Landscaping to Process Consulting, I Use the Same Skill!
You’re skeptical, I know, but it’s true. When I was selling in my gardening business, I was doing process consulting and I didn’t even know it. In process consulting, when we work with our clients we are walking alongside them guiding, deliberating, supporting decision making and eventually seeing them thrive.
What does that have to do with landscaping though? Well, when you know that this person used to have a green thumb before the surgery, that they spent their weekends and evening outside in the dirt or appreciating the outdoors, then you know that their deepest desired outcome for a gardening project or relationship is to be able to reconnect with their environment. Their desire is to feel progress and have hope. This means you can suggest putting in large pots on the patio that they can grow vegetables in while sitting in a sturdy chair or put in a stable walking path to the bench out by the coneflowers and black-eyed susans. This means that you can set up a bi-weekly visit where they can sit outside and instruct able-bodied people on just how they need the work done.
This means we are building a relationship and understanding. We are listening, learning, and are invested in the outcome with our client. For Let Us Get Dirty For You (yep, that was my gardening company) I always and I mean always met with the potential client face to face. I needed to see, intuit and address their concerns. I wanted to know them, their hopes, their fears, their pets names, their relationship to their home and their environment.
Selling our gardening was not just transactional it was reaching out and telling them that it was possible. What about the black thumbs? They still had yards, that needed tending. For many it was just another stress on the list. Must do: make sure yard doesn’t look like total trash. They still needed someone to come and enter their space, tend to and care for things.
There is vulnerability in that. Saying, “I know other people seem to handle it themselves, but this I just can’t do. Could you help me?” Asking for help. It’s tough. And brave. I would tell them we could make a plan that gets you to manageable. You can enjoy your yard if you feel you have a black thumb or the time never seems to allow it. I liken these folks to my consulting clients who tell me numbers aren’t their thing or they just don’t think about processes. My first task is to set them at ease. Anyone can be good at process or keep the numbers in order. It is just about getting the process streamlined and effective. I can help with that.
The thing is taking care of nature is not a one-time act (well it is if you cover it with asphalt, but I don’t condone that.) Plants grow. The weather changes. Weed today. Another will pop up in a month’s time. My job was to build the relationship with the client so they could trust my people to care for their environment. The same holds true for processes, we build in elasticity, resiliency and a plan for the future.
In process consulting we ask six basic questions why, who, what, when, where and how. Why did the client call me? The problem we need to solve in their yard. Who is involved? The people and pets that live there. What are the expected outcomes? The way the client wants to engage with their yard. When are the key dates? The deadlines like family are coming to visit, the house is going up for sale or desire to engage with environment ASAP. Where will the work take place? The view for the neighbors matters or enjoying being out on the back deck is the priority. How will we proceed? The stages necessary to reach the outcomes and deadlines like coming on a regular basis or a big one time event.
The big difference is that with gardening I was providing the resources discovered in this process and with process consulting we are engaging in the discovery and helping the client identify the resources necessary to thrive then empowering them to make it happen.
There is a saying among our local gardeners. If you plant it in Central Illinois, it will grow. It will grow bigger than the labels tell you it will grow. It’s true. I like to think that it extends to more than just plants. When I meet with my potential clients, I would plant the seed. It is possible. It can happen. There is hope. The benefits will outweigh the cost. Solving the problems of today will make the problems of tomorrow easier to overcome.