and retention. For more information or to ask him a question, contact him at 734-404-5909 or email him at: or visit his website at